These days, there seems to more awareness of the different connections between trauma and awakening.
There are people more experienced with this than me. But I have some experience in working with people with trauma and from exploring the connections between trauma and awakening in my own life, so I’ll say a few words about it here.
What are some types of trauma?
Trauma comes in different forms. Acute trauma is what most of us think of when we hear the word – from violence, catastrophes, war, loss. There is trauma from witnessing others experience and living with trauma. There is developmental trauma which comes from being in an ongoing challenging situation, often in childhood.
We can also expand the definition and say that any emotional issue is a form of trauma, and any belief and identification is a form of trauma. It comes from and – depending on how we relate to it – may create more trauma.
What is trauma?
It’s often explained as how our system deals with a scary and overwhelming experience we feel we cannot deal with. The basic elements of trauma are strong stressful beliefs and identities and corresponding muscle contractions (to hold the beliefs and identities in place). And trauma behavior span a wide range including anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and compulsions and addictions.
What role does trauma play before awakening?
Trauma can be part of our drive for healing and awakening. We may wish for healing and/or awakening to find relief from the pain of trauma. Whether we chose mainly a healing or awakening path, or a combination, depends on our inclinations and what we have available.
If we already are on an awakening path, it can be very helpful to include an emphasis on emotional healing.
If we are on an exclusive healing path and are happy with it, there is not really any need to include an emphasis on awakening. Although some of the tools for awakening can help deepen the healing, and glimpses and tastes of awakening can certainly help with the healing.
What about trauma following – or within – awakening?
Awakening involves an opening of our heart and mind – and even the body. And at some point, this can include an opening to whatever unprocessed emotional material is in us.
This often happens in smaller doses and over time. We have emotional issues triggered, are unable to ignore it as before, and have to find a way to relate to what comes up that’s healing in itself and allows what surfaces to find healing.
Sometimes – and perhaps especially if there is stronger trauma in the system – it happens in a more dramatic way. When this happens, it can feel confusing, overwhelming, and unbearable. (We can see this as a certain type of dark night in the awakening process.)
How do we deal with overwhelming trauma?
The best is to get help from someone experienced in working with trauma. Find someone you trust, are comfortable with, and respect where you are and don’t push you. If the person also understands awakening, then it’s even better.
The main guideline is patience, kindness, working with the body, and using nature.
I have written other articles on this topic so won’t go into it too much here.
How do healing and awakening go together?
Emotional healing helps living from the awakening. The fewer and lighter emotional issues, the less likely we are to be hijacked back into separation consciousness when they are triggered. (Although if it happens, it shows us what’s left in us to explore and find healing for.)
Awakening gives a new context for healing emotional issues. The healing can go deeper and the process may be a little easier.
What are some tools that invite in both healing and awakening?
There are several. Some of the ones I have found helpful – and that I keep mentioning here – are different forms of inquiry like The Work, Living Inquiries, and the Big Mind process. Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). Heart-centered practices like ho’oponopono, tonglen, and Metta. And energy work like Vortex Healing.
Note: As usual, take anything you read – anywhere – with a pinch of salt. It may be different for you.
- Trauma and awakening
- awakening -> trauma
- opening for, taking the lid off
- who we are needs to heal so those spaces in us can open up for embodiment, living from the awakening
- including the oldest + most universal + most primal
- trauma -> awakening
- feed into, fuel, food for
- awakening -> trauma
(For instance, a way to temporarily reduce the intensity is to focus on the sensations in the body and set aside thoughts and images.)
The best is to get help from someone experienced in working with trauma. And if the person also understands awakening, then it’s even better.
orientation: kind, patient, understanding
Examples of beliefs: I lost something essential to my life. The world is threatening. There is something fundamentally wrong with me. I cannot be healed. The corresponding identities may be as a victim or even perpetrator.
Note II: I started this post in October 2019 and re-found it and posted it in April 2020.