2012 DECEMBER 24
Posted by Steve Beckow
“Bah, humbug. Why do I need to know about vasanas?”
Let me stick my head in here for a brief moment, even though this is a day off, to make a few comments on people sourcing (getting to the bottom of) their upsets.
I hear people sourcing their upsets around Dec. 21 not eventuating or not turning out as they expected, etc. Or I hear people having upsets at their Christmas dinner with family.
And they relate to me the way they’re working with those upsets. Some people report that this sage says it’s your beliefs that cause you misery and other people say “get happy!”
May I comment on both these approaches to handling upsets please?
A vasana is a reaction pattern that contains all the memories of an earlier traumatizing incident – sights, sounds, smells, feelings, moods, and so on. It also contains all the decisions, resolutions, conclusions, beliefs, strategies, and scripts we arrived at or devised. It also has all the memories connected to all other, later similar incidents in which the vasana went off like an awakened volcano.
It’s a kind of file folder that contains everything connected with “The Day Mom Died” or “The Day I was Molested.” And it has in it everything that happened since then that was like it and sprang the reaction patterns we developed from “The Day Mom Died” or “The Day I was Molested.”
Est graduates will recognize a vasana as what Werner Erhard called a “record.” It’s been called an engram I believe, unfinished business, old baggage, and incompleted issues, etc.
Yes, a vasana does contain beliefs, but working with them only doesn’t go far enough. Beliefs are only a part of the story. The whole story goes much further.
And painting a happy face over an upset face only means that we now have the upset with a veneer of happiness over top of it. That accounts for all the smiles we see that aren’t really believable, the strain in the voice, the forced laugh. Nobody buys these kinds of ingenuous displays. And more to the point, we don’t really buy them either.
I have to steer our attention again to what actually does work, as far as I’m aware, and that is to source the vasana that’s been triggered. Let me work my way up to that subject, making a few introductory points along the way.
Our ever-expanding collection of vasanas is what makes us more and more rigid over the years. Finally we become an old nattering individual that no one wants to hear – what Werner called “a guy in a diner” – the loud and opinionated guy who spouts cliches and demands a listening and concurrence.
There are some factors to keep in mind when actually turning to the vasana that has erupted instead of trying other strategies.
One is that a vasana can’t be sourced unless it’s up and going off. The mind doesn’t know how to feed us back the kind of information we need to source it unless it has a real live situation to deal with and relate to.
So there’s no sense trying to source a vasana that went off yesterday but isn’t around today. You can see that that’s what makes our upsets a happy hunting ground. Oh boy! A vasana has gone off. I can now source it.
Moreover, a vasana acted upon or projected outwards, instead of being sourced, merely adds another layer to the existing vasana. It merely energizes the vasana and makes it that much more influential over our lives. That’s the worst thing to do with it.
It’s ineffective to project our vasanas onto others by blaming them for the way we feel. Our vasana is responsible for the way we feel. We’re “doing it to ourselves,” albeit unconsciously.
The present situation is not the source of our upset. A situation that happened long ago is the source. Until we’re free of that original situation, we’ll continue to be triggered.
Now let me turn to how to work with a vasana so as to have it disappear rather than grow and grow.
What we need to do with it is to go within, rather than without. We need to identify the feeling we’re feeling (depression, resentment, bitterness, despondency), ask the mind what earlier incident that feeling relates to, take the first picture or word the mind casts up, and then be with it and the feelings, thoughts, agendas, strategies, etc. that come up with it until we’ve completed the experience of all of it. That’s the way to be free of it.
People have captured this strategy by saying “be with” your upset, “stand back and observe” your thoughts and behavior, sit with it like a brick in the lap, or “listen to” your feelings and “get the message” they’re trying to convey. These are ways of saying very similar things to the approach I described above.
One thing that can go wrong here is that we reject the first word or image the mind throws up to us. That’ll result in this process not working.
Another thing that can go wrong is that the vasana may not lift after the first pass. It may take several passes until it releases its grip. Some vasanas take long and deep processing before they let go.
I’ve seen one woman work at a very deep vasana through many Enlightenment Intensives, get through it, and have a transformational experience every time. If I was able to tell you what she was dealing with, it would curl your hair. No other form of therapy or treatment had come close to completing it.
It’s my most mature opinion that sourcing a vasana is the only way to get free of the limiting conditions in our lives that trace themselves back to our earlier, mostly childhood upsets that now rule us. Our sicknesses, our failed relationships, our business failures, all these things and more arise from our incompleted vasanas going off and essentially ruining our lives.
So if you’re thinking in extremes at this moment, if you’re spiralling downward, if you’re being grouchy with other people or thinking that your life is over, a vasana has just erupted and you’d be best advised to source it.
There’s an extensive literature on the subject in the righthand column under the section called“On Processing Vasanas.” If you do nothing else for yourself during this time of uncertainty and more waiting, perhaps learn how to source a vasana. That one investment will pay you more than all the other things you’re contemplating right now or perhaps ever will contemplate.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and give everyone complete mastery over the process by which we emerge from a vasana’s grip (but of course I don’t even have mastery over it myself). That would be my Christmas present to everyone (especially those people having Christmas dinner with their families of origin right now and feeling triggered). They could be having what Werner called a “stack attack” – a whole mess of vasanas going off at once.
It’s my belief that, if we source all our vasanas, we’ll be restored to our essential nature, see our original face, be enlightened, be liberated. There’s no greater obstacle to enlightenment, bliss, love and full satisfaction than our vasanas. And there’s nothing more valuable to a human being than sourcing their vasanas.