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Gunas Condition the Mind
Jane: The great magic show called life – I cannot enjoy it. I am constantly thinking, “Why do I have to deal with this sh**? No one asked me if I want to participate in it. I want to go in the unconscious again – I hate it here.” This comes into my mind when the obstacles life throughs my way are too many and I see the truths of this show clearly – why doing anything at all, it is all meaningless and empty versus I have to be productive to earn money.
Rory: Such thoughts and feelings are just the result of tamoguna conditioning the mind. Don’t see them as personal and don’t invest energy in them. Whereas sattva allows clear, objective vision, tamas and rajas colour the mind, distorting our perceptions. This may be a sign to look into your lifestyle a little bit, i.e. diet, exercise, the people you’re around, pastimes, and weed out anything that might be pulling your mind down. When tamas is predominating, it can help to generate a little rajas, and there’s nothing quite as good as exercise, hitting the gym, going for walks or runs, etc. Just a suggestion, maybe you do that already.
Life in maya isn’t always easy, and we are living in stressful times without doubt. When it comes to the need to earn money and so on, karma yoga is your refuge, as it converts every action to devotion; even the most mundane chores can be an act of worship. There’s much talk of the importance of mindset these days, and karma yoga changes our mindset like nothing else. As a person with worldly karma, karma yoga is non-negotiable, as it helps tame the mind and manage our desires and aversions. When it comes to Vedanta it’s all about getting and keeping the mind qualified. Heck, even without Vedanta, that’s also the way to a life of inner peace and happiness!
Jane: Thank you for your extensive answer. A lot to digest for my ignorant mind – but even with this mindset the logic in everything you wrote cannot be denied – even with this tamasic mind. Easier said than done of course, but your email cleared the muddy mind a bit…
Rory: I’m glad the email helped. I hope that you are doing better now and the mind is freer from the conditioning effect of the gunas. Tamas is a particularly difficult one – like a big invasive weed, it likes to grow roots and suck out the light. But recognising the effect of the gunas really is half the battle. It depersonalises suffering like nothing else when we just recognise these thoughts and feelings as patterns relating to the gunas.