So let them go, let go of them.
― C. JoyBell C.
After a recent session with my teacher and friend Shelly, we began talking about how the kelshas originate in our thought processes. As she likes to say, we buy into an ignorant thought and down the rabbit hole we go! How do we stop this automatic ride down the rabbit hole?
She drew this diagram for me to get a clear picture of what the kleshas look like in real life. How do we obtain this 'right knowledge' that Dr. Jayadeva and Patanjali speak of? As Shelly often shares, right knowledge comes from noticing our shenanigans. Our shenanigans could be compulsive thoughts, destructive patterns, negative self talk, our attachment to pleasure and our aversion to pain, and the laundry list of shenanigans goes on and on.
As we sat on the studio floor she began to explain her diagram as I inserted in my own shenanigans. These shenanigans weren't Earth shattering, but their tangible nature allowed me to see how afflicted I became with just one thought.
"What's a recent thought you've had about yourself that takes you down the rabbit hole Sarah? This becomes the 'ignorant' thought of self. We identify with this thought more than the essence of who we truly are."
"Hmmmm...I have a big rib cage! I was just noticing that my right rib cage is more pronounced on my right side than my left side when I am in bridge pose."
"Good mama...so the second klesha involves the ego. You have just adopted this thought and claimed ownership with your 'I Am-ness.' You are a 'BIG RIB.'
I chuckled out loud as I realized how silly but real this rabbit hole ride was going to be.
"So next up on the list is that you become attached to your 'I Am-ness.' You justify and rationalize in this realm. Your internal dialogue might look something like this, 'I have a big rib cage because I am a bigger boned girl, I also have to buy larger tops to accommodate the broadness in my side body. Sound familiar kiddo?"
"All too familiar I squeaked out." I could've expounded much more on this attachment side, but I totally understood.
"So love, the next place you go is to aversion, or perhaps a bit of disassociation. It is has been my experience as I've watched your practice that you shorten your right side body. Perhaps this is your attempt to disassociate from your aversion? Only you can answer this, but how does that seem to fit for you?"
Even as I was sitting on the ground with her, I could feel myself energetically shortening my right side ribcage. "Holy wow...I never even noticed that?"
"And then mama, you go straight into fear! Fear that you won't have a different connection with your side body, fear that maybe your ribcage is designed this way, fear that you aren't small enough, fear that you aren't...fill in the blanks."
I sat there with gratitude, disbelief, and awe. From one single thought I had constructed a whole story about who I was. I became so wrapped up in the story that I dissociated from my body. I became so convinced about my story that I allowed fear to swallow me up.
How often do you have a thought and then before you know it that thought has lead you to fatality and fear? What stories about your life take you down the rabbit hole?
Best I can ascertain the Kleshas are now on my daily awareness checklist. Right action involves being a mindful student. Mindfulness means offering yourself compassion as you uncover the stories of your life. Right action also involves being curious. Curious about the stories we cook up, curious about the shenanigans that we participate in, and curious about our ride down the rabbit hole. We really are all in this together, so may we feel the support of each other as we become clearer instruments for the divine!
May You Sweetly Seek:)