Trauma manifests itself in a multitude of ways on the mind and body. Curing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an on going battle with very low success rates in relation to the strategies and coping mechanisms offered by the pharmaceutical industry. Such organizations as MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) offer wonderfully successful solutions to dealing with trauma using the currently illegal and scheduled 1 psychedelic substance of MDMA. It is an exciting time for them as they are on Phase 3 FDA trails in order to make it available with prescription by 2020. So many trauma stricken individuals stand to benefit as this supposed “no medicinal benefit/extremely toxic party drug” (as described in the government schedule 1 description) makes its wonderfully healing appearance on the wellness and therapeutic world. However, as equally easy of a technique for dealing with trauma, if not more so since it’s centered around breathing, is offered by Stan Grof and his creation of Holotropic Breathwork, which is relying on the effort of the individual to go through various breathing techniques to battle trauma and become whole. After all, it is just breathing and if trained correctly transcendental experiences occur that handle and process trauma and bring people overall to a more peaceful place.
What is the root of trauma? We all experience it in some form or another. There are obvious examples that can easily bring it on like experiencing war, molestation, torture, etc. However, Stan Grof brings trauma to a unifying place in birth that we all have experienced. The theory is called the birth prenatal matrix and in the process of birth we experience four transcendental phases that relate to our first major experience with PTSD. We all had to be born. We all had to pass through a canal (or be taken suddenly out of our comfort with a C section) which was extremely stressful and painful in order to get to a new place, a new life, a new way of being. Nobody can remember being born but we all experience the traumatic effects of it.
When a baby is in the womb before the birthing process starts, they in a very comfortable situation compared to what is about to happen. They are in a heaven state in the uterus and the mother is the universe. Life is comfortable, one is being fed, growing subtly, the routine is known. This is the first state. The second state starts at the onset of sudden panic and a change of environment. A hell emerges. The universal mother is putting extreme pressure on the baby. Your being and world suddenly changes. Suffering without perspective occurs and the push through the birth canal is aggressive and unforgiving. What position are you in? It doesn’t matter if one is prepared or in the right position as the process doesn’t cater to any sense of comfort level. Submitting to the struggle is the only power for the baby but fierce opposition is easily resorted to. Resisting is futile. Struggle and pain and chaos are at the core of what is happening all around. The world that was once known is instantly shattered and something new in the form of the exact opposite has emerged.
Extreme fight is necessary in phase 2. It is a battlefield and there is no other option. How strong are you? How are you coping? How much can you endure? As time passes and phase 3 starts, the baby starts to crown out of the vagina. There is a sense that all this suffering is leading somewhere. We have entered a somewhat purgatory in our experience. There is still immeasurable suffering but now this suffering comes with perspective that maybe there is something on the other side. There is a glimpse of a light, an other world beyond the vagina. Whether this other world leads to more or worse pain or suffering is unknown but it is another world nonetheless and a new motivation arises. A deeper hell cannot be imagined so strength is sought for making the journey to this new light. Perhaps there could be an end to the suffering? Being smashed through the canal and the stress and pressure put on the body is lessened as we exit our old universe. With being out of the mother, Phase 4 emerges which is total re-birth, complete transcendence. We rise from the old world; our ashes in the form of the umbilical cord and blood, shit, and sweat are wiped from us, and a new journey and approach start in an untraveled universe. We had no idea what was going on during the whole process. We had no idea where we were going. We had no idea we were going to be re-born. We have made it without dying. We have made it from a physiological point of view but did we make it emotionally?
This is the original source of our trauma. People who experience major trauma in their lives in something like war spend a huge part of their lives learning how to handle and carry it without it overwhelming everything they do. They learn to walk with it. Much in the same way, we spend a huge part of our lives learning how to deal with the trauma of the PTSD of birth. We can’t even remember it but we know it happened. Our mother, family members, doctors, etc. can all tell us that, yes, it did indeed happen and that it wasn’t pretty and took a lot of suffering and struggle. The emotional trauma in our minds that we experience can easily be seen to define us and lead us into thinking we have no control over who we are and what we deal with. This is the result of trauma. This is what forms the human condition.
Our struggle to make it through the birth canal shaped us for potentially another lifetime to come. How does the birth prenatal matrix pattern play out in our lives in other situations? How often do we find ourselves in the womb at a certain point in time, unwilling to change, suffering without perspective and then constantly pulling back because we do have a choice more in our adult lives than we did as a baby being forced to leave from the womb? But we continue to experience the same traumas. We never advance. We grow ever more fearful of leaving the “new womb” we’ve created. How do we get ourselves to a place where our suffering comes with a hint of perspective that can lead us to re-birth and transcended into a new being moving on from things that held us back before? The source of trauma can be long lived and have its effects on us forever until once again we are forced into another realm with death. Do we really want to wait that long? To be forced yet again by an unknown hand or mother to move on to the next world? That is not the only option. We can have more control than we think. We struggle with phobia, fear, addiction, stress, anxiety, meaning, love, pain, depression, fear of others, being alone, being right, being stuck in our universe, neurosis of cyclical thoughts catered to expectations and rules, etc. However, most dramatically, we are affected by trauma. Trauma is a cause of all of the things above. Trauma and how it manifests itself is something for all of us to pay attention to and focus on. Going through our own birth prenatal matrix in our adult lives in necessary for transcendence, peace, and to process the effects of our first PTSD in birth. Processing it emotionally with certain helpful tools like psychedelics and specifically with Holotropic Breathwork will allow us to re-birth, feel whole, and grow into something greater than we ever thought was realistic.