Posts Tagged ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’

The Cave of Being

October 2, 2010

Humans begin their lives in a watery cave, the womb. That is where the individual’s consciousness is initially formed. In some ways that consciousness is lost as the daylight world begins its play, makes its demands, and tricks the mind into literal interpretations of the stories that a person lives.

Many cultures believe that carefully designed initiations are necessary for a soul to remember what it knew before entering this earthly play of light and shadow, form and spirit. From prehistoric records in cave drawings to the Greek, Dionysian, Eleusynian mysteries and the rites of Orpheus, to practices of shamanic and indigenous initiations all over the globe, the importance of these rituals are a ubiquitous part of human history.

In my own life I have been drawn to study many of these cultures and their rituals. And I have observed that the psyche so needs these rites that even if they are not provided, as modern cultures generally fail to do, Nature herself, working on behalf of the psyche, will create them for the soul that wishes for initiation.

Caves are an important location for many of the rites of passage. They provide a withdrawal into seclusion, into the subterranean worlds, into the world inside the world, and into the darkness beyond solar limits. As Rilke says, “You darkness of whom I am born, I love you more than the flame that limits the world to the circle it illumines and excludes all the rest.”

I submit that Nature can and will create cave initiations without the need for a physical cave. It can submerge the spirit into a cave-like dwelling where light does not penetrate. There is a cave inside our being, the deep memory of the time inside the womb and what came before that, and the awareness of spaces where light does not reach that inform the soul of the truth of its being. I get drawn into these caves and find it hard to emerge. The events occur as part of an illness, a struggle with depression and PTSD, but they are part of  the fulfillment of my soul’s wishes too. There is a huge tension to hold in this.  The facility to pass between these worlds gracefully is my quest now and I believe it is coming. I am grateful for what I am learning.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

August 15, 2010

PTSD is a very real thing, though most doctors of any brand that I have ever spoken to do not know how to help someone who suffers it. After a major shock in my life, which led to the disassembling of everything that I cherished in life, I unraveled at every level and lost nearly 40 pounds. I went to internal medicine doctors, psychiatrists, Jungian analysts and acupuncturists.  Across the board the diagnosis for my symptoms was PTSD. I applied myself in every way possible to what helps were offered, but ultimately no one really knows what to do. It remains a deep mystery, because the psyche itself remains a deep mystery. Psyche is the irrational world, the one that does not respond to medicines and rational models of treatment or such formulas for intervention. My doctoral work in depth psychology and specifically my work with dreams and shamanic dimensions of the psyche have been a saving grace, but the mystery remains.

Yesterday all of the furniture in my house was rearranged by a gifted friend who I invited to help me with it – an answer to a prayer for change and certainly a magical response to a ritual I have been doing to invite the future and clear the past. But today the PTSD has kicked in. Apparently my deep psyche is responding as though my whole world were undone and disassembled all over again, a raw re-living of the deepest trauma. My mind understands, is happy and very grateful – my body and the disease are causing paralytic states and anxiety attacks. The mind and the body, the rational and the irrational – these are all different worlds with different sets of rules. I am grateful to be inside this disease of PTSD as a doctor rather than outside of it, because I am imagining that only from in here can I help find a cure.  In this, on this day, I find a goal and a purpose.