The zen of trauma

Harvey Daiho Hilbert Roshi, The zen of trauma (citaat)

 

“Now, one of the major practices in zen is mindfulness. People say that the core practice in zen is ‘shikantaza’, the act of just sitting, but that’s a practice that develops our mindful attention.

When we sit, facing the wall and don’t move and just be present on that cushion, many things come up, we experience pain, we experience joy, we experience all kind of things, the one thing that is important though is that we recognize that we are actually experiencing it because we have quieted down, we have stopped …

I think that one of the key practices then is to just stop. So as we are going through our day it’s important to notice that we are busy bodies we’re running around with our head cut off, and just stop to take a moment, breathe, breathe in and breathe out, pay attention to how your body feels, what you are doing with your hands, what you are doing with your eyes, with your head and so on …

Spiritual practice in the zen world is not turning yourself … into an enlightened person, it’s more about being present. For trauma-survivors this is very difficult I think. It’s challenging because as we are sitting quietly facing the wall things come up, memories come up, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and so on. And we may very well re-experience the traumatic event or events as we are sitting there. Now, for some of you that is very risky, for me it was a very difficult practice to begin with, …

But when you name [notice] everything you have dominion over it and you can’t name it unless you’ve experienced it. So for a trauma-survivor to be able to name the trauma and to experience it over and over and over again in a controlled fashion is one way that we have begin to get mastery over the event itself, the memory of the event. …

Over time what ended up happening is the power of that event to take control over me through emotional responses diminished, and I began to feel much more at peace with it.”

Opmerking naar aanleiding van “But when you name everything you have dominion over it”. Wie zal zeggen wat hier precies in de hersenen gebeurt? Een alternatieve verklaring is dat je door een pijnlijk gevoel een passende naam (pijn, verdriet, wanhoop etc.) te geven, je het gevoel weliswaar ervaart maar er ook direct afstand van neemt zodat je je niet verliest in het gevoel.

Voor de niet bewerkte versie bekijk de video The zen of trauma op Youtube. De zenmeester is misschien wat ‘hoekig’. Er worden geen zoete broodjes gebakken. Geen dromen verkocht. Het is de confrontatie met het leven zelf. Maar uiteindelijk gaat het wel richting bevrijding, richting een zekere lichtheid. 

Beginnen met zen …

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