Restless pursuit of happiness

Peace of mind is difficult to attain because our minds are always changing. We restlessly pursue happiness outside of ourselves, preoccupied with our own self-interests, egoistic ambitions and opinions. Caught up in this cycle of seeking fulfillment everywhere but within, we fail to perceive or remember our true nature, which is already Blissful and Perfect.

Qualities of nature

The formula is simple and can be described as a way of working with the three gunas or qualities of nature: 1) break through the tamas or darkness; 2) calm down the rajas or passion; and 3) nourish the sattwa or purity.

Attain to purity

What is sattwa? Sattwa is the energy of purity, balance, harmony, knowledge, and wisdom. It is the revealing aspect of reality with which one is able to see clearly, penetrating to the true picture of reality. In sattwa, there is no pain and suffering from desires fulfilled or unfulfilled. It is the energy of going INWARD AND UPWARD that brings us ultimately to peace of mind.

The three gunas or qualities of nature, exist in our bodies and minds, and in order to bring ourselves to greater awareness we can follow the yogic guidelines as a formula for bringing them back into balance.

Attaining Peace of Mind

1. We should wake up tamas by meaningful activities such as regular exercise, taking yoga classes and regular exposure to satsang (spiritual discourses), as well as attending short yoga retreats where one can engage in selfless service, or Karma Yoga. Meeting with spiritual people and teachers will also help one to awaken from inertia.

2. Pacify rajas. Rajas is outwardly-directed and self-centered action; it is manifested as a restlessness of the mind which has difficulty calming down and turning inward. To tame it, the self-motivated, egoistic and passionate sensual activities need to be reduced. We can pacify this energy by learning to become more selfless in our actions and in our hearts–by practicing selfless activities, volunteering for meaningful causes, giving to charity, and beginning to think of others and develop compassion.

3. Increase and nurture sattwa: At the time when rajas is more or less calmed down and peace and purity start to dawn, the yoga practitioner doesn’t stop there, but continues practicing the inner discipline of yoga and meditation, carrying on leading a contented, meaningful, peaceful and simple life based on devotion to the greater Truth.

By practicing these three steps starting today, you will begin to fill your life and the lives of those around you with peace, joy, contentment, harmony, and balance. Swami Sivananda says, “A brilliant future is awaiting you!”

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