On the Nature of Vrittis (Emotions) and Cakras – The Phenomenology of Tantra (Excerpts)
“Vrttis set the mind in motion (hence the name emotion) so as to understand, act, and react to various external and internal cues as it passes along it’s evolutionary journey from animality to humanity and eventually, to divinity.
The actional expression of the vrttis unfolds in pairs of opposites to maintain the equilibrium of the mind. In fact, in all mental and corresponding chemical (hormonal, neurotransmitter, etc.) states of the body there are actions and counter actions that maintain the organism in a state of homeostasis. Blood sugar levels are balanced by insulin, the blood must maintain a delicate balance in the amount of iodine and calcium, seratonin levels are balanced out by norepinephrine, and countless other examples. The mind coordinates the same process with emotions in an attempt to maintain mental equipoise. Jung contended that for every assertive feeling or thought there lies a potential antithetical negation of this assertion repressed beneath our conscious awareness due to its contradiction with the conscious attitude.
Human psychology is fundamentally the psychology of opposites. Our conscious personality traits may often conflict with hidden, unconscious counter tendencies. For example, the way we think or rationalize about something often conflicts with our heart’s feelings about it. We make factual statements about the world based on sensory information while at the same time we experience non-sensory intuitive processes. One may be predominately introverted, but at the same time there are tendencies to be extroverted, or vice-versa. Emotionally, hope is counteracted with worry, joy with pain, attraction by repulsion, like by dislike, love by hate, etc. This confrontation of opposites, however, brings about the process of what Jung called the transcendent function if the unconscious tendency is brought into conscious awareness and incorporated into the self. This incorporation reconciles the antithetical tendencies and makes the self a more complete whole. What was once repressed and unconscious becomes a part of a much broader conscious identity that accepts and amalgamates the polar, clashing, hence undesirable traits. This synthesis in turn leads to higher self-awareness, a broader concept of the self, and a greater degree of emotional intelligence.”
“This demonstrates that vrttis are dialectical in that they must always confront an opposing tendency. However, this dialogue is one that leads one to a state of transcendence beyond all dialectics in that the reconciliation of the oppositional vrttis successively stimulate higher ones that propel one to attain the infinite, unchanging, non-dual reality. The development of higher vrttis leads, of course, to more subtle mental conflicts that must further be resolved by higher vrttis until the vrttis become so subtle that their attraction to the Infinite enables one to eventually merge the mind in the Supreme entity, where all vrtttis and individual mental functioning ceases, and with that, the existence of the mind. “
“So vrttis are what keep the mind’s vital, dynamic momentum in constant association with an object while maintaining this panoramic, phenomenological flow of the mind as it struggles to move from the crude to the subtle mental occupations, and evolves toward higher, spiritual states of emotion and cognition. That is, until the termination of it’s existence in an objectless state of consciousness, or pure subjectivity.“