The Trance Trap
Techniques of interiority divide into two divergent branches. One pursues trance; the other pursues techniques of staying awake. The reason for the prevalence of trance is that it is easier to anaesthetize the sources of anxiety than it is to de-fuse them.
So, among the spiritual methods on the market these days we find numerous novel trance induction techniques: fantasies, projections, illusions. Simply staying awake is not as easy as it looks, and so even time-honored traditions slip over into sleep without warning.
A lot of people have manageable anxiety. It does not destroy their lives, but it does debilitate. Since there are parts of your body that irritate, you do not normally visit them. So you live your life never fully present. You are always out-of-body. You constantly take refuge from reality in fantasies and distractions. This is a commonplace of culture. This is bars and movies and sex.
However, being fully present is a much more powerful way of living than flitting back and forth between perception and fantasy. Being fully present enables us to see simple obvious truths, envision solutions to impossible problems, and sustain long, patient practices of compassion. And it is much more enjoyable than being half-there. So, being present is a characteristic of spiritual maturity. [See: “Spiritual Learning”.]
Some people have un-manageable anxiety. Their experience of trauma has been extreme. The treatment is still staying awake, but the method has to be pursued most carefully: find resources, slow the clock ‘way down, take very small pieces.
A Contemporary Approach
We now know that ordinary child rearing practices often traumatize. [See: “The Alice Miller Finding”.] Therefore almost everyone has the imprints of past injuries. We also know that these imprints are in the body. Since a “trauma” is merely the overwhelm of a natural defense response, trauma imprints are merely frozen attempts at flight or fight.
These frozen responses remain in the body as irritants to our emotional make-up.They show up as free-floating anxiety, which can sometimes be quite intense. But they do not live in tissue as such, or even in “deep tissue.” They live in neurons and synapses and neuroprocessors.
They can be touched by a neuron-synapse-neuroprocesser field that is not frozen, e.g., another human being who has cleared out some of his or her trauma imprints.
Q: Is existence friendly?
Q: How do I know that?
A: Be still. Go within.
Q: That doesn’t work for me.
A: Try a different technique.