I woke up yesterday morning feeling as though I woke up from a bad dream of my past. Â Suddenly the person I was being was no longer the person I am today. Â I saw how caught up I had been in the melodramas of life and how I wasn’t really being real to myself and my path. Â I was caught up in a social and psychological soap opera that was ruling the decisions I made and were not necessarily in alignment with my truth. Â I was not clear on why I was working at the job I was or living in this city. I was always telling myself to just get through until something better in the future comes along. In this moment it was like I was facing this whole other person that was very lost. I didn’t know or understand how this mess had taken over me. This continuous chain of unconscious acts was the key ingredient for why my life was stuck.
This seemed so familiar to what my yoga teachers had spoken of in so many ways “give up your old way of being” “let go of the past” and especially “burn through your samskaras”. Samskaras are the impressions of the subconscious; beyond that they are the ideas, actions, and behaviors that make up our conditioned way of being. This conditioning shows up everywhere- on the yoga mat, in traffic, at work- because it is our comfort zone. Each time we repeat the pattern it gets deeper ingrained into us and starts to look more and more like ”who you are” or your personality.
Samskaras are not necessarily bad or good they are just the ingredients creating the meal of your reality. For example a person that moves to a new city in hopes of discovering a new life but instead finds their self in similar situations just with different faces and names. The famous quote I believe by Buckaroo Banzai “where ever you go there you are” points out how we recreate the same reality because we are stuck in our samskaras, or ways of being. Perhaps there are certain samskaras that are no longer serving you such as the mental patterning of low self-esteem or behaviors that are self-destructive- those are the ones we can “cleanse” or “burn” away. Others you may feel continue to build a positive Karma and create happiness in your life.
Cleanse or burn away samskaras: How? There is no foolproof recipe to follow, but I can share the process that unfolded for me.
It starts with a mixing bowl made of trust! Trust that you are safe to see the darker areas of yourself and still be loved, accepted and honored. To make a shift at a deep level of yourself is an act of courage and a leap of faith. There must be trust in the process of revelation to even begin to tread a new path and follow your hearts cry for something bigger, more fulfilling and inspiring. Trust that you are ok to look at the patterns, thoughts and behaviors that are unsupportive in your life and further more trust that you can shift them.
Once you see the samskara or patterns not working for you, you can start with your main ingredient- an intention! For your new creation of the reactions and responses you have now you will need an intention. An intention is “a determination to act in a certain way” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Whenever I set an intention I make it as simple as possible; I break it down to one word (love, truth, inspiration, balance, clarity, abundance, joy). I pick the one word that feels in alignment with what I want to create, generally it’s what is missing from the current creation of my life.
Now you will need 2 cups of commitment and patience. Give yourself space to see when you are coming from old patterning and when you are coming from your new intention. This is a moment to moment practice. Our samskaras are impulsive at times and happen in the bat of an eyelash. Although you are dedicated to your intention it is important to take yourself lightly and strengthen your muscle of patience. We are all human and this is a practice.
Let yourself rise up with some space- Especially when you are faced with a heated situation. Your samskaras will want to creep in and take over so it is important to pause. If you feel reactivity bubbling up pause, take a deep breath, and speak from your one word intention.
Sprinkle a dash of fearlessness into the mix! Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is the title of a book written by Susan Jeffers- the truth is fear is something that happens in our lives especially when it comes to becoming our greatest self. For a lot of us there seems to be this deep seeded fear of failure or of finding out that we really aren’t “good enough” or we really “can’t do it”. Look that fear right in the face and decide that today I will do it anyway!
Enjoy the process! This is a life long process of creation and evolution of self. That means in every moment you have the opportunity to enjoy exactly where you are at in the process. This right now- reading this article- is your life! Enjoy where you are at now!
What a delicious new meal we can make! I can now look at things from a different vantage point and for the first time I see the past as just that- the past; I see my past behaviors as old and outdated and see how they truly no longer serve me. Â I see how being caught up in my samskaras can take the joy of living out my life!