Reposted from Sept. 18, 2010
by Steve Beckow
Yes, I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love very, very much. No, I don’t want to discuss it. I’m right in the middle of an upset and was for most of the movie.
It’s wonderful to be right in the middle of an upset.
What’s wonderful about it? Well, as I’ve said before, I can’t handle a vasana unless I feel it in the moment. And I usually only feel it in the middle of an upset.
(“Vasana” is a Vedantic term for a persistent reaction pattern triggered by a current upset which resembles one from the past.)
I cannot intellectualize an upset. I cannot think of an upset and flatten the vasana underneath it unless I actually do feel the upset in its full glory.
So I do feel upset, which means I have the opportunity to flatten a vasana.
Notice that we can take the attitude of welcoming an upset for exactly this reason: it’s THE time to flatten the vasana at its base. Welcome the unwanted guest.
I’m not going to rush through handling this upset because it’s too valuable a circumstance. I get to deal with the vasana, I get to go over the upset, I get to describe the stages of release. Much too valuable to rush.
Given that we know that the most demanding circumstances we’ll probably face in our lives are just ahead of us – disclosure, first contact, moving from duality to unity, and Ascension – knowing how to flatten a vasana is absolutely, in my view, bootcamp training.
Once in my life, I’ve had my hair stand on end and I know that being in the middle of tremendous fright is no time to begin learning something. So let me practice on a garden-variety upset instead and be prepared for the really mind-bending situations I may face in the future.
First let me describe the upset and then walk through the steps I recorded earlier (1) for managing it.
Let me take an upset that is currently happening that arose in the midst of the movie. The upset appears to be related to the fact that I’m separating from something, which is as yet poorly defined or understood, and feelings are arising in me over the process. In the movie, Julia Roberts was separating from her boyfriend and it was at that moment that I got upset.
Let’s walk through the steps involved in the process I call “be with and observe.”
- Stand in the face of it, without reacting.
Ok, so the first thing is to stop whatever else I was doing and switch into “being and observation” mode. So I was moaning and griping to myself until I realized I was gripped by a vasana. The moment I realized it, I began to be with it and observe it.
- Observe what is happening to you internally.
I noticed I felt disgruntled, exposed, vulnerable. I notice I cannot be with these feelings very well. I want to DOOOOO something. I don’t like these sensations.
- Ask yourself precisely when the upset started.
I’m aware of precisely when the upset started. It started when Julia Roberts in the movie hauled out her laptop and began to write an email to the boyfriend she recently separated from. Now the upset can, many times, lift from seeing the precise moment when it started. Mine hasn’t, so I’ll continue.
- Try to put a name to it – dismay, horror, indignation?
Annoyance is a good word. Gripeyness. Irritability – yes, that’s the best word yet. I think irritability best expresses it. At this point too, the upset could lift but it hasn’t for me. However I know it happened when Julia started plunking away on her computer and that I feel irritable. Next step.
- Ask yourself what earlier, similar incident is in play here? Take the first thought you get.
I ask my mind to send me a thought, image, or word that will identify for me the earlier, similar incident and I take the first thing I get.
Believe it or not, the earlier, similar incident that arises for me is related to my separation from my first wife, many, many years ago, which eventually led to divorce (she died some years ago so I don’t think mentioning it will cause any harm). That was the first thought I got – or rather picture, because I saw myself sitting on the couch in our old home in Ottawa, Ontario.
But so far I see no particular incident. And then it flashes on my mind. I’m talking to my best friend, Don, who has flown in from Vancouver and was staying with us.
I have no idea at this moment how seeing Don relates to watching Julia Roberts writing an email. The only clue is the breakdown of a marriage. I won’t even attempt to “think” about it. I’ll just let it be. This is not an intellectual process.
- Try it on for size.
Since I saw myself in the living room of my Ottawa home, I’ll go there in my mind. I see myself talking to Don. He’s asking me some pretty intimate questions about my marriage. What I didn’t know at that time was that he was also sleeping with my wife. Oh, how foolish – and irritable – I felt afterwards when I found out. So irritability is the connecting link and brought that picture up.
[In his comment, John raises a good point here: Did I feel betrayed? No, this was the era of free love in the early 1970s and my first wife was at liberty to sleep with whomever she wanted. It was the fact that my best friend had not told me he was relating to her before asking me such intimate questions that irritated me.]
- Observe whether entertaining it as the cause of your upset brings release.
OK, some of the irritability left so by trying the situation with Don on for size I discovered that it did account for some of my irritation But I still feel upset.
Yet it does not fully release me so let me try again. Let me see if there is a second upset that sits like a layer under the first.
So I ask my mind again to shoot up a picture of another earlier, similar incident.
For some reason I flash upon myself giving a radio talk show when I was seventeen years old on some international incident like the Cuban missile crisis. I was a member of the International Affairs Club at my high school and the teacher had arranged a radio show for us.
Somehow doing this – commenting on international affairs – fit for me. Talking on the radio was as if I had come home in some way. I had found what would become for me an identity. But in the last analysis I did not go ahead with my radio career in those days and by not doings so I collapsed an identity.
What was the identity I was turning my back on now? Well, I was at that very moment deleting a folder on my email called “Alt Press.” It contained alternative news stories on current events. I had decided that there were just too few news stories being published that related to the 2012 scenario and so I was deleting that folder.
My turning my back on “international affairs” now was like my turning my back on it many years ago. This incident was like that earlier-similar incident in being about closing down an identity. And notice how the two sources of upset – the talk with Don and turning my back on international affairs – both involved the collapsing of an identity.
So what was causing a further upset in me was an action I was taking that looked like collapsing an identity. I’m facing right now a rehearsal of the collapse of an identity years ago. Yes, I feel increased release. Yes, this is definitely what’s happening. The truth has set me free from both upsets.
- Keep going until all tension is gone.
I can stop now because I’m restored to a sense of being the container in which the upset is happening, rather than the upset itself. I could say that I’m restored to being the context for the upset rather than the contents of the upset. The upset is draining away and I’m “restored to Self.”
So this is the “be with and observe” process that I’m recommending others take on to give us a means of handling being reactivated by seeing a strange galactic or being asked to board a space ship.
Surrender to the upset, feel it, name the feeling, allow the mind to toss up the “earlier similar,” try it on for size, and watch the upset drain away. If you can’t do these things because the galactic is extending his hand, then just be with the situation. That alone will have the upset pass faster than reacting to it.
Now to return to the situation which I now see much more clearly
First, Julia Roberts confirming the collapse of her relationship was like speaking to Don at the time of my own first relationship collapse.
Second, deleting a file of international news articles on my computer at the present day resembled walking away from my high-school international affairs role. I was collapsing an identity. Both incidents were upset triggers. And neither incident was related to what was happening in the present, except very tangentially.
OOOO-kay. Now I feel fine again. Restored to feelings of bliss and joy. These two upsets were an interruption in well-being. I could have multiplied them and sent them back down into memory to rear their ugly heads again some time in the future.
But instead I’ve “experienced them through.” I may have flattened the vasanas the upsets gave rise to or I may have to experience the upsets again some time in the future. If the latter, it will be far easier the second time. They will have lost some of their power over me
This is the process I’m recommending to you as well to flatten the vasanas that are the chief obstacle to stepping into fearful situations, becoming permanently enlightened, and so many other circumstances, many of which we’ll encounter in the months and years ahead.
Please don’t think I’m somehow an “expert” in handling upsets. They’re as difficult and unpleasant for me as they are for you. I just know a few details about how to handle them. But they still trip me up and I look stupid in the middle of them and fumbling when handling them.
Nonetheless, a vasana that is flattened is a vasana that Sri Ramana calls “destroyed.” You can’t “destroy” a vasana by confronting it head on. (Well, some people can, but I can’t.) The best way to “destroy” it is to let it be, be with it and observe it, as I’ve just described here.
(1) “I Know I came Here to Communicate This” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/ascension/preparing-for-ascension/i-know-i-came-here-to-communicate-this/