Four things are usually manifesting in this world, on a daily basis.
Basically, we don’t see things as they really are And this can cause us distress ..
1.) Asmita – Ego: the sense that we have to be right, and better than other people.
2.) Raga – Wants/Desires Making demands. We want things we do not have. More simply, we want something because it brought us pleasure (in past) but we do not necessarily need it today. – or – what we do have is not enough
We want to keep what we are asked to give away
3.) Dvesa – rejection or refusal: if we have had a difficult experience (wit something or someone) we are afraid of repeating it, so we reject the people, thoughts, etc. that relate to the experience.
Also, we can reject the unfamiliar because we have no experience with it.
4.) Abhinivesa: -Fear: we have uncertainty and doubts, we are afraid of being judged, and we fear aging. We fear death.
In yoga we call this incorrect comprehension – Avidya. It also translates as misconceptions, misunderstandings, incorrect knowledge… Another interpretation could be mistaking illusion to be reality
When we are able to remove any barrier, or see through/past misconception, all will become clear…
Avidya, this incorrect comprehension, is pretty hard to perceive within ourselves, so we look to the 4 separate branches to try and identify what is really going on, within ourselves and perhaps the world around us….
One should become aware that these 4 branches are always manifesting.. Sometimes one branch at a time, or perhaps all four branches. For example,
I had a chocolate chip cookie over lunch, it was so tasty, I ate two more, when I really did not need two more cookies. (Raga – a want / desire) – or –
Devesa (my rejection of something I had a bad experience with in the past) is creating Fear (Abhinivesa) in me today…
Whichever unconscious response is arising, the mind becomes more dependent on the habit. Then, we just accept yesterday (its actions , thoughts, responses) as the norm of today. When this happens the mind, our perception, can become “cloudy” . We could lose clarity of a situation. We could make false moves when we are not thinking through things carefully. If the mind is cloaked, or weighed down, we usually are not making sound judgments.
I experience this on a daily basis. Especially in my job, on texts and e-mails, etc. However, I never had an awareness of it until my yoga studies. Now, I actually chuckle at myself and think, “Yup. Avidya….. It’s manifesting” I notice the branch, what my habit is, or more importantly, I notice my cloudy/unclear thought/perception, and how it just screwed me.
I do make demands. Can you believe it? It’s either ego (asmita) manifesting, or I am making a demand due to fear (abhinivesa) I am not to proud to say I have fear – and an ego. (well, the ego is only sometimes. haha). I do reject things too. Especially seafood… I reject seafood… yuck… (this is another blog post)
Coming back to the serious side of this blog, until one practices yoga, or studies its philosophy, or reads this blog, you might not even know that the branches are alive in your life and the world around you. You might not even be aware of how they can tangle up and choke you….
So know that Yoga is “the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption”
and a main goal of yoga is to “reduce the film of Avidya in order to act correctly.”
My daily goal, as a practicing yogini, is to recognize when and how Avidya shows up and what changes I can make (in my daily actions) to:
- achieve more clarity of a situation
- lessen my suffering
- lessen the suffering of others, due to my actions
- helps others work on themselves –
My wish and my duty as a yoga teacher is to help others achieve the same clarity I aim for.
Be a Seeker of Truth, my fellow peeps,
Try to reduce the film of Avidya in your daily life, to have a clear perception of yourself, and of the world around you.
and as always keep it fresh!