The 3 Energies

Sattva, Rajas, & Tamas


The 3 Planes

There are 3 planes of existence, the gross, the subtle, and the causal. 

On the gross plane are physical objects – trees, houses, and your body.

On the subtle plane is your mind, ego, and intellect – the organs of perception.

On the causal level are the 3 gunas or energies that control everything in reality.  In the causal level these energies are in a seed state, until they cycle down through your subtle body.

EVERYTHING in EXISTENCE- all objects in the universe consist of various combinations of the three gunas; including our thoughts, emotions, attitudes, habits, supernatural phenomena, psychic abilities, ghosts and goblins, angels and other-worldly beings, and any and all physical objects.

These energies are very similar to computer programs. Humans are the only species that gets to program the programs that run their lives, but most people, in their lifetime, will not even become aware of these programs running because they are too caught up in them to pay attention to their inner workings. If you can see these programs and get disgusted by them ruling your life, you have already advanced past 95% of the people on planet earth! 

These programs are not you and you had no choice in the matter.  These are automatic programs out of your conscious control.  You ARE NOT responsible for any of this! 

These programs were set up in you by everyone that you ever came in contact with, starting in your early childhood.  These people did not understand that they were programming your gunas and they their self were all programmed by someone else.  No one here is to blame, this is just the way things are on the causal level.  It is not a matter of right or wrong, its just the way the Grand Machine of the universe is run.

The 3 Energies

There are 3 energies that operate inside everyone’s subtle body: raja, tamas, and sattva.  These energies can arise on their own and put you in a frame of mind that is good or bad – against your will! 

 And these energies can also be cultivated by you a few hours in advance. You can learn now to program yourself with the energies you want, when you want it – by what I call “preemptive cultivation”.

Raja energy is an intense agitation of the mind.  Any time the mind pursues what it likes or fights against what it doesn’t like – rajas energy is dominant.

Raja is an intense spiking energy projected by the mind; up and down up and down, like a row of v’s .  Raja is the mode of passion, desire, and anger.   A person experiencing raja pursues their desires – and when they are blocked from getting what they desire, they get angry.  It is painful, vain, ego-centric, and childish.  (I want what I want, now!) Raja compels you to action – it is a tension that makes the mind do things and then do more things.  While you are busying doing things the mind is trying to hurry you up –hurry, hurry, so much work to do, hurry!  People who are predominantly rajastic tend to live on stimulants like coffee, tea, and cigarettes.   All emotional pain is rajas.  All physical pain is rajas.  The most pain comes from the subtle body demanding that life be different than what it is.  Acceptance of life is key to overcoming all pain.

Tamas is a cloud of delusion.  Tamas is also darkness, tiredness, and sloth.  It is inertia.  Tamas is also considered to be the realm of demons.  People who are predominantly tamasic are emotionally stunted.  Typically they suffer a lot from emotional problems such as: anxiety, panic, depression, addictions, pain disorders, social problems, family problems, emotional outbursts, unresolved relationship problems that drag on for 10 or more years, obsessions, compulsions, eating disorders, and obesity.  People who are predominantly tamasic tend to live on unhealthy foods and they use stimulants to counteract it.  They are lazy, have no motivation, and blame everyone else for their troubles.  They never see reality the way it really is because they have low self esteem that “clouds” their vision.

Tamas is not a bad energy, none of them are!  Tamas is needed for sleep, grounding, and for fulfillment of ideas – but in moderation.  Without tamas ideas would never ground / manifest into reality.  Without tamas, no one would rest or sleep.  When I feel tamas descending into my mind, it feels like a fuzzy cotton ball, my mind slows and it is hard to think.  My eyes get heavy and go out of focus and the subtle energies stop buzzing loudly, everything gets quieter.  After observing tamas dispassionately in myself for the past year, I came to think of tamas as the sandman.  The sandman is good when you need sleep!  Tamas energy should be cultivated at bed time – especially if you are an insomniac or have pain disorders.

Rajas and tamas are incestuous bedfellows – you can’t have one without the other.  They go hand in hand.  For instance, people who are totally rajastic can’t ever relax.  When they do relax, they go right to sleep in the blink of an eye; right from rajas to tamas.  Tamasic people will get very far behind in their work because of inertia and laziness, they will put things off until it is an emergency to get things done – then they go into panic mode and become rajasic.

Sattva is a clear, steady, still, and pure mind.  Sattva is the Tao.  Sattva is flow; one experiencing sattva feels on top of the world, things just fall into place, and they happily glide through their day:  even negative things don’t “bring them down”.  Sattva brings confidence.  Sattva is your direct line to divinity – in rajas and tamas keep you from divinity.

A person can have any one of the 3 energies dominant at any time.  For instance, a person’s mind may be rajasic, when their body is tamasic.  At 3am this is a problem – insomnia; the mind won’t settle down enough to let the person drift off to sleep.

Of the 3 energies, Sattva is the energy to cultivate – sages and mystics have used sattva and Samadhi since time immemorial to propel them away from bondage to rajas and tamas (bad habits, compulsions, obsessions, etc.) and towards their goals.  Being in a sattvic state will naturally engage the higher chakras.  There are those who are born naturally sattvic.  If this is not the case with you, then cultivating sattva is the next best thing.

The mind has no nature of its own – it is a blank slate.  It takes on the nature of what it meditates on. 

For instance, if you get upset at someone and your mind reels and reels with scenarios and speculations about what may happen,  what has happened, and or what if this happens or that, etc., on and on!   If you allow your mind to do this uninterrupted for hours on end – yes, this is mediation!  It may be a negative type of meditation, but it is meditation.  If you allow your mind to mediate like this and you do not attempt to change the broken record playing in your mind, you become a victim of your own mind.  And you become what you are thinking, negativity and all.

99% of earthlings today live in this state – as victims of their own minds.  Most people will never even realize it!  Most people truly believe their thoughts are reality – they do not see their thoughts as thoughts at all.  (And their opinions are facts, indeed!)

(Action flows from your understanding and knowledge - there is no instruction booklet or recipe that has a step by step plan - you have to figure this stuff out on your own by doing your own spiritual footwork and cutting your own spiritual teeth.  If you are incapable of figuring this stuff out and you are still looking for the step 1, step 2, step 3 - that means you are tamasic (dull minded) and you need to cultivate sattva before your mind is clean and clear enough to comprehend.)

To lift yourself out of tamas and rajas you first have to identify them when they occur and observe them dispassionately.  Get to know the 3 energies inside and out.  Don’t fight them, just observe them.  Identify them.  (You can’t do this in a single day, it takes time – keep at it!)

Identifying sattva and learning to cultivate it is something each person must do for their self.  Everyone is affected differently because everyone’s mind is uniquely different.  You have to experiment and take notes and figure it out for yourself.  I can’t hand you an owner’s manual on your own mind because it really is uniquely yours.  But, there are some guidelines that tend to fit everyone because everyone has these energies - for instance meditation will make you sattvic. 


Here is a short list of practices that help with sattva:  spiritual rituals, listening to uplifting music, counting your blessings/attitude of gratitude, meditation, contemplation, reading spiritual scriptures or books, gentleness, attitude of accommodation, self-discipline, vegetarian eating, and getting enough sleep (having a regular bed time). 


For in depth practices click here.


Addition Notes:

Dispassionately  observe the 3 energies in yourself.  Take notes.  Get to know how it happens, why it happens, when it happens.

Cultivate sattva by deciding what practices you do currently that bring you a sattvic state.  Try some sattvic activities that worked for me and see if they fit.

FIGHT!  Fight your habits, compulsions, addictions, foul moods – with sattvic practices.

Don’t back down! Persistence and diligence are key.  Be relentless. The more you do it, without backing down, the easier it gets.  Every time you say NO to a bat habit, it weakens the seed that gets stored in the causal body.  If you continue to say NO, the seed eventually gets destroyed.  Although the guna may rise – you will take note that it is still there – you can easily dismiss it without any effort.

Use your intellect to decide.  The intellect is the highest function of the subtle body and it is your best friend.  With it, you can whip yourself into shape.  Without it, you are little more than a victim of your own mind.  Listen to the intellect, cultivate its wisdom.   But, go easy and gently – these habits will revolt like naughty  teenagers  at times, so do go slowly.  Do not think you can do it all in 1 day.  Learn and progress, and expect to take steps backwards.  It will happen.  But, don’t let it stop you, diligence is key!

Some practices that really helped me:


When a desire that was unhealthy would arise in me – Id sing it away.  This is called bhakti or devotion.  I am devoted to the Source.  Some call this God or the Goddess.  Whatever name you give it doesn’t matter, but actively practicing devotion will help defeat your bad habits. 

To program devotion into your life with singing is easy.  Here is what I did: I picked 8 songs I really liked that gave me that feeling of love and devotion for the Source.  I made a play list on youtube and every morning I play these songs and sing along while contemplating and emoting towards the Source.  This starts my day on the right foot and it makes this singing available to me any time I need it. 


I have a small altar that I have a few things on that are very meaningful to me, a shiva yoni, a picture of my guru, a shaman stick, and a few offering bowls.  I would have incense and candles if I could, but I can’t because they bother my family.  I have a bowl where I put my worries and I let the Source take care of them, I turn them over.  I often put other objects there too, when I am having trouble with them.  For instance, I spend too much time on the computer, so I often now shut the computer off and put it on my altar, dedicating it to the Source.  Honor your Source or your idea of Divinity with objects of your appreciation – both good and bad!  Turn over the bad things; the worries, the fears, the trials.  And dedicate some good things too!

Purify the gross body

Go to bed at the same time and get enough sleep.   Sleep is number 1!!  Without enough sleep you have no control over your mind – none at all. Rajas and Tamas will rise and you will be their helpless victim, all because you didn’t sleep enough!  Cultivate sleep.  If you can, nap!

Eat your veggies and don’t drink too much coffee.  It is not rocket science, so just pay attention and if you catch yourself doing too much of this or that, pull back and try to slow down.  Cut back 1 cup of coffee per day.  Eat more salad and less dessert.  Start small.  No hurry and no rush.  Go easy, but steady

Read - 30 minutes daily

Read uplifting things.  Study your scriptures, spiritual books, spiritual practices, etc.  Go over and over them again and again.  Take notes, re-read your notes, over and over.  This is programming your self.  This will help you in the future when you need it.  Go over and over again those ideas, things, and books that you are using to help you change into the person you want. 


A happy mind declutters and cleans up.  Don’t have crap everywhere!  LESS IS MORE.  Declutter, clean, again its ok to go slowly.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Develop a positive habit of decluttering things.  A healthy and happy mind will thank you!


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