The Divine Director said through Tazjima the other day:
“Even acts that appear to contradict one’s immediate understanding of self can be turned around and presented as a lesson for others to absorb and benefit from as an example of being true to self and to the greater Self, the collective of humanity.” (1)
That certainly makes sense to me and it’s in that spirit that I discuss my own traps and vasanas, pratfalls and realizations.
One occurred the other day. I observed myself having a reaction to a situation. I was giving feedback but the feedback I was giving was stronger than was probably appropriate. And I wondered where that was coming from. I looked and saw a vasana underneath it. A vasana is an archaic behavior pattern born out of reaction to ancient trauma.
In this case, I saw myself as a young child, the runt of the litter, trying to get a word in edgewise in a conversation between my father, mother and older brother. I was looking up at all the older folks, utterly unable to have my own point of view be registered in the group. And I reached the conclusion that nobody listens to me.
Having reached that conclusion, I must have decided to make sure I said things in a way that was listened to. So I developed habits like repeating myself, saying things with enough bite that they got attention, becoming a stick in the mud that had to be listened to if the caravan was to proceed, etc.
So just to repeat myself (not wanting to depart from pattern): I reached a conclusion, made a decision on the basis of it, and developed patterns of behavior that became part of my constructed self, persona, or identity.
Pretty common stuff so far. But over the years this pattern becomes extended, exacerbated, stretched, etc. With continuous repetition, outside the field of awareness, I become ever more acerbic in my comments, forceful in my presentation, and so on. My behavior and personality become skewed: as the twig is bent, the tree inclines.
The tendency of vasanas to become more and more objectionable over time is why I say that, if we don’t source or complete them, we end up in a rocking chair, nattering to ourselves, a living fossil.
We end up talking to ourselves because no one wants to be around us or listen to us (in my case, my vasana of concluding that I was not listened to would become a self-fulfilling prophecy). We become fossilized because we’ve repeated the vasana so many times and added so many layers to it that it becomes difficult to break free.
Werner Erhard used to call vasanas “records” and a person with many records was a “jukebox.” So we become a jukebox after a while, endlessly playing our top ten tunes.
But at least becoming aware of the vasana means we can’t run it now without being aware of it. And the centipede that becomes aware of its hundred legs … well, you know what happens to it. Nothing left for it to do when it piles up into a little ball than become a butterfly.
So, even if we haven’t learned to source a vasana, we can still at least raise it to awareness. I personally am fascinated with the way a human being works. I can observe my own folly for hours and get a rousing laugh out of the way I be.
Nonetheless, we have the added payoff this time around in that an investment in awareness pays off more than perhaps any other investment I can think of. And smooths the way for all that comes next.
(1) “The Great Divine Director: Be True to One’s Self,” channeled through Tazjima, 1 June, 2013 at http://bluedragonjournal.com.