The three antigraces

Yesterday I wrote about the three wisdoms (or graces, in the Eastern tradition). These are the sources of knowledge: the intellect, the teacher, the texts.

There is a fourth grace. The self. Nothing happens without your involvement.

Today, the three anti-graces. These are the things which prevent the self from making progress. Not things in the physical realm, such as locked doors or scheduling conflicts, but the things inside us which frustrate progress.

Progress on a task, progress on spiritual enlightenment, progress on mental enhancement. We all have grand plans to do things, to push ourselves forward, to rise above the everyday, but at the end of the day, just how much have we accomplished?

Mala is that which takes us away from what we desire. We want to do something, but instead we do nothing, or we do the direct opposite. We want to lose weight and have all the advantages that brings, but instead we find ourselves shoving pizza into our faces. We want to save money, but we stop into a bookshop and emerge with a bag full of books to put on our shelf. Sound familiar?

Vikshepa is disturbance. Rather than direct opposition, we put our energy into other paths. We decide now is a good time to clean the house, or to take a trip, or arrange our bookshelf alphabetically. We do lots of things, but none of them amount to progress. At the end of the day, we have not made any progress to the goal that we have identified and desire.

And finally, the most subtle of all is Kashaya, meaning veil. We think we are doing the right thing, but through ignorance our energy is wasted. We launch the boat before plugging all the holes, and it sinks. We set aside a day to paint the house, but the paint is the wrong colour, or we forgot the brush. We set off on a journey, but with no map we become lost. We plan to grow a flock of chickens to sell the eggs, but all we have are roosters, who gobble up the food and produce nothing.

In my own life I can identify many examples of the grand plans I laid out for my future going awry. I just bobble about, running hard but never getting anywhere.

The solution to these three anti-graces lies within. It is discrimination. We must ask ourselves whether what we are about to do is leading us towards our goal. If we determine that it is not, and it will drain our resources or send us in the wrong direction, we need to be honest with ourselves.

How many of us can discriminate the true path, and stick to it?

In my case, I should be writing. Writing a blog post may give the illusion of progress, but is it something I can publish on Kindle?

What’s your excuse?


life, philosophy, writing , ,

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