Updated: Nov 22, 2020
If you have ever experienced a traumatic event, Your psychologist would have probably asked
you to write down the sequence of the incident to help you process the event better.
Similarly, Buddhist practitioners who have experienced trauma seek relief, consciously or unconsciously, in their meditation practice. At first, symptoms may arise as prolonged feelings of panic. One practitioner recalls, “Initially, I felt an inexplicable terror. I would sit in the meditation hall, and all the hair would stand up on my body. I described it as ‘terror from another planet’ because there was no story, but it was still completely debilitating.” Following this, the practitioner experienced a series of kinesthetic flashbacks, including involuntary physical contortions related to acts of sexual abuse. Later, visual flashbacks surfaced.
When flashbacks of memories arise, they tend to occur spontaneously during periods of concentration. They can be experienced through any sensation, and are commonly visual or kinesthetic. For some, a whole scene is played out moment by moment, while others experience only broken images. When a meditator experiences a flashback, often the intrusion of these painful memories into conscious awareness can be an indication that the meditator needs to stop practice and address the trauma through psychotherapy; a teacher is usually the best person to make this determination.
Here I propose a new method to deconstruct and reconstruct traumatic experience with the help of fictional anecdotes.
Tamar here is a virtual entity, a personification of myself that exists to translate my experience. Along with Tamar I create Vedana and Samadha.
'Vedana' is an experience that allows me to render the impact of traumatic incident to its entirety. Which includes both the psychological and physiological effects it has on a body. 'Vedana' here is the space of the incident, a fictional representation of what one might feel when they are encountered with the triggers and flashbacks of the event.
Along with Vedana I create Samatha, which means "tranquility of the mind" in Sanskrit. Samatha here is what brings you back from the past in to the present. Samatha encompass of different sensations, whether it is visual, auditory, tactile so on. Samatha is another reality that is determined to pull me away from Vedana. Your Samatha will look different from mine. Samatha's role is to trivialize Vedana. To make me understand that anguish I experience would ultimately empower me.