Guna - our inward journey
In Ayurveda we begin to identify the Mind as separate from our Self. Essentially we objectify the mind, recognising the mind as an organ of the body with it’s own duty to fulfill - the duty of interpreting our experience and processing thought. This is a key concept because most of the time we are so caught up in the activity of the mind we forget our direct experience of life - that direct experience that makes us who we are beyond the activity of the mind.
Once we objectify the mind we can identify three different states of mind that affect us at any one time, they are derived from nature and in their root form present as life, death and creativity. They are known as the three Gunas.
To understand the three Gunas - as separate conditions that affect the mind I like to imagine a filter placed over a camera lens affecting our direct experience of life.
Imagine the camera itself is the mind, the camera is separate from the person behind the camera, just as our mind is a separate ‘thinking’ or ‘operating’ organ, separate from our soul. Imagine the three Gunas (Tamas, Rajas and Sattva) as different filters we place over the camera (or mind). These different states affect our perception as follows:
Tamas is a dark, thick, murky filter whereby everything becomes heavy and dull.
Rajas is both a red and green flickering filter, constantly changing and over stimulating making everything aggravated and harder to process.
Sattva is a light, bright white-golden filter, like the sunshine making everything seem joyful, balanced and harmonious.
In this way we can see that the mind is highly influential in defining how we think and feel.