Asmita – The Second Kelsha
“Ekatmata iva asmita“
False-identification is confusing the nature of the seer or Self with the nature of the instrument of perception. In other words, false identification happens when we mistake the mind, body, or senses for the true Self.
—Yoga Sutra II.6
My blog last week covered Avidya- the first Klesha- and you can check that out here– but to sum it up, the Kleshas are the five obstacles that, according to yoga philosophy, prevent us from living peacefully. All of these Kleshas have a common thread, and that thread is attachement.
Asmita refers to over attaching to things about ourselves that may change. For example, if you identify yourselves as a 25 year old with glowing skin, well you are going to be disappointed when ten years go by and maybe your skin starts to wrinkle. If we over attach to our careers, our appearance, or roles we currently play, yoga philosophy says we are falsely identifying ourselves. When you think about it, it makes great sense. If we always see ourselves in just one moment of time, we are solely connecting to our egos and not who we really are.
Our egos are kind of like Gremlins. They can be good, in fact, our egos help organize the world around us. They help us break ourselves and others into categories. But if we get our egos wet or feed them after midnight, they can start to take over how we see the world. Instead of organizing, they start controlling and influencing our perspectives. It becomes all about the ego, and the world needs to step into line with what the ego wants or someone is going to suffer. Can you guess who that someone is? It’s you.
So in order to prevent Asmita, we must learn to accept change in our external selves but also connect to who we are on a deeper level.
There are many different ways to do this, and I’ll be talking more about how we can battle Asmita a week from today in my free yoga class for creatives. A great way to learn to overcome Asmita is through yoga and meditation, so please join me on your mat. You don’t have to be a full time creative entrepreneur to join us, in fact, anyone who has a passion for art and using their creative energy for good is welcome. Here’s a link if you are wanting more information on the event.
We are so much more than our external selves. Our hair and body may change, we may switch careers, move, or even find new friends and passions, and that’s ok. Learning to accept that but also see the true joy that is you is the only way to overcome Asmita. Hope to see you in a week!