Destroy vasanas or meditate?

At the bottom of this post I’ll link a terrific new video by my friend Padmé. It speaks for itself but first I want to offer a few short comments.

1. The most elementary ideas are often the most important. But people often overlook them because they are in a rush to get to the advanced level.

2. The idea here is, “The main thing seekers need to do is destroy vasanas. If you do that, the desired state will automatically become apparent.”

3. This is the opposite of the idea, “Seekers need to hold themselves through willpower in some kind of state (thought-free, conscious, etc.).”

Points 2 and 3 are opposite approaches to getting enlightened. Some people say you can combine them because if you hold yourself in a certain state, vasanas will automatically dissolve. This hasn’t worked very well for me.

Links

Being Shiva

Yogi Parampara

20 thoughts to “Destroy vasanas or meditate?”

  1. I watched the video and resonate with the core message but there is no clear description of how to: “destroy vasanas”. She says to work on getting rid of all the B.S. that is within us, yes true, but how to do it? Perhaps in other videos she is more specific but in the one you posted here, there is no clear direction on how to get rid of vasanas, just that getting rid of vasanas is needed.

    The way vasanas have gradually been removed in my life, over the last 28 years, since beconing conscious that there is a natural state and that there are tendencies that obstruct the natural state, is by surrendering to the intuition and intelligence inherent in life and then acting according to life’s situational invitations and demands of what is necessary.

    For example, joining the Army at the age of 34, after years of following Ramana’s teachings was an act of karma yoga, to serve and provide for the upbringing of three sons. I as a person did not want to join the Army, it was the last thing that I would do if I could just do whatever I want. But life presented it as a means to providing for my sons and in turn it became a way of disciplining or refining or uprooting certain tendencies, that are obstructing the natural state.

    These tendencies are arrogance, defiance, self-importance, anger, lust, desire for fame, etc.
    I would like to hear more of how she instructs people to remove the obstructions. I did go that path for many years of seeing all my vasanas and trying to do something about them and the only thing that worked was to let life do what it wants with my form and not have a preference for what type of work the body had to do.

  2. Very interesting comment, Rafe. I had the same reaction as you to the video (“how to do it?”) and told her so. She replied that she will make three more videos answering that question. I’ll post links to them here when she finishes them.

    …the only thing that worked was to let life do what it wants with my form and not have a preference for what type of work the body had to do.

    I’m tempted to ask you the same question: How did you “let” life do what it wants? How did you not have a preference? Can this be explained in more detail or depth?

    1. The choice was to either step up and provide for my sons financially or not? Having a love for my sons and wanting to provide for them allowed me to give up other desires, dreams, aspirations, goals that had more to do with my personal self-construct, of what “I” would want to have happen in this life. Because I felt that abandoning my sons’ Mother to provide for them on her own would be a shameful and low-character action to take, I accepted that surrendering my resistence to being a provider was the dharmic thing to do… that led to joining the Army and in a sense since then, it has been one surrender after another… until the culture of surrender becomes natural to one’s way of living.

    2. Her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F8ZJWfN-P8
      addresses how to do it, about three quarters of the way into the video.
      In short, she instructs people to do Pantanjali’s yogic exercises, pranayama, mantra chanting, hathya yoga. That by doing these, it will lead to the ability to do dyhana (meditation) and then once dhyana becomes continual, the seeds of the vasanas will be burnt.

      1. I may be misunderstanding her but I don’t think she’s talking about vasanas in that chitta-vritti video. It talks about burning roots and branches (by which she means chitta-vrittis) but not seeds (by which I think she means vasanas). I think the new videos she’s about to make will go further than this one. But maybe I’ve misunderstood her. We’ll soon see.

        Edit: Oh my God, we’re having another forum conversation about a metaphor involving seeds!!!! 🙂

        Another edit: I see from her newer video (not available when I wrote the previous paragraphs) that she uses the word “vasana” in a way that I didn’t expect.

        1. Lol
          Seeds 🙂
          I may be thought vasanas and chitti vrittis are just different worfs for the same thing, maybe she isn’t speaking of vasanas… Oh God, I thought there were only vasanas to get rid of, not vasanas AND chitti vrittis…

  3. “chitta” is usually described as “mind stuff”, and “vrittis” are modifications. So chitta vrittis are modifications of the mind, mostly thoughts. I say “mostly”, because patanjali also includes sleep as one of the five types of vrittis. Vrittis are the result of samskaras/vasanas.

    Regarding “destroying vasanas”, one of my ways was as Rafael described, to surrender to life’s situations. For the last few years, it has been what annamalai swami described as the rejection of thoughts. To not indulge or identify with thoughts/emotions as they arise and to shift identity to consciousness. This is quite tough and hard work, but very rewarding. Every few months will see significant changes.
    Going by my experience, I suspect this is how the majority of purification happens, and the final bits are burnt by dhyana. It’s only now, after almost twenty years, that meditation is happening to me. I never really meditated before, because I found it quite frustrating.

    1. (Replying to Nishant’s long comment)

      That’s wonderful news. Congratulations.

      It’s only now, after almost twenty years, that meditation is happening to me.

      Could you say a little more about this? Is it entirely involuntary? Can you do anything voluntarily to help bring it on or keep it away?

      1. I should say that I don’t mean any strong or continued states of concentration which would qualify to be called dhyana.
        But I could say that the “urge to meditate” is more frequent. I could describe it as consciousness wanting to abide in itself or even trying to find it’s source.
        The “inward” state is more common now through the day, and it’s easier to reject thoughts. The distracted states are of lesser duration (when the mind would be outwards or lost in thought for hours and hours).
        Actually it’s become quite hard to put my mind on any outward distractions. The mind is pulled inwards soon, often by a mantra which starts on its own. And once I start chanting the mantra it stops after a while, with the current of awareness remaining. This “awareness” or “consciousness” has assumed a tangible quality, almost physical, especially in sitting meditation.
        || Can you do anything voluntarily to help bring it on or keep it away? ||
        Yes, a little bit of chanting will make the mind go inwards.
        Having said all this, my main practice is still the rejection of thoughts, the struggle with vasanas. Meditation is slowly increasing in the mix.

    1. I really enjoyed the new video, she presented some points in a way that I have never heard before about vasanas, it was of real practical value.

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