I’d like to look at one last element of the clearing initiated by the heart opening I had on March 13, 2015. It’s what I think of as the root trigger for a thread of vasanas.
Again this study, as with all others like it, aligns with what Krishnamurti said that liberation comes from an understanding of the ways of the self. What’s being looked at are the ways of the self.
There’s an event that happens (let’s call it a trigger) that initiates all the rest. Once it happens, everything follows like stimulus and response. In fact I become a stimulus/response machine after that; no heart consciousness left.
I immediately go into defensiveness. I begin to mistrust. I become skeptical. I become cynical. All bad things fall out of that initial event.
That event is a startle.
To an abused child, a startle is going from zero to 100 in less than a second. A startle is “all engines ahead full” until the order comes to stand down. A startle is maximum alert, prepare for attack, all hands on deck.
Anyone who’s been physically abused knows that the abuse comes as a surprise. It comes out of left field. If it didn’t, the person being abused would dodge the blow and become a moving target. That makes more work for the abuser.
So the abuser usually launches a fast, unseen or unexpected blow. Gradually the abused keeps his or her distance.
A startle is me first awakening to danger and, if there are any real and valid signs that danger is present, I begin to move deeper and deeper into defensive territory.
By now the vasanas are going off. Having been hit by a parent, there’s confusion about who’s a friend and who’s not. There’s a mistrust of my own estimations of the situation, which have been proven wrong by the violence. All sorts of complications and decisions flow from the violence and how it’s staged.
I felt startled the other day. I cannot remember why, it was such an unremarkable event. But what I noticed is that no sooner did I feel startled than I felt angry.
There was no reason to feel angry and that’s what caught my attention. So I looked at the sequence of startle plus anger and began to see the reasons why they were linked.
The startle traces back to the first time my Dad struck me and I really knew it wasn’t an accident and no one responded to my tears. I knew then that I was in trouble. That startle was first of all being amazed that my own Dad is being violent towards me.
Add layers of prudence later: I’d best be on my guard if I don’t want to get slapped or kicked again. Have to do it better next time. The startle is what I use to hurtle myself into defensive action.
A common startle is what sets off all the other vasanas in this thread. I’d never have guessed it had I not been looking microscopically at my own behavior.
Since then, I’ve been watching for it. I’m riding the waves of the Tsunami of Love, the waves of consciousness itself, with one eye on a behaviorial trigger.