Hindus – in particular Vedantists – use two words to describe two important personality types: sattwa and rajas. I could say a great deal about the two but I think it might only prove confusing. (1)
Suffice it to say that “sattwa,” in terms of psychology, refers to the gentle, balanced and tranquil personality and “rajas” to the busy, creative and passionate personality.
More generally sattwa and rajas refer to cosmic forces that play upon people. And generally we evolve from the lowest force, called thamas, which is sluggish and crude, to the middle force, or rajas, which is active and creative, and then to the most developed force, or sattwa, which is balanced and restful.
The reason I mention these is that I feel myself transitioning from the rajasic to the sawttic and I need to be able to speak of it. Normally, at home, I’d speak of it using these Vedantic terms.
Something is happening within myself. I mention it because the same shift may be happening for you.
My wife being out of town (on Aug. 26, 2012), I was walking along a busy seaside street that we enjoy walking together. Without our normal conversation, I was left to simply observe myself. I noticed that my busyness and activity (rajas) was subsiding and that I was being called more to gentleness and tranquillity (sattwa).
This has been happening slowly recently and represents a big shift for me because I look upon myself as the Raja of rajas, king of the speed demons, a Triple Type A personality.
But what I saw in myself tonight was that all that satisfied me previously no longer did. I was longing for something else. I know it’s God that I long for, as do we all, but it doesn’t work to just jump to, say, meditation even though I know the longing is for God. I need to transition at my own speed and according to my own desires.
But my desires were changing nonetheless. No matter how exotic the shop I passed, I had no yearning to go into it. I longed to look into the eyes of people I passed and meet someone who was feeling the energies I was as well but, alas, I just ended up looking like a space intruder and so I stopped.
Finally all I could do that met my space adequately was to listen to classical music on my iPhone. And it was classical I desired, not rock, folk or anything else. Pachelbel, Mary Magdalena’s Notebook, Ode to Joy. I sat there at the bus stop enraptured, blissful, quiet.
This apparent transition from rajas to sattwa is new to me – utterly new. I see a quieting down in me, a restfulness, a feeling of satisfaction with what I already have and am. I feel a tendency to want to sink down into myself and forget the world. And it seems irresistible.
That’s what I wanted to report on this day on this journey to ascension. A new transition appears to be taking place from the busy-ness and creative push of rajas to the quietness and restful urge of sattwa. Tomorrow might see a return to rajas, but today is very sattwic – very gentle and quiet.