The Route From Dysfunction To Wellness

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Many take it for granted that the route from emotional and psychological dysfunction to emotional and psychological wellness is to bring repressed traumas into conscious awareness and then talk them over with a healer. Our modern day Western healers are therapists, psychologists, doctors, etc. This process is akin to exorcism although the demons in question are of course metaphorical. At any rate cure is supposed to be achieved through expunging those inner demons, through getting what’s stuck inside out there into the world. With the clearing of these blockages the free, uninhibited flow of psychic energy can resume.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that making repressed material conscious and unburdening oneself of it is a major part of the healing process. But it’s usually not enough on its own. Because when we talk about the route from dysfunction to wellness what we’re really talking about is transformation, and simply talking about the hurt over and over doesn’t necessarily transform this hurt or anything else about the life situation. It certainly doesn’t change what happened. In fact for many people drudging up the painful parts of life can feel counterproductive. Why open up that can of worms? Why not just let sleeping dogs lie?

Let’s think of those repressed traumas, of all of those painful, hard to describe life experiences, as manure. It’s gross, it’s repulsive, you don’t want anything to do with it. If for some reason you do decide to swish it around this way and that it remains manure. But when you add intentionality and insight into the mix you realize that you can use it as compost. Suddenly what seemed repulsive and useless serves a very important purpose. It becomes the ground out of which beautiful, healthy plants grow and thrive.

This is the transformation we’re talking about. It’s taking the ugly things that have happened to us and making something beautiful out of them. When we become aware of our suffering through bringing repressed material into conscious awareness and talking everything out with a concerned healer we get the chance to tap into the human condition in a way we never have before. We get the chance to become more sensitive to our own suffering and to the suffering of those around us. And we put ourselves in position to turn what happened to us on its head by using all that suffering as the impetus for our own growth as people. We learn how to handle suffering more effectively. And we decide to seek to reduce suffering in ourselves, others, and the world rather than keep on adding to it. This is how meaning is derived out of those painful past life experiences that seemed meaningless. It’s how transformation occurs. Simply talking about what happened over and over again is a good start, and usually does provide some relief, but the route to emotional and psychological wellness lies not in rehashing the past but in transforming it. This means intentionally using past and present suffering as the ground from which we grow and thrive as people, a growing and thriving spurred on by increasing insight around the human condition and increasing sensitivity to suffering.