Spirituality and Trauma
By Deborah Boyar
Our Divinely Human Animal Nature:
Healing Trauma through Embodied Awakening and Somatic Experiencing
In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that trauma resolution must include the body as an essential part of the healing process. In Somatic Experiencing, a profoundly freeing modality developed by Dr. Peter Levine, trauma is understood to be held in the present nervous system, rather than the past event. Healing accelerates when energy trapped in the nervous system has an opportunity to discharge, renegotiate, and reorganize its locked-in fight, flight, and freeze responses that have remained in the body after the original traumatic incidents occurred. Somatic Experiencing frees us to live in the present, bringing our bodies up to date, and also promotes the lost capacity to self-regulate, and the ability to spontaneously move from activation to relaxation. Because of the inherent blueprint for health that resides at the core of the mind-body being, the slow, careful pace of Somatic Experiencing offers you an opportunity to invite and allow the wisdom of your body to do the work of healing.
"Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the event itself. They arise when the activation, mobilized to meet an extreme or life threatening event, is not fully discharged and integrated. This energy remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and our minds."
-Peter A. Levine
Spiritual practice can at times enforce dissociation and underlying trauma. If this trauma is not integrated, it occludes our capacity to know ourselves in both the shadow and free dimensions of our being.
Trauma overwhelms our ability to cope, and disorganizes our nervous systems, leaving broken zones where we seem to have very limited choices. Although our psychological patterning must eventually be understood through the story line of our early lives, neither talking nor emoting can restore balance to our deep brain structures, where the raw experience of trauma is encoded in our protoplasm. If we are able to reorganize this fundamental level of our biology, our access to free awareness can grow. With appropriate support, we can clarify this awareness as our own true nature, and integrate that awakening throughout our existence.
This path of conscious embodiment permits a deep healing of trauma. I have found enormous support for that process through Somatic Experiencing. As we work together, I'll introduce you to some of the basic tools and language of this elegant, gentle approach that can help you release hyperarousal, physical pain, and reclaim your native wellbeing.
Saniel's Introduction to Deborah
The Nature of my Work
The Heart of Our Process
Translating Spirituality for Traumatized People
Spirituality and Trauma
Mythical Kings and Iguanas