I heard one of my teachers several years ago make a reference in a class to our mind made prison and that has forever stuck with me. We all have the potential to live a life of freedom or a life in our own mind made prison. Which path do you choose?
Yoga practices help us to free our Self from ourselves. They help us find freedom from our own mind made prisons. They help us learn the habits of our own minds and help us see the forms of suffering we create for ourselves.
We all have suffering and forms of suffering that we inflict upon ourselves as well as some that we don’t have as much control over. We all suffer from loss, hardships, heartbreaks, and much more. What we do have control over is how we allow ourselves and our minds to react.
Sutra 2.16 tells us that future suffering can and should be avoided. That’s an easy statement to make, but not so easy to follow. It takes some effort to notice how you allow your mind to create reactions and stories, how you allow your mind to create a prison, how you allow yourself to react to pain, and even more effort to change the habits and transform your patterns.
The 5 afflictions, klesas, are 5 specific causes of suffering that Patanjali introduces us to in the Sutras. We create our own mind made prisons from these klesas.
Avidya: misunderstanding/seeing incorrectly
Asmita: ego / identification with non-self
Raga: excessive attachment
Dvesha: aversion or avoidance
Abhinivesha: fear of loss / fear of dying
Take a few minutes and allow yourself to think about what these mean and how they present themselves in your life. We all face these klesas throughout our life. Sometimes they are more pronounced than at other times, but we face them all to some degree. How do you allow yourself to react when faced with these types of suffering? Are you creating a set of walls that you need to break free from or are you allowing yourself to notice and be content and at peace with all that arises?
Freedom is possible. Freedom is in your potential. It’s in your underlying true Self. We practice yoga to rid our Self of ourselves. We practice yoga to break free from our own mind made prisons. We practice yoga to be at peace and content with all that may arise.
May your practice bring you freedom, light, and love my friends.