Tackling the Barriers to a Smooth Ascension
Written by Steve Beckow
Photo: The vasana of anger
I said yesterday (1) that I intended to take the barriers to ascension and clear them. Not because I need to. I don’t consider my ascension in doubt.
Not because I’m driven or am a showboat, but as an element in my work to go through the process of ascension publicly and as a contribution to a smooth ascension.
Some of what I say here may be offensive to readers, but I say it to get down to the real, no-nonsense, foundational work. Viewer discretion is advised.
One of the most obvious places to start is with the barrier that vasanas present. Vasanas are the resistant and persistent habit patterns we create out of dealing with earlier trauma. Long ago we went through episodes that were so painful that we decided in the future to avoid them and developed a reactive pattern called a vasana.
Alex Collier used to relate what a star brother said to him at the end of one visit. At the door of his ship as he was leaving, the star brother said in words that formed in his mind: “Alex, the love that you withhold is the pain that you carry, lifetime after lifetime.” (2)
Let me make a series of provisional statements that we can test out as hypotheses. Let’s say provisionally that we invite pain into us when we withhold love and that withholding love is the key part of our reaction pattern at the heart of each vasana we have. When we withhold love, we open ourselves to pain. A vasana is like a dam in the river of our experience, effectively halting our experience of love.
The head vampire among my vasanas derives from my troubled relationship with my father. My relationship with my father failed as a result of decisions made as a very young boy in the face of my father’s violence.
He was violent towards me, my mother, and on occasion my brother. He once slugged my mother in the face after which she fell unconscious to the floor. As a ten-year-old child, I remember hearing that attack. That was for me one of the places in my life where life itself stopped and I made the decision that I no longer loved my father. I also made the decision to get even, to avenge my mother some day.
Another event of similar weight in my life came when he shouted at me from a place of perhaps an inch or two away from my face and I felt myself dissociate. I remained mildly dissociated for the next forty years. I felt I had shattered at that moment into a thousand pieces. The only circumstance that would bring me back together again briefly was anger, which, as a result of these attacks, I already had plenty of.
Photo: Anger toward my father was my chief and defining vasana
In later life, I used to call myself the Humpty Dumpty Man because I wondered what would finally fuse me back into one person, instead of a person who was one way in private and another way with people.
I felt I never had a firm foundation upon which to build a character but I did not understand these matters until much later. I had very little insight into them for the major part of my life.
A third episode came when I suddenly felt a kick under the dinner table and realized that Dad would get me even when I wasn’t looking. I concluded that I had no way to defend myself against him and I needed one. The way I chose was to never let him near me.
And a fourth incident occurred when he came at me, my mother and my brother with a knife and my brother disarmed him and threw him down the stairs. For many years, my brother did not remember that incident.
These four incidents define the breakdown points of my relationship with my father, which was acted out between us more or less for the rest of our lives.
They define the incidents that had me become a rescuer of women, which so defined my career as a refugee adjudicator that the tendency was once written up and declared publicly by refugee counsel. (3) They define the incidents that had me become an advocate for social justice, which I never stopped being. In other words, they defined my character. Collectively they represented the bending of the tree and explain the way the tree inclined.
And they also explain the roots of my anger.
This vasana survived encounter groups, the est Training, and meditation practice, and only yielded in the face of numerous enlightenment intensives spent dealing with my anger towards my father. I remember the shock I felt when I cleared some of my major vasanas and realized that all the work I had done collectively throughout all these years only brought me to a place where I felt … normal.
I can remember singing in one enlightenment intensive as I danced around the room and said aloud “I feel … normal.” Even then the Humpty Dumpty Man did not come together permanently until intensive work done with my brother (who is a psychotherapist) when I was fifty-six.
What kept my anger in place all through my life was the fact that I enjoyed it. My anger fused me temporarily and I felt all parts of myself for an interlude. Then the impact of that fusing would gradually subside. But for the few moments I was angry, I was myself again and revelled in the sensation.
It wasn’t until I was 42 that I had an incident that allowed me to see what was happening within myself. A woman I was dating at the time said to me, on the Expo 86 grounds in Vancouver, that I had the profile of an abused child.
The two sides of me that were sequestered rose up at the same time to say “yes” and met each other. The me that existed in private that hated my Dad and the me that existed in public and was all sweetness and light knew nothing of each other. When they met, a volcano went off.
That volcano continued to go off for the next three or six weeks (I can’t remember how long). My anger towards my Dad became public and would not stop erupting.
But by then the die was cast. I already knew at some level that getting angry made me feel better and that something inside me fused when I got angry. So the main vasana in my life – a vasana of anger – had been set for an awfully-long time by then.
What clears a vasana is re-experiencing it consciously from a standpoint of observation. What clears it is allowing the feelings identified with the original incident to play upon ourselves and complete themselves without resistance. (4)
But it helps to explore the vasana from all possible standpoints and understand it, especially if it is a key vasana defining our personality. And these episodes with my father are indeed the key incidents in developing this important vasana for me and defining my life.
I say these things not to be maudlin, but to get at the real work that clears the ground for a smooth Ascension. We’re in our last four months and now is the time to double our efforts at clearing the remaining hurdles.
As I proceed with my intent to clear the barriers from myself, none of them looms so large as this vasana aimed at my father. I now allow the anger to be there, like a muzzled dog. It can growl but it can’t bite. Somehow I have to find a way to love it. I may not ever love my father in this lifetime – and I may. But I do feel the need to love that muzzled dog.
(1) “Unascended and Surrendered,” at http://the2012scenario.com/ascension/on-processing-vasanas/unascended-and-surrendered/
(2) See 3:30 in Kees de Graaffs’ video, “Tribute to Lightworkers.”
(3) If you were a female refugee claimant, you would want to have your case tried by Mr. Beckow who gave a positive decision to women in such-and-such a percentage of his cases, the refugee bar wrote after I had left the Immigration and Refugee Board. And, yes, I did know the trait they were referring to. I just didn’t know that it was empirically observable.
(4) See “On Processing a Vasana,” at http://the2012scenario.com/ascension/on-processing-vasanas/