I’ve been inspired by Kathleen’s discussion of her vasana of periodic suicidal impulses.
I’d like to coat-tail on her discussion with one of vasanas as a field of study.
According to Ramana Maharshi, vasanas (or core issues), such as what Kathleen is pointing at, are the chief obstacles to enlightenment. (1)
They manifest as muscular tension in the body which lowers our awareness.
They manifest as illness – Michael has explained how each ache and pain I’ve had in the past few years, including prostate cancer, was traceable to a vasana, a counterproductive thought like I can’t stomach mediocrity or I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders or this world is a pain in the ass.
Most of our vasanas were formed in early childhood, from traumatic events. They bent the twig and inclined the tree. Now they often determine our words and behavior.
When they keep going off, we blame others for them and add a fresh charge of energy to the vasanas, instead of robbing them of energy by passively observing them.
We barely understand the subject of vasanas. Anyone researching it – as Kathleen is, for instance – is laying new track.
I’ve been finding that a few of my core issues or root vasanas go so deep that, despite working on them continuously, I have not gotten to the heart of them. I keep thinking I have. I don’t know how many times I’ve written “Complete” on Father Hatred, but it’s still there and it’s very, very subtle.
I wake up in the morning in it. I interact all day from it. I go to sleep in it. I’d be kidding myself if I said otherwise.
I could say that not a lot of studies have been written on vasanas. Or I could say that seemingly 80% of what is written in psychology is on vasanas. Both statements would have some truth to them.
The studies on vasanas just use different names for them, as described in the books I used to revel in decades ago, like Games People Play, Scripts People Live, and The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.
What I call vasanas, Linda calls core issues, Werner Erhard called records, and others have called our old issues, old baggage, gunnysack of resentments, Morley’s Chain, etc.
Still others, viewed from a slightly different vantage point, have called them our rackets, acts, routines, winning numbers, etc. But no one yet – and don’t look to me to do it – has synthesized the field, certainly not from a spiritual perspective.
Many of the discussions go on in the paradigm that prevailed when I went to college, which is called empirical materialism.
That viewpoint says that only what can be seen, heard, touched, etc., is real. I had a vision experience while in my sociology doctoral program. The university did not see that as real. I chose to leave the university rather than squeeze myself into the existing paradigm any longer. It’d become too small for me.
In the study of vasanas, we’re gathering a few self-narratives, via awareness writing. You can see that Kathleen Mary Willis writes in this vein, as does Pt. Narendra Misra, Wes Annac, and a few others.
They’re reporting their own experience, especially in Kathleen and Narendra’s cases; they focus in on vasanas as well as their spiritual experiences.
My hypothesis is that the wealth of those spiritual experiences reflects the degree to which they’ve completed their vasanas. If I were researching the subject, I’d want to check that hypothesis out.
Whole new vistas open up if vasanas are studied from a spiritual perspective. If I were to put them in two sentences, I’d say that understanding and completing our vasanas contributes more than anything I can think of to our enlightenment. It removes the prime obstacle, the prime source of density.
Vasanas are like dead weights that keep us dense. I can’t think of another thing we could do that would have more direct impact on the level of our consciousness. Or the collective consciousness, a concept materialists would not entertain.
In social science, when a field opens up, first come the field reports (could be narratives, biographies, histories, observations, whatever, of people of interest) and then come the analyses (what social scientists call the structural-functional studies, drawing on the narratives).
In the spiritual study of vasanas, we’re just at the stage of recording a few experiences from a self-consciously spiritual point of view. I can only speak for myself when I say that I’m not submitting what I write to the opinion and judgment of academia as long as it remains in the grip of the empirical-materialist paradigm. Until that situation lifts my research remains off-campus.
It’d be too soon for me to be analyzing vasanas. I may never get around to it because we’re building Nova Earth at the same time.
But someone, at some point, will gather the narratives and begin to deduce certain patterns in them, similarities and differences, analyze them, and integrate that knowledge into the existing and adjoining fields, most of all the study of enlightenment.
If vasanas are the biggest obstacle to enlightenment – and I certainly believe that to be the case – then all the work we do to study them is a contribution to the next civilization that ascends, who look to us for our counsel on how to improve the process.
This subject, like so many others, should be in the school curriculum – and well-taught.
(Continued in Part 2, tomorrow.)
(1) “Only one who is free from all the latent tendencies (vasanas) is a Sage.” (Sri Ramana Maharshi, Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Eighth Edition. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1974, Chapter 2, Question 26.)
“Sahaja [our Ascension] is the original state so that sadhana amounts to the removal of obstacles for the realization of this abiding truth.” (Ramana Maharshi in Paul Brunton and Munagala Venkataramaiah. Conscious Immortality. Conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi. Rev. ed. 1996, n.p.)
“In kevala nirvikalpa samadhi [seventh-chakra enlightenent, Barhamjnana] one is not free from vasanas and does not, therefore, attain mukti.” (Sri Ramana Maharshi in Ramananda Swarnagiri, Crumbs from His Table. https://www.ramana-maharshi.org. Downloaded 10 September 2005. , n.p.)
“If the mind becomes introverted through enquiry into the Source of Aham-vritti, the vasanas become extinct and in the absence of the reflecting medium the phenomenon of reflection, namely, the mind, also disappears being absorbed into the Light of the one Reality, the Heart.” (Sri Ramana Maharshi. Maharshi’s Gospel. Books I and II. Being Answers of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi to Questions Put to Him by Devotees. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam,1979; c1939, 87.)