This series explores the five obstacles on your spiritual path that cause pain and suffering. In Sanskrit, Klesha translates as obstacle, affliction, pain and distress. Not exactly the most feel-good topic of Yogic philosophy but an important study in order to get through the challenges we face in life. These are internal obstacles so the focus of this series of practice will be a lot of self study and acknowledgement of flawed beliefs and attachments.
A key concept of the Kleshas and common theme to all of them is where does the Ego fit in to each obstacle and how can I separate it from the actual source of my consciousness. The series culminates with a final mediation that helps to answer that question and explores the source of your consciousness, the cave of your own heart.
There are five Kleshas and I have chosen a diverse selection of videos dealing with each of them. I hope they serve you well and help you find the roots of your own pain and suffering. With practice, these experiences can be life changing as your whole approach to fear and anxiety, pain and suffering will be a lot easier to live with.
Yoga Sutras points out 5 Kleshas, mental emotional afflictions we all will struggle with;
- Avidya – Ignorance,
- Asmita – Egotism,
- Raga – Attachment,
- Dvesa – Avoidance,
- Abinivesha – Fear of loss, change and death
Yoga Sutra 1:31 states the 4 symptoms of suffering observed in practice manifests as
- Negative thinking
- Emotional distress
- Instability in the body
- Disturbances in the breath that mirror the mind
The solution is Yoga Sutra 1.29 which says to move inwards and then Yoga Sutra 1.32 to focus on one thing at a time.
Yoga Sutra 1.33 then offers advice to take with you always – Cultivate:
- Non-judgemental loving awareness – Upekshanam,
- Friendliness – Maitri,
- Joy – Mudito happiness – Sukka
- Compassion – Karuna
Yoga Sutra 2.47 suggest to master our practice we create effort embracing the Kleshas focusing on
- 1.34 Breath Awareness
- 1.35 Sensation
- 1.36 Inner Illuminosity
- 1.37 Contemplate a Stable Mind
- 1.38 Awaken to the here and now
- 1.39 Focus on anything useful and pleasing
With practice, this process becomes more and more effortless. As a result 2.48 States that the pair of opposites cease to exist or have an impact, that there is a Oneness, Wholeness that points you to the experience of Samadhi. A state of yoga where we find lasting fulfilment, deep contentment and liberation from the pain and suffering from the Kleshas.
If you want to continue a deeper dive into the mind, have a read of ‘I am an Addict,’ a blog I wrote about the Kleshas and how to weaken them through practice.