We all go through in this world, to one degree or another, but yoga offers ways to mitigate it. The first step is to become attentive of the causes of suffering, which according to Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutra, are the five kleshas (CLAY-shas), a word meaning “pain, affliction, distress.”
The essence of these troublemakers is avidya, or self-ignorance. In Patanjali‘s view, we’re ignorant of our authentic Self; we are unable to tap into the eternal, unchanging witness to life’s joys and sorrows.
Rather, we latch on to, and identify with, our ego (asmita), which limits our consciousness and separates us from the world. That dissolution brings us into conflict with the world, which in turn leads us to raga, the attachment to pleasure, leading us to grasp selfishly at what we want and jealously guard what we have, and to dvesha, the aversion to pain, leading us to reject what we don’t want or what we fear. All of these kleshas intensify our isolation and sense of incompleteness.
Letting go of abhinivesha, which means “clinging to life,” is difficult for many. Most of us seek to prolong existence any way we can. But in India, where most believe in metempsychosis, clinging to life, just like clinging to anything else, is an origin of pain.To transform your suffering,it’s important to be aware of the enormous influence of the kleshas.