Reality isn’t real. Well, not in the sense that what’s happening isn’t really happening but more that our perception of what’s happening can be quite convoluted. Say that fast three times.
Let’s say you’re in conversation with someone. They make a comment you think is hopelessly insincere. You categorize the person as superficial, better-than. But over time, you realize it was just something really stupid they said and they are truly genuine at heart. That’s what I mean by perception. It’s not really the truth, but how we accept the information based on how comfortable we are in our own skin.
Reality is a heady topic. It’s divided into two catetories. Category one is The Self (aka the one who is always aware and knows) and the self (everything that comes before us, tangible and intangible, everything and anything that can be known).
In other words, the Self is the the voice that speaks to us when our own voice is too loud or soft. Aka God, Universal Consciousness, Grace or whatever you want to call it…….and the self (little ‘s’) is us, our life, thoughts, images, conversations, situations, events, all that we experience now, in the present moment, and memories past and those to be had. It’s our job, or spouse, child, bank account, grades in school.
We all are vast and expansive containers of unlimited potential – possibilities. These possibilities are made of 3 energies or qualities that balance with each other. They weave, merge, connect to each other. All that can be known in this world is the manifestation of these energies called gunas.
Guna means thread, strand or fiber. The gunas weave together not only on the larger scale to form the grandness of the Universe, but also the tapestry of our own consciousness.
What do they feel like, these gunas?
Say you’re at the beginning of your yoga class. Even in your seat with folded hands, you can begin to notice the power of the gunas – is there a rigidity to our seat, a bouncy impatience, or a collapsing – or is there a sweet and soft beginning? In the chant of Om, is there a quality of intention from deep within that sends this primordial sound out with lightness? Or is it dull and lifeless? Or overly loud and boisterous? Or timid and frail? You’ve just experienced the gunas and how they effect our outward behavior.
Gunas are like roadway signage pointing the direction toward inspiration.
Rajas is high and powerful spicy energy that leads us to feel competitive or struggle with agitation in a pose. It’s where I used to live (sometimes I still visit). I hold on so tightly to that raging and pulsing energy that I burn out. Rajas is born of passion and desire, which can be used to propel us to effective functioning as we live our mission and purpose. Yet, if imbalanced, rajas keeps us running in place, like jogging on a treadmill, working up a sweat and getting no where. A healthy dose of rajas is needed to start a new project (or finish one that’s been lingering and languishing), fire up a new relationship, get excited about a new exercise class. But if it presents as road rage with the fire-finger being displayed to your road-mates, it’s quite nasty.
Tamas is like pancake batter, a sleepy reverie, dull, inattentive, snooze-alarm density. Snuggle up, cuddle down, needs stimulants to feel awake. Sludgy, muddy, slow, sticky, lethargic. Dull and lifeless food, stale, rotten even. Out of balance, we can lose our way on this path of life. Yet, tamas contributes to slowing down a workaholic, creates consistency and compassion, is like Earth – solid, dense, strong, never wavering. As a couch potato, it leads to unhealthy behaviors and disease.
Sattva is a good mood, a healthy viewpoint, subtle breath, clarity, mindfulness, peaceful bliss. It’s the perfect blending and melding of rajas and tamas, the midline.
Sattva is bringing your mind, breath, and senses into harmony. Pleasurable feelings arise. Contentment.
With Sattva as not only the loom of our existence, but the very threads that deftly weave into patterns and colors and movement of life, we move forward in truth, beauty, balance, inspiration, balanced effort, peace, joy, bliss, contentment, creativity and compassion.
Life exists for the purpose of creating more and closer experiences to know the Self. The gunas facilitate this spiritual endeavor. They reveal, conceal, stir us up.
In the end, we are drawn closer to the Universal and there is no separateness.