Grooves After Healing

Grooves After Healing

Rut by Justin Houk
Rut by Justin Houk

I’ve spoken before about vasanas and samskaras. I wanted to share further insight.

Vasanas are those unresolved experiences stored with an energetic charge. The energy comes from incomplete karma, plus further suppression that’s used to sustain them.

We experience vasanas as impulses, addictions, irrational desires, and compulsions.

Repressed energy seeks resolution, so leaks out into our experience in various ways. Reactivity, negativity, unsuitable action, and the above.

However, if we have the right healing approach and allow what is arising to complete, those will resolve and won’t express into thoughts, actions, and events. We’ll gradually resolve our backlog.

Samskaras are the grooves laid down by sustained vasanas and habitual patterns. They’re also the pattern vasanas express through.

For example, if someone bullied us as a child, we may avoid confrontation or self-assertion. That can become an automatic habit. We don’t even recognize we’re doing it. We may even consider it part of our personality or sense of self.

And yet, the unresolved anger and shame can show up in inappropriate behaviours with supervisors or partners. Rather than asserting, we react, blame, and sulk.

Recently, I noticed that when we heal a charge (vasana or repressed emotion), the impression or samskara it created remains.

For example, the aversion to self-assertion may continue even after the childhood trauma is healed.

However, as we become increasingly aware, we’ll notice habits that are discordant or resistant. Noticing them is like seeing through them. Then it’s no longer accepted by the mind and falls away.

Part of healing is removing the charge, but then we soften the impressions it made. The fire (rajas) is cooled, then the inertia (tamas) is transformed into clarity (sattva).

We’ll find that as we heal, there will still be some old habits that continue. They’re no longer charged but the less life-supporting pattern can remain. They’re not addictive now, just habitual. And there may be some resistance to change.

Happily, with the charge gone, we can more easily see these habits if we’re willing to look. When we stop supporting them, they soften and fade.

There is a kind of learning in this healing process. A learning how to be with life in optimum ways. Then we develop habits that support the flow of life and joy.

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    1. Hi Guru
      Vasanas are unresolved experiences, so yes, they can come from childhood. But also very much from prior lives, our family and ancestors, and the lager collective. Wherever there is energy, it can be resisted. 🙂

  1. Allen Dubner

    My experience is that holistic health techniques like nuero emotional techniques (NET) and Quantum Nuerology Reset Technique(QNRT) and Emotional Freedom Technique(EFT) seem to release the charge caught in the nueophysiology and reset the body mind. I wonder if it is chipping away at Vasanas and Samskaras. It seems so to me. Any ideas on this?

    1. Hi Allen
      Yes, there are a variety of techniques for surfacing those charges (vasanas). To some extent, it depends on their nature, how they’re defended, and what level they’re on as to what’s most effective. The more established we are in consciousness, the easier it is to get under and to detach from them, making healing easier. But we tend to have blind spots that a skilled healer can facilitate. A skilled healer will have good intuitive skills also, for using and customizing techniques as required.

      Once the charge is released, what sustains the grooves (samskaras) is gone and they’ll tend to fade or be seen through in time. However, they have that potential to restore charges because of those habitual patterns in resisting life. Again, how established we are makes a lot of difference. And some techniques may be useful here but I’ve never tried to categorize techniques this way. Not my area of expertise. 🙂

  2. Eira

    Interesting, I have noticed something like this principle come to the fore for a while now; the image was that of a big weed or old tree eventually cut down. It ceases to get nourishment from its roots, as it’s now separated from them, but the leaves don’t shrivel up right away. Still make their shadow felt, but now at least the remaining habits can be worked through with more clarity and calmness, as well as far less/absent emotional attachment to the “gotta clear this out before 5pm next Tuesday” that could prevail in the past.

    Good post, thank you. Absolutely agree on the possible learning inherent in that particular aspect of a healing process.

    1. Excellent observations, Eira
      What came to mind here was a dandelion. You can pull them up but of you don’t get all the root, they come back. Ditto morning glory.

      Yes, there are many layers of learning as we discover better ways of being physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. As we shift stages and gain greater clarity, some of that is learned anew.

  3. Sandesh Sheth

    In my life I have done things I am not proud of. And even if I would like to think otherwise, they were simply meant to happen. At no point I was able to avoid them even though I knew they were wrong. At the same time I have done things I am proud of – at times risking my life to save others. And again I dont think that I could not have avoided doing them. In both cases these just happened through me. How do vasana and samskara correlate in such doings?

    1. Hi Sandesh
      It’s useful to distinguish the mechanics of what’s happening from how it’s being experienced.

      We can experience being caught in our experiences, having complete control over our actions, of seeing them happen automatically, and so forth. Discussed here:

      And then there is what is happening. The events today are often fed by past choices and the choices today feed future events. This is the play of karma. We may see those choices as my doing or not per the above. Yet they’re still associated with us.

      Karma is closely associated with vasanas. In a sense, we could say they’re the mechanism by which karma is stored and expressed but thats only partly true. There are other types of karma.

      I have found we can defuse a lot of karma by resolving vasanas internally rather than having to act them out. This is a good part of the benefit of healing. As we heal over time, our life can get quieter and simpler, with much less drama.

    1. Hi Colleen
      ‘Thy will be done’ is basically a letting go of control, of allowing life to be as it is. The experience of this depends on the depth of surrender, and how devotional we are. I explore this here:

      We need desires to get us out of bed in the morning, brush our teeth, etc. While desire is often demonized in spiritual circles, it is attachment to our desires that causes the trouble.

      As we resolve much of our backlog and shed our attachments, we can reach a place of peace. This arises naturally, not through control or resistance of desires. Then we’re free of desires. But this doesn’t mean we have none, it means they no longer bind us.

      Someone on a renunciate path will culture a largely desireless state. But for most of us who live in the world, desire is needed. The key again is disentangling. Desires happen and are easily fulfilled. Suffering fades.

      Note the quote on this page, “United are their minds while full of desires.” in Unity.

  4. Don Bench

    David / Davidya: I have so much that I have trudged through to get into the “work” and revelations of the freedoms in this space. Literally, I have two journal’s-worth, and making my way down to these samskaras and vasanas, and if I understand this correctly, the upadhis that still obscure. I’ve long been baffled by these, and wondered about these obscuring perceptions as I made my way into this life and my family of origin in this incarnation.
    Further examination, meditation, yoga, prayer and service have led me to believe that what remains are limitations that are inherited – nature, and limitations that are from my early familial environment – nurture (hell of a childhood 🙂 ), both of which affected my thoughts and actions as I have gone through this life. Both of these “sources” still have persistent effects. But I question whether the path that I have taken for nearly 50 years can yield me much further, especially now without a teacher for what surely will require discourse and a dialectic.
    Question: where to? I have lived this path as a householder, maintained my practices, & advanced my studies throughout both in the Vedas, and a bit of the Brahmanas. But where can I go from here, especially without a teacher that I have had for a couple of years now.?
    I am always grateful for your insight.


    1. Hi Don
      TM refers to these more generically as “stress.” A lot of it is processed and cleared through living life and meditating. We don’t need to be aware of it particularly. It’s basically the harder nuts that take the work. They come to us through our prior lives and through our ancestors, so yes, some is inherited. Some we take on in exchange for a life.

      Think of it this way. We have a traumatic experience. We process some but find it overwhelming. So we suppress it and hide it away. But it remains there in the background, like a shadow.

      Later, we’re more capable of handling it but find it hard to see clearly so it can be resolved. But it does surface from time to time. That’s when it’s optimum to process.

      Upadhis or limitations are a little different. For example, we can have a concept that limits our ability to express cleanly, like a concept we can’t write. We can also be programmed by family expectations that limit our view. An artist born into a family of lawyers, for example, may take more time to see their gifts. Or our laws of nature can be limited by our contractions. So in that sense, they’re related but not the same.

      We are also born with a certain emphasis of laws of nature. Some of us will never by jocks or linguists. We can see these as limitations but really, thats just not what we’re here for. Instead, we’ll have gifts that optimize our life and dharma.

      I’ve been surprised by what has fallen away and what remained. Some interests turned out to be family-driven, for example. Others are part of the makeup, like them or not. But they make us who we are and channel the way we experience life, thus optimizing our process. It’s all a lot more artfully designed than our experience in the middle of it seems.

      A surprising amount of what we need is taught in the first days of starting TM. Like how to deal with purification. The mind always wants more but that just builds a bigger edifice to let go of. What is needed is living life and transcending (samadhi). When the times comes, the next stage will unfold. It’s not something we do. Life just happens while we’re busy making other plans. 🙂

      When someone is ripe, aka has clear transcending and a sense they are that observer within, then spending time with someone awake they resonate with is valuable. Most people wake up with a catalyst in the form of a living example. That may be in the form of a teacher or may not. Sometimes, its a place.

      But as the old saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. When the time comes, it will sneak up on us and we’ll only notice in retrospect…

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