Today I ran to Central Market to pick up some vegan/vegetarian items (yes, I'm still attempting to go vegan...). As I meandered my way to the check-out line, I picked up a few magazines to read on my down time. One magazine, Yoga Journal, had a very interesting article that I'd like to share with you all. Entitled "Who do You Think You Are?" (author: Sally Kempton), the article illustrated the simple differences between the "vidya," which means wisdom or knowledge, and the "avidya," which means fundamental blindness of reality. So often, we live in the state of avidya. This term does not mean essential ignorance; instead, it defines our innate inability to detach from what is impermanent to produce a pure sense of Self. Kempton shares what she describes as our blindness to what is real; our true Self. Basically, true Self is free from "mistaking the impermanent for the eternal, the impure for the pure, sorrow for happiness..." (Patanjali's Yoga Sutra II) As humans in a fallen world where people chase money, power and acceptance, we tend to over-think the perceptions we gather from outside (and often flawed) stimuli. We believe that the one and only way we can feel happy is to manipulate others into loving us. We have to feel needed by others. We look to the world for happiness, and when the world lets us down, we feel depressed and cast away by those we love.
Vidya, on the other hand, is true wisdom and knowledge. In the state of vidya, we are able to recognize that this world is not permanent, and when we look to impermanent things for our permanent happiness, we end up very unhappy. "But when you apply the sutra on a deeper level, you see that it is describing what is a passing state - a complex of thoughts and emotions and bodily sensations - for the pure consciousness that is your true Self." (Kempton)
Kempton continues her article with two important concepts: happiness and sorrow. She explains that "real joy is the natural delight that arises spontaneously from within us, the delight in life itself." Essentially, the primary source of happiness is not contingent upon another factor; it should come within ourselves.
Many of you know that I am very interested in the transference of energies. I believe that every single person on this earth is born with the ability to transfer energy from themselves onto another person. Growing up, it was hard for me to befriend kids who were always mean and cruel to the other kids at school. While I understand that statement sounds very juvenile and naive, I like to look at that fact on a deeper level; a level of energies rather than a level of surface attitude. I am not able to surround myself with negative people.
On that same note, I believe that people have the ability to hone in on their own positive energy. Positive energy is more powerful than any self-help book, any drug or any shrink (trust me, I've experienced all three). Positive energy is more than being happy all the time or being courteous and polite. Energy is the essence within us that drives us; it determines our motives and tells us how to interact with the world. To tie this idea into Kempton's article, I will say that the best feeling in the world is to produce happiness within ourselves. It may sound like a crock, but I truly believe that everyone has the ability to do this. However, it is only when we stop looking outside of ourselves and recognize the never ending possibilities within, will we be able to attain this enlightened and peaceful mindset.