A short musing on a...
 
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A short musing on avasthas

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Leela
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Recently, I was watching a video by a musician-artist, St. Vincent, where she talks about 'shame' as this horrible thing we experience- but must make friends with, as a natural part of growing. An example she gave was learning something new (like an instrument), performing etc and how there is often embarrassment and shame in the beginning at not being good enough. This is obviously because it takes time to get better at something, and so we're bound to make fools of ourselves. Now, I could relate to all this as I'm a musician and have composed/performed etc too. But she does not have a shamed avastha, while I do.

And it made me ponder- that it's not that an avastha is indicating the person is feeling that emotion while others are not- it's that they have an unhealthy or unrealistic relationship to that emotion/state of mind..
So, someone who has a shamed avastha is not alone in feeling shame or embarrassment with whatever planet/area of life it is in. But they think it's an abnormal thing, and thus don't accept 'shame' as a normal part of the human experience that we must power through and evolve, but instead get stuck in it. This, of course, leads to various behaviours and compensation over time.

Similarly for other avasthas. I think this could even be true for the "Good" avasthas. For example, someone with a proud planet could be overdoing it not just because of their other bad avasthas, but because they have an unrealistic relationship to the idea of 'pride' itself and may get stuck in it. But of course it is a relatively more pleasant thing to be stuck with 🙂

Does this resonate with anyone else?
(Though it's possible I've said something a bit too obvious!)

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Francesca
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Thank you for putting this into words. I've been thinking about something similar pertaining to my own Avasthas. I have Saturn and Mars starving each other in the 7th. Both are in good dignity (Mars is exalted and Saturn in OH, Saturn has great uccha and dig bala), meaning that I generally get good results with the things of that house. But boy, is it stressful. I used to regularly perform as well and anytime there was any exposure to the public, my adrenaline levels would spike uncontrollably. It felt like a life-and-death situation. People would tell me to "just relax", after all I was performing well, what did I have to be so stressed about?

The older I get, the less I feel the burden of that Saturn, luckily. There's an element of public speaking in my profession. We always work in pairs. I always marvel at how level-headed and relaxed some of my colleagues are (I assume their 7th houses aren't similarly "fraught"). We're in the same situation, doing the same work, yet we seem to feel and perceive the stress completely differently. Even during my graduate studies I noticed how my fellow students were experiencing the same level of stress and anxiety that just comes with the constant pressure to perform, but I seemed to be the only person who beat herself up over it so badly (classic Mars/Saturn) and also the only person to consistently frantically overwork herself at the expense of everything else in her life.

Over the years, what's helped me is keeping in mind that courage isn't the absense of fear, but doing things in spite of it. Anyway, this example goes to show that people with "difficult" Avasthas probably do experience certain "normal" human emotions differently and judge themselves for it. In the new master's course, Ernst also mentions that people with proud planets do judge themselves and others based on that planet because it becomes the yardstick against which they measure every other behavior.

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Leela
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@francesca 

I relate to many things you've said.
I would really "cringe" in complete embarrassment when trying to assess my own self/performance/whatever. Even if others said I was being too harsh with myself, it'd be hard for me to believe them, Lol.

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Francesca
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@leela 

That's understandable. It is incredibly awkward. Imagine spending two and a half years having your performance recorded every day and played back to you and your group of peers through speakers in a lecture hall several times a day. Then, having to be critiqued by everyone and having your instructor ask you to self-critique every time as well 🤣 . (I had similar experiences in music school where we had to sight sing in front of each other and perform during studio regularly). All of that was incredibly disorienting because during most of my 20s I found myself in situations where my self-image and self-assessment were at constant odds with how others viewed me and my performance (it went both ways, sometimes, though more rarely, I thought I did well and apparently bombed).

That's just some more background info on my experience. The reason I say the concrete results I got were still good was based on comparing my performance (grades and opportunities I was offered) to that of my peers in school (it didn't matter though, I still always felt lame and behind). For me, it took ten years and three college degrees worth of instructors and professors telling me I was too hard on myself to sort of believe it (not in the sense that I suddenly thought I was great, but in the sense that I finally started understanding I had to stop punishing myself constantly after being close to burning out physically and emotionally). In hindsight, I understand that the added pressure I was putting on myself and the constant "hard work" I prided myself on really did nothing but deprive me of joy and peace. I guess that's what I'm trying to say with "I was too hard on myself". It was hard enough as it was and the extent to which I beat myself up was excessive. Actually, even if I had done poorly, I think regardless of actual performance beating yourself up just doesn't get you anywhere, if that makes any sense. And I think people with strong starvation and shame can be good at magnifying those weaknesses and hyperfocusing on them in a way that makes them miserable (or least that's the case with the people I know that have these Avashtas). 

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Leela
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@francesca 

But it's interesting that you were able to feel a lot of pride, possibly because you have proud planets.

Now, I was very hardworking too, and people did always comment on me as incredibly hard-working (in those days). But I felt bad about it. In my head there was some warped notion that... if I was genuinely talented or good, I wouldn't need to work this hard. And if I had to work so hard, it was just proof that I wasn't actually gifted or good at it. This is partly from the typical stereotype of thinking people in artistic fields have to be "born" with it, otherwise you're better off doing things like engineering (which was my first degree. uff, I've studied too much).
So even if someone commented on my diligence, I just heard it as "well at least you're hardworking, coz you don't have much else going on". Lol, my hidden, subconscious chatter was pure trash.

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Francesca
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@leela 

Going back to the Avashtas, it might very well be because of the proud and svastha planets I have. In case you're curious about my chart, I posted it in the "Help with Readings" section of this forum. Since you mentioned that people complimented you on working hard I wonder if your Saturn is proud of svastha or delighted?

I think I understand what you mean and why that compliment might have stung rather than it having its intended effect. I wonder if some of this is possibly what some people call "impostor syndrome", which is apparently incredibly common among women in particular and independent of their actual skill level in their respective field. I've definitely felt what you described (partially anyway) along the lines of "I have to make up for lost time/less talent".

I think some fields, music especially, are just incredibly competitive. Looking back at the people I studied with, it would have been impossible to predict who would actually "make it". Some who flew under the radar are now headlining for major pop acts, others who were the "stars of the department" abandoned the field completely. I keep thinking about how random it all is (or seems to be). Sure, sometimes you get the odd "genius wunderkind" you described that started playing at age 2 and became a world famous pianist. But even then so much of their actual skill is just the cumulative hours they spent mastering that skill. I do see people "making it" regardless of skill level, charisma, or connections, and some people who don't "make it" despite all of the above. And then there's everything in between.

At the end of the day, I think the one decisive factor is luck. If God wants to make someone an acclaimed and well-paid artist, I guess he will (and there are plenty of famous people with mediocre skills, charisma, etc out there to prove it). And, conversely, as someone "who didn't make it", I also firmly believe that if there's something we keep doing and going back to that makes us feel alive, it's part of what we are, regardless of whether we have 1 or 1 million  people listening. 

Anyway, that's quite enough for of my endless spiel 🤣 .Thank you for letting me write this out and helping me feel understood with you post!

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Leela
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@francesca 

Posted by: @francesca

Since you mentioned that people complimented you on working hard I wonder if your Saturn is proud of svastha or delighted?

None. Tropically- I have a shitty Saturn, and not much redeems it. Yet I was known as the hard-worker, I'm not kidding. When we graduated our juniors threw a party for us and made saches, and part of what was written on mine was "hard working", Lol. So, this doesn't really line up with my chart.

Posted by: @francesca

I wonder if some of this is possibly what some people call "impostor syndrome", which is apparently incredibly common among women in particular and independent of their actual skill level in their respective field. I've definitely felt what you described (partially anyway) along the lines of "I have to make up for lost time/less talent".

Yea I've heard of impostor syndrome.. definitely true for me too.

Posted by: @francesca

I also firmly believe that if there's something we keep doing and going back to that makes us feel alive, it's part of what we are, regardless of whether we have 1 or 1 million  people listening.

Definitely. In a way the former is pure, even though a harder experience to live through.
And as you are implying too- I don't think better acclaim or fame or popularity actually means they are better. Nor do all famous people manage to inspire, and maybe that is more important.

Thank you for the conversation 🙂

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Amit Bhat
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@leela 

A shitty Saturn can work hard too infact be overly dutiful and then grieve about it! Whereas a good Saturn will work hard all the while being happy and if it feels like being lazy, then take some rest too and again switch back to motion when required. 

As Saturn rules vata dosha, so good Saturn easily moves from motion to rest or rest to motion as is needed. Bad Saturn will find it difficult to do so. Either he will keep resting when he shouldn't or keep working when he shouldn't.

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Leela
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@amit 

The point was more about being recognised a certain way externally. Usually a proud planet has praises come its way more easily. 

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Amit Bhat
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@leela 

Yeah, it's great to be around people having good avastha planets and difficult to be around people having bad avasthas... so proud avastha planet people will get more appreciation naturally...

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Leela
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@amit 

Yes and my point was i don't have a great Saturn tropically yet got praised for it repeatedly. It's an interesting point to consider for me because I'd have an exalted Saturn sidereally. Anyway, let's stop this particular discussion here 

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Amit Bhat
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@leela - I think what you write about shame avasthas make a lot of sense.

Garvita is a proud avastha but not a kind of false pride. Indeed the planet is experiencing true pride because it has that real capability of doing what needs to be done and feeling great about it. It's all the bad avasthas that suck our life force.

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Francesca
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@amit 

I think what you write is accurate, but in my opinion Ernst describes it as a little more nuanced in "Garvita or Proud" of the master's course (starting at 7:30 I think).

He says that in the face of other "bad" avasthas people overuse, compensate with their proud planets and go to excess. Of course, the proud planet isn't the root problem, but their behavior will be influenced by the proud planet. The proud planet will lead to them being harder on themselves with respect to the habits that don't work as well, so it does lead to unrealisitic expectations in other areas of life. And he says it leads people to desperately try to achieve perfection in those troubled planets, which is doomed to fail. And then, as Leela said, the troubled Avasthas show things we see as bad in ourselves that we don't accept (suggesting it's not necessarily that what the planets produce is terrible). But the first step is supposed to be acceptance and using each planet to listen to our inner voice. Ernst says that in the face of troubled Avasthas, people can compensate to such an extent where they don't listen their inner voice even when using their proud planets. So in that sense, proud planets can still cause problems in a roundabout fashion.

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Amit Bhat
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@francesca 

Okay, I have to go through that... but proud planets with nodes will of course have lot of issues...

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Leela
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Posted by: @amit

Garvita is a proud avastha but not a kind of false pride. Indeed the planet is experiencing true pride because it has that real capability of doing what needs to be done and feeling great about it. It's all the bad avasthas that suck our life force.

I don't think Lajjitadi avasthas necessarily indicate our capacity or capability though, I believe the other avasthas decide that. And probably the person themselves, and their will power and courage. LAs just shows us how we feel about it. But of course, a proud planet will usually have the capability, but one cannot say that a shamed or starved planet does not have the capability.

However, I didn't mean that Garvita can lead to false pride. But let me try to elaborate. Lets say someone is working on a project that lasts for 1 or 2 years- how often in that duration is "pride" with true merit? Maybe for a job well done, after completion? Maybe during some moments of sticking through doubts and reaching a breakthrough? Pride and a pat on the back has its merit only during some moments. Rest of the time is just.. you know, regular, even if we are doing a good job.

I was just speculating that a person with a proud planet may expect to feel proud more often, in an unrealistic fashion. Which can either lead to disappointment, or maybe a tendency to show-off? I feel like there is something in them that does seek constant reassurance that they are doing a good job.
But I could be wrong.
Definitely a large part of this may be due to the other bad avasthas. I was just bringing up the point that it could also be an unrealistic expectation of what "pride" itself looks like, and the frequency with which we actually feel it in life... which is not that often.

 

Posted by: @amit

I think what you write about shame avasthas make a lot of sense

Yea, it's true that what I've said is probably most pertinent to shame, because it is an intense feeling and can lead to avoidant behaviours, which eventually takes a toll.

Pride is not such a huge issue even if our ego gets attached to it. It's largely a pleasant thing anyway.
Though from a spiritual perspective, we could say it is a problem.

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Amit Bhat
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@leela 

Sun needs 390 points to do its job well and say it's shadbala is 400 points but say Saturn starves it by 450 and there is no other help on Sun, do you think the person will be able to do what he or she wants to do ? The difficulties and struggles of life will keep them from doing. So they will have the feeling of starvation of being deprived of doing certain things. So even though Sun is capable yet unable. So they really need to put lot of extra efforts to make it work. P. Yogananda had starving sun, so he couldn't go to Himalayas as he wished. But he saw the bigger picture and followed the masters.

Now there will be some vimshopaka calculations too but I am not considering them in order to keep things simple. 

The feeling of useless pride can also be brought by compensation attitudes of Saturn and rahu. That Ernst covered in bach flower and some other courses too...

Good Avasthas are like you are in tune with cosmic forces in order to do the right things and thereby feeling delighted and truly proud.

Bad avasthas are like we are not in tune with truth on those planets and thereby making mistakes and feeling ashamed or starved etc... Simple put, there is a big learning curve ahead which we need to walk upon.

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astroalex
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The way I see it is that the "bad" avasthas simply create unrealistic expectations about things in a person's life, and when they fall short of these expectations, they feel a certain type of way about it, angry, bitter, frustrated, etc. 

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Leela
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@astroalex 

I'm just bringing up a point that it is perhaps not the unrealistic expectation from the 'things' that is causing the issue, but an unrealistic attitude toward that particular mental state itself. After all, shame, embarrasement, anger, thrist, hunger are all useful emotions too, even if they are labelled "bad". They show us something, make us better, help us evolve. The issue is only if we get stuck in it perennially.

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