“The term ‘vasana’ is used by Advaita Vedantists (or non-dualists) to describe the primary obstacle to enlightenment, namely waves in the mind.
“A vasana is usually considered to be 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. It exists as a disturbing wave in the mind, preventing the stillness of mind which is considered to be a prerequisite for enlightenment.
“I’ve heard vasanas be called records, files, persistent memories, scripts, and many other terms. Under one name or another, they are known to most, if not all, psychologists and many if not most spiritual teachers.” (1)
In my interactions with friends, I’ve seen how some of us are drawing apart as the time of separation continues. Some people are remaining as they were, choosing to stay with their habitual ways of being. Others are progressively opening up and finding it increasingly difficult to continue on with those who are resisting awakening and growing.
There is a desire to forge ahead and sometimes this can be resisted by our friends and relatives. The ones forging ahead may resist the insistent demand that they not change. Both may go off like a volcano.
So what ends up happening is that vasanas end up speaking to vasanas. Both people resort to troublesome reaction patterns or vasanas to influence the other. There are flare-ups, arguments, shouting matches, and so on.
Previously I’d been recommending an “upset clearing process” to eliminate vasanas, but I realize now that there probably isn’t enough time to learn and make use of such a process in so dynamic and fast-moving a process as we’re in. I’ve begun to search for alternatives and two come to mind.
The first arose when I, and then on another occasion I and my wife, spoke to Archangel Michael in private sessions. Archangel Michael told both of us that, when we found ourselves stuck or resorting to vasanas, call on him and he would come and cut the cords as if they were spaghetti. “It can be that easy,” he said, and told us that all we needed to do, when we felt the cords being cut was to say “yes.” In other words, to assent, which would ensure that we did not immediately reconnect with the vasana.
Alright, alright, I hear that person in the back row saying, “I’m not going to call on an Archangel. Gimme a break. Archangels don’t exist.” Fine. No need to. But I have to declare to you that as far as I’m concerned, archangels do exist, they can help, and they’re more than willing to help. I ask you kindly: What have you got to lose but your chains?
It may not be AA Michael that brings the shears. It may be one of his legions of angels. But I’ve worked with this for a week and I find that the vasana does lose its grip when I call on AAM to snip it.
The second route, and there are many others, is to take a stand on the vasana. My wife described the matter very well the other day. She said she felt a vasana going off and there she was, at a choice point. Either she went with the vasana, which felt familiar, welcome, and pleasant, or she rejected going with it, which felt unfamiliar, unwelcome, and unpleasant. And she said it was hard to make the choice not to.
I used to play with the question, “Why is it so hard to do the right thing?” And the answer is that the “wrong” thing felt so pleasurable, delicious, amenable, etc., while the “right” thing felt pleasureless, spare, unattractive. I don’t need to give you examples of this. Just look at any of our favorite pastimes.
It’s the old story of Lao Tsu sitting at the roadside selling weak meat soup. Everyone else was at the noodle stand on the other side devouring great chunks of beef, enjoying the heated stall, laughing and gossiping about others and the road behind or ahead. No one came to taste Lao Tsu’s meagre fare.
Because it feels or tastes so good, the wrong thing is the more common choice and the more difficult choice to stand apart from. “Oh, one more won’t hurt.” “Oh, why not do it? I want to do it?” “Anything that feels this good can’t be wrong,” etc. It isn’t until we stand in danger of losing something really precious that we may be induced to take a stand against our usual choices.
Well, now we stand to lose relationships, friendships, bliss, perpetual youth, freedom from sickness, freedom from thirst, hunger, fatigue, etc. (That is, Ascension and Fifth Dimensionality.) Now we have a great deal that we stand in danger of losing and perhaps that may provide the necessary counterweight to tip the scales.
Taking a stand on ourselves means rejecting hooking up to the vasana at exactly that choice point. It doesn’t matter if you see yourself saying, “No!” Or if you see yourself rising to your full height and sticking out your chest. Or if you see Big You putting little you behind you. Whatever works. But taking a stand on ourselves is another way to reject hooking up and going into a vasana.
A “stand” is a firm, unalterable decision. A stand is principled, integral, whole. There is no such thing as taking a stand to maim, torture, and murder. A stand is always in favor of the good, the true, the loving, the peaceful. A stand clears the way for our Higher Self to lead and express itself.
Of course, there are other ways. Another way would be to declare yourself. “I am about to blow my stack and so I think I need to take the geographical cure – a walk outside.” “I am in danger of doing drugs and I don’t want to.” “I am on the verge of wrecking our relationship and cannot see a way out of this impasse.”
Another way would be to share a withhold about yourself. “I tend not to be able to say ‘No’ to alcohol so do you think we can avoid going to that particular place?” “I have a history of drug abuse so I need to stay away from those fellows.”
Another way is breathe through it. Another to make a promise. Another to let it go.
So these are dynamic or behavioral ways of handling a vasana – ways that involve action, rather than the “upset clearing process,” which involves the inaction of being with and observing.
Every week I see more and more ways in which vasanas will trip us up in the weeks and months ahead. They will have us deny Ascension, make Ascension a rough passage, split us off from our friends, unstring us when we need to have courage, make us unable to respond to challenges or opportunities.
Vasanas are definitely the obstacle in our movement towards Ascension so it’s very important that we find a way through them without putting them on like a mask and speaking from them. If we were free of vasanas, we’d be enlightened, ascended.
That may have seemed like a wildly-optimistic and completely-unreachable goal a year or two ago. But now it is an absolutely-practical goal. I think that, if we want to ascend, what we need to handle more than anything else is our “sleeping volcanoes” or vasanas.
Steve Beckow, “Processing a Vasana of Strong Attack – Part 1/2,” Oct. 16, 2011., at http://goldenageofgaia.com/ascension/preparing-for-ascension/processing-a-vasana-of-strong-attack-part-12/.)