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Mindfulness Key to Healing Trauma

I am blessed and honored to be under the masterful teachings of Mr. James Fox, founder of the Prison Yoga Project, this weekend. His teachings and insight have begun to open within me a fantastic journey into a new state of peace otherwise unknown to me until now.

Plagued by old traumas and lingering effects and associations relating to these deep old festering wounds, finally, an answer. One, in fact, that has been there all along. This panacea is called mindfulness and meditation. The key with this method is to not suppress the feelings of pain, fear and grief that are old friends to the sufferer of PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression and other trauma-related ailments, but to allow the pain to be felt from a place of non-judgment and quiet acceptance. It is from this place of peaceful, unbiased observation that the emotions are not compacted into the spirit awaiting their untimely explosion or release, but rather are allowed to pass through like a wave.

If you ask any lifeguard or big wave surfer what they do when hit by a wave of tremendous force and power - the secret that they will share is, in fact, the same method I am speaking of. Indeed, for anyone with panic disorders, anger management issues, or the like, they can attest that the waves of seemingly uncontrollable emotions feel the same. Fighting and resisting this influence only exacerbates the issue and compounds the problem, often quickly followed by "knee jerk" programmed reactions of fight or flight, i.e., self defense. To the outside world it may appear as provocation, but, to the sufferer, it is a reaction, one that they often feel compelled to do without any method of control as a means of self preservation. So, the answer is to ride the wave from a place of less resistance. Some yogis have discussed this method as sitting behind the mind in a state of observation or watchfulness. From this place we can allow the wave to run its course while remaining calm and saving our energy for after it rolls over, often times saving us from greater peril much due to our own panicked vacillations.

As my dear friend Shiva Das and astrologer told me one day when looking at the vast extremes of my natal chart -- I must learn the Tai Chi of life and learn not to fight fire with fire, but rather transmute and transcend. Shift the energy to a light energy. In fact, this is what the great Masters in Asia have done for centuries. This movement of not only deflecting negative energy, fear, anxiety, etc. but actually moving it to a healthier place through this method. Riding the wave, observing the mind and emotions rather than fighting them from a state of non action. Let the wave move through while staying peaceful.

Use the breath. This entire process is highly dependent on concentration, stillness, faith and the breath. Slowing down and breathing stops the knee jerk reaction. Wait before acting. Patience, breath, stillness, non judgment. This is the meditation of peace, this is the meditation called mindfulness.

Try it today - if you feel uncomfortable for any reason, look at yourself through quiet open eyes and breathe. Let it pass and you may indeed, like me, learn something really cool. Something that you have known all along but have forgotten.

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