Abhinivesha in Yoga Meditation
QUICK EXPLANATION ON ABHINIVESHA
Abhinivesha = is a layer of fear that is added on top of an attraction (raga) or an aversion (dvesha), which are the third and fourth kleshas. This happens because; as soon as an attraction appears there will be fear of not getting it, or losing it once you have it, and when an aversion appears there will be fear of getting what you don’t want, or once it is there the fear arises that will not go away, that it will stay.
An attraction or an aversion is like a living entity in itself which is leading its own life, and like we want to live, they want to live, and like we don’t want to die, they don’t want to die. Therefore the attachments will protect themselves with adding a layer of fear, abhinivesha.
Abhinivesha = the fifth of the 5 kleshas, which means coloring or veil, abhinivesha is the last coloring or veil
5 kleshas: avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha, abhinivesha
To start to move towards fearlessness by removing or un-coloring the layer of abhinivesha, we first have to acknowledge that we have fears! We are loaded with fear, not just a little, but lots of fears are hidden within the deep unconscious. Probably you don’t think of yourself as a person that lives in constant fear, yet if you start to understand how fears manifest you will have to acknowledge the amount of fear that is present in the latent unconscious mind. And this fear has an influence on our actions, speech, and thoughts. Since every desire (attraction/raga or aversion/dvesha) has a degree of abhinivesha on top of it, this protects the desire during its temporary existence from losing its existence, therefore it will defend itself when there is a perceived threat. The desire does this by adding the layer of abhinivesha, creating the appearance of fear. And… how many fears do we have? Differently said; how many desires we have that protect themselves to stay alive? We have uncountable amounts of desires; the heavy colored ones need more fear to protect themselves than the little colored ones. Hence to open the door to a life without fear we have to acknowledge we are loaded with fear.
Become aware of how abhinivesha affects the body, breath, and mind
Just like the surface of a lake is influenced by the currents that happen underneath the surface, so is the body and its body-language a reflection of the movements that occur within the deeper layers of your being. The body and its body-language express the thoughts, emotions, and also fears (abhinivesha) that move in the conscious and unconscious mind-field. Knowing how the body and its body-language reflect fear will give you the opportunity to keep an eye on fear even when you’re not feeling fearful. This is because we are mostly still unaware of the fear that moves in the mind-field, but by reading our body-language we know, aha, there is fear because the body behaves in a certain fashion! One will start to bite nails, the other might start to shake his or her leg, fidget with the fingers, or bit a lip. Fear has an influence on the nervous system, thus stress and tightness in muscles are symptoms of fear. These signs might tell you that there is something going on in the deeper layers of the mind, it might be fear. Also know how fear influences the breath, or your thinking process. Therefore choose to become aware of abhinivesha by observing all the levels of your being and come to know for yourself how abhinivesha influences these levels. Experiment and gain direct experiences around abhinivesha in your own daily life, not merely an intellectual understanding but find you own examples of fear.
To explore the thoughts that move around underneath the surface layer called body and the samskaras that are stored in the deep unconscious part of mind, you will have to explore both the conscious and the unconscious mind. You can do this by learning to have a dialogue with your mind; with either the totality of mind, with a specific desire, wish, want, or habit pattern, with a function of mind, or anything that comes forward into your mind-field. Ask a question and open up to the responds of the mind by listening to what comes forward. A dialogue means a conversation between two parties; you as a curious yogi and whatever takes the other end of the conversation, the key is to ask and then listen.
You could ask your mind to show you the fears that are stored in the mind-field
You could ask your mind to show you how fears express themselves, how they influence the rest of the mind
You could ask your mind how you can move from fear to fearlessness
You could have a dialogue with a specific fear, ask why it is there and how it can be reduced.
You could ask your mind to show you all the things you don’t want to miss or lose.
You could ask you mind the show you all the things you don’t want to experience or want to avoid.
You could ask your mind to explain to you what fear or abhinivesha is!
When you learn to talk to your mind, the mind will become a great friend that can help you on the path. Then the mind starts to help you to overcome abhinivesha, isn’t that great!
Contemplate on a state of fearlessness
Sit quietly and take some time to contemplate on what it must be like to be fearless. How would that be? To be completely without fears? Can you imagine such a state of being?
You could contemplate on the question; who is it that has or experiences fear?
Remember the formless non-dual Consciousness
Remember throughout the day that it is Consciousness that seems to forget that it is non-dual and formless, therefore an apparent part of that consciousness which is now veiled by avidya appears as separate and can take on attraction and aversion, which will result in abhinivesha-fear. In this way you can remember that the veil called abhinivesha starts with avidya, forgetting your true nature. Thus, remember that it is the non-dual pure Consciousness that only appears as dual, appears as two, therefore can appears to be afraid, then in a flash you might temporary grasp that there is nothing to be afraid of; when there is only one, who will be afraid of whom?
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DAILY OBSERVATION AND YOGIC SELF-AWARENESS ASSESSMENT
Eventually the concept of abhinivesha will swim around in your awareness all the time, as it becomes a part of constant self-awareness. Also, becoming aware of abhinivesha will have the effect that you will increase your use of this word in your daily vocabulary to express yourself and you will discover how abhinivesha relates to other concepts, processes, or insights. For example, you may come to see a relationship between the state of rajas and abhinivesha, between vikshipta and abhinivesha, or how abhinivesha influences pramana. Eventually you will discover how all these concepts dance together and coming to know this dance will guide you towards that which is beyond all the concepts. This is because as you increase your self-awareness, you will discover that everything you can observe is not who you truly are, you are not abhinivesha, you are the One that is able to witness all these concepts. Therefore abhinivesha has to be transcended, who you really are is beyond fear. This will increase the non-attachment towards abhinivesha, while you can be in awe of the beauty of the Divine dance of Consciousness that appears to play as an individual, therefore only appears to have fear. Therefore practicing self-awareness is actually practicing not-self-awareness by which the True Self will eventually reveal itself.
Look at the self-assessment PDF (assessment-yymmdd.pdf) and a PDF that includes daily internal dialogue and daily observation (sumseven-yymmdd.pdf) on the website of www.abhyasaashram.org (when you are on this page scroll all the way down to find the downloadable PDFs) These PDFs can be used as tools to explore and expand your understanding on abhinivesha, on fear.
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MORE ON ABHINIVESHA
4 primitive fountains
As soon as Consciousness seems to forget its true nature, which is formless, non-dual, and infinite, which happens by the appearance of avidya, the individual seems to have four primitive fountains; which are four main urges that move the individual. The four primitive fountains are food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation. It is in the nature of an individual being to have some way of taking in nutrition so it can stay alive, it has some kind of rest and wake cycle, it has some way in which it reproduces itself and it has a way to protect itself when there is danger. Therefore, there is a link between abhinivesha and the primitive fountain of self-preservation. Up to a degree, self-preservation is useful; we need a body to do the practices and therefore need a body to get the direct experience of the Non-dual pure Consciousness. Therefore, to protect the body when there is danger is an instinct that can serve the meditation path. But when it becomes an obsession, it is preventing you from growth, thus one likes to be aware of when there is an actual threat or if the mind is imagining a threat. In a way, fear doesn’t have to be present in the mind-field, when there is no danger it is not useful to create an imaginary danger or fear, and when there is an actual danger it is only necessary to do that which protects him or herself from that danger. Therefore, also contemplate on the difference between the urge to self-preservation and the fifth klesha; abhinivesha.
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YOGASUTRAS ON ABHINIVESHA
2.3 There are five kinds of coloring (kleshas): 1) forgetting, or ignorance about the true nature of things (avidya), 2) I-ness, individuality, or egoism (asmita), 3) attachment or addiction to mental impressions or objects (raga), 4) aversion to thought patterns or objects (dvesha), and 5) love of these as being life itself, as well as fear of their loss as being death (abhinivesha).
avidya asmita raga dvesha abhinivesha pancha klesha
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2.9 Even for those people who are learned, there is an ever-flowing, firmly established love for continuation and a fear of cessation, or death, of these various colored modifications (kleshas).
sva-rasa-vahi vidushah api tatha rudhah abhiniveshah
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SWAMI RAMA ON ABHINIVESHA
“Fearlessness. Fears, if not examined, will develop strong roots, though they are often rootless. Fear invites danger. Self-preservation is the instinct that remains always vigilant to protect the body. This instinct is useful up to a certain extent, but it should not become an obsession in life. When fear becomes an obsession, all spiritual potentials become dormant. Fears are never examined—that is why they are able to control human life. They should be examined boldly. Fear has two faces: I might lose what I have, and I might not gain what I want. These two thoughts should not be entertained, and cannot be when you remember your mantra or the presence of the Lord within. Fearlessness is very important. One should constantly remain in spiritual delight, so that no fear is entertained. Fearlessness comes from knowing that God is with us, and that we are with God.”
~ The Essence of Spiritual Life
“You remain conscious of yourself all the time, “What if something will happen to me, something will happen to me.” Fear invites danger. You are afraid all the time, you are inviting danger, don’t do that. I will tell you what happens. I was standing on the bank of the Ganges at Rishikesh when I was twenty-three or twenty-four years old. During those days I used to look towards the sun and move according to the sun the whole day. It is one of the practices. You don’t do that, Ok? I did not know that there was a cobra beneath me. Sometimes I used to sit and then I would stand up. There was a swami watching from a distance and he shouted, “Swami, please don’t move, there is a cobra beneath you.” Naturally, I looked and saw the cobra. So, what did I do? I ran. And the cobra started chasing me, chased me up to fifty or sixty yards. I said, “I have never seen a cobra, a snake, chasing a human being like this.” Then the swami told me, “Look, the cobra did not chase you, you were dragging it behind you. Your mind was so terrified, so afraid, that fear got concentrated and your negative mind dragged the cobra behind you.” When you are afraid, you actually affect others. Fear invites danger, remember this. When you become negative, passive, and you are afraid, you invite danger for yourself. Don’t get afraid for no reason. Don’t remain under the pressure of fears.
Modern man is full of fears and he does not examine those fears. You should learn to sit down and examine your fears. What are my fears, what fears do I have? Nobody wants to examine their deepest fears. Sit down and try to examine what are the fears in my life. Will my husband desert me? Fear. Will my wife leave me? Fear. From morning till evening you are afraid of something. What kind of life is this? How can you enjoy life under the pressure of fears? So modern man wants to enjoy life, wants to have joyful life but he remains under the pressure of fears. He should learn to examine fears. Fear of not getting what he wants, fear of losing what he has. That does not allow you to enjoy life. Therefore, you should have understanding so that you don’t entertain fears.”
~ Conscious Living
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SWAMI JNANESHVARA ON ABHINIVESHA
Read the whole article “Witnessing” on www.swamij.com
Once the balance has been attained between the many attractions and aversions, along with having the foundation I-ness and spiritual ignorance, there comes an innate desire to keep things just the way they are. The resistance to losing the delicate balance among the false identities is called fear of the death of those identities.
Read the whole article “Two Faces of Emotions in Yoga Psychology” on www.swamij.com
Emotions and action words:
Reflect on how each of these might result from either getting what is wanted or failing to avoid that which is not wanted. It is not intended that there are absolute answers to which of the two polarities any one emotion might most relate. Rather, reflect on the two-polarity nature of emotions by exploring the principles of attraction (raga) and aversion (dvesha), along with fear (abhinivesha), how these interact with one another, and how each of these is transcended through the path and process of non-attachment (vairagya; Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16)
Read the whole article “Integrating 50+ types of Yoga Meditation” on www.swamij.com
Abhinivesha: Meditation on the clinging to life, or the associated fear of death. The first four kleshas, colorings, or afflictions of ignorance, I-ness, attachment, and aversion build a matrix of self-identity. Meditation on this clinging to life and fear of death brings a freedom and willingness to more thoroughly meditate on, and reduce the negative effects of the other kleshas. To be aware of, to meditate on, and to reduce such fear is the first step of the rest of the process.