I hate to let any occasion go by to “flatten a vasana.” Flattening a vasana means taking an unwanted condition or upset and getting to the bottom of it. It involves experiencing to completion an earlier condition that we were unwilling to experience as a younger person but can do so now without fear as an adult – with liberating effect.
So here I am in an upset. Having been criticized, I’ve responded and my response has given rise to more criticism. How do I feel? I feel dismayed.
Dismay is usually an unwanted condition. If it were not an unwanted condition, there would be no need to process it. We’re only troubled by unwanted conditions.
When we feel dismayed, we don’t usually say “Hooray! I feel dismayed.” We usually add to the feeling a second layer of not liking to feel dismay and a third layer of not liking not liking. And so it goes, layer upon layer, until what started as an unwanted condition has become what Werner Erhard used to call a stack attack. (A stack of “records” or vasanas.)
But if we only knew that you can’t get to the bottom of an unwanted condition until it’s up, until we can actually feel it, then when an unwanted condition comes up, we very well might say, “Yay! I feel dismayed.” Since we now feel it, we can actually get down to work and complete it. Yay!
So here I am in the midst of an unwanted feeling. Shall I run from it? Shall I project it onto others? Shall I create an incident and then emerge feeling self-righteous and vindicated?
No, I’ll source the vasana and use this occcasion to be free of it.
So I feel dismayed. What do I do next? I ask myself, what earlier, similar incident in my past has me feel dismayed? And I fall quiet, waiting for my mind to respond.
My mind responds automatically. But I have to do my part by taking the first picture it throws up. If I don’t, I may miss the incident that lies at the heart of the vasana.
And I see an incident when I was fourteen years old and I was inappropriate with another person. I remember that being inappropriate felt great at the time, but it didn’t feel so great perhaps ten minutes later.
Here’s another facet of the process: I don’t need to communicate that incident to another. If it feels too dismaying to communicate it, I can censor my description of it. It isn’t necessary to add to my burden in the present by being overly dramatic or detailed. I see the incident and I know about it. That’s all that’s necessary. The truth that arises from seeing the incident will set me free regardless of whether I communicate the incident or not.
So now I be with that incident. I feel the dismay. I breathe deeply and get a global sense of it. I allow it to play upon myself. Immediately I notice that there is nothing so terrible about the actual feeling of dismay.
The feeling itself is neutral. It’s more what I did with it intellectually that causes the problems. I may have decided never again to risk or never again to be sociable. The decisions I make have me shut down and cause a great deal of the later problems.
So I continue to be with it, observe it and see how I feel. I see myself in the incident, knowing that I am not really in it, but remembering it. I experience how I felt then, what drove me, what experience I was looking for, all aspects of the incident.
I don’t react to it. I merely allow the feelings to play upon me. I notice that I can’t hold onto the feeling of dismay if I try. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I continue feeling dismayed. And now it begins to drain away from me. What I resist persists, but what I don’t resist has a natural term. Now I no longer feel dismayed. Whereas the feeling of dismay remained with me prior to this process, it no longer remains with me now.
I have just re-experienced to completion an unwanted feeling. I’ve seen the memory of the original incident it was connected to. And the experience is now complete.
This is the process I’m pointing to in the various articles I’ve written on vasanas. It’s a simple process and it works.
My way of handling upsets is not the only way. Byron Katie has a process. There is something called the Sedona Method. The Ho’oponopono works. There are many ways to clear an upset, but having a way to process works much better than kicking the dog or getting mad at a spouse.
Instead of being my upset and projecting my feelings outwards onto others, I’ve remained with the feelings until they’ve completed themselves. No harm done to others and benefit done to myself. I now have one fewer sleeping volcano waiting to go off unexpectedly and take me from my path.
One further point. A friend asked me today if I ever feel lonely and I replied that I don’t. How can that be? the friend asked. And I replied that I processed that feeling a long time ago.
And indeed I did. After the break-up of a long relationship, I allowed myself to feel loneliness for as long as it took, which was around six months, not resisting it, not sublimating it, not running away from it. Just allowing the loneliness to be there until it lifted. And it finally did lift and it hasn’t bothered me since.
So this upset clearing process does work and it’s one answer to the major upsetting feelings that are arising as the energies elevate on the planet. These rising energies are calling our upsets out of us, to be experienced completely and let go of. We need processes to handle this disturbing energy.
We may be fooled when the upset feelings arise. Whether we are completing an upset or having an upset, we feel upset either way. We don’t realize that feeling upset because we are completing an upset is in aid of having the upset disappear from us once and for all. We think we’re having an upset all over again and so we may run from it or deflect it, etc.
No, the feeling may be the same but the result will be different. This time we won’t be tamping down and storing an upset to have it explode again at a future date. This time we’re ridding ourselves of it, once and for all. (Or hopefully once and for all.)
It’s handy to have a way to clear an upset ordinarily. But at this time, when this wave of love is sweeping the planet and raising all of our grumbles and incompletions to the surface, it’s more than just handy. It’s necessary.