Meditation and Trauma

“To avoid being with yourself, you need to take something to numb you, to take your mind away from yourself” Don Miguel Ruiz in The Mastery of Love

While dissociating your mind from your body during a traumatic event is a way to protect yourself and keep your sanity, the after effects are likely to create havoc in your being.

When the memory of the traumatic event is triggered, the automatic response of the mind will be to dissociate from the body, leaving the person merely physically present.

How to regain control and balance?

Although we know yoga helps reunite mind and body through coordinated breath and movement, meditation is also a reliable tool to achieve oneness.

The path to meditation is divided in three stages: Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. We will focus on the first two stages in this post.

The first one, Dharana or concentration, is what is most commonly regarded as “mediation” nowadays. It is the action of steadying the mind. You can practice it by sitting still and focusing the thoughts on one point or one idea, using different techniques such as visualisation, mantra repetition, tratak…

The second stage Dhyana, is the actual contemplation or meditation. This is when you forget the body and the world. Different than dissociation where the mind is escaping the physical body in avoidance, this is a voluntary state that can be achieved after consistent practice of one pointed concentration. Its aim is to unite with the object of concentration. In this path, Samadhi is a stage beyond the intellectual that can be understood as meditative absorption.

Practicing meditation requires some “effort”. You have to approach the idea as if training the mind into a new routine. It takes time to change deeply rooted habits but most importantly consistency. Whenever the mind is getting distracted, bring back the attention onto your focus point, without any judgements. Repeating each time, patiently. This is how you create new habits; so the next time you are sitting for meditation, the mind will settle and calm quicker, ready to embrace the meditative mood.

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