Over the Xmas holidays I watched Groundhog Day with a friend and was greatly impacted. It made a point about core issues or vasanas that I can’t help calling attention to.
“Vasanas” is a Vedantic term for the reaction patterns we’ve formed based on earlier, similar, traumatic incidents. (1)
The premise of the story, as the notes say, is that “a
Where I’m going in describing its plot is to reveal the silver lining of vasanas. In escaping them, we retain the skills we developed, which enrich us. Bill Murray, in polishing his act every day, then abandoning it, only to find it’s become a part of him, illustrates this.
Add a love interest, the weatherman’s new producer, Andie McDowell, and Bill Murray starts to use this time loop, this repeating day to woo her. He makes note of what she likes and doesn’t like and presents whatever that is to her, more refined each day.
At this point I have to add a distinction that Werner Erhard would make between “at cause” and “at effect” because it forms the key to our explanation of what’s happening here.
If I do something because I want to, love to, or choose to, I’m usually “at cause” with it.
If I do something because I have to, should do, or have been told to, I’m usually “at effect” with it.
The former is powerful, effective, and rewarding; the latter is draining, demoralizing, and self-defeating.
Bill Murray is at effect with wooing Angie and she calls him on his lack of authenticity. She sees him presenting a polished act to her and wants none of it.
In our terms, he hasn’t shifted from being at effect with what he’s doing to being at cause. In a word he seems phoney, unconvincing, ingenuine. He’s being called upon to “produce the goods.”
If these were Birds of Paradise, the female would just have rejected the male suitor. (2)
But instead what we watch is that magic moment in all of what we used to call “breakthrough movies,” (3) the moment when the actor has an epiphany, transformational moment, or realization, and the solution to the problem they’ve been confronting presents itself. (4)
When that happens they usually shift from doing what they’re doing at effect to doing it (or not) at cause. (5)
We now say “they’ve arrived” in life. They’re now here. They’ve shown up on the scene and usually, when they do, that’s the turning point, the breakthrough in the movie.
In Groundhog Day, having done all the things which a thoughtful lover would do and then abandoning it as an act or script he was following, Bill found that the thoughtfulness underneath it remained. Unforeseen, it had become a part of him.
He WAS now thoughtful, kind, and helpful.
And this has a profound significance for our examination of core issues or vasanas.
To illustrate it more, let me re-tell a second story.
Remember the story of the boy who lived on top of a mountain and, when his Dad drove down the mountain to the town every day, he had no other means of transportation?
He was isolated and needed a back-up to his Dad in case he or the family were ever in trouble. So he became a networker – the local helpmeet for any circumstance.
And when he grew up, he remained a consummate networker, but, at some point he saw what he was doing, called himself on it, and … stopped doing networking from effect.
But he continued to do it, more moderately, from cause. He had become that way of being. It was now a part of him.
Instead of being extreme in it, however, he was now calmer, more reasonable, and more self-controlled. And, in my eyes anyways, it much better suited him, rather than the frantic helper he previously had been.
And this is the silver lining of vasanas and why I write this article.
In escaping them, we develop skills that remain with us once we move from cause to effect with them. They now enrich us, rather than draining us. We’re now able to be the pilot, not the passenger of our personal plane.
(1) See Vasanas: Preparing For Ascension by Clearing Old Issues at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Vasanas-Preparing-for-Ascension-R9.pdf
(2) See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWfyw51DQfU.
(3) Officer and a Gentleman is another example. Breakthrough movies were as much of a genre in the Sixties as any genre today.
(4) They then either take it and act on it and we have a movie or don’t and no one gives another thought to it. It becomes, in the narrative of life, “the road not taken.”
On the more general process being described, see Paradigmatic Breakthrough: Essays in New-Age Philosophy at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Paradigmatic-Breakthrough-12.pdf
(5) Breakthrough moments are common not only to romance movies but to other genres as well. An awakening, epiphany, onset of resolve is a common event in movies. Some are major; some are minor, but they’re nevertheless a staple.
Download Vasanas: Preparing For Ascension by Clearing Old Issues at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Vasanas-Preparing-for-Ascension-R9.pdfVasanas - Preparing for Ascension R9
Download Paradigmatic Breakthrough: Essays in New-Age Philosophy at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Paradigmatic-Breakthrough-12.pdfParadigmatic Breakthrough 12