The Kitchen

Four Psychic Lockdowns to Watch Out For in Trauma Healing


Sensual Lockdown is often just one thought away. It happens when we name an experience, and immediately invalidate it, deciding that it can't "be"  and therefore that it can never be "felt".

Examples of these tricky factualizations where the felt-sense is locked down include the felt sense of  senselessness, isolation, impossibility, and overwhelm. What, is senselessness a sensation? Yes! How else could we experience it?

Often, with the tyrannical verdict of these words, the system moves into a state of trauma - as the mind is now dissociating from direct experience. When we can let these words leads us back to the felt sense, even with an attitude of curiosity, a whole new horizon of healing opportunity awakens. Fresh, alive, and somehow beautiful, we find we come into contact with whole new dimensions of experience that were previously deemed "un-feelable".

Let's look at those four examples:

1. The Sense of Senselessness

Perhaps you recall a time when you were exploring something difficult, dissonant, or even paradoxical. At a certain moment you hear the words: "This is Senseless!" It's a signal to stop feeling what you feel. Anything that happens here-on is nonsense. What would happen if you dis-obey the autocratic mind, for once?

When difficult sensations get factualized, our sensory ability shuts down. The mind precludes and concludes the process of experience. Ironically, it desensitizes what is being felt, making it even more “senseless”. Factualization and the abuse of the mind to control experience always indicates a traumatic undercurrent: a feeling that seems impossible to feel. It shows us where we have been invalidated, split from our own direct experience, tumbled out of the birthright of processing feeling information.

The sense of senselessness is one of the tricksters of the psyche, as it is hard-wired to our systems of belief and judgmental mind.

That means that feelings, emotions, and sensations involved in the experience of senselessness get rapidly cancelled by a verdict. The feeling gets factualized and becomes a thought. Either life makes sense - or not.  As Carl Jung said: “The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” If we go the nonsense route - we face a core collective fear - being ostracized as insane.

With this hijacking of living experience, the quality of purpose itself gets caught in a dichotomy: it becomes oppositional and all feeling connection is lost. Because if it's senseless, it's worthless, which means that you - (your true nature, essence and all of it) are worthless and senseless. That's quite a threat. Maybe it's a signal to come to defiantly come to life anyway.

2. The Sense of Isolation

It is ironic that the greatest sense of isolation can come forward where we are most violated. Sensations of isolation move through the whole spectrum of trauma, irrespective of whether there were people around. The energy of isolation is where our back is against the wall of the separate self. There is nowhere left to hide, and the ongoing bombardment of sensations is relentless.

It is a felt sense, not a physical reality. As a felt sense, it is found in the silent scream, or the unwitnessed agony. It is in the reflexive experiential gap where no-one can share what has occurred. No-one can change it. No-one can make it go away. Ironically, we all share our ability to sense isolation. We have it in common, even when we are in vast crowds like at the supermarket.

The energy of isolation could have the sense of loneliness around it, unwanted intimacy and the suffering of disconnection. Again, it is important that these are not factualized but are treated as living energies of suffering.

The sense of disconnection for example, is a suffering atmosphere that emanates within the channels of connection. The Nondual Quality of Connection is always here, but it becomes suffused with the tortuous sense of disconnect. The sense of disconnection totally depends on the quality of Connection in order to “be”. When we factualize disconnection, we negate the quality of connection, and one effect of that can be the sense of eternal isolation so familiar to the scenes of hell and the dark night of the soul.

As an energy, isolation depends on the Nondual Quality of Togetherness. If there was not togetherness, we could not feel this horror of isolation. It is the tormented togetherness within us that screams with the horror of disruption and the intrusion of suffering. Isolation asks for the recruitment of support from others, and where this support is not there – where the pain cannot be met – the charge of isolation intensifies.

3. The Sense of Impossibility

The sense of impossibility is another one where there can be a rapid factualization. Wherever we get the felt sense of impossibility, we are close to the area of shock, and to the irreducible presence of what suddenly became possible through trauma.

When we meet the sense of impossibility it is important to tread gently, not pushing around it, but letting it locate in an area in or around the body and take energetic form. From here, it is possible to begin opening the senses toward it, and perhaps to blend with its atmosphere. What does impossibility feel like?

The energy of impossibility of course plays directly with the duality of possibility. Is it possible that I will ever trust again? Within this contraction of possible-impossible, there is a blinding of the field of infinite potential and a closure of the healing quality of imagination.

On inquiry, we can be surprised to find that whole dimensions of imagined outcomes are no longer available from the traumatized point of view. The suggestion that the individual imagines themselves in a state of wellness, peace, and relaxation can be threatening. 

Within this context, notice the immense healing power of imaginative work, journeys, dreams, and fantasies. Imagination is the composite servant of the unconscious in supporting the processing of traumatic content from the awfulness of horror to the awesomeness and resilience within the freedom to experience it all.

4. The Sense of Overwhelm

The factualization of the sense of overwhelm feeds the belief that the individual is not able to allow the experience. This belief over time can lead to symptoms panic, hysteria, obsession, and compulsion. The individual will tell a lot about how sensitive they are, but the tale is actually one of how they are shutting down their sensitivity due to a belief that they only have a limited capacity to feel.

There is such a fear reaction on strong emotion, that there is a contraction of time and space that creates the sense of overwhelm. What is meant is that conscious control will be overwhelmed by feeling impressions and that there is a fear of that. The illusion in it is that this would be disastrous, and that time and space is not in our command.

The moment we allow the charge to “be”, there is instantly a spaciousness as awareness is suddenly also allowed. There never was a tight container. The relaxation can mean that with a kind of surprise our client finds that not much actually happens. It is as if we stole their mojo.

If there is a tidal wave, hurricane, or forest fire of emotion, it is cathartic. When the therapist is able to relax without fear of overwhelm (theirs or the clients), then a great sense of relief and peace can appear. The area robbed of time, space and oxygen is suddenly allowed to breathe. No form was broken. Rather, all form begins to be liberated. A new confidence in the ability to process pain emerges. The sense of overwhelm dances in a duality with the sense of the unbearable.

The sense of overwhelm and of the unbearable find release through the Nondual Quality of Grace. Grace is a quality that allows the dimension shift into a wider space of nondual awareness where there is suddenly an ease and ability to process the simplicity of sensations as they arise. This is the grace of space, or the space of grace found in the boundless nature of pure awareness. It signifies that moment of expansion where it suddenly becomes apparent that we are not a separate self. In grace, the loss of the separate self and the impermanence of all form is no longer perceived as a curse but is felt as an unconditional spiritual release into the finer dimensions of True Nature.


We would love to hear from you about other factualizations of feeling you have noticed in exploring your own direct experience (comments in the box below!)

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