I had a major vasana (1) go off the other day, which had me see new things about managing one.
Imagine that I start out to look at a vasana that hasn’t erupted – say, fear of flying. The situation is not before me. I’m not going to be flying for the foreseeable future.
I can’t really get into it. There’s nothing to grab onto. I’m not actually in the situation in which fear of flying is triggered. There’s no juice here, no aliveness.
I’m untriggered and so this becomes more of an intellectual exercise than a lived-through experience.
The way I learned from the Growth Movement was experientially- rather than intellectually-based. To make the point fully, however, I have to go through the process.
Using this method, I don’t deal with a vasana until it is about to go off or has gone off.
I then switch into observer mode and experience it as it goes off. I name the feeling.
I don’t engage in a thought process; I don’t remain at the intellectual level.
I go further to the experiential level by examining how I’m feeling and arriving at a name for it – desperation, giddy, anxious.
We name it because the mind’s records of a vasana are filed according to the name of the feeling we refuse to re-experience.
I now begin to experience that desperation, giddiness, or anxiety more deeply.
Once I’m firmly anchored in it, I ask the mind, which is an obedient servant, to cast up a picture, word, etc., that identifies the original incident in which I was first triggered.
I take the very first picture or word that comes across the screen of my awareness.
I then “be with” whatever that word or picture brings up, until the feelings, having been experienced, subside.
I resist nothing. I know that going fully through the vasana will cause it to moderate somewhat but I may still have to get it again at deeper and deeper levels.
Some vasanas become life themes as with me and the “Complainer.”
The point I’m making by going through the process is that it brings us into a reliving of the experience.
It transpires at the level of feeling which has more juice to it, more aliveness to it than simply thinking about or imagining it, as rich as those can be.
I think women will more easily get into this process than men because women tend to be more in touch with their feelings (like love).
The process that I just outlined I call the “Upset Clearing Process” and it’s another tool for our Post-Reval Toolbox.
Tomorrow we’ll look at another processing tool – taking a stand.
(To be concluded tomorrow in Part 2.)
(1) A vasana is a complex of thoughts and feelings which arises as a result of trauma suffered when we were very young. It contains memories of the original trauma and succeeding and related traumas, conclusions, decisions, and anything else that arose as a result of the original incident.
A synonym for vasana is “core issue.” The term vasana is imported from Hinduism, where a considerable literature exists on by enlightened masters like Sri Ramana Maharshi.