82% of India’s population is suffering from stress. Cigna’s 360 well-being survey 2019 revealed Indians aged 25-49 are most affected with around 89% reporting some level of stress. Globally, one in six individuals accepts to suffer from high levels of stress. In the UK, 67% of people reported that they’re more stressed than they were five years ago. Just to shed light on the irony, there are around hundreds, if not thousands, of meditation centres or mind-calming retreats (or whatever we like to call them) in India alone.
Mellowing down to individual level, we all try to calm our mind in some way. Be it meditation, listening to soothing music, a walk in the park, or 97 other things that we do to calm our mind.
I did too.
And it worked! Only until a stranger brushed against my bike on a busy traffic signal!
Mind - the most notorious, the most restless element that exists! We are trying to calm our minds using some external techniques. Well, it might work for some but for most, it does not.
Is there some enigma clinging to the secret behind a calm mind that we are turning a blind eye to?
Let’s dive into the world of Ayurveda and introspect a calm mind from the Ayurvedic sight.
Rooting from centuries of observing, analysing and understanding both cosmic and human behaviour, Ayurveda defined three basic gunas or qualities that dictate all the things that occur in the microcosm of our minds. The creation or destruction of harmony in our minds is exercised by the quantity of these three gunas – Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
SATTVA is the most supreme of all gunas. In the universe, sattva is responsible for creation. It generates equilibrium, clarity, light, intelligence, compassion, insight, and wisdom. Sattva is experienced as stillness, balance, and harmony. It is associated with emotional states like happiness, freedom, joy, fulfillment, openness, creativity, inspiration, peace, love, and friendliness.
RAJAS stands for action and is responsible for maintenance of what has been created. It ignites kinetic energy, passion, and the ability to act. It is also associated with agitation and desire, alertness, determination, self-centeredness, anxiety, restlessness, anger, greed, and worry.
TAMAS, in the context of the universe, initiates destruction. It is responsible for inertia, darkness, heaviness, slowness, sleep, and decay. Tamas is the densest of the three qualities and is associated with obscuration, sadness, hurt, shame, apathy, and ignorance.
These three gunas form the basis of all our experiences. Their influence is highly reflected in our physical, mental, and emotional states.
While a balanced, calm mind is a blend of all three gunas in an appropriate measure, the calmest mind is that which shows a high concentration of sattva guna.
Now, two questions arise. Is it possible to increase sattva guna for a calmer mind? And what happens when the concentration of the other two gunas surpasses that of sattva?
Let’s answer the latter one first.
Tamas guna is primarily responsible for sleep. Excessive tamas leads to laziness and apathy making you dull, mentally and emotionally. It shadows your thinking like a thick cloud and hinders your mental state making everything seem impossible to do. This leads to depression.
Rajas guna, as we’ve discussed earlier, is the mode of action. However, too much rajas stirs up desire, greed, and anger leaving us feeling anxious, agitated, and stressed. Internal conflict finds its roots deepening inside our minds making us feel restless.
Coming back to the first question - Is it possible to increase sattva guna for a calmer mind?
Certainly, says Ayurveda.
Sattva is a state of harmony, balance, and equilibrium. OR in other words, a CALM MIND. Anytime you feel calm, it is the courtesy of sattva guna. Our mind is sattvic by its own nature. The only thing we need to master is the skill to manage excess rajas and tamas. A calm and peaceful mind can only exist by balancing the rajasic restlessness and tasmasic dullness.
Ayurveda suggests a two-pronged approach. Aahara and Vihara.
Vihara or your lifestyle should be that of balance and harmony, miles away from stress, anxiety or boredom and apathy. Your lifestyle accounts for the gunas to influence your state of mind. Your behaviour and actions influence the quality of your thoughts and eventually the state of your mind. Always choose those thoughts and actions that induce peace and joy. At your workplace, create an environment where people come together to achieve a common goal. Sustain a clean and an orderly surrounding at home. Your leisure pursuits need to be pleasurable and beneficial to the mind, causing no negative ripples.
Ahara, Ayurveda believes, is a simple word holding infinite meaning to it. We all know the importance of a balanced diet. Fresh, well-cooked, nutritious food has always been in the forefront when it comes to health, physical and mental. Along with this, Ayurveda has heaped praises on rasyana herbs. Vaidyas (ayurvedic experts) have always held herbs in high regards to ensure calmness of mind. These herbs, enriched with sattva guna, maintain the balance required to effuse any agitation or negative feeling crippling your mind.
Ayurveda empathises with the necessity for a calm mind and offers herbal support to achieve that. These herbs are rich in sattvic properties and promote inner calm. Herbs like Gotu Kola, shankhapushpi, brahmi, ashwagandha, bacopa, shatavari directly support sattva guna in mind.
When you say a person is agitated, you actually mean to say that rajas guna has dominant influence over his mind and when you come across a blissful and a calm person, know that sattva guna has taken over his mind for the better.
For a calmer mind, adopt your ahara and vihara to inculcate more of sattva guna. Or you can simply turn to Auric Mind Rejuvenation and encash the sattvic benefits of Gotu Kola, Shankhapushpi, and Brahmi.
Tranquility can be a great gift back to humanity. It’s just 250 ml away!