Trauma and Pain: A Shared Transgenerational Language
Updated: Feb 1, 2020
What are the things from the past that, even today, you can’t keep at bay? The things that keep coming back at you, or that you keep going back to, to experience once more the same feelings of regret, pain, embarrassment, powerlessness, remorse?
How often do you experience anger, let that anger lash out of control towards the wrong person, or in the wrong type of situation?
How often do you contain the truth of your actual feelings and inclinations, fail to speak your mind, play pretend to face the world?
Would you say that you are fully aware of the actual nature of your emotions, the (vicious) cycle of your thoughts, that you really know who you are? In fact, are you even aware of the nature of your own narrative about who you are in the world and the difference between that and who you really are?
These questions here are not just meant to be read rhetorically. The reality of the matter, judging from my personal experience after facilitating a variety of Vedic Counseling and Intuitive Counseling Sessions over the past few months, is that the vast majority of the people out there cannot answer satisfactorily most of them. There is of course a variety of reasons for this, and most of them overlap and complement each other in very unique, individual, and specific ways. We have already covered some of them in previous posts, so we'll avoid repetition. But, speaking in broad terms, we could say that the main reason for this is our lack of familiarity with our inner world and the lack of motivation from the outside for us to learn to develop it further.
Trauma, Pain and the World Within
Indeed, most of us carry unnecessary and very old patterns of trauma and pain –some of it conscious, some of it unconscious, some of it self-inflicted, some inflicted by third parties onto us– that we project into pretty much everything we do, think, say, or experience in the present and, from there, into our future as well. To make things more complicated, many of us have also halted our psychological and emotional development as social and relational beings somewhere between the oedipal and adolescent stage –say, somewhere between the ages of 6 to 18 years of age. Yeah, that's right: we are adults with pre-adolescent/oedipal patterns of attachment, unrequited and unfulfilled desires, egocentric tendencies, and a large variety of dissociative behaviors.
Research into the nature of affect, trauma, pain, dissociation, the brain, consciousness, and the nervous system over the past few decades has elucidated a great deal about the actual nature of the human psyche and its many self-regulating and coping mechanisms. Prime among these, the fact that, faced with traumatic experiences of different degrees and sorts –either as children, teenagers, or (young) adults– our consciousness implements a self-preservation protocol whereby it splits, isolating whatever the indigestible/traumatic experience to maintain the illusion of coherence in our world. The process serves a bio-psychological function that is sometimes immediately necessary. Yet, if proper processing, acknowledgement, mobilization, and release of the emotions, thoughts, sensations, and energy often connected with that experience fail to take place, for whatever reason, the pain and trauma associated with that experience will solidify. It will crystalize and make itself real comfy within the confines of our deepest unconscious, producing a cluster of locked-up (psychic) energy we will carry around with us into all spheres of adult and old age life.
The price we can pay for this is huge, of course; and the incredible array of expressions of locked up pain and trauma we find today are a result. This is so because, whatever we hold on to real hard for too long, whatever we must protect so intensely and thus invest so much of our (un)conscious energy into, also prevents us from moving along, from experiencing the release of letting go, from relaxing, from de-tensing, from changing and evolving and growing and moving beyond. It thus clings to us with all its mighty darkness, pulling us down, keeping us at a stage of development we should have fully transcended before moving on to the next, and ruling our everyday present with the weight of a stagnant past.
Indeed, in a world that has built itself around the development of cognitive forms of productive intelligence, investing into emotional and relational forms of intelligence that acknowledge the importance of somatic release of individual and collective forms of trauma is not even contemplated, and thus, rarely catered for free. We think we need external solutions to the most pressing problems of our days –the food crisis, overpopulation, migration, climate change– yet we fail to realize that the actual problem, our actual global problem, lies within: on our inside and our utter unfamiliarity with it. And so, most of us are never really given an education on how not to contribute to the perpetuation of individual and collective forms of transgenerational trauma and pain, or on how to deal with and outgrow our own internalized traumas and pain.
Much of the work undertaken by professionals in the fields of the manual therapies, psychotherapy, Yoga, meditation, different modalities of coaching, and alternative healing methods target precisely those pockets of transgenerational pain and trauma we all carry within us from times both present and past. And a lot of the assistance I provide during the Vedic Counseling and Intuitive Counseling Sessions has the same orientation.
Collective and individual forms of trauma are real, and so must be our approach in dealing with them. We must learn to speak the language of pain and trauma, a language so universal and, at the same time, so veiled over, that most of us have not even been adequately schooled into identifying its grammar. We can differentiate the sounds, know the meaning of some of its words, yet remain unaware of the actual rules and principles this language operates under. Hence, illiterate when it comes to unraveling its grammar, the language of pain and trauma writes itself daily into our psyche and into our body, one crippling trace at a time.
We live like strangers in a strange land: unable to communicate the reality of our lived experience to others, of how it feels to see and do life from our individual positioning, isolated in a growing collective of aliens to their own bodyminds. The way out is clear: we have to look inside. Dare to peek, feel things pleasant and unpleasant, yet detach from narratives and value judgements, and see things for what they really are. Any time is a good time to learn to admire the complex, radiant beauty of our inner landscape; even if it is to realize that beauty, inner beauty can often hurt as much as it can heal us.
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