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Dancing Warrior Yoga

The 5 Kleshas DVESHA: Avoidance


Written by Rachelle Gibson

heyam dukham anagatam
The suffering from
pain that has
not yet arisen
is avoidable.

Dvesha’s direct translation in Yogic philosophy and Buddhism is Avoidance.

This can relate to avoidance of suffering and pain.
Avoidance of challenges in your practice.
Avoidance where you may distract yourself by having an over abundance of pleasure in your life whether that be through alcohol, drugs, compulsions, or not taking responsibility for your actions.
Avoiding, pushing away, sweeping it under the carpet.
Many of us have, no doubt, experienced this thought process before.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali also recognised that suffering derives in the mind and affects all humans: mentally, physically and spiritually.

The truth is there is no possibility of avoiding pain or suffering in life. It is an unavoidable duality. With light comes darkness,

In our modern urban lives there is much joy and happiness we can experience but there can also be suffering. Sometimes the suffering can come from external sources that we have no control over. However we humans have a tendency to create suffering within our own minds well enough, without external input!

If we accept there is an inevitability in experiencing pain throughout our life and we know it is internal, that’s reassuring because then we know can find the strength to change it. So rather than avoid the experience, perhaps try to lean into it, to embrace it with gusto, learn from it. What do you have to loose?

We’ve all experienced pain at some point in our lives. By leaning into it doesn’t mean we need to chase it but rather be conscious of the experience when you are in that moment of suffering, know the triggers whether they be internal or external. Be mindful of what you are feeling, sensing, thinking when you find you want to avoid a scenario. Ask yourself: How am I breathing? Is it shallow? What happens when I try to breathe with depth and balance during a difficult time? What does this do to my body and mind? Can I be present and aware of how I’m feeling in this moment of avoidance or suffering? Can I learn from this and grow, improve and develop into a better person?

Equally important is mindfulness of the distinction between things which serve us in our spiritual growth and those which do not.  Is your avoidance stopping you from your path of growth?  Often we regard discomfort as a negative thing in life.  But what if feelings like discomfort, disappointment, anger, jealousy, resentment and fear can be moments of clarity that teach us where we are holding back or avoiding?  These feelings of suffering can be the perfect teacher. Everyday we are given opportunities to make a choice – do we embrace what’s happening or do we push it away? Can you find the strength and courage to lean in next time?
“In that awkward, ambiguous moment is our own wisdom mind. Right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our own wisdom mind.”
Pema Chodron