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  • Writer's pictureGavin Conochie

Letting Ourselves Be Broken

The early experience that many of us who were traumatized in infancy are carrying is one of fragmentation: the sometimes frightening feeling that I have lost my wholeness and will never feel complete again.

This experience dictates the initial trajectory of our healing journey: the necessary and painstaking work of putting the self back together; the attempt to make sense of what has gone before and where our experience has brought us; the building of enough stability in ourselves and our lives that we have a foundation for the deeper work to come.

In essence, this is the work of piecing together a functional ego – a process that should have occurred through childhood and adolescence but which, for various reasons, didn’t happen for a lot of us.

It’s a step that many who are drawn to the spiritual path too early are prone to try and bypass. Instead, they want to move straight to the stage of transcendence, attempting to leapfrog the necessary process of incarnation, of coming into relationship with limitations and responsibility - hoping to avoid the sometimes painful and messy tangle of being human altogether.

But in order for it to truly be safe for us to expand into the larger realms of consciousness, we need to first become grounded in the body in a healthy way; we need to have gone through a process of becoming ‘real’, to have a sense of being sufficiently in relationship with ourselves on an emotional and psychological level. Otherwise we risk fostering further splitting and even deeper fragmentation...storing up problems for later.

True transcendence requires these foundational layers of development to be in place. It includes that which has gone before and builds on it; it does not look to avoid or bypass. Only once we can sufficiently trust our ability to build does it become safe to start letting ourselves come apart again.

At a certain point on the journey, we are called to grow vast enough that we find the capacity to encompass all of ourselves; a place of greater coherence where the different aspects of our fragmented self can come into relationship again.

Through this process we find a new wholeness, a place where we are able to claim the gifts as well as the wounds of being shattered; a place where we discover that we have grown strong at the broken places.

At this level, we may come to recognise our trauma not as an accident, but as a kind of holy initiation, something that has taken us beyond the bounds of the personal self and cracked us open into the realm of something bigger, vaster.

The redemption we have been seeking comes, finally, not through the erasing of our pain but through allowing our pain and suffering to be held in a larger context...through understanding at last that if I allow myself truly to let go, I don’t fall apart as I had feared, but discover instead that I am held by life in a way I could never previously have understood.

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