A Journey In Consciousness

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Samskaras is a Sanskrit term used in the yogic world to describe tendencies of thought, emotion and consequent behavior. These behavioral programs can be in existence for a long time, hence they may not be easy to uproot.

Samskaras are both positive and negative, meaning they can lead to positive outcomes devoid of suffering, agreeable experiences, or they can lead to negative, disagreeable experiences of suffering.

What distinguishes our teachings from others is the fact that we invite students to train themselves in observing their thoughts and behavior patterns in order to recognize programs inside that are destructive for themselves and others.

These programs are often hidden and disguised. They never come labeled with, Hi, I am your personal saboteur, run when you see me! They come with labels and justifications that will sound virtuous and self-righteous.

In other words, our spiritual teachings include working with one’s shadow. The shadow is in control when a man jumps out of his car and uses his golf club to bash in another car’s window because the other driver cut in in front of him. Ask Jack Nicholson if this is a true story.

We teach to ask: “What is my shadow? What is my biggest weakness?”

Working with this question is most difficult, because nobody wants to admit to one’s capacity for ignorant and destructive behavior. Yet we all carry this capacity and to actually face this truth requires exceptional commitment. It requires the willingness to perform surgery upon one’s own inner wounds.

Many so-called spiritual people, be they Hindu, Buddhist or … New Age actively emphasize and pursue what they believe to be holy and actively deny or repress the shadow within. The result here is surprisingly often the creation of the “enlightened” ***hole, the man who meditates for hours and hours, has retreats with holy people and then beats his wife at the moment least expected.

This happens because there exist not many spiritual avenues that teach to work directly with the shadow.

When the existence of the shadow is denied, it will build over time, until one day, in a moment of tiredness and stress, the shadow slips past our capacity to keep it in check. In a flash it amplifies its size and becomes an all-consuming presence. It assumes control and a minute can be enough to do great damage, to oneself and to others.

Therefore, I invite you to take a bold step. Ask yourself, “What is my shadow? What is its name?”

Begin to recognize your shadow in your daily life. The sheer fact of you attempting to become conscious of your shadow will weaken its strength and influence.

The shadow’s job is to sabotage your life. Identify it, track it and dissolve it in the clear waters of consciousness


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