The first time I came across the term “negative fantasy” was in the workshops produced by the Human Awareness Institute. Over the last two days I have gone in and out of my own negative fantasies which had the effect of making me feel about as low as I have in a long time. Until I had a chance to talk about what was going on in my head, I was accepting the fantasies as being true pictures of reality – albeit highly emotionally charged ones. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra writes about the above experience as avidya – a misinterpretation of reality. In Buddhism, avidya, is defined as ignorance – specifically, the ignorance which mistakes the illusory phenomena of this world for realities. Sigh. Perhaps the art and science of yoga is fundamentally just going around doing reality checks, rather than relying on our often faulty senses, incomplete information, and emotional antennae. One way to check out one’s fantasies against reality, is to have some good people around. This is when it helps to be part of a community, to have a mentor, or even authentic friends and wise elders. It also helps to have a long-standing training in awareness so you can catch yourself in the act of making up negative fantasies before they turn into self-fulfilling prophesies.