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Suffering



Dissolving trauma through Deepti's active meditations

It took many years of meditation and working on myself to begin to approach why the suffering was still there and later to gain a much broader view, which led me to embrace my emotions, my suffering, and allow the pain.

When asked, "Why do I always find myself in the same situations and despite everything I behave the same way?" I discovered that the prefrontal cortex is able to inhibit the expression of certain behaviors that respond to fear, but that unconscious memories remain, continuing to influence decisions and choices in the life of every human being.

According to Damasio, often, the activity of making a choice is not carried out through a meticulous analysis of objective pros and cons, but this activity is influenced by somatic markers.

(...) The somatic marker forces attention to the negative outcome to which a given action may lead, and it acts as an automatic warning signal that says: beware of the danger that awaits you if you choose the option that leads to that outcome (...) thereby allowing you to choose within a smaller number of alternatives.

So the choices that are made in the present, even when they appear rational, continue to follow the same old fears, conscious or unconscious.

I found that the techniques proposed by Western psychotherapy were directed at enhancing the rational side, strengthening the high road connections-those that go from the cortex to the amygdala-with the idea of bringing a form of control of and over the emotions; acting through self-analysis, on the other hand, promotes learning new behaviors with the goal of preventing emotional information from trespassing and influencing conscious thought.

But if this control or learning of new behaviors works, why is it that no matter how well our day is going, it only takes a small comment, a criticism, an unfulfilled promise, an unfulfilled expectation to trigger unwelcome reactions and emotions that bring us back, even if we are not aware of it, to reiterate old reactions and behaviors?

Because the experience is stored, in the body-mind the unconscious memories of fear recorded by the amygdala remain, and participate in this continuous conscious and unconscious feed-back with the past.

The resulting choices and behaviors have the mark of the past; what happened once is still embers ready to become fire at any moment. What has been leads to choosing behaviors that repurpose outdated choices that are not inherent to the true context, situation, let alone who we are today.

Socrates said, "Know thyself"; a change, a growth invariably passes through this knowledge, but often this process is feared because it is experienced as suffering.

Actually the process itself is not suffering; suffering is the conflict between one part that wants to know itself and the other part that resists because it fears what it will encounter.

And so we prefer to remain clinging to our unwelcome tran tran, our automatic behaviors, our suffering.

Recent studies claim that the higher areas of the brain can change the function of the lower areas, and this can happen by shaping those ghosts that haunt our lives; the body can bring us into contact with what is invisible to our eyes, but which makes us suffer.

Being the master, master of one's emotions, rather than being in control of one's emotions has qualitatively a different meaning and leads to different behavior. Control, often means repression, avoidance or forced substitution of one behavior deemed wrong for another deemed right.

But what becomes evident in existential experience is that control is not long-lived, and that, cyclically, human beings, in spite of everything, when a situation arises again that stirs strong emotional memories, find themselves following impulses that bring them back to reiterate choices and behaviors driven by old emotional wounds, which in spite of control, do not lead to any profound change.

But meditation does.

Through the meditative state, the function of the lower areas of the brain will have less resonance and it will be possible to use our intentions more intensely and precisely, managing to move beyond our negative experiences.

It is possible to dissolve the traumas that continue to plague us so it is up to us to determine how much we allow negative experiences to plague us. In other words, unless we are clinically depressed, unhappiness may become a choice.

So why not follow this path?

Because it takes courage, the road is long and the mind, lie.

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