The best way to understand “Vasana” is impression. Some experiences make an energetic impression that’s held in the mind and stored in the energetic physiology. We could call them unresolved or incomplete experiences, some of them going back thousands of years. TM calls this stress. These are the seeds or mechanism of karmic return.
The mind likes to explain things, so it gathers a story about our accumulated baggage. That story and the shadows of impressions create what is commonly called Maya, the illusory nature of our typical experience of the world. Because those impressions become part of our story and thus identity, and because some of the impressions are unpleasant, we consume great amounts of energy resisting those impressions being seen and resolved. We think we’re protecting ourselves but it’s the opposite.
Another meaning of Vasana is clothing, what we wear. We carry around this junk energetically.
In the mechanics of brain physiology, incoming sensory input is compared to and associated with prior experiences before the experience becomes conscious. Thus, everything we experience may be influenced by this history.
When those vasanas are resolved through rest or in seeing and resolving them in action (the sprouted seeds), they cease being associated with experiences and thus our past ceases to shadow us. Memories remain but they don’t have the grip they once had. That grip feeling is the resistance that points to vasanas.
We may think this exaggerated but when significant portions are released and we experience the lightening, the increased energy and the greater clarity, what we’ve been carrying becomes clear. We’ve all experienced the grip trauma can have on our experience for a time. Or how a lost love is healed.
Of course some associations are useful, like big bus coming, don’t go. It’s the reactive ones we want to resolve. The parts of our story we tell ourselves that build the drama and illusion.
In the study of action, the Vedas talk about how at first we realize our reaction after we’ve acted. Then while we’re acting. And then, as the impression first arises. Each gives us a greater degree of choice and a greater clarity of the process. Some areas of life will have more clarity than others.
There are a few things that make releasing easier.
– Effortless meditation helps resolve resistance and impressions with deep rest
– Becoming more attuned to how we feel allows us to notice the reactions as they arise. But we may need to clear some of the chaff before we can see in the noise. Things like anxiety can create a constant drone.
– Learning to allow things to be as they are. This amplifies when we’re not allowing or resisting
– Through experience of Self within via meditation, the detached observer arises, greatly enhancing this
You can find other suggestions and links here.
Good luck on your healing journey. The effort is well worth your time in quality of life.
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I differentiate Vasanas from Samskaras a little better here: