Meditation and Trauma: Untangling the Tangle of Contemplative Dissociation

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

A paper well-worth reading and pondering: Meditation and Trauma: Untangling the Tangle of Contemplative Dissociation

Trauma has relocated from an event to the nervous system itself, expanding the definition to include any event where our animal body is overwhelmed. This rethinking can be attributed to Somatic Experiencing (SE), a psychotherapeutic approach created by Peter Levine that conceptualizes trauma as occurring when survival responses (fight and flight) cannot be completed…

Judging by the current literature, many Western Buddhist teachers are educated about trauma, will not hesitate to recommend therapy, and offer teachings with great sensitivity to the needs of their students. Nevertheless, the complex relationship between trauma and contemplative practice warrants further attention. In Western Buddhism, trauma is often contextualized within principles central to the movement – mindfulness, loving-kindness, ethical precepts – yet there is a noticeable lack of exploration of the relationship between trauma, dissociation, and contemplative practice.

One of…

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One Response to Meditation and Trauma: Untangling the Tangle of Contemplative Dissociation

  1. Marty says:

    I entered a zen center with a severe case of C-PTSD for about five years after sitting by myself for months. My goal was different than anyone else, I was not interested in enlightenment in a couple of decades of abstract meditation on koans or counting the breath.

    Many of the foundations of practice were invaluable, sitting for someone else always and no goals have stayed with me to this day.

    I had so much better an understanding of trauma than the residing monk, that he actually was a hindrance to my recovery at times. When you go to the little room for guidance, the resident monk becomes a therapist without credentials and in my case handled badly.

    Meditation, a daily practice with current, concrete, immediate attention, a laser like application of mindfulness will collapse trauma or PTSD, as it did for me and others I have helped.

    I was told that you are a novice until you have a decade under your belt, a judgment of the nth degree in a place supposedly absent of judgment. That statement is false totally.

    Great article though exploring dissociation, the kind of all symptoms and the place where trauma fuels and grows stronger

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