“Unpleasant sensations often lead us to rich material” – Bo Forbes
Artist: Kristy Gjesme
My insights related to ‘Cleansing the Spirit’ also led me to an article on samskaras. This article was what struck me the most, inspiring me to write this post with the combination of the Grathis. Samskaras is what referred to in Psychology as Patterns of Behavior, Archetypes.
According to yogic philosophy, we’re born with a karmic inheritance of mental and emotional patterns—known as samskaras—through which we cycle over and over again during our lives. [archetypes/patterns of behavior]… In addition to being generalized patterns, samskaras are individual impressions, ideas, or actions; taken together, our samskaras make up our conditioning. Repeating samskaras reinforces them, creating a groove that is difficult to resist.
Article: Stuck in a Rut?
Seven steps for transforming samskaras.
1. Sankalpa [intention]Mindful [consciously aware] of intention/goal
2. Tapas – Intensity [perseverance, heat]
Tapas [patterns of change] is the intensity that ignites our psychological process and helps sustain the discipline required for change.
Falling back on our old habits, however unhealthy they may be, can feel like a comforting release in the short term. Anytime we manage to refrain from repeating a particular samskara [pattern of thought/behavior], that action retains a concentrated energy inside of us. This energy fans the flame of awareness, bringing our inner wisdom to light.
We create tapas in part by committing to the daily “work” of our samskara practice; this type of work can range from doing our physical asana practice every day to waking earlier than usual to meditate, write in a journal, or practice yoga [or your own daily exercise/workout routine]. We also generate tapas through abstinence from negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; this involves maintaining vigilance around our samskaras and refraining from their pull.
Continued renewal of our commitment to changing samskaras creates a well of tapas [patterns of change] from which we can draw when we need to, and ultimately awakens the true Self.
3. Shani (slowing) [When slowing] We might learn about our physical patterns of movement, or about memories or emotions locked within our tight places. When we slow down, we begin to intuit where change is most authentic and honors our deeper selves. We begin to look inward, to develop insight.
4. Vidya (Awareness)
5. Abhaya (Fearlessness) Through abhaya, we learn to tolerate unpleasant sensations, like grief, letting them pass without resorting to the comfort of old samskaras.
6. Darshana (Vision) By making space in the body during yoga, we generate freedom in the mind; this freedom can spark our creativity, helping us find an unlimited choice of healthier patterns.
7. Abhyasa (practice) helps make our new samskara more powerful than the old; the more we reinforce the new groove, the stronger it becomes. Understanding what can trigger a relapse and rededicating ourselves to our practice keep us from backsliding.
I would like to conclude this post with my own words, instead of continuation of another’s word, but this article sums up what I could/would say in perfect words. Peace and love ❤
…when we change a long-held pattern, we undergo a rebirth of sorts. This rebirth hints at a new incarnation, a more evolved version of the self. Yet improving our samskara brings us closer to our true nature…
Samskara is also defined as a perfecting and polishing, a process of cultivation. Shifting samskara, then, is the ongoing work of chipping away at our negative patterns to illuminate the purity of the soul. Like alchemists in our own transformation, we constantly refine and direct our samskara into healthier designs.
The good news is that the ability to shift our patterns—once we’ve sown the seeds—is self-generating, self-sustaining, and self-renewing. When we’re patient enough to facilitate samskara’s organic process, to honor its inner sound and slow rhythm, change simply flows. And it’s a joy to taste the reward of all this hard work in its natural form, the sweetness that arises from seeing long labor and preparation come to fruition.
Article: Stuck in a Rut?
For some more reading on Self Realization, you may check out a post from my first blog, here: Finding Your Self: Self Realization – Individuation Process.