About The Guna Inquiry
‘Guna’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘quality’, ‘peculiarity’, ‘attribute’, or ‘property’. The Guna Inquiry is an investigation of both our beliefs about ourselves and the world including how these beliefs are stored in the body as sensory experience. This facilitated meditative process helps us to loosen thoughts, feelings and sensations unveiling greater peace, clarity, balance and wisdom. Guna work reveals our essential beingness which is always present amidst the coming and going of experience. It helps us honour the play of life’s qualities, learn from them and use them mindfully, while dissolving the belief that we are limited by them.
There are three gunas, each with different characteristics, which shape our self-identity and perception of life. Whatever you’re struggling with right now, your experience is a blend of the ‘gunas’ moving through you:
Sattva (harmony, virtue) – Rajas (energy, passion) – Tamas (restraint, passivity).
“Did you ever wonder why you are either (1) tired, fuzzy-minded, lazy, depressed and confused, (2) stressed, frustrated, disturbed, scattered, restless and unfocused or (3) happy for no reason, blissful, still, focused, dynamic and creative? The answer: the gunas created these states.” – James Swartz
The gunas, which underpin the philosophy of mind in yoga and Ayurvedic Psychology, are a way of understanding the blend of qualities that create our sense of self. One of the gunas tends to dominate at any given time and their proportions fluctuate: their interplay is the dynamics of personality. Inquiring into the gunas will help you develop a fresh understanding and awareness of your mind, body and environment.
“The guṇas are continually interacting and competing with each other, one guṇa becoming prominent for a while and overpowering the others, only to be eventually dominated by the increase of one of the other guṇas.” – Edwin Bryant
In Nisarga Yoga, we see how we function, we watch our motives and the results of our behaviour. ‘Nisarga Yoga’ means natural union with our True Self, and this is the purpose of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s teaching (the founder of Nisarga Yoga). This kind of yoga isn’t a physical practice and doesn’t involve the asanas. Instead, it is a blend of mindful self-inquiry and meditation.
Guided by Guna Inquiry Facilitator Nic Higham, this nondual self-inquiry helps us connect with and cultivate the sattva guna to balance our energies. Sattva is given space to reconcile and neutralise tamas and rajas and reshape our personality in alignment with our true Self. The word ‘nonduality’ simply points to the reality that, although life seems to be separated into parts, it is in fact, One. We are that wholeness, the freedom and love we seek.
According to Nisargadatta Maharaj, Nisarga Yoga means a life lived thoughtfully, in full awareness, living in spontaneous awareness, consciousness of effortless living, being fully interested in one’s life. “The main thing is to be free of negative emotions… Once the mind is free of them, the rest will come easily. Just as cloth kept in soap water will become clean, so will the mind get purified in the stream of pure feeling… All that matters is mindfulness, total awareness of oneself or rather, of one’s mind.”
Nisargadatta advised that if we are to reach the deeper layers of suffering we must go to its roots and uncover their “vast underground network”, where fear and desire are interwoven and the gunas are in conflict and obstruct and suppress each other.
‘Remember your beingness. The knowledge that “I Am” has come to you out of your satva guna; that is beingness. Satva, rajas, and tamas: three gunas are playing here in the manifestation. The quality of the satva, the essence, is to know that you are, and to provide you with that basis on which to act. Rajas is the motivating factor, it makes you move about, and tamas is inertia, consolidation… What is left after all the ambitions, all the desires, have been fulfilled, all the actions have been done in accordance with the natural disposition? What remains in the end is only one thing, “I Am.”’ – Nisargadatta Maharaj
Tamas states include:
Restraint, avoidance, aversion, rejection, defence, numbness, retreat, refusal, stuckness, shame, confusion, hurt, helplessness, apathy, ignorance, doubt, uncertainty, guilt, boredom, self-destruction, lethargy, laziness, disgust, heaviness, destruction, cruelty, depression, demotivation, negligence, indifference, fuzzy-minded, passivity, trauma
Rajas states include:
Desire, craving, anxiety, stress, anger, grasping, wanting, deserving, overwhelmed, frustration, jealously, worry, irritation, agitation, pressure, chaos, impulsiveness, competitiveness, passion, restlessness, excitement, energetic, stimulation, loss of self-control, aggression / violence, greed, lust, dominance
Book your Guna Inquiry session with nondual therapist and coach Nic Higham
Contact Nic Higham, Guna Inquiry Facilitator
Cost: I offer a sliding scale of £30 – £60 per 1-hour session (in person in Leicester UK, or online via Zoom or Skype). You can choose the amount in that range that best meets your financial circumstances.
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