Beating around the bush 

 

It’s very common to beat around the bush in inquiry and most other forms of healing work.

We work on the more peripheral or immediate issues, and hold off working on the deep, scary, and more core issues.

There are good and sane reasons for this. We want to feel that we can trust the process and the person guiding it – whether it’s ourselves or a facilitator – before we get into the deep stuff. If we dive into it too soon, without proper guidance or  understanding of how to work with it, we can easily retraumatize.

There may also be fear preventing us from going into the deeper issues, fear that’s unmet, unquestioned, and unloved. And it can be very helpful to look at this fear. What do I find when I explore the elements making up this fear? What shoulds do I have about not meeting these deeper issues, or about meeting them? What deficient selves do I find, either when I consider facing the deeper issues, when I find myself scared of doing so, or if I look at the deeper issues themselves? Looking at these deficient selves is often easier than diving right into the traumatic memories.

Looking at these things helps bring us to a place where we more sanely can evaluate whether we want to dive in deeper or not, and whether we trust the process and the guidance enough to do so.

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Addressing traumas in inquiry without retraumatizing

 

Many of us have traumas and areas of the mind that seem scary and dangerous to approach. At the same time, we would like to be free from the painful dynamics these tend to create in our lives.

How do we work with these issues?

One approach is to plunge directly into trauma and the scariest areas of the mind, overriding any natural and understandable fears or resistance to doing so. That tends to retraumatize and creates a lack of trust between the facilitator and client. And that’s understandable since this is not a very skillful way to do it. Such an approach tends to come from inexperience or from a belief on the facilitator’s side that the client should plunge directly into these things while ignoring fears, resistance, and red flags.

A more skillful approach is to fully acknowledge the fears, resistance, and red flags. We take them seriously. We explore them. We see what’s there and perhaps their roots in early life experiences. And from there, we see where to go next. We may continue exploring related issues such as fears, resistance, and identities. After these explorations, we may also find that it seems safer to explore these traumas more directly. There may be a readiness to do so.

In the Living Inquiries, how do we approach inquiry in these situations? A common approach is to initially look at one or more of the following:

(a) The fears of entering the traumas or other scary areas of the mind. How does the mind create its experience of these fears? What imaginations and sensations make them up? What’s really there? (These may be fears of being overwhelmed, not being able to deal with it, that healing is not possible, we are broken beyond repair.)

Conversely, what fears are there about not entering or exploring these areas? How are these fears created by the mind? What’s really there? (We won’t ever heal, we are missing out of an opportunity.)

(b) Any commands to enter these areas or to not enter these areas. How are these commands created by the mind? What imaginations and sensations make them up? What’s really there?

(c) Any identities related to these traumas and scary areas of the mind. What does the traumatizing situation say about me? What do I fear others would say about me? What’s the worst someone could think about me in that situation?

Each of these is often easier to explore than entering the initial trauma head on. And these inquiries tend to get at core issues relating to the trauma. They may also reduce the charge sufficiently so we feel comfortable facing the trauma more directly, allowing us to see and explore what’s left of the trauma related charge.

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Fear of meeting what’s here

 

It’s common and even sensible to fear meeting our more painful wounds and traumas.

And for good reasons.

We may not trust that we will know what to do. Or that our facilitator will know what to do. Or that the process we are using will work. And each of these is sometimes true. It’s possible to be exposed to our old traumas in an unskilled way and be retraumatized.

So what can we do? The best may be to find a process that works for us and that we trust based on our own experience. Work with a facilitator who knows what she or he is doing, and that we trust. And gain some experience and trust by first working on more peripheral material.

If we stay in the periphery, the wounds and hangups tend to recycle and keep coming up.

So at some point, we need to focus on the most painful and apparently most entrenched material.

We may not feel ready, and it’s not wise to try to push through.

So another option is to meet and examine our fears in meeting our wounds.

I can meet it with loving kindness. Perhaps ho’oponopono. Saying I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you to the fears, and the wound itself. This can help shift my relationship to the fear and the wound.

What do I fear? What’s the worst that can happen if I meet the traumas? (Some possibilities: It won’t work. It will make it worse. I’ll stay stuck in it. It will never end. My painful stories will turn out to be true. It will be too painful. I won’t be able to take it. The process won’t work. The facilitator won’t know what to do.)

What do I find when I examine these stories, one by one? For instance by asking is it true? What happens when I believe that story? Who I would be without it? What’s the validity in the turnarounds? (The Work.)

What do I find when I look for the threat? (Living Inquiries.) Can I find the threat in the images, words, and sensations that come up? Can I find the threat outside of these?

In my experience, if I stay with a process and examine my fears, there is a readiness and willingness to meet even the apparently darkest areas of me, the deepest wounds. And that can be enormously liberating.

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Beating around the bush vs going to the core

 

In working with my own healing, and also with clients, I see a common pattern.

Some things seem too scary to want to work on.

So it’s tempting to choose something that’s less scary and yet seems helpful.

Why does it seem so scary?

It’s partly out of wise caution. I know that going into traumas may retraumatize me if it’s not done skillfully, in the right setting, and perhaps with the right person. It may retrigger the trauma without much or any healing.

It’s partly because when I first experienced the situation and created beliefs about it, it was traumatizing. So I expect, or am afraid, that will happen again.

What I can do is look at these fears and then evaluate if I have found the right tools and support for me to enter these traumas with the intention of finding healing. Using the living inquiries, we often initially approach strong traumas indirectly. We look at the fears in facing them. The deficient selves that come up when we consider facing the traumas, and perhaps when we consider the initially traumatizing situations themselves. We can also look at commands to either face the traumas, or avoid the traumas (both are often there).