Samskaras : Uncovering Deep Grooves of Habit

By Natalie Wohlstadter

When our patterns and habits are repeated throughout our life a Samskara, or a deeply rooted impression is created in which we naturally fall into. Such deeply rooted Samskaras are behaviors that have literally engrained a “groove” or pattern in our mind and nervous system to react in a certain way, at a certain time, in certain situations—almost like a programed machine.

Do you ever wonder why sometimes you keep repeating the same thing over and over again?

Samskaras are stored in your subconscious mind and are expressed whenever you think, speak, or take action without conscious awareness. Repetition makes the grove grow deeper. The deeper the grove, the harder it is to erase and pave different, healthier habits. The depth of the Samskara depends on the how many years or lifetimes you have repeated that same tendency. For example, there are more permanent groves in cement that are harder to repair, moderately permanent groves in sand that take less effort to repave, and superficial groves in water that can immediately be washed away.

The real healing begins with the simple, yet difficult act of realizing and witnessing the Samskara. Once we recognize the groves of habit, we now have the choice of what to do with them. Do we continue to travel down that same route? Or do we gather our tools of awareness, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-love, and patience— buy some fertilizer and some seeds, fill the old groove with a beautiful garden instead, and pave a different healthier pattern of habit in more fertile soil?


Journalling & Self Reflection Exercises:

  1. Which Samskaras or habit patterns can you identify within yourself that are limiting to your wellbeing? Categorize them from very deep, to more superficial habits.

  2. Which Samskaras within yourself are liberating and encourage wellbeing?

  3. What ways can you begin to re-route the more difficult and limiting habit patterns?

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