More on Primitive Vasanas

Your comments on my post about “primitive vasanas” have encouraged me. I discover that I’m not alone in experiencing or noticing this phenomenon. So I’d now like to restate what I was saying, compressing and developing it a little more.

I look forward to the day when I don’t have to include in every post on the subject a definition of “vasana” or of  “sourcing” them, but for now I think I need to continue to do that.

I’ve been saying until now that a vasana is a behavior pattern formed in early-childhood, based on a traumatic incident, complete with decisions and reactions, which persists through time, sleeps, and is awakened by a triggering event.

But I now see that there is a second class of vasanas. So I now add a second definition – of a primitive vasana – which I define as an attitude about or orientation to the way things are that arises in early childhood as a result of the apprehension of separateness and remains with the individual throughout life as a settled conviction.

To “source” or “process” a vasana means to flatten it, complete it, or experience it through until it disappears.

The first kind of vasana (the traumatic) I’ve discussed quite a bit. It results in a closing down of the range of emotional responses based on having had unpleasant or traumatic experiences which we don’t want to repeat.

But the second (the primitive or attitudinal) is a feature of growing up “separate.” When we begin to interact with others as the result of feeling ourselves to be individuals and separate, we begin to compare and contrast ourselves.

One of the conclusions we reach at an early age is whether we are “better” or “worse” than others. Better produces arrogance and worse produces shame.

On our journey back to innocence, we travel down through the stack of traumatic vasanas and eventually reach a layer of attitudinal vasanas, which are not trauma-based.  These vasanas do not yield to processing in the same way that the first group does. If I ask my mind what earlier, similar incident the feeling of arrogance or shame derives from, I get no response from the mind and therefore am not able to process them in the same way.

I believe I’ll find that I’ll process them by being with and observing them, but not by being with and observing an original incident.

The reward for processing our vasanas is that they release their grip on us and we return to our original state of innocence. We are now no longer organized by automatic responses to events. We are no longer tripped up or suddenly reactivated by things. Our patience and joy in life increase. And our levels of such unwanted conditions as fear, irritation, and anger decrease.

When we consider how well we’ll pass through the Ascensions experience, I believe that the biggest drag on our experience and the factor that will make the experience more unpleasant than it need be will be the factor of our left-over unfinished business or vasanas, both traumatic and attitudinal.


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