So, last week we talked about the first two Kleshas; Avidya, Ignorance and Asmita, Ego. This week we will discuss the other three Kleshas; Raga, Attachment, Dvesha, Aversion, and Abhinivesha, Fear of Death. Thank you for tuning in and developing a better relationship with your true happiness and the veils that could possibly be hiding your joyous light!
Aversion is an obstacle on the Yogis path to freedom. Recognized as a veil in both Yogic Philosophy and Buddhist philosophy Devsha, Aversion, limits our exposure to new experiences and potential for growth. When stuck in this pattern, we tend to avoid things due to a past experience in which we might have experienced pain or discomfort. Consistently leaning away from challenging situations strengthens the threads of this veil and leads to unclear seeing or disillusion. Excessive aversion leads to fear and hatred, and causes us to pass up situations in life that could lead to peace and deeper insight.
I have learned that true growth is learning to lean in the direction of discomfort. That means to take a moment, pause, and become aware of the tools needed for deeper understanding in a challenging situation. Once we sharpen these tools and we find our way through that situation in a harmonious manner, we have grown. We have stretched our awareness, strengthened our tools, and gained a new perspective. It is up to us if we choose to grow in this life. Stepping into our strength on the path, leaning into the places where there is discomfort, and becoming familiar with the elements that create contentment and harmony in such spaces will allow us to not only grow and peacefully thrive in any situation, but also, will break through this veil of Aversion.
Attachment, or Raga, is the constant search for pleasurable experiences. If it is not kept in check Raga can be the seed of addiction. When first presented with this Klesha, I had some serious ponderings: Isn’t it human nature to want for pleasurable experiences? The answer is, Yes. But, have you ever noticed how much suffering comes along with expectations? Quite a bit. So, if we are truly interested in Spiritual Development, we must offer ourselves a space of contentment that goes deeper than what the senses are experiencing. There is nothing wrong with enjoying pleasurable positive experiences. However, the pain comes in when we create an attachment to these experiences. Opening to, or feeling content only with, a pleasurable experience leads to suffering in the other moments of life when those experiences or things are not within reach. Instead, if we can learn to find contentment through both the pleasant and non pleasant we will find ourselves in a more consistent state of equanimity, harmony, and Joy the has no opposite. It is fine to enjoy pleasure, but it is when the expectations arise that we create suffering.
When attachments aren’t kept in check, the original object, or person that generated the pleasure is sought after rather than the experience itself. Because nothing is permanent in this life, we are in a constant ebb and flow among things we consider pleasure and pain. We must detach from fleeting pleasures and open ourselves to the ever-changing, joyous, challenging, insightful moments. It is the practice of accepting the changing nature of things that Yogic Philosophy asks us to find deep contentment in. Understanding this veil of attachment helps us to be open to the idea of learning from pains and challenges, and lets us adapt so that we can thrive in an ever changing reality.
Clinging to Life
The fifth and final Klesha, Abhinivesha, translated as “clinging to life” is a deeply rooted obstacle because it is built into our basic survival instincts. It asks us to remember the impermanence of this experience, that we will die, and we never know when that time will be. Abhinivesha invites us to connect with the essence of our being, the light inside each of us, the light that lives on even after the physical body stops carrying out its functions.
If we can sit with this concept, perhaps even meditate upon it, it can open a powerful shift of perspective. It invites us to transform fear into peace, and to practice sustaining this peace in each moment.
There are a few practical tips that can help to sooth this transition:
1) Prioritize your day in such a way that you are able to take care of the things that are important to you. When you do what you can to be in a good space mentally and physically, and you don’t immediately owe anything to yourself or others, you feel free and content.
2) Always take the time to be with your truth and speak your heart. Don’t wait to say thank you or I love you. Express your unique expression each moment and never regret that you didn’t! =)
The contract with which we come into this Earth with clearly states that we will die, and that everything that lives in the physical world will die. Sometimes we know when and most times we don’t. Once we accept this, maybe even meditate on it, we can more fully live in each moment with appreciation and acceptance. We must learn to value this amazing life we are a part of.
The Kleshas are obstacles, or veils that our Egos hold in place. Once we become aware of them and how they are showing up in our lives, we can begin to soften them. Once the veils begin to soften, the ego begins to soften. This is relevant in both Buddhist and Yogic Philosphy.
During your lifetime, you will experience the resistance and hold that these veils have over you. Be patient, because the more you shine your light of awareness, the more your innate intelligence awakens. Bliss is right here, waiting for us to accept it. This Yogic journey offers us the space to sharpen our tools, to shine our light without hesitation, and to breathe softly into our innate contentment.