As we develop from embryos through to adulthood is some sort of ‘trauma’ inevitable? There seem to be some people out there who live a charmed, creative and content life, not many perhaps, but there is obviously a scale of trauma that people live with, from the desperately unfortunate to the seemingly blessed.

First let’s define trauma. It is what happens when some experience has been too much to process and deal with in the moment, so that our reaction to it has to be pushed into some internal space and kept out of awareness. It might be hurt, pain, loss, distress, neglect, lack of support, etc. Even too much support can rob us of our autonomy and in doing so the experience of being ‘crushed’ can get buried. This ‘bracketing’ of feelings causes us to de-sensitise our feelings and our bodies as well as our thinking, it affects the whole of us.

As children we go through various phases of development and it must be very rare for a parent to be able to keep their parenting skills in perfect synchronicity with each stage. Even if that were so, each stage needs to be de-constructed in some way, so that loss is inevitable. In the “terrible two’s” for example, anger and tantrums are part of the healthy adjustment to the loss of the total care of infant-hood. Each stage requires a difficult adjustment to be negotiated, we don’t like change and new circumstances take getting used to. ‘Trauma’ can easily be a part of any of these changes if there is not, very good “attunement” from the care givers.

This is why most of us still have our childish parts. These were the parts where our development where we got stuck in some way, where trauma of whatever nature meant we could not grow and develop through that place without putting some of the process ‘on hold’ and filed it out of awareness. We live with maintaining the adjustment every day of our lives, it conditions the way we are fearful and defensive.

Life it seems is full of death, loss is an inevitable consequence of the processes of change that are incessant and inexorable. Part of this is about the process of entropy, the force towards disorder and disintegration and part of it is about the force towards growth, development and increasing complexity and sophistication. Both processes cause constant change one way or another.

But, some people still seem to have it all. How can that be?

Here I am reminded of the ancient Chinese proverb, the one where, in time, every misfortune turns out to be a blessing and every good fortune turns out to be a curse. The world we live in is a world of opposites, light and dark, like and dislike, good / bad. (The only place where this does not apply is that of Love, Consciousness and aware energy, all three are part of The Whole which is beyond the world of opposites.) What might be the curse for the person who seems to have it all? The obvious thing is that without real difficulty in their life there is limited motivation for development. Also that our ability to experience joy is dependent on the depth to which have allowed ourselves to experience sorrow, so there is a price in having a relatively easy life. As the Bible puts it concerning rich men, camels and eyes of needles.

It seems to me that we then get to a profound place where everyone is equal. The task of self-development, which necessitated our taking responsibility for ourselves, is equally difficult for everyone. As the song goes “money can’t buy you love”, but being a victim doesn’t buy you enlightenment either.

 

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