Jupiter, also called Guru in Sanskrit, is considered the greatest benefic in the horoscope, as he bestows happiness, peace and good fortune. His influence on any planet, sign, house or dasha, can help us reduce or overcome our difficult karma, as well as embrace what we cannot change.
So how do we bring more peace of Jupiter into our horoscope?
In neuroscience the prefrontal cortex, the area located in the very front of the brain is most strongly implicated with divine Guru like qualities; focus, concentration, consciousness, discernment, empathy and morality. This area also helps to reign in the intense sensations and impulses of the emotionally reactive lower limbic brainstem layers.
Damage or underdevelopment of the pre-frontal cortex renders us unable to discern appropriate behavior and suffer from emotional distress, irrational fears, anxiety, euphoria, and irritability. Interestingly, this portion of our brain does not reach its full development until the age of around 25.
I remember many years ago when I was a newly inducted spiritual aspirant, I naively asked my Guru Amma, how will I know if my meditation and mantra practices were yielding any positive results. She gave me an unexpected answer, "you will know you are making spiritual progress when you can discern how to say the right thing to the right person at the right time”. (Of course I was expecting something much more grand like when I can “manifest my destiny”, or find my “life purpose”, or have divine visions).
Amma was pointing to the growth and maturity of our prefrontal cortex through spiritual practices.
Regardless of the dasha (planetary period) we are running, we can utilize the teaching of that planet to take the “high road” with our prefrontal cortex and avoid the “low road” of our limbic system. Let us look at some of the functions of the pre-frontal cortex, that we can practice accessing to increase our divine Guru Jupiter like qualities.
Mindfulness - The most unique function of the prefrontal cortex is to allow us to perceive the self, as separate from our experience. Simply practice observing yourselves while you are engaged in any activity, conversation or thinking. This helps to disengage from the automatic behaviors and habitual responses, or what the astrologers called karma. The more you do it the easier it will become.
Observing the Body – Be aware of the sensations in your physical body in response to the activity you are engaged in - is your heart beating too fast, how is your breathing, are your shoulders tense, stomach churning, forehead tensing up? Without this type of awareness, even when we are engaged in something we enjoy doing, the body interprets the heightened state as an imminent physical threat, and releases stress hormones, which can lead to many physical and mental health problems.
Relating – Shift your perspective from yourself to the inner world of the person you are engaged in communication with. Relate to the context of where they are coming from and imagine their mind, feelings, and intentions. Make an internal image of their reality and try to make sense of why they are saying what they are saying. This does not mean you have to agree with them, or do what they say. However, this will allow you the freedom to not let anyone else’s behavior get to you, whether you are dealing with your child, partner, boss or even some stranger on the road.
Balanced Emotions – Extreme expression of emotion, even joy, drains vitality and eventually leads to turmoil. Allow your feelings, both of happiness and sadness, to be aroused enough to give meaning and purpose to your life but don’t become overwhelmed by them.
Pause Before Responding – A few seconds of pause between what you take in and what you communicate out can make a world of difference. Space your response so you have time to consider your response options. Without this awareness the reactive limbic system puts us on automatic pilot, making us regret our actions later.
Disproportionate Fear – Fear from long past memories of our childhood (and even past lives) buried in our subconscious can cause us to overreact in a present situation. Check in and see if the overwhelming emotion you are feeling is in proportion to and really about the reality of the present situation. Especially when Rahu/Ketu, Moon or Saturn are involved.
Biography – Its is up to you to interpret every situation in your life and author your own life story. Don’t let anyone else write it for you. Remind yourself that no situation/person can make you feel bad, feel angry or upset your equilibrium without your own permission.
Beyond Self-Perseveration – Override the impulse to make a quick moral judgment of right and wrong, good and bad (especially if you hanging out with Mars or Rahu). Look beyond the self and consider taking actions that serve the larger good of your family, community and beyond.
Arguing with Reality – No matter how difficult the situation, respond to the situation you are in with realism and clarity. Do not allow yourself to get caught in how things “should” be or how people “should” behave.
Inner Wisdom – Check in with your intuition from time to time. The more the prefrontal cortex is active the more you have access to the wisdom of the body and that “gut feeling” and less interference from the ego of the limbic system.
The key to overcoming our difficult karma is recognizing that we don’t always have to respond to our thoughts and emotions as the totality of who we are. Neuroscience gives this ability to acquire free will to the prefrontal cortex, and Vedic Astrology to Jupiter. Both allow us to gain reflective distance from our automatic responses, or karmas, and give us the freedom to act outside of them.
Note: Many of the ideas about the functions of the pre-frontal cortex were taken from the book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Dr. Daniel Siegel.