In the context of the worldwide movement to acknowledge and right the wrongs of racism, here is more information from Traveling Light, (p. 155-58):
Historical trauma is a massive upheaval that is experienced both by individuals, and by the collective group to which the individuals belong. Additionally, it is experienced not just by the group that is traumatized, but also by any group that causes the trauma. Both the cause and the effect have wide and long-lasting effects. It occurs in the past but is carried forth across generations into the present by culture.
I wonder about historical trauma, and how it fits with spiritual evolution. Native Americans, for example, did not just “lose the war”. They experienced mass extermination of their communities and their culture, much of which was carried out with intention over centuries. Black history, too, is full of the brutal trauma of slavery and loss of home and person-hood. White Americans carried out these hateful actions against their fellow humans. All of this is collective history.
There’s Jewish persecution and the Holocaust. Although women’s legal status has changed in recent history, their bodies are still treated as public property and items of social economics. Even white males have their own kind of history––created by the cultural cage of limited emotional expression, and the brutality that males visit on each other. Obviously, every person has the opportunity to grow through these experiences, to see a broader context and choose compassion.
A’riquea: Everyone does have some kind of “negative” experiences in their past. It is not possible to be human and not have had some loss. Loss can come in many forms, of course. Loss of innocence, loss of trust, loss of family connections, loss of Home location. How an event will affect one person is variable, depending on their previous choices and learning.
Trauma defines significant or multiple losses, something that stretches a person’s coping ability in such a way that new ways of being are required to go forward. Look up trauma.
Trauma is defined as both an experience and its aftermath: it is an experience that is deeply disturbing or distressing, and it is also the shock (physical, emotional, psychic) that follows such an event. ‘Trauma’ comes from the greek word for ‘wound’.
So it is a shock to the system. If it is literally a wound, then that is an opening. Openings in the skin are a place where either germs enter and destroy tissue, or new tissue is beautifully created out of Life Force to seal that opening. A scar is evidence of healing.
Yes, an opening is made. An opening is made in the way that a person thinks about the world. The opening is such that the person cannot go back to thinking the way that they did before the trauma occurred. Sometimes people have difficulty making the change, and it may take a long time. Sometimes the change is never made, and people choose to cover their confusion and loss with addictions.
Addiction is like keeping a dirty bandage on a wound. The wound will not be seen, but it will also not be healed. Healing a wound requires that one look at it, address it, take care of it. It needs to be kept clean, so that it does not collect harmful debris. It needs air and nutrition and rest. It needs Love. Everything needs Love, including wounds. Sometimes this is very painful. That is the new tissue forming. The scar is a sign of Love.
The same must apply to historical trauma, except that it affects a group. Groups must have a way of thinking as well.
It is a similar principle but applied on a more complicated level. Groups do have their own way of thinking, although sometimes this is not very visible. People in the group know that things are done in a certain way, but the reasons may not be clear. Many thoughts and behaviors keep a group identity in place and offer stability. Hopefully, these thoughts and behaviors also promote growth.
When groups of people are traumatized, each person has to cope with the trauma, but there will also be coping by the group. Just as there is the possibility of disagreement and dysfunction, there is also the opportunity for new ideas and more cohesive relationships. The trauma stretches the coping skills of the group.
Historical trauma, by definition, extends over long periods of time, affecting generations of people.
Anything not healed in one generation will be passed on to the next. There is always the opportunity to heal both the present and the past. This applies to individuals and also to groups.
It seems that trauma that is not healed and is passed on becomes less specific. The experience is less direct, and what is inherited is a feeling. People don’t know how to address these vague feelings of pain and disconnect.
That is because the group has lost its place. The group has forgotten what specifically occurred. This can result in the pain getting attributed to the wrong cause. It can become generalized and develop into a victim culture.
You are wondering why such a thing would be necessary or desirable in the scope of spiritual evolution. It is not necessary or desirable. It is human nature. It is the outcome of the difficulties that occur when spirits inhabit physical bodies.
Every defined group has their own version of historical trauma. Some are more severe than others. But they all involve the need to redefine the group within the context of healing. There needs to be a return to balance. First there needs to be a desire to return to balance, which is a desire to return to the spirit-fueled life.
Dysfunction occurs, for both an individual and for a group, when the coping mechanisms rely on an ego-driven life. For groups, leaders are important. The group will choose a leader who is either ego-driven or spirit-driven. Individuals will choose whether they will be head-driven or heart-driven. It is all about the motivation for living…
Choosing to travel a spiritual path, even though it is amateur, is better than choosing to not travel a spiritual path.