continued reflection

Continued Reflection

Bringing the year to a close

Together in these December week newsletters we are working towards consciously bringing 2022 to a close. We are taking time to be mindful and intentional about wrapping up the year so we can start with as clean a slate as possible in 2023.  

Last week I offered up a little homework (read it here), suggesting you swipe through your phone photos to get a gist of your past year. Were you able to do it? Do you have a sense of where you’ve come from to get to today?  

I wonder, did you notice the ebb and flow of things? Have you remembered any ups and downs? Did there emerge a theme or a thread to your year, an idea of what it’s all been about?  

The gunas

There’s a concept we can use from the Yoga philosophy to organize our thoughts here. We can reflect on our experiences using the lens of the gunas, or the ever-changing qualities of nature.

There are three gunas, which eternally arrange and rearrange in different proportions to create all matter, all thought, all of everything but consciousness itself. I’ve seen the gunas described as like the three primary colors that mix to form infinite shades. I’ll share from Edwin Bryant’s translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali below.  


There’s the guna of rajas, or action and movement. A higher proportion of rajas might result in hankering, attachment, energetic endeavor, passion, power, restlessness, and creative activity.  


Then there’s the guna of tamas, or lethargy and inaction. A higher proportion of tamas might result in disinterest, sleep, stillness, delusion, ignorance, and a disinclination toward constructive activity.  


And finally, there’s the guna of sattva, or lucidity and clarity. A higher proportion of sattva might result in tranquility, wisdom, discrimination (as in, between right action and wrong action), detachment, happiness, and peacefulness. The goal of Yoga is a sattvic mind, undisturbed by the mental fluctuations of rajas and tamas.  

The gunas at play in your life

As you look back on your personal 2022, do you recognize a preponderance of any of the three gunas? Can you recognize qualities of each in your experiences? When were your most sattvic times?  

We’ll keep talking more about our end-of-year closure process in next week’s newsletter. If you’d like to meet in person for a practice dedicated to just this, I’m hosting a special candlelit Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra event at Sellwood Yoga next Thursday evening, December 22, called Goodbye 2022. You’ll find more details here, or at the button below. 

Image by Steve Johnson from Pexels