The Five Hindrances

Before the opening meditation at a yoga class last night, the teacher described The Five Hindrances. I had not heard of them before, though I know them all well. She encouraged us to begin noticing which of these categories our thoughts fell into as we practiced. So I did.

Attraction. I want to shape my life in such a way, or get new towels, or for someone to call me or not call me. She has really great triceps. I want this pose to be over… and suddenly attraction morphs into aversion.

Aversion. I don’t like the way this feels. She is driving me batshit. I hate reacting this way. This pose is lasting too long. I can’t stay in it… and aversion flows into doubt, just like that.

Doubt. I don’t know where I’m headed. I shouldn’t have said that. I fucked up. What if we can’t figure it out? I can’t keep going… and doubt becomes lethargy.

Lethargy. White flag. Crawl back into bed. Overcome by exhaustion. Sheets and blankets. Heavy body. Shut down. Surrender. But I should be doing something else… and lethargy breeds restlessness.

Restlessness. I need to keep moving forward. I have to get my car inspected. I want to check my BlackBerry in the middle of camel pose. I’m starving. How long is this class anyway?

Earlier in the day on our way to the mall where Aviva was eager to burn through some cash at the new Justice store, I said something to her about thinking good thoughts. As the teacher spoke about cultivating a neutral relationship to our thoughts rather than labeling some as “good” and others as “bad,” I found myself wishing I’d said something different.

But beyond praise and blame, beyond right and wrong, beyond resistance and grasping, beyond attraction and aversion, beyond doubt, lethargy, and restlessness, there is a field. I found it when I took a different path on my run before class. It was ringed by purple and white flowers whose name I didn’t need to know to recognize their loveliness.

5 thoughts on “The Five Hindrances

  1. happynik says:

    My hindrances can drive me nuts. One thing I can appreciate now is noticing them more than ever, instead of always acting on them. Years ago, I didn’t notice them, I would just be angry or frustrated and explode, without taking responsibility for it. Of course, many times a day, still, I wish I had said or done something different- especially with the boys, and yes I still explode. These days I am grateful that I can feel it and sometimes I choose differently. Thank you for sharing this.



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