Reflecting on the kleshas – (more of my musings on these here)
Raga – the veil of attraction, of desire
Wanting things is normal
We start with wanting to get our needs met; for food, water, shelter, then we get to comfort and then it’s a spiral of things.
So much yoga teaching tells us this is not healthy, that this veil of raga keeps us small and limited, but if we are not careful these beliefs can become sticks with which to beat ourselves.
If identifying a desire allows us to act differently, from a conscious rather than unconscious place, then recognising the klesha of raga is benignly supportive in mindful practice. However, if we turn from ourselves, deny ourselves, and take pains to create systems that actively harm ourselves when we identify our ragas, how does that support us?
In choosing to abstain we can get caught up in worthiness and unworthiness; a dance of self-flagellation that undermines the point of the practice.
The point of the practice is to notice and to accept and to act from that place, including always the possibility that you may indeed seek out the object of your raga – be it coffee or a lipstick or a lover –
Self-denial is not mindful practice. It belongs to another, more damaging, set of beliefs around self-worth and a version of karma that judges and finds wanting.
If we are to truly learn from the yoga teachings, we surely can reawaken our knowing that we are whole and learn to accept ourselves.
The teachings are simple –
Know yourself, like yourself, accept yourself
Do you want that coffee? Will a battle with yourself around it open you up to further self-harm? Do you know how to truly accept your desire without beating yourself for still holding it?
Want to get deeper? Head over to Samadhi Rush for more on this and even more amazing yoga.