In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, he describes the five kleshas as the ways in which we limit our true freedom and our deep happiness, by forgetting about our true essence. One of the many aims to a dedicated yoga practice is to journey back to that true essence, where we are naturally free from these afflictions, or kleshas.
The five kleshas are as follows:
One of the best ways to deal with the five kleshas is to simply pay attention to them. In the following meditation, we’ll take a look at Dvesha, those things we’re deeply averse to. By paying attention to our aversions, and by meditating on them, we can become free from them. This in turn, allows us to become more rooted in our true––our unshakeable essence.
Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes. Feel your breath moving within you, and let the breath bring you in touch with how you’re feeling in this moment. Notice any tensions you’re holding on to and simply breathe into them as you begin to release them.
Bring your loving and accepting attention to all the things you really don’t like in life. Think about all the things in life that feel like a threat to you. These aren’t actual dangers, mind you––they’re the experiences, situations, and even people you avoid because you feel so deeply averse to them.
Note that eventually, we aspire to reach a point when we become unaffected by these aversions. The resulting contentment we feel comes from a deep sense of knowing what we truly are. The remedy for aversions is this coming back time and time again our true nature––our higher Self––and knowing that what we truly are cannot be disturbed by external aversions.
We can drop into our true nature by meditating on the mantra: “Hum Sa” or, “I am that.”
As you inhale, bring into your awareness, “Ha.”
On an exhale, think “Sa.”
I am that.
I am that which is unaffected by my aversions.
Again, think “Hum” on the inhale, and “Sa” on the exhale. Immerse yourself in the “I am that.”
Settle into it as you inhale “Hum” and exhale “Sa” for several deep breaths.
Think to yourself: I am that which cannot be affected by my aversions because my true nature is so deeply rooted in the truth. There is nothing to fear and nothing to avoid, because nothing can touch me deep down on this level of what I truly am. In this place, I am free. In this place, I am deeply connected.
I am that.
Slowly allow your eyes to open. Return to this meditation whenever you need to take a moment to free yourself from any and all aversions.
Photo by Kate Harris