Trauma is a moment of a significant loss of power; it is anytime we find ourselves helpless, frozen, shocked and paralyzed from the inside. It is that moment you came back from school, proudly wishing to share your grades with your parents, only to hear them ask: ‘but why did you not get 100 and only 95?’. It is the moment when you receive some bad and unexpected news about a terminal illness, or a passing away of a dear one, or it can be any violent act towards you or any harsh and hurtful behavior. Traumas don’t have to be a big movie-like drama of rape under threats or public humiliation.
They can be small and almost insignificant moments, but oddly enough they can still leave deep marks and imprints in out psyche and our body. It is beneficial and essential to treat these moments of trauma from our memory bank, so we can act and live fully and freely, without any unnecessary limitations. But just as important, we need to learn how to avoid the creation of trauma, so we don’t add up more contraction, fear and avoidance to our inner feeling and self-perception.
According to the spiritual teacher and the developer of The Expansion Method (the White Light Method), Shai Tubali, there are five things one ought to do if one wishes to avoid the creation of trauma when one is faced with a challenging moment.
Here are the five recommendations:
The first thing that creates a traumatic impression is our freezing. We stop everything from within because we try to avoid the pain. Instead, allow the emotions to flow, be very attentive and aware of the moment when the brain tries to stop everything and avoid everything. Allow the natural movement of emotions and breathe! Breathing is connected to agreeing to allow the flow.
Breathe and feel! The pain can be painful, but resisting pain will only make it worse, it will make it stay forever. When you allow the flow of pain, then this inconvenience will also pass. So try your best not to contract. You can tell yourself: ‘now it is time for the pain’. Pain is a part of the balancing of life; it is a law, so welcome the pain and don’t resist it.
Don’t allow general conclusions.
Be very attentive, so memory connections will not be created. In moments of trauma, we tend to think in a generalizing way. Thought like: ‘life is hard, people will always be hostile and they cannot be trusted’ are very tempting in moments of great weakness. But the tendency to generalist one event and to make it into a general conclusion is the worst thing that can happen. Remind yourself: this is just one event, it is not a general thing about life, and it is just what occurred in this event. The most important thing is to allow the flow of emotions and to block the flow of generalizing thoughts.
Don’t react immediately.
If someone tells you something you did not expect to hear, if you get a threatening message or if something upsetting has happened – don’t react right away. Reacting out of a state of shock will only create a terrible chain of reactions that you, later on, will need to deal with. Instead, let the emotions flow, make sure they come to completion and only when you feel that this flow died away, then you can react.
Fill the space with your presence.
The best remedy for any traumatic experience is a total presence. Agree to be in the body, but also agree to be there spiritually as well. Any shocking moment can be a test of presence. We grow up only through these moments in which we prove to ourselves that we can maintain this presence no matter what. You can do it through expansion of your awareness or through any other meditative option that brings you to the fullest self-presence.
Connect to the simple reality of life around you.
Be aware of the world around you and don’t lose touch with it. In traumatic moments we usually contract and become the size of a tiny grain of consciousness. So instead try to become aware of the sky, the surroundings around you – this is sane and real. Everything around can make complete sense, and you can use it as an anchor to better objectivity. The sky is still open and beautiful no matter what just happened.