Updated: Aug 30, 2019
There was a time when I lived for the weekend. A time when all my money was spent on meals in restaurants, wine, new clothes, make-up, tanning, nightclubs, pubs, gym membership……
I was in a bubble of Rajas-Tamas…
In Ayurveda we have 3 qualities of everything – Sattva, Rajas & Tamas. They are called ‘gunas’ in Sanskrit and mean ‘what binds’.
Those of you that have attended my workshops will know that;
Sattva is pure & calm, it’s the quality of clarity & gives us intelligent balance in our lives.
Rajas is active & agitated, it’s self-satisfying, worrying & in excess creates imbalance.
Tamas is dull & inert, it’s stagnant & dark & connected with materialism & unconsciousness.
My life was predominantly Rajasic – I worked too much, exercised too much, did too much Yoga (yes, it’s possible), ate too much, drank too much, talked too much, thought too much…. The list goes on. When I reflect on this I cannot remember a time when I was still & peaceful, life was passing in a whirlwind, I was getting burned-out, but was thriving on the feeling because I was so out of balance.
I went on like this until my body & mind said NO! and shut-down. This is known as a nervous breakdown or burn-out syndrome, it can be associated with physical illness, which I believe is the body’s way of self-protection and self-preservation.
So I was forced to look deeper. Find balance, moderation.
Sattva, Rajas & Tamas are all necessary components. But balance is key. Think 80-15-5. Sattva 80%, Rajas 15% & Tamas 5%.
These qualities are applied to life-style practices, states of mind, the quality of food, everything. For example, coffee is Rajasic, so is working out in the gym and worrying about things that you cannot change, in overthinking & over planning the future, anything in excess is Rajasic & becomes Tamasic because we are unable to properly digest or process it. We also find Tamas in leftover & frozen food, in large amounts of alcohol, excess sleeping, watching trash TV, in attachment to the way things were in the past, in jobs you don’t enjoy, in accumulating wealth beyond your needs, or in the consumerist culture that dominates our society, which clearly begins in the Rajasic behaviour of desire & dis-satisfaction.
Ayurveda tells us that Rajas should be viewed in the light of Sattva. So activity or action in the light of clarity & intelligence. You can do this through self-inquiry. For example, when desiring a big piece of chocolate cake or a glass of wine, a new handbag, cosmetic surgery, asking why? whether you need, sitting with the feeling for some moments, meditating. This is the beginning of becoming the observer of your own mind, and not being driven & controlled by them & the consumer society we are all part of. This is particularly relevant with the current state of our planet, I’m sure you have seen the thousands of posts on the destruction of our planet. So Ayurveda was actually way ahead of it’s time, but all is as it should be, and we are learning again that our worth does not depend on things that are external to us. Aren’t we?
I believe that we have been tricked into thinking we are autonomous beings making our own choices, however, because we keep ourselves in a Rajasic state through the belief systems implemented in our lives since we were born we must work hard to accumulate wealth to buy things we don’t need and do things that jeopardise our health in the belief that we are ‘treating ourselves’ and making ourselves happy, we are not making choices merely going through the motions, constantly seeking things we think make us happy.
Why? Society is Rajasic, look around, I meet people who work 10 hours+ a day without a break, who sleep with their phones, do you unwind watching TV? this is not unwinding, how can it be, it’s a trick, it’s the opposite, you are inputting more into your system, more for your system to process. It’s overload and causes greater stress. It’s a trick, do you think that going out for a few drinks means you are relaxing? this is greater stress for the body’s system. Do you think going to the gym helps you offload the stress from the day, this is a trick, it’s more stress & strain on the body to deal with (different). I am not saying don’t do this, I’m saying don’t be tricked, live your life in the light of Sattva. With right effort, not force with motivation not pressure, in the light of clarity, intelligence & goodness so that it creates harmony, balance & stability not fragmentation, disconnection & selfishness. Not insensitivity & materialism. An attitude of carelessness for our fellow creatures.
So how? Take time to be peaceful by meditating daily, take regular breaks & don’t be a slave to a consumer system, find joy in nature, break habits that don’t serve you, live a different life if you are miserable, make changes if you need to, eat pure food, reject the packaged, Tamasic-Rajasic products you are being fed that are keeping you in Rajas-Tamas, learn to take care of your needs and learn to listen to your body & mind. Develop self-respect & self-love. Watch the sunrise, and sleep with the animals, take time to be in nature every day and recognise the awesome world we live in.