Today I will go deeper in the realm of health by introducing the sense organs and the ways in which we interpret our world to make justifications and judgments.
The following content can also be found on my podcast “On Wellness Way.”
According to Ayurvedic principles, when matter gets differentiated or diversified and the awareness of the self is generated, three qualities (or gunas) begin to surface. These qualities of consciousness are called sattva or illumination, rajas or intensity and tamas which is inertia (or state of rest).
Our minds use these qualities to develop… and from here emotions and ideas are formulated. This is how we connect our inner world with our outer world.
In the mind, the state of rajas (or intensity, activity and stimulation) is the dominant condition. And although rajas or movement knows no barriers, the mind tries to “hold” onto this quality. The mind also controls the motor organs that initiate the actions of our bodies.
The tamas energy remains with our materialistic existence. It is the matter or power of substance that is in the elements. It is the proof of our being. Tamas is strongly connected to the elements and the causal elements or the root energies: sound, touch, vision, taste and smell which come directly from the 5 elements: sound=space, touch=air, vision=fire, taste=water and smell=earth.
The sattva quality is that clear, pure medium for perception. It is in this state that we use our natural perceivers, the sense organs, to gain knowledge and information. In Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda, knowledge is called jñana. Therefore, Ayurveda calls the sense organs the jñana śakti or “the knowledge of all that is.” And, these five sense organs are, of course, our ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose.
And, when you think of it, this is how we acquire our knowledge. There is no other way to perceive our environment without our senses. Without the senses, we would not be able to interpret anything in or about the world – essentially, there would be no world. We obtain practical information, justification and make judgments through our senses.
We receive vibrations from objects, absorbing their impulses… and we analyze them to make decisions. The seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling create desires that we feel we need to fulfill. And, subsequently, our minds direct our organs of action to respond and we preform or act in reaction to these impulses.
Because it is so important to understand the connections of the elements and the senses to realize how we are part of the universal nature, I’m going to recap this remarkable relationship.
- Space=vibration=sound=ears=vocal cords
- Fire=illumination=sight=eyes=feet (“hold your feet to the fire”, “walking on hot coals” and the remedy for burning eyes which is soaking your feet in cold water all give validation to the fire/feet connection)
- Water=cohesion=taste=tongue=urogenital tract/reproduction (liquid connection)
- Earth=structure=smell=nose=anus (moving downward, elimination)
In addition, our senses are capable of taking us on a constant wave of emotions: joy/sadness, love/anger, soothed/irritated, heated/cold, like/dislike, attached/withdrawn…and all this flow of energy moves outward into our environment.
Some of the emotions or feelings that can be related to the senses are:
- Touch=loving, soothing
- Sight= controlling, understanding
- Taste=attached, affection
- Smell=despondent, melancholy (memories)
To pacify ourselves and our environment, it is wise for us to balance the extremes. We still want to evaluate and make decisions based on our perceptions, but we don’t want them to throw us off course so that we harm ourselves or our surroundings.
Think about the ways in which you may overuse or wrongly use your senses: exposure to loud sounds, aggressive heat or unbearable cold, bright lights, computer screens, extremely, hot spicy foods, cold drinks and foods such as ice water or ice cream, noxious smells from chemicals or contaminants (thru poor air quality or fumes – including perfumes and harsh cleaning products).
There are also incidences when we underuse or completely shut down our senses… for instance when we experience fear, shock or depression… we go inward and block all perception.
Tune into my podcast, On Wellness Way Episode #10, to discover which objects affect our senses and how we can use them in a way that is harmonizing to the mind.
Namasté! <The light within me salutes the light within you.> Kim