In addition to the mind, body, and personality, yoga teaches that the true home of the soul is also beyond time and space, in the external now of consciousness. When we live disconnected from the vast roots of the Self, We suffer. Self is capitalized here because it refers to the divine, awake, free self. Giving the yogic view of our predicament, it’s not surprising that we are often so estranged, that we feel unreal, that we feel disconnected from our center. That is precisely our condition.
The classical “scriptures” identify five “afflictions” or kleshas, five conditioned beliefs and behaviors that keep us bound to ” gross apparent reality.” They are:
Ignorance, I-ness, Attraction, Aversion, Clinging to life, and fear of death.
Ignorance is the ground from which all other afflictions spring. Out of Ignorance arises I-ness the belief in and clinging to a separate, solid, “small s” self. Out of the I-ness arise attraction and aversion, our complete identification with our likes and dislikes. And out of this inevitably arises clinging to life and fear of death, a deluded and desperate desire for life to be small, neat, permanent, and solid rather than vast, incomprehensible, impermanent, and discontinuous as it really is.
In addition to the five afflictions, the scriptures also identify four erroneous beliefs that sustain the delusion of the kleshas. These are:
The belief in the permanence of objects, The belief in the ultimate reality of the body, The belief that our state of suffering IS REALLY HAPPINESS, and The belief that our bodies, minds, and feelings are our true selves.