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.