As to what trauma is I tend to leave a lot of ideas behind and look at any life form – and I believe that trauma is anything that interferes with the development of that life form.

I often use the analogy of a seed, and watching what can interfere with how the seed can express its potential is, in my view, a trauma.

I believe that basic to all life is sentient. I would like to call it consciousness, but people mix that with self consciousness. The word ‘sentient’ is defined as ‘having awareness through the senses’. But it also means or implies much more. If we have awareness we can respond to what is going on around us. Plant’s, for instance, respond to light. Their shape may radically change if the source of light is moved. Plants also react to pain or subtle changes in the atmosphere – they close the petals of their flowers for instance. Therefore we can say the plant is sentient. Generally we may feel that the ability to respond ends with plants or bacteria. But the quantum experiments, where a photon of light is one thing when observed, and something else when not observed, suggest that the fundamental particles of the material world can also respond. We can therefore think of them as being sentient. It is because of this that I suggest we float in an ocean of sentience, one part of which knows, and perhaps responds, to what is happening to another part, even at a great distance.

So, what we are not capable of being personally aware of does not exist for us. In a very real way nothing exists for us unless we can be aware of it in some way. There is nothing outside of consciousness. Or to put it another way, without personal awareness nothing exists for us. If you have no consciousness the world, other people do not exist for you; so death is an exploration of consciousness. If you are still stuck at the physical awareness level of what you are aware of, have never explored the dream world or have broken through to the inner world, then you are missing the amazing depth of your consciousness. For a view of these levels see

I also believe or see from experiments that sentience is linked with another quality – potential. I am not suggesting that it is potential with a fixed aim – but raw open door potential. I see the countless life forms on our world as an example of this – the potential could have been anything – and it has from bacteria living in super hot underwater vents, to the wonder of flying, the power and majesty of predators, to the unusual phenomena of human existence.

All this was to make plain that I see all life forms have almost unlimited potential – but there are things in the way – various forms of trauma. To explain that Lyle Watson, a scientist and biologist, in researching human potential for one of his books, was asked by a boy’s father in Italy to observe his four-year old son. In Watson’s presence the father rolled his son an ordinary tennis ball. A little while later the boy rolled it back. The ball was turned inside out without any cuts or damage to its surface. Watson then signed his name on another tennis ball and the boy repeated the change. Later Watson cut open the ball in front of witnesses, revealing his signature on the inside of the ball.

What the boy did questions all present scientific understanding – except perhaps the findings of quantum physics. But when the boy was older he was sent to school – his ability was wiped away, suggesting our present forms of education take away real potential, suggesting that education can be a form of trauma.. See Quantum Physics

The agony of birth begins a bank account of pain which grows until death. This account is limited to no one kind of currency but includes a wide range of all denominations extending from the aches, burns, and stings of the body to the humiliations, guilts, shames, terrors, and doubts of the psyche. The knowledge-indeed the scalding memory and horror of those pains-remains in the psyche demanding relief. It is hard for people to recall them; ordinarily they absolutely refuse. But in sessions they can come back unbidden in full and excruciating intensity.

Deep within the subconscious, at the boundaries of identity, lies an ambiguous hinterland where the polarity of subject and object becomes flexible and miscible. There the rudimentary identity, in an effort to rid itself of pain, seeks to reverse the polarity of damage and project it out onto “other.” By a trick of symbolic manipulation, it strives to become the hurter instead of the hurt, the destroyer instead of the destroyed.  The primitive identity assumes that in giving pain to another, it has given its pain away. In reality it has only shifted the destructive consciousness from the self and projected it into the mental limbo of psychic not-self within the brain. Actually, the consciousness of pain has been temporarily repressed, nothing more.

But before I go any further I would like you to read  It is the end of a feature that may be about the archetypal human trauma. If so, trauma is a part of nature’s way of putting obstacles in our way to overcome, and is there for every living thing.

To explain that in term of everyday events, I quote from The Tree –


I can’t remember it not being there –
On the cliff edge overlooking the sea.
I don’t even know how old it is.
There’s no way of knowing.
Perhaps an ancient oak tree
Yet barely to my waist.
Shaped and stunted
By harsh onshore winds,
By the salt and the rock.
It is clinging and growing
To the very shape of the wind,
Perfectly reflecting its environment,
And stunted, as you or I might be,
By circumstances of our birth,
Or events –
Yet still a magnificent oak tree.
Just as you or I, at our core,
Are magnificent human beings.

The point being made is that the tree had in it the potential to be a magnificent tall oak. It was its environment that stunted it, and environment is another cause of trauma. As is birth, education, diet, parental influence and a thousand other factors that can stand in the way of infinite potential. 

Example: “Repression, a function of the mind almost as pervasive as its opposite, cognition, has one purpose: to suppress knowledge of unwanted truths. Traumas involve overwhelming invasions of fact that are met with emergency measures. Here the strictest repression is applied. But there remains a large class of repressed memories, prob­ably a majority, that cannot be called traumas because they are too niggling and insignificant. Yet when they are analyzed and tallied together they reveal patterns of non-acceptance that are significant in the total psyche. Many, of course, lead back to the excessive claims of infantile megalomania, which patients must correct if they are ever to discover the reality of themselves and their world. Turning to investi­gate these claims, they find that they are not the exclusive rather exotic vanities of children nor the simple urges for excessive power they had supposed, but universal human distortions.” Quoted from LSD PSYCHOTHERAPY by W. V. CALDWELL

A thought that is very real to me and I have realised that all the massive rocks and landslides that blocked the road I was travelling in my life were not ‘bad’. All were necessary for me to learn things or to develop strength to shift the road blocks. I have heard from others who have travelled the road of growth that they too say there is nothing bad in our life. I mean that also about things like having my stroke that took away my ability to speak and move my right side of my body. I honestly do not think Life plays with us.

A reply from ‘BooBoo’ on reading the above:

Thanks very much for your thoughtful response. I like the analogy of the tree a lot. One thing I was wondering after I asked, is if my question weren’t more part of the confusion itself. More specifically, if trying to reduce trauma to one thing per se may not be the right path, since it is such a murky and complex entity. But I like the concept of trauma as more of a process than a thing… I have also been stepping back and seeing it more as a dimension, or a ‘lack of’ something rather than some ‘thing’ in itself. As in, trauma creates a tear in the social fabric into which we are born and which nurtures us along the way. The tricky irony (irony being where the truth often hides I’ve found, where the opposites unite) is that the tear CAN strengthen and develop the fabric towards an even more beautiful quilt, if I could finish the analogy awkwardly…


What Can Be Done In Meeting Trauma

Suggestions are to read the links, starting with – Integration – meeting oneself – Liberating the Body – Life’s Little Secrets – Children’s Traumatic Fears

Examples of Trauma

A trauma is rather like having made an electrical circuit or a brain connection with a memory, that because it is wired wrongly, directs events in the house/you in a messy way. Over time changes were made in the house that plastered over the circuit, as walls were built, and the circuit was no longer visible or even remembered. But it is still active even though hidden. And that is exactly what was happening with deeply felt decisions you make as a child, or hurts that were not really healed. It is still active even though unconscious/buried.

One of the things I have learned about trauma is that to some extent being willing to deeply experience a conflict burns it out, but for some types of trauma only for a while. It is not like a childhood trauma that clears when it is experienced. This type goes on again, and again, even if experienced, because it arises not from past trauma, but from present disposition.

That is, I love my children and want to be with them – I love my partner who is not the mother of my children and want to be with her, but because I spend a lot of time with my children who live at a different address than my partner, gaps appear between us  – conflict. So, experiencing does not solve it. As Jung said, most human problems are insoluble. They cannot be solved, but sometimes we can outgrow them. I am having to learn to be decisive in where I want to go in life, and attempt to go there despite the pain and the obstacles of hopelessness, emptiness, and despair. I have to do that because I know there is satisfaction in the direction of growing beyond ones old self that was so open to pain. Then the pain and black cloud lifts. To outgrow your life problems we may have to open to the primal force that grew us, the process of Life. So it might help to try using Opening to Life

I saw once again so clearly, there was not an actual problem to discover in the sense of hidden childhood trauma to release. There was no trauma or injury. There was instead a very powerful behaviour that led to repeated destruction of what I had carefully built up – like refusing to teach weekends – being snotty so they will not invite me anyway – writing to cancel it once I had accepted it. Also by making a good start so it looks as if I have tried, then withdrawing effort when it comes to extending into the unknown, so an insecure area of advancing a cause. I can then look around and say, “You see, I really did try, but it’s no good, life, circumstances were against me. Feel sorry for me.” Maybe I blamed it on my lack of money, not enough time, psychological pain, but not on my own terror of walking out into the unknown and so it exposed areas of insecure life.

A report of a man experiences the trauma of premature birth

“I am so alone. Even when someone loves me I can’t feel it. I want to change. I don’t want to keep hurting. My wife feels like she is feeling like she isn’t there at an emotional level. But that is the feeling world I have lived in – who is there for me? I was part of something and I lost it. I was part of something that was good, and I lost it. I was a part of a woman and I lost her. I was rejected. Now I face this struggle just to exist, just to breath, just to be. This feeling of life being a terrible struggle just to keep going has pervaded me all my life. I’ve got to struggle to exist just to keep alive. Got to struggle just to keep alive! GOT TO STRUGGLE TO EXIST – JUST TO KEEP ALIVE! GOT TO STRUGGLE BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING THERE. I WANT SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO. I’VE GOT TO STRUGGLE JUST TO KEEP ALIVE.

I cry like a baby. The question burns in me – Why is life like this? I cry again. Then I realise that at first when I was born I was too small and undeveloped even to be able to cry properly, so I couldnt let out my misery. It is such a relief to cry now and be understood, to have known what I felt at that terrible time.

I am aware of my connection with my stream of life having been broken – the umbilical cord. What I realise as the adult watching this, is that because of its proximity to the genitals, there is an unconscious connection made between the genitals and the connection I seek to sustain my life. So even as a baby I am reaching for that connection with my genitals. I want to be fed. I attempt to reconnect through my genitals, but the pain of the separation is so acute even when I do try in adulthood, the pain of the separation turns me back. This is the story of the Garden of Eden. I was in the garden and was cast out. Now when I attempt to return, an angel with a burning sword turns me back. Not only was it painful every time I attempted reconnection, but I had the unconscious expectation to be fed, to be nourished. Instead of that every time I had sex I felt cheated, deceived and betrayed. I was not fed, but deeply sucked dry of what small nourishment I had managed to build up. I wasn’t fed, I was fed upon by a predator. Each sexual act was a betrayal, a predation, and a torturous pain. Yet I had to find my way to the garden again, because there lay the secret of my genesis and myself. So, I would return, to be wounded once more. It is even painful to look back on those years of misery now. Why is life so painful?” 

A Mother’s Influence

“The kicks my mother gave me all related to threats of leaving me or giving me away. These would perhaps have been felt as mild parental emotional beatings except that my mother didn’t connect with me easily at birth because of my fragility. In fact, my grandmother took over my rearing until she died when I was eighteen months old. This meant that I had not connected fully with my mother or she with me. My grandmother had been my mother. When she died, I lost the one who had mothered me, and I felt abandoned, as I had felt at birth.

So, at three when I was taken away to a convalescent home because of my sickly constitution, my world fell to pieces. The wound of abandonment cut into me at birth, then at the loss of my grandmother, it was ripped open again, and it took over fifty years to put some of the pieces back together again. I wasn’t long in the home, but that I was there at all stabbed a blade of pain and fear into me that left a wound that didn’t heal. The convalescent home shattered whatever frail sense of being wanted I had been able to build in the intervening years. Going into hospital again at six to have my tonsils removed, opened the injury again and deepened it.

What is so strange is how little parents understand about the inner world their baby or child lives in. Perhaps it’s because most of us manage to brick up memories of childhood so it is all but lost except for a few snapshots and what they portray. Without remembering how it felt, the adult has no idea of what they faced and how they dealt with it themselves as a baby. I have to conclude this bricking up, this building of an impenetrable wall against feeling one’s early years, has been going on for generations. It must be so otherwise adults could never treat children the way they do. As a group, we could never expose them to the tortures involved in some aspects of school, hospital, and in fact everyday life as it occurs in many families.”

Now a man experiencing being left in an orphanage

“Began with a knotted feeling in stomach, went inside myself and found a lump that I had kept deep within that no one could touch or ever has done. I spilt the lump and there appeared two halves of a walnut with a picture of my mother and father in each half as they were when I was a child. As I looked the two halves crumpled into dust. This was the secret I have carried since childhood, that I had parents unlike the other children in the orphanage, yet the truth was I too was left behind in the orphanage by my parents. The emotions really came to the surface and I really cried. After this wave passed I was left in a very passive state. I then went into the telephone box and tried to make the call to reconnect, but again another shock, there was nobody to connect with, again the realisation that I was an orphan. Another great wave of emotion tore me apart. I then turned toward the dogs as they came at me, I began to feel the sickness that I have always experienced in sessions but I just shrugged and let the feeling wash over me, it felt like I have always ended up in hell by that route, and I realised afterwards that hell is hell and will never be anything else.

I felt that there was something deeper and so I kept to a centre line, again there was no feeling and so I turned toward the god dream that I had when Rob was here. The look of total love for me in his eyes gave me the strength to trust my own process. I then went into fantasy, God holding my hand and picking up all the people and events in my life and placing them all together on a stone altar, which he then placed me upon and told me to surrender and allow myself to die. This I did and images of great water falls, and molten lava flows filled my being. Then the crisis broke through, and there I was in the kids home as my father was leaving, I saw my self, or I should say my being go out to him. I felt that if I loved him he wouldn’t leave us. I then saw that I was already bonded to my mother and in that moment of transference there was guilt and I was caught in the middle, then he left creating a schism in which I was left in my spine with a personality on either side. Schizophrenia is the word to that covers this state about: Schizophrenia a mental disease marked by a breakdown in the relation between thoughts, feelings, and actions, frequently accompanied delusions and retreat from social life. I then felt what I would call the primal scream emerge from my being and then I was through. I then saw the dogs as my anxieties that have taken up two thirds of my being constantly tearing me apart, also saw that as a kid I didn’t have enough information to redirect the energy elsewhere.”

Parental Touching

“In regard to sexual touching I would like to explain my own relationship with it. You see my father was a good man, he never hit me, he never really talked to me, and he never expressed loved to me. Love – what an enormous power for good or ill that is. Its absence in a child’s life is equal to frequent beatings and being locked up in a cellar. It is an awful traumatic event. When I relived the trauma of it I was shocked at the power of it. It also opened up my awareness to that fact that I, and maybe other children in such a love empty house, would do anything to get a sign of love – I would have let my father fuck me, anything to know he wanted me! But fortunately my father was a ‘good’ man. But for a period of my life I attracted homosexuals who were, in the eyes of ‘normal’ people pillars of society, who praised me and saw I was worth something, which my father never did, and gave no praise. Fortunately, my homosexual phase was not physical, and was cured as I went through LifeStream – Opening to Life”


Suffering Years of Misery

“I remember when my first wife divorced me because I had left her I was told many things such as what a bad father and husband I was, and how could I do it to my children. So, each time I visited my children – almost every day – when I left the house it felt like my world had collapsed and also I felt that my new wife was like a prostitute who had tempted me away from my children – despite the fact that they visited us almost daily. My children were so important to me that the idea that I was a bad father tore me apart. I recalled a man living down the road from us who had left his children and married again. I asked him how he managed it. He said that he had killed any thoughts and feelings about them. I felt that was not for me.

I suffered that torment for years, messing up my life, until a dream showed me what I had been doing. In the dream I was walking along on the flat roof of a university building, and in my right hand I was carrying the head of a man stripped of flesh, and in my left hand a bag containing the dismembered body of that man.  As I looked from the roof I saw a man draw up in a car park below and I threw the head to fall near him.  He picked it up thinking it was plastic, but then dropped it in horror.

 I explored the dream opening to what arose within.  Quickly I felt the depth of the dream.  The man was myself.  I had torn myself apart trying to deal with the constant pain I was experiencing.  I had even put before other people, the awful situation I was in, and they had pulled back.

The view that I was shown by the dream was that my pain was from habits created by the culture I grew up in. I realised that I could create a new life by changing the habits of a life time. So, every time I left the house and the old habits started tearing me apart again I stopped just outside the door and looked at my feelings. I had tried positive thinking and that didn’t work. What I saw, and reminded myself, was that I had gone down that road a thousand times and it always led to self destruction. So, by seeing that I decided to change the habit and reminding my self, not that I was a wonderful person, but that I was a human man, who did not want to make his wife suffer from my awful moods, and also I saw from the dream that we are always free to go in any direction, and that sense of freedom enabled me to start a new life.

So each day I visualised a different way of relating to what had happened. I saw myself going in a different direction than the one causing so much pain. I saw the old direction and saw how it was caused by my believing I was an awful father and parent, and took a direction of seeing myself as an ordinary man. It didn’t happen suddenly, but each day it got easier until I walked in peace. It was the recognition that my state of mind led me to self destruction every time it took that road that resolved me to change outside the door.

I had thought the pain and misery was from some earlier trauma, but could not find one. And the dream showed me that it wasn’t a trauma but cultural programming that said that I was a bad father, and also a bad husband, both true from a certain viewpoint.”

As for reading – I suggest

Children’s Traumatic Fears and the continued text beyond it

Also Wilhelm Reich’s – Or try the Hive for buying books

And another view entirely – Or try the Hive for buying books 



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