Self-Discovery Challenge Day 5: Avidya (Ignorance)


When can we say we truly know something? To learn, conceptualize, and study are ways of gaining knowledge, certainly. However yoga teaches that to really know something is to possess “right knowledge” or “clarity” on the subject. I believe that to truly have vidya—a true understanding—we must have first-hand experience to really know the truth of something. It is in a way the complete opposite of making assumptions.

Today we come to the fifth and final klesha, known as avidya, or ignorance. This klesha is the root cause of suffering, and from it the others stem. Traditionally avidya refers to the lack of knowledge or awareness of who and what we really are—the divine, permanent Self—which we forget to know. This klesha suggests that we are focused on the impermanent aspects of life as a permanent reality, so to speak. Getting caught in assumptions—and therefore making judgments—is the trigger for this klesha.

Today’s challenge involves noticing how much energy is spent on judging others and taking things personally. Each time you catch yourself judging others, use your bracelet to become aware of this and of how assuming the mind can be. Take note, too, of what things you tend to continuously judge. Is it the way others think or act? What assumptions do you tend to make?

Keep in mind that where we judge is where we don’t have knowledge.

Namaste, Amy

About the Teacher

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Amy Pearce-Hayden
Amy’s formal study of yoga began in 1995 with Iyengar Master, Gabriel Halpern, although she was self-taught... Read more