Ayurveda Day 48: Ojas pt. 3 – The Definition of Balance

In life, we often hear the wisdom that we must find balance. When we describe ourselves as being sick, we say we are imbalanced.

Balance, balance, balance. We throw the word around as if we all inherently understand what it means. As if when you have a problem or illness, simply “finding balance” is all you need to do. But finding that balance in what? What are we balancing? Isn’t balance relative? What is it relative to? These are good questions that we sometimes take for granted.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, being a balanced individual means have a balance of the three humours – Prana, Tejas, and Ojas. Unlike the doshas, where we have tendencies towards one over others, and we are trying to balance that dosha with respect to itself, having balance in Prana, Tejas, and Ojas means having all three in equal proportions. So let’s define what those three subtle energies are:

Prana – the subtle form of Vata. It is responsible for our will and motivation to live, and is our lifeforce. In the physical body we may define this as oxygen, but prana affects our mind and spiritual journey as well.

Tejas – the subtle form of Pitta. It is the fire that drives our will or motivation to know truth. Tejas is the source of illumination, our light. In the physical body, if we compare it to a candle, the flame can be thought of as our digestive metabolisms and enzymes, and the container of that candle is what we call Pitta. As with Prana, Tejas permeates all three of our bodies and not just the physical.

Ojas – the subtle form of Kapha. It is our field of stability and contentment. We have spoken at great length of the importance of Ojas providing our immune response, our endurance and strength, vitality, etc. Outside of the physical body it provides structure to the nadis (channels of the mind), and is the seed for the sustaining of spiritual bliss.

These three energies exist within us. If one is too high, it will cause problems. If one is too low, it will cause problems. In order to feel balanced, getting all three of these energies into balance with one another is the only way.

Here is a look at someone with a high prana, low tejas and ojas:

PTO Imbalance

In order to find balance, this person needs to do practices that reduce prana, slightly increase tejas, and increase ojas. Then, it will start to look like this:

PTO Balance

Now all three energies are in balance. From here, by continuing balanced practices, we can heighten all three of these in tandem. As we do so, we become closer to heightened awareness of divine truth. We are on the path to Sattwa, enlightenment:

PTO Heightened

This is all fine and dandy, and provides us with a picture of what’s going on inside us. But how do we know when our energies are out of balance and which one’s are either deficient or in excess?

Well for now, I cannot stress this point enough:

Build Ojas. They are the most important part. They provide the container for the prana and tejas. If your ojas is weak, then the prana and tejas can damage the ojas, further depleting them. Without the container, we cannot contain that which fills it. It is that simple. So build quality ojas (consult a CAS, or do this). But too high ojas can be unhealthy! It can lead to sluggishness, lethargy, laziness…The key is to build quality ojas as the container, and foster the prana and tejas in healthy amounts within.

The subject of Prana, Tejas, and Ojas is as diverse as the doshas. There is much that can be spoken about. In the future I will discuss how to spot for signs of imbalance and delve more into the subject. For now however, I’d like to share a story that was shared with me today:

The Story of the Silent Monks

There was a monastery where disciples would have to take a vow of silence for one complete year. At the end of their year, they were allowed to speak only two words to the master.

At the end of his year, one monk sat before the master. The master spoke:

“What words do you wish to speak?”

The monk said “Cold food.”

So the master arranged for his food to be warm from now on.

Another year of silence passed. The monk sat again before the master. The master spoke:

“What words do you wish to speak?”

The monk said “Hard bed.”

So the master arranged for a better bed for the monk.

Another year of silence passed. The monk sat again before the master. The master spoke:

“What words do you wish to speak?”

The monk said “I quit!”

The master replied, “No wonder, all you do is complain!”

When your ojas is low, nothing can satisfy you. Like this monk, you will find the fault in things, and no amount of correction will make you content. You will always be like the princess, feeling the pea in the mattress, and unable to focus on anything else until the pea is removed.

We tend to place great value on the decisions we make in our life. In order to feel things are worth it, be it school, work, family, hobbies, anything – we decide we have certain needs that must be met to feel it’s valuable. When these needs are not met, we feel the value is lost.

That low ojas allows our tejas, our fire to run free. We complain.
That low ojas allows our prana to be imbalanced. We feel anxious or afraid.

This is why building ojas is so key. Without it, we cannot achieve balance. It is the first step for most of us. That way, when have our choice of words to say, we can communicate clearly and honestly, but our contentment is not dependent on those words being addressed.

Build ojas, build ojas, build ojas!

With gratitude,

S

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