Samskaras … by Alice B. Clagett

Revised; originally published on 28 August 2013 

  • 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.


The Cattle in the Front Yard

Imagine a herd of cattle in your front yard. Every time you walk out of your front door to go to the convenience store, or to work you see these cattle there. After a while, you get really used to the cattle in the front yard, and you don’t pay any attention any more. But they’re always there; and that’s just like samskaras

What Are Samskaras?

The thing about samskaras is, they could be positive or negative tendencies. The ones that we want to get rid of are the negative samskaras.

So, as far as negative samskaras are concerned … You notice you have 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

On Attenuation of Samskaras

So first, you realize that tendency is there. The second thing has to do with attenuation.

Both positive and negative samskaras operate by the same rules. If, in our current lifetime, we 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.

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

So it’s important to realize what things in your life are causing those samskaras to increase. For people today, this most often has to do with visual input from television, the movies, and the internet. The reason for this is that many of the images and words on today’s mass media are negative, and tend to increase the energy of whatever negative samskaras we have. So first, I would look at what movies I watch, what TV shows, and what I’m really doing on the internet. And change that, so that whatever it is, is not something that makes my negative samskaras stronger.

That’s hard to do, because there are very few entertainment options that enhance positive samskaras right now. But it can be done. Here are a few ideas:

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

Here’s another concern: Let’s say you have a tendency to carouse and make merry. The people you find, at the place where you go to carouse and make merry, have a tendency to behaviors that are life-threatening to you or dangerous to other people. So then, the thing to do is to find a group of people to carouse and make merry with, that don’t cause those problems in your life. So that’s 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 the next thing, as far as attenuation is concerned, is to try a series of visualizations such as the following…

Suppose I remember a past lifetime when something 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.

I had a tendency, in this lifetime, because of that, not to trust people in a brotherly relationship. It’s 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 the full emotional response. And then start changing it every time that it comes up. For instance:

  • Oh, I remember a story like that. I read about it in the paper. I wish I had never read it; it was really gruesome. But it was just a story.
  • And then the next time the thought comes up: Oh, gosh, 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! So now the story is getting farther and farther away from you … like the cows in your yard.
  • And then the next time you could say: Oh, gosh! 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 loses all of its kick, and all of its ability to influence me during this lifetime.

So that’s one of the attenuation techniques. You can get a lot more information on this method of attenuating samskaras at Swamij’s website:

Patanjali’s Method for Attenuating Samskaras

Let’s say you know the energy signature of the thing you want to avoid. So then, according to Patanjali (1), 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.

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

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


(1) See “How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali”:


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samskaras, incarnations, reincarnation, habits, bad companions, mass media, Patanjali, Swamij,

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