Raga and Dvesa For Everyday Life

Many of you have heard me speak of the yogic concepts of Raga (attachment) and Dvesa (aversion). For some, especially those who are fairly new to yoga, those concepts can seem vague and somewhat hard to understand. But, as an integral part of the yogic philosophy – and our daily lives – they are important notions for us to consider.
In fact, I remember times that I’ve personally experienced both.
On a Saturday evening after finishing a Walk for Wishes fundraiser, I was leaving Tanglewood Park with my two tired dogs and Christy Hamrick. When we turned onto highway 158, both Christy and I gasped – “The moon!” It was low in the night sky, a huge glowing ball surrounded by clouds and an incredible sight to see. I remember thinking “wow, wouldn’t it be great for the moon to always look like that.” You see, I immediately formed an attachment (Raga) to how beautiful the moon was on that particular evening and wanted it to always look that way!
The next morning I drove my husband to the airport at a very early hour, so early in fact that the moon was still visible in the morning sky. This time, however, it looked like a giant crystal ball hanging in the clear blue horizon. It was an incredible sight to see….
So you see, if my desire to always have a “Saturday night moon” had been realized – if I had maintained my attachment to it – I would have missed the beauty of the next morning. Lesson learned.
My lesson in Dvesa (aversion) came in the form of a business issue that disappointed and angered me. I wanted to push the experience away because I didn’t quite know how to respond to it, and that only increased my frustration. But, after letting the dust settle for a few days, I realized that the situation contained a good lesson in how to become a better business owner.
And how about situations in which both Raga (our “likes”) and Dvesa (our “dislikes”) are simultaneously at play. For example, during the Walk for Wishes, the Sunrise Yoga group got separated. While I disliked the separation because I had hoped to spend time with everyone, I liked the opportunity to talk at greater length with a smaller group of friends.
The Yoga Sutras say that attachments and aversions can create suffering. While on the roller coaster of these events, I can better understand what Patanjali meant. I know these life lessons will continue to present themselves, and I hope to become more fully present in each instance and able to see them for what they are.