A long time ago I started to write about trauma, and my first book “Emotional Healing with Homeopathy,” written in 1990/1, was my first set of approaches and understanding to trauma. When I wrote my first book, I believed that trauma was important but I could not really justify my perceptions fully, nor believe my conclusions that it was absolutely vital to understanding health. As it was not a well developed subject. I was going out on a limb then, and few of my colleagues were coming with me. Twenty years later, after a lot more experiences of trauma all over the world, but notably Bosnia and Rwanda, and after a lot of work with diseases, notable with AIDS in Africa, and finally a great input of spirituality, I feel able to formulate my ideas about trauma and its healing more clearly and to reach some truly radical conclusions.
There are two categories of trauma I believe, as I wrote in 1990. Trauma from systematic abuse, such as repeated, never ending criticism while growing up, the small but insidious insults and relentless abusive commentS, and the drip, drip of false beliefs and similar, drip, drip of slow abuse trauma, and the other category –overwhelming trauma such as when a person disappears or a tsunami occurs.
Personally I think emotional literacy, alongside spiritual literacy, is the most important form of intelligence and that it’s opposite, the consequence of emotional illiteracy, man made trauma in all its forms, which at worst manifests in genocide and war, are the greatest source of ignorance and suffering. I think emotional intelligence is second in intelligence to spiritual intelligence and both are critically important today.
The history of trauma is also I think, the best way to understand the history of civilization. Forget kings and queens, corrupt rulers and syphilitically diseased dictators and fanatics. History is primarily the result of illiteracy in the area of emotions and the consequential trauma. Wherever you see a nation or tribe or religious group victimized, later you will see the self same victims, or their progeny generations later, become the perpetrators of violence mirroring what happened to them. In the act of being perpetrators, they are really just another kind of victim. You can see this everywhere in the twentieth century and it is still running full on in this new millennia.
There seems to me more focus on religion and real spirituality in this world, than on trauma, yet trauma commonly stops, hinders, distorts and wrecks spirituality and religion and life generally. Therefore, I think currently it’s a more important subject. So this is an attempt to put clothes upon the bare bones of this core trauma idea, which I have had for a long time, and to discuss its resolution. This then is a peace initiative in a completely new way.
The ‘European Project’, to create a united and cohesive European Union, is based upon trying to find a way for Europeans to live in peace and avoid more traumas. The greatest obstacle to this succeeding is, I think, the buried trauma within all Europeans. These were the foundation forces of the wars of the last century (read books by Alice Miller) and which still deny the European individuals true freedom to think and feel spiritually and sensibly and to live in peace.
Europe was involved in genocide at least twice in my lifetime during the twentieth century and judging from the research recently aired on the matter, the collaborators of the German genocide are still in denial, sixty plus years after the date.
There are also traumas created by humanity itself, that are often recurring phenomena like wars that breed wars and religious hatred that breeds religious hatred and suchlike. These latter take patience and consummate skill and emotional intelligence as found in the skills of conflict resolution, to resolve and this can take many generations.The situation in Northern Ireland was typical of this. We can also see that these have a very strong evolutionary trend, as we see in Europe, where there is a great urge to create a superstate of the previously warring European nations, so that wars cannot happen again. We can view the wars of the first half of the 20th century as the impulse that created the European Union. And just maybe they are pushing this too fast and underestimating the amount of emotional trauma on a collective and personal level that needs to be resolved to make a harmonious union. It’s obvious that at the moment it wouldn’t take a very big disagreement to break up the process. There is a saying, that if you want to beat a man you can always find a stick, and this is the danger of going too fast in the unification process of Europe. There are many people with limited mind-sets who, for example, blame immigration for all their personal troubles and see immigrants as the stick. Emotional intelligence then is A critical item in the development of both the European Union and the resolution of Northern Ireland’s conflict. And emotional intelligence comes about by healing trauma. I suggest that for the European Project to succeed and for its success on all levels, the first step is not treaties, common currencies and superficial unions, but the resolution of trauma. Then the spiritual forces that lie hidden and obscured will start to motivate and direct the union towards peace and worldly success. In fact, it might then be that no union is needed!
As another example of trauma and recovery we know that the Japanese nation was humiliated at the end of the Second World War and they developed the motto ‘business is war’ and by this they recovered their sense of national pride. So we again see that trauma can be shifted from a destructive level to a motivational level.
Then there are the other obvious traumas created by epidemic diseases and we face one at the moment which could literally change the face of humanity within three months. These epidemics like the plague, smallpox, bird flu, etc, literally sweep through the human race and often reduce the population by half or more. Before there was mass travel, the adventurers who went to the Americas took with them epidemic diseases that virtually wiped out the local populations, or at least greatly reduced them. In the epidemic diseases, for example AIDS, we see the evolutionary process at work at the micro level of the individual, because it forces people to become individuated in the tribe, by the sheer ordinary changes they had to make in daily behaviour and sexual contact. This pushes them to make individual rather than tribal decisions and so breaks up the tribe and starts individuation.
And then of course there are the massive natural traumas which occur every hundred thousand years or so, when civilization as we know it comes to an end, as an ice age takes place, for tens of thousands of years and there is very little space and ability to live on the planet. We are facing one of these right now and it looks as if we have precipitated it by the burning of fossil fuels and by the massive explosion of humanity that this has facilitated. The fossil fuels gave us the ability to keep warm and to grow much more food and to have a much larger population. That facilitated a comfortable lifestyle, but if we’re not careful this could also bring the end of civilization. The story of Noah’s Ark rings so deeply because it is the story in archetype form, of the survivors of the last ice age, which is believed to have ended with a very fast melt and a great flood. And just a remnant of the previous human race survived it.
I am tempted to suggest a reason why there are ice ages. It seems that in this massive contraction of the human race, we distil the evolved wisdom and love and practicalities of the recent age into their essence. When the new wave of humanity rebuilds after the end of the ice age, we have a new level of human being with a new level of integrated experience. Only things andideas that have real value will survive 40,000 years of incubation. The distillation process is pretty obvious, as it will be the natural consequence of living in a much more difficult environment and with far fewer people.
Obviously if you believe you are a person, this ice age poses a problem and a threat to you. But from a spiritual point of view, we really are not people at all. We are the awareness that vitalizes the human vehicle through which we experience life and as such we are never born and never die. And this is the basis of spiritual intelligence. From this position nothing is ever right and wrong and whatever happens is part of the journey of consciousness.
Treating traumas in their raw state increases the persons emotional functioning, as they go from under-functioning to functioning and able to work etc. We see this very obviously in post-traumatic stress disorder, which basically cripples the person, but when treated successfully, the person can then lead a normal life. Such recoveries occur in individuals fully treated after genocide and for example, in Vietnam vets in the USA. They go from failure to success in life. And the research shows that emotional intelligence is what separates people who are successful from those who are basically not, and just get by. The emotionally successful also have far less sickness than those who are not. Success in life and good health then, are the same thing. And trauma I contend, determines who is emotionally successful and who is not.