Dropping my daughter’s friend off at the airport I could feel the sadness in the air and my body flood with all the empathy of loss. When we lose someone we love in our life or for some reason feel abandoned we need to ask ‘where does our strength come from?’ This is particularly important at times when the person we have lost is the very support network we would turn to. When we lose our internal strength we may find ourselves battling with despair and hopelessness or find ourselves flung into anger and rage.
Throughout nature there are three states that hold our attention at any one time. They are called the gunas and the three states are Tamas, Rajas, or Sattva. They are inseparable qualities like threads of a blanket and everything you experience will have one or maybe two dominant energies to it.
Rajas: Passion. This is the fire in our belly, it is our energy, rage, willpower, aggression and determination. It is what pulls us out of bed in the morning and makes us jump off to yoga, it is the passion that fuels our arguments. In many ways we can garner strength from this rajasic quality as it gives us the fuel to keep going especially in times of need.
Tamas: Inertia. This quality is the one that propels us more towards our negative depressive states, it can make us feel dull and unable to move and can feel like we are stuck or inert or unable to deal with anything. This passive quality is helpful in getting us to sleep, if we were always in a Rajasic state we wouldn’t be able to turn off at night. Tamsic energy can help us find some strength when it is channeled into nurturing and caring for ourselves, Doing restorative yoga if needed or taking a rest when the world seems too much.
Sattva: Peace. This is the resting ground between the two states of Rajas and Tamas. It is here we find clarity and peace and it is here the we can find out true inner strength to carry us through the more difficult times. Sattvic strength radiates from the inside out. It is the quiet part of us that knows how and when to act. When we become still and learn to access the inner part of us that is our innate wisdom without rajasic reaction or confrontation or the tamasic tendency to not care we enter this beautiful soft part of ourselves. When we are in a sattvic state we can observe, be still, be connected to our situation and then move from a place that is not reactive but from a place of internal steel.
Practice for today: Sometimes we may think it is our anger or action that fuels us to achieve and be strong but that can mask our true internal strength that we keep hidden. Today when you feel you need some help from yourself, get still and listen for this wisdom from within.