Post-traumatic stress disorder is a term used to describe a condition arising from an intense and distressing experience. In my professional life I’ve had the experience of speaking at depth with people who have experienced all kinds of trauma, including a former soldier diagnosed with combat stress disorder. Inasmuch as I have read or researched the subject, I don’t think anyone has really put their finger on what actually happens within the subconscious mind and emotions of somebody suffering with PTSD. In this article I’ll endeavour to cast some light on the subject, which may be of help to therapists and those with PTSD who are struggling to get a handle on what’s going on inside. I’ll first be looking at the original trauma that each of us experiences at birth and then describe the way the human brain deals with emotional pain and anxiety.
The original trauma of existence happens at birth when, after nine months of perfection within the warmth and protection of the mother’s womb, the baby is ejected from the birth canal into a cold, harsh and divisive environment. Existence is traumatic but it’s made bearable for most of us through the love and tenderness received from the devotion of parents, carers, friends or guardians. However, the pain of separation from the embryonic state of the womb is something we human beings never really get over, and each of us copes as best we can with the disorder and mayhem of a disharmonious world. The whole living life and the search for love and recognition in the world is towards discovering something that approximates the effortless state of being within the womb.
Everyone, without exception, suffers in this existence because of the lack of real knowledge of the truth and purpose of life. The living process from baby through to adolescent and adulthood creates a veil of forgetfulness, an aberration of the timeless state of consciousness. It hasn’t disappeared but its energetic presence is imperceptible against the course vibration of past gathered by the person in the frantic scramble for experience. The effect of not being connected with the natural restorative wellbeing of the body forces the attention or frontal intelligence to externalise in an aura outside the physical body. Just about everyone in the world exists outside the body and functions as a rational mental being.
Trauma is one way devised by life that is guaranteed to get the person back into the body and the physical senses. Someone who has experienced a traumatic event, or been subjected to a period of emotional or psychological stress, undergoes a psychic transformation that alters the frequency of the emotional body. Depending on the degree of penetration, a traumatic experience can affect behavioural patterns, thought processes and even the physical appearance of a man or woman. In extremes, an individual with PTSD perceives the world exclusively through the emotional condition of the event and is virtually a slave to the fluctuations of his or her emotions. In such a rare case an individual becomes psychically vulnerable to the vast body of human experience and becomes a target for discarnate energies that arise from the universal disorders of humanity.
Sometimes in the proximity of death, or the sudden news of a bereavement of a loved one, time can appear to stand still. In a similar way, the shock waves of a trauma create a vacuum within the psyche and interrupt the incoming flow of life or reality. The normal leakage of vital energy wasted in aimless thinking and mental speculation is temporarily halted, with the intelligence more alert and able to perceive the significance of life. However the vacuum or hole in the psychic inner space is soon repaired by the mind. This can be a period of extreme anxiety since shock of any kind can induce strange or eccentric effects which the mind struggles to relate to. Under extreme intensity the brain splits these high frequency signals and offloads the data to a secondary compartment, where it is hidden from the individual’s conscious awareness. There it can be scrutinised at another time or just kept locked away in the dark. In the case of someone with schizophrenia, the energised presence is likely to become a separate personality and compete with other entities for supremacy within the subconscious of the individual.
A soldier who has experienced some atrocity or the death of a comrade may find the intensity of emotions so overwhelming that the brain rejects the input and deletes the content from the frontal awareness. That person can feel they are free of any emotional residue because the identification with the energetic experience is protected by an emotional layer that has deadened the pain. Nevertheless, the effects of the trauma manifest in the external circumstances of the person. The first psychological effect of the original trauma at birth is to escape from the pain by keeping busy and preoccupied with the business of living. This is the global pattern of humanity, with virtually everyone on earth pursuing individual goals and ambitions so as to avoid confronting the source of the inner pain. The traumatised soldier’s condition, however, externalises in the world, mirroring the emotional blockage inside the body. As the trauma pines alone in the dark of the subconscious, so the person often becomes a loner, isolated from friends and family and intolerant of the company of others. The emotional and psychological condition is often reinforced with feelings of guilt and self-pity that support the sense of separation from personal contact with others and society at large.
There are many people devoted to helping those with PTSD. The therapeutic way is a method of neutralising the negative effects of the trauma by taking the person back through the events of the past. Sometimes it works and the person feels that the therapy has been helpful, but rarely does it dissolve the core resistance of the trauma itself. This is because any therapy utilises force to combat the constriction or emotional blockage within the person. Force is movement, whether the action of a fist punching somebody’s face or any movement of the mind such as thinking, imagination or visualisation. To dissolve the trauma for good requires a radical shift of perception. Trauma is a blockage of past that obviously has no place in the present – and the most creative power available to us is the moment or now that is the one demonstrable reality of our existence. Everything happens now; and now is always fresh and new. The ever-changing moment is a reproduction in sense of the perfect harmony of life on earth and the immediate reality of the cosmos. To perceive it is to participate in the rightness of being one with the vast movement of life.
To begin to dissolve the trauma, the individual must be willing to accept the fact that what has occurred was necessary; otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. This may require an extraordinary embracement of the integrity and essential justice of life. Next, the individual must be willing to let go of any emotional conflict or confusion in trying to understand the trauma. While a person harbours guilt or resentment, the trauma will fester like an open wound. People often hold onto their emotional trauma like a treasured heirloom – and revel in the exclusivity of being in some way special, having been through some unusual experience or ordeal. Perhaps the most difficult thing is being willing to accept responsibility for what has happened and to be prepared to let it go as an act of impersonal love on behalf of the greater good. This is what it all comes down to in the end.
The practice of being present in the senses is imperative for true self-healing. The trauma must be reached with the love or the creative intelligence inherent within every body. This is done through the gradual stilling of the mind and the emotions through the conscious entry into the physical body. Meditation can be effective but is not always necessary once somebody gets the idea of being still and attentive. The mind, which is nearly always active, needs to be anchored on something to begin with to stop its habitual wanderings and unnecessary thinking. The natural wellbeing in the body is the place on which to focus: this will steady the restlessness and emotional stress. To further neutralise the negative effects of a trauma, I would suggest not talking about the experience or trying to understand why it happened. There is no reasonable explanation why it happened, apart from it being and effect of the original trauma of being born.
Trauma and tragedy exist to break up the certainties of living. PTSD is really a piece of the jigsaw that connects us with the wider picture of the global disorder of modern life. Although people are deeply affected, and sometimes scarred for life, it is life itself that creates such challenging events and circumstances. And this is beyond comprehension or rational understanding. The trauma of existence manifests for us all in one form or another as the difficulties or challenges of daily living. The extraordinary thing is that, stored within every trauma that afflicts an individual, is an energetic potential that provides the perfect solution towards the next phase of that person’s life. Each challenge is a confrontation with a recurrence of the past, disguised in the present, to see if the individual is ready to shed the false and be worthy of going on into the deeper mystery of the unknown.
Lance Kelly 2013