Three Shades of Consciousness: Characteristics

marketing mentorshipEver met someone who is a go-getter? On fire?  Very aggressive in both word and deed?  Can’t stand being bored or tied down?  Angry or critical of anything standing in his or her way?

How about that person who seems “fat and happy”?  Loves to eat?  Don’t like to exercise?  Or unambitious and content to work at a routine or  day-to-day job, and would prefer to stay home watching TV if they had a choice?  

Sure you have.  Now think back on someone you know who only seeks peace and quiet, a place to meditate, or people and places that radiate beauty.  Ever notice this person to be sensitive to almost everyone and everything?  Allergic to conflict?  Allergic to certain foods or environments?  Quick to find ways to improve life and the feelings and comfort of others?

There people represent distinct and unique “shades” or characteristics of consciousness.  None of them are better or worse than the others, although our human evolution takes us through each one.

As a coach, you are in a unique position to help others get beyond their current state of being “stuck.”  The Science of Consciousness can be another tool that can help you guide people beyond that “stuck” state in a very real and tangible way.

The Science of Consciousness

The science is very new, but consciousness itself has an ancient tradition, going back at least 5,000 years.  This science was first expressed in India and published in classic sacred works called the Vedas, the Mahabharata and the Bhagvad-Gita.

In the Bhagvad-Gita (Sanskrit for “Song of the Lord”), Lord Krishna informs the great warrior Arjuna that there is a collection of forces in nature and consciousness, called the Gunas, and that each of these three gunas – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas – have a unique way of expressing themselves through our human personalities and preferences.

The eastern healing science called Ayurveda also describes the three states of being as part of each healing or treatment regimen, how the three forces act on one another and on your body, and how the doctor can restore health and balance.

There are also personality and action patterns of each state or “shade” of consciousness.  While every human being is made up of all three gunas, either at one time, or throughout his or her life, there is always one guna that predominates.  Also, you will find that many of the same “shade” tend to hang out together.  Below I took the liberty of describing the Gunas as they show up in most humans:



Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

This state of Sattva is represented by the Hindu god Brahma, the Creator . . . so a “sattvic” person is primarily one who is creative and life-supporting.   As stated above, this person is sensitive to those things that express life, and avoid things associated with death or dullness.

Most who reside in this state are more prone to study things like “consciousness,” religion, charity, and beauty.  They are always on the cutting edge of new discoveries, may be artistic, and are always energetic and positive while doing the things they love.  In India, these people might become the gurus, Brahmins, or priests.  In America, these are the ones continuously seeking “self-actualization” and happiness, are attracted to self-help and/or the ministry, and may become some form of “soul whisperer.”

The negatives of sattva is that it can lead to self-delusion or “airy-fairy thinking.”  Considering yourself superior to others may lead to challenges beyond your individual ability to handle.

Sattvic types are prone to die in old age, revered by others as accomplished in their fields, sages, wise men, or “Earth mothers.”


forgiveness processRaja Guna is represented by Shiva, the Lord of Destruction.  A “rajistic” person is a warrior, pure and simple.  He or she craves adrenaline-based action, are driven to succeed, and will challenge all who stand in their way, including “New Age hippy types” who sit around all day chanting mantras!

Many who reside in this state are prone to volunteer for military action or join a police force to protect others.  They love taking on the role of hero or savior, and attract drama, excitement and travel.  They are a force to be reckoned with in both business and life.

The negative rajas types end up as the murderers, rapists and criminals of society. Rajas without balance is a like a fire out of control that must be contained by other rajas types (i.e., fight fire with fire).

Rajas types usually die “by the sword,” or die younger than usual in action, under fire, or by a sudden heart attack or stroke.  If they live long enough, its usually because they converted to another state later in life.


Coach Training Seed of FailureThe “tamasic” personality is one who craves all things earthly, e.g., food, sex, comfort and status that brings all of these.  Their tendencies are represented by Lord Vishnu, the Maintainer.  A tamasic person looks for ways to keep things the same, not rock the boat, tries to avoid pain and enjoy life as best he or she can.

Many with this shade of consciousness become bureaucrats, or keepers of the status quo.  Most work in government and are content to do daily tasks that keep the world running.  Without them the trains would not run on time, we would have no electricity, and our plates would be empty.

One caught up in the negative aspects of tamas, however, may lead him or her to live a life without meaning or purpose other than self-gratification.  Sloth and self-indulgance contributes nothing to society and naturally leads to inertia and death.

Tamasic behavior often leads to death by chronic disease, like cancer, diabetes, or arthritis. This type may live a long life, but will often have many symptoms and avoid people except to complain.

The Cure For The Three Shades

The Bhagvad-Gita, as translated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, gave the following advice to those who find themselves stuck in one of three states:

“To overcome Tamas, introduce Rajas…

“To overcome Rajas, introduce Sattva…

“To overcome Sattva… transcend.”

This advices has served me well over the years in being able to recognize the root of a problem when someone came to me for chiropractic care of a coaching session.

If, for example, someone comes to you complaining they feel stuck in a dead-end job, they may be a Rajistic person stuck in a Tamasic environment.  Using forceful methods to guide them in their “fight for liberation” may be appropriate.

On the other hand, if you recognize someone as clearly being sensitive, positive and Sattvic, you might temper the advice somewhat. They still need to introduce Raja guna, however, to find more freedom.   Their work situation must go through a “fighting” stage before they can ultimately arrive at their dream job or situation.

It may be obvious by now, however, that most people are not represented by one guna alone.  Although one may be most obvious, a person can also channel all three at different times.  A self-serving bureaucrat, for example,  may be drafted into the army, become decorated as a soldier, then have a near-death experience that thrusts him into “The Light” that transforms his life into one of gratitude, love and service for others the rest of his days.  In this case, the man went through all states, and transcended even the joy of Sattva! 

Knowing how to coach people using your knowledge of the Shades of Consciousness will give you the advantage of being able to assess anyone’s situation much faster, and give you the tools you need to help them succeed!

What do you think?  Leave a comment!