Treating Vasanas as an Addiction
‘Vinayaka’ (Lord Ganesh) means the One who is the Master of Himself. The mouse is the vehicle of Vinayaka. What is the inner significance of the little mouse? The mouse symbolises your attachment to worldly tendencies (vasanas). The mouse moves quickly and can see well in the dark. As Vinayaka’s vehicle, the mouse leads you from darkness to light. The Vinayaka principle thus means that which removes all the bad qualities, bad practices and bad thoughts in every person and inculcates good qualities, good conduct and good thoughts.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Divine Discourse, Sep 12, 1991.
Vasanas Part 1 will have helped you identify main Vasanas, what feeds them, how they are expressed and the resultant negative patterns in your life. Identifying your Vasanas, becoming more aware about them, can ultimately weaken the influence of these destructive patterns. But what can you do to continue to strengthen this new awareness so that the patterns become weaker and weaker?
In Part 1, Vasanas were introduced as an addiction and so can be treated using methods that have successfully helped addicts. Here we will undergo a continuous awareness treatment through working with an adaptation to the twelve-step programme used by Alcoholics Anonymous. (AA).
A summary of the twelve-step programme used by AA towards recovery of addiction is:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Principles of the Twelve-Step Programme
The following is an adaptation I have written specifically for you based on the twelve-step programme of guiding principles for recovery from addictions and compulsions originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous. (AA). The original method has been adapted a number of times and has become the foundation of other twelve-step programmes such as Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, etc. Now, I have adapted a particular programme for you to help recovery from your Vasana addictions.
The process involves the following:
· Becoming aware and accepting that you cannot control your addictions or compulsions without active self-effort.
· Recognising here is a higher power within you and outwith you that can give you strength.
· Reflecting on your patterns and how they have negatively influenced you with the help of a guide.
· Understanding that with this awareness there is the opportunity of the freedom of choice.
· Learning to live in freedom from your patterns
· Potentially helping others, by example, who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.
Here is an adapted Twelve-Step Programme to help you become stronger in the awareness of your addictive Vasanas and be freer of them. They can be used as a daily reading and commitment towards the recovery from your negative habitual patterns.
1. I admit that I am powerless over_________________ and that my spiritual, emotional and mental growth and maturity is being impaired or has become unmanageable because of this addiction. (Here identify and name the Vasana addiction that you have been working with in your Vasana Tree or another Vasana that you are conscious of and wish to hand over)
2. I believe that my Trust in a Power greater than myself, greater than my Vasanas, can help to free me to truly reside in balance and Reality.
3. I now choose to surrender my will, my life and my patterns, to Divine Love.
4. I now choose to make conscious a continuing fearless search of myself and the patterns which obscure my Truth and lead me to self-imprisonment.
5. I admit to God, to myself and to my Guru/healer/therapist, (if you have one) the exact nature of my Vasana addictions and weaknesses and how I believe this affects my life and relationships.
6. I am now completely ready for Divine Love to remove the obstacles to my Peace and Freedom within these patterns and compulsions.
7. I humbly surrender myself to Divine Love to heal me.
8. I now commit to making a list of all the harm that I have caused others and myself through the ignorant patterns and addictions I find.
9. I now commit to continually identifying my negative and imprisoning patterns and in choosing to change.
10. I now make a conscious effort to follow positive choices of freedom.
11. I now commit to helping all beings by helping myself and praying that any benefits I receive may be shared by all sentient beings.
12. I pray that my earnest endeavours and wishes be for the greatest good of all concerned, including me.
An addiction takes away our choices. These steps are designed to keep you as conscious as possible and to prompt you, to help you, to take personal responsibility for your patterns and related sufferings so that you may have the opportunity of choice.
When we live unconsciously we live addictively, with eyes closed, deaf, dumb and blind, numb to the possibilities for our healing and freedom and embedded in suffering.
When we are Vasana driven we are driven by spiritual illness and spiritual disease, which leads to the tragedy of self-centredness. All twelve-step programmes consider our greatest spiritual malady to be self-centredness. Lost in ourselves, in our own little ego-bubble of illusion and suffering, we care little for others and we become progressively lost in ourselves. But we can burst this bubble and change. This is unlikely to be an instant transformation but it’s a beginning.
True, lasting transformation takes time, effort and self-discipline. The twelve-step programmes see this spiritual awakening from the “malady” as developing, most often, slowly over time. So too, recovery from Vasana addiction is a growing process of self-awareness and self-sacrifice for self and the greater good.
Ultimately, Vasanas can be overruled although may never be completely annihilated. The seeds remain, but our awareness impoverishes their ability to sprout and grow. Freedom from our habitual patterns and deep-rooted compulsions is a step by step choice of freedom from their captivity. When an AA addict proclaims their abstinence from their addiction, this is their powerful statement and intention. They are choosing to be free. You too can choose to be free. It is your choice to break free from your destructive patterning.
I pray that these ideas and concepts help you to continue your freedom from destructive Vasanas and enable to you to live a happier, freer life for the good of all including yourself.
In a final Vasana Part 111, we will look at the different steps we can use to fully understand each Vasana pattern we have. Having this concentrated awareness and understanding of a pattern automatically leads to its dissolution… Coming soon.