We are all on a path of discovery.
Taking us by the hand, leading us forward, are the teachings of our everyday battles—conquered or not.
These battles are a part of life. They make us human; they are how we grow, transcend and transform. We all face the “one” exact battle we’re meant to strive for in that moment in time; no less, no more.
In Sanskrit we refer to these battles as Samskaras, the seed tendencies or impressions left on our lives by our Karma—that which must be “learned” or “experienced” as a result of our past actions (or inactions.)
According to Buddhist philosophy, we’re all on this journey to complete a task or to attend to unfinished business, if you will; as if each and every stepping stone has been carved for this purpose alone. ‘You reap what you sow’ is a beautiful saying which grasps the concept in a nutshell. In Mexico they say, ‘quien no cuida su maiz, no cuenta con su cosecha’. Both are lovely old folk sayings containing deep truths.
In such a blessed position, where every single decision counts not only in this lifetime but also the next (and so on), we ought to make our choices sattvic.
In Ayurveda, sattva is the purest quality of all—that of light itself.
Sattva is a practical way we as humans can reach the highest state, known as Sambhogakaya to practicing Buddhists—a sure way to enlightenment.
In Ayurvedic terms, sattva is the first of three gunas (qualities of the mind), followed by rajas and tamas. These three forces are intertwined, in all of nature.
Sattva is equated with purity, harmony, balance, stability, white, truth, clarity, intelligence, virtue, goodness and anything of a spiritual nature. It’s the aspect of the mind which creates, with integrity.
It possesses an inward and upward energy, and brings about the awakening of the soul. Sattva has the potential to bring about long-lasting contentment, just as the force of love is the one principle of clarity, wideness and peace that unites all things in life.
Sattva, as a quality in itself, is subject to change, as most things are; and that change can swing in one of two directions: rajas or tamas.
Rajas rule movement.
Rajas is that which shakes things up: turbulence, restlessness, activity, change, vibration, stimulation. It introduces a disequilibrium that upsets an existing equilibrium. Rajas is the quality of the ego, which is bound with power, leading to fragmentation and disintegration.
It’s the energy behind illusions and the force behind passion which causes distress and conflict; and yet, in another light, it is the power which sustains life.
Tamas is responsible for the state of inertia.
Heaviness, dullness, ignorance, darkness, unconscious, repose, death and dissolution are all tamasic qualities.
Tamas has the downward force of gravity, which not only causes decay but also slows things down and holds them in a specific limitless form. It brings about ignorance and delusion in the mind and it also promotes sleep, insensitivity and loss of awareness.
Tamas starts the process of decomposition which is a crucial component of the circle of life. When desire is no longer an issue, tamas is a blessing, not a curse.
It’s important to note that rajas and tamas, like sattva, are part of the divine synergy of life, where one cannot live with out the other.
If we don’t take care to make the right daily choices, we can easily fall into a rajasic or tamasic state, which in turn can cause burnout, stagnation, accumulation and eventually disease. It’s really a simple concept, and it holds great value in the way we lead our lives.
All of the practices and principles of Yoga and Ayurveda are meant to prepare us to reach a sattvic state of being (in mind, body and spirit) by cultivating the right lifestyle, right values and the right use of the body, prana, senses and mind; all of these are vehicles collectively working to help us reach the sattvic state of the soul. Hence, why Yoga and Ayurveda are known as sister sciences; each complements the other in perfect synchronicity.
Remember that everything we take in through our senses, not just food, has an impact on our entire being, inside and out.
As we evolve on our path, we become more in tune with the forces of nature and naturally gravitate towards the right choices. It’s much easier to move from a rajasic space, cultivating patience in that process, towards sattva than to battle with ourselves and others to break up tamas, which naturally want to pull as down.
The choice is at our fingertips.
Learning to cultivate sattva sows the seeds for our collective human, spiritual and universal evolution.
Enjoy the process.
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Assistant Editor: Lauren Savory/Editor: Bryonie Wise
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