2014-09 Shinnyo Buddhism Podcast – Attract or Avoid: Perceptions in Life

2014-09 Shinnyo Buddhism Podcast – Attract or Avoid: Perceptions in Life

  • Attraction and Emotion
  • Avoid the Void
  • The Nature of Perception
  • It’s Still a Rock
  • Revealing The Path

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Mice_trapsDo you believe there is a difference in strength between attraction and avoidance? Or to put it a colloquial way, which would win in a fight, being attracted to something/someone or avoiding it/them? Let’s take a look at some of the attributes of each and see how your own values line-up.

Attraction, as every similar form of influence, has both a positive and negative nature. The positive seems almost obvious, being a form of emotional enrichment and satisfaction. The negative qualities might be that attraction can negate objectivity and perspective. You can really like something that turns out to be really bad for you, or having a fondness for someone, which is either not returned in-kind (unrequited love, for example).  Attraction could be considered a way of breaking away from patterns or repeating behavior, or conversely becoming stuck or addicted to the same — all because of the emotional triggers involved.

fawn_hidingWhat about avoidance? At a number of levels, avoiding something or someone is related to safety and self-preservation. Avoidance triggers the “fight or flight” responses. We can become driven by preferences, which can block awareness or create limits in many ways. We might avoid foods, avoid traffic, and avoid confrontation to only become limited in our tastes, isolated from collective activities, and form barriers to our interactions with others. If left unchecked, avoidance can develop into fear, which has its own dire consequences.

Both attraction and avoidance are behaviors triggered by perceptions.  Ultimately it is the action you take as the result of a perception that determines the positive or negative result. Do you realize that for someone to argue with you, they must care about you enough to want to influence your opinion? That’s a form of attraction, even though you may wish to avoid the argument.

At my work, my group often wonders why we receive so many of the service requests that seem completely out-of-scope for our group’s responsibilities. Then I noticed, we tend to be really quick and redirect the requests to the appropriate specialists, and don’t tend to let a lot of requests pile up in our queues. Our group is perceived to be able to handle the redirections gracefully, and even though we complain about having to do it, it turns out assignment to our group is the path of least resistance for the service operators.  When assigned to other groups, the requests either get ignored (avoidance), or await for a customer to follow up before action is taken. Ours is handling everything efficiently, even though the only incentive (attraction) to us is to keep our waiting queue clean.

Enlightenment is often attributed with a greater awareness of the truth, reality or absolute nature (jpn. Shinnyo.) And inside this awareness, even the most basic ideas of good and bad are discovered to be also triggered by perception. In nurturing your mind to begin to see as-is, where-is, what-is instead of only seeing attractive and avoidable things, events and people, you start becoming aware of many things, including how diversity and uniqueness, are at the same time bound by identicality and commonality. Every rock, stone and pebble, regardless of size, shape or substance, can also simply be called a “rock.”

How many other adjectives are similarly driven by perceptions?

  • Good and Bad/evil
  • Right and Wrong
  • Tasty and Yucky
  • Best and Worst
  • Friend and Foe
  • Like and Dislike
  • Famous and Anonymous
  • Opportunity and Misfortune

avoid-attracting-thomas-jefferson-377829As you continue along your life’s path with open eyes, mind and heart, think about what you perceive through your senses. Remember that we’ve had thousands of years of reminders about this same concept whether you called it The Law of Analogy, Positive Mental Attitude or are assessing Your Life IQ. You may discover one day that The Path is simply wherever you place your next step.

Which one is stronger? It all depends on your perception.

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