Heal with Meditation and WHY It Is The Most Powerful Tool for Trauma

Keywords: Heal Meditation.

Successful trauma intervention to heal with meditation isn’t just about technique. It is about meditation and being able to hold the space for disturbing emotion(s) while applying a technique or intervention.

You need meditation first which is a state of non-duality, of being present, of holding space.

You can have all the right theory, education, knowledge, and certifications but without meditation, therapy will fail.

Healing through Meditation and Working on Post-Traumatic Stress

Meditation has become a charged word associated with all kinds of practices: reciting mantras, breathing techniques, visualizations, and whatnot. Though, I think the essence of meditation is much simpler. It is looking at what is, without interfering with what is.

Our lives have become so complex that meditation, which in essence is so simple, has become very difficult.

When you are disturbed and feel overwhelmed your nervous system and your mind’s responses instinctively move towards complexity. You react with fight, flight, freeze or please, out of survival. Out of an inability to contain your emotional responses.

Successful trauma intervention to heal with meditation isn’t just about technique. It is about meditation and being able to hold the space for disturbing emotion(s) while applying a technique or intervention.

It is only natural that you can’t contain your emotional responses when you are facing or have been faced with abuse, neglect, being unwanted, or have experienced or are experiencing any other form of trauma.

How to Apply Meditation for PTSD and Complex PTSD

Meditation is not a place you reach or something you work towards. It is not for the initiated only, nor is it an ideology of a state of perfection. Meditation and healing is each moment in which you are able to “sit” with what is, however disturbing that might be, and however short that moment of meditation might last. It does not matter. You start where you are and with what you can do at a given moment in time.

Meditation is observation. It is understanding that whenever you react by liking or disliking, by desiring or rejecting, you are perpetuating that very state of how you are feeling.

For example, if you are anxious and you get upset with yourself for being anxious, you are perpetuating a state of anxiousness through your reaction. I am not blaming you and the way you might be reacting. I fully grasp getting upset with feeling a certain way for too long. What I want to point is that any reaction towards how you feel will cause that very state of mind to continue because you are channeling more energy into it.

 Read The Complete Meditation for PTSD Guide here.

Why is Meditation so Hard and How to Get Started

Identification and reaction seem to happen instantly when you are feeling depressed, angry, anxious, despairing, hopeless or hypervigilant. It is reaction through choice, through rejection (of pain), that helps you cope. That shift in focus caused by your reaction temporarily creates the illusion of separating you from your suffering; even though that very reaction is a way of coping, it also perpetuates a particular emotion or set of emotions that keep you from moving forward.

Let’s see if we can do a healing and meditation together to see these processes in action:

Sit somewhere quiet where you have the space to observe yourself.

Take your attention inward by closing your eyes or looking at your hands. Take a moment to be with yourself. Sit comfortably, and be aware of your breathing.

Once you are in a quiet place and are comfortable, see what mindset is most present for you. Are you feeling restless? Or anxious, nervous, hypervigilant, depressed, ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, angry and frustrated, stressed or perhaps a mixture of those with some overtones of certain emotions?

As you slow down and take time to observe what emotion or state of mind is most present for you, you will likely also feel how difficult it is to do just that. You will become aware of how your mind is constantly reacting; how feeling a certain emotion pulls you into thoughts and memories that are related to or associated with how you feel, and they carry you away.

Negation and Navigating Your Thought Patterns

Now, just catch yourself there. Resist the actual pull into thoughts, into thinking, into association and memories. Instead, sit with the difficulty and the pulling, reaching, escaping, searching, and constant trying of your mind. Stay with the feeling of that, and shift your focus away from the particular thoughts or memories that come up for you.

If the thoughts and memories are too strong, get up, do something else, go for a walk, and come back to this again later.

By observing how your mind reacts when you attempt to sit with a tough emotion, you are canceling out that very reaction. The energy that normally is invested in reaction-- which is a form of dissociation-- that energy now moves into awareness.

As you sit through the reaction, you can again move closer to what you initially felt-- the original feeling, emotion, sensation that was most present for you. See if you can “hold” the space for that feeling-- as it is-- without falling into it and getting further overwhelmed by it or getting pulled out of it into thoughts or memories.

If you are able to hold the space for that state of mind-- that emotion, sensation or feeling-- you will allow that energy to flow into awareness and you thereby create more resilience and containment. You might notice that the intensity mounts for a while before it decreases and starts to integrate.

From here on you can go deeper.

The Layering of Emotion and Using Meditation to Heal

When you keep in mind that Post-Traumatic Stress is a set of reactions that has created various layers of coping mechanisms, you can ask yourself, “How is the current emotion that I am feeling helping me? What is it protecting me from?”

That inquisitive approach is very different from a judgmental approach. It gives you the ability to open up and explore the deeper layers of your Post-Traumatic Stress.

Guilt, embarrassment, shame, anxiety, depression or frustration might appear to be dominant, but when you no longer react to or accept them, and thus no longer fully identify with those emotions, you might hit upon a deeper layer of hurt that previously you weren’t aware of, or that you did not yet have the capacity to stay with.

You can start applying this same meditative approach to working through the various layers of your Post-Traumatic Stress.

How are you using meditation to heal from trauma?

  • Rikko says:

    Great stuff Roland but if meditation is so powerful then why doesn’t DBT work for more of us with Complex PTSD, PTSD or Borderline even though the patient works hard and is determined to make a lasting change?

    • Roland says:

      Hi Rikko. Thanks for your comment! Hard to say what works for someone and what doesn’t as it would be very individual in each case. What DBT might be missing is addressing the somatic part, which is where the emotion is held.

  • stella says:

    very interesting article – I am going to try to do it – I think I “run”with busyness to keep from feeling….. and have burnt myself out a few times – but I am now learning to slow down to a pace I can manage, stop doing things out of guilt and learn to say no. Maybe now is a good time to sit and see what emotions are sitting there. Thanks for the article.

  • Kate says:

    I’ve been reading, listening and watching Rolands resources for 2 years now. I love that I can come back to the basic concepts found in this article and start afresh to be with what is. For me being with what is now has carries more awareness and less intensity. That is a great relief!

  • >