Andrew Huberman on Trauma

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techstepgenr8tion
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27 Nov 2022, 10:23 pm

A five and a half minute excerpt from one of his interviews discussing trauma and trauma release. IMHO with the finding that MDMA-assisted therapy, ayahuasca, etc. can help release trauma I guess it isn't all that surprising that similar or even greater degrees of somatic arousal can also overwrite it:


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IsabellaLinton
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27 Nov 2022, 10:44 pm

Thanks for posting such an intelligent and informed video.
I still experience the guilt / shame cycle despite years of clinical trauma therapy.
Equine / somatic therapy were very helpful for redirecting my physiological response.



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01 Dec 2022, 2:26 am

Thanks for posting techstepgenr8tion! I had not heard this piece by Huberman. He is great at summarizing what is known by science about humans and our behaviour.

I believe I have cured myself of CPTSD with the use of high intensity experience and returning to the moments of abuse to reframe my relationship with them. It is incredible to me how far I have come!

It has been a very long journey. I don't believe there are any shortcuts.
In recent years the core of my practice has been somatic experiencing combined with occasional, high dose, psychedelic mushroom journeys. Combined with an understanding of myself derived from meditation practice (even if I am an on-again off-again meditator).
This has been massively successful. I would caution however that good support and guidance with this approach is essential. I did it myself, but it would have been far, far simpler and less painful, if I had had good guidance. I had to go through a lot of trial and error (mostly error), to learn what I was doing.

Some pointers that might be useful:

I have to take full responsibility for my healing. I can and should be able to ask for help and advice, but the work itself has to happen inside me and be done by me. This is an evolving thing for me and it was only really during very recent parts of this process that I realised just exactly what this means and how deep this concept really is.

I know very little about myself. What I do "know" is mostly all wrong. It is certainly mangled and warped in ways I cannot see at all from my normal viewpoint. I need to be humble about my understanding. I need to be open to correction. I need to realize that other people can often see things about me that I can't see. So I need to be able to listen to criticism with these things in mind. While not taking on board potentially abusive criticism. This comes with inner strength and evolves during this process.

My body knows everything. It is where I live, and it has been there for all of it. The stuff my head has intentionally forgotten is very much available through my body. The body literally is the unconscious mind. It is that which functions unconsciously.

Connected with the above; the inner part of me, below my persona, and which is inseparable from my body ( some would call it the "true self") has some incredible way of understanding exactly what needs to happen to resolve the issues. I need to be able to trust that force and get out of its way. This is a deep mystery that I don't pretend to understand, but I can use it nonetheless.

Realising that feeling cannot kill me. I may have intense feelings from when I thought I was going to die. Feelings that feel like dying. But they are just feelings in my body. With courage and being compassionate with myself, I can, little by little, move into the feelings and re-experience them through my adult self. I can re-frame my understanding of them.

We are meaning making machines. Making meaning is, I believe, an extension into the abstract of animal prediction making. The meaning I make about something is my relationship with that thing/event etc. I then use that meaning as the basis of future prediction making. We make meaning on multiple levels; from the mind all the way down to the body. The deepest levels of meaning are to do with what and how I think and feel about myself. This is difficult to get to, but it is maleable.

My relationship with everything, the physical world of objects and the world of interpersonal connections, first has to go through my relationship to myself. How I feel about myself colours everything. It changes what I see and perceive. It changes how I feel about the world I live in. It changes how I interact with and behave in that world. And therefore it changes what interactions I get back from the world. It is the most fundamental thing I can adjust to improve my situation. And it is obscured and hidden by that very same relationship with self. Therefore it's very tricky to get there. This is why certain medicines, skillfully used, are helpful. When the normal everyday mind is disrupted enough the reality of what's underneath can begin to be seen. And through some incredible, magical process, once we see what actually is, and accept it, change happens on its own.

Acceptance is an enormously powerful tool. We are so good at normalizing abnormal situations. It is how were are such a successful species because we can survive (in the physical sense) just about anything. Emotionally, however, these survival mechanisms cause long term, serious problems. Being able to get real with reality is very important. I have to be able to accept all of the nasty things as they are. Things that happened, things inside of me, my reaction to what happened. This is acceptance in the sense of being real, not in the sense of thinking the abuse was ok. It was not. Once I see and accept, everything naturally falls into place. It takes time, but the healing can then do it's thing.

The deepest part of all this is accepting my part in what happened. Not that I was at all to blame for what happened to me. That is NOT what I mean at all.
Trauma is not the actual event(s) that happened, it's the organism's reaction to the event(s). The big F@#k up is not what happened, but what meaning I made as a result of what happened. What I told myself about myself. The belief I took on about myself as a result of how I was treated.
The fantastic thing is that while the event(s) are in the past and I can do nothing to change them, the belief I took on is with me now and is something I can change. This is the main point of healing. When I got to that belief about myself and the contract I made with myself as a young child and decided to change my mind, everything fell into place. I could alter the self destructive mantra I had been unconsciously repeating to myself for nearly 50 years. That is such a gift it brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it. Healing IS possible. There are many paths to it. I found mine.

Ok, enough. Blessings on all of your journeys!
P.S. I love this weird community. I have learnt SO much here. Thank you all!


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techstepgenr8tion
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01 Dec 2022, 4:09 am

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
Thanks for posting techstepgenr8tion! I had not heard this piece by Huberman. He is great at summarizing what is known by science about humans and our behaviour.

TY for the testimony on your own inner work, especially as well as you've explained it here - it's rare to see people articulate internal dynamics as clearly as you have below.

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
I know very little about myself. What I do "know" is mostly all wrong. It is certainly mangled and warped in ways I cannot see at all from my normal viewpoint. I need to be humble about my understanding. I need to be open to correction. I need to realize that other people can often see things about me that I can't see. So I need to be able to listen to criticism with these things in mind. While not taking on board potentially abusive criticism. This comes with inner strength and evolves during this process.

My body knows everything. It is where I live, and it has been there for all of it. The stuff my head has intentionally forgotten is very much available through my body. The body literally is the unconscious mind. It is that which functions unconsciously.

Connected with the above; the inner part of me, below my persona, and which is inseparable from my body ( some would call it the "true self") has some incredible way of understanding exactly what needs to happen to resolve the issues. I need to be able to trust that force and get out of its way. This is a deep mystery that I don't pretend to understand, but I can use it nonetheless.

I'm guessing you might already be aware of him but, if not, there's a fellow South African named Mark Solms whose written about consciousness in the human body. The superficial takeaway of his work is that consciousness does not occur in the cerebral cortex but rather much further down the brain where emotion is concerned. He's clear that emotion, aside from just being relata between interior and exterior, serves a homeostatic interior function. Personally, as a Jungian and Darwinian, and also being - at least at this point in my life (I've experienced enough odd things that total physicalism doesn't explain) - open to the likelihood that this is an absolute idealist world that just doesn't feel that way because of the brute intensity of what's physical, I also conjoin Donald Hoffman and Chetan Prakash's Conscious Realism in the sense that it's the construction of higher order 'minds' or 'mentality' from lower level ones all the way down and all the way up - where they're separated. Where Mark would at least indicate that there's something in the midbrain that can receive a laceration and conscious experience seems to be obliterated I think this is either the highest level contract between smaller parts getting destroyed or it could be a juncture for many contracts. In that sense though Hoffman's 'two simple conscious agents relating create or pull in another conscious agent as mediator between the two' explains, for me at least, a good deal about how it is that the 'self' could be the entire body and it also seems like a rather shocking simplification of Forrest Landry's (Imminent Metaphysics) three modalities in action. On the more traditionally scientific although equally bleeding-edge you have Karl Friston and Michael Levin giving a lot of confirmation that consciousness happens in fractal layers, and a really fascinating thing - it seems like Levin might have actually solved the cell differentiation in embryos / fetus mechanism in which case there's a bioelectric layer of information between cells through their ion channels that allows them to run software that's so high-level that Levin can give slight suggestions to a frog embryo and have it build another eye in an unusual place on its own just by following the electrical suggestion he implants. This is where I think in the next twenty years, providing we don't need lots of retirements and funerals to allow progress through, I think this will probably be the standard for looking at biology and its relationship to consciousness within twenty years time if not sooner.

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
Realising that feeling cannot kill me. I may have intense feelings from when I thought I was going to die. Feelings that feel like dying. But they are just feelings in my body. With courage and being compassionate with myself, I can, little by little, move into the feelings and re-experience them through my adult self. I can re-frame my understanding of them.

We are meaning making machines. Making meaning is, I believe, an extension into the abstract of animal prediction making. The meaning I make about something is my relationship with that thing/event etc. I then use that meaning as the basis of future prediction making. We make meaning on multiple levels; from the mind all the way down to the body. The deepest levels of meaning are to do with what and how I think and feel about myself. This is difficult to get to, but it is maleable.

TBH in the west we're simply not taught to think this way. It doesn't have any correspondence in the mainstream Abrahamic beliefs and even with most forms of Abrahamic esotericism that I'm familiar with such as Hermeticism, Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, etc. it either doesn't have a strong parallel or it's mixed with a lot of straw. I didn't mention Sufism because I haven't studied it enough, I do know that esoteric traditionalism of the Guenon et al. variety and beyond might have something deeper on this but admittedly they've taken on a yuga model of time and I don't know what to do with that.

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
My relationship with everything, the physical world of objects and the world of interpersonal connections, first has to go through my relationship to myself. How I feel about myself colours everything. It changes what I see and perceive. It changes how I feel about the world I live in. It changes how I interact with and behave in that world. And therefore it changes what interactions I get back from the world. It is the most fundamental thing I can adjust to improve my situation. And it is obscured and hidden by that very same relationship with self. Therefore it's very tricky to get there. This is why certain medicines, skillfully used, are helpful. When the normal everyday mind is disrupted enough the reality of what's underneath can begin to be seen. And through some incredible, magical process, once we see what actually is, and accept it, change happens on its own.

Admittedly this is a place where I still need a lot of work. I've worked with psychedelics, drawn a lot of epiphanies by assembling unknown-knowns through those experiences, and both with what you just said and what I've been starting to think about more recently - I need to look at this in a more clinical way. I had the 'rough and tumble' view engrained in me that if a guy can be had or beat up based on power differentials that he was inferior and that he deserved it (not my way of thinking but - Darwinian evolution and effectively blind power asserting itself through people on its own principles). I was then forced to see my inability to 'conform' even in the most arbitrary ways, and failing shibboleth with NT's, as something equally - in a Darwinian amoral sense - my fault. I'm starting to think I built the lines of tension between myself and that dynamic a bit too high and I almost, strange to use this term in a positive or productive sense, need to take a psychopathic level of detachment from consequences because - at least as an adult - no one's going to smack me in my face with my own hands for an entire bus ride and so I have more luxury to explore novel ways to detach and reorient (and where nature is ice cold - look at it impartially rather than beating myself with the urgency that if I can't overcome it that I die, my genes go extinct, that I failed the only thing that biologically matters, that all my enemies won and deserved to because I was too weak to win out, etc. etc.).

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
Acceptance is an enormously powerful tool. We are so good at normalizing abnormal situations. It is how were are such a successful species because we can survive (in the physical sense) just about anything. Emotionally, however, these survival mechanisms cause long term, serious problems. Being able to get real with reality is very important. I have to be able to accept all of the nasty things as they are. Things that happened, things inside of me, my reaction to what happened. This is acceptance in the sense of being real, not in the sense of thinking the abuse was ok. It was not. Once I see and accept, everything naturally falls into place. It takes time, but the healing can then do it's thing.

Yeah - as stated earlier we're simply not taught to think this way as kids (unless, at least in the US, one is raised in a west coast family) and also another fun part about being human - we use conformity for conformity's own sake, in the most arbitrary ways, as a eugenics filter - ie. to figure out who has any right to eat or pay bills. It's a kind of violence that's perfectly legal because it almost always obeys the letter of the law and only breaks that too when it knows it can get away with it. This is where even prying these doors open can be tricky, especially if one is still in the throws of a traumatic situation that required their own accountability and involvement (which would have been me if we had the conversation between 2018 and 2021). It's also funny that in the west, our lack of teaching on this sort of thing, helps our constant state of societal blundering, swinging from one extreme to it's opposite, inability to resolve trauma and add breakage from lack of primal attachment to parents - seems to give us the 2010's decade of politics and popular movements in a nutshell.

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
The deepest part of all this is accepting my part in what happened. Not that I was at all to blame for what happened to me. That is NOT what I mean at all.
Trauma is not the actual event(s) that happened, it's the organism's reaction to the event(s). The big F@#k up is not what happened, but what meaning I made as a result of what happened. What I told myself about myself. The belief I took on about myself as a result of how I was treated.
The fantastic thing is that while the event(s) are in the past and I can do nothing to change them, the belief I took on is with me now and is something I can change. This is the main point of healing. When I got to that belief about myself and the contract I made with myself as a young child and decided to change my mind, everything fell into place. I could alter the self destructive mantra I had been unconsciously repeating to myself for nearly 50 years. That is such a gift it brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it. Healing IS possible. There are many paths to it. I found mine.

Very beautifully and concisely stated, and I'm going to have to read that perhaps off and on for several days to have it on quick replay and maybe even drive it deeper, because I think you're absolutely right.

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
Ok, enough. Blessings on all of your journeys!
P.S. I love this weird community. I have learnt SO much here. Thank you all!

TY again for the detail. IMHO this post was more gold that I've seen on WP in a while.


_________________
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” - James Baldwin


ThisTimelessMoment
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01 Dec 2022, 2:10 pm

^Tx for the references. I will have to look some of those up. I'm without the means to buy too many books right now so researching new ideas is a bit curtailed.
Michael Levin's work is absolutely fascinating! A new level on which life is operating that we knew nothing about.

We are given no instruction manual coming into this life. Society is supposed to provide some framework through which to understand the "blooming, buzzing confusion"(someone else's words) we find ourselves in. Myths were the language that brought the inner and outer together. We have unfortunately abandoned these for the most part. And they cannot just be re-invented. Myths are flawed by the ambiguity that allows them to be used to rationalize any bad behaviour; and yet the ambiguity is essential to their ability to connect to the unconscious.

I fluctuate between trying to understand all this intellectually, making maps of it, and then just relaxing into the mystery. Whatever I think about it is by it's nature a map. And the map cannot be the territory.

Anyway, thanks for your kind words.
I love the James Baldwin quote too.


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