Abhinivesah (Clinging to life)


Sutra 2.9 introduces Avhinivesah, or clinging to life. This Sutra can be translated as 'Clinging to life, flowing by its own potency (due to past experience), exists even in the wise.' Many don't believe in life after death, but it's hard to deny that knowledge comes through experience. Our lives (from birth to death) are influenced by our choices and experiences. Through experience we create habits, which eventually turn into something that feels like second nature.  

How to overcome this obstacle on your mat?

A great way to practice working through Abhinivesah is with meditation. Try a 'letting go' meditation, which will help you work through fear, worry, and/or anxiety you face in your life. Learning to let go of things you once thought were important can be life changing. This can also free you up to re-prioritize your life and make room for what matters most, letting go of things you can't control.


How to overcome this obstacle off your mat?

Sri Swami Satchidanada likens this Klesha to playing an instrument. You begin slowly and with much difficulty, but over time and with practice, you master the instrument and eventually you can pick it up and play without hesitation. Until playing becomes second nature. Over time your experience and practice of playing, turns into a habit that you can fall back into any time you want. If you believe in life after death, it makes sense to reason that we have died hundreds and thousands of times and we know the pain associated with death. The moment we get into a physical body we cling to it and become afraid to leave it. We are not just a physical body; therefore, clinging to the body and to life is a denial of our true nature. Don't be afraid of death or to leave your physical body, instead be grateful for the experiences in this life. Continue to evolve and grow so in the next life you can build on what you've mastered, until it becomes instinctual. 

If you don't believe in life after death, Abhinivesah can also be translated as fear. Anytime you feel anxious or fearful, be aware of why and recognize that you can change the pattern of those feelings by simply acknowledging it. Have a mantra that you can repeat to bring you back to the present moment, such as "Don't let the fear of what could happen, make nothing happen." -Unknown

By: Virginia Traylor