Patterns & Defenses

By Amanda Moreno

This week I have been thinking about patterns. I’ve been noticing old patterns coming up again in many spheres of my life. It’s kind of annoying, really, but life seems to be built on these patterns. I feel fortunate to be able to bring awareness to them even when I’m frustrated by the fact that simple awareness doesn’t seem to change them.

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

Photo by graywacke/A Landing a Day

I’ve also spent some time reading The Soul Speaks: The Therapeutic Potential of Astrology by Mark Jones. As is always the case, Mr. Jones’ work resonates at the deepest core of who I am, speaking to just about everything I’m interested in.

In the book, he references the work of James Hollis, a Jungian analyst. Hollis discusses the expectation that a person tends to have upon entering a therapeutic container, be it traditional therapy or an astrological consultation: that some magic will occur as the therapist traipses into the client’s psychic space, exorcising personal demons and promoting instantaneous healing.

In response to this expectation, Hollis points out that there is no guarantee against future suffering, that we have to be willing to disassemble our defenses in order to make progress, and that that progress will likely be slow going. Our original issues tend to stay with us through our entire lives, even if they change form. Jones takes the commentary further to illuminate the perils of having the astrologer-therapist accept the role of being magician.

Not really a strong platform for advertising therapy, is it?

As resistant as I’ve been to the idea that change is so slow, I also hear a truth in it. Especially when I combine it with my understanding of karma.

In the Vedantic teachings they talk about Samskara and Vasana — two kinds of karmic imprints. Vasana is more like a subtle tendency, whereas Samskara is a wound that is associated with the concept of karmic gravity. Samskara is based on trauma and is repetitive karma. It is based on impulses that we could not complete in past lives and that therefore get replayed over and over again. This is the essence of most of our karma, and part of the reason patterns change so slowly is because there is a weight to them that causes repetition.

According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, when consciousness leaves the body and is no longer rooted in the dense structures of the body, it is able to create reality based on thought instantaneously. This is why the Tibetans put such emphasis on ‘dying well,’ and on being aware of the transition: so that as our consciousness transfers out of the body we are able to traverse the afterlife states in a way that facilitates our healing, and transfer into another life without the weight of so much karma. A truly incredible documentary on the process can be found here.

The theory, as well as my experience in past-life regression work, would say that when we die unconsciously (as so many of us do), we transition with all of that weight. We die thinking, “why did he leave me” or “I never have enough,” or “I’ll never get out of this.” These thoughts create reality in the afterlife. We transition through the afterlife often without knowing what’s happened. The weight of the emotional and physical content remains as imprints in our energy bodies, which reincarnate with us in the next life. The cycle continues.

So yes, patterns change slowly. They have a weight to them.

I have a particular relationship pattern I’ve been working with consciously for about five years now, surrounding my fear of abandonment and loss. I’ve done ritual around it many times, worked on it in therapy and regression, and gotten understanding about it through astrology. It retained a charge for a long time at all levels, however. I would have physical reactions when it was triggered, in the form of back and neck pain; emotional reactions in the form of sobbing breakdowns; and mental reactions in the form of my mind racing, which just increased my anxiety.

A few weeks ago something happened to trigger the pattern. Afterwards, I found myself walking down the street, thinking about what had happened, when I suddenly realized: I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t struggling to breathe under the onslaught of anxiety. I didn’t feel like crying at all. All that still remained was my awareness of the fact that my mind was trying to engage its loop of racing thoughts. The emotional and physical charges, however, were no longer there. I clapped my hands with glee and ran off to the metaphysical store where I work to share with a friend.

That’s not to say the pattern is entirely gone. I’ve felt it rearing its head as life has continued throwing me triggers. The astrological counseling, ritual work and everything else I’d done to try and change the pattern had all combined together with time and perseverance to help me move through the pattern. It’s not gone, not forgotten — but something has shifted.

My experience of that shift goes a long way towards mediating the frustration I sometimes feel when I seem to be stuck in a loop, with outside forces exerting the same pressure in the same spots over and over again. Time will tell as to the long-term effects. But for now, it felt like a great example of the Virgo-Pisces axis that is so emphasized right now: recognizing a pattern, and letting it go.

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About Amanda Moreno

Amanda is an astrologer, soul worker and paradigm buster based in Seattle. Her adventures in these forms of ‘practical woo’ are geared towards helping people to heal themselves and the world. She can be found in the virtual world at

11 thoughts on “Patterns & Defenses

  1. Cowboyiam

    Amanda you really spoke my language today. It is frustrating that patterns so deeply set seem to stay long beyond our blindness to them. Once we understand the mechanic’s of something it would seem like we should have it licked but that seems never the case. Practicing mind control takes so much energy that we rarely keep it up continually.
    Napoleon Hill said that man has total control over just one facility, our mind. Most of us find that statement absurd, but it is true. Ironically we end up using our mind to try and control everything else. We are delusional in our unreality obsession. But truly we do have the power to change and it requires just about every once of energy we possess to reprogram our self. And patience is part of the process. Like you I have some old programs that will run sometimes and t

    1. Cowboyiam

      Like you I have some old programs that will run sometimes and take me by surprise. I am always frustrated that I allowed it again or that it even yet exists. But often times the onset is caught during the process and is minimized before it takes over. My life is a work in progress and perfection is not part of the deal. I have learned to be gentle on myself and celebrate my small victories. Thank you for sharing on this deep level. It really helps to see myself in others.

      1. Amanda Moreno Post author

        Oh, you’re so welcome.

        Between the writing of this piece and its publishing, I got a big ol’ opportunity to check in and see how I can deal with loss at this point in my life in the form of a death in the family. Different than before, and yet the same. I think I’m better now at letting grief run through me without attaching the harmful scripts and the ‘whys’ and ‘i nevers’ and what ifs, but some core scripts are still there. So it goes… As you say below, that compassion thing is huge. Thanks for your contributions here!

  2. Cowboyiam

    Thanks for that Documentary it was other worldly. Tibet, the most backward place on earth, yet, the most spiritually evolved place on earth. I am fascinated with it, have been for many years – this documentary is truly new to me. Thank you for sharing it. I will be submersed in adjoining documentaries for the rest of the evening. Smiles.

  3. Cowboyiam

    Sorry for hogging all of the comments here so far, but this subject and specifically the book of the dead aspect is heavy on my mind today. Watching that documentary really focuses my mind on my life.

    My dad died in October last year. It happened so fast and it was evident he wanted to go. He did not fight it but welcomed it. What I realize is that his passion for living had died, and his was a passionate life. Passion to create had driven him always but he completed, it seems, his life’s work by the time he was 55 and the last 26 years of his life lacked that spark, that fire. And drinking simply could not fill that void.

    One of the voids in his life was compassion. He was a sensitive man who would naturally feel compassion for others but he trained himself into non-compassion and took that determined mindset to his grave. I was holding his hand when he took his last breath. It is a powerful moment in my life.

    I think the basic message of Buddhism is compassion and maybe that is our best attribute as human beings. Compassion must be the central purpose of this journey we are on. If it is then I have farther to go. I want to capitulate completely. I hope to awaken. I want to let go.


    Thank you for sharing Amanda, I have been struggling with similar patterns all my life & just recently coming to the realization of how powerful it is just to ‘recognize’ or ‘witness’ your thoughts & emotions when a triggering pattern presents itself. This is the most important aspect of meditation & I am working through the resistance of having to ‘sit’ with my thoughts & feelings consciously without giving into the urge of engaging with them. It’s been the most important realization of my life thus far & continuing on the path of awareness. The more aware, the lesser the grip of a particular emotion & thus less suffering in the form of mental & physical. It’s so beneficial to have people to share these feelings to create a sense of connectedness. Thank you again sharing, your realization of this ‘aha’ moment gives others hope to continue this most important journey of letting go.

    1. Amanda Moreno Post author

      Thank YOU for sharing! Indeed, the ability to observe and not engage the thoughts has been huge. But for me, I still have to let the emotion move through a lot of the time. This means honing the art of sobbing, for example, without letting the “I’m always going to be alone,” or other scripts catch on. Sobbing, letting it happen, and letting it pass.

      1. Lizzy

        Yes! It’s a process of observing our thoughts and letting them be, but also of letting the emotions happen and pass through us – so that we can eventually release our total identification with them, and dissolve their apparent solidity.

  5. Cowboyiam

    Thomas Jefferson was a Deist who believed in a creator. He was not a believer in Christian dogma whatever form it took. He made for himself a book of scriptures attributed to Jesus. In these quotes he only allowed those that expressed compassion because he believed that uncompassionate words were added over time for political reasons and he never accepted Jesus as divine. He believed that only in our weakness do we truly get honest with ourselves and only from that state of humility are we able to grasp the true beauty of our innocence. And in the beauty of our innocence divine providence is allowed to unfold.

    Once I spent a week just reading the red letters in my new testament and I discovered a Jesus with many personality’s. Some of these personality’s seemed to hold a rather heavy chip on his shoulders. Some were so completely detached from other opinions that they exuded a complete state of peaceful awareness, observing without reaction and pondering carefully what response was required. Many verses relate a serious conflict within his family concerning his behavior. Jesus had to detach himself from the good opinion of other people – even his family. His mother and brothers plotted to have him put away to save him from his delusions.

    Bluntly I believe Jesus is a certain model for how awakening works. Letting go of what doesn’t work is always going to be a test of focus. We just must keep our eyes on the prize, or something like that. Noticing and accepting our programs running, without justification or remorse, is the humble way. Accepting of all of me but determined to awaken is the mindset.

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