Trauma, ZEN, and the Storehouse Consciousness

Carl Jung has said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it Fate.”

A friend has been a flight attendant for over 30 years for a major European airline. She has a very, very stressful job on long-haul trans-oceanic flights. She has very unsettled sleep, often screaming loudly, so much so that her partner must wake her. She often needs to walk around in the middle of the night just to make it stop.

She says that so many of the people she has known on her flight crews are deeply involved in heavy drinking and smoking. Many have died from strokes and aneurysms. There is great suffering in this relatively new, unusual profession for which our evolutionary development has not developed sufficient mechanisms for absorbing and integrating the extraordinary levels of stress and high-performance mental functioning that needs to be carried out with great precision packed among other stressed-out human beings in a narrow tube. They are constantly jamming their body clock, and their jobs entail breathing artificial air for hours and hours on end. I have always admired flight attendants very much for the daily “trauma” they receive, body and mind, just so that we can go here and there at will.

She began meditating daily since last August, and her screaming dreams have disappeared.

This talk reflects on that.

Materials presented in the video include this important excerpt from the classic, The Compass of Zen, by Zen Master Seung Sahn (full disclosure: although I am listed as the compiler and editor of this truly historic text which every student of Zen should consult, there is no personal financial benefit — all proceeds go to the Kwan Um School of Zen, as they should.)

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