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Wk 151 – Kleshas – Avidya – Ignorance

Georg Feuerstein “Yoga is an art and spiritual science of disciplining your body, mind and breath.”

We practice Yoga to form an intimate relationship with the mind and body by shaping the breath. We open to sensation and cultivate the light of insight which in turn stills the mind and body to attain the state of Yoga. In the previous practice, we mapped out a simple practice for complicated people. The complication is that the mind wants to abandon the relationship all of the time. We find it chasing thoughts, avoiding emotions, fantasising about pleasure and entertaining fears. Our practice is to notice when the mind wanders and bring it back to practice. This waking up is highlighting the first Klesha which is Avidya, meaning a lack of awareness or understanding, one’s ignorance, clouded perception or misapprehension. Our Yoga practice is designed to open the veil of ignorance that clouds our perception we see through our mind, energy and body into the truth of all nature and reality. 

There is a term for a Yoga student called the Adhikara. Pointing to the seeker’s journey through the material, energetic and conscious realms. Being competent for deeper understanding, a respect of what is being studied and practicing it in all one’s affairs. Competent studentship in the endeavours of practice in gaining self-knowledge in attaining self-realisation. 

YS 1.20 describes 5 Virtues, Attributes or Essential Ingredients to be the Adhikara – the competent Yogi.

  1. Shraddha – Faith, Trust
  2. Virya  – Courage, Strength 
  3. Smirti – That which is remembered, Memory
  4. Samadhi – Absorption, Collect, Concentrated  
  5. Prajna – Illumination of Consciousness, Direct Insight, Light of Knowledge

In YS 2.33 it suggests the Yogi to practice Pratipaksa Bhavana which is to cultivate the opposite, positive thought every time a negative thought enters, to change the perspective of seeing things from the other side. The courage to turn ignorance, attachment and fear into sincere gratitude, trust and forgiveness in practice. This is not a bypassing, yet a way of accepting whatever we are facing as an opportunity to learn. The uncomfortable, unpleasant and undesirable things we see and feel become teachers as we open the vale of ignorance and see into them seeking the truth!

The unhealthy ego likes to whine and say ‘WHY ME?’ The healthy ego filled with the 5 virtues replies ‘WHY NOT ME?’

Avidya clouds and distorts our vision and we see the impermanent as permanent, we see misery as happiness.

That once we get optimal health or fitness, the right job, ideal relationships, financial security, that we win the lottery, getting that promotion, having more than one home, having kids then we will arrive and climate to never experience pain or suffering again! Everything changes. This is the truth. Everything has a beginning, middle and end. There is no certainty, no permanence of security or solitary of happiness that will never leave. Every thing changes. Even the things we think are bad or good, they change. Resisting, controlling, ignoring or fearing over this only creates more suffering. Our egoism, desire, anger, fear keeps us stuck in the cycle of suffering, habitually doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. 

The idea of the Yogi is to refine our actions or Karma, by waking up, clearing the lens over our mind, energy and body, to be conscious when observing life. This is the refinement of the Yogi’s Viveka Shakti or wise discernment, keen judgement, insightful witness, refined awareness. Like the eyes of a hawk as it flies watching diligently as its wings help it fly. One wing is called Abhyasa or diligent, focused, committed, consistent, disciplined practice. The other wing is called Vairagya or letting go of sensory observations, non-attachment, detachment with love, letting go and letting be.

You as the Yogi hold the 5 attributes artistically expressing what it is like to be a conscious human-being as well as a human-being having a conscious experience while in practicing discipling the body, mind and breath.

The Yoga Sutra tells us that the purpose of Kriya Yoga is to reduce the Kleshas:

  1. Tapas – Practices that create heat for positive change
  2. Sva Dhyaya – Study of oneself
  3. Isvara Pranidhana – Surrendering over to the god head of your understanding