Focus of the month: The Obstacles to Awareness – July 2024

White Peacock

Why do we suffer?

Throughout July we explore how removing obstacles to our awareness mitigates suffering & creates new ways of being, which in turn creates karma (consequences) that allows us to build a world where we can live from our true nature. Being in our true nature we can see true nature in all other beings, love & respect one another, & ultimately reduce the level of suffering within our inner and outer  worlds.

White Peacock

According to Vedanta Philosophy there are 5 causes of suffering, known as The Kleshas.

These teachings explain that with awareness we can begin to alchemise these 5 causes of suffering that are intrinsically linked & arise from time to time.

Individually these 5 obstacles to our awareness that we are investigating are:

  1. Avidya – Lack of Knowledge/Wisdom
  2. Asmita – Egoism
  3. Rajas – Attachments
  4. Dvesha – Aversions
  5. Abinivesha – Fear of the unknown/death

Let’s look at Avidya which is the root cause of all 5 obstacles.

The Sanskrit term Avidya translates as lack of wisdom/knowledge, ignorance or self concealment.

What does self concealment mean?
So, Consciousness finds itself in a body, it becomes so enamoured & in love with its creation that it temporarily (or sometimes for the whole of it’s incarnation) forgets itself.  It is no longer seeing the ‘whole’ of itself, only the manifest and all that is external thus getting caught up in this limited identification.

For some, receiving signals in the form of suffering marks the point at which consciousness begins to reawaken to its whole self once again.  Some would say that suffering is in fact a form of grace (god in action) and an opportunity for us to realign our reality, seeing everything as an opportunity for growth.  Every experience offers itself to you as a guru (remover of darkness or blindness) showing & teaching you something far greater.

Sometimes consequences get drastic before we decide to learn about our patterns of behaviour and action because we’ve been missing the smaller prods of misalignment long before this point.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Some of the greatest wisdom has come from those who have had to endure the greatest suffering.  
For example: Nelson Mandela, 27 years imprisoned for anti apartheid activism wrote: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Victor Frankl wrote about his reflections in a Nazi concentration camp.  “We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that can not be changed.  For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn ones own predicament into a human achievement.  When we are no longer able to change a situation just think of an incurable disease such a cancer, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Pakistan Taliban who continues campaigning for the education of girls wrote, “In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don’t want to obey our fathers, brothers or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man.”

The running thread with each of these individuals is that they continued to see grace as all things. 
When we are no longer ignorant to the fact that divine or universal consciousness is behind all things (avidya), we no longer see ourselves as separate (asmita), no longer look for things to fulfil our needs (ragas) or seek to avoid certain things (dvesha) and we understand the microcosm and the macrocosm of the cycles of change (abinivesha).

So if you are feeling intrigued about how Jivamukti can enhance your awareness around suffering then why not come along to class.

Book my first discounted class now! Use the code AUM

Pose of the month

Pose – Feathered Peacock
Sanskrit – Pincha Mayūrāsana
Pronounced – Pin-Cha-My-U-Rah-Sah-Nah
Type – Arm Balance

Pincha Mayurasana yoga pose Faye Shekhar

A hugely alluring pose to the aspirant but one that often remains aloof.  We’re all familiar with the peacocks regal qualities but many are surprised by it’s ferocity.  The peacock symbolises fearlessness & conquering death, which links us to the above cause of suffering: abinivesha.

Peacocks are the only animals feared by cobras as they are able to take the poison of the snake and assimilate it.  Similarly this pose, through subtle shifts in our perception (turning things upside down) we are able to transform the negativity of suffering into peace.

Don’t worry!!

In Jivamuti the class is structured so that the body is prepared; stretched, strengthened and opened by visiting the requisite shape and effort in preparatory postures so that our destination posture each month begins to feel more and more accessible over the 4/5 weeks of practice.

I want to try this! Take me to the booking page!

Mantra of the Month

The peacock in yogic mythology is strongly linked with Krishna therefore we look to Chapter 5 Verse 18 of The Bhagavad Gita for our opening mantra.

विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि |
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिता: समदर्शिन: || 18||

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śhuni chaiva śhva-pāke cha paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśhinaḥ

Sages look with an equal eye upon a Brahmana endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, on a dog or an outcaste.


saprema faye x

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