What helped the most?

A friend asked by email:

What has really worked for you?

Different things helped at different times. It’s hard to know what helped the most, but if I had to recommend a single practice, I’d say the most important thing was destroying vasanas, especially painful vasanas, by seeing them as fully as possible without any effort to change them and by abandoning resistance to them.

When I say “vasanas” I mean memories and facts and thoughts that haunt us, that arise repeatedly.

I don’t think I’ve ever discussed vasanas on this blog, not a single time, so this answer may be surprising, but I didn’t realize the importance of destroying vasanas till the last two years and I never got around to writing about it.

The technique that worked for me was to look at the vasana as calmly and objectively and completely as possible. I remembered the painful memories and events, reviewed how I feel about them, etc. I faced all that and admitted to myself, “These things are part of ‘me’ and part of my life and I hate them. I hate them, but they are there and that’s the reality.”

I didn’t try to stop hating them. I didn’t try to stop regretting them. I didn’t try to change my feelings. I didn’t try to change anything. I only tried to see everything about the vasana as completely and objectively as possible with all my intelligence. When I say “intelligence”, I mean my ordinary intelligence. My ordinary life experience.

The key was that I stopped resisting them. Whatever fact or memory they are based on, so what?

Vasanas are the fuel of the mind. When the vasanas are gone, the mind becomes quiet.

When I get time I want to write about one particular vasana that I destroyed this way. It will be a good example.

6 thoughts to “What helped the most?”

  1. Hi Freddie

    Was reading this last night and it is key as the vasanas re-emerge and cloud insight and understanding until they are removed at the root. This is what happened with me. Would really help to hear about your example when you have time. Much love xxx

    1. Dear Louise,

      Can you say anything more about how your vasanas got removed at the root? Have you written an article about it?

      Thanks for encouraging me to write the article about my example. I’ll try. Lately there’s been no motivation to write anything.



      1. Hi Freddie

        I meant the vasanas re-emerged. I had succeeded in getting them to subside so there was no evidence for a year or so, but I think they had not been removed at the root, so was hoping to learn from your example 🙂

  2. When there is understanding, the thought or the brain begins to identify more with the physical reality, the physical world, than with the psychological world. So when thoughts appear in the absence of continuity, they dissolve. This understanding is nothing but logic, it has nothing to do with god or mystical experiences. I think that is the only important thing, attention. But it can not be achieved through the will, it is the thought that has to observe itself.
    Sorry for my bad english.

  3. Hey Freddie, I resonate a lot with seeing through vasanas. Were there any books/materials that shaped in formulating your technique that it worked for you? I’m experimenting with my own, sometime it works, sometimes it doesn’t but would love to devote more attention to it.

    1. The only books that I can recall that might have influenced me in that regard were those that describe Freud’s theory of abreaction, which is a little bit similar.

      The main influence was that Shiva once said to me, “Nothing can withstand consciousness.” In the context in which he said it, I knew he meant that consciousness is an absolute power that can dissolve anything including vasanas.

      I remember also my friend Prakriti telling me that her main sadhana before realization had been something like walking down a long dark hall, a sort of hall of vasanas, and as she came to each one, she turned the light on, until eventually the hall was brightly lit from one end to the other. I can’t remember whether she told me this before or after I dissolved a vasana for the first time.

      P.S. With this sort of thing, I wonder if it’s better to hear only the general idea from other people, and work out the details for yourself, rather than trying to follow more detailed instructions.

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