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Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun

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Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
6/23/18 8:57 AM
I was on a retreat in France at the Chateau du Buffalo with some friends this April using the fire kasina as object, this occurring just a few days from the time I retired from emergency medicine.

Emergency medicine makes for great stories and terrible dreams, and I was having multiple dreams per night that were basically the ER equivalent of the classic college dreams in which you are late for an exam and can't find your pencil and didn't study and can't find the room and all of that, except that this is the bloody-people-are-dying-gory-agony-and-carnage version, based on the hundreds of really bad things I saw and dealt with over my medical career.

Me and my ER colleagues would sometimes talk amongst ourselves about "micro-PTSD", a sort of cumulative pile on of hundreds of bad situations that collectively add up to something significant, written deep into the brain by high doses of adrenalin and cortisol, and pressure to make everything alright, often in situations where everything is not going to be alright. We all have our list of the worst moments, sights, sounds, smells, and experiences. Those experiences were coming up heavily in my dreams, as if retiring somehow let my guard down and this huge backlog of partially processed experiences came flooding in. My dreams have often had qualities that most people would consider pretty nightmarish since I was a child, so I am used to them and handle them well, but still, they are not pleasant.

After about a week of this on retreat happening night after night, I sat down one morning for the first sit of the day, and the moment I sat down this extremely powerful, thick, steady bliss rapidly established itself and just stayed there. Additionally, and here's some woo woo stuff, I could suddenly see my aura, and it looked like the field you would see around a bar magnet, like a toroid, but this time in primary blue and very stable. Space turned whitish, but the blue aura was still very clear. I sat there a while with not much else going on, maybe for 5 minutes or so, just hangning out.

Then, in that very odd space, one of the standard canon of bad images from my medical career arose, except that it arose like an iphone app icon, flat, about 1cm wide, with rounded edges, and the image was like a little cute stylized logo rather than the full 3D gory image it typically would be when it would come up, and it just sort of rotated a bit in space and vanished, not disturbing the bliss in the slightest, which was relatively steady and impressively strong (I'd give it an 8/10 on the bliss scale, with 10 being the strongest bliss I have ever experienced), and the thought arose, "Hey, I wonder if it would do that to the rest of the standard list of bad experiences?"

So, I started bringing up the images, one by one, initially all of them from my medical career: horrible images, bad situations, dead kids, legs torn off, maggots crawling out of rotting limbs, skulls smashed in, people screaming as they died in puddles of blood, you know, the usual ER stuff. One by one, they all became cute little icons like the first one did, rotated a bit, and vanished. None touched the bliss at all, which remained heavy and strong. The aura stayed blue and like a perfectly regular toroid. Space stayed whitish. Soon enough, I ran out of troubling ER images, which is saying something, as there were a lot of them, as the time from calling each one up to it iconizing and vanishing only took a few seconds per images, and finally, nothing else came to mind from my medical career and training, and I sat there a few moments. That whole process took only a few minutes.

I started on other traumas, bad situations, car accidents I had been in, traumatic breakups, bad childhood stuff, physical injuries, broken bones, surgeries, illnesses, and other unfortunate incidents that happened along the way, and one by one, they all turned into little flat, stylized icons like the others had and vanished, and the bliss stayed totally unpurturbed, and the aura held steady, and space stayed white. After only a few minutes, I had exhausted even the standard canon of images from my life's major and even some minor traumas, all rapidy turning into little, pretty, flat icons, all vanishing, all not impinging on the bliss in the slightest. It was like the ultimate version of the IOB (Identify, Objectify, and Banish), except much cuter than this is typically described and a lot more pleasant.

With nothing left to bliss-iconize, and wondering how breakfast was coming along, after sitting on the cushion for only about 10 minutes, this process seemed complete, so I got up to go to the kitchen. My body had that loose, slightly weak, a bit shuddery feeling that I have when I have swum a mile or two fast and then get back on land, but felt very light at the same time as if I had had a very hard cry, yet I hadn't cried at all, it just felt like I had afterwards.

The gory ER dreams ended immediately, and I have felt vastly lighter since that brief meditation period, like it cleared out a massive amount of old stuff in some seemingly definitive way.

I have no idea if this is something that other people could intentionally do, but, if it was, it would be extremely helpful. So, should heavy, seemingly inviolable bliss arise, and if you have your own list of traumatic life events to bliss-iconize, might give this a shot and see how it goes.

Three cheers for the Dharma! Yay! What wonderful things can come from practice! Best wishes,

Daniel

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
6/22/18 10:42 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Great story! emoticon The icons remind me of how dependent origination manifested to me at a retreat at IMS in 1996. Hope you continue to practice medicine, if not as an emergency room doctor.

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
6/23/18 12:25 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Really interesting stuff.

It seems to me that there's some unfortunate irony in this space. The people who are most traumatized would benefit most from this. They're also the most likely ones to experience overwhelming experiences, retraumatization, etc in the course of developing strong enough concentration.

See
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8552334

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
6/23/18 7:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Good stuff! This reminds me of a similar practice... Basically find some stability and then imagine going into each of the 6 buddhist realms as a buddha and being with the beings that are there. Usually the first step is simply being there with the beings in pain/discomfort (compassion = being with others suffering) but without losing mindfulness (i.e. not empathy, which is feeling others pain). So being able to go into these situations, aware and helpful, but untraumatized. Then there are versions of how to teach the beings (you entertain devas, you teach discipline to titans, you teach renunciation of selfishness to humans, you teach rules/cause-and-effect to animals, you teach the nourishment of generousity to hungry ghosts, you teach the "cooling" medicine of self awareness to hell beings). 

The interesting thing is our visualizations/somatic experience of the god, titan, human, animal, hungry ghost, and hell realms will always be fabricated out of our >own experiences< of those domains. When I did this, a lot of odd reactive triggers and traumas of my past resurfaced, but it was within a "safe space" of this practice. So when imagining and visiting those realms, it will take on flavors of past traumas. I think this was a very clever way that these practices promote a similar thing that you did, which is to become concentrated and bring up traumatic experiences within that "safe space" of mindfullness and bliss.

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
6/25/18 6:41 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
This reminds me of a cool ibogaine trip report from Erowid. The journeyer was basically flipping through samskaric material on her Cosmic iPhone and kind of processing stuff in the same way that you would close an app!

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/8/18 9:31 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wow. I just caught up with this, and I am excited at the prospect of doing it myself. There’s the old saying, “you get what you optimize for.” I wonder just how to optimize for this kind of experience. 

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/8/18 10:49 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
That's sounds pretty WOW. I'm more in the camp of "hey, where is this thought going? You don't have to go there." 

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/10/18 8:38 AM as a reply to Tashi Tharpa.
or NDE past life review.

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/11/18 4:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the interesting write-up. I have had "flat symbol" experiences quite a few times -- mainly on psychedelics, but also during meditation.

Here is an old write-up of mine during my druggy/pickup days which featured the flat symbols after taking LSA: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/how-good-is-your-iqdar/

Neuroscientifically, a model of what was going on in your process might talk about "gestalts" (whole picture experiences) in the right brain being turned into a "thumbnail" (concept) by the left brain and then discarded. The flat icon style is certainly a left-brain representation of an experience, and this is also how language works. The hemispheric interconnection induced by the meditation allowed the process to play out, whereas in everyday consciousness those mental domains would be closed off from one another. This might also be how psychedelics achieve rapid recovery from addictions and PTSD.

This sort of experience is at least somewhat common amongst LSD users, anyway.

Regards, Edd

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/11/18 9:01 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wow, Dharma therapy!

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/12/18 6:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
That's cool emoticon

I recently did a little work with the completion process from Teal Swans book. It is basically working with past  traumatizing memories and adding components to meet your needs in that past situation. I did a few situations around abandonment, and the next 10 min after the sessions, it felt like my body reloaded, nurtured by waves of healing, and my relationships changed a lot to the better after this.
I always had made good experiences with magickally changing past memories, turning the present upside down. Wohoo, magick!

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/12/18 1:27 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The experience you described is amazing! This is my favorite kind: Not only fascinating, fun, special, etc. but also it had real positive consequences for your life with a measureable lasting transformation. The best kind! Now wouldn't it be awesome if it could be reproduced...

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/13/18 11:41 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Sounds  like dharmakaya release

[font="Linux Libertine", Georgia, Times, serif]As butter, though inherent in the milk,
[font="Linux Libertine", Georgia, Times, serif]Is mixed with it and hence does not appear,Just so the dharmadhatu is not seenAs long as it is mixed together with afflictions.And just as the inherent butter essenceWhen the milk is purified is no more disguised,When afflictions have been completely purified,The dharmadhatu will be without any stain at all.[8]

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/14/18 10:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Yes, great nomenclature suggestion and useful anecdote for those after auto-therapy - Thanks Daniel.

I would add, that in my experience of Vipassana in some of the higher Nyanas between Fear and Patisankha, there has been an experience where Lissajous type figures and symbols were noted to arise and pass with what seemed like incredible rapidity behind the left eyeball region.

It was easy to imagine, in review, that this was presymbolic language occuring, as someone suggested, and in my personal sits these would pass away and silence would be noted. Of course core Vipassana assumptions would have us relegate speculation to the dung heap and just note till they all flip over.

In any case, there have not been any of the aforementioned symbols noted in some time in the practice here.

Metta.

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/16/18 3:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Actually, the more correct term is secondary trauma (psycho trauma),
Wikipedia does a reasonable job here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion_fatigue

If you had not achieved stream entry, you would have been traumatized (much more )and it would have weighed much heavier.

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/16/18 11:30 AM as a reply to Ben Meijer.
Ben Meijer:
Actually, the more correct term is secondary trauma (psycho trauma),
Wikipedia does a reasonable job here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion_fatigue

If you had not achieved stream entry, you would have been traumatized (much more )and it would have weighed much heavier.
Agreed. In the abidance of those few whom I have interacted where it is likely that they did achieve named attainment, emotions arise and pass quite rapidly.

RE: Micro-PTSD and BlissTech Fun
Answer
7/19/18 2:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hey Daniel do you know the term Recapitulation? Is in the Carlos Castaneda books. The idea is you live again what has happend to you and free off it, maybe you had a powerfull and spontaneous recapitulation. Also in the process of that bliss o prebliss you feel some kind of cold sensation moving arround the body? Usually when there are powerfull healing movements of energys there is also this blissfull cold energys moving arround!

Glad for you to get rid off all these stuff and can sleep/have better dreams now emoticon

Peace and Joy!