The Subconscious Mind, Part 2


Description: Discover the subconscious mind-Samskara Cittam. Ask: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going. Samskaras-imprints, impressions from experiences from this and previous lives on the subconscious. Reprogram the subconscious, remove negative samskaras, add positive samskaras and awaken spiritually.  Until you do you will never attain Self Realization. The dual nature of the world is to provide both experience and liberation. In addition to deep meditation, to transcend the world, we need to have gone through all the experiences, in this and past lives, that this Earth consciousness has to offer. “Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva” Lessons 179, 180. “Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. C. II,V.18.  


Text of talk:


Good morning everyone.  


Lesson 179:


“Facing Old Memories


“When man finally turns inward, sits down and asks “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?” what is the first thing he discovers? (Good question.) The subconscious

mind, of course.”


So it’s helpful to look at the meaning of the subconscious mind.  Each chapter in “Merging with Siva” has an English title and a Sanskrit title so the English title, of course, for this chapter, is  Subconscious Mind and the Sanskrit title is Samskara Cittam.  And our Himalayan Academy Lexicon gives this overall definition of samskara as:”Impression, activator: The imprints left on the subconscious mind by experience from this or previous lives which then color all of live, one’s nature, responses, states of mind etc.”


So that’s a visual image. You have an experience and it impresses the subconscious mind.  Samskara, an impression. Not the actual experience, it’s the experience and our reaction to the experience.

Both get impressed.  




“Do not be afraid of the subconscious. It is useless to be afraid of the past. If memories come up from the subconscious as if they happened yesterday, and you begin reacting emotionally and even physically all over again, say to yourself, ‘Welcome, welcome, welcome, memory from the past. My goodness, you’re shaking my emotional body. I remember going through these emotional

states years ago, and here we are reliving this film over again. But now I am on the spiritual path to enlightenment. I am the Self. One day I’m going to realize it fully. I only live in this physical body. I use these emotions, but I won’t be used by them. They are my tools. So here you are, my memory pattern, trying to make me feel like I did five years ago before I reprogrammed my subconscious and awakened spiritually. O, memory from the past, you have tested me well. Thank you.’ Then, like a good secretary, write down on a piece of paper everything you can remember about these experiences that have come before your vision, and burn the paper when you have finished. Write down the entire experience that you are reacting to emotionally.”


And my comment:


Gurudeva has given us an important practice for removing negative samskaras from the subconscious mind. In other lessons in “The Master Course” he give us practices for adding positive samskaras to the subconscious mind such as through the daily repetition of affirmations. In these two ways—removing negative samskaras and adding positive samskaras—we are gradually remolding the form of the subconscious mind. I used the description in my first sentence, removing negative samskaras but a more precise description is removing the negative emotions of a samskara. In other words, the memory is still there, we’re not totally removing the samskara, but the negative emotion it contained has been removed. As you know the Sanskrit name for this practice is Vasana Daha Tantra.


“The paper-burning serves three purposes. First, it is symbolic to the subconscious that you are not going to react anymore to that particular problem. You have, through the act of writing it down, taken it out of the subconscious. Second, burning the paper means that no one else will read it, which might cause other problems. It also means that through the act of burning subconscious memories, you have released them forever.”


So my comment:


I was recently asked if you could do this practice in an environment where you are not able to burn the paper such as on a long plane flight. My answer was yes. Keep the paper and later on when you are in an environment where you can burn it, burn each page but re-read the page before burning it. So that’s the key.  You need to re-read it.  Bring it back up into the mind and then burn it at a later time.  So that’s not ideal but sometimes that’s a good way to use your long plane flight, right? Get your Vasana Daha Tantra caught up.




“When you begin to meditate, you become keen and perceptive enough to begin to see within yourself. Occasionally, you will see into the subconscious area and begin emotionally to relive the past. This means that many of the predominantly strong memory and reactionary patterns of the past loom up before you, one after another, and you may begin to react to them all over again, emotionally and even physically. These are not real experiences. It is only a layer of the subconscious exposing itself to your inner vision, indicating that reprogramming is needed. Handle each layer dynamically. Welcome the thoughts and accompanying feelings in a hospitable way. Do not fear them or regret them, and certainly do not criticize yourself for having them. Simply remove them from the subconscious by writing them down and burning the paper. The reaction will subside, but the memory will linger as an education upon which you can formulate decisions for the future, thus avoiding the same problem.”


My comment:


Gurudeva’s last statement adds a new step to this practice. As previously mentioned the emotional component is removed, the memory of it remains and the new step is that “the memory will linger as an education upon which you can formulate decisions for the future, thus avoiding the same problem.” In other words, we are learning from the experience and thereby adjusting how we would handle this situation if it where to re-occur in the future. So the burning component is important if it’s likely to to recur in our future we want to work out an alternative response.


And Lesson 180:


“Never Fear the Past


“Generally, people start meditating and do fairly well in the beginning, for their great desire to unfold spiritually propels them within themselves. But when the subconscious mind begins to upheave its layers—as it naturally must for the unfoldment process to continue beyond an elementary stage—meditators become afraid to look at the subconscious patterns of their seemingly not-so-perfect past. To avoid facing themselves, they stop meditating, and the subconscious subsides. The once meditating seeker returns more fully to the conscious mind and becomes distracted again in order to forget ‘all those terrible things.’ At the time, the remembered past seemed to be terrible because the impressions were strong, magnified by sensitivities awakened through meditation.


“For many years thereafter the one-time meditator can be heard to say, ‘I’d like to meditate, and I do sometimes, but I don’t have time, really, to meditate.’ What he is actually saying is, ‘Most of my time is used up by distracting myself so that I won’t have to meditate anymore and won’t have to face my bothersome subconscious.’ On the path to enlightenment, you have to face everything that has gone into the subconscious, not only in this life, but what has been registered in past lives. Until you do, you will never attain Self Realization. Your final obstacle will be that last subconscious area that you were afraid to face, looming up before you in the form of worries, fears and repressions that you will wish to push away, hide from, so that neither you nor anyone else can see them.


So my Comment:


What can be done to avoid this pattern of a meditator stopping meditation because of what is encountered in the subconscious mind? Simple! Before taking up meditation, a seeker needs to stop adding negative samskaras to the subconscious through following the yamas—ethical restraints; add positive samskaras to the subconscious through following the niyamas—religious practices; and then practice Vasana Daha Tantra. All of this should be in place before we try to meditate deeply. The key word there is deeply.  In other words, meditation comes in many forms, it’s actually surprising.  But meditation is good but we’re talking here about deep meditation.  Meditation of any kind is good but if you’re trying to meditate deeply then this is what’s how you should approach it cause you’ll run into the subconscious if you’re trying to meditate deeply. So you need to straighten out the subconscious first.




“To hear of the Self is a great blessing, indeed, but to desire to realize the Self means that in this and your past lives you have gone through all of the experiences that this Earth consciousness has to offer. You have died all of the deaths and had all of the emotional experiences. You have had the good of the world and the bad of the world, and the mixed good and bad of the world through all of your many lives before you come to the life where you say, ‘I want to realize the Self in this life.’ Now you begin to tie up all the loose ends of past experiences that have not been fulfilled or resolved, because those loose ends are what bring you back to birth.”


So, my comment:


Gurudeva has brought up an important point regarding realizing the Self that is often not understood. Normally we think: How do we realize the Self, well through deep meditation.  That’s all we need.  We need to go really deep in meditation; go in and in and in and in.  And to do that well enough we’ll realize the Self. So Gurudeva says what? There’s one more thing too. We also need to have:”… gone through all of the experiences that this Earth consciousness has to offer.”


So, the idea of experiences.  We’re here to have experiences, not just to meditate. And once we’ve had all the experiences then there’s nothing left to do except realize the Self.


So Patanjali also mentions this:


“Yoga Sutras”:Chapter II, Verse 18 (The need for experience):


“What is experienced has the character of brightness, activity, and inertia. It is embodied in the elements and the sense organs. Its purpose is to provide both experience and liberation.”


So the idea of brightness (sattva), activity (rajas), inertia (tamas) is referring to the three gunas. So Patanjali calls the world the gunas sometimes.  So this means material form which comes in three states. And mentions the dual nature of the world is to provide both experience and liberation. So, my comment is: Each purusha needs a certain amount of experience in the world before it is ready to transcend the world through achieving liberation.


Have a wonderful day.


[End of transcript.]

File Type: mp3
Categories: Bodhinatha Talks
Author: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
Scroll to Top