Is It All in Our Head?

Everything grows out of our thoughts, first in our consciousness then later in the world. This leads all eastern spiritual traditions to teach that karma can only penetrate to the level of our thoughts.

A while back, this facebook post popped up on my mini feed accompanied by a smiling selfie.

"This year has been full of lessons learned and deep soul searching. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my father passed away from liver cancer. I lost two dear pets, I lost my job and the rising waters destroyed my house. What is next?"

"I am not afraid, bring it on life. I will rebuild, I will survive”.

I had to check what dasha (planetary period) this person was running, and was not surprised to see that she was in a pretty formidable Venus dasha. However, she was also in the middle of the acute stage of sade satithe transit of Saturn over our natal moon once every 30 years.  
A well placed Venus dasha helps filter out negative and pessimistic thoughts from our mind. Venus also prompts us to approach situations with peace and compromise, which results in affection and love in our life. This person had plenty of people that loved her to help her get through this difficult Saturn transit.

In Sanskrit, dasha simply means “condition” or “state”. There are more than 40 dasha systems in Vedic Astrology, each has its own calculations, particular usage and rules on when it can or cannot be used.  However, most astrologers today, including me, predominantly use the Vimshottari dasha system, as it is believed to give the best results for our times.

Vimshottari dasha calculations are done based on the exact position of your moon at the time of birth. The moon signifies our mind or psychological and emotional make-up constructed by early childhood memories as well as memories of our past lives. The continuum of this moon mind, is believed to be carried on from life time to lifetime until it is completely purified and we return to the state of No Mind – our cosmic roots.

So when a dasha is calculated from the moon it first foretells the “state of our mind” at that given time, then the potential events which may follow as a result.

In other words, our karma activates certain qualities of thoughts, depending on the condition of the dasha planet that is active in our consciousness, and these thoughts lead us to actions, which form the circumstances of our life.

But you might say, all these things are happening around me, the state of my mind had nothing to do with them. I don’t want to underestimate the influence the planets have on the outer events of our lives, however, since these are generally out of our control I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about them.

What is in our control is our moon mind and the way we perceive and feel about the circumstances we find ourselves in.

If you have seen the movie Gandhi, you will have some idea of the mayhem that beset India in 1947, as the British left, which began the process of breaking up of India into two countries.

My father was only fourteen at the time and his family became victims of this war. I have heard the story countless times from my father about the night his family fled with only the clothes on their back to make their way to the refugee camps in India. The journey by foot and train was long and arduous, with constant danger from looters and murderers. The refugee camps were crowded and dirty with threat of disease and malnutrition.

The harrowing stories he recounts are nothing short of something you only expect to see in the news or in movies. My father remembers his family members devastated and in hysterics and many that never really recovered from the mental and emotional losses they suffered in this period, even after the war was over.

However, his own memory of how he felt does not match the events he describes. He says he was confused but at the same time has no recollection of being fearful or even sad. In fact, he remembers a kind of stoic realism along with exhilaration and excitement of the new possibilities that lay ahead, even during the most difficult of times. He chalks it up to his youth.

However, as an astrologer I know that at the time he was running Jupiter dashaSun Bhukti, both are strong and well placed in angles, fourth and tenth house, in his chart. A well placed Jupiter makes the mind optimistic, hopeful, gives a sense of purpose and belief that better things are around the horizon. A well placed Sun gives confidence, self-reliance, self-sacrifice and assurance in our ability to overcome the obstacles in life.

My father’s life has been nothing short of a miracle; he grew up to become a successful United Nations diplomat and finally retired comfortably in Switzerland.  

Dashas of the planets associating with Mars, Saturn, Ketu and Rahu or when planets are placed in sixth, eighth and twelfth houses can be particularly thorny. However, they too can give good results but only after an idea, misconception, negative tendency or illusion in our moon mind that we are hanging on to has been let go off first. In my experience, the sooner we do that faster the dasha gives better results.

All the planets reside in our consciousness, therefore, no life is immune from running a difficult dasha or transit.

Indeed even the Hindu God’s when they take human birth are bound by these universal laws. Some of you may be familiar with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights that takes place in the fall. It is believed that on this day many thousands of years ago, lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of lord Vishnu, returned back to his kingdom after a fourteen year exile, during which he fought the fierce battle with the ten headed evil king Ravana.

Ramayana, one of the two great Hindu epics, depicts Lord Rama as a steadfast, compassionate, righteous, brave and dutiful (all characteristics of an exalted Sun in the horoscope) despite losing his throne the day of his coronation, and unwaveringly enduring a very challenging fourteen year dasha.

The ten heads of the antagonist Ravana symbolize the negative aspects of our selves that the planets are trying to help us overcome: Kama (Lust); Krodha (Anger); Moha (Delusion); Lobha (Greed); Mada (Pride); Matsar (Envy); Manas ( mind); Buddhi (Intellect); Chitta (Will); Ahamkara (Ego).

These beautiful myths and stories are in every culture and they give us guideposts on how to defeat and be victorious over our difficult times in our life.

The more we go beyond the thoughts that arise in our moon mind the more we gain free will and the more we access the True Self or the light of the soul behind our thoughts.

While, astrologers cannot change karma they can show you how to navigate the deep mental thought patterns or the dasha ‘state your mind is in’. They can show you that your life is unfolding just as it is supposed to and to be victorious you have to get out of your head and cultivate neutral awareness.