the five kleshas

according to patanjali, the five kleshas are the five obstacles to yoga … the state of peace and union. my teacher talks about them often, and i can certainly see them at play in my own life.

The obstacles are:

1) lack of knowledge (or understanding)
2) egoism
3) attachment
4) aversion and
5) fear

I’m sure i experience all five, but the two that resonate the most are egoism and fear. it is hard to let go of one’s constructed identity.

over the weekend i took my daughter to an event with her brownie troop. i often feel discomfort around other moms. the perceived competition and social climbing. maybe it’s my own inadequacy driving those feelings. maybe they just aren’t “my people.” but i can’t help but notice the cliques – very often it’s the daughters of the cliquey moms who act that way.

they talk about how big classmates’ homes are. they keep tabs on who has had playdates at whose house. they are often mean to each other. it was cold so I gave my daughter my scarf and i noticed one of the girls teasing her, “is that a bib?” children tease, i know this. but there was a mean-spiritedness to it.

my daughter is gentle and kind and i am proud of that. at her soccer game yesterday, there was a moment where she was on offense, one on one with the goalie who had fallen down and my daughter basically held off rather than going for it. i heard another mom say sarcastically, “TOO NICE!” it triggered me because i have been called “TOO NICE” in my career quite a bit.

we are not TOO anything. we are in a world and society that has callous and hyper-competitive. despite profound material wealth, so many are utterly lacking contentment, meaning, and peace.

and my fear is that i am just the same. what we see and criticize in others is what we dislike in ourselves. i am working on not being so judgmental. i want to live and let live and not let people’s cruelties and trauma responses trigger me. it is very difficult. in this sense i am working a lot on the first klesha – lack of knowledge. i did not know that i was so reactive due to my own trauma. now i am starting to see it and sit with it, accept it and question it.

i am grateful that i get to learn and that the beautiful yoga philosophy is available to guide me.

By col

I'm a peaceful warrior, mom, nerd, & animal fan.

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