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Spirituality & Trauma

A

Apotheosis

Guest
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

- Kahlil Gibran

Traumatic experiences force victims to face issues lying outside the boundaries of personal and collective frames of reference. As a result they are forced to confront psychological and spiritual challenges that are unfamiliar to the average person. Therapists need to recognise that organisations of self and God are often thrown into question or destroyed by experiences of trauma. The deconstructive power of trauma exposes the lack of substance and cohesiveness that comprises identity and images of God.

Initially, trauma is grounded in pain, loss, and fear. Often it leads to breakdowns. Ultimately, with proper support and guidance, it has the potential to transform individuals into compassionate and deeply spiritual beings.

Traumatic events expose victims to aspects of life that most would prefer to ignore. Trauma creates confrontations with the lack of security and certitude that underlie all human endeavours. It has the power to throw into question or obliterate any organisation of self, God, and humanity. The implications of traumatic events assault anything considered sacred or foundational. Trauma brutally demonstrates that the ego (the rational aspect of consciousness) cannot contain or make sense of certain aspects of life.

Certain experiences, such as peak, near death, and mystical experiences often project individuals into another realm of consciousness that is often referred to as transpersonal or spiritual. At these times the ego is displaced or cracked open. This enables transpersonal dimensions of consciousness to emerge. Many of these experiences, despite their beauty and sublime character, are unnerving and terrifying.

Trauma, in addition to its ability to deconstruct reality horizontally in terms of belief systems and frames of reference, also initiates a vertical deconstruction. It either displaces or obliterates the ego. Victims are thrust into the realm of the Deeper Self without warning and preparation. This brutal exposure illuminates the fact that the ego is a mosaic held together by personal narration, continual feedback from others, and internalised object relations.

Trauma, in spite of its brutality and destructiveness, has the power to open victims to issues of profound existential and spiritual significance. The displacement of the ego forces confrontations with deeper levels of self and reality. Trauma throws victims onto a path that mystics, shamans, mythic heroes, and spiritual seekers have been walking for thousands of years. The difference is that victims of trauma must work this territory or be overcome by it. Non-traumatised seekers have the luxury of getting off the path at will; for theirs is not a life or death struggle.

In receiving appropriate care, compassion, and direction, victims can overcome the destructive impact of trauma, break through restrictive approaches to life, and become more soulful and compassionate beings in the process. Traumatic injuries, when accompanied by love and understanding, do not become places of deadness, denial, and disease. Rather they become bridges of compassion that connect victims to all sentient beings. Survivors accept that they can be broken, overwhelmed, and rendered powerless. These realisations are not considered shameful (as they were at the beginning of the journey) but are now recognised as the common ground that connects victims to all forms of life. Becoming comfortable with one's inherent capacity to be rendered powerless enables survivors to encounter the brokenness and wounds of others without fear.

Sources -

http://spiritualemergency.blogspot.com/2006/01/spirituality-trauma.html

http://www.fsu.edu/~trauma/T-088.html

"Trauma displaces the ego and demonstrates that no one is a self-contained being around which the universe rotates. If health is to be restored then the help of the Spirit and others is required. Acknowledging this fundamental dependency is a critical milestone on the healing path.

Unfortunately many victims of trauma are misdiagnosed and socially isolated. Most are unable to find healers who recognise that trauma has thrust them on a path that spiritual seekers have been walking for thousands of years. In addition, most do not understand that an ego has to refortified or established before one can develop a permanent relationship with the Deeper or Transpersonal Self.

The profound struggles of many trauma victims are often spiritualised or psychologised by various caring professionals. Victims need safe and supportive spaces in which to walk amidst the ashes of their former organisations of self, reality and God, while dialoguing with the transformations taking place on every level of their being. Eventually, the ego must be seen to be based on collective values. It is not the essence of being human. Relationships with the "Deeper Self" must be fostered and developed. In essence, traumatic experiences are one of the few things powerful enough to get the ego to release its tyrannical hold over the transpersonal dimensions of consciousness. In displacing the ego trauma creates access to the spiritual core of victims."
 
T

Twylight

Guest
Trauma

For many years for me:

The fear of God was greater than the Love of God.
 
J

JaxJax

Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
9
Location
Cornwall
Wise words

Hey,

I've just started a journal on the forum and this post kind of sums up my year. Having a year with more than one traumatic experience to deal with I have ended up having to take a good look at myself, and getting more in touch with my inner being. I have grown spirtually and am much stronger emotionally. It has kickstarted my recovery. Maybe sometimes things do happen for a reason.

Jax x

:grouphug:
 
Bluemoon

Bluemoon

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Messages
494
Location
UK
Interesting posts as always Apotheosis (y).

But this part is something I want to comment on:

"Trauma displaces the ego and demonstrates that no one is a self-contained being around which the universe rotates. If health is to be restored then the help of the Spirit and others is required. Acknowledging this fundamental dependency is a critical milestone on the healing path.
Yes, back where it all started :D.

When I had my first episode way back in 1997, I had been bottling up a lot of pain ( or is this actually trauma ? ) over many years of bad experiences. Although I was a student at university and becoming successful in building up a future there was always something being contained deep down. I didn't want to think about it any more so pushed it away. I used to have dreams and nightmares about the contents but would soon forget them after waking ( amazing how all these memories come back when you are recovering ). However, when the stress hit before the exams and deadlines of the first semester I began to feel depressed and found that I could no longer concentrate or remember things properly - then it happened. At first it was like a revelation, the pain exploding into my conciousness and then the processes of exploring that pain began. It was a very spiritual experience and it felt good initially, but it wore off and then I became "unwell."
I was never the same again until a counsellor at university, who was spiritual, started me down the path of exploring my spirituality back in 1998. It was an uncertain journey at first and I came off that path due to a second episode that year and remained focused on my actual life events until 2002 when I began to walk along the path again.

Now here in 2009 I'm feeling better than I have ever done, although there are some things from my past still haunting me. There's still a way to go, but as they say, "there is light at the end of the tunnel."

It's really amazing how you do begin to see yourself as not the centre of the everything when the spiritual process starts though. That not everything revolves around you and it's not all about you. In some ways, yes - your life is about you but it's also about everyone else around you as well.
 
A

alice

New member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
3
PTSD

Hi I'm new to this forum. Suffered long term trauma 40 years ago, kept it all bundled up behind a coping personality, had an out of the blue panic attach 14 months ago following six months of low-level depression, the person who emerged from the panic attack seemed to not be the coping person, but the traumatised one. She looked around at where I live, work, etc, and took fright - seeming to say, who chose this for me, I certainly didn't. Not been able to get much help from NHS mental health services, private counsellors, and so on, because they don't seem to be able to help me integrate the re-emerged traumatised me with the coping me. Can anyone suggest anything? I'm living what you might call a normal life - I'm too polite to have a nervous breakdown! But the traumatised child is screaming to be taken out of her trauma. The "next big thing" as far as the NHS is concerned seems to be CBT, but that's not helping - I don't seem to know which - the adult coping person, or the traumatised child - of me should be coming up with the alternatives to anxious thoughts, etc. The coping me dutifully comes up with rational alternatives, the traumatised me seems to be saying inside things like "And how's that supposed to help me in this situation?" In other words she seems to be shouting at me for trying to "deal" with things rather than "address" things. Anyone any ideas how to integrate the two of us?
Thanks
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
13,625
Alice,

I wanted to reply earlier when you were online, but I was waiting for a session with my local mental health team and they came just as I was about to reply.

You could just be talking about me, I am in the same situation and I know how you feel, I don;t know how to get over it though. I am currently not doing a very good job. I am currently under the intensive home based therapy team cos I had a blip, but anyway beside that I am having psychology sessions and the psych has suggested when I am well enough e.m.d.r.
Have a read about it, perhaps you could ask about this for yourself. I certainly cannot give you an answer on how to merge the two you's together as I am still on the same track as you with that one. I think sometimes we just have to let go and stop trying so hard.
Good luck
KS
xx
 
A

alice

New member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
3
Thanks for replying, KS. I have had a look at EMDR in the past and it's not practical - although on websites they push it as a short term remedy, when I actually phoned a selection of EMDR therapists it became clear that more complex long-term and long-ago traumas don't fall into the short term remedy category - a couple of therapists even suggested it could take a couple of years, with weekly sessions! The cost is £70 per session, so that's a non-starter. My local mental health authority don't offer EMDR - they just suggested I find a private therapist. Maybe you're right about trying too hard - I suppose I'm sort of resisting the "young me" taking over, because she's a lot more feisty than I as the coping adult turned into - I learnt that being passive in the face of abuse at least meant not worsening the situation. Hopefully EMDR will help you, when you're ready.
Peace to all, alice.
 
cloudberry

cloudberry

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
409
Location
North Lincolnshire
Another Idea

Have you thought of trying Bach Flower Remedies? A trained practitioner should make you up a remedy for a few pounds and it will last a month. I've seen amazing results with people and animals too.

If you have trouble finding someone i may be able to help over the phone.

All best wishes,
cloudberry(y)
 
W

Whitecrow

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
16
Location
Warwick, Warwickshire, England
Too much Trauma/Pain leads to Insanity

I would very much agree with this statement, i do believe that a major part of mental illness comes down to trauma. Alot of people say to me that my breakdown was down to drugs, taking street drugs, but i cannot accept that this is the only factor! There is alot more to it than that. I feel that my breakdown was down to many things that it had many contributing factors, i have never been able to break it down to just one.

Before i became unwell, i fasted intensively often over the space of two years, I had experienced alot of pain and trauma earlier in life and this mixed with lack of nutrition and street drugs was a toxic concuction. The breakdown i went through was extremly spiritual, though at most of the time was very intense and caused me so much suffering and pain, but it has taught me alot and i believe that i am a better person for it now.

For many years i yearned to be back where i was before i became unwell, to be back with my former self again. It took many years down the path of recovery, but now i really feel that i have retrieved those parts of my soul that i lost, that i am the same person as before, but now having been through a major expereince that has taught me so much. For example, having gone through pschosis, schizophrenia, OCD, it has taught me to be more compassionate, it has taught me tremendous insight into the ills of the mind, how to gain balance in a choatic world, it has shown me sensitivitys that i would have never of felt before, it has introduced me to hundreds of amazing and beautiful people all within and working in the mental health system and above all it has taught me to love myself and this crazy wonderful planet and existance that we all live in.

PEACE! :)
 
W

Whitecrow

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
16
Location
Warwick, Warwickshire, England
Maddness is a natural reaction!

I would just like to say that i really feel that 'maddness'/'insanity' is a perfectly natural reaction to too much stress on the whole self! The body, the mind and the spirit. Anyone, anything has a threshold, its just that ours was pushed that one extra lenth and the natural reaction is to breakdown to once again find structure. This may take years or maybe even lifetimes, but the balance is essential to all health, mental, physical and spiritual. Balance with oneself, balance with nature, balance with other people, balance with the universe and ones connection to the all that is.

PEACE!:)
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
13,625
Thats a great post Whitecrow and something I certainly aspire to.

Well done and its nice to know there is hope. When I am feeling desperate again I will try to remember there may be a light at the end of the tunnel - even if its a tiny flicker - I still know there is a chance.
KS
:hug:
P.S Not having a breakdown - had one of those ;-), the getting inner peace and balance - thats the aspiration.
 
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