Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a big name for a condition that’s fairly common after sexual abuse, physical abuse or any form of violence or shock. PTSD is a severe case of trauma–but there are many more minor emotional traumas. Children who grow up in hostile environments can exhibit signs of PTSD later on in life. Extreme nervousness, anxiety, cold sweats and extreme reactions to minor stress events are ALL signs that the person has been exposed to trauma or is living in a state of waking hypnosis i.e, extremely suggestible to any kind of negative event.
Kids and teenagers also have more ‘stress’ now. One reason is that when we are children, we have no barrier between the conscious mind and sub-conscious mind. We take it all in–it goes right through our critical mind, because we don’t have much ego identity. Researchers worry about video games and violent TV programs because of this reason.
I teach meditation mostly to women, and many clients are PTSD sufferers. Most often people don’t connect that the reason they are suffering is because of a memory that keeps playing in the background. They don’t even have to tell me what happened. It is quite clear to me when someone arrives in a state of waking hypnosis from trauma. If you look at it this way, there are far more trauma sufferers than the ones who see a medical professional.
What happens in PTSD is that a trigger in the brain is created that can get activated for very slight cause. Fears and phobias can often a misguided attempt to deal with the original trauma i.e., the root cause. Sometimes there is generational trauma that’s never been dealt with. Our grandparents experiences in life can be part of our mind, and can cause us to be hyper alert and anxious.
Some of the reasons I love meditation and yoga is because of epigenetic factors that are not only addressed in these practices, but also that there are coherent ways to heal limbic memory (limbic memory is the emotional part of the brain that creates very long term learning).
Here are some suggestions for healing trauma through meditation:
1. Relax, relax, relax. Many people when they first practice meditation are so focused on doing it right, that they don’t realize that meditation can’t happen unless the brain is relaxed. Sometimes people are tired and don’t realize it. It is ok to snooze. That sleep is pretty nourishing too.
2. Don’t get attached to an outcome. Yes, some people have extreme spiritual experiences, but that’s not where the real magic of meditation lies. When your practice becomes ordinary–with nothing happening here except peace, that’s when your brain is healed.
3. Keep expectations low. Ironically that helps people go deeper into meditation. I sometimes have clients who want to have exciting experiences while in meditation, but it takes hours, months or even years for most people to get that far ahead with meditation. I’d like to suggest hypnotherapy with a trained professional (I also offer this) in case what you are looking for is self-knowledge, past life experiences or connection with your guides.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
5. There is only one DO NOT: Do not under-estimate the power of meditation. Meditation is life-changing. The simple act of noticing your self and practicing peace and compassion has the power to completely change your life and set you free.
6. Warning; Meditation is about keeping the heart open and feeling what you feel, and you feel your negative emotions with compassion and peace. I recall that the first year or so of practice I cried for hours, yet there was incredible peace from the meditation practice itself. There is nothing wrong with emotions. We all have them, most of us have not been taught about emotions in school or elsewhere. Most of us have been schooled to keep emotions under check, so when we meditate, what is unresolved will surface for you to look at and heal. Don’t be frightened. These are like ocean waves, they pass! Instead be gentle with yourself.
Rules of Practice
1. Same time every day. This will mean that the brain after a while goes into an automatic witnessing mode at those specific times. Of course, sometimes you just can’t, then simply listen to your stress. When you feel overwhelmed with tasks go and meditate!
2. Create a do-not disturb zone for your practice. The brain learns very quickly, and if there is a designated place to meditate, it gets easier for the brain to associate peace with that corner. Perhaps needless to mention, no phones, no clutter in that area! for creative people it is hard to be clutter free!
3. Vary your practice. I do suggest that, because I’ve noticed that people get used to mimicking the steps without feeling it. Meditation is about feeling feelings and watching your thoughts with kindness. You become a warrior of the heart.
4. Find a teacher or a group that keeps you motivated with your daily practice
5. Smile. When we smile, we prime our brain that it is time for ‘that’. The brain LOVES meditation. It is a chance to clean, clear and empty stuck emotions and memories.
6. Use those chants, verses, mantras, teachers and ideas that you love. When you love something it opens the heart, and it makes meditation 10 times easier than a formulaic practice or a ritual.
May you be blessed for your meditation practice.
May all living beings be well and happy.