Avidya is a sanskrit term which means that which clouds our true perception. How often do we act and then look back and realise “what on earth was I thinking?!”. Those moments sneaky avidya was there.
There are 4 branches of avidya: attachment, ego, fear and craving. If we look at how these play on our own lives and try and decrease their affect we can live more peacefully without being disillusioned. Reflecting on avidya has honestly helped me live a more meaningful life and I come back to them all the time to see how I can improve myself.
Raga – Attachment
We live in a material world and man it is hard to fight it. We get into these whirlpools of needing the latest trainers, iPhone, coat, car or whatever. Our lives are defined by own experiences not the items we buy, we know it’s true but we just can’t help ourselves. This leads from the idea that we need more than just ourselves to be content in life. That coat may well put a smile on your face when you put it on but it is a distraction from your internal happiness. You can feel full of joy with no possessions, wouldn’t that be incredible to work towards? Plus, it could save you a whole lot of money!
Asmita – Ego
Ego is a topic I find so so interesting because it’s a word which is flung around all over the place. So what on earth is it? As I understand it, it is this false identity the mind creates and fools us into believing. You know when your mind is whirring and you are internally chatting to yourself that is your ego talking. Your true self doesn’t chat it lives in the present using the mind occasionally to perform tasks. Our ego makes comparisons, judgments and has expectations. The ego feeds off other people and is constantly trying to feed itself off your drama. Want to try live a life with less ego? Try to acknowledge your thoughts as just thoughts, they come and the go like clouds in the sky. Once we stop believing the ego (those thoughts) are our true selves we can live a life in the present full of acceptance and no comparisons. Through this we can start to serve others instead of ourselves.
Dvesa – Refusal
Refusal is about making assumptions. We assume something might happen because it did last time so we have decided to never do it again! When I was younger I decided I hated aubergine, the thought of it repulsed me. Then one day my mum cooked this incredible dish, voila aubergine. This doesn’t just apply to food, it applies to our relationships and everyday decisions. Of course we still need a good dose of coomon sense and instinct, don’t go handing out your number to everyone who asks for it! It is a useful guideline to make us realise all the opportunities we refuse because we already assumed what the outcome would be.
Abhinivesa – Fear
Refusal links a lot to fear. Fear stops us from doing so so many worthwhile things! I was told when I was younger “If you’re scared of something, do it” and I really try to push myself out of my comfort zone. Again, common sense needed!! We don’t realise how often fear crops up in our day. Niggly fear examples in my day to day life include: making a phone call, teaching a new yoga routine, doing a difficult yoga pose, socialising with new people, being in a crowd of Christmas shoppers. The list goes on but the beginning to conquering these fears and bigger ones is noticing them first and realising they are just thoughts. You are not your thoughts. You can do it!