February Theme – Avidya (Ignorance)
FEBRUARY THEME – AVIDYA. Words by Nichole Ferro
Avidya is the first of the five Kleshas otherwise known as obstacles. These 5 kleshas or obstacles block our spiritual path and the path to our divine self – which is boundless joy and conscious awareness.
Avidyā is a Sanskrit word which literally means ignorance, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and incorrect knowledge. When we refer to avidya as ignorance it does not mean ignorance of content knowledge or skills. It refers to ignorance of our own nature.
When we are ignorant of our true nature we experience pain and suffering. We can not see our true potential and are often stuck in a vicious cycle of blame, thus playing the victim card over and over again. With life’s many distractions our true potential can easily get covered up just like clouds filling up a clear sky.
We are all very good at developing a false understanding of our true nature! The way we talk about ourselves is a good reflection of this. Perhaps you find yourself always saying, “I’m that way becuase of my parents.” or I am stubborn becuase I am a Taurus!” or “I was cheated on and that’s why I do not trust people.” This is an attachment to our personality and mistaken for our true identity.
We tend to live our lives as if we are immortal, mistaking the impermanent for the permanent. Most of us live our lives in attachment to things that we believe we cannot live without. But when the time comes for change we always manage to re-adjust. If we could live our lives remembering that nothing is permanent and everything is temporary, even life itself, we would worry less and love more.
A lot of things give us immediate pleasure but they often imply we will experience some form of suffering in the long term. For instance eating heavy greasy foods, indulging in extra sugary sweets, not drinking responsibly, misusing your sexual energy, or continuing to surround yourself with people who are not for your highest good. We often appease ourselves with these indulgences mistaking them for pleasure, while in the long run will cause us pain.
We convince ourselves that something is true when deep down in our gut our intuition tells us it is a lie. When we are blinded by avidya we are completely disconnected for our intuition and will mistake the impure for the pure. Our thoughts become clouded, we perceive the world a certain way and we believe our own delusions as truths.
Our biggest error is mistaking our non self as the Self. We get caught in our “roles” in society … “I am a banker, a mother, a wife, a brother, a yogi, and so on… We pile on all of these layers of our “identity” as if they are us. We must realize we are NOT our jobs, our money, the car we drive, our likes and dislikes.
When we strip away all of these layers of our outer identifications we get down to the core of our True Self.
So, what is our true nature? It’s that part of you that is always loving, peaceful,and unchanging. It’s that good seed that is always there. Our true nature is pure and loving with no conditions. We are born into this world as our own authentic selves and we can always return to this place.
Acknowledge yourself as the person responsible for your life and watch the magic unfold.
So who are you beneath all your layers? Without your job? Your possessions? Your titles? Your hobbies and achievements?Tags: avidya, klesha, yoga