Spiritual Compass: The Three Qualities of Life
In our modern, materialistic world it is easy to separate spirituality from everyday life. But spirituality is not just for saints, neither is it confined to the Sunday Service, Friday prayers or holy books. It must be a part of our ordinary, everyday existence: it needs to be implicitly present in business, in politics, in farming, in cooking, and in our relationships.
To illustrate this, Satish Kumar draws on the Indian Ayurvedic tradition which characterises the mind as having three gunas, or primary qualities: sattva (characterised by calmness, clarity and purity), rajas (energy and passion), and tamas (dullness and ignorance). These qualities can be applied to our work and the environment: for example, there are sattvic foods, rajasic
foods and tamasic foods. The Ayurvedic aim is to live a life which is simple and close to nature (sattvic), to reduce rajasic tendencies, and to avoid tamasic. When we see ourselves in the light of the three gunas, they can orient us towards the direction in which we wish to go. They can help us to recover the art of living, and lead us towards a peaceful and contented existence.
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