Today I blew my stack at a friend. I don’t even need to explain the circumstances of what happened. It’s enough to say that I had a certain righteousness about my position that I angrily expressed.
My emotionally intelligent friend responded by saying, “I hear how upset you are.” That let me discharge a bit more, until I got to the bottom of the barrel – the real source of the problem – that I felt taken for granted.
Was my feeling justified? When I calmed down and heard my friend’s side of the situation, I could see neither right or wrong anymore, but just misperception and miscommunication.
The funny thing was that before my outburst I’d entertained that thought that maybe I should hear his side before blowing off steam. Why didn’t I? Because I talked myself into seeing it all my way.
In Satyananda Paramahansa’s excellent treatise on Patanjali’s Sutras, he described such lack of insight – avidya – as having a fabricating quality. He says that “avidya is the divine illusion, a kind of veil, a morphic dose, a defect of our psychic vision”… that causes us to misunderstand our relations with people.
Lack of insight, ignorance, avidya are dark and painful states that can be dispelled by the light of clear vision – enlightenment or viveka.
What has saved the relationship with my friend is clearing up our communication and the fact that we both would rather be loving than be right.
Anitya-asuci-duhka-anatmasu nitya-suci-sukha-atma-khatih avidya
*Lack of insight: seeing as eternal, pure, blissful and the self that which is impermanent, tainted, miserable and not the self.
*Patanjali’s Meditation Yoga, translation and commentary by Vyn Bailey.