Meditation and Trauma

We are told that meditation is the answer to trauma; this is not always so. It can be–counter intuitively–a conduit for repressed trauma.

I came to this realization at the sound therapy session I went to a couple months ago, and I’ve been putting some things together from related experiences with this over the years.

My first intuitive awareness of this, goes back some 50 years ago, when I found that the calmed state at the end of a meditating session, not only didn’t last or translate into routine activities, it left me way MORE susceptible to snapping out in anger when ambushed by unanticipated disappointments or frustrations. This made me wonder– but I assumed there was something wrong with how I was meditating.

At that sound therapy session–it was something different–I left feeling more anxious, my thoughts wanting to skim the edges of various disappointments, things I’d done that brought me shame, and petty traumatic memories of childhood. I say petty, cause this wasn’t about remembering abuse or physical trauma–it was the cumulative experience of my first years of elementary school–stuff I’d thought I’d worked through years ago,.
I think it was the passivity of meditating, that recalled feelings of helplessness as a child, a powerlessness at the hands of adult “caretakers” … the passivity of waiting to be punished, waiting for some unspecified, but terrible, consequences of experiences I was incapable of understanding. .
I can meditate to an almost trance like state…but what it leaves me with, is not peace, not an alleviation of anxiety–but a vulnerability to lashing out at the first thing to interrupt that state.

I wonder if others have had this experience?

One thought on “Meditation and Trauma

  1. Yes, very much so, and I was quite angry when I discovered through my own reading that it was a well described phenomenon as I felt that I would have been saved an enormous amount of distress if I had been warned about the possibility. I’ve written about my experiences in a post from a couple of years ago (there are also some links at the end of the post to useful articles on the subject)


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