Everything we experience – our thoughts, emotions and sensations, is the direct result of karma (action). Karma from this lifetime and previous ones creates vasanas (likes and dislikes). The more we move towards or away from these likes and dislikes, the more binding they become, resulting in desires and fears that can and often do rule our life.
Vasanas and samskaras (bundled vasanas) are the only objects we carry from lifetime to lifetime in the causal body. The jiva, or embodied soul, is then created for each incarnation under the direction of our unique set of vasanas.
Along with the jiva (body-mind-sense vehicle), the vasanas also manifest the perfect set of circumstances and actors (family and friends) in each incarnation so that we can work through our karma. This is good news because there is no one is to blame. We are fully responsible for each and every aspect of our life. Blaming another simply delays the inevitable inner work we must do on the path of awakening.
Within each incarnation we have the opportunity to move from avidya (ignorance) to knowledge of what is true and what is not, which leads to moksha (liberation). The interesting twist is that we already are Sat-Chit-Ananda (being-awareness-bliss) but the avidya of past karma in the form of Maya (relative appearance) veils this truth of the eternal nature of self.
Sadhana or spiritual practice neutralizes binding vasanas, which liberates the soul, jivamukti. This journey is very difficult to make because of the hypnotic affect of Maya and our vasanas. Some of the most beneficial practices for neutralizing binding vasanas include: Karma Yoga, Jnana (knowledge) Yoga, Upasana (devotion and meditation) Yoga and Triguna Vibhava (yoga of the three gunas).
The spiritual market place is rife with potions (experiences) that claim to provide instant enlightenment but there is no quick fix or magic pill. We must face everything within that is unresolved until the last roots of ignorance are pulled. Yes there will be wondrous epiphanies that offer a taste of unity consciousness, much like the euphoria of new love but eventually the ego will reset and our binding vasanas will re-appear. It is only through committed sadhana over time, that we can unbind these vasanas and experience lasting moksha.
By cultivating the qualities of witness consciousness, non-attachment and discernment through our practices we move back a few rows in the theater and come to realize that the 3D-5 sense movie we are watching entitled My Life, is not the deepest truth of who we are. The movie is simply a holographic projection created by past karma. We carry a new film (vasana bundle) into each lifetime but the light of true self remains ever present and non-changing.
Not only can we move back in the theater creating greater perception with which to take right action, we can also turn away from the screen to face the light shining through the projector. This light is who we are and enlightenment is living from this place of knowledge.