Institute for the Study of Peak States
"Methods for Fundamental Change in the Human Psyche"
Support Newsletter #7, September 23, 2006
“When All Hell Breaks Loose”
From the Editor Paula Courteau…
When All Hell Breaks Loose: Healing the Big One
Some 'roadkill' stories
Why does this happen?
Dealing with the Big One
Coping while it lasts
From the Editor Paula Courteau
Well, I thought I'd be able to write about the good and evil choice process, also known as the Brain Light process, but I haven't received enough material for it yet (thanks to those who did send their stories and feedback from attending the classes). So instead, I'll write about something else that feels relevant: the times when we meet our Big Trauma, when our cherished peak states scamper off and we just can't get to the bottom of the issue no matter how hard we work at it.
It's a topic I know very well. Guess why there hasn't been a newsletter for a while? And it's a topic others among us know well. Guess why it's been so hard to get help from our advanced healers lately?
We will look at stories of coping with and healing those overwhelming traumas, at solutions from a trauma-healing viewpoint, and also at temporary coping strategies from the point of view of spiritual emergency texts.
Yes, these traumas are also a way to learn about spiritual emergencies... from the inside.
Meanwhile, some work does progress. Everyone seemed to love the new system of using Skype for the teleclass. Although there was a hissing sound with the music because of the computer's fan feeding in, people listening in online found the sound quality much improved (there was no improvement for the people calling in from regular phones.) One person who didn't have high speed internet went to a friend's house and worked from there. And yes, it is possible to call in from a regular phone, although the usual long distance charges apply. (Skype is free, which makes it easier to borrow someone else's system.)
At the teaching end, Grant M was able to mute each line at will to check where sound interference came from, to ensure that no unauthorized listeners were on the call, and to record the relevant segments of the session with no additional equipment. He was also able to tell which student accidentally left the call part-way through (this should be a welcome feature, because we always want to make sure that people who leave the call part-way are actually safe).
Grant sends his thanks to everyone who attended the first Skype call for their patience with the inevitable fiddling that attends the introduction of a new system.
The instructors have been meeting again to finalize certification details; Nemi Nath did the bulk of the work of actually getting everything written down. By the time you read this, the certification details for Basic Therapists will be posted on the website.
Until next time...Paula Courteau
September 23 and 30, we will continue with the first series of 3 classes on the Brain Light State (which began on September 16). Successful completion of this process meets the current Basic Peak States certification requirement of 20% Brain Light state. It includes G/E score checking.
October 7, 14, 21: Brain Light State.
Successful completion of this process meets the current Basic Peak States certification requirement of 20% Brain Light state. It includes G/E score checking. The class requires time spent working on the process between teleclasses. This class is only for graduates of the Peak States 1 training. (A professional training on this topic is offered in November in Australia.)
October 28: The Nadeau/Johansson Method for Peak States.
Alexandre Nadeau will be explaining and, time permitting, demonstrating his approach to inducing peak states in clients, as well as covering the pro's and con's of his approach. It should be a fascinating class, and give therapists the chance to see if they would be interested in further training with him.
November 4: An Improved Peak Experience to Peak State Process.
This new approach greatly simplifies finding the relevant traumas that block peak experiences from being peak states. This class is only for graduates of the Peak States 1 training.
Email to sign up for these teleclasses.
When All Hell Breaks Loose: Healing the Big One
Inevitably, if you're committed to self-exploration, one day you'll meet a trauma that looks like it's bigger than you, and much bigger than you can handle with flimsy things like being in your body and loving yourself. It's easy to tell when you hit your Big One. You do session after session, and nothing moves. And anyway, much of the time it really feels like it's about the present. Never mind fetuses and primary cells: your daughter's sick, your teacher is an idiot, your father's dying, the whole word is dark and you feel miserable, period. Worse: getting through one of these is absolutely no guarantee that you won't have to go through another one later.
Grant once said that these are caused by traumas where one suffered the in-utero equivalent of being run over by a freight truck. That's when I started calling that state of stuckness 'being roadkill.' I felt it described my state of mind very well. Flat, bleeding, miserable, worthless. Unchangeable.
Some call it 'the dark night of the soul'. Some call it 'spiritual emergency'.
Yes, it can be healed.
Some 'roadkill' stories
Here are some stories from downright admirable people, just in case you believed that one has to be small and undeserving to get into such straits. Cossacks do seem to figure heavily in both these examples (what is it with those guys?)... Which only shows how heavily generational traumas can weigh in the difference between a garden-variety trauma and one that turns you into a pile of misery for several days.
The first story is dated 2003 and comes from the treasure trove of emails left to us by the late Dr. Adam Waisel. Notice the initial temptation to blame his state on someone else. Many people stay stuck in that one. Note also how the trauma seemed to fade for a few days, then returned in full force. And that Adam, despite the overwhelming sadness, was still able to interrupt his sessions and function reasonably normally whenever a patient walked into his office. Yes, it takes an effort of will, but it can be done.
(If you ever find yourself in a state where you really cannot return to the present enough to attend to normal daily duties, you need outside help.)
At the time of those stories, we still believed that the Spirals, just before coalescence, were the earliest our consciousness could recall. Adam had been poking at that barrier for weeks, confronting again and again the fact that his brains already felt damaged at that supposed beginning. He wrote:
"...This morning as I woke up I had a most uncharacteristic feeling, of depression and not being able to cope, and Stop trying it ain't worth it, etc. It was so not in form that it seemed almost as if someone dumped all this on me from outside, and for a moment I thought someone is trying to make me feel this way. But then I thought, Well, even if this is true, it must be connected to a trauma I had, so why not continue the work with these emotions, and I did.
"I tried to get before the spirals again, but this time there was no image at all nor even a quasi-memory. Still, there were phrase and emotion, "This is too big for me", and "I can't cope", with at first many emotions together, panic, depression, fear, confusion, realization of failure, etc. After a time all the emotions disappeared, there was some brightening, but I had to stop because just then a patient walked in. The rest of the day was ok.
"Several days of sessions with s.p. all dark and no progress. Yesterday was especially dark, but there was a new emotion that seemed fitting and appropriate to s.p., somehow - anger."
[The next five days detail session after session on sadness, with finally a breakthrough on October 11th. A few days later he accessed a severe generational trauma, merging with an ancestor who had been in the middle of pogroms in Ukraine... Adam thought he had finished healing this ancestor.]
"(...) About an hour later. I was sitting watching TV, when suddenly I felt the same old sadness as before, as if I'd done nothing. I went and began another session. I didn't have a clue as to where the trauma was, what the trauma was, for some reason I thought it might be another trauma altogether. I didn't find myself with the man in the long leather coat; all was dark, the previous phrase didn't fit, just "Sadness", as at the very beginning. I stayed with it a long time. Then I sensed I was sitting hunched down on some pile of dirt or stones, with nothing but the sadness and total darkness.
“After some more time I saw myself looking, searching, at a long pile of corpses, and I knew that up until now I avoided facing the truth, although the knowledge of it was there all the time, I just couldn't face it.
“I was searching in the long pile of dead and mangled in the street. The phrase was, "Mustn't see!" Then I made the unbearable situation even more unbearable, and asked myself, 'Mustn't see what?' and the answer came, "Mustn't. See. MY. Dead!", and I knew I was looking for three specific dead, a young woman, a baby girl, and a young boy. My face contorted with a silent cry of the deepest anguish, that repeated itself every once in a while, as I went on searching for MY dead among the dead and mangled corpses. The darkness slowly dispersed and I forced myself to see some of the faces. None were mine, I continued my search.
"I didn't finish this session because the phone rang and I had to talk to a patient. “I must add that in all the previous sessions of the man with the long leather coat I KNEW I was procrastinating, that I would have to face the inevitable, and look for my loved ones. I just couldn't do it. Now it forced me to face it. I will finish it. Tomorrow.
[2 more sessions here. Same theme, little progress.]
"There's still work to be done. Afterwards the man went home, at last, when he had no choice, and had to face whatever there was, however horrible it may be. He found his wife, baby daughter, and young boy, all lying dead in different parts of the room. This was maybe the worst and hardest part I ever did. I won't go into details. It took many sessions. The worst is over, and maybe it is finally done. At the end he entrusted them to god, "In love, in grace, and in mercy", asking god to take good care of them, admonishing god that he better do it right because he'll come to check on them.
"Ever since finishing the sessions on the man in the long leather coat, I feel no sadness, which is a somewhat strange feeling for me. But I'm not happy, either. What I feel is a kind of overall seriousness. Another thing that has changed is that since then I have no need to impress people. As if I accept my role as 'backstage' and don't try to put myself forward. I find it a change for the good, although it plays havoc with coming on to women!... (like a peacock that doesn't spread its tail to flaunt its magnificent colours). I'll have to check to see whether this seriousness is not yet some remnant of sadness."
The second story is from John Heinegg. It reiterates one key point from Adam's: we're talking about genuinely awful traumas here. If we put so much effort into burying these big ones, it's for a good reason. (John, right after his breakthrough, described the baby-killing image below as "one of the better parts." You will have noticed Adam's similar silence on the actual worst images. Some things simply defy description.)
I also recognize, for having seen it in myself, the perverse little attachment to the state of roadkill that can develop after a while, as if we wanted to show the whole world how awful this is and how useless are their efforts at making us feel better.
"My roadkill episode involved (ironically enough) my introduction to the Inner Peace process. For me, it was Inner Warfare. In speaking with others, I’ve discovered that I’d been spoiled: all the other difficulties I’d experienced in this work had lasted at most hours.
“This lasted days. I don’t have notes from that period—in part, I was just too miserable to write anything down—but I recall a pit of depression, despair, and anger. Making the situation worse was that I was supposed to be coming up with the music for the Inner Peace process, and was drawing an absolute blank. With other processes, even if I wasn’t completely clean I could often hear enough of the music for it to produce something. This one, nothing—Tal had to spoon-feed me the description of the relevant Gaia music, and listening to the resulting pieces just made me feel worse. In sessions, when other ISPS members were working with me, tried to release my traumas, and asked, “Did that do anything?” I found a certain vicious pleasure in growling, “No.”
"The image that summed up my state recurred repeatedly: A Cossack sort, big and bearded, holding a baby by the feet and swinging its head violently against a wall. I was the baby. As it happens, that image came up when I was checking on tribal block (though as far as I know, I have no Cossacks in my ancestry). And a massive clearing of tribal block proved to be the key to clearing up the mess I was in.
But that didn’t happen until after about four days of misery."
Some developmental events, and the approach to some peak states, are notorious for throwing us for this kind of spin. The 'Separate from the Mother" command, separation from the placenta, especially in cases when the cord had to be cut very early, other severe birthing difficulties, traumas from separation from Creator, issues about the Humanity Disc, issues about our Life Path, and any trauma that blocks access to the Realm of the Sacred, are more than enough to turn us into roadkill. Add the grievous accidents that can affect us before birth: a parent or grandparent suffering an assault or involved in a car wreck; an illness that threatens the mother's life, the baby's, or both; a failed abortion attempt, either in the mother or grandmother.
It is inevitable that anyone who is dedicated to his own healing will end up staring at those headlights sooner or later. People involved in research, especially, will face this many times, because we are constantly pushing the envelope towards states that allow better perceptions and more effective healing. But healers, too, must heal even their most difficult issues if they are to be any help to their clients. So also must any serious seeker of self-awareness.
Sometimes, as with other types of spiritual emergencies, it is current events that throw us into those traumas: the death or serious illness of a relative or close friend; big life changes; anything that seems to tear our world apart.
Dealing with the Big One
Yes, all of this can be healed. And yes, it can all be healed the usual way, with good ol' Basic WHH. Even with EFT, if it works on you, though you might have to resort to WHH for the generational parts.
First of all: yes, it's trauma. If you're not calm, peaceful and light, it's NOT about the present. Recall Grant's example of the man who was dying of cancer: they doubted they could heal his fear of dying. He WAS dying, so what could be more reasonable? But since the sick man was not CPL at the same time as he was afraid, they figured there must be a trauma, and sure enough they found one, from a near-drowning at an early age. Afterwards, the man told Grant, 'It's the damnedest thing: I'm still dying and yet I'm not in the least afraid!"
So if you're not CPL, there's a trauma, and if there's a trauma, you can heal it.
Start from the moment you first felt the trauma. For John it was obvious: the Inner Peace commands threw him into 'Inner Warfare'. Adam also returned to the trauma he had been working on, in the Spirals, but if he was alive right now, I would certainly ask about the moment when he was 'just sitting and watching TV', the moment when all the sadness returned intact. I've run twenty times through a single instant when I was working with Tal and Grant, and Grant unwittingly gave me an order I could not possibly follow, mimicking perfectly the set-up for a misunderstood Gaia command. Externally it's just a moment of sitting on a chair and talking on the phone, but I've yet to get to the bottom of the paralyzing blank rage that rose in me.
Ask yourself, 'does this feel personal?' By this, I mean that some traumas feel genuinely awful, but there is still, somewhere in yourself, the realization that it is from the past, that nothing from the present warrants this sort of reaction. But sometimes it really feels like it's about you, right now, it's about how you are right to the core: you're taking it personally. If you feel that way, particularly if you have the 'no-skin' state, you can be sure that a generational trauma is at play. Scan your awareness for impressions of people, or strings of beads angling away from you. And if you can't see a thing, don't worry: keep working the usual way, and sooner or later you'll perceive someone right in your face and sooner or later you'll realize this figure isn't a metaphor or a picture on your grandmother's wall. (Look back, for example, at Adam's story. Adam couldn't see generational strings either.)
Make time to work on this. Cancel appointments if you can, get yourself to a safe place; work on it. I figure that if I get one or two changes of scene a day, and at least a slight shift in perspective every half-hour of work, I'm advancing. If you spend hours on the same aspect of the same event, you're missing something. Are you paying attention to the physical sensations? Are there more brains involved? What's your parent feeling? Are you copying? Use all the tricks in the book, but do give each trick a chance to take effect.
Make sure to eat regularly, and take a break from time to time. Exercise, go for a walk, ride your bike... Sometimes it's then that the real insights come in. Pay attention to your dreams, too. Remember that all the characters of your dreams are you, even the inanimate objects that play a prominent role. Do the projection exercise on each of the characters of any upsetting dream you get while you cope with a major trauma.
Coping while it lasts
Sometimes we're in for the long run: days, weeks. Meanwhile there's work, and bills to be paid. Interestingly, though, the real biggies often come up when there is time to process them. We feel safe, we relax our defenses, and all hell beaks loose.
So if you can afford to cancel all appointments, do so. Make time and space to care for yourself.
Often, the tendency is to isolate oneself, but this is when our community of healers is most important. Do ask for help. Decide what kind of help is the best for you, and ask for that. For me, of course, an expert healer who can shepherd me through the bad spot in a matter of hours is the help I want! But sometimes that's not possible: nobody’s available, or my issue is one they cannot do anything about. In my latest roadkill episode, I was full of anger for about five days and made myself perfectly odious to everyone; I watched myself doing it, knew I was doing it, and still couldn't help myself. The only safe solution was to kick everyone out. In this case, the right kind of help was getting a phone call twice a day from someone who didn't take my anger personally, and understood the issues, and could suggest strategies for healing. And I did get that help.
But what if you really have to go out and look normal in the world?
In most cases, you actually can turn this sort of trauma off, or put it on the back burner. It helps if you've practiced returning to the present quickly as part of your regular healing; it's done the same way with roadkill. Plant yourself firmly into the present, find something to be grateful about, make the decision to feel whatever calm and happy peak states you have. If this is downright impossible, something else is going on. Get some outside help.
The books about spiritual emergency give us other coping strategies. One has to do with diet: a very light diet composed mostly of fruits and vegetables will open you right up for times when you decide to approach the traumas. Eating more carbohydrates and proteins, on the other hand, will ground you for times when the traumas must sit on the back burner. Caffeine helps, too. Stanislav Grof reports seeing staunch vegetarians develop a sudden craving for red meat to help slow down the onslaught of an overly-sudden psychic opening. I've observed myself doing this instinctively all summer: during my weeks of work on the ship, where there is no privacy and no time to heal, I crave eggs, fish and dairy; and the moment I get home I switch to eating fresh vegetables and fruit right out of the garden... and the emotional cleanup starts.
Copyright 2006 by Grant McFetridge
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