My experience of processing a vasana (1) is very much deeper than it was even a year ago.
I’m experiencing one right now that is so deep, that by rights I should simply remain with the experience – not write – thanking my stars that it’s come up. But my mission is to share it.
I was having an otherwise happy and uneventful morning when I suddenly felt an icey shock, like someone suddenly plunged me into ice-cold water. And then it vanished, like a meteor across the sky.
But it only went because … I’m normal. I’m not holding on to anything.
In this space, I serve no agenda – at the moment; I may later. It’s a neutral space – in which the truth has a chance of registering. (2)
If I were holding on to lots of resentments and other harmful thoughts, I’d be dense and busy-minded. The icey shock would not have departed. It would have been much more severe and I’d have felt a negative reaction to it – perhaps violently angry.
Because I give it my attention, it would have stayed.
Unknown to me, my record, “I Made a Mistake!” would have been triggered and I’ve had a sudden fit of anger. Then I’ve acted it out by being nasty with someone or gruff and grumpy.
All that is compressed into and contained within that itty-bitty icey shock that I felt.
One of the meanings of “vasana” is seed of future action. We’ve just seen its germination.
What’s different is that this time I observed it rather than taking it on. I took a mental “snapshot” of it and then examined it later, feeling the iciness again.
It’s the first time I’ve observed such a thing. I think we often hardly notice these little shocks when they happen. That is, we don’t notice the shock itself. But we certainly do notice what happens after.
These shocks can be the trigger of a vasana without us so much as giving a thought to it. Why are we suddenly angry? We don’t know. It just suddenly arose.
I’ve seen myself in this position time after time. I just have never been an open space with it before and I’ve never paid the little twinges and shocks any mind.
I cannot remember the thought I had that triggered the original shock. I think it was a financial or medical matter but I do remember that the next thought was that Dad would be angry with me for making a mistake.
OK, I recognize that thought as the trigger. How do I know? Because I feel some release when it arose. A basic touchstone or theorem with me is that the truth will set me free. If I’m feeling increasing release as I process my vasana, then I know I’m on the right track.
But it feels like there’s more processing to go. This is not the whole truth. A deeper wound needs to be healed.
When I asked my mind to send up, from deep storage, an image of the original incident, I saw my Dad kicking me under the table. (3)
That kick hurt! I was totally stunned when it happened. I said to myself (the vasana’s conclusion): “You can’t see it coming. You never know from which direction it’ll come. How can I defend myself?”
My decision was always to put distance between me and my Dad. And to always be on my guard. (4) This is how a vasana works, right? We reach a conclusion and, on the basis of it, we reach a decision which binds our future behavior. Voila, a vasana.
The memory of the sudden shock and hurt of his kick – because I made a mistake – became embedded in my consciousness. It was driven in with golden spikes.
Don’t make a mistake! I hear myself saying, as I fully experience the vasana. Watch out for the blow you can’t see coming! Always be on guard! The restrictions poured out over the years, becoming parts of my constructed self.
All of this was triggered by a momentary icey shock.
There. Processing that vasana took around an hour from experiencing the shock to seeing where it originated.
“Taking it out on someone” (or ourselves) is often how we deal with our vasanas.
As a plot sequence, it’s to be found at the beginning of many, many movies. Jackie Gleason made a career out of it in The Honeymooners. Punch & Judy is predicated on it: A perpetual anger machine.
I guess a lot of my life was spent acting that one out as well, for which I apologize to those who had to deal with me.
What I’m describing is the alternative I now use to be free of it. (5)
(1) A vasana or core issue is an upset in the present that is triggered by the remembrance of an earlier, traumatic incident, usually in childhood. Sri Ramana Maharshi is my major source on vasanas. Werner Erhard has been a big influence with his notion of “records” and how to process them. Eckhart’s “pain body” covers the same ground.
(2) “You speak of neutrality in your earlier discussion, and what a wonderful topic. For it is a topic that is in the moment, NOW.
“[Focusing] on being in a neutral state, being centered, being in the now moment, that is being neutral. Just as the Creator is neutral. Just as you, as the creator, are neutral. That is the state that you are working toward. The higher level of vibration and frequency in that neutral state will take you on as a collective into the next Golden Age.
“In the higher dimensions, neutrality is the moment that you are in. The more that you focus your lives, your thoughts, on being in that NOW moment, being in that neutral state, then you will find throughout your lives everything that you have been looking for, and always, and finding out that everything that you have been looking for has been right there in front of you all along.” (KaRa channeled by James MacConnell, Prepare for Change, July 14, 2019, at https://media.12of12.com/trans/190714_SundayCall.pdf.)
(3) I have to add that this was not the picture I thought would come up. I thought it’d go much farther back than that.
Nevertheless, I accept whatever the mind projects – and the very first thing it projects. I find it has to be that way for this process to work.
(4) This may be the source of the scared-wolf look my wife would say I had on my face.
(5) Kathleen Mary Willis has added forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude to this exercise. Doing so multiplies the overall effectiveness of this process.
We both often add invoking the universal laws.
Werner Erhard had an approach to what he called “records” (that I call vasanas and Linda Dillon calls “core issues”); Byron Katie has the Work.
When I think about it, most workshops I ever attended were about removing one vasana or another.