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Looking Beyond Our Perception: A Yogic Approach

Updated: Nov 2, 2018

by Daphne Fuller

On yesterday I posted a status that read, “The very thing we dislike in others may be the thing we may not be facing within ourselves. It happens sometimes. Are you looking in the mirror? I can admit that I have been upset with people for things I may have done myself in the past and at that point I have to put myself in check. There are two sides to every story and then there is the truth. We view things from our perception and create our own “facts” that ultimately may not be solely true. Sometimes it’s the other person, sometimes it’s you and sometimes it’s both of you!”

There is a term in yoga called “avidya” which in many ways speaks to this and means to have a false perception or incorrect understanding. Having an awareness of this helps us to be mindful to do things each day to bring us closer to God, Source, Nature, Universe and our higher self. It calls for us to look within ourselves. Self evaluating and noticing our thoughts and actions more will also help establish more harmony within the universe.

Avidya can make us believe that our perceptions of things are correct. To move past these misperceptions we have to look at our thought process and how we usually go about things. It is important to pay attention to how our own feelings on a situation create certain thoughts, how our thoughts create feelings and how our thoughts and feelings cause us to behave.

Avidya has been described as a film that covers our ability to see things clearly. The film is cultivated by years of experiences and unconscious actions that we have repeatedly done. This causes us to form habits. We then begin to respond to things in a way that may not be conducive or appropriate.

There are 4 branches of Avidya.

  1. Asmita/Ego is the first. Ego has also been referred to as Edging, God, Out. We all have an ego. It is how we view ourselves and who we think we are. It shows up as “I” and “me”. The ego hides behind things that appear to be true.

  2. Raga is the second. Raga is wanting things we do not have or things we do not need. We want something because it was good on yesterday. We hold on to things that we no longer need (material things, behaviors, habits). There is difficulty focusing on the present and difficulty living in gratitude for what we have now.

  3. Dvesa is the third branch. Based on difficult experiences we have had, we reject new situations, thoughts, and people that remind us of past pain and discomfort. It may even cause us to reject things we have not yet experienced at all.

  4. Abbhinveśa is the fourth. This shows up in our lives as fear. Fear of growing old, fear of being judged, having doubts about life and living in uncertainty.

“When you pull back and question the things you think are eternal and permanent, you begin to recognize the wondrous flux that is your life. When you ask, "What's the real source of happiness?" you extend your focus beyond the external trigger to the feeling of happiness itself. And when you seek to know the difference between the false self and the true one, that's when the veil might come off altogether and show you that you're not just who you take yourself to be, but something much brighter, much vaster, and much more free.” Sarah Kempton

So Black Minds, take out your journal, review the 4 branches of avidya, then journal about how they show up in your life and the clarity and/or questions you receive during your writing.

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