ptsd - Padda Institute Center for Interventional Pain Management

Treating Anxiety, PTSD and chronic pain. (Using rituals for neuromodulation in pervasive anxiety.)

Many of our patient’s have suffered significant trauma, either psychological or physical, which maintains a chronic high level of anxiety, and they perseverate on these past events as if they are the active present.  This recurrent neurologic loop prevents them from healing and moving forward.  Symptoms of anxiety are not the memory itself, but the physical manifestation of the underlying emotional charge, which may develop a life of it self.  Historically we have advocated the use of medications to treat anxiety in order to disrupt this cycle of dysfunction, but have found that these medications can themselves lead to a significant dependence, and for some patients a failure to adequately address the root cause, create a self reinforcing loop of addiction and anxiety.

These reinforced recurrent loops of consciousness can become overwhelming, and are best addressed in a more direct method, rather than using medications to numb the global consciousness.  Temporarily altering perception in order to gain critical insight using a combination of psychological techniques and medications is effective, but using the medications alone is the equivalent of throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire. We do advocate the judicious use of medications to reduce systemic anxiety, on a temporary basis; and advocate the use of medications to assist in the process of meditation and enhanced introspection. This becomes especially relevant for patient’s experiencing chronic pain, which by definition is a perceptive dysfunction with an underlying physical cause.

The ritual created by recurrent pervasive thoughts is best quenched by a counter ritual, helping the patient regain a center locus of control.  Rituals have served man kind for eons, and we are hardwired to accept the construct of ritual transfer from the imagination to the reality of daily living, i.e. our consciousness is our reality, and altering our consciousness alters our reality perception.  Rituals are useful in creating a construct of internal accountability, which may have become lost for patients with overwhelming anxiety disorders.  Using a beneficial ritual to disrupt a pathologic pattern of thought can provide the framework of consistency needed to move on or extinguish the emotional charge from a memory.

These anxiety loops with their attached emotional charges are best viewed as negative baggage we trudge along behind us, they are the large elephant in the room in nearly every interaction we have with ourselves and the outside world.  Research studies demonstrate that people who exhibit rigid and unforgiving behavior have more stress, get sick more often, sleep less and face an elevated risk of heart-related illness; all of which are manifested physical signs of anxiety.

We hold grudges, we carry guilt, we blame, we hurt, and we’re dissatisfied because of some perception of lack in ourselves or in others; a lack of love, a lack of action, a lack of something.  This sense of lack and dissatisfaction is often connected to prior hurts, personal decisions and/or behavior or, a lack of action on previous commitments.

We need to forgive in order to move forward.  Forgiving others is key; asking for forgiveness is as well.  But we must first and foremost forgive our selves.  Extinguishing our negative loops and removing their emotional charges requires being at peace in our activities, requires forgiveness.

Confrontation with those we need to forgive (forget), or even their acknowledgement of their errors is not necessarily a benefit in psychological traumatic healing, and dwelling on the confrontational exchange serves only to further imprint our own psychological loops.

 

There are a variety of ancient healing techniques that are useful in framing a ritual of forgiveness, the one that we have found most useful is from Hawaii, called .  The words ho’o (“to make”) and pono (“right”), is an indigenous Hawaiian forgiveness process that involves letting go of all resentment and clearing out preconceptions about others.  It is designed to make right, twice, once for oneself and once for the other party.  In its traditional form, the ho’oponopono ritual, akin to the healing circles of North American aboriginals, tended to take place in a large group facilitated by a mediator.  It can also be done individually, using self guided imagery.

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The accepted psychological terminology for this ritual is called emotional disclosure.  One of the keys to ho’oponopono success is that the party that has aggrieved us or we have aggrieved, does not need to be present or even acknowledge that we have forgiven them and ourselves.  Most importantly, the visual manifestation of our torment and the disconnection of the emotional charge is the underpinning of the rituals success and depends on the following:

  • Reducing the irritability of the sympathetic nervous system and producing a more receptive state for suggestibility can be accomplished by meditative deep breathing exercises.
  • Accepting that all life forms are connected at a quantum level, some being more strongly connected, through a concept called entanglement.
  • Creating a model of behavioral interaction with others, utilizing quantum concepts of entanglement, and then severing those entanglements is the visualization and demobilization of the emotional charge.

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The steps of ho’oponopono meditation ritual.

(You can record this for yourself. Remember to give yourself a few minutes between each direction.  Create a list of those that you need to seek forgiveness from, and those that you need to forgive—keep in mind that you may not know there actual names and you may not know what they actually look like, but it is the emotional representation that is important).

  1. Get comfortable and relaxed, in a sitting position, upright. Take 5 minutes or more to get deeply relaxed.

There are two breathing techniques recommended for initiating meditative relaxation:

The Ha Technique from Hawaii

Take a full breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth with the sound, “Ha,” repeating five times. The goal is to relax the abdominal muscles during inhalation and completely empty the lungs during exhalation.

The exhalation technique from East Asia

A technique initiated in Sikhism East Asia utilizes the terminology “Sat Naam,”  breathing as deeply as possible through the nose, relaxing the abdominal muscles and then exhaling slowly through the mouth while saying the single word Sat Naam.  The goal is to initiate exhalation with the word Sat, then exhale as long as possible  till the lungs are completely empty while saying Naam.  This is repeated a total of five times.  This technique seems to more effectively empty the lungs.

Once the initiation breaths are complete, a process of meditative flow or disconnection or quantum spreading begins (many individuals will continue the ritualistic breathing throughout the meditation ritual, but omitting the actual verbalization).  The western mind has tremendous difficulty creating a meditative internal silence, I have found the following beneficial

    •  Pick a spot on the wall to look at, above eye level, so that your field of vision seems to bump up against your eyebrows, but the eyes are not so high so as to cut off the field of vision.
    • As you stare at this spot, just let your mind go loose, and focus all of your attention on the spot.
    • Notice that within a matter of moments, your vision begins to spread out, and you see more in the peripheral than you do in the central part of your vision.
    • Now, pay attention to the peripheral. In fact, pay more attention to the peripheral than to the central part of your vision.

 This should take approximately five minutes, but remember, perception of time expands and contracts based upon our individual consciousness and the clutter of the mind.

2. Know that there is an infinite source of love and healing energy in the Universe, and it can be channeled down into you through the top of your head crown chakra. When you do this it reminds you of that state of complete love as you feel your heart open and accept it. Love is always there for us, if we let ourselves accept and feel it. Do this. Fill your head, your body, and your heart with the pink or peachy-gold energy of love and feel it heal you. (If you can’t feel it, perhaps you need to do something about your black bags that are clogging the works!) Sense the energy filling and overflowing out from your heart into your entire body. Let yourself drift and revel in it . . .

3. Now imagine a place in front of and below you that you will bring the persons to. (You may feel it, hear it, see it, know it, or sense it in another way – I will be asking you to see something; you just translate that into whatever sense works for you.)

4. Bring in the person you want to make things right with, starting with those you need to forgive, then those that need to forgive you.  Imagine that there is a quantum linkage or umbilical cord, which connects you to them individually.  This linkage represents the sum of all of your interactions with them, for some individuals this umbilical cord will be very strong and for others very flimsy.  This linkage is your quantum connection to the emotional memory of this person.

5. Ask the person if they will accept healing and forgiveness from you. (If they do not want healing, just skip the next part where you fill them up with healing.)

6. Fill your head with the healing pink or peachy-gold energy of love from the Universe and let it flow into your heart and overflow radiating out from your heart and into the person in front of you. Fill them up until they are overflowing with healing love energy.

7. When the person is filled with the healing energy, have a discussion with them, forgiving them for anything they’ve done intentionally or unintentionally that hurt you. Tell them you recognize that they are a magnificent being, and you support them connecting to their Higher Self.

8. Ask them if they’ll forgive you for anything you’ve done intentionally or unintentionally that hurt them. Ask them if they recognize that your are a magnificent being, and if they support your connection to your Higher Self.

9. Cut the cord or cords that bound you so you can let go. See your energy returning to you. See their energy returning to them.

10. See them float away to return, whole and healthy, to their lives. Make sure the people disappear.

11. Repeat numbers 3 – 9 with every person on your lists.

12. When done, check to make sure you have no negative feelings left when you think about any of these people.

13. Repeat your five breaths and close this stage.

– If you still have negative feelings about someone, do ho’oponopono again after making reparations.