Kleshas, the five obstacles or veils that are the root of all suffering, are reflected upon in Yogic and Buddhist Philosophy alike. The three poisons, as the Buddhist tradition refers, are Ignorance, Attachment, and Aversion. The Yogic Philosophy further breaks it down by adding and additional two veils to this list; Fear of Death, and the Ego.
The first of the five Kleshas, is one of the 3 that both the Buddhist and Yogic Traditions speak to, and is also the ground in which the four other Kleshas take root. This first Klesha is named Avidya, Ignorance, and refers to the ignorance of our divine nature, ignorance of reality, mistaking constructs of the mind for reality, mistaking matter as the ultimate or only real substance that is in this Universe, this Galaxy. This absence of the knowledge of the spirit of mankind can lead to unnecessary suffering. When we forget this simple truth, we allow the other four Kleshas to grow. Have you ever noticed when you begin to get so wrapped up in a drama or a story you can feel your body tighten; you can feel the disharmony and dis-ease taking root? What would be a healthy solution for this? To create daily practices in your life that allow you to remember to feel into this steady harmonious background, this stillness that occurs before all the chaos and all the beauties of the manifested world. By engaging in the practices of Yoga, we begin to shift our default state from one of excess worry and fear to one of greater peace and harmony. Being very careful to understand we are not pushing anything aside, instead we embrace it all from a seat of greater awareness and understanding of our inherent light and peace inside.
The Second Klesha is Asmita, Ego. There are three ways in which we can speak about Ego. The first is Ego as a false sense of self that is created through the opinions and actions of outside circumstances and people. We begin to develop an opinion of ourselves that is a mere reflection of what others project onto us. Osho paints this in the words below by describing how a child develops a center based on praise or reprimanding from his mother, and then the rest of the outside world…
This awareness is a reflected awareness. He is not aware of who he is. He is simply aware of the mother and what she thinks about him. If she smiles, if she appreciates the child, if she says, "You are beautiful," if she hugs and kisses him, the child feels good about himself. Now an ego is born.
Through appreciation, love, care, he feels he is good, he feels he is valuable, he feels he has some significance.
A center is born.
But this center is a reflected center. It is not his real being. He does not know who he is; he simply knows what others think about him. And this is the ego: the reflection, what others think. If nobody thinks that he is of any use, nobody appreciates him, nobody smiles, then too an ego is born: an ill ego; sad, rejected, like a wound; feeling inferior, worthless. This too is the ego. This too is a reflection.
The second and most commonly way the term Ego is used is when we become aware that we are only thinking about ourselves and what we can gain from a situation. When we fail to pause and consider the whole situation, the bigger picture, we fall out of the heart space and into the guidance of the Ego. This short-sided ignorance that only leads to the idea of advancement of the separate individual and leaves behind the greater good of humanity is often referred to as Ego
Ego is sneaky, and takes a consistent Sadhana practice to become fully aware of it.
Thirdly, we can think about Ego as being a way to understand the mask we sometimes find ourselves hiding behind. This is done in an effort to try to adapt to what we think we should be feeling or doing. We can begin to notice it in situations where we might try to veil our truth in order to take the easy way out. Instead of looking at what we are feeling inside and addressing it, we attempt to manipulate and change things in order to keep ourselves behind a beautiful mask, or in a comfortable happy place. Alternatively, we can begin to look at what is causing the discomfort. Through deeper observation, we bring awareness, acceptance and more genuine sense of contentment in our lives. This is real healing; The Healing Journey on which Yoga invites us to embark. In the journey, we efface the masks, shed the Veils and allow the true You, in all your beautiful imperfections, to shine moment to moment.
In Part two we will take a closer look at the next three veils. Until next time, Keep Livin in Love and Light! =)