Lila: The Play of Consciousness
The entire manifest universe is a play of patterns of conscious energy. Everything is one with and an expression of everything else. We, as human beings, are energetic beings. Our bodies, thoughts, emotions, environments and relationships are all energy systems interacting with and influencing each other all of the time. We are always receiving and transmitting patterns of intelligent energy within ourselves and to everyone and everything else.
If we want to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, it is very useful to have some understanding of the play of these energy systems, and the power of satsang.
Basically the entire manifest universe, including us, is intelligent energy vibrating at different frequencies. These frequencies manifest with different qualities, or “gunas,” of which there are three.
SATTVA GUNA is pure, harmonious, balanced, clear, transparent, good, true and expresses as BEING (versus doing). A sattvic lake would be calm, still and clear with no waves. You could easily see down into the depths to the very bottom. A sattvic person is relaxed, calm, open, loving, simple and transparent. A human being.
As energy fields contract, they vibrate more vigorously. This is RAJAS GUNA. Rajas is kinetic, active, busy, passionate, chaotic and DOING (versus being). A rajasic lake would be stormy with lots of waves. Everything would be in motion and the water would be stirred up. It would be difficult to see very deeply, as what you do see is distorted by constant motion. A rajasic person is busy, intense, hectic, demanding and egoic. In the United States, most people tend to be rajasic, as our social systems are rajasic. Rajasic people are human doings.
When energy fully contracts, it becomes frozen and is Tamas Guna. Tamas is INERT (versus being or doing), ignorant and opaque. The lake is now mud. A passed-out heroin addict is in a tamasic state. A couch potato is a tamasic person. Tamas and sattva gunas can easily be confused for each other. Westerners tend to perceive a yogin lying around, apparently doing nothing, as lazy, worthless or tamasic when in fact they may be extremely sattvic with the light of consciousness flowing through them and out to others.
All of the gunas constantly interact and dissolve within each other, so we all have some of the qualities of each guna. However, within an individual, one quality tends to dominate, so we can say a person is predominately a sattvic, rajasic or tamasic person.
Everything that exists has the qualities of the gunas. People, buildings, places, books, music, movies, jobs, exercise, food, thoughts, feelings, bodies, TV shows, websites and everything that exists tends to be either sattvic, rajasic or tamasic. A meditation hall is sattvic. A shopping center tends to be rajasic. An opium den is tamasic. Too much Rajasic or Tamasic energy often feed the Pain Body.
Many Rajasic and Tamasic people are not very aware of the energies flowing all around us and through us. As a person become more sattvic, they become more and more aware of energy. Many can feel it flowing within them and around them. Some people and places are much more vibrant with the Radiant Life Force than others. Some people can actually see it. In a meditation hall it may be seen as shimmering blue.
Highly Sensitive People, (HSPs are about 18% of the human population. It is a genetic trait.) have very sattvic neuroendrocrine systems. They are negatively affected by powerful rajasic/tamasic activities, smells, fragrances, sounds, colors, lighting, people, situations, chemicals, environments, etc., and become overwhelmed and even very sick if they are not able to get into a more sattvic setting. In a situation where an HSP is feeling totally overwhelmed, a rajasic or tamasic person may not notice anything or may even turn up the energy for more stimulation. HSPs are often judged by others as being too sensitive, too easily overwhelmed. Their sensitivity may in fact be an evolutionary step as humans become more aware. It is totally OK to be an HSP.
As living, dynamic energy fields, we are constantly transmitting who and what we are to ourselves and to the world. We are attractor fields. This transmission affects our genetic codes, cells, body, psychic and spiritual systems, and everyone and everything around us. We have all had the experience of being with a tamasic person who is like an energy vampire sucking the life force right out of us, leaving us feeling depressed, tired and drained. And we have all had the pleasure of being with a sattvic person who completely energizes us, cheers us up and leaves us feeling glad to be alive.
The true purpose of yogic physicalpsychospiritual practices (sadhana) is not to “get enlightened,” as there is nothing we have to “do” to “be” what we always already are – except maybe relax a little. The purpose of sadhana is the conscious, sane and healthy management of the various energy systems of our multidimensional human instrument so we are a clear, pure, loving (sattvic) expression of life, and are able to utilize our full potential and capacity of being. This means managing our gunas from the perspective of what is appropriate and happening now. Sometimes we meditate and are sattvic. Sometimes we work hard and are rajasic. And sometimes it is just fine to be a couch potato for a while, veg out in front of the TV and be tamasic.
We are all always transmitting our relative truths to everything and everyone, including ourselves. A Sattvic Person transmits love, peace and harmony. A Rajasic Person transmits ego, struggle, competition, being “right” and making others “wrong”, intensity, and doing more. A Tamasic Person transmits lethargy, ignorance and dullness. Remember, we have the qualities of each within us. We are attractor fields. Like attracts like.
The Middle Way – Balance Is the Key
A true guru (sat guru) is one who is free of identification with the gunas. Their human instrument still exists in the realm of the gunas and is affected by the energy of the gunas, but “their” awareness has transcended the gunas and is free of any obstructions in consciousness. They rest in vast absolute silence, and this silence flows through them out to others with the qualities of love, truth, being and joy.
The true guru has no agenda. They are not “doing” anything. They are like an empty flute through which the breath of freedom flows. Satchidananda. The Joy of Conscious Being.
Bhagawan Nityananda, Anandamayi Ma , Neem Karolia Baba and Ramana Maharshi spent much of their time in silence. Just Being. And yet the transmission of grace through their human form was incredible, palpable and gave many the direct experience of their absolute nature. Many lives were completely transformed for the better. By doing nothing, just Being, everything is realized.
By being with a true guru, looking at their photo, hearing their voice, using their mantra, having an object with their energy in it or just by thinking about them, we may tune into the freedom of the Guru Tattva, resonate with it, merge with it and Be in satsang. Even, if like Jesus, a guru is no longer in form, we can still tune into their morphic field and receive the transmission of grace from the absolute. Form is Formless.
The separate egoic knot of tension and resistance in a human being dissolves in the energy field of a true guru as there is no resistance to it. It is accepted with unconditional love. This is the secret and power of satsang. Love and acceptance. As the egoic knot dissolves, unconditional love, peace and joy appear.
For beings who are ready for the egoic knot to dissolve, this is a true and profound blessing. For those egos that aren’t yet ready to dissolve, satsang can be a terrifying experience of apparent death and the dissolution. The “me-mind” feels like it is losing control and disappearing into an endless abyss. As such satsang is avoided, attacked and criticized by well-defended egos. Throughout human history so many great beings like Jesus and Socrates have been destroyed by those threatened by their freedom.
As relative embodied beings, we want to be aware of the energy of the gunas so we can wisely manage them and live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. As Absolute Being we want to be aware that what we really are is prior to all gunas and always already free. Since the unborn is free of all gunas, it has been called empty, void, formless, nothingness. And yet this nothingness is the Mother of all beings and all things. It is Nothing Being Everything. Formless is form.
Our basic mistake as humans is that we seek our happiness, fulfillment and meaning in the play of the gunas. There is no happiness, fulfillment and meaning in the play of the gunas. Their very nature is change and impermanence. But once we recognize our true un-born nature, then this play of the gunas, this Play of Consciousness becomes our playground. Lila. We do not seek meaning, truth and love within the play of the gunas. We bring meaning, truth and love into them. This is satsang. You are the sat guru. Be still and know.