Weeding Your Unconscious.

Via Chanti Tacoronte-Perez
on Feb 4, 2012
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Chapter 13:  Reducing resistance that stands between you and fulfilling your desire.

Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club.

Fair warning: although we may deliberately and consciously want something, our subconscious can be a formidable obstacle to achieving our desires. One of the most interesting aspects of the process outlined in the four desires is how our subconscious (the part of our consciousness we are generally not aware of) can have as much to do with fulfilling our desires as anything. The irony is that the part of ourselves that we are b

arely aware of, the subconscious, can often trump our conscious desires, thereby keeping us from leading the fulfilling life we aspire to. How strange!  Why would this happen??  Because our consciousness is not aware the subconscious is playing at all.   Why would this matter?

According to yoga, the relationship between the subconscious and the conscious is like an iceberg.  On average only 1/9th of an iceberg is visible to a ship traveling in the open ocean.  The remainder of the iceberg is submerged and not visible to sailors who would otherwise prefer not to sink their ship.   Our conscious mind is like the small fraction of the iceberg above the surface of the ocean; our subconscious is the majority of the ice we cannot see because it is submerged.

Our subconscious is the totality of all acquired experiences, both gross and subtle, throughout our lives.  Yoga would even argue that the subconscious carries all these impressions from past lives as well.  These subconscious impressions have as much to do with our decision making as anything, and the tricky part is we may not even be aware of it.  When we view our mental faculties as a whole, we can quickly see how the subconscious is a significant player in shaping our lives and our path toward fulfillment, whether we are aware of it or not.

 The theme of this chapter is to reduce the resistance.  Think back to the resistance you identified in your creation equation.

There are two kinds of resistance: internal and external. Internal resistance or vikalpas. Rod explains vikalpas as “mental constructs or beliefs that spilt or separate you from your highest self and from the destiny that your highest self would have you fulfill.”  Vikalpas are our internal obstacles keeping us from fulfilling our soul’s desires.   A vilkalpa could be a habit, or a false story about yourself you hold onto, for example.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says “you are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is so is your will, as your will is, so is your deed.” Your deepest driving desire controls your thoughts and actions. Before going on we need to make sure that our deepest driving desire supports what we want (our prapti). When it is not, then that is the basis for internal resistance.

We can identify what we want, but until we also identify the aspects of our subconscious that are not serving our fulfillment, we are still working on a superficial level.  Trying to manifest your sankalpa without identifying the vikalpas is analogous to carving a marble block into a statue with your toothbrush.

“It’s important to unearth any potential desires you are holding on to that are in conflict with your sankalpa.”–Rod Stryker

I love the analogy of the garden that Rod illustrates in this chapter. He explains that in oder to fulfill your desires, you must till the soil of your subconscious. That way all unwanted and in many cases deep rooted weeds (vikalpas) are discarded. Those weeds not only take up space and can strangle your crop (sankalpa), but they also take the nutrients from the soil that can be beneficial to your crops growth (sankalpa shakti).

What to do with this information?

  1. First of all we should acknowledge that our unconscious has more power than our consciousness (you may see this as you begin to uncover some vikalpas).
  2. Start to do the work to recognize the weeds or vikalpas we may have deep in the dark earth of our unconscious.

The Four Desires leads us though the vikalpa exercise to help us start recognizing those deep driving desires that are not sankalpas. The writing exercise asks us to write our own eulogy in the voice of someone who truly knows us. It may be a little daunting to imagine your life coming to an end.  However, if you don’t unearth those weeds, the crop you planted will no longer grow, and as a result you will have nothing to nourish you.

The vikalpa exercise helped me to address something that I constantly have come back to in my life; “when something is no longer serving us, let it go.” We may not be aware of a habit that does not serve our fulfillment, because it is usually in the subconscious.   However when we “see” it, or make it conscious, it is easier to begin the process of releasing it.

A yogic story illustrating the need to let go of things that don’t serve us is illustrated by the man who climbs atop his house to escape a raging flood.  Even after the flood is over and the earth is dry, he stays on the roof.  When is neighbors ask him why he is still on the roof, he replies “because I don’t want to drown in the flood.”  As ridiculous as this man is, how many times have we “stayed on the roof” clinging to an idea, habit or thought construct that is no longer needed, long after the storm has passed?  Solutions from the past can be limitations in the present.

This exercise is also beneficial to double check your dharma code. Note if your dharma code addresses unconscious resistance you’ve identified as your vikalpa.  Make certain that it does.

My suggestion is that you set out a chunk of time to do it, make some tea, and get weeding!!!!

How was your experience of the vikalpa exercise? Please remember we are not sharing our vikalpas just the process of writing our own eulogy.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?


About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education. http://www.ohanashakti.com


19 Responses to “Weeding Your Unconscious.”

  1. Amy Whelan says:

    This process was eye opening. I remember reading it right after I wrote it and saying "no way!" to many of the things that were written. I guess I had "lied" to myself to keep me from crumbling. Funny, though, I just reread it and (I did it about 4 months ago) and it seems I have gotten past some of the issues that were stated in the "eulogy". I guess this proves that even though I did not consciously make these changes, just writing them down freed me so that I could move on with life.

  2. so timely for us — my book club is doing the vilkalpa exercise tomorrow so I'll try and remember to come back and let you know how it goes 🙂

  3. Heather Reynolds says:

    This exercise seems easier than the tributes. So juicy to just sit in all the mud. Why do we like our neurosis so much? Probably because it is so comfortable to feel hurt and to seek sympathy. Much harder to stand up and say how wonderful we truly are, someone might just laugh at us.

  4. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    I cannot wait to read this. I always tell you this, but I love this series. Love it.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  5. Chanti says:

    Please Do!!!

  6. Amy Whelan says:

    I think the most healing thing to do is to forgive ourselves. That took many years for me. I judged myself and didn't give myself credit for removing myself or deal with painful situations. Once you acknowledge all you've done (like you just have) life opens up in unimaginable ways. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Paula says:

    As I think back to my vikalpa exercise I realize that what I uncovered continues to haunt me. I guess uncovering it is the first step, next we have to come up with new beliefs that will replace the old ones. I like the weeding analogy, because weeding is not something you do once and forever, you have to keep weeding with care and patience. So once uncovered we can pluck, but it will likely come up again. So today I pluck again, and I like the idea of refining my Dharma code so it addresses the vikalpa. I did that now and it is helpful already.

  8. Chanti says:

    Hi Heather!!! Stand UP you are wonderful

  9. Chanti says:

    Thanks for your post Ozz, what passion!!!
    Yes the FLOOD WAS REAL!!!!! and the vikalpas saved us, but lets not loose sight that we are still talking about vikalpas surround the resistance to our sankalpa.

  10. Chanti says:

    Woot! Woot Nichole! I think a common theme with lots of us practicing this process is that all of it is divine, and those vikalpas did serve us at one time….Love and the release what no longer serves us, what an amazing practice!
    Thanks for being part of our discussion

  11. Chanti says:

    Thanks for sharing Amy!

  12. Chanti says:

    That is Awesome Paula!!! And once that Dharma code is in place, then it's almost as if you had organic weed repellent, and you still pluck, but spend more time tending the crops and flowers you are growing. My husband has been out in the garden weeding but when the tomato plants grew, and they started to fruit because of their size there were less weeds, less sun getting to the soil, more sun more growth on the actual crops!
    Thanks for being part of our sangha!

  13. what we discovered mostly in our group is that we already know intimately what our vikalpas are…most of us have done enough "work" to be aware of them it's a matter of being able to let go of the tree now 🙂

    The other thing I found is truly if I remember to repeat my dharma it absolutely is a cure to my vikalpa — now to just say it…:)

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  17. Jean Breny says:

    I'm stuck before even starting this exercise! In the book, we are asked to first pick one of the four desires through the Bliss Meditation. I'm not sure that I did that part right and so am not sure if I can start the Vikulpa exercise until I do, or, am I being too literal? Thank you!

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