Disclaimer: Please read the warning about spiritual bypass at the end of the article before reading this article. Please do not continue to read the article if you feel triggered at any point. Please reach out to support if you feel triggered.
“Dukkha” or Suffering in Trauma
Now this…. is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffer- ing; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering. (Samyutta Nikaya)
In the above passage attributed to Buddha, Dukkha is translated as suffering. Dukkha also means craving for something impermanent. Since the world is impermanent and life is full of craving, life in our world is full of Dukkha. Dukkha can also be meant to point to our concept of trauma.
Adverse circumstances happen to everyone with varying levels of intensity. It is when the circumstances overwhelm our Psychological and Physiological resources and we feel overwhelmed that we feel traumatized. The world can traumatize us. We can traumatize ourself as well. The world traumatizes us by behaving how it was meant to behave, i.e, be impermanent. We traumatize ourself by craving and trying to make the impermanent, permanent. It is a difficulty in adaptation that causes us to not accept the impermanence. It is one of the many ways that we try to be immortal and try to forget our inevitable death.
For example, our health and age are impermanent. If we fail to realize their impermanence, we will mourn any impermanence that may threaten us. Getting old is very difficult for that reason. Everytime we have a high blood pressure reading, we can be reminded about our mortality and that can bother us. In fact, triggers are exactly that. They are our traumatic responses to impermanent things that we had thought permanent.
One very important thing to realize is that traumatic events remain painful events which no one deserves or deserved. Being traumatized is not a failing on our part. Our inability to escape Dukkha is not a failing on our part. Us being hurt from painful things happening to us is the most normal of things. As we learn about trauma we have to make sure that we are not engaging in spiritual bypass. Spiritual bypass would be to suggest a superficial spiritual solution of a problem and not work on any psychological material.
Eastern or western answers to healing trauma, both suffer from their limitations and it is only integration of the two that we can learn how to face our own pain. Reach out to us at Blossom Ketamine if you need support in recognizing your Dukkha.