From the Vedic traditions, the ancient mystics, seers and rishis discovered that there are 3 gunas (qualities or zones) of being that are constantly playing in our life.
The first is Tamas which is the state of fewer–thoughts-fewer-actions, i.e. the state of dullness or inertness. The second state is more-thoughts-more-actions, the state of restlessness or hyperactivity which is called Rajas. The final guna is the fewer-thoughts-more-actions i.e. the state of inner balance, restful awareness and a feeling of being “alive” which is called Sattva.
In an ideal flow of day of a typical human being, we should experience Sattva in the morning, Rajas in the afternoon and Tamas in the evening before we rest our body-mind into deep sleep. However, if you look at our modern civilization in the digital age, you see a disturbing picture because the state of Sattva is very lacking in our city life.
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Do you constantly feel tired and low in energy? Have you wonder why some people seem to have a tireless supply of energy to do what they want in their life?
As human beings, basically we have 3 layers of energy, namely – the physical layer, the mental layer and the conscious layer.
The first layer relates to the physical energy which is available to all of us in a form of day-to-day work i.e. for 8 hours this physical layer of energy will be alive for us to perform our job. After that, we start to feel exhausted and the body-mind will require rest and rejuvenation.
The second layer relates to our mind. During situations of emergency or survival, this layer of reserved energy will be expressed. For e.g. when one is being chased by a wild animal such as a bear or lion, it is in such situation that an extraordinary energy will be expressed in us to help us in the ‘fight’ or ‘flight response. This is because our body needs extra energy to execute the required action in a form of more support of chemicals in our body such as certain hormones like adrenaline to be released into the bloodstream. At the same time, the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain and muscles has to be increased. It is important to note that the stress hormones like adrenaline suppress the immune system which makes us more prone to falling ill. If one works in a very stressful environment where stress has become a part of every moment in life, the natural effect of stress is that the immune system gets suppressed, the stress hormones which are meant to be released only once a while become a continuous happening in the body. As such, one’s immune system is constantly suppressed over a prolonged period without bringing it back to homeostasis. This creates too much heat in our body and every cell burns with that fear emotion.
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Karuna means compassion in Sanskrit. My connection with Karuna Home (www.karunahome.org) goes back to 2001 when I was introduced to this special project by my previous yoga teacher, Erika Khoo to a very generous lady, Linda Yong who is one of the founding members of the Karuna Home for the disabled. On Erika’s 50th birthday celebration, Linda gave a slide presentation to the audience as a part of her fund raising drive for Karuna Home. In that presentation, I experienced a deep compassion for the disabled Tibetan children and had since been supporting them in my little small ways.
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