As I work on my issues, I wonder why I have to keep working on my issues. Jeez Louise, one would think that one meditation should be enough to clear all of the memories, traumas, triggers, bad feelings and fear which I have accumulated before I started down the spiritual path of letting go of all of these challenges to eternal bliss. I used to have a bumper sticker that said, “yes, I have baggage, but it all matches”. My path to enlightenment is littered with ejected baggage that was filled with the past wounds that I suffered in my past.
Specifically, there are three childhood memories that I continue to wrestle with and any event that even remotely reminds me of those events causes me to react negatively, even when I know what is happening. It truly sucks to know that I am having a negative reaction to an unrelated event that has nothing to do with the memories that are trapped in my subconscious. Yet as I dig down to root out these memories it seems like “oh no, not this again!” As I understand it, there are basically two reasons why it sometimes takes years to heal from old traumas.
First, people justify who they are based on their past. It is easier to make excuses for inappropriate behavior than to fully embrace the causes of that behavior. The truth is that we have to come to peace with our past, and any conscious or subconscious resistance to what happened will prevent the achievement of that peace. In other words, the irony is that when we refuse to accept what happened to us, we hang on to the emotions and feelings that we experienced during the original event. These negative emotions will surface when we are reminded of those events, directly or indirectly. So as long as we do not forgive, resent, feel victimized or wish our past was different, we can’t move on. We either have to embrace what happened to us as a gift or at least be neutral. When we don’t accept the gift of the trauma, the trauma continues to be the gift.
Second, sometimes the trauma has gone so deep into our subconscious that it is like a growth that wraps around our hearts and sinks roots deep into our subconscious. When we try to remove those growths from our heart, and we don’t go deep enough to remove all of the roots and tendrils, like a dandelion the memories will come back and we will continue to react negatively to similar events. Neurologists and psychologists now believe that habitual thinking creates neural pathways and when we focus negatively on events that will cause repeated negative reactions. In other words we create our own suffering by obsessing on our past. What we need to do is to get help in rooting out the cause of our suffering.
On my radio show, Get Real Radio, we have interviewed several practitioners of modalities which are helpful in going in deep and pulling out the roots of trauma that keep coming back. EMDR (Francine Shapiro), The Havening Technique (Rebecca Scott), The Reconnection Process (Eric Pearl) and other shows provide techniques that are very effective for removing the negative effects of traumatic memories. There is a Buddhist saying: “Dig deep, find water. Swim deep, find pearls”. The essence of this saying is that we have to fearlessly dig into our subconscious (water) to find the past trauma (pearls) that is causing us to suffer in the present. When we can find these pearls and embrace them for the gifts that they are, we will move past the trauma and subconscious memories that cause us to suffer. You no longer have to experience fear, abandonment and rejection in relationships. You no longer have to explode for no apparent reason. You no longer have to stare at the ceiling night after night wondering why you can’t sleep. You no longer have to experience anxiety and stress. Our internal gardening is an absolutely necessary and unending process. As I dig deeper, I find that I am exhausted as I go deeper into my subconscious to remove the infections that were created by traumatic events. However, I sleep better. So go find a practitioner that can help and start digging. You will be glad you got rid of the “gift that keeps on giving”.
Reprinted from The Elephant Journal entitled “Rooting Out Trauma”