Vipallāsa means “perversions” or “distortions” There are four perversions which may be either of perception of consciousness or of views. And which are these four? To regard what is impermanent (anicca) as permanent; what is painful (dukkha) as pleasant or happiness-yielding; what is without a self (anattā) as self; what is impure or ugly: (asubha) as pure or beautiful.
There are many forms of distortions in our minds, and yours are likely different from mine. Lust, existence of self, conceit, and numerous others.
Each of us have an opportunity to see these perversions and do something about them. Or we can hold tightly to these, and multiply these conditions.
So how can this process be ended? Through a shift in perception, caused by the way we attend to feelings. As the Buddha states, rather than viewing a feeling as an appealing or unappealing thing, one should look at it as part of a causal process: when a particular feeling is pursued, do skillful or unskillful qualities increase in the mind? If skillful qualities increase, the feeling may be pursued. If unskillful qualities increase, it shouldn’t. When seeing this, there is a tendency to opt for the more refined feelings, and this cuts through the act of thinking that provides the basis for conceptual proliferation (multiplying our distortions).
But where does this happen, where does one look for this clarity?
Well I think it can begin in meditation. When we silence the mind, and quite our thoughts, there is opportunity for awareness and awakening. But I think that skilful meditation is key to encouraging this. One always has the option to multiply perversions during meditation also.
An example would be focusing on hopes or prayers while you meditate. This can only serve to increase distortions and create stronger attachments to the self and ego. Dropping these, and simply becoming a silent observer while focusing on the breath can allow perceptions and self to fall away. Like a flower being exposed to the Sun, the mind can open to reality and purification.
With proper training I think we can become more and more mindful of these, and pursue skillful qualities rather than unskilful.
This is part of why meditation is still a very important and integral part of my practice. I have much to see and understand, and still carry many perversions as well.
But with patience and determination, I have confidence that they will be eliminated. The truth of loving kindness, compassion and equanimity are merely sleeping right below the surface of these distortions.
Doctors orders, more sunshine for this flower!
May you be well, happy and peaceful.