Tonight I'm giving a class (the 3rd of 8 sessions) on Yoga Philosophy, Ethics and Meditation. The topic tonight will be the obstacles in the Yogi's path and how to remove them.
Yoga Sutra 2:3 states the obstacles in 6 words:
Avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, abinivesah, klesha
The last word - klesha - literally means "afflictions" or "obstacles". The first five words are the actual challenges that interfere with a yogi's development. They are:
Avidya - Misperception, ignorance (more akin to Spiritual ignorance or blindness)
Asmita - Ego and all distateful forms it takes - as in pride and loneliness
Raga - Desire
Dvesa - Aversion
Abinivesah - The unrealistic "clinging" to life - sometimes exhibited in not wanting to grow old - wanting to stay youthful - trying to stop the progression of life because of resistance and/or non-acceptance of death.
Typically when one thinks of obstacles we tend to think of external obstacles - circumstances, events, people, places and things that we can manipulate and control.
Yet, Patanajali in his disertation on yoga was quite clear and succinct that the problems to our development lie solely within each of us.
The questions each person must ask are clear - they are self-examinatory in nature:
Where am I ignorant on this issue?
What am I not seeing clearly?
How is my misperception and ignorance of this situation clouding my view of reality?
Where has my pride and ego gotten the better of me?
Am I doing this to feed my ego?
Is my feeling of loneliness and separation a result of a rampant and out of control ego?
What am I craving now - and how is that keeping me from being present?
How has my craving for things I desire caused pain and suffering in me and others?
What am I avoiding? What do I find distasteful that must be done?
Can I accept myself - growing old - looking old - graying? Do I feel the need to be "young again" and lie to myself about who I am and where I am in life?
This is how a yogi must practice.