The Kleshas

Change is the only constant in life         

~ by Pilar Salazar

The concept of Kleshas (poisons) comes from ancient yoga philosophy encompassing the main sources of human suffering. In the next articles we will analyze each individually. In short, the kleshas are afflictions that cloud our minds and manifest in negative thoughts, emotions or behavior. The yoga path aims to bring a state of presence so we can identify when those negative disturbances are controlling our lives.

The Kleshas - Change is the only constant in life

The first Klesha is “Avidya” (ignorance). Avidya states that we have an inability to see things the way they really are. Maybe we are so blinded by our preconditioning and belief system that we forget our true nature. So it affects the way we treat and judge ourselves and others.

In general terms we have a tendency to measure our (or others) value based on superficial aspects such as how we look, what we have, our social status, education level, etc. One main characteristic of those aspects is that they are impermanent. They tend to change through life with no guarantee of how long they are going to stay with us. By transcending this ignorance and recognizing what we are and what we are not, we realize that we don’t need to suffer when we lose what we once had like our youth, or good looks; or stress about not having the job, money, or fame we believe we should have in order to be happy. Same as well, we stop judging others base on those standards.

Overcoming Avidya help us to savor those temporary substances while we have them but being open to let them go if necessary. As Heraclitus said: “Change is the only constant in life” so maybe one of the best ways to find real contentment in life is to accept that it is constantly changing and real happiness should not be seen on what’s impermanent. Namaste!

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