In Be as You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Ramana Maharshi states, “[W]e have simply to throw out all the age-long samskaras [innate tendencies] which are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will shine alone” (p. 15).
A samskara is an ego-self tendency. Any form of reactivity (for instance, anger or sadness or shame) and any thought-looping (“I don’t want to be seen this way,” etc.) would be a sign that a samskara has arisen.
The simple truth, very akin to a store going out of business, is that everything held onto must go.
Suppose that one of my samskaras is the fear of loss. The body experiences the fear in the form of certain physical sensations while the mind cycles through imagined scenarios of loss as well as through ways of preventing these imagined losses.
To say that “everything held onto must go” is, mark this, not to send off the loss or the thoughts or the emotions. Doing so will only ensure that they come back. No, one must go is the basis or root or relative source of this fear of loss. And that is, as Shankara knew, the “I am the body idea.” For he rightly said that the “I am the body idea” is the source of all misery.
In the meantime, each samskara must be allowed to arise and must be approached non-judgmentally and curiously from multiple angles. Get behind the mind and, said Nisargadatta, take a keen look at it from the outside. Truly, when all samskaras have been given up, then only Ultimate Reality remains, shining forth unimpeded and unencumbered.
Whatever you’re holding onto, can you see it clearly? That is, can you let it be seen? And, seeing it clearly and intimately, can you let it fade away? And can you trace this samskara back to the relative source of all samskaras–namely, the ego-self? And can you intuit that this relative source is, in actuality, not real?