Author Topic: Struggling with trauma  (Read 2510 times)

Jen

  • Member
  • Walking the path, one small step at a time
    • Vipassana a la Goenka
Struggling with trauma
« on: December 05, 2016, 04:32:39 AM »
I started visiting this forum last year when I was on a 8.5 month round-the-world trip. I spent about a year meditating twice daily for an hour each time most days, and I had an Excel spreadsheet to keep myself honest. It was such an amazing trip but one in which I really grappled with the first noble truth, having seen a baby sea lion in the Galapagos calling out for its mother who would never return, and knowing it would die and there was nothing I could do... I grappled with the misery of being stuck in a human body, and gained so much insight through my practice...

When I returned to the US, I got a job in a new, smaller city in the south different from any place I have ever lived. I dropped out of regular meditation practice on the day of my interview in April of this year. Within 10 weeks of me moving here in June, I was violently sexually assaulted on a first date. I am still reeling, and there just are no words to describe the terribleness of it all.

I know that it is folly to expect any positive external outcomes as fruits of meditation. But yet, I guess I did. How could something so earth-shatteringly horrible happen to me just at the time that I am striving the hardest to be the best I've ever been in my life?

The only silver lining to all of this is that I see just how incredibly strong I've become through my practice. When this first happened to me and I started to sink, I sank only so far until I found a solid resting place of purity and self-awareness that was overwhelming to behold. I struggle to remain in touch with that place in myself, but at least I know all my efforts have not gone to waste.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 04:49:35 AM by Jen »
As an archer aims an arrow, as a carpenter carves wood, the wise shape their lives.

Nicky

  • Member
    • Pali
Re: Struggling with trauma
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2016, 05:36:19 PM »
I really grappled with the first noble truth, having seen a baby sea lion in the Galapagos calling out for its mother who would never return, and knowing it would die and there was nothing I could do... I grappled with the misery of being stuck in a human body...

The first noble truth actually summarises all suffering as 'attachment'. The "misery" you experienced was actually your mind's attachment to the experience of the baby seal lion, your mind's wanting the situation of the baby sea lion be different & your mind's view that somehow things could be different.


When I returned to the US, I got a job in a new, smaller city in the south different from any place I have ever lived. I dropped out of regular meditation practice on the day of my interview in April of this year. Within 10 weeks of me moving here in June, I was violently sexually assaulted on a first date. I am still reeling, and there just are no words to describe the terribleness of it all.

This is certainly a terrible & violent experience, which is very important you dispossess & purify yourself of. You are not or related to the violent, deluded & deficient person that performed this act nor in anyway deserving or warranting of this experience.

You must reflect & know very deeply in your heart: "I am not this violence; I did not warrant this violence; I have a heart of love; love is my nature; etc" and whatever other 'life affirmations' that are required to bring your mind & heart back to wholeness.

You must cleanse your nervous system of this trauma and allow the violence & trauma to have no power over you. Do not allow this spiritually powerless,sad & deficient man to gain power over you.

"I am not this experience; this experience is not me; this is not what I am". "Instead, I am this [good qualities]; my heart is this [good qualities]; I believe this [good beliefs]... ".

I know that it is folly to expect any positive external outcomes as fruits of meditation. But yet, I guess I did. How could something so earth-shatteringly horrible happen to me just at the time that I am striving the hardest to be the best I've ever been in my life?

This world/earth unfortunately has lots of violence within the neurology of life forms, people included. What happened to you is unrelated to you but, instead, related to the mere probabilities of bad luck or sheer chance.

Similarly, the Buddha taught that a (compassionate, loving, harmless, totally safe, fully enlightened & peaceful) Buddha arises in the world by sheer chance & by mere co-incidence; and that to be born into this world with a humane caring conscience is also sheer chance & very rare.

You personally have been born with a humane conscience & attraction to the teachings/path/qualities (Dhamma) of the Buddha. This great fortune & very rare probability is of similar rare probability to what happened to you. 

Unwarrranted unjust experiences happen to many people but only a few of these people have the teachings & community of the Buddha as a refuge.

The only silver lining to all of this is that I see just how incredibly strong I've become through my practice. When this first happened to me and I started to sink, I sank only so far until I found a solid resting place of purity and self-awareness that was overwhelming to behold. I struggle to remain in touch with that place in myself, but at least I know all my efforts have not gone to waste.

It makes me very happy & pleased to read your words here. As you yourself already know, your heart is a place of purity, self-awareness & love. This is what you are, this is your unshakable belief & what your heart/mind is. This is the best both you & we all can be.

Love for yourself & honoring what is truly good & right will bring you through this. Always distinguish/separate any pain, fear & memories of the experience from the inherent purity, love & self-awareness that is the true nature of your mind, heart & nervous system. Your efforts have certainly not gone to waste.

In togetherness & community. May you be well, overcome & triumph.

 :)

Jen

  • Member
  • Walking the path, one small step at a time
    • Vipassana a la Goenka
Re: Struggling with trauma
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 08:47:43 PM »
Thank you so much for your kind words of wisdom, Nicky. I find the grace on a daily basis to carry on, wounded as I might be, and continue working. These events have also made me seriously reconsider renouncing in this life, and I feel more strongly than ever that it might be in the cards for me, so that is another gift. <3
As an archer aims an arrow, as a carpenter carves wood, the wise shape their lives.

Nicky

  • Member
    • Pali
Re: Struggling with trauma
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2016, 09:04:02 PM »
You are most welcome Jen. Thinking of you now. With metta  :)

Jen

  • Member
  • Walking the path, one small step at a time
    • Vipassana a la Goenka
Re: Struggling with trauma
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2017, 08:44:34 PM »
Nicky, thank you again for your words of support and your private message. :)

I found a few collections of words that have helped me mentally to start breaking out of the pattern of "why me" questioning I got stuck in, and I wanted to share in case they are helpful to anyone else.

Quote
Even the wrongdoer finds some happiness so long as (the fruit of) his misdeed does not mature; but when it does mature, then he sees its evil results.⁠⁠⁠⁠

Even the doer of good deeds knows evil (days) so long as her merit has not matured; but when her merit has fully matured, then she sees the happy results of her meritorious deeds.

Dhammapada, IX, (119, 120)

This verse reminds of me Goenkaji's discourse about running towards darkness/running towards light: http://www.vridhamma.org/en2006-01 I am apparently in the third category and am surrounded by darkness (oh yea, did I mention I just moved to a red state?) but running (or attempting to hobble) towards the light. I guess I can deal with that.

To that end, the other very helpful concept for me to ponder right now is that of adhitthana:

Quote
‘Adhitthana’ literally means determination, resolution or fixedness of purpose. ‘Adhitthana’ can be regarded as a foundation for all the perfections, because without a firm determination one cannot fulfill the other Paramitas. Although one’s determination can be extended to either desirable or undesirable ends; it should be clearly understood that the determination to fulfill unwholesome deeds cannot be regarded as a perfection.

A person with a wavering mind or who sits on the fence cannot succeed in any undertaking. One must have an iron-will, an unshakable determination to overcome any difficulties of hardship in order to achieve success. He who has no determinative mind would easily give up his work before it is successful. Such a person with weak and unsteady mind should get disappointed easily and disheartened quickly.  Even a word of criticism would be adequate to put an end to all his projects.

A Bodhisatta, who has an unshakable resolution and who is a man of principles, will never give up his noble effort even at the point of death. He is capable of setting aside any obstacles in his way and going forward, turning his eyes to-wards his goal.

Our Bodhisatta, when he was Sumedha Pandit, made a firm determination at the feet of the Buddha Dipankara in this way: “O Sumedha, from now onwards you must fulfil the perfection of resolution as well. Be steadfast in whatever solution you make. As a rock, even while the wind beats upon it on every side, does not tremble nor quake but re-mains in its own place, you must likewise be unshaken in your resolution until you become a Buddha.”

It doesn't matter what particular shitstorm I find myself in now or in the future. I am learning the skills that have infused my core with integrity, and that integrity gives me strength to continue fighting the good fight. If you are reading this, I hope these words give you a little inspiration to continue fighting your own good fight.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 08:52:48 PM by Jen »
As an archer aims an arrow, as a carpenter carves wood, the wise shape their lives.

mettajoey

  • If you follow the standard allowable path, you'll get standard allowable results
  • Member
  • Share the love
Re: Struggling with trauma
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2017, 01:39:49 PM »
Hi Jen,
This is a very big deal and I highly recommend working with a trauma counselor and especially spending time in group therapy. This giant bundle of negative energy is not meant to be handled by yourself or dealt with platitudes. Please don't try to solve this by yourself through meditation. You need real tangible support right now from people experienced with this trauma.
Love,
Joe
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
12 Replies
8349 Views
Last post April 18, 2010, 08:08:26 AM
by Matthew
90 Replies
32613 Views
Last post March 17, 2011, 09:51:45 AM
by Stefan
4 Replies
3576 Views
Last post November 04, 2014, 06:19:15 PM
by Matthew
2 Replies
2481 Views
Last post January 04, 2016, 09:01:52 AM
by Vivek
23 Replies
5845 Views
Last post August 08, 2016, 04:48:20 AM
by Matthew
2 Replies
2072 Views
Last post May 21, 2018, 09:34:59 PM
by Matthew
111 Replies
8195 Views
Last post July 30, 2020, 02:07:49 PM
by Alex