The winds of change have been blowing strongly this week; bitter cold blew through me and I fell to my knees. I marvel at how often these moments befall our lives - those moments when you feel like a bag of thin skin and brittle bones - and yet there is always a wave that sweeps in, to help you rise.
I learned earlier on in time that no matter the amount of challenge, there is always an equal and opposing resivor of support. We need know only how to open ourselves to recieve it.
But how ?
What do we do when the spinning is profuse ?
When the challenge seems too great and we are yet to see through to the clarity of our own truth ?
The Yogic teachings of klesha talk to the negative clouded mind. Four branches specifically spring forth from the root which is Ignorance. To be aware of them is to find a way through.
Yoga Sutra 2.3
अविद्यास्मितारागद्वेषाभिनिवेशाः पञ्च क्लेशाः॥३॥
Avidyāsmitārāgadveṣābhiniveśāḥ pañca kleśāḥ
These five Kleśa-s or Afflictions (kleśāḥ) are
Ignorance (in the form of a misapprehension about reality) (ávidyā),
egoism (in the form of an erroneous identification of the Self with the intellect) (asmitā),
aversion (dveṣa), and
fear of death (which is derived from clinging ignorantly to life) (abhiniveśāḥ).
(text source Wikipedia)
Evidently Ego (ones sense of self-importance) is imbued.
Something I often hear about in Yogic/Spiritual circles is the concept of killing the Ego. For a time there I explored this concept intently, inhaled all the information provided from various sources and let it percolate in an attempt to renounce all the qualities of me that well, made me - me ! Gawd, what flaws did I see - all this process served to do was fuel disturbed mental downloads that chastised my very reason for being. Fortunately I awoke to the ridiculousness of the pursuit when given audience within solid linage of compassionate teaching.
In a nutshell, we are all born to this word with a desire to fulfil on our unique reason for existing. ‘Yoga’ is in actuality, the moment we turn to look inwards back into the direction of our heart; to merge with our nature as truth. For many of us, a pivotal part of our reason for being, is to participate in all the nuances of the modern day life - so to simply ‘destroy’ the ego is to put par to opportunity of living a fully realised life.
One of my teachers would often say to me that as easy as it may be to ‘Spiritually Bypass’ our way through life, (ironically, eluding to a heavy form of ego driven delusion rampant in the modern Yoga scene) we can not bypass the heart - relaxation in the heart being the end goal ! To understand the very nature of the mind, is to take steps towards living a life beyond the restrictions of righteous indignation, affliction and addictions that burden us all.
Lets dive in
The first kleśāḥ of Ignorance (ávidyā) is a direct nod to the bones of aforementioned teaching - without right knowledge, remembering who we are beyond the mind; the second kleśāḥ, Ego (Asmita) takes hold and before you know it your on the super highway train to end station pain. Falling to Ego is forgetting our connection to self, the sanctuary of our soul and the separation of ‘I’ sets in. Devoid of right knowledge the ignorant can only develop in one way and this way is, deeper ensconced in the pain of separation, for without right knowledge, what other purpose is there for the Ego to be anything other than individually directed ?!
Upon the way of realising that my attempt at killing the Ego was actually deeply harming every part of me I came to realise that the EGO is home of all the mad and marvellous aspects of my unique personality and in order to understand it, I needed to get to know it; I did so, and do so, and so, the Ego becomes porous so that the light of love can freely shine through.
Sans the ‘light of love, the third kleśāḥ leaps on the train and attachment (rāga) settles into place convincingly declaring that it has full rights and “this is me, that will be mine and I am fully identified with this ride”; a war cry to invite the fourth kleśāḥ to party, aversion (dveṣa) which is basically the same passenger in a different dress expressing aversion to anything opposing the identified-with desire.
No one likes pain and the pain train is not discriminate to any. We have industries worth billions that manufacture ‘cures’ that only deepen the strain and further disconnect us with the nurturing power of nature.
Fear is the final kleśāḥ, (abhiniveśāḥ). To love ones life is is to hold a deep fear to dying - a burden for us all to one day overcome. And yet the very nature of life is change and to hold onto anything in fear is to stay frozen in time and space. The pathway of a daily spiritual practice that does Not bypass the heart is to brave the concept of dying a little each day; embracing uncertainty, recognising the kleśāḥ clouding mind and going deeper into that which remains unchanged, not for loss or ignorance rather for the favour of innocence. To bath in the childlike robust awe for life and emerge open to engage the many facets of your day with a maturity that speaks from stillness - vidyā - a clear understanding from within.
And so it begins again and again.
How to deal with all this
For me, it has a lot to do with the heart of the matter and the utterance of that word we offer at the beginning of each Yoga class - Namaste. This is a sacred gesture, an offering of surrendering our prejudices, our apprehensions for the time in favour of the awareness that ‘resounds as true’ deep within the un-struck heart, we all come from the same source and it is from here that resonance can be felt.
At first I found it in me, I experience it as true and so then and there is the space already awaiting the same that is You.
Namaste, a simple practice for spiritual connection
Bring the left and right palm before the gaze, every time a sacred moment of felt connection, first in ones own body. Stretched fingers connect, extending from open palms that magnify towards each other; for a brief moment there is a warmth, a resonance before they meet. The ecstasy of that touch - shears through the brain, cutting through into the river of youth - softens shoulders and lifts the heart. Feel a tingling all the way into a belly breath that lifts to the face and utter with eons of knowing that single word
I bow to you
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