I have been involved with Yogic philosophy for over 60 years, spending hours in study, practice and meditation. I taught Hatha Yoga for decades, long before it exploded into its current craze of popularity. I don't mind the masses thinking of Yoga as something trendy; I just hope that someday when they really need something to help them get through the day, they realize that ancient Yogis had something truly valuable to give; something that helps the body and the mind experience Life in a way that brings internal peace to the mind and body by merging with the Essence of Life Itself: Spirit.
However, over the years I have also learned most people use meditation to "transcend" bad experiences rather than digging in their heels with a therapist to face the traumatic events of one's past. In fact, the ancient teachings encourage you to just let go of the past and once your mind forgets the experience, you will be free from all negative side effects. But, this is harmful advice! Research on the effects of trauma that has emerged over the past 20 years tells us something different. Also, based on my own personal experience with trauma release, meditation does not miraculously take away the scars of unresolved issues, it merely causes you to dissociate from your past: it never resolves the issues.
Frozen energy from your traumatic past remains locked inside your body's memories and eventually leads to the manifestation of disease. I, myself, am currently in a state of imbalance which I link to the trauma relieving work I started in March this year. This incredible releasing process is making me undergo a major shift in the way I am living my life today. Trauma release requires a well-trained counselor who slowly moves you through the damaged and distorted parts of your psyche that was created by a lifetime of harm by others. And the crazy thing is, with all the testing and time spent with Western medical doctors recently, not one of them has asked my about my mental or emotional state. It never crosses their minds that wellness has an emotional component!
I often hear people giving advice on YouTube that doing a Yoga Nidra practice or a certain type of yoga pose can free you from your past trauma, but be wary of such promises. The root of the problem lies in the fact that Yogic teachings promote an unhealthy way of dealing with traumatic events: never speak of them. In Sutra 30 of the Sadhana Pad chapter of the Raja Yoga Sutras, it states that a person should "speak the truth that is pleasant, but do not speak that truth which is unpleasant." For years, I have interpreted this to mean that it is wrong to tell someone how you really feel if you know it is going to hurt their feelings. However, how can you confront the truth if you do not reveal your true feelings? Through my own involvement with trauma counseling, I have learned that anger generated due to the words and deeds of others, must be identified and expressed; not buried. Otherwise, the energy created by these feelings of anger get stored in the your physical body. This initiates an imbalance which eventually leads to illness. This is one of the main causes of autoimmune diseases which are three times more likely to occur in women as they age, according to Gabor Mate in his recent bestseller "The Myth of Normal". I was raised in the 50's and 60's, a time when the rule was a child should be seen and not heard. That's right, don't tell anyone what is really going on behind closed doors in your family's household. Keep it locked up inside and just develop an autoimmune disease down the road. That will take care of it! I myself suffered with Grave's disease (hyperactive thyroid) for years due to the layers of trauma which started in early childhood and manifested later as four-month series of life-threatening imbalances in 2012. Even today, I find that my body can no longer deal with the traumas in other people's lives any longer. I need my life to be peaceful so I can heal. Thus, I am no longer listening to others people's problems; I am no longer available for private consultations because my body tells me it is detrimental to my health.
American Society is so sick now, especially after eight years of Trump and the isolating effect of CoVid19. As we all struggle to pick up the pieces of our lives and keep going, I encourage you to take an objective assessment of your personal history. Instead of acting like all is well, drop the facade and be honest, especially if you are someone who is suffering from some form of illness. How is your home life? What is the underlying cause of hostile behavior you exhibit or those you love are wrapped up in? Why is there so much anger in this world? Why are so many children defiant and show no respect towards others? Why do so many young people want to kill themselves these days? Could it be that they don't feel loved for who they are?
It is time to turn the page on the way humans behave towards each other. Anger, war and aggression do not solve problems, they only create more of the same. The change comes about one individual at a time. Can it start with you being willing to begin down the path of personal ownership of your personal feelings, thoughts, words and actions? Be honest with yourself and be honest with others. Truth is a great place to start, even if it means you are the only one who wants it for now. There is plenty of help out there to assist you in your journey to a life filled with more peace and love. Why not start today....with you?
May your truth set you free to be well!
Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine - great place to start
The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate - an overview of trauma in Western society
Finding a certified Trauma counselor https://traumahealing.org/
You can find wonderful videos by Levine and Mate on YouTube