If the heart of trauma is separateness, aloneness, being alone with pain — if utter isolation is an element in the deepest level of suffering, as trauma specialists such as Bessel Van Der Kolk suggest, then the path of practice is one of ever-decreasing isolation.
In mindfulness we restore the balance needed to be able to connect with others. First, we connect to our actual experience here and now. We get-to-know our reactivity. We restore the part of us who can serve as a mindful, patient witness to our experience. It “knows” our life here and now.
Then we grow in our capacity to connect openly and frankly with others. Relationships that had seemed irrevocably set in their ways, that had seemed foregone conclusions, it turns out can be met in new,fresh ways, and may be able to change and grow. All it may take is the capacity to be vulnerable and meet the moment with honesty, as it actually is right now, rather than withdrawing into any preconceived notions of it.
Secondly, for some of us, we may open up on an archetypal level, meeting elements in the deeper psyche, through dreams, nature, and other kinds of “soul-work,” allowing them to do their work on us.
Thirdly, we connect so closely to our very being in this moment, that the division between the “me” who experiences and what it perceives, becomes blurry, may break down. I and the moment merge, in states of flow and absorption.
Lastly, in awakening, the shell of our self can crack altogether. Light floods in, light breaks out, and we discover that the two lights, within and without, had been one light from the start. “I am that.” Self and world are one thing.
This is ultimate health. All is well. All is one, and ever was. There is no separation. Total connectivity is not just established — more, revealed.
That’s awakening. Total healing. Nothing to heal.
But the play goes on! It may all be a movie, a play of light on one infinite, sizeless, spaceless emptiness.Yet on it rolls! The illusion plays on. The suffering of the world rolls on, and again we must work to heal it. But the heart is lighter now, having seen through the fabric to the light behind it.
Message from Henry is from our March 7, 2022 Newsletter