There Are Always Choices

Ajahn Achalo

There Are Always Choices

There is a lot of social conditioning in the modern world encouraging us to be confident and assertive in expressing our irritation or disappointment. Not necessarily aggressive, but assertive, so as not to suppress negative emotions.

This can be helpful at times. If we find ourselves in an abusive situation, it can be very useful to learn how to set a firm and skilful boundary.

But it is powerful in a different way if we can simply see our anger and aversion as a non-personal quality that will arise and cease of its own accord if we simply don’t attach to it.

One healthy way to engage with aversion when it arises is to truly know it with a quality of mindful awareness. Give it some space, and then allow it to cease.

Experienced meditators understand that there are always several choices when it comes to responding to mind states. It is not just a matter of suppressing or expressing.

These things can be sublimated—that is, transformed into something sublime by engaging opponent forces. Or they can be consciously pacified with mindfulness and patient endurance.

This reflection by Ajahn Achalo is from the book, The Process of Realisation, “The Importance of a Daily Meditation Practice,” (pdf) pp. 22-23.