Handling Trauma through Non-creation

We all go through life as a series of events. Sometimes, events hurt us, some bless us in unforeseeable ways. Some of these events stay with us forever, as ‘inflection points’, points we realize changed our life, points at which we went through great emotional upheavals- positive or negative.

When we look at such powerful positive events, we begin to realize that if that event had not occurred, we would not be the people we are today. We feel over-blessed.

When we look back at powerful negative events, we realize those events shaped our belief systems for years to come, perhaps for our entire lives.

Positive events can be the birth of a child, a marriage, divorce (from an unhappy marriage), the entrance of new friendships, the loss of bad friendships, good advice, failures that guided you to eventually make the right decision, anything.

The above very same events – the birth of an (unwanted) child, an (unhappy) marriage, divorce (from an otherwise happy marriage), the entrance of new friendships (of poor quality), the loss of (apparently) bad friendships, good advice (that was never followed), failures that guided you (too late) to eventually make the right decision, can be highly negative too.

Trauma occurs when such powerful events impact our lives. Positive trauma is when we start living in “what if it had never happened” mode and negative trauma occurs when we start living in “if we had only listened to life better” mode. Both heat and cold can cause burns. Both positive and negative events can cause trauma.

So, when does trauma occur? It never occurs during the event, but always after the event, in our recollections. It is our recollections that make an event (positive or negative) unduly special in retrospect. We make those events momentous in our interpretation. And thus, trauma is how we see our past – the events themselves have little to do with it.

How, then, do we move on? How do we heal? We move on by realizing that had those events never occurred, we would never have known they were special, and we would never have attributed undue importance to them. Our attribution of importance causes trauma. When we start treating every event in life as …” normal”, we move on, we begin living in the present.

So, are no events special? Not really. Many events are special. But our mistake is not in considering some events special, but in ignoring all of the other events that built up to that “special” event.

The car accident that left you a cripple was bound to happen, building up from your parents ignoring your poor driving skills in the name of freedom, your friends encouraging you to drink on every small occasion to ward off the dumps, your exhilaration at your first salary making you splurge it on a car, your insecurities driving your eagerness to show off your driving to your girlfriend to get her approval, your inability to take care of yourself and be selfish enough to not drink and drive….all of these threads of space and time combine into a single knot at a strategic moment of time and space – we call this knot an event. The more threads that are involved in the knot, the more powerful the event becomes.

A small event having two threads- such as you missing your school bus, and you getting a lift from your neighbour give a you a positive glow, but are not powerful enough to have an impact.

Combine multiple threads such as, you missing your school bus, your neighbour giving you a lift, your neighbour stopping to buy something at the store, your school bus continuing on and arriving at school, your janitor having forgotten to wipe the floors, an illegal cigarette falling from the bus driver’s hand on the floor, the school section catching fire due to a chemical blaze and students perishing in the terrible event, and you arriving late to be among the few who escaped – that causes trauma.

When you have failed a few exams and get a job without any major issues, it barely makes an impact.

But when you have failed a few exams, are having domestic difficulties, health issues, a tough market, a competitive friends’ circle and get a job through struggle- the multi-threaded knot formed leaves an impact. We can consider even such a positive impact as trauma- a cold burn if you will.

So how indeed do we handle trauma? We handle it by realizing that every moment in our lives is building up to something bigger; every few years, many such threads are going to get stuck in a knot; realizing that after every knot, the threads separate again to form new separate knots, new traumas, new inflection points. If you live long enough, you will suffer many scars. But our scars come from rubbing our wounds. When you pick your scabs, you leave scars behind. Allow your wounds to heal, your acne to naturally go away, and your face and your life will emerge unspoiled, unscathed.

Let there be wounds, let there be events, but assign no special importance to any of them, for there are going to be a lot more just like them, and there have already been many such events before you were even born. Your birth could have been in a moving van in the middle of a cyclone, but you are not traumatized as you were never bothered about the event, just about being born.

Focus on every event in your life equally, assign no great importance to complexity, and you will learn from life, rather than being scarred by it. Our life is mirrored in our bodies. Our body and face structure mature as we advance beyond teenage, precisely because we allow life to shape our body. Our minds will also mature when we allow life to shape it. And when we stop resisting life’s expert scalpel, when we stop wriggling on life’s work-table and stay internally still, we allow life to do its best work and sculpt us into a thing of beauty that is free of inner scars.

Thus, by creating no trauma through our resistance, misinterpretations or attaching over-significance to events, we will live life untraumatized.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s