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Dealing with Stored Emotional Trauma

First written: July 23, 2009.

Revised: Aug. 9, 2010

“Old business” will be surfacing in many of us prior to Ascension.

You will see the topic of clearing “stored emotional trauma” referred to in many messages now because the rising energies are revealing our “incompletions” to us and we have to deal with them.

I’d like to discuss a recent incident that well illustrated how to deal with it for me.

My own close encounter with a whale of an “incompletion” began Tuesday night when I attended a lecture on Christianity and Buddhism.

The lecturer was working with some cross-cultural notions, which we discussed in a roundtable setting (be here now, Self and No-Self).

Later he discussed Christ’s teaching that “I am the way” and I postponed discussing his interpretation with him until after the lecture.

As we talked afterwards, people crowded in from behind and his attention was scattered. I found myself becoming irritated and my words reflected it. He broke off our chat to turn to the next person.

I walked away saying to myself that I had some serious unfinished business with academics, what Vipassana master S.N. Goenka called a “sleeping volcano” or “stored emotional trauma.”

I told myself that, until I clear it up, I should stay away from academic settings. Notice that this was my “conclusion” from the incident and of course I had “reasons” to back it up. That is how we normally handle events like this.

But later remember this conclusion when you see how far from the actual truth it was.

At that point, I actually had no idea what my unfinished business was about.

The next two nights, nondualist master Adyashanti was in Vancouver and I attended his lectures. On the second night, as he was describing how the ego/mind functions, I suddenly began to feel waves of embarrassment.

Tuesday night, I had said to myself that I’d better process whatever had just come up and here I was, in the midst of Adya’s lecture, processing it.

All that I knew was that I felt SOOOOO embarrassed. Oh, Gawd, what was happening?

Stop camera. Some people at this moment might begin to analyze: why am I feeling embarrassed? Others might identify with the feeling and remain buried in the middle of it or, worse, act it out. Some might even wonder what they did in recent events that caused them to feel so embarrassed.

None of the three are the way to go, as Adya mentioned in his talk. I simply allowed the experience to go on, while remaining an observer of it.

It went on for an hour. I continued to feel sooooooo embarrassed minute by minute, with no idea what was occurring.

And this is how you may feel as well, as the energies rise and old issues surface.

Finally, what I was waiting for occurred. An image arose in my mind of where this piece of unfinished business originated.

How would I know the image was the true source of my stored emotional trauma? Because if it was, the image would cause all or part of the unwanted condition to lift. The truth would set me free.

I saw myself as a very young boy and everyone else in the family was talking. I was the youngest and no one was listening to me. No one was taking my comments seriously.

I saw that I feel embarrassed now when I have a conversation with someone and find their attention wandering because I say to myself: “How silly of me to have thought they were listening to me. No one listens to me. No one pays attention to me.”

How embarrassing that I forgot once again and ventured forth giving my opinion on the subject at hand! I should know better.

Seeing this, there was a shift in my experiencing. I was not completely set free, but it was now safe for me to try on the experience of embarrassment, to own it, to “embody” it, without being swept away by it. This would lead me to experience it even more fully.

If I had “identified” with it from the outset, I might have acted it out. I might have turned to my wife and said she had done something to embarrass me or looked into my recent past and said that that was the source of this feeling. Neither would be true.

Notice that the image of the young boy not being listened to had nothing to do with my earlier conclusion of an incompletion with academics. The incident with the theologian was just an unwitting reminder of an earlier, similar incident (no one listening to me as a child) and triggered the sleeping volcano.

Adya described what I was going through as walking into the fire. Of course some of our clothes would catch on fire, but this fire dies away when we walk out the other end.

Usually an unwanted condition disappears when one sees the originating incident, but in this case it remained with me and I knew I had to remain in the fire and complete it.

My big brother was with me at the lecture and we jokingly interpreted the fact that buses came by with “Sorry. Not in Service” signs on because I was there and no one pays any attention to me.

The feeling was still with me when I went to bed but had left by morning.

This was a major piece of unfinished business and this is what you can expect to happen in the upcoming weeks.

“Act it out” and you will give the unfinished business fresh vitality. Try to change or resist it and it will persist.

But, if you experience it through to completion without projecting it outwards, just allowing it to be there, it will let go of or loosen its grip on you.

This is the process of slimming down for Ascension. This is completing the “stored emotional trauma” of our lives. This is healing the emotional scars in our bodies.

Expect incompletions to come up and don’t be fooled by them.

If you remain in the experience of them, allowing the emotions to play without analyzing them, just feeling the fire, the originating incident will come to mind and the experience will complete itself, setting you free.

I predict that you will discover unknown depths of yourself once you free yourself of your stored emotional trauma.

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