When we work with vasanas (VAH-sa-nas), what we’re laying bare are the structures and processes of the mind: The way the mind is constructed and the way it works.
A vasana is a construction in consciousness which consists of the memory of a traumatic incident including sights, sounds, smells, etc., the emotions felt, the conclusions reached about the situation, the decisions made, the reactive patterns of behavior adopted, and the results of our later uses of these patterns as we remember them. It’s an umbrella term for all the unfortunate residue of a traumatic incident.
As I worked with loneliness and later with grief, probably through the impact of Linda Dillon’s Core Issues course, I saw two types of vasanas.
The first is the serial vasana. In it, one incident after another happens in series that adds to the weight, form and complexity of the vasana. My three boyfriends run away from me and, badly stung, I retreat from friendship.
Mom and Dad leave us in the care of a barely-functioning, elderly babysitter while they go off on an extended holiday (great for them, but we took care of the babysitter for a month, more than she took care of us). The time of separation drags on and is lonely for me.
Events like these happen in series – that is, one after another in temporal succession – and reinforce, in this case, either a tendency to solitude or else a feeling of loneliness.
When I process them, I keep going further and further back in time until I reach the original incident in which the reaction pattern or vasana was formed. The later incidents simply reinforce and extend the same reactive tendencies now created.
The second is a nested vasana. Once I finished with loneliness (for now), what was revealed underneath it and nested in it was a vasana of grief.
I then had to process a new complex of feelings, thoughts, conclusions, decisions, etc. And who knows? After I have, perhaps another almost-intolerable feeling will surface, nested within it, which I’ll process next.
We don’t see the nested vasana until the vasana that sits on top of it and surrounds it is processed through.
Working in this way is more than clearing upsets. It’s coming to understand the ways of the self, the mind. An recall what Krishnamurti said: Enlightenment is a matter of understanding the ways of the self.
Processing continues over time of both loneliness and grief, but the intensity of the feelings does decrease the more I get to the bottom of each vasana.
One feature about how the mind uses vasanas is that it files them under the predominant emotion. So everything related to grief is bundled together in one file folder marked “grief” in the mind’s memory bank; others under “loneliness,” “anger,” “fear,” etc.
A sight, sound, smell or touch that reawakens the feeling reawakens the vasana. Suddenly we’re triggered and people around us see us acting strangely, without explanation. We may explode. We may look startled. We may suddenly get up and leave the room. A vasana has come to life like an exploding volcano, with all its sound and lights, relived drama and trauma.
Our store of vasanas is also situationally-related. Right now I’m processing vasanas that arise in the course of everyday life. But all it will take is one extraordinary event – the Reval, Disclosure, a project starting up – and an altogether new and previously-unknown set of vasanas will probably rise to the surface.
They’ll be related to my handling of large events in my life, rather than small, how well I did, and where I fell down.
As our roles in events expands, I feel the need to be pro-active and provide for myself. That includes not simply finances and other “ways of the world,” but also healing strategies – ways of getting quickly under and through what slows me down and trips me up (that is, my vasanas). I grant that the vibrational frequency continues to rise and so the process should become quicker and easier.
It’s predictable that new circumstances, new obstacles, new challenges will arise. We’ll need to continue to lead while processing them. I can foresee that there won’t be an opportunity to take time out.
Increasingly there’ll be more and more need to use “best practices” to get through whatever issues and response patterns are triggered by these mind attacks. So on this leg of the journey, processing grief now, I’ll test out one method after another and start to codify what I learn and what works best.
Today I feel a need to take off and simply wander in a state of present-minded, open, non-directed self-awareness (OK, take a break).
It’s so funny becuase taking a break for me means going to a coffeeshop and … continuing writing. How do you know when you found what you’re passionate about doing?
The grief I experience I’m passing through at this moment, courtesy of the Core Issues course, won’t let me approach things as if it’s “business as usual.” It won’t let me speak to others without risking dragging them down.
It won’t even allow me to set an intention and carry it through. Grief unhinges me and refuses to allow me to pay attention to anything but itself. It makes no sense not to pay attention to it.