In life, people experience emotions that they may or may not have the capacity to digest. A Samskara is a ball of undigested emotions that continues to affect us later on in life.
For example, if a child was bitten by a dog, then they will experience fear and pain. Usually, they are unable to digest what has happened and need something to distract themself like ice cream. Later on, when they see a dog, the Samskaras of fear trigger the child to cry. We cannot blame the child for having the Samskaras because they lack the ability to digest their emotions.
However, if an adult were to be bitten, they can experience fear and pain but their intellect and rationality help them digest their feelings. The next time they see a dog, they do not have a Samskara that has been built up by prior negative experiences.
The difference between the child and the adult is that the brain is more well developed to handle the samskaras.
Samskaras start at some point in our lives. However, many people assume that they form through large traumatic events only. But that is not true — their origin is usually a very small, seemingly insignificant event. When you are young (5 or 6 years old), the seed of the Samskara gets planted in your mind through that experience.
Over time, this seed gets watered through different small experiences. Over time, a cognitive bias starts to form and you start to look at the world through a particular lens. The more you look at the world through this lens, the more a core belief about yourself starts to take shape. As you keep watering this Samskara through various experiences, it grows into a big, insurmountable problem.
There are two approaches to dissolve Samskaras:
The more you explore this origin, the more you will start to realize that this feeling is an echo from a past experience. Each of these experiences forms a little bit of an echo in your mind, and over time, it turns into a cacophony that overwhelms you and dominates your thinking.
However, if you stop feeding this feeling, it will die out. We can have feelings that can cause us to want certain behaviors, but at the end of the day, the problem is that we let them define our actions.
Understanding the feeling at the moment is the first step to overcome it. The more you observe it, the more you will realize that it’s built on a shaky foundation. Moreover, try to see how it controls you and try to consciously choose the path that feels uncomfortable or painful in those moments. That is how you starve the Samskara and overcome it.
The Samskara itself is self-contained and not entirely congruent with reality. That might be confusing because emotions make you feel like they are real, even though they are not.
An example of this is when people who have depression think they are worthless, and their children might be better off without them. That is a crazy thought and absolutely untrue, but at that moment, the person believes that.
The other thing to realize is that these thoughts and fears are not you. They are part of your mind, and the more awareness you become of this fact, the more freedom you can gain from these feelings. The more you realize that you are separate from them, the less they control you.
Practically speaking, meditation is a great tool to explore yourself. You can also try to seek a therapist to help you work through them, and for non-clinical issues, the Healthy Gamer Coaching Program is a perfect choice.
Do not try to distract yourself from the samskara. Diagnose the Samskaras fully (See a mental health professional/therapist), and digest that samskara.