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 and 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 is rajasic. A crack house is tamasic.
Many of us have enough tamas that we are not very aware of the energies in and around us. As we become more sattvic, we become more and more aware of energy. Many can feel it, while others can see it.
Highly Sensitive People, (HSPs, about 18% of the human population) have very sattvic neuroendrocrine systems. They are negatively affected by powerful rajasic/tamasic activities, smells, perfumes, 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 a thing or may even turn up the energy for more stimulation. It is OK to be an HSP. Sensitive means evolved.
As energy fields, we are constantly transmitting who and what we are to ourselves and to the world. 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 sucks the life force right out of us and leaves us feeling depressed, tired and drained. And we have all had the pleasure of being with a person who completely energizes us, cheers us up and leaves us feeling glad to be alive. Some of us may have been with true gurus who transmit the absolute, prior to all gunas.
The true purpose of psychospiritual 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 bit. 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 and truthful (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.
Balance Is the Key: The Middle Way
“Satsang” means transmitting the truth. We are all always giving satsang of our relative truths to everything and everyone, including ourselves. A sattvic person gives the satsang of being, peace and harmony. A rajasic person transmits ego, intensity and doing. A tamasic person transmits ignorance and dullness.
A true 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 the vastness of absolute silence, and this silence flows through them to others as the quality of truth, being and joy, or satchitananda.
Bhagawan Nityananda and Ramana Maharshi spent most of their time lying about and not talking much. And yet the transmission of grace through their human form was incredible, palpable and gave many the direct experience of their absolute nature.
By being with a true guru, or by 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 tune into their morphic field, resonate with it, merge with it and are in satsang. Even if, like Jesus, a guru is no longer in the body, we can still tune into their morphic field and receive the transmission of grace from the absolute.
The egoic energy field of a human being tends to dissolve in the morphic field of a true guru. This is the secret and power of satsang. In its place arises sat chit ananda. For beings who are ready for the ego to dissolve, this is a true blessing. For egos that aren’t ready to dissolve, satsang is a terrifying experience of death and the dissolution of the known.
As relative beings, we want to be aware of the energy of the gunas so we can manage them and live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. As Absolute Being we want to be aware that who and what we really are is prior to all gunas. Since it has no qualities, it has been called empty, void, formless, nothingness, the unborn. And yet this nothingness is the mother of all beings and all things.
Our basic mistake 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 nature prior to the gunas, then this play of consciousness becomes our playground. We do not seek truth within it, we bring it to it. This is satsang.