How does our Will function? We can experience this on a daily basis, sometimes we will feel down, suddenly a set of circumstances will whip us into action and then we will start acting forgetting that we were down.
What has happened is that seamlessly our Will which had surrendered to Tamas has now moved to surrender to Rajas! Let us look at another example; sometimes when we feel all is lost something inside us will say no I will not give up; I will try a different step or whatever and refuse to feel down.
That precise thought arises from our Will (as said earlier let us not try to argue as to the root cause of that thought, i.e. it was past habits or predestined by the Divine etc. It may be whatever but till we experience that we need not get into a guessing game). We can see this play take place between the 3 states (Gunas) and our Will on a continuous basis.
We also need to understand that there is a clear distinction between what we desire and how we pursue that desire. Some will pursue with single minded devotion and some will try and leave it half way or be satisfied with less than perfect results.
In the process of evolution it is necessary to understand that one has a need to strengthen one's Will to the extent possible. This requires mental, physical and vital strength, focus and determination followed by continuous practice. It must also be remembered (and we can experience) that the best effect of the Will would be when we are relaxed while putting in the effort.
It would also be useful to understand that there are certain actions we can do which practically influence the extent of the hold the Gunas have on us. One major factor is our physical health and especially the digestive system and the food we eat.
Experientially by observing oneself one can find certain foods will cause a reaction which linked with one's energy levels will trigger either Tamas (fear or dullness) or Rajas (anger/irritability if tired or hyper activity). By observing I have understood that one can avoid a depressed or inactive state by moderating all food which cause excess Kapha (not allowing proper circulation).
Similarly the principles of Ayurveda can be understood (at least as far as the effect food has on the system and the types) if one observes the effect the same food has on different types of bodies i.e. Pitha/Kapha/Vata.
Tamas when predominant in the system will mean that one must avoid all food which prevents circulation especially to the upper part of the body. Similarly, when agitated or too action oriented, it is essential to avoid foods which excite and stimulate further. When one starts meditating or some other practices which raises one's energy level to a higher plane, the blocks in the system will start getting relieved.
At that time one needs to avoid all food which causes one of the doshas to predominate. Finally when the Will and Energy level is strong and balanced only then will sathvik food alone suffice. While observing (at least to the extent of my limited understanding) I find that the modern worlds obsession with one type of food being good for all or that Minerals & Vitamins can be supplemented when the body is not the same from normal food are not necessarily ideal solutions. One has to observe the effect each type of food has on our Will & health and then moderate our diet accordingly.
Again unless the Will is strong enough to move ahead on other fronts the monitoring of food should not become an obsession which prevents other actions being Willed!
Similar is our overall energy level, the stomach and the Mind are linked.
By eating more we make our Mind dull, eating less will help initially especially when we are anxious or depressed. However, food which actually causes us to become depressed or down seem to be the most tasty. The liver seems to have a direct link to our Will and to maintain its proper functioning will help one to maintain optimum energy and good health.
(To be continued next Friday)
This is the second article of a three-part series on ‘The Power of our Will'
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(The writer is the Joint Managing Director of TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD TVS Logistics)