10 Pairs of Opposites: Sticky and Clear
This is a 10-part series where I will be reviewing each of the 10 pairs of Opposites (AKA qualities or Gunas) in depth.
Everything in this Universe (man made and natural, physical and abstract) are based off the five elements; Ether (Space), Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. From these five elements, the Rishis (or Ayurvedic Seers) determined that there were 10 pairs of Opposites that are used to view the Universe and restore balance. Through observation, palpation, and questioning an Ayurvedist will see where you have excess or depleted gunas, and work to restore them to their proper ratio.
These gunas impact everything!!
Picchila (Sticky) and Vishada (Clear)
“I can see clearly now the rain has gone” Johnny Nash sang about the visual side of clear and touched upon “There’s no obstacles in my way” the opposite of sticky. In Ayurveda, some people will say that Cloudy and Sticky are the same things. And honestly, I can make an argument that they are actually the same thing!
Physiological / Body – Sticky and Clear
Clear skin is typically a way to tell someone they have no blemishes, acne, scars, etc. Clear within the channels of the body may mean that someone doesn’t have constipation or plaque buildup. That everything is flowing through the body as it needs to. Remember, all gunas (qualities) can sometimes go into imbalance. A great example of this are people who cleanse or detox too much. A safe annual detox is a great thing, but doing juice fasts, liver cleanses, or purgatives all day everyday … your system becomes “too clear” and doesn’t retain anything that it needs.
A balanced sticky body will have cohesiveness, the joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones “stick” together working together. Nothing is pulling apart of breaking off. The organs of our body are sticky lumps within our torso, we need them to be a little juicy, heavy, and sticky so that they aren’t just floating around all over the place and getting twisted up! Of course, sticky can have a downside; plaque is sticky clogging up our arteries and veins and mucus clogging up our airways.
Psychological / Mind – Sticky and Clear
A clear mind is one that can see the lay of the land and make appropriate judgements right away. A sharp mind would make the decision and go about the day, but a clear mind will make the decision and then forget about it. A clear mind can seem impersonable, air headed, or even forgetful. Nothing seems to stick if they are overly clear (see what I did there?). A clear mind may might be clairvoyant or shamanistic, it can also seem ungrounded or not based in reality.
“An elephant never forgets”, a sticky mind is like an elephant. Moves slow, takes a while, but never forgets what they learned. Or a sticky mind can be sluggish and depressed. According to Dr. Vasant Lad a cloudy mind “lacks both clarity and perception”.
Emotional / Spiritual – Sticky and Clear
Due to the forgetfulness nature, a clear mind can sometimes feel isolated or lonely. Sometimes with extremely clear minds we see that this person will have an attachment with cosmic beings, but not really be able to form attachments to humans here on Earth.
“Sticky and sweet, it’s good to eat”. Ok no zombies, we don’t eat minds here. But a sticky mind can be one full of love. They care about keeping the family, friends, community, or tribe together. A sticky mind will be full of love, compassion, and cares about people outside of itself. Sometimes that can mean forgetting about self-care
External Environment – Smooth and Rough
“Clear blue skies” is a wonderful saying, when the whole world seems to just be clear, free, happy, and open. Sticky or Cloudy weather could be humid or foggy.
Ayurveda looks at using opposite qualities to reduce the excess. Please keep in mind that the human body is a complex system. Talk to an Ayurvedist before trying to balance things on your own.
Heightening awareness is always the first step in Ayurveda, and you can do that safely in your own home. If you have been following along this series, you can now start playing with the subtle differences between some of the qualities, when is your mind clear vs. liquid? When is the environment you live in sticky vs. heavy? And as always journal about how sticky and clear help to define each other in your life, you can’t have one without the other and often times they work together.