Chronic Armoring around Pain, Trauma, Denial and Dysfunction
Introduction: Left Brain/Right Brain Symmetry
This topic of armoring around injury both psychologically and physically is not only a a relevant and large subject in both psychology and somatics, but also a subject in yoga as well as other spiritual sciences. In a sense it is the essential inquiry in all healing and self empowering spiritual modalities.
These pages are an inquiry into injury, dysfunction, denial, trauma, disempowerment, and despair. We will ask:
Avoiding injury or harm in the first place is of course most preferable. Here we will strongly differentiate between avoiding injury and avoiding pain (its messenger). In fact acknowledging preexisting pain, accepting it, and honoring it is one important step in becoming conscious and acknowledging its source (the injury) and then removing it. Then the pain goes away as well. Preventative measures are also very valuable in early infancy and childhood and is an important topic in functional developmental psychology. In general, we will see that injury and harm occurs when we are split from Self -- from the interactive and intelligent innate harmony of all things --in the indigenous sense, from all our relations. Post traumatic stress syndromes only occur in "victims" -- only in the dispossessed -- as we will show.
Although preventative/proactive measures (especially in early child development and education- perhaps also pre-natal and peri-natal as well) are by far the most desired modality, we will here focus on repairing the dysfunctional patterns that contract, restrict, and armor us from participating in a full, creative, and loving way of life.
Essentially we will view the body/mind and environment as a wholistic interactive dynamic. Because of the extreme emotions of fear, grief, anger, hatred, revenge, etc. (all driven by confusion), it is necessary also to let go of these compensations in order to achieve the release in the body as well. Likewise because it is in the nervous system and cells of the body that the disturbances, imbalances, and negative imprints are held together, it is most often causal to work directly with the body to fully release the mental -- at least it is a powerful doorway into the human psyche. In fact the release of both mark a successful healing and restoration of wholeness/wholesomeness. It should be obvious that our day to day experiential reality affects the body/mind as well and thus the socioeconomic, political, and ecological environment is an important player.
In body-psychotherapy as well as in shamanic healing, the healing of the whole organism is approached with the assumption that the body-mind forms one interactive whole. It has been observed that in times of great stress, the organism often acts irrationally and then suffers from both psychological and physical disturbances afterwards (in many cases they never recover). This is currently called post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) but really it is simply the result of a previously experienced but incompletely processed (poorly integrated) past dynamic vector which created a strong body/mind distortion. PTS syndromes can be seen as the the body/mind's desire to seek resolution, but it recurs until it is recognized and resolved. How we deal with fear, terror, horror, shock, and great stress dysfunctionally will be the immediate topic below. Hysteria, freaking out, going berserk, and group insanity is one way; going limb, going into shock, paralysis, fear, and obsequiousness are another -- but we will explore more healthy alternatives that lead toward full and functional recovery in terms of shamanism, yoga, and body-psychotherapy.
Trauma, armoring, numbing out, negative conditioning, withdrawal, avoidance, denial, and dysfunction are huge topics taking up entire libraries in Western psychology, yet psychology's track record in effecting cure is not "high" because it is framed in a self limiting "intellectual" and artificial context, rather than within an organic living natural context. It is rarely framed in the wholistic and balanced complete context which necessary ingredients of the cauldron of healing. So what I am suggesting is a new unbiased and undistorted paradigm that is not left brain dominant. In other words our existence can be completely understood by logic and conceptual thought alone, rather the intellect is only one tool that is at our disposal. Getting up in the head at the disadvantage of the feet is part of modern dissociative"dis-ease" and is a cause of stress rather than balance, harmony, and function.
So what yoga, shamanism, wholism, and body-psychotherapy suggest is that therapy be aimed at bringing people back into their natural organic state -- into a non-harmful "RELATIONSHIP" with all beings (including oneself) and from that perspective -- lasting healing is possible. Along the way the "therapist" has to either convince or allow the client to release/let go their modalities of compensatory dysfunction and afflictive emotions and to show them the joy of an integrative"reality". Part of this process is letting go of core beliefs that justify and reinforce the disease sometimes called the "armoring" around a past injury or the cosmology of our own "woundology". Too often people who share the similar trauma, dysfunction, and stress bond together as they share the same "woundology", but rather than to act as mutual liberators and healers, they too often reinforce each others barriers, armoring, prison, and disease. Below we will look at some of the mechanisms within our modern sociopolitical context as well as within the realm of indigenous all abiding/eternal time.
Physical and Mental Pain Considered Together
It has been noticed by psychologists and body workers that physical and mental pain often work together in a dysfunctional co-dependent relationship. In other words if I am pained mentally, disturbed by an event, terrorized, in mental anguish, stressed, etc., my body will also become stressed, in pain, contract, and even become injured/diseased. So not only will my awareness contract around my perceived injury, but my body will also armor and contract. As an important side a perceived injury is always that, an mental state of mind and as such it is always self inflicted; i.e., "names will never hurt us", unless we judge them to be injurious
Similarly when I suffer a physical injury I will have fear around the events that lead up to the physical trauma especially if it is a severe physical trauma due to an accident or act of intentional abuse by another. Many other emotions beside fear may be associated with the physical trauma such as resentment, anger, grief, disempowerment, depression, intimidation, and more.
The mental/emotional mechanisms can become "complex" because of the mind's desire to avoid the pain. Complex guilt (like I deserve this punishment), acquiescence and obsequiousness (cooperation with the process of injury therefore identifying/transference with the perpetuator rather than as the victim can occur), denial and disbelief (this isn't really happening as an attempt to dissociate), shock and paralysis (in an attempt to escape), etc. Likewise when severe emotional trauma occurs and there exists an associated feeling of disempowerment and/or guilt, then access to the release of the post traumatic stress symptoms are often accomplished through processes of body-psychotherapy more so than any other method of treatment, because the mind has erected its own fortresses, stories, and methods of compensation that block intellectual access.
Post traumatic stress symptom relief is not only a topic relating to disasters, war, group, or personal trauma, but today it is ever increasingly clear that the entire culture is suffering from it. There exists a mass (group) psychological trauma, injury, and collective pain, while the dressings are being attended to daily with the salve of hype, propaganda, and mass illusion.
By definition pain hurts and we tend to not want/desire to experience it. Mostly we live our life around avoiding painful experiences while seeking out pleasure (or at least ways where we can drown out, numb out, or escape from our pain). Yet as we will show this could be a false and dysfunctional concept. We too often confuse pain with the injury itself. Pain is the messenger. However what we "do" want to avoid (if we are healthy) is injury and further violence.
In healthy activity, pain occurs because there is an injury. It is a message that some thing is wrong or damage is about to be done or is being done, or has been done. Like if you put your hand into a fire. If it is too cold, too hot, if something is sharp and going to cut us, too much pressure, or other messages. Pain is foremost a messenger which we do not want to over ride, numb out, overcome, or avoid -- we want to heed/listen to its message and act accordingly -- functionally.
But what happens is that we do not listen to the subtle messages of pain and wind up causing an injury (which hurts even more). Most often our muscles and fascia contract around the injury in an attempt to protect it from further trauma i.e., we tend to armor around it. Often this can help temporarily as long as the armoring does not become chronic. For example I injure my shoulder joint. The muscles tighten up to protect the ligaments and/or tendons. When I move so as to hurt the tendon attachments further, the muscles tighten up further trying to prevent further injury. Eventually I learn to tighten up/contract around this spot and not to re-injure it and it heals -- maybe? Eventually "flow" has to be reestablished in the region to complete the healing process.
What happens to the tightened muscles afterward and/or does the joint come back into mobility? Eventually the hardness and armor has to melt and soften for healing to become complete. The area has to open up again without the armoring around it in fear of re-traumatization. Flow and integrity has to be reestablished, but we have to go through the layer of contractedness/armor that "was" protecting us from the injury. Here we have to give up the fear of the pain or rather put another way the desire to avoid pain. We have to let go of the armoring and the energetic dynamic patterns that hide in the tissues and the nervous system. This way we heal the aftermath of the injury.
This is a big topic in rehabilitation and some of it includes fear of re-traumatizing the region. Then the area can be re-patterned successfully. We will discuss these mechanisms a little more later, but this seems fairly obvious as we all have experienced physical trauma and can acknowledge that.. But when we put mental pain into the picture it becomes more complex. How many people acknowledge mental trauma? Not many because most of us deal with mental trauma through mental mechanisms of avoidance and escape, i.e., we do not even acknowledge it. First we have to ask what is mental pain?
Mental pain, anguish, displeasure, angst, and the like take on various masks. For example one says that hurts me deeply when they mean that they have been disappointed or that I am deeply hurt when some one insults or betrays them. Or that they have been caused a grievous injury. Unforgiveness toward another is a form of this as well, so we can say that revenge is an attempt to resolve an inner pain. When some one is displeased with some one else, they really mean that they disapprove or are "not happy" with the other. Hence anger or condemnation is another way to express what is mental pain. Horror is an extreme form of judgment and mental disturbance. The extremes of mental pain is overwhelming terror, horror, shock, depression, and/or despair and too often it is anger, resentment, and desire for revenge which temporarily brings us out of "it", but the latter mechanisms are simply compensatory mechanisms that do not heal the injury. The type of trauma or injury that is induced mentally or emotionally is always self inflicted i.e., it is the result of our own decision/judgments that such and such is "bad", "evil", "terrible", horrifying, "unthinkable", abhorrent, insulting, criminal, destructive, shocking, offensive, and so forth.
In fact anything that creates a disturbance or perturbation in our mind field (vrtti) is capable of being classified as painful. Hence this becomes very broad as any mental as well as physical suffering in general can be called painful. We will show that "all" these disturbances come from the same cause -- having a spiritual cause i.e., being out of harmony with Self -- being traumatized or split apart from our true nature.
The "problem" arises when we try to avoid mental pain i.e., when we no longer own our reactive negative emotions. Pain has to be acknowledged as well as pleasure otherwise we become dissociated and estranged from our feelings and deeper sensibilities. This becomes complex when we are afflicted with delusions about self, self deceit, prideful identifications, group identifications (such as nationalistic, religious, or racial pride), prejudice, and the like where our sense of identity and security is based on an external belief system that has not undergone scrutiny. Here we may have preferences to see ourselves in a filtered light, in a skew, distortion, rose colored prism, but the preference can act as blinders and withhold valuable information for our spiritual evolution unless we are more passionate for truth - to acknowledge the truth of our feelings -- to get back in contact with out natural "self". Thus the ability to change our core beliefs about "self' and "other" is an essential part of the overall healing process. Those who are locked firmly into core beliefs of right and wrong -- of external dogma and ideology may find ersatz security there, but not healing.
Dysfunctionally then, when a mental preference or belief system is challenged (either consciously or not) one reactively (unconscious knee jerk) avoids the situation through defensive/aggressive reactions, denial, and/or disbelief. To make this even more complex this often involves defensive mechanisms toward avoiding feelings of lack so that mechanisms which falsely reinforce one's sense of security, sense of self worth, self esteem, pride, righteousness, and goodness are grasped unto. These are mechanisms that numb out and insulate us from our "feelings" of hurt and pain. This is what comprises the variegated masks of reactive patterning or what I will call complex guilt. . Although they create a temporary sense of safety, they are at bottom neurotic and will be triggered over and over again until the neurotic mechanism is disconnected.
In is in this way that we armor around our past fear, pain, trauma, feelings of disempowerment, despair and hopelessness. The only way to become empowered and authentic is to come to terms with the origin of the pain and hence to become empowered. In that way we fool ourselves or what is called out fox our "Self" -- the true self becomes chronically avoided through knee jerk reactions of avoidance/denial and defensive/aggressive reaction-- protection of the mask, the filter, and the armor. Through this dysfunction we do not learn or grow -- Tout au contraire, we stagnate and become our own hostage.
Masks, Body Armor, Hatred, Aversion, Coping, Adaptation, and Depression
A well known phenomena in body psychotherapy is that of armoring against or around perceived threats, danger, intimidation, pain, threat of pain/punishment, or trauma. This usually consists of a contraction, tightness, and numbing off from feeling in specific areas of the body.
For example, if I feel threatened I may make a warrior face so as to scare away the threat in order to make myself appear less vulnerable - I might put on my warrior mask and armor. I may purse my lips, tighten my jaw, create a sneer, or even conjure up a fierce look of aggressiveness, anger, vehement hatred, or wrath. Or conversely if the threat toward me is due to one who is competitive, who fears me, who sees me as a threat, I may cower, I may collapse, sulk, act obsequious, or even express extreme sorrow or passive woundedness so as to take on the mask of submissiveness, obsequious, and harmlessness so as not to take on the other's wrath or suspicion, or appear as a threat, and thus attempt to protect myself. I may also exhibit behavior of dejection, inhibition, dumbness, depression, and/or insentience as to display my state of harmlessness.
These bio-psychological energetic stances, postures, and patterns an become triggered without us being conscious of what we are doing and why. They can imprint themselves as seemingly permanent facial expressions not only as masks on the cheeks, eyelids, lips, jaw, and face, but also throughout the body fascia as well as inside the body in glandular and organ terminology as well.
These actions can be subtle, but still very damaging. Such an example which creates unnecessary extra stress in daily life may be a construction worker. If he/she looks happy carefree and unstressed while working, he may think that the boss may want to reduce his pay or work him harder. Indeed the boss may wonder if this worker is working "hard", is efficient, or has enough to do. If however the employee looks stressed, is breathing hard, is limping, bleeding, swearing, complaining, and/or has corresponding body and facial expressions of pain, fatigue, stress -- i.e., like he is doing battle with a very difficult job, then the boss may believe that this employee is indeed working hard, despite the degree of productivity, i.e., that this job was harder than expected.
Thus some people wear the mask of pain and act out the symptoms of stress even to the point that it becomes chronic because of insecurity, fear, scarcity -- because of our own foolishness
Likewise the mask of hatred, anger, fierceness, and wrath is often chronically exhibited outwardly by those who feel threatened, under siege, being imposed upon, or victimized in an attempt to defend and protect themselves. Hence often in slave cultures, oppressed minorities, and exploited groups such masking is common as long as they do not get punished for these body languages of behavior. Where there exists further punishment, then successful adaptation takes the form of dejection, obsequiousness, depression, sullenness, grievousness, and the like. So in one sense the masks of hatred and anger seen in this situation can be taken as a healthier sign than that of passive collapse.
Functional and Effective Therapy:
In any case, effective and functional therapy is designed at breaking up these masks and armor, rather than reinforcing them (as conventional therapy attempts). Working with the intelligence inhabiting the gross body (no matter how well buried) will also access the mental energetic patterns that are holding the physical dynamics in place, as we work into and reduce the physical tension, the mental is also released. Breaking up the physical and energetic patterns will also break up the mental patterns of holding and vice versa. Breaking up the mental patterns of hatred, aversion, fear, angst, intimidation, grief, and angst will break up the stuck energetic and hardened physical imbalances.
This is very well and good, but the client and therapist must also address dysfunctional core beliefs and institutionalized avoidance/denial -- a national psychic armoring, mass hysteria, and/or kulturally induced neuroses which is self perpetuating through one's family, peers, institutions, authority figures, nationalistic delusions, prejudice, provincialism, bias, and the like. These factors have to also be acknowledged and eventually disengaged. Without doing so the client runs a high risk of becoming quickly re-infected. In other words daily body/mind patterns have to be looked at, recognized, and changed if they are dysfunctional.
Social, Political, and Spiritual Ramifications of Pain and its Denial
The Mechanism of Denial, and Disbelief: Self Destructive Escape from Trauma, and Insularity
When some one puts their hand accidentally into a flame, they instinctually withdraw from the pain successfully in most cases escaping the negative consequences of trauma and perhaps death. Likewise physical pain in general is an indicator calling to our attention that something must be attended to in the body or else there may be a danger to injury. Normally this withdrawal from the source of the pain is accompanied by both a muscular and psychological contraction -- we get into an insulated, armored, or protective mode,
Without this pain mechanism, many people would attempt to act as robots, walking over unperceived glass and cutting themselves unconsciously, becoming over exposed to the weather, sitting for long periods of time without regards to circulation needs of the body, twisting joints, tearing muscles, stressing organs, and so forth, but the pain gets our attention -- the body tells the mind how to heed the limits of the body and if we do not pay attention, then bodily dysfunction in the form of disease or death occurs.
Conversely it is pleasurable to release preexisting stress and pain and joyful to move into greater flows of wholeness, interconnectedness, integration as the energy irrigates, animates, and invigorates energy circuits and parts of self which were previous blocked, shut down, repressed, or stagnant. This is latter modality is one of getting in touch (versus the former of alienation, withdrawing from, and/or numbing out) with our feelings, with the body/mind, mother earth, the life force, creation, and embodiment. This is process of entering into integration/interdependence versus fragmentation -- of yoga -- the indigenous non-dual and transpersonal sacred context where we are all relatives where we affirm the sacred reality of All our Relations!
Physiologically and energetically this latter process of "getting in touch" involves the synchrony of the left and right brain (or in yoga terms pingala/ida -- shiva/shakti. It is the process of coming together in our wholeness and completeness -- into the holographic Reality of the Great Integrity allowing the imprisoning fragmented veils of illusory existence to fall away. From this context of returning to inner knowing, of natural self knowledge -- of Gnosis, intuition and instinct -- we are able to discern good instinct and healthy inner prompting from compulsion, old habits of dysfunction, reactive defenses, afflictive emotions (kleshas in Sanskrit), and the hot buttons (that may trigger fear, anger, hatred, scorn, etc.) of past negative imprints ( called samskaras and vasana) in yoga.
Escape from Pain as an Escape from the Body and Nature: Denial of "Self"
It is a conceptual error however to conclude that we should avoid pain. Rather we should avoid dysfunction (if we desire function). We should listen to the body (be it pleasure or pain) and get its messages -- we should feel and be in the present. However a dysfunctional person may attempt to treat symptoms and ignore (the cause) by seeking to numb out their pain, run away from a potentially painful situation, insulate themselves from feelings altogether, dissociate and escape from the body, desensitize and "transcend" physical existence and the body altogether. However this attempt to deny our animal nature and our "Reality"as-it-is is self defeating, dysfunctional, and counterproductive because it takes us away from the very tool that we must apply as the remedial agent i.e., being consciously present -- here and now. By denying our "reality" -- our situation as-it- is -- by avoiding or ignoring it -- only further ignorance is produced and will create the seed to repeat the mistake over and over again until we wake up (the lesson is learned). We will show that dissociation and alienation from creation is the opposite direction of integration (which is healing) although it "appears" a very attractive seduction to left brain dominant people lost in the drama of duality. Especially the left brain compulsion to constantly objectify our experience, to frame it, to separate "I" from "that" is in itself an externalization, withdrawal and fragmentation which is in reality a fear based dissociation and estrangement. Basically escape from pain or seeking pleasure in this context are the two sides of the dualistic coin of unbalanced reactive thinking. Self actualization or natural creative/evolutionary flow lies outside of that drama and resides in ultimate well being.
The Sensitized/Activated Wholistic Model
More proactively of course it is far better is to navigate the terrain so that the "pain" doesn't show up at all -- i.e., we don't need the reminder in the first place not because we don't "risk" walking on glass, becoming exposed to weather, potential stressors, etc., but rather that our instinct/intuition is more highly refined, activated, present, and intact so that we navigate from an awareness of honoring the life force, our relationship with creation/creator, our true nature, and a joyful pain-free embodied existence so that this living/breathing relationship with all things precludes self destruction, self hatred, mechanisms of dysfunction and inhibition, and disease, i.e., it is governed/dominated by a ever present (omnipresent) life positive and healing intelligence where the right brain functions are activated and in synchrony with the left --where the nervous system, thought processes, and the entire physical body are working in harmony without conflict , internal friction, or stress .
This integrative or synchronistic state where all things are naturally bound together - are "known" (not just intellectually but organically all the way down to the toes) to be interdependent is the natural Self -- the Long Body, our True Nature. "IT" reflects a high level of integration, wholesomeness, and wellness of a living and non-alien spirituality.
But unfortunately that is not the "normal" (as opposed to natural) human situation, yet we will hold that out as the objective, the model, the guidepost -- the natural integrative state where being and consciousness, nature and spirit, body and mind, earth and sky interact spontaneously -- where they in fact spontaneously arise by themselves. We will also refer to this as a profound, multidimensional sacred synchronicity which by itself is totally incorruptible and unending, but which at the same time is widely ignored by the traumatized mental patterns that have become habituated, ingrained, identified with, and owned. It is these habituated patterns of false self identification that bind us to the matrix of our dysfunctional prisons as self imposed limitations, stagnation, and continued suffering. As a matter of fact ALL human suffering is due to one's estrangement, rend, alienation, and/or separation from who we really are in its wholeness and completion -- from Self or God -- from infinite Light and Love (which is our true nature). Anything short of coming to terms with Self as Reality is Escape from Self -- it is the basis of all the multitude neurotic diseases (all of which exist only within the illusory context).
This rend, split off, or separation from all our relations as a whole is the primal trauma that is the cause of all neuroses, lack of wellness, disempowerment, lack of self confidence, meaning, self esteem -- lack in general. When this occurs we become fodder for external systems of authority such as dictators, demagogues, priests, kings, and totalitarian states.
Corruptive Living is Suffering: The Nature of Disbelief and Denial
So with this perspective in mind, we can functionally view the mechanism of denial, disbelief, escapism in terms of political, social, or personal tragedy, in atrocities "so horrible or terrible that one can not fathom its meaning" and never be overwhelmed by it. Denial is achieved by ignoring what we are confronted by -- it is thus an expression of ignorance-- it is an inhibition of expressing who we really are. By not being swallowed up by its waves, we will not so easily grab onto the contrived life rafts of external authoritative systems.
Above we have already looked at the mechanism of physical pain and trauma and the way people respond functionally or react dysfunctionally with physical trauma. The nature of mental pain is similar but more complex because mankind is clever in his devious ways of escaping mental pain in which he deals with trauma mentally. If one investigates it in depth, mental pain is based on this simply based on false judgment and identification, illusion, prejudice, predilection, and preference which in turn create desire, attachment, anxiety, aversion, fear, and all the rest of the mental afflictions.
Something may be judged "desirable", beneficial, or "good", but when that does not happen, or when it is lost, or even where there exists a threat of its possible loss, there exists various perturbations, disturbances, of the mind-stream, fear, insecurity, worry, apprehension, angst, i.e., mental pain in the various forms of fear or foreboding, grief, depression, anger, resentment, hatred, revenge, anguish, turmoil, disgruntlement, and so forth.
When something that is judged by the mind as "bad", evil, terrible
or horrible we are close to our breaking point at dealing with the mental pain
at all -- we are close to overwhelm and a need to numb it out or dissociate
in shock and disbelief i.e., I can't believe that this is really happening",
"I am shocked and amazed", "I am stupefied" -- people go
into shock and stress when they experience deep trauma and are unable to deal
with it functionally. Here in their disempowerment, bewilderment, confusion,
deep pain and grief, they become ripe food for the demagogue or authoritative
type -- the priesthood and media propaganda.
When such afflictive wave like phases of mind or emotions are present, one is liable to swallow pabulum which only reinforces the neuroses rather than frees us from it. Too often one become dependent/addicted on the pabulum. By definition, once one has become rended from SELF there exists a sense of absence of the sacred and hence lack. Part and parcel with this corruptive state, there exists a lack of meaning, a feeling of connectedness, and true Self worth. Neuroses is simply the errant dysfunctional activities that is driven by the engine that wants to reconnect with the Self as carnal love and desire is the surrogate for eternal, unconditional, unrequited, uncontrived, and self existing pure love which is always available (should we be fortunate enough to surrender our neuroses which is precluding it)..
So then it may become more clear that the mechanism of our engagement in activities designed to extract, insulate, cover up, and/or escape from this kind of mental pain, people too often mistakenly create palatable lies, illusions, pretensions, insularity, aloofness, arrogance, and such that often take on ingenuous forms of group pride, mass illusions, status, privilege, shared power, bequeathed responsibility, or national pride in an attempt to assuage our lack of true connectedness. No where is this more palatable than when one is pained by guilt (which craves for justification, sanction, and forgiveness). Guilt and self blame is always present in events deemed as tragic, horrible, or terrible because one asks oneself (at least unconsciously) how could I have prevented this? When one tries to escape responsibility one often asks the question incredulously; "How could this have happened"? But in reality they do not want an answer -- it is not a sincere question at all, but rather a dissociation - an attempt to escape and avoid feeling .
Once this estrangement from the inner wisdom, from functional intuition, from self confidence, and the abdication of self responsibility is reinforced institutionalized by habitually alienated cultures based on estrangement from Self and Nature (god and love being distant and separate) -- through manmade, external, contrived, artificial, and logical masks reinforced with taboos and fear while rewarded by status, privilege, power, and authority through conformity -- all of which is 'needed" in order to substitute for the lack of belonging and acceptance brought about by the alienation in the first place, one often finds themselves "locked" into a dysfunctional trap which becomes difficult to break free from, yet truth will always defeat illusion if we search for it.
It is in this institutionalized milieu where the child has become forced into identifying with the neuroses, mass illusions, beliefs, prejudices, and pretensions of his/her culture, society, nation, tribe, or species that the mechanisms of disbelief, terror, denial, and escapism become solidified, yet salvation and freedom lies in the opposite direction.
In this milieu often when a tragedy, catastrophe, disaster, a "terrible" or horrible event happens, such people go into shock and/or disbelief. They may say I can not accept this. This can not be happening. It is understandable that when one loses the thing that they cherish most (or are threatened with such) that their sense of self may become shattered, devastated, traumatized to a point of overwhelm or grief or they may catapult into aggression, anger, revenge, or other such neurotic forms of discharge and release. But is it true that their lives are really devastated, ruined, and over and that they have no "reality" or existence in the "aftermath"? Precisely it is this inability to integrate that post traumatic problems exist in the first place wherein mental trauma produces mental scars, physical symptoms, and insidious so called post traumatic stress syndromes. Obviously the mental trauma would not exist in the first place if there was not the precursor of attachment, preference, predilection, fear, and the rest. And none of these precursors would exist if there were not the primal trauma from Self -- from the Big Body, but since this separation is very common in modern dualistic and materialistic society we have to deal with it expediently in perspective. Thus one may say that the degree of overwhelm and denial may be proportional to the degree of one being discordant or out of touch with their core/heart energy/primal relationship. In other words if we had our identity intact always in the eternal love -- with the Source of Love and Creation, then we would not be dependent upon the transitory false identifications. That is why we said above, that denial is the inhibition of expressing who we really are -- it is ignorance.
Having compassion is one thing as we may feel other people's pain, loss, and even
mourn them, but it would be a disservice to the victim as well as to ourselves to deny their
reality or attempt to disguise or escape from the reality of the situation.
Although we may not "prefer" to accept the pain and suffering, but it is this dysfunctional inefficiency on how we cope with life's situations, that results in either the entrenchment of suffering or our liberation. In other words if we could learn to feel our pain, acknowledge it, be with it, investigate its origins, embrace it- then we can act as our own healers, our own mothers/fathers -- by accepting responsibility in this way we activate disowned parts of our "Self" and come to terms with our inner demons and neuroses, and exorcise them In simple terms this sacred presence occurs as the process of coming home and being present -- of embracing indigenous time and shaking off the rule of alien gods.
So given a so called catastrophe most people ask how can this happen? How could God permit this? God can not be good. All sorts of insincere statements of astonishment nonsense. They are not asking for explanations here (although they appear to be asking a question), rather they are stating their disbelief and attempting release their inner conflict and pain in a devious way to exact revenge upon authority. One feels helpless to change a "bad" situation, so rather than to be with the pain, one attempts insularity through revenge as a release. This is similar to one's tragic attempt at attempting to find some one to blame for an "evil" event and then to seek to punish the perpetuator. That type of neurotic activity is commonly called justice, but it is simple revenge in an attempt to externalize, objectify, project, and discharge one's inner pain, anger, guilt, and violence (as an escape). This of creates only temporary or partial release and creates the woundology necessary for demagogues and others exploit and manipulate in the future.
More Punishment, Abuse, and Violence is not the Remedy; Love IS
We see this dysfunctional mechanism in widespread operation on the planet in the cycles of recurring and escalating violence. It is not only on our playgrounds where a teacher confronts two children who are fighting. The teacher may ask, "why are you fighting?" One child says,"he hit me". The teacher asks that child, "why did you hit him? The second child responds, "he hit me first". Why did you hit him first? The first child responds, "he called me a bad name". The teacher asks the other child, "why did you call him a bad name"? "He stuck out his tongue at me", he responds. The teacher asks the other child, "why did you stick out your tongue at him"? The child responds, "he stole my toy". The teacher asks, "why did you steal his toy" and so on....
The teacher knows that fighting and the cycle of escalating violence is destructive and dysfunctional -- that it is not the way to solve problems. The teacher attempts to show the children the joy of how to cooperate and help each other, to share and have fun, to live without aggression or fear of threat, to not to tear each other down all the time and work against each other. The functional and authentic teacher exposes the child to love -- to alternatives to strife -- to the Reality of peace, harmony, beauty, co-creation, creativity, and healing so that it becomes much more attractive than the other. Once we know LOVE, there is no alternative. However most of our present day politicians, leaders, people of authority, and parents are not helping as role models. Their hypocrisy and mixed messages are very disturbing to children. Their need to posture, to show how strong, powerful, and superior they are - threaten others to not displease them, etc., exist because of an institutionalized national dysfunctional family milieu which in turn is reinforced by the arrogant American psyche forming a self perpetuating vicious (and insidious) circle. Such a fear based psyche says on an ego level, "I am the king, master, sole authority -- great and invincible -- and nobody had better challenge this self image-- let no one challenge my authority or if they do they will suffer evil consequences.
We see these same problems in the dysfunctional family which is rife with the dramas of complicit denial -- the emperor is wearing nice robes, and so is the empress, the princess and prince. That is, as long as the game is played by the rules where no one challenges each other's pet ego delusions, status, privilege, pecking order, or mask. If one is attacked, the whole nest must regroup and disorder and unpredictability may reign. That type of disruption is very disturbing to those who have formed such external co-dependent relationships -- with such external order or authoritarian systems. So rather than suffer "disruption" and chaos, those who are imprisoned in such cages choose not to challenge the assumptions/illusion upon which it is based.
This type of dysfunction which upholds the illusion, ignorance, and denial feeds the dysfunctional hierarchical situations in the obsequious work site, in the office, in the military, in the church, bureaucracies, in all hierarchical organizations, and in the society at large with its myriad both complicit and insidious intimidation and inhibitions. It is present in the demagoguery of war, but especially so in the horror, shock, and disbelief of extreme social, physical, or psychological trauma and stress such when some one experiences or is associated with rape, kidnap, murder, and "great loss" wherein effective remedial measures are not taken advantage of. When the actual victim is dead, then relatives and friends wind up as post traumatic stress victims.
Thus trauma, injury, wound, or disturbance can lead toward effective resolution/response on one hand, but without effective remediation/response it can lead in many directions such as to shock, disbelief, horror, dissociation, paralysis, succumbing, obsequious, self victimizing (in willful participation), guilt, dysfunction, depression, despair, self recrimination, obsequiousness, disempowerment, confusion, horror, resentment, anger, revenge, and so forth. It is the despair and confusion in the willingness that comes out of out of one's sense of defeat, devastation, despair, horror, and being out of control that too often creates manure for demagogues which manipulate and exploit our injured feelings in directions in self serving (for the demagogue) directions. In that mechanism one surrenders their lack of self confidence and sense of order to that of an authority figure or external order which promises hope. Because one feels internally injured and violated, most often demagogues exploit one's depleted pride and diminished sense of self esteem by confusing one's inner turmoil, desire for resolution, and sense of violation/violence with its externalization i.e., to wrack revenge and violence unto "the other" while justifying it as "justice".
Be it the kidnap and rape of a daughter or wife, the massacre of your children at a high school, the loss of a loved one, the loss of one's limbs, or being victim to or witnessing any other traumatic event, the mechanism is the same. Great pain, grief, horror, guilt, and then too often condemnation of "the other". Very few people want to know really "why" although they ask the question out of disbelief. Why would mean to them justification. They don't want a reason. Asking "why" would help prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. "Why"would be functional. No, dysfunction wants to deny, ignore, and armor away from the event, isolate oneself, objectify it so that the cause is elsewhere, the cause is evil, and release and justice are found in destroying the personified embodiment of their pain in the form of another human being in order to "release" punishment upon them in transference of one's pain and sorrow. This is a cheap way of releasing pain, violence, abusiveness, and mental anguish, but it does not lead to health in the long run.
However a reason "why" will make the pain real -- but their pain and grief is too much for them to acknowledge -- they do not want it to be real. Good friends would not feed this type of denial, delusion, deceit, or externalization. This type of dysfunctional denial, does not solve problems and hence dysfunctional societies suffer from widespread recurrence of such problems (such as teenage violence, teen suicide, rape, kidnap, child abuse, war, violent crime, addiction recidivism , marital murder, and terrorism, and the like). They are all too horrible/ugly to deal with, so they are simplistically and dysfunctionally relegated to the "bad" people, to the bad seed, to evil to the devil -- toward hatred, revenge, punishment, and violence. Ignoring the cause and only putting a band aid on the problem is counterproductive in the long run. Eventually for any problem to be solved, responsible adults will have to take a good hard look at it without fear or need to lie or distort the facts.
Such dysfunctional mechanisms support bandaids of police and penal systems (which are at best symptomatic and not preventative). Even most police recognize that their work is symptomatic with solutions of more laws, prisons and police costly in more ways than just money. Likewise this same dysfunctional thinking has been relegated to foreign policy and the continued escalation of arsenals of destruction and death such as armed forces rather than increasing abundance and peace. These dysfunctional psychic mechanisms in turn serve dysfunctional sociopolitical and socioeconomic events both at home and abroad and they are widespread. Although here we will be addressing mostly demagoguery, war and totalitarian police states, because we are facing that at the present time, this psychic dysfunctional pattern is a widespread disease factor in all dysfunctional human activity.
How Demagoguery and Scapegoatism Operate in League with Sacred Cows and Taboo
During a tragedy or trauma there often exists guilt. One asks how could I have prevented this from happening? One at least feels helpless and disempowered that one did not prevent it from happening and hence some sort of recrimination often plays in. Simple revenge often looks attractive in that situation, but more so such people are ripe for scapegoatism attempting to shift the blame rather than removing blame itself.
Scapegoating and demagoguery is large long standing problem in Western society. It is older than the crusades and war itself. Its origin (like all problems) is of course alienation from Self and the resultant institutionalized ignorance/conditioning built up around this split/separation. In specific relationship to trauma, tragedy, disaster, or terrorism in particular, if one has built up their false identifications to be dependent upon external authoritarian systems (as a surrogate for the self empowering authority of the inner wisdom, inner voice, intuition, gnosis, or self knowledge) then if information (be it from the inner voice or from an external messenger) that may contradict or conflict with the surrogate adopted belief external system -- that does not mesh or conform to it will appear threatening to "self" (the small self) as false identification). If such information challenges these core beliefs, then accepting that information becomes impossible without a sense of utter devastation, dissolution, or even death (although it may be a death only to the delusion). This occurs in direct proportion to the extent that we have become extracted from self and dependent upon the mass illusion, external systems, external authority -- it depends how driven we have become to conform to what is demanded from us, rather than to be free to dissent, disagree, think for ourselves, be creative, and free from the manipulation and control of others.
Most authoritative systems demand obedience, conformity, allegiance, and loyalty rewarding conformity by conferring status and sharing privilege and power (but really what is being shared is a surrogate sense of security) while punishing disobedience, creativity, independent thought as it is always viewed as dangerous threatening the domination and dependency sought by authoritarian and totalitarian structures. Tow the line, learn the dogma and ropes, get with the program. Not a very creative allegiance/alliance. It is attractive to those who have become fear based and confused because the rules are in "the book". There is plenty of structure, you know where you stand at all times, and the "rules of the game are real clear. It's all very contrived and extremely self limiting.
Thus demagogues especially thrive in a preexisting milieu of ignorance, injury, unresolved trauma, unresolved pain, anger, resentment, and/or violence but especially guilt. Demagoguery thrives on fear, confusion, denial, disempowerment, and guilt. In an attempt to "explain" the tragedy, to mobilize (read manipulate) the situation and people, the demagogue asserts themselves into a righteous leadership role against "evil" (evil being the cause of the trauma) and vows to eliminate, exorcise, or other wise "kill" the enemy (evil) with the allegiance and fealty of the frightened or bewildered survivors. Wiping out, obliterating, and killing the enemy and eradicating "evil" is equated with killing the fear and wiping out the pain. Hence such confused people are offered ideology, structure, order, a sense of identity, self worth, position, and power, i.e., they are good and righteous people, but at the price of freedom and integrity of thought, i.e., they have to give up their ability to think for themselves and question authority. In other words the price for the security in external authority, doctrine and ideology is always slavery, denial, and neurosis. External order and authority so imposed supplants inner wisdom, thus external security measures supplant issues of inner peace and security.
Once an "other" person, group, race, or nation is demonized, they are not only demeaned and marginalized, but then it becomes one's duty to "eradicate" them as the enemy. History has shown that more "heinous crimes' stem from holy crusades , demagoguery, and self righteous causes, than from the contrived "crimes" that catalyzed them. Although this type of simple minded activity may help get a people out of a mass tragedy, depression, stagnation, or fragmentation, it is neither integrative nor healing and is more often a precursor to greater misfortune and suffering. Cycles of war, violence, and vengeance for example have plagued mankind for thousands of years -- a result of post traumatic stress and a tremendous waste of people and resources that the planet's ecology can no longer afford.
Police State, Security State, Authoritarianism, and Totalitarian State: Is it a Fortress or our Prison?
A simpleminded ideology that is circulating lately is that we can gain security by building up a fortress between us and the rest of the world -- by armoring ourselves in a protective contraction. This is an old but dysfunctional tactic which attempts to alleviate fear by placing oneself in bondage. Predictability is equated with security and a lack of fear, yet the only thing which is accomplished is repression/suppression and further intimidation. Being constantly armored precludes fear, it holds onto it and is based on it. Fear and terror can not go away in that milieu but rather it is a way of coping with it (Dysfunctional as it is, it provides temporarily and immediate relief/gratification only). Treating personal pain and post traumatic stress symptoms symptomatically, of course produces only symptomatic results. Sometimes the treatment is worse than the illness, both on a personal basis and on a political basis. In fact American foreign policy is a microcosm of American's psychic disturbances and unresolved traumas. Although it is tempting "to think" that we can destroy all those who disobey us, annihilate them, kill, erase them, or rather "wipe them out" dysfunctional foreign policy simply escalates the cycle of violence which eventually returns home until the message is read -- the lesson is learned. In that modality protagonists most often are chasing inner demons that they have not yet acknowledged within their own psyche, but rather they dysfunctionally externalize and project them as in an archetypal dance.
Although dysfunctional and terrified people are ripe for demagogues in the "aftermath" of "disaster" it is far better for people to become inspired, mobilized, and united by Self -- to wait on Self! -- by Love and Love's servants -- the realm where blame, hatred, revenge, punishment, aggression and war is obviated. It is toward the path that ends violence, murder, organized murder, war rape, oppression, exploitation, and abuse that a healing journey leads -- toward peace and abundance.
Spiritual Healing: Coming Home through Authenticity and Truth
Prevention of violence through bigger armies or bigger prisons, through coercion and force, through inhibition, suppression, oppression, suppression -- all are dysfunctional in the long run because they breed resentment and discontent. This is the philosophy of big stick versus little stick -- violence, threats, and terrorism, Threats to harm "the other" unless they do it "my way" can take the form of economic sanctions or penalization, military coercion, or other forms of sanctions and penalizations. This describes America's foreign and domestic policies over the years. It does not win many good friends (just fair weather friends). It does create a lot of resentment (which is widespread). This American policy is endemic to the American psyche. The American psyche in general is wounded, guilt embedded, and in denial, It's national policy reflects America's psychic/spiritual disease. Confusion, ignorance and the process of denial are the miasma. We seek its remediation in the form of truth -- in the form which eternal love takes.
To that end this work is so dedicated
Healing the Rend: Restoration of Wholeness from the "Big Trauma"
When events in our daily life remind us of our past injuries and trauma, the psychological wound can smart and burn and defensive automatic knee jerk reactions can be triggered (buttons pushed, chains yanked, red flags waved). Dysfunctional habits can be built up, character armoring can become ingrained and hardened, hot buttons, puppet strings, and paranoia can become our reality if we are not careful. This way we can find ourselves triggered into circular dysfunctional prisons seemingly "automatically" and insidiously (that is until we wake up). Here, we can find ourselves retreating, withdrawing, avoiding, ignoring, and denying life itself (aversion) and here we run the risk of life becoming stagnant, predictable, filtered, biased, even boring, and ultimately unreal. Unfortunately this is the modern urban sedentary culture's adult "norm", but it can all change Over the years of negative conditioning and repeated trauma ways of "coping/adapting" set in and become "normal", but these mechanisms are usually not natural and healthy, but rather more often further insulate us from sacred ground -- they reinforce the veil/barrier of stagnate false identifications. Our culture and society may have "norms", but these too often are unhealthy, stressful, artificial, and unnecessary. All this calls for scrutiny, investigation, exploration and added consciousness on our part, i.e., we don't have to conform to "normal". Many of our peer relationships would improve if we applied scrutiny and consciousness to these. "On what basis are bonding with others", we can ask. How many relationships are dysfunctional and counterproductive, haven been built on the familiar grounds of a shared past injury, trauma, or wound -- based on our shared pain and wounded cosmology (called woundology by Caroline Myss). Such dysfunctional relationships and modalities serve more to reinforce the staticness of the trauma and perpetuate the drama of denial and injury than to liberate ourselves so that we can be healed and go on with new experiences.
When the calls for healing outpower the calls to conform or contract. When the call to truth outpowers the calls for self deceit and hiding, when the calls for nature outweigh the calls for contrivance and artifact, then we become allied with the power of creator/creation and its awesome healing power. So we must be willing to give up our injuries, affirm consciousness as a path, and then explore any of the many available healing modalities that are available or to which we may be called including accepting the risk of failure.
The first step is in recognizing our negative dysfunctional afflictions due to past injuries (such as anger, hatred, revenge, jealousy, grief, aversion, greed, and the rest and then learning how to let them go. In reality it is simple. We see where they come from. We recognize that they are sucking away our energy and preoccupying psychic and somatic space for healthy and creative modalities to occur, and then we let them go. We will show in other pages on this portal how armoring around injury and trauma is one of the steps toward desensitization and spiritual corruption. How there exists many variations and modalities of woundology -- all of which offer us platforms from which to heal. One path leads toward not feeling, numbing, dissociation, withdrawal and death. The other path leads toward life -- toward truth and reality -- wholeness and wholesomeness -- It is available to all.
Ho! It is Sacred!
See Accessing Trauma as Samskaras: Understanding Trauma in Daily Life: The Relationship between Trauma in Body Psychotherapy and the Formation of Samskaras (triggers) in Yoga Philosophy
Turkey Day Following 911 -- The Second Assault on America -- the Assault on Freedom from Within
Follow the Leader Virus Infects Washington
Peace Patriots; Bringing Peace and Justice in Gratitude to the Earth Mother
Institutionalized Paranoia and Guilt: Denial, Dysfunction, and Symbiotic Co-dependence upon Externalized Authority and the American Media to Promote and Exploit the Afghan War
The Emperor is Wearing No Clothes Syndrome: Double Talk, Hypocrisy, and Deceit in War
The Voice of Silence and the Crime of Passivity by Leonard Pelletier
Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Dogma, and Karma: Coming Home to Indigenous Space
Doubletalk, Hypocrisy, Trauma, and Denial in American Politics
Trauma Remediation Links (Original)
Newer version at Trauma Remediation Links Here to many healing modalities that are available to dislodge, deprogram, and free ourselves from the past accommodations and chronic adaptations to past negative experiences, trauma, and karma.
Rainbowbody.Net Home Page
HeartMind Yoga Portal: Yoga as a Sacred Path of Inter-Connectedness and Wholeness Disclosing the Natural Self as our True Uncontrived Spontaneous Nature
Ongwhehonwhe: The Real People
Indigenous Politics, Green Politics, the Consciousness of Power and the Power of Consciousness