Cotton Wool for the Mind

avoidanceWhenever we have an experience that is not entirely pleasurable in a physical, mental or emotional way we may store that experience away in our body or mind as one to avoid again in the future.

In yoga this is one of the kleshas known as dvesha. Dvesha is rejecting the world to insulate us from anything bad every happening again.It is a way of wrapping ourself in cotton wool to ward off discomfort or pain in our life.  If we can avoid a similar experience to one that caused us some kind of pain then we feel we can protect ourselves and be safe. This may be something as simple as avoiding some food that made you ill in the past or something more complex such as avoiding people who have caused you harm or pain. It could be that when you practice yoga you only do the enjoyable poses or that you avoid starting a new venture when you have failed at previous attempts.

Every time we avoid we limit our experience of the world. Every time we avoid something we also tighten the grip that the past experience has had on us. When we face our fears, our past experiences with a willingness to see them for exactly what they are, we learn that what we are avoiding is sometimes just a clever working of the mind to not repeat an experience.

Practice for this week: Look at what you avoid in your yoga practice and in your life. When you feel the grip of dvesha tightening ask yourself ‘ why am I afraid to embrace this experience?’. When you do this you will find a bit more freedom in your life and open yourself up to all the experiences that life holds for you.

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