After the first 5 days of work I was glad to take refuge in Michael Stone’s workshop. Three days of reflecting on how yoga and meditation dance with consciousness was the perfect soft landing from a journey of discovery in Southeast Asia.
The sun shone on our lunch group as I sipped on my golden milk and thought about our discussion about trauma, damage of the mind. We were guided to understand that the definition of an experience is when an event makes our senses have contact with the self. Something happens and we feel it through a web of the story we create around it. It gains context. But trauma is the opposite of an experience: our senses store something that has never had contact with the self. A trauma is the big elephant that stands in the spare bedroom of our brain, the one we never made contact with. The one we never experienced. The one that was never processed so that it belonged to the furniture. The one that, instead, drove us rearrange the rest of the rooms, or even to move to another house.
Trauma happens when something too humongous happens for us to be able to be Here and Now. We go on autopilot to survive. Diving deep to make contact with the self is not an option. We sometimes hurt people in the process (or rather, lack-of-process). Trauma creates karma for ourselves, and it is usually not positive karma. Sometimes the people we hurt end up with bad karma, too. The elephant casts a surprisingly large shadow.
Is it possible to make contact with the self, to connect the dots, years later? I would like to hope so. Will it fix what happened, years ago? Probably not. But opening the door to greet the elephant is a good first step. (Helsinki, Finland; September 2016)