Parting ways with the Snooze Button

For the record, I don’t use one. An alarm clock, that is.

Unlike my husband, who has an internal mechanism that wakes him whenever he programs it to, I’m waking up with the birds these days, and then some.

Which is to say, I’m sleeping in, by yogic standards.

I’m not proud of this.

But I’m not terribly guilty about it either. It’s just the way it is right now.

The ascetic in me chalks this up to the tama guna, which is Sanskrit for the mode of ignorance.

See, according to the Vedic philosophy, every conditioned soul (read: just about everyone) is influenced by a combination of three material modes: Goodness (sattva), Passion (raja) and Ignorance (tama).

And the choices we make regarding food, sleep, sex, and how we behave generally, can be classified under one or more of these three modes –and will, in turn, effect the way we continue to think and act and live and, eventually, die.

For example:

Water, Juice, Milk, Produce = Goodness

Hot chilies, Meat, Onion, Garlic = Passion

Alcohol, Coffee, Fermented or Aged foods, Fungi = Ignorance

Get the idea? Here’s a trickier one:

Pie = Goodness

Pie consumed at midnight = Passion

Pie consumed while lying in bed = Ignorance

Pie-eating contest = Passion and Ignorance

It’s fun! You try:

Letting a car go in front of you while driving = ___________.

Shouting profanities if another car cuts you off = ___________.

Falling asleep at the wheel = ___________.

If you guessed Goodness, Passion and Ignorance –you’re right!

Of course, if you brag about this = Passion.

If you’re pleased and quietly move on = Goodness.

If you celebrate with a jug of port = Ignorance.

The idea is not to go completely mental and analyze/judge every choice we make, but rather to observe how we often make choices without really thinking about them and how they effect us later.

A more complete explanation of the material modes and their effects can be found in the Bhagavad-gita, chapter 14, if you have a copy.

I don’t believe that the dietary and behavioral guidelines of many religions are intended to be annoying. I think of them like a big sister or brother who’s been there & done that.

Don’t put that in your mouth. You don’t know where it’s been. Like that.

For yogis, the idea is to come up to the mode of Goodness (sattva), the platform from which pure-goodness, or Transcendence (suddha-sattva), is generally had. It just tends to make for a happier life.

And it gives one a better chance at realizing the Self.

The proverbial snooze button is for people, like me, in whose lives procrastination (tama guna again) has occupied a comfortable space. It brings the illusion of control –of forestalling the pain we think we’ll experience if we just DO the thing.

And because it seems to be a challenge facing most everyone, I’ll share some of my Wax On/Wax Off tips for overcoming it.  Practical stuff.

Starting tomorrow. Or whenever.

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2 Responses to Parting ways with the Snooze Button

  1. Pingback: Wax On/Wax Off #1: Developing Your Mental Muscle « The Yoga of Living

  2. Pingback: Onions, Garlic & Enlightenment « Navigating by Heart

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