Samskaras . by Alice B. Clagett

Written and published on 28 August 2013; revised on 23 July 2018
Location: By the Animas River, in Farmington, New Mexico

    • The Cattle in the Front Yard
    • What Are Samskaras?
    • On Attenuation of Samskaras
    • Today’s Mass Media Increase the Energy of Our Negative Samskaras
    • On Carousing, and on Avoiding People That Cause Problems in Your Life
    • Using One of My Own Past Life Memories with Swamij’s Technique for Attenuating Samskaras
    • Patanjali’s Method for Attenuating Samskaras

This is about samskaras, which are mental-emotional habits we carry from lifetime to lifetime. There is an edited Summary after the video …



All right, well here it is: goats! [shows goats] … Hi, goats! They are kind of scared of me. Hi, dudes! There is one hiding under the tree over there. Hey! Aw, it likes me. Hello, dude! That’s it. See you all later. Bye-bye.

Hello, Dear Ones, It’s Alice.

I was driving along the road, and I saw a sign that said, “River Access.” So I came down here, to the end of this road over here [shows grassy area] … and then I saw this sign [shows yellow sign} which is pretty scary, and says, “Emergency Exit Channel for Boaters … Travel Over Dam Is Very Dangerous, and Could Result in Death.”

So then, naturally, I looked for the dam right away. You see these signs a lot in Colorado; apparently, a lot of people take to the water, and then there are these obstructions that could result in death. So let us take a look. [pans to river] … You have to assume some people actually gave it a try, and then they put up the signs.

Over here [zooms in, to ruffled water] … I think that is the dam right there. Maybe it is not; maybe it is just heading towards the dam.

And then, there is this really wide river. [pans across the river] … Wow! Huge, wide river, right? And a little place to sit here. [shows roughly paved boat ramp] … So I am going to sit here, and talk for a minute about samskaras.

The Cattle in the Front Yard

So, look what I found [shows cow] … Is it not beautiful? Some kind of cow … and a bunch more of them. And they were right here by the river too, Here comes the bull, I think. [shows bull] … Oh, my goodness! [Speaking to bull:] Hello! Don’t get mad at me! [panning to cows] … and lots of friends …

I was on my way up to sit someplace, [Speaking of bull:] Here he comes! He is after me! … No, ok, I am safe.

These cattle here are a lot like samskaras; If you can imagine a bunch of cattle in your back yard, or your front yard, say. And every time you walk out of the house to go to the convenience store, or to work, you see these cattle there, right?

[A cow walks up.] Oh, who is this? 

After a while, you get really used to the cattle in the front yard, and you don’t pay any attention to them any more. But they are always there … they are always popping up. And that’s just like samskaras.

So hang on; I am going to find a seat far from the cattle, and we will continue this conversation.

What Are Samskaras?

We were talking about samskaras, and how they are sort of like cows right out front, and we do not pay that much attention to them because they are always there.

The thing about samskaras is, they could be positive or negative tendencies. The ones that we really want to get rid of are the negative samskaras. And they both … positive and negative … operate by the same rules.

And that is, if we, in our current lifetime, expose ourselves more, to the energy signature or frequency or resonance of that particular samskara, it grows in energy and the tendency increases for us to act it out in real life.

On Attenuation of Samskaras

So, as far as negative samskaras are concerned, the very first thing to do … You see the cattle back there? [shows cattle far behind her] … a sufficient distance away, thank God! Well, they are sort of like attenuated samskaras … we will get to that in a moment … because they are far away; they are small, right? They are relatively small; that is the way it is. They are not threatening me right now. I felt a little threatened when they were close by. [laughs wryly]

So anyway, [points to far-away cattle] there they are, the attenuated samskaras back there. [laughs]

And the way you can attenuate: First you have to identify them. You notice that you are having a certain habit of thought that you don’t like:

  • It might be impatience.
  • It might be just a general negativity.
  • It might be self-pity, or low self-esteem.
  • It could be a tendency toward anger, toward regret or grief
  • These are just some examples; it could be practically anything

And these things are not very helpful in your life. And it seems that they are growing. And maybe, even, you are acting them out in your life, right?

Today’s Mass Media Increase the Energy of Our Negative Samskaras

So the thing to do, first of all, is: You realize that tendency is there. And the next thing has to do with attenuation. You can do that in several ways: The first possibility, and the simplest one, might be to realize what things, in your life, are causing those samskaras to increase.

For a lot of people today, and almost invariably, this has to do with visual input, like from television, the movies, the internet. And the reason for that is that many of the images and even many of the words on the internet … many of the images on television and in the movies … are negative, and tend to increase the energy of whatever negative samskaras we have.

So first, I would look at my television viewing, say, or what movies I like to watch, when I go out, or what I am really doing on the internet. And change that, so that whatever it is, is not something that makes my negative samskaras stronger.

That is kind of hard to do, because there are very few entertainment options that enhance positive samskaras right now. But it can be done.

  • For instance, there is that Spiritual Cinema … … option that you have on the internet. And there are documentary films, depending on the type of documentary and so forth:
  • There are the Gaia films and documentaries ..
  • I also hear that CuriosityStream offers nonfiction documentaries as well as science, technology, nature, and history videos.
  • There are some good, worthwhile movies coming up on Youtube now ..

On Carousing, and on Avoiding People That Cause Problems in Your Life

Or let’s say you have a tendency to carouse and make merry, right? The problem is, the people that are in that ‘carouse and make merry’ place where you go, have a tendency towards various behaviors that are life-threatening to you, or dangerous to other people.

And so, the thing to do, if you like to carouse and make merry, is to find a group of people that like to do that, that do not cause those problems for you, in your life. So that is another example of avoiding experiences that make things worse.

Using One of My Own Past Life Memories with Swamij’s Technique for Attenuating Samskaras

Then, of course, the next thing, so as to attenuate the samskaras that you have, is to try a visualization … I think it was recommended by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati … … but anyway, you can get a lot more information on attenuating samskaras at his website …

Link: “Uncoloring Your Colored Thoughts Through Yoga,” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati … ..

The way I use this technique is like this … Suppose, for example, I remember a past lifetime when something really terrible happened. I had a brother that I really loved, and he killed me, brutally over a woman. It was awful! We were two brothers together. And it’s a hard one to forget, because of the closeness between us, and because of the total reversal of roles that happened at the moment of death, which can be very traumatic … although it is not always so.

So I remember that. And I have a tendency, in this lifetime, because of that, not to trust people in a brotherly relationship. It is not true any more, because the tendency has been attenuated. Had that work not been done, it would be true today. 

So the way to visualize attenuation, is to imagine that past lifetime death, in all its awful detail, and with all the full emotional response. And then start changing it every time that it comes up. The way I do it is like this:

  • Oh, I remember a story like that. I read about it in my childhood. I wish I had never read it; it was really gruesome. But it was just a story. (That is the first thing.)
  • And then next time it could be something like: Oh, gee, a friend of mine told me that story a long time ago … about somebody else that was a stranger to her. What a terrible story. Gosh! (Like that … farther and farther away from you … like the cows, right?)
  • And so, then, one of the things I like is: Oh, gee! That story! I was looking through the library catalog some years ago, and I saw something about a story like that. But I went back, and I looked in the catalog, and Lo and behold! The book is no longer there!
  • So after awhile, the story just loses all of its kick, and all of its ability to influence me during this lifetime.

So that’s one of the attenuation techniques.

Patanjali’s Method for Attenuating Samskaras

And then there is another technique, and that is to practice the opposite. This is Patanjali’s technique …

Citation: “How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali,” translated with a commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, copyright 1953, 1981 by The Vedanta Society of Southern California

Let’s say you know the energy signature of the thing you want to avoid. So then, according to Patanjali, you might look at what activities you could add to your life, or increase in your life, that would have the exact opposite effect … or, at least, a neutralizing effect.

So in the case of distrust, it might be to work in a situation where trust is needed, like eldercare. It could be taking care of children; it could be assisting someone who needs help, in any way; it might be caring for pets… So you’re getting yourself into a situation where you can practice trust, you know? (not the opposite).

Well so, that is all I have for you right now about that. And maybe we will get a picture of the goats before this video ends. Wait and see … [The goats did not cooperate.]

In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars


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samskaras, incarnations, reincarnation, habits, bad companions, mass media, Patanjali, Swamij, mass media, trust, advaita, acting out,

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