I was in a spiritual bookstore about a week ago, and while there, I read a passage in a book on healing by author, musician and spiritual teacher, Reshad Feild, about the shocks we experience on our human journey through life. These shocks are the traumatic events which evoke powerful emotional, physical, mental responses in us that can be overwhelming and difficult to handle or process. Instead, most of us hold them close, stuffing them down, erecting walls around them to keep them from seeping out. The result is that we're walking around with unhealed issues which unconsciously affect every aspect of our lives.
I read this and something in me clicked. Yes, I thought! This resonates so deeply. You see, I'd learned about deep psychological healing many years ago while surrounded by group of powerful teachers/healers whose entire careers were focused on helping people process through these shocks or traumas. I did quite of healing on my own issues at that time.
Now as my youngest son is facing some of the same issues that I did at his age, this framework for healing is coming up again. This time, I'm able to view it with the benefit of a few decades of life experience under my belt. What strikes me most is why any of us would want to carry all that heavy baggage of unhealed wounds around with us.
It's too much.
We've all lived through a series of shocks in our lives...some worse than other. Many have done inner work to process the feelings, integrating the experience rather than isolating it as something dark and unwanted. But some are doing what Robert Augustus Masters calls "spiritual bypassing" which he defines as "the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs".
It's not our fault. Really is isn't.
Our culture just isn't terribly supportive when it comes to taking the time to process through our core wounds (they'd rather we medicate ourselves instead). Sure we can read a self-help book here or go to a weekend workshop there, but life isn't set up to allow for a deep immersion into healing and wholeness.
That's no reason to bypass it altogether, though. Not at all.
There are some amazing ways to do major healing work including Holotropic Breathwork, Gestalt Therapy, Somatic Emotional Release TherapyWork, etc. These take you beyond traditional talk therapy, using the body to catalyze the deep emotional work. There are major studies being done as well these days connecting the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD, addiction, bi-polar disorder and other psychological issues.
So there's hope.
All of this leads to embracing wholeness, not shunning what is painful or ugly. Without the shadow, we're hobbling through life withholding our authenticity and also our joy. I'm grateful to the pioneers in this field of healing who are holding the space for all of us to reconnect with the parts of ourselves we've abandoned.
It's all about love anyway--and the discovery that in the midst of all that messy inner chaos and clutter that Divine and eternal force is.seeking a pathway through so that it can shine.
Photos from Morguefiles.