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Working with Samskaras


When we become aware of our unconscious beliefs, they begin to have less power over us.  When we stop believing them completely, then they stop having power over us altogether.  The yogic tradition has a name for unconscious beliefs.  They are called samskaras. Suffering arises when the facts of the world don’t match our beliefs, and we can not accept this contradiction.  When this happens we are offered the opportunity to grow by looking at ourselves, by getting to know the unconscious beliefs we hold.  If we don’t take this opportunity we often respond by trying to change our external circumstances, by making the world we see match the expectation we have.  This can manifest both around positive beliefs and negative ones.  For instance, I might have the negative belief that I don’t deserve love, so then I unconsciously sabotage every relationship in an attempt to bring reality into agreement with my unconscious concept of it.  I might think I’m the best thing since sliced cheese and then get really angry and defensive when someone tries to point out my flaws (we all have them).  


The yogic journey is one of increasing self awareness.  It is natural to feel uncomfortable when reality doesn’t mirror our unconscious beliefs, but a skillful response is not one that tries to change reality to resolve the discomfort.  The skillful response works to take responsibility for one’s own experience, rather than try to control others.  


It seems counterintuitive that the ultimate experience of freedom results from relinquishing control over our circumstances.   Thats because the expectation of control is itself an unconscious and unfounded belief.  Control is an illusion.  Surrender is the reality.  When we surrender we are more in alignment with the flow of life.  Surrender does not mean we cease to be who we are or that we give up personal identity.  Surrender releases the samskaras so that our true Self shines through, effortlessly.  Total surrender results in the ultimate ease and contentment because there is no need to effort to make yourself into something.  You have accepted that you have always been who you are, and that was all that was required in order to have the experience of wholeness.  You are enough and you always have been.