The Wisdom of Trauma

Watched this extraordinary bodhisattva-film several days ago. It made a huge impact on me, and illuminated several layers of my own old, old wounds of trauma.

Gabor Maté says that the wounds of trauma never actually disappear, or “get healed”. We only (hopefully) develop better methods of managing them in our lives.

Thank you to all of you who know of these things in me and who tolerate their sometime-eruption. While they appear so infrequently these last few years and months that close intimates often remark on the change, in conditions where I am overly fatigued by stressful busyness, some expression of this ancient pain might still get through to be seen by the world. I am always profoundly sorry for the acting-out that happens. Sorry in a stomach-churning way.

With trauma, you cannot let your guard down, even for a moment. Even 30 years of practice have not made me completely immune from its eruption. A trauma expert I’ve befriended recently has said that the experiences of cruelty I described to him would be classified as “extreme trauma”. A meditation practitioner himself, he says that my many years in silent retreat have not “erased” these traumas and their impact: it has merely given me better freedom to operate without them completely controlling or destroying me all this time.

Sudden enlightenment; gradual cultivation?

It is such a blessing to be surrounded in this life by real bodhisattvas who have such patience for the agonizing “gradualness” of this sentient being.

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