Relating As A Window To The Soul

By Krishnananda

Our relating stories are perhaps the richest arena there is for teaching us about life and ourselves. Whatever unresolved issues we have lurking in our emotional closets will come to the surface – not just with a lover, also with friends and authority figures.

I have discovered that all of our conflicts, frustrations and difficulties in our relating stories come down to three basic emotional and spiritual issues.

Each one has its origin in childhood trauma of one kind of another but the process of working through it and resolving it marks a major landmark in the journey of the soul.

The first is shame – our deeply seated sense of deficiency.

The second is shock – our cellular response to early life trauma.

And the third is abandonment and deprivation and our profound sense of inner loneliness.

Shame and The Sense of Deficiency

On the psychological level, shame arises from not being seen or valued for who we were from an early age and forced to put on masks for love, recognition and approval.

On a spiritual level, recognising and working through shame is a major rite of passage for the soul.

It brings us a deep sense of compassion and sensitivity and it forces us to find our sense of self and our creativity not from our striving ego, but from a relaxation and an appreciation for our essence.

Shock, Fear and Trauma

The second major soul issue underlying our relating struggles and our damaged sense of self is what has been called shock.

My work with trauma and shock both with myself and with those I work with has helped me to realise two very amazing facts.

The first is that most people suffer from shock in their lives today.

And the second is that most people have been deeply traumatised as a child.

Shock is a state of physical, verbal and emotional paralysis that arises from early life trauma. Often the events leading to shock are forgotten or deeply buried but its effects are strongly evident in our life today.

It creates dysfunction – in sex, in creativity, in relating, in assertiveness and in any kind of performance.

Each of us has different shock symptoms. And shock can easily be provoked whenever we feel or even anticipate any kind of pressure, threat, criticism, rejection or attack.

In fact, we are so sensitive inside that often the most trivial events can trigger our shock and we find ourselves unable to function.

Shock came at a time when we were originally traumatised in one way or another. It was the way that our nervous system responded to overwhelming panic and sense of threat.

The body remembers and all it takes is a slight provocation and our nervous system is right back to the time of the original trauma, and we respond by freezing and retreating inside.

Abandonment, Deprivation and Loneliness

The third major issue that relating brings up is the most profound of all. This is our inner loneliness.

We may spend a lifetime running away from it with all manner of distractions but sooner or later, it catches up to us because it is always inside just waiting to be triggered.

When this feeling does get triggered, the fear and the panic can be so extreme that we feel we are going to die.

We can be confronted with our loneliness in small ways whenever another person is not how we want him or her to be. We call these the “little abandonments”.

But it hits us most strongly when we are left or rejected by a beloved.

What comes is a feeling of emptiness and panic that often seems to have no connection to the event which triggered it.

In fact, it is an echo of an early life experience of abandonment or betrayal which was so deeply frightening that we buried its memory.

Prior to facing this wound in all its intensity, our relationships are usually a way to avoid it.

In our fantasies, we imagine that we will find someone who will take all possibility of loneliness and betrayal away forever.

We are always in pursuit of such a person and repeatedly disappointed when a person falls short of our expectations.

And our abandonment wound can also get provoked when the other is in shock because they have retreated inside and we cannot feel them anymore.

If we examine our relating stories today from the perspective of these three issues – shame, shock and abandonment, we can discover valuable lessons that we must learn for our own emotional and spiritual development.

We actually don’t have much choice in what life brings us. Things just happen. Energy moves us and we follow it.

But understanding about these three aspects of the journey of the soul gives a framework and a meaning to our experience.

Rather than blame, complain or feel sorry for ourselves we can enjoy the ride no matter what it is.

Sometimes it is joyful, other times painful but it is seldom boring.

By Krishnananda, the author of Stepping out of FearVisit for more info.

This article was originally published in the Here & Now magazine, Byron Bay, circa 2001

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