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Lions Roar : November 2014
Someone said, “Well, you people know what a worrier i am. i would have thought, ‘today the tires, tomorrow the car!’ When i get over one worry, my mind is quickly scanning for the next possible thing to worry about.” Finally someone said, “my mind doesn’t do any of those things. it blames. mostly, it blames me. it is as if i have a built-in peer review committee always ready to criticize. i wonder who appointed them?” By this time we were all laughing, realizing we had acci- dentally put together a list of the traditional five “afflictive energies.” these are five habitual ways people react to chal- lenging circumstances that cloud clear judgment. in traditional Buddhist texts, these energies are called the Five Hindrances, because they block access to sound deci- sion-making. Here is the classic list: • Desire (sometimes called “lust,” which somehow sounds worse) • Aversion (in all its permutations, from annoyance to rage) • Sloth and Torpor (which sounds sinful and intentional, in contrast to fatigue, my preferred term) • Restlessness (which manifests as fretting or worrying) • Doubt (which is linked with insecurity, self-blame, and lack of confidence) averSion GetOffthe W heelofHabit SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 43