Journey through intergenerational trauma, Part 2 - our blueprint
When we come into this world we are given a blueprint. This blueprint contains all of the stories, lived experiences, successes and failures of our parents and the generations ahead of them. All of the traditions, beliefs, emotions and attitudes which our parents had, our grandparents, our great grandparents all have been passed down to us.
When we look at our physical traits and certain dispositions we know that these were inherited through our parents and ancestral line via our DNA. In recent years a new study has emerged in scientific circles looking into the psychological aspects which are passed on through our ancestors. When trauma happens to us, it changes the way our brain is. If the brain of a father who lived through a war, for example, has been changed due to this trauma, and his DNA reflects this change, will it also change the DNA of his child? This question has been researched through many ways and has gained much controversy in the field of behavioural epigenetics.
Our Meridians and Spirit
In Chinese Medicine there has been a long history of understanding the energetic patterns which are passed on from generation to generation. It is believed we are all made up of energetic systems which have been formed from the moment of our conception. At this moment, eight principal energy channels (known as meridians), are formed and carry vital energies to different organs as they develop. They also carry energy that is passed down from our mother and father through the act of conception, thus imprinting on our energetic pathways the patterns existent in theirs, whether these be physical or psychological patterns. This is just one way, Chinese Medicine looks at this intergenerational exchange.
Trauma in the Balkans
My personal experience with the passing down of trauma has been one I have been exploring for many years. Coming on this trip through the Balkans, I had hoped to further understand if there is one thing that is elemental in being able to stop this cycle of trauma and create healing, so that we can live in peace. One of the first thing that struck me was the sense of how much fear there is. Fear of "the other" is thought early on here. Our grandparents and their grandparents, and now even our parents, or even first generations, have all lived through a war here. A war where a brother will literally kill a brother due to the drop of the blood they carry from "the other side."
This region is very mixed, for generations we have mixed across religions and cultures. So when war breaks out amongst those same lines, the violence and the hurt go deep. Each side has a story of horror done by the other side at some point throughout their ancestral history.
We grow up on this stories. We are told to identify with these stories. We learn to hate. But what is even worse, we learn to fear.
Hate alone does not always result in violent action, but fear, fear will make a sane person do a crazy thing. Fear will make one kill their brother if their safety is in jeopardy. Fear is the number one motivating factor for wars. Yet, fear is thought.
Fear and the Kidney
In Chinese Medicine, fear is believed to sit in the Kidney organ energy, an organ which also stores something we call Essence. This is the energy which is given to us at conception through the combining of our parent's energy. It is the energy that would parallel to the western idea of DNA. The energy which carries large part of our blueprint.
So let's say for example, if I was brutally raped by someone from the "other side" who before was my neighbour, and I witnessed the killing of my husband, and later was forced to flee with nothing but the clothes on my back, my brain will try to process this experience in the best way it can to protect itself. (example taken from someone's real story). Often times the brain will change it's chemical composition due to horrific nature of the crime and the energy required for self-preservation of the body and the individual. If this trauma is never healed or integrated in a way that is healthy for the body, it will stay there as energy that is needing to be released but has no where to go. At conception it will travel to the newly formed energy system in my baby in an attempt to release. However, this will cause an imprint of need to protect oneself, imprint of anxiety, imprint of not trusting, imprint of fear. If this fear is fed through anything during the formative years (such as parents and their beliefs, friends, teachers and even the politicians), it has the potential to be turned into a weapon of hate and a weapon of war.
Today I saw a great example of that when I observed a mother with her young child. This young child was playing a video game which was in one of the languages of one of the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The mother realized it was that language and she said, "no, it can only be in English or our language." (different than the country which the language was in, but still one of the other counties which formed Yugoslavia). Her words were words of generations of stories told of pain, trauma and horror passed down into fear and hatred of "the other side". A fear and hatred she was thought and passed down to, now were slowly being formed into her child's brain through the idea of separateness.
The trauma split
All of the separateness we are experiencing in the world right now, from wars, to racism, to economic inequality, to plain out right human abuses are as a result of the belief that we are separate from one another. A belief that I believe is the original trauma story created by the human race somewhere along the lines, perhaps out of a need to protect themselves from the unknown. But that need is not our present day reality, that need should not be our present day reality. We should be questioning the energy of separateness and finding ways to heal that split, to replace fear with love. Maybe then we can heal the cycle of trauma that is being passed down, sometimes consciously, but most of the time unconsciously.
To find out more about my work or book a Body-Mind Therapy Session for yourself, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org