Five Hindrances

I thought there could be infinitely many reasons for us not to think clearly, or couldn’t find our intuition. Surprisingly, five hindrances seem like an umbrella to ground the blockage in ourselves.

In Buddhist philosophy, five hindrances prevent us to reach a clear or healthy mind.  These are Sensory desire, Ill-will, Sloth-and-torpor, Restlessness, and Doubt

  1. Sensory desire,

Do you remember the last time you really want that car or fancy shoes, and then you bought it. Guess what? You were still not happy because you wish to have a lavish house now. It is like a trap.  This trap is exactly what sensory desire is. It is seeking satisfaction through five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and physical feeling. I think we should not make materials as our purpose.

As Pet Shop Boys says in their song Love etc. , ‘Don’t have to drive a supercar to get far’…

  1. Ill-will,

It is the feeling of hostility against someone or something. One classical example is that you are not happy with your job because of your boss. Instead of looking for ways to fix your problem with the job, you constantly find yourself in negative feelings towards the boss. Here are my thought-provoking questions to you:

  • What is the point of having these negative feelings?
  • What does it bring?
  • Does having these emotions can solve real issues?
  • Would non-identifying these feelings help you to focus on a solution?
  1. Sloth-torpor,

There are some days in our life when we are reluctant to get out of our beds. We have neither physical nor mental inertia to do anything. It is kind of a depression.

  1. Restlessness,

It is an unsettlement in the present moment. Our monkey minds jump from one idea to another at the speed of light. Two simple reasons for that:

  • You keep questioning the past about what you had done, what was wrong, and why you did it.
  • You are worried about the future, and possibly having ‘hopeless’ insights about it.

If I were asked the definition of a lifetime, I’d say it is an infinite amount of ‘now’(s). Everything is connected with now(s). I know it is a cliché, but the future and the past are just illusions of ‘now’.

  1. Doubt,

Making a decision could be a nightmare sometimes. Your mind may be in doubt state if it has questions like these:

  • What will others say?
  • Can I do this?
  • Is this the right thing to do?
  • Can I find the best option?

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus truly paints how one’s life is irrelevant to the others. I think it challenges us in a sense that do the answers of the questions above really matter, or is it just living and being yourself? 

Last but not least, this Ted talk was very useful for me to better understand these five hindrances, maybe it helps you too!

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