Vasanas (a Sanskrit word) refers to a behavioral tendency or mental imprint from the past which influences present behavior. It is a technical term in Indian philosophy, commonly used in Yoga, Buddhist philosophy and Advaita Vedanta.
An Awakening experience is the realization of what Truth IS and what Truth IS NOT. Vasanas are what makes up the difference between being fully Awakened, and only having had the initial Awakening experience. When we realize that our True Self is NOT our unconscious tendencies, desires, attachments, and beliefs, the next step towards living life AS our True Self is to identify the vasanas we still carry . . . and release them. Releasing vasanas is what deepens an Awakening realization into Emptiness, full liberation, Enlightenment.
How do we identify our vasanas? Become aware of any unresolved issues by witnessing our mind’s thoughts and unconscious reactions to what shows up in daily life. When an unloving thought or behavior appears, ask your True Self, “Does this thought or behavior fit with what I have realized?” If the answer is “yes,” there’s no reason to let it go. But, if it doesn’t fit with what’s TRUE, recognizing this means you can now let it go — in that moment, if you interrupt the thought or behavior WHILE it is happening, the interruption can delete that tendency. Often, however, they don’t always dissolve completely the first time you interrupt them. For this reason, we are given other opportunities to recognize and release whatever doesn’t fit with our awakening realization. Vasanas will continue to reveal themselves until the tendency to react in that unconscious way has been released permanently.
This ongoing method of releasing vasanas is one way to deepen and expand Awakened Awareness. To speed up this process, you can also become aware of the major vasanas your life was created to unravel, by studying the Enneagram of Personality. The Enneagram as a “short cut” to our hidden tendencies, reveals what to look for before vasanas appear, preparing you to let them go in the moment they reveal themselves.
This process of integration, which I call “deepening,” is an essential part of Awakening. It is how to become a vessel of Truth in daily life.