Some reflections on Elena Hartgerings´ excellent article about the rape victim.
By Åsa Samsioe (psychologist and practicing therapist)
1) Print this Page      2) Use right click here - then 'Open page in new window' to translate

Fourteen years ago Yaani, the woman in Elenas´ article, suffered this brutal rape. Yaani says that this awful event has "no charge, no juice, no power" over her... because "in reality it never happened".

Elena writes "Healing comes, not from repressing the trauma or denying it, but from confronting it and working through the feelings that are associated with it."
The Buddhist- monk and psychologist Jack Kornfield, says the same thing with different words in his book "A Path with Heart":

"Wise spiritual practice requires that we actively address the pain and conflict in our life in order to come to inner integration and harmony." And he continues: "Many people first come to spiritual practice hoping to skip over their sorrows and wounds, the difficult areas of their lives. They hope to rise above them and enter a spiritual realm full of divine grace, free from conflict."

Then he writes about a man he knew, who practiced as a yogi in India for ten years, which led to long periods of peace and light in his mind.... But after that the "unfinished issues" that had made him so depressed and unhappy before he came to India, returned to him as strong as before. "He realized he could not run from himself and began to seek a healing in the midst of his life", Jack Kornfield writes.

In Yaani´s mind this awful rape has never happened and she thinks she is unaffected by it. But in the same way that you don´t get liberation automatically just by repeating to yourself, "I am not separate or different from God", nor do you automatically get rid of the agony and the painful feelings which are the result of nasty experiences. Besides, healing of the mind goes hand in hand with spiritual development.

A fundamental striving for all living beings is to escape from pain. I have met several persons who have been badly traumatized, but don´t want to seek help, because they just want to forget their painful experiences. The only snag is that it isn´t that easy to get rid of them. But there are quite a lot of psychological mechanisms, most of them unconscious, which release the affected person from pain and agony. One of these mechanisms, which unfortunately is used just too often, is called projection. The result of projection is that it is the people in the affected person´s nearest surroundings (husbands, wives, children, friends, work-mates) who have to take the pain and the agony on themselves, when the affected person lacks the ability to confront and work through her trauma.

I once had a work-mate who had been badly traumatized by her nasty experiences. She was rather unconscious of how her own behavior affected her work-mates. Probably her personal view was that she was a healthy and competent individual. But her work-mates were rather tired of her and sometimes quite exhausted by her repeated manipulations to release herself from pain and agony by projecting it on to them. They never got the peaceful place of work they needed because there was always turbulence around that woman. The great paradox was that she was very interested in spiritual life and often talked about her yearning to live in accordance with her interests. The tragedy was that she wasn´t able to live up to her lofty ideals, when it came to her behavior towards other people.

I suppose that most people have similar experiences from persons they have met in their lives. If they make the effort to discover the reasons behind these persons' behavior, they will certainly find traumas of various kinds. So even if Yaani says that her experiences have "no charge, no juice, no power" over her, perhaps there are others who have to suffer because of her experiences? The mechanisms of the mind are working in a most ingenious and uncontrollable way and it is not very responsible to pretend that one is not affected by nasty experiences.

However it isn´t easy for those who completely lack psychological knowledge to realize those things by themselves. But isn´t it a shame that even SSB, who proclaims himself to be God, is as ignorant as his poor devotee?