I’m not sure how it is for you, but I’m noticing a layer of deep and unusual vasanas surfacing in me. I’m going to call them “primitive” vasanas. They are not noticeably anchored to any triggering events. They exist as free-floating responses to life in general, rather than as specific responses to earlier, traumatic episodes.
I’m tempted to call them moods, attitudes or orientations. They seem to be basic ego structures. And my working hypothesis is that they are being laid bare or being called out of me (and us) by the rising energies.
One is pride/arrogance and the other is guilt/shame. It feels like I’m back at an early age, an age when social relationships are just beginning to form and my responses to social situations are fairly primitive. I assume that, as we complete more and more of our unfinished business, we go back in time, becoming at last as children, fit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – or so I hope.
Pride I would define as a feeling of self-satisfaction with an action done. Arrogance I would define as a settled conviction of being superior, above another, better than another, etc. I notice that a run of instances in which I feel pride produces the settled conviction of arrogance.
Guilt and shame are at other ends of the spectrum. I would define guilt as the recognition with regret of a failed action, fumbled ball, or mis-step. If there were a whole series of failed actions, then I imagine I would feel the settled conviction of shame. Shame I would define as feeling inferior, below another, less than another. I’m not feeling shame at this moment. But I can imagine that a run of failed actions or dropped balls would lead to it.
I have to emphasize that I have not dropped any balls at this moment so this feeling is not anchored to anything that is happening out there. It’s a free-floating emotion and it’s persistent, rather than something that comes and goes. At least persistent for now. I’m not sure where it will go, but I’m intent on completing the experience of it.
I’m doing nothing much more at the moment than relaxing and enjoying myself. Though I try to source these feelings, I come up empty each time. That’s why I suspect I’m hitting a base layer of the ego.
If I inhabit these feelings, get behind them, project them or act them out, then I perpetuate them. Each time I act as if they are me, I re-energize them and give them a new lease on life. My hope is that by observing and being with them, as I would any other vasanas, they will eventually complete themselves and lift.
To talk about these matters itself, I see, raises shame. One is not supposed to acknowledge feelings like pride, arrogance, guilt, or shame. Acknowledging them is itself seen as a dropped ball and a gaffe. But failing to acknowledge them risks condemning me to “wearing them” and I think that we in society can spot these moods very easily in another. So there’s nothing in particular to be gained from feeling these ego states and not acknowledging them, as far as I can see.
This level or layer of feeling appears to represent a really deep, protective mechanism built around the ego and must be laid bare if it is to be gone through. And my second working hypothesis is that all of us need to go through this layer, not only me.
Unless I’m willing to feel these four nagging and persistent feeling states or moods, to accept them and inhabit them without becoming them, I don’t think I can complete them. So here I am, on my holiday, in a most incongruous fashion, feeling vain and arrogant, guilty and ashamed by turns, for no apparent rhyme or reason. Only if my aim is somehow to build personality structures would this be counter-productive. But if my aim is to deconstruct personality structures, then it makes good sense.
My aim is to be free of the tugs of ego and so this layer of deep orientations, attitudes or moods must be gone through. But it’s a most unsettling and vulnerable phase nonetheless. And it’s taking all my mustered courage to be transparent enough to discuss it.