Kleshas are obstacles or hindrances in our lives that cause suffering. The fourth Kelsha, Dvesha, means hate or aversion. While it’s good to avoid touching a hot stove or try not to breathe polluted air, when we avoidance works against us, we need to be aware. Constantly think about how much we don’t want something invests life energy that could be better spent.

Not wanting to experience something unpleasant can keep us from trying something new. It can keep us from finding common ground. Think about someone who has a different point of view than you – maybe in politics, religion, or something opposite of your view. If we focus only on what we don’t like about a person, we fail to see our commonalities.

We can turn this aversion inward and find fault with ourselves too. Have you ever said, “I hate my (fill in the body part)” or “I hate that I’m so (fill in a trait).” This negative focus doesn’t serve us and prevents us from experiencing and noticing the good things about ourselves. Our view becomes distorted and we lose sight of our true nature. Accepting the things you don’t like can help you change them if you’re able, or find peace with what you can’t change.

Dvesha can keep us stuck in our comfort zone. Eventually, that comfort zone can become a rut or a weight, holding us back from growing and discovering and truly living our life. Be aware of how the things you avoid might hold you back. Let go of the hate and live with less stress and more joy.

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