CACA AND THE THREE GUNAS
Sattwa - Samkhya: accounts for thought and intelligibility, experienced psychologically as pleasure, thinking, clarity, understanding and detachment. Classical Yoga: - when sattwa (purity, illumination through comprehension) predominates, consciousness manifests itself as prakhya - vivacity, illumination, mental clarity and serenity.
Rajas - accounts for motion, energy and activity. Experienced psychologically as suffering, craving and attachment. Classical Yoga: - when rajas (energy) predominates, consciousness is pravritti - active and energetic, tense and willful.
Tamas - accounts for restraint and inertia. Experienced psychologically as delusion, depression and dullness. Classical Yoga: - when tamas (obscurity, heaviness) predominates, consciousness is sthiti - inert, punged into a state of repose and torpor
On Monday night, I turned on the TV and watched my actor friend Tahmus do a brief turn on CSI Miami.
He was perfect as a ne'er-do-well foster parent who crawled out of a boat. His comb-over was what made it believable.
But watching the show made me feel dirty, and I wanted to take a bath.
Instead I stayed in front of the TV.
Tahmus wasn't keeping me there. Nope, it was tamas
On Tuesday I'd planned to go a morning Mysore class.
I ended up practicing at home.
I had afternoon plans to meet a friend and discuss our Big Literary Projects.
She cancelled, and I was grateful. But instead of using that time to write I took a nap. Tamas again.
In the evening I'd planned to go to bhangra dance class.
But I felt so overwhelmed by everything I need to do this week.
Not to mention introverted.
"That dance class so rajastic," I rationalized. "And I want to be sattvic."
So I stayed home and paid the bills and did the recycling and cleared off all the junk on the dining room table.
When I tried to file away the receipts, I could not. The file cabinet was full.
"That's so tamastic," I thought. Then I realized that most of my drawers, closets, etc. are full-up due to intertia. "I'm effing tamastic," I realized with growing horror. "I'm like Arjuna when he doesn't want to fight, before Krishna explains Life and tells him to stop being a coward"
Everything suddenly started making sense: how I don't like to move or change jobs or get rid of anything (including old hurts).
So I decided to get sattvic, and started getting rid of stuff: towels, old files, shirts, gift soap, sweaters, magazines.
I got rid of Tupperware, bowls, books, DVD's, candles, jewelry, more files (including a 1996 tax return).
I got rid of tanning goggles and dead cell phones and yoga tops and bike lights that no longer work.
I got rid of so much stuff my throat hurt.
On Wednesday I slept in (it's not tamas if it's a moon day). After sitting and breakfast, I started laundry, went to the post office, chased down a bunch of boxes, and had the Kaveri picture framed.
Then I brought all of that stuff to The Ark.
It took two trips.
But so much more remains to be done.
Yet here I sit eating corn chips and reading blogs.
Back to tamas again.
*Speaking of tamas... after nine. long. years I finally gave up the losing battle that was my Friday morning yoga class at the Chicago Yoga Center. I'm now teaching the same challenging-but-playful class -- Dharma Mittra Level II+ -- Fridays from 10-11:30 at Silverspace, a loft with natural light and vintage hardwood floors at 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave. The class is a lot of fun and suitable for anyone with an ongoing practice - including ashtangis open to a different kind of challenge.