Healing Trauma

Healing Trauma

In the west, we often spend our time in our heads or devoted to distractions like television or games. Some people and cultures are more OK with emotions but may get caught in the drama more instead. It’s not easy being human.

All of us have experienced illness, death, violence, and abuse in one form or another. How we respond to such experiences makes a big difference in the consequences for us. But our response is natural and often automatic. It’s not something we control – however hard we might try.

This is especially true when we’re young and the world is a mystery. Then, we often respond in black and white ways, blaming ourselves or another as if everything was personal.

We also bring some of it forward from prior lifetimes. Some of our past unresolved traumas even drive features of this life. Themes like anger, self-blame, and excess caution can go back a long way.

When the trauma is large, we process what we can at the time. But it can take time to work through it and some is often deferred. If it’s not faced later, it becomes suppressed in the “subconscious”, out of awareness. But that suppression continuously consumes energy and can build like a powder keg. It may also “leak out” in unpleasant or unexpected ways, including illness or irrationality.

Life wants to heal, so circumstances will arise in our life as an opportunity to heal. If we don’t understand that, we often resist and compound the issues instead. If we see the same kinds of experiences repeating – the same problem boss or boy/girlfriend or neighbor – we’re calling them forward to heal but often end up blaming them instead.

How we respond is what leads to healing or suffering.

Don’t blame yourself if you don’t “get” the lesson. It’s often not something our mind can figure out because it rests in shadow. Some are complex with many parts, healed bit by bit. Often, we only recognize in retrospect what has changed.

But if we resolve the charge, those circumstances end. That karma is done so stops showing up. The “monkey mind” gradually winds down.

We often notice our baggage through life experience. We catch how we respond to something. Feel a sensitive point? Overreacting? Irrational response? These show we carry a charge that’s being tickled by circumstance.

All the “lower” emotions (Shame, Guilt, Apathy, Fear, Anger) show something to be healed. Like pain, they are valuable signals. Often, they’ll come up and be processed quickly. But if we try to avoid or repress them, the signal may get stronger. Or it may cycle back into shadow to come around next time. If we have much of a backlog, we’re more likely to avoid.

Often, we’ll make a story about a feeling due to memory associations. The mind doesn’t like to notice feelings without a “reason.” But this can often become an avoidance by moving into the mind and trying to dismiss it or explain it away.  Also, we may blame others for our feelings but that gives away our power. These reinforce rather than heal.

Grief is another signal indicating healing. It is our response to processing change such as death or loss. We can even notice grief with a major success, mixed in with other feelings. Change always evokes a need for processing.

Better to take moments here and there to give the charge (feeling) attention and allow it to arise in our experience and be felt. In a few moments, it is resolved.

Often, we have that associated story too. The mind reels out the narrative about it. But if we recognize the story is just a story and allow the story to babble away without investing in it, we can resolve the charge and heal. For the big ones, this can take time. The story can be deeply connected to the emotion. Then it’s a matter of allowing what we can to arise, chipping away at the edges until we’re ready to face the smaller core.

Soon, we learn that our fear of those dark places is like our childhood fear of monsters under the bed. There is no danger there, just an opportunity to put down a load, to let it go.

It might be a little unpleasant, like going to the doctor. But just for a short time.

A skilled energy healer may be very useful in here. They can help peel off some of the charge without going into it. As clarity grows, we become more capable ourselves.

As may be clear, the key here is awareness. We can only resolve what arises in our attention. The best way to develop awareness or presence is with practices that culture samadhi, pure awareness. And the best for that I’ve found is an effortless mantra meditation.

Besides samadhi, deep meditation offers deep rest to help heal on all levels of our being. It also cultures a step back from life so everything isn’t so personal. Being less entangled, it’s easier to let go of the stories and the charge. Without the energy behind them, the false stories wither away and the ‘real’ ones becomes neutral.

As we raise our awareness and notice our internal dynamics, we learn how to respond in ways that lead to easier healing. This makes it much easier when unresolved baggage comes to the surface. And that can considerably improve quality of life.

But it takes time and patience with ourselves to heal. Our ego naturally tries to control and repress. Healing requires a different tack. When we notice reactivity or resistance, we stop and look. Where is that coming from in the body? An intuitive signal? Or more likely something we can heal.

Don’t try to figure out the origin in the past. That’s just taking you back into the mind and the story. That can help perpetuate it. Just allow whatever arises to be there. In being experienced, it is resolved.

As we clean house, we can reach a place where things seem clear. But still there can be hidden shadows to bring light to. Life’s biggest lessons often revolve around healing something very deep.

The deeper we go, the more universal we get. We can come to a place where we’re clearing things in the group we once might have considered horrific. But as we’re deeply rooted in source, it is just another passing experience, another shadow dissolved, another weight lifted, another deeper resolution and peace. But it is not just personal anymore. It is bringing these qualities to the whole.

When memories lose their charge and become neutral, we know that aspect has healed. But neutral doesn’t mean not feel. No feeling or blank means the opposite: flow is blocked and shadow and fog hold sway.

With time, practice, and patience, we will unload great weights, restore energy, increase clarity, improve smoothness, and enjoy happiness for no reason. We also build a great platform for full enlightenment.

Last Updated on February 11, 2019 by Davidya

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  1. K

    One of the things you had said in an earlier post – is that we are healing stuff from many life times. When I see other people maximizing their talents and see myself not getting as far ahead as expected despite my advantages – I have to think that I have a lot to heal or in the Hindu way of seeing things – a lot of karma to work through. For the most part in this life, I feel that while I could have been better, I wasn’t too bad and tried to make the best of circumstances. Given everything takes a while to heal and unwind, I feel that I must have piled up quite a bit of debt or back log. While I am not in the least bit curious about the circumstances of past lives, sometimes I go “what on earth did you do – for e.g. to get such as abusive childhood” or “wow – why are things so free flowing for others and blocked for you”. Anyway, I must have been a busy beaver piling stuff up in other life times.

    1. Well – you can’t really compare apples with oranges. Each of us have vast histories. Some of us have taken on heavier or lighter loads in this life. We can’t judge another’s experience or challenges by surface appearances. We also move through cycles where certain kinds of challenges arise, then fade again.

      Most people in the world are said to have vast mountains of unresolved experiences. We bring just a suitcase into this life. This is one of the big advantages of awakening. It is said to roast much of that backlog, leaving us only to deal with the what is already underway.

      Rather than thinking about the weight of our load, it’s better to look at what is here in front of us and how we can be with it most smoothly.

      Some also frame it like learning lessons. Where there is resistance, there is something to learn. But thats a process, not a one shot spot-quiz.

      Sometimes they describe healing like peeling an onion. Layer after layer after layer. But there is an end to that process and it does get better.

      Just remember life is a journey, not a goal. Enjoy the process. 🙂

  2. Joel

    Thanks for this article David. You mentioned “Don’t try to figure out the origin in the past. That’s just taking you back into the mind and the story. That can help perpetuate it. Just allow whatever arises to be there. In being experienced, it is resolved.”

    Would this not be what a counselor/psychoanalyst would do? Take you back to the origin of the story, as to “root it”? As Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Or is this an incomplete perspective of healing since most counselors/psychoanalyst’s are operating from the paradigm of the ego?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Joel

      Well, I wouldn’t say it’s black and white. There is some value in talk therapy in digesting difficult experiences. But if we don’t clear the energetic source, there will be the tendency for the type of experience to repeat again.

      Some people do experience the origin of a trauma but I mention this because most are seeking the source in the present life when often there are multiple sources. Because the original energetic contraction hasn’t been resolved, the experience has often repeated through several lifetimes.

      Sorting that all out isn’t necessary to heal. And yet healing can relieve not just the present but our past also. Certainly our future repeats too.

      Yes, modern therapy seeks the source in this life. That doesn’t tend to resolve the actual source, just ease the symptoms. It can also lead to stories about the story rather than a resolution. Something to satisfy the mind vs healing. And yes, this is influenced by an ego paradigm.

      1. Joel

        Thanks David, I had to let this response sink in for a bit. Could free association, through journaling or talk therapy maybe been seen as proactively looking for emotional baggage as opposed to waiting for life to bring the circumstance around in order to experience and heal it? I guess you could say though, whether through journalling, therapy or what ever event is needed to bring about this unresolved baggage, that is all “life”.

        I can sense this fear in me, that if I don’t get “help” like see a psychoanalyst or something, that I’m doomed to repeat life events over and over that are perpetuated from traumas. Although I’ve had light brought to certain repititions I’ve been doing that have caused suffering, simply through doing it enough to finally see it, and through therapy. Maybe what the struggle really is here is trust, trust that whatever needs to happen will happen in time. Maybe this is just my ego trying to control, and maybe the lesson here is to let go and surrender greater and greater into the perfect unfoldment that is life. Hmm..

        1. Hi Joel
          Those approaches are very useful for letting the mind digest experiences. We all tend to have a bit of a backlog. However, the contractions to be released are typically energetic. It’s much easier to discover these through emotions. How we react to experiences rather than how we think about them.
          I don’t recommend we go looking for stuff because some people get into a loop of seeing themselves as broken and/ or spend too much time in healing. We also have to integrate.
          If we just pay attention here and there to how we’re responding in day-to-day experiences, we’ll notice what is arising now. Because it’s active in the current life, there is more support and more awareness that can be brought to the experience and thus a greater chance to heal.
          But it does take time, patience, and a bit of practice to get to know how we usually contract or grasp at things and to develop effective release strategies.
          Fear is a very common contraction but you have to be a little careful of the mind. The mind doesn’t like to have emotions without a reason, so it adds a story. But the story is just an overlay to avoid feeling and be OK. If you try to follow the story, it will expand and turn into a maze. It’s purpose is avoidance and it’s very artful. (ditto for seeing through ego and waking up)
          Recognizing that it’s just a story about the emotion and doesn’t actual point to the source allows the story to dissolve or be seen through. Then we can experience the emotion more directly and thus begin to heal it.
          Unless that’s recognized in the mentioned approaches, you can find yourself following self-justifying mazes once the experiences are digested.
          In your example, the mind has added a story that if you don’t fix it, you’re doomed. But nothing you can do will address this story because it doesn’t lead anywhere except into itself and away from the feeling. This is the nature of aversion.
          Recognizing these dynamics, you can begin to see through the story and come to the actual fear. When that is experienced directly, then it is resolved. Then you have no story and no energy being consumed suppressing the fear. The air clears and sattva increases.
          And yes, trust is another big one. And a justification for the ego to want to control as we don’t trust life. But again, another story about the nature of life. It’s truth lies in the fear of trusting. As we move to greater surrender, we find true power is in our universal nature. Healing frees more and more of us to embody that.
          It can be a bit of a maze, but as we clear bits here and there, the complexity settles and it becomes much simpler. People with a long practice of touching source will have cleared most of the little stuff so we’re mainly talking the hard nuts now. And some shared contractions we’ve tied to – I’ll be writing about the shared stuff shortly.
          The most important step here is getting to know what’s a product of the mind and what’s a product of the emotions. The mind is working to keep us comfortable by hiding our unresolved contractions. When we stop playing that game, it will ease off making it much easier to see the undigested emotional contractions.
          All they need is a willingness to be seen. They can be like the boogeyman under the bed. The big ones can be intense but are really not so bad. Nothing we haven’t handled before. We just were not ready at the time.
          Make sense?

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