In Search of Sattwa –or- The Evolution Revolution

Authored By: 
Kirsten Joy Burch

The Bhagavad Gita tells us that humans, as well as all other things in Nature, have a mixture of Sattwa, and its companions, Rajas and Tamas. These three Maha Gunas (qualities) determine our behavior, actions, thoughts and emotions.

Sattwa is clarity, light, purity and wakefulness. It is stability, essence, compassion and love. Sattwa is required for our mental and physical health, and is the path to personal evolution and spiritual maturity. 

  • Sattwa is pure, illuminating, free from illness and impurities. It attracts us with knowledge and happiness. (14.6) People with a Sattvic temperament have clean, healthy bodies, their behavior is pure in intention and their conscious is clear. They tend to be spiritual people and believe in the existence of God.
  • Rajas is rife with passion and is born out of intense desire. It keeps us in action. (14.7) Primarily Rajasic people are focused on business, wealth, prosperity, power, spreading their name, and position. They are extroverted and showy. While they may have a belief in God, their opinion can change easily. They are very political.
  • Tamas is evident in the darkness and crudeness of man. It is ignorance (ignoring Truth), and the cause of delusion. It binds us through indolence, carelessness, sleep and inertia. (14.8) People in which Tamas predominates are destructive, slothful, selfish and dark. They have little respect for themselves and others and are not religious or spiritual. Their thoughts and activities are egotistical.

Our goal in life is to move from Tamas, through Rajas and ultimately Sattwa. We can proactively evolve, or we can be at the mercy of external circumstances.

Ayurveda & Yoga are rooted in Samkhya philosophy, dating back over 5,00 years. They provide an outline for the diet and routine to modify our current state and move towards a more healthy and enlightened state. They give us the keys to alter the subtle energies around us that are responsible for our behavior.

What we eat affects our Mind.
Our Mind affects our thoughts, which affect our actions, emotions and attitude. You can add Sattvic foods to your diet, with most fresh fruits and vegetables. Try seasonal mango, pomegranate, peaches and pears, figs, coconut, and dates. Consider sweet potato, yellow squash, asparagus, and leafy greens. Add basmati rice, quinoa, blue corn and barley. Favor mung beans, dal, red & yellow lentils. Sattvic spices include saffron, turmeric, cardamom, coriander, cumin and fennel.

Sattvic practices include meditation, chanting mantra, walks in Nature, silence, Yoga Nidra, spending time in the company of wise people. Reducing the amount of ‘sensory input’ in all forms is an important step to uncoupling ourselves from the grip of Rajas, making Sattwa more attainable and sustainable, allowing you to experience more love, compassion, forgiveness, and provide you with the state of mind that evolves your personality and transcends your meditation practice.

Modify the Rajas you experience each day by reducing Rajasic foods, large crowds, being too talkative, competition, too much working, watching or playing. Note: our society and the world we live in is 90% Rajasic, which means we actively need to seek balance to remove ourselves from this continuous state of go go go!

Rajasic foods are those that activate us, such as sour, spicy and salty tastes, processed sugar, artificial foods, most beans and nuts, caffeine, fish, shrimp and chicken.

Tamasic foods tend to weigh us down and can be difficult to digest, these include beef, pork, lamb, alcohol, soft drinks, peanuts, aged cheese, wheat, brown rice, mushrooms, garlic, onion and pumpkin.

Replace Tamasic activites with Rajasic ones in order to find the pep you need to progress to the Sattvic stage. Instead of pubs, visit friends who are pleasant and happy. Instead of a horror movie, choose an action flick or comedy, reduce time in front of the TV and other activities which keep you glued to the couch. Do more Yoga – try a few gentle Sun Salutes every day!

If your goal is to progress in life to stability and contentment, it’s important to understand these three primal attributes in ourselves and all things. Each day we can take ownership of our choices and ascend the ladder of growth, contentment and enlightenment.

For the benefit of everyone alive today and all the generations to come – it’s time for the Evolution Revolution.

Following an Ayurvedic diet according to your Dosha and current imbalance is recommended to prevent disease and improve the quality of body, mind and spirit. For a specific diet & lifestyle guidelines, see your Ayurvedic Consultant.

About the Author: 

Self described Green Thumb, Poet Seer, Sun Worshiper, Sitter, Thinker, Writer, and Embodiment of Light, Kirsten is the owner of Living Yoga Dallas, a student of the Himalayan Institute and ParaYoga, and is a Certified Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor.

She teaches public classes at Sync Yoga & Wellbeing and enjoys helping people find health, happiness and transformation through the practice of Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra and Vedanta.

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