By Dr. Bob Beare
I do a sociometric exercise for groups to illustrate this process. I invite participants to play the developmental roles of unconsciousness.
The Wounding Process
The Divine Child
This is the part of us that comes into the world untouched and pure as in the great stories: Christ, Mohamed, Krishna, Dalai Lama, etc. We come out of the warm water knowing how to swim perfectly and are slammed into the cold air, slapped by the clinical world (literally until recently), and the educational process of forgetting how to swim and conforming to the outer world is initiated.
We feel the violation of the external world’s intrusion, AKA trauma. Sometimes as severe as abuse or shocking incidents, sometimes as mild as a disapproving glance from one of the giant people known as parents. But these (mostly early) experiences go in the body and psyche, and stay there for future survival information.
Hurt can only be tolerated for so long. We begin to see the world through a lens of distrust and develop an expectation of problematic situations for which we need to be braced. We learn to restrict and shallow breath, in order to avoid anything that might bring more pain. We begin to listen to emerging messages in our head that keep us conformed and confined to this bunker of protective worry.
The Shield and the Sword
A life of pain and fear is not sustainable, so we find ways to shield ourselves from these discomforts. A variety of self-medicating and self-masking activities temporarily distract us and the world from the inner truth. We also begin to take fencing lessons and become blaming masters. It is either your fault (resentments) or my fault (depression). In order to keep the emotions at bay, the intellectual sword of blame must be plunged into the world or deeply into ourselves.
The Rational Human
This war must stop! So, we strategize to overcome it. We are smart and cunning. We go even further into our heads because that is our go-to as adults, and scramble for success in its many shining forms. She goes after the wealthy guy. He goes after the arm candy. Then the cars, the jobs, the degrees, being good, being religious, and getting a lot of stuff and money. They all prove insufficient, but usually we keep trying to gather more and different external remedies. Even a crash and burn or two only sends us to our knees.
Eventually, with support, we must turn around and walk through and meet our buried selves. We regain some authentic stability and re-integrate the golden child who can re-energize our lives and who holds the deepest truths about what is important to us. But just as the dark defines the light, most of us need to ride the rough road to truly appreciate a life that is healthy, peaceful, and vibrant.