This morning as we were driving to school we had a great example of the different gunas. One son was bright, extroverted, chatty. One was dull, lethargic and bored, and one son was calm, peaceful and content. A perfect physical manifestation of the three gunas.
I pointed out that everyone was feeling something different, and named the rajas, tamas and sattvic gunas. They immediately saw and understood the differences and nuances. We talked about how it’s not them that are tamasic, rajasic or satvic, but rather the gunas that are operating on them at that time, and that they would likely change when we arrived at school and the environment changed.
Later we can talk about what actions they can take to manage their gunas if they desire. For example, one son knows if he’s feeling excessive energy and can’t concentrate he will go for a jump on the trampoline, and after a while he’ll be ready to sit down to homework. We will talk about how the food they eat, the music they listen to and the activity they do influences the gunas. They already know if I’m behaving in an agitated way that if I listen to some piano music I immediately feel sattvic. Now they need to learn apply it to themselves.
Being able to name the guna, and recognise it’s effect on them, they gain a distance from it and can dispassionately observe themselves.