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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Trauma, Rumination, and Meditation

Dear H., I am so sorry for the trauma you’ve endured and the very great difficulty you’re having living with you central nervous system: newly modified, hair triggered, and oh so very unstable. It is neither my place nor desire to be remotely critical of you, but rather as one, who too, has endured the ravages of trauma I hope to offer you a pro-tip or two that might somewhat smooth the road before you.

FEW teachers and authors there are who’ve mastered the Buddha’s path of being: flexible, loving, laid back, egalitarian, and cooperative. The MAJORITY of teachers and authors, on the other hand, tend to be: rigid, fearful, controlling, elitist, and competitive. This not only hampers their comprehension (no less mastery) of the Buddha’s path, but it also diminishes their ability to be helpful to the survivors of trauma like you and I.

Perhaps that is why so many of them teach that trust is the key to peace. But it is not, whether you call it trust, faith, or belief each of them is but a rigidity of mind, a contrivance of emotion; and as such could only sink you deeper into turmoil.

In Dr. Thom Hartmann’s book “Walking your Blues Away” neuroscience demonstrates the utter genius of the Buddha’s walking meditation. For the asymmetric, bilateral stimulation it generates has a massage-like effect upon our hippocampus, the metaphoric doorman to our long-term memory whose resistance to certain difficult memories perpetuates the intensity of trauma.

As you walk briskly around your block, you could silently and mentally notice whatever the present moment throws at you (be it perception or recall) as you breathe in while silently and mentally reciting “Notice this…”, and as you breathe out you could physically relax and mentally release, while silently and mentally reciting “…relaxing!” and as such begin processing your trauma. Do this for twenty, or forty, or sixty minuets (every 12 hours) and you could make great progress. After a week or so you could notice a certain freedom from the extremes of contrivance and scatteredness, and your choices, utterances, and deeds could begin flowing from centered spontaneity.

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