To process trauma you need to first fully understand it. This is a necessary step on the road to self-mastery, and freeing yourself from the past.
In my experience, psychiatrists and other “trauma experts” know a lot about placating the ego but not nearly enough on how to actually deconstruct it.
This is why it is so difficult for most people to get past their trauma, because they aren’t given the proper knowledge and tools.
There’s more to trauma than just suppressed fears and a splintered mind.
Our egos retain the essence of an experience and then begin to filter everything we experience through the trauma. This results in a broken worldview once the traumatized individual becomes an adult.
A world shaped by distortions, misinformation, fears, self-imposed limitations, and ultimately suffering.
It is also for this reason why you can’t necessarily compare traumas, because it is an ego-based problem, not an event-based problem.
The capacity for being traumatized solely rests in how simultaneously dominant and fragile the ego is.
A healthy mind not dominated by the ego can bounce back immediately from nearly any horror. A fragile mind, however, may be traumatized merely by a parent glaring at them.
Of course, part of this is learned behavior. An already damaged and fearful ego will be much more likely to internalize problems rather than deflect them.
Someone who has already experienced trauma is much more likely to undergo it again, unless they have begun to heal.
Self-mastery is crucial for deconstructing the ego and releasing its hold over you.
The only proper way to release pent-up trauma is to let go and remove the parts of the ego that are holding on to it. This is what’s called healing the mind.
A fractured mind is a mind ruled by divisions of the ego. These divisions are often created when a part of the ego is under dire threat, or to separate itself from the experiences of the body, such as during physical abuse.
Each part, then, is created out of a certain traumatic event, and proceeds to block itself off from the rest of the mind.
A traumatized adult may “slide” into one of these fragmented ego-states at any time, thus altering the mood and causing underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression.
The presence of such ego-states also has consequences for the rest of your biochemistry. Most notably, it produces a constant stress response.
You cannot heal until you let go of your ego’s hold over you. No amount of “talking about your feelings” or anxiety medication will do that.
It’s biologically impossible, and if you say otherwise, you’re only kidding yourself.
Lesson 1: You Are Not Your Ego
The first step on the road to healing your trauma is to realize that it is not “you” that is traumatized at all. It is your ego.
Your ego-mind is what gets offended and fearful, and is what holds onto pain and internalizes it.
It is mostly a biochemical exchange of the brain. It’s juices and electro-chemical signals. It’s not you.
On the Path of self-mastery, you learn early on that we are different from our “forefront conscious minds,” or egos.
The ego is subservient to us, but most people allow the ego to run amok, to the point where they wholly identify with it.
In order to process these traumatic thoughts that the ego holds onto, you must first learn to separate your Self from the ego. It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds.
To accomplish this, we will meditate.
If you have tried meditation in the past and it “hasn’t worked for you,” don’t worry. That’s your ego talking.
Meditation is not something that does or does not “work.” It’s a means of centering and relocating awareness that was developed in accordance with our biology.
Find a place where you won’t be disturbed, sit comfortably in the Lotus position, or cross-legged if you cannot yet bend well.
Put away all distractions.
Begin by breathing slowly and evenly through your nose. Never through your mouth.
Your breath should be deep, so that your diaphragm raises with each inhalation.
Don’t purposefully think of anything. Let the mind run of its own accord, if that’s what it chooses to do.
After some time, acknowledge the thoughts that may have entered your mind. Maybe a fear arose, maybe you are doubting the power of meditation, maybe a song popped into your head.
These thoughts or impressions that have entered your awareness are the ego. The spark of awareness that allowed you to acknowledge that this was happening inside your head, is your Self, the real you.
Congratulations, you just successfully meditated and have taken the first step toward really healing your trauma.
Continue to perform this exercise. Be patient with your mind, as the more aware you get, the more your ego will fight for supremacy.
If the ego feels threatened, it will retaliate by “holding its ground.” It does this as a self-preservation method, and will begin to flood your mind with emotionally-charged images such as fond or hated memories, great fears and phobias, dream recollections, catchy songs, anything to try and draw your awareness so that you associate with it instead of being the quiet observer.
Don’t react to these thoughts and impressions, just gently acknowledge them and let them pass. You will find that they are very fleeting.
You will get to the point where the ego will pull out its trump cards: your deep-seated fears and traumas.
This is where the self-mastery work really begins.
If you can get to the point where your ego offers up a traumatic scene from your past, and you can acknowledge it without losing focus or breaking down, you know that you are winning.
These impressions can be powerful however, and it is perfectly normal to have broken concentration if a traumatic memory springs up.
What you don’t want to do is play the victim and say “it’s too hard.”
Nonsense, the events of the past are in the past. They can no longer hurt you.
Everything that the ego traps, it wants you to identify with. The ego wants you to be weak and easily offended, that’s how it perpetuates its existence.
Take a five minute break, drink some water, and hop back on the horse.
Deep, slow breaths. Allow mental garbage that floats into your mind to pass without objection or dwelling.
When you get into processing your deepest fears, you will reach parts of the ego that you identify with. Trauma that you are “holding on to” because it is a part of your identity.
Your ego has convinced you that you are a “rape victim,” an “accident survivor,” a “cancer patient,” a “product of abuse.”
You are none of these things.
Deep inside, you may have identified with such titles all your life, it’s how you’ve learned to interact with the world, to communicate. It’s the only way you can get your points across, get people to notice you, get people to care about you, it’s how you relate with others.
But it’s all nonsensical victim-based tripe that is in all actuality holding you back.
As you meditate and reach deeper parts of your psyche, these kinds of identifiers will be offered up by the ego, and you will have to come to terms with the fact that it’s just another tantrum your ego is throwing in order to take away your power and awareness.
You are not a “victim.” These are just events of the past you have held onto and identified with. They no longer mean anything or are in any way relevant to your current or future Self.
Let them go. Let the feelings and impressions pass.
Mantras can be powerful here. As you meditate in a deep state, repeat “I am not a victim, I am not my trauma.”
Your goal here is to “train” the ego. Your words get internalize and literally “deconstruct” the thought patterns and neural connections inside the brain, bit by bit.
By reprogramming the brain through meditation, you undo and thereby release your trauma.
Just keep in mind through your meditations, that you are not your ego. Anything it tries to throw at you is just a parlor trick, an illusion.
Lesson 2: Biochemistry and Mental Health
You’re not going to be fit mentally if you allow your Self to engage in habits that compromise your body.
You can lower your own heart rate with meditation alone. Stress can dictate whether or not you heal from a disease, and is one of the biggest “silent killers.” Beliefs can weigh heavily on whether or not someone develops certain diseases in the first place or not.
In other words, the mind influences the body and the body influences the mind.
You have a much greater shot at overcoming and processing your trauma if you are treating your body right.
This means a proper, alkaline-heavy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, greens, and legumes.
Adequate exercise, and not just jogging or the occasional yoga class. You absolutely need to tear and rebuild muscle, tone your core, strength train.
Your body was biologically designed for strength, endurance, slow heart rate, strong bones, supple muscles, and toned inner organs. When you don’t have these things, your “piping” begins to break down. Once your biochemistry is even slightly off, it can play hell with your brain.
Gut health, the way our digestive system extracts enzymes and nutrients and carries them throughout the body, all of this plays a huge role in how our mind is able to function.
Anxiety, for example, is largely the result of chemical imbalances. These imbalances can be fixed with a proper diet or the right plant-based substances.
If you don’t pay attention to the link between your mind and body, you’re always going to be “at odds” with your Self. You can’t expect to wrest control of your mind when you aren’t putting the right fuel into your body, and aren’t keeping your body in optimal condition.
Adequate nutrition is the first step. You also need decent sleep and proper amounts of sunlight.
These aren’t merely feel-good suggestions. Let me repeat, your body was biologically designed under certain conditions and cannot thrive without those conditions.
If you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep and sunlight, your health will suffer.
Without sleep, your energy levels and brain chemistry will be off. Without sunlight, your bones and skin will be weak, your immune system will suffer, and you will not be functioning at optimal capacity.
Like all animals, we evolved alongside certain natural parameters, and it is within these biological constants that we thrive. Take away these parameters and you have the breeding ground for illness and unbalanced biochemistry.
There is no getting around this.
Studies have shown just a bit more extra sunlight and exercise can dramatically improve mood, and long-term health. Why do you think that is?
The answer is of course simple: our bodies crave this stimuli and will suffer without it.
Tackle your trauma by giving your Self the best foundation. Exercise, get proper sleep, eat as healthy as possible, and don’t skimp on sunlight. Drinking plenty of alkalized water helps too.
You might be skeptical in regards to how eating right and getting sunlight can possibly help heal your trauma, but remember, it all comes back to biochemistry.
Sure, you can potentially heal trauma and subdue the ego if you are physically unhealthy, but you’re just making it harder on your Self.
Health is holistic. Everything is connected. Your nutrition directly affects your mind, tearing and rebuilding muscle has a positive affect on multiple bodily systems that have nothing much to do with “getting ripped,” a positive mindset is worth its weight in gold if you’re trying to cure an illness, and so on.
Your body-mind is an holistic system. What is good for one part is always good for every other part, because it’s all connected.
Lesson 3: Replacing Negative Experience With Positive
Put it another way, replace useless experiences or mental patterns with useful ones.
One reason why trauma can seem to dominate our lives is that there isn’t much else there to combat it. You have to be willing to fill your life with meaning and positive visceral experiences in order to combat and overwrite the past negative experiences.
To do this, you must simply be willing to try new things that have an overall positive effect on the body and mind.
Earthing is a great example of the kind of activity you can engage in that is different than the norm, positive, and sometimes even life changing.
You need to reconnect with nature, and fill your mind with experiences that enrich the soul.
Find a tree that you really like – it doesn’t have to be for any significant reason. Maybe you like its colors, or the way it casts shadows.
Remove your footwear so you can walk on the Earth barefoot. Approach the tree and embrace it, while breathing deeply and evenly.
Sounds like a funny kind of practice, right? This kind of life-affirming activity is what you are in dire need of, even if it might sound a little out of the ordinary.
If you have never done something like this before, all the better. You need to mix it up, rewrite your neural pathways.
While holding onto the tree of your choice, visualize that you are breathing in powerful, pure light. See it coursing through you, from the tree, into your body, and exiting through your feet.
Perform the visualization in reverse as well. Pull energy up from the Earth through your bare feet, see it fill your entire body, then release it into the tree. Create a loop of energy in this meditation.
If this exercise seems a bit too much at first, try out simpler ways of getting in touch with nature and your Self.
Take a long walk alone through the woods, and don’t be afraid to touch the trees or the bare Earth.
Sit and meditate by a large body of water, especially the shore.
Take a gardening class or practice gardening on your own. Get dirty. You want to work your muscles and get grit under your fingernails.
Unshackle your Self from the cages of the ego and embrace the natural world: there is healing to be found there.
Through connection with the Earth, you learn to process trauma. The natural energies of the planet tend to soothe the mind and enable you to better subdue the ego.
Sages have recognized this since the beginning of recorded history and make a big deal of meditating and training outside for this very reason. There’s no way to replace feeling, living, and breathing in the natural world. We need those energies to be healthy.
Try it for yourself. Go out of your way to have fulfilling experiences outside, and see what it does for your mindset.
When you combine this with proper meditation, diet, and exercise, you have all the tools to properly eradicate your trauma.
It’s all in your control. You have the power to heal.
Get out of the mindset that only a pill or a doctor can do it for you. This is what your ego wants you to believe.
The reality is, you and you alone have always held the keys. Self-mastery is always in your hands, you just have to be willing to enact what you know and bring the reality to fruition.
What are you waiting for?
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.