Yoga is Healing
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ― Pema Chödrön
When I was a child, I was relentlessly bullied from age 6-13. This cause a great deal of long-term damage to my being, but I didn’t know it at the time, and bullying wasn’t yet the hot topic that it is today.
We now realize that bullying causes psychological damage called Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or C-PTSD. In fact, for many years, I didn’t even think about the things that happened to me, as I tried to bury the painful childhood memories of my past.
As the years moved forward, I found that I had very low self-worth and was easily angered with displaced aggression. I always felt as if the years of bullying had caused this damage. In 2004, I was lucky to have a business trip to Thailand, and I experienced the Buddhist culture, one of peace and mindfulness, for two weeks.
I loved the people and the belief system, but I struggled with my western culture upbringing. The mindfulness way was in the back of my mind, but when I returned to the US, I returned to my old ways of thinking.
I had decided, though, that I would start a website about the long-term effects of bullying to try to help others.
As part of this initiative, I decided to bring my own childhood stories to the surface of my mind and write them down to try to help others and even help myself.
SEE ALSO: The Tears Of Shiva
The Enduring Nature of Trauma
Unfortunately, I was not prepared for reliving the pain. As other problems occurred in my present-day life, I slowly, over time, developed stress, anxiety, and finally fell into a state of depression.
Being brought up in a western culture, I decided to start with the western philosophy of psychiatry and psychology as part of my hope for a cure. But these alone would not help me.
As I researched my own issues with C-PTSD and how I might help myself, I read much on mindfulness techniques of eastern philosophy to find, like, and even love myself again as part of my hope for a cure.
This returned me to my days in Thailand, as I read about how essential exercise and nutrition were to finding a cure. How could this be? How do I do this?
I know that I am not alone in these feelings, as western religion can clash with eastern philosophy. But I realized that philosophy and religion don’t have to be attached. I could take it on. The other mistake I made was to think that exercise involves only the physical body—not the mind.
Healing through Meditation: A Ladder in the Dark
Luckily, I found people who helped me reconsider my preconceived notions and learn about mental exercises such as Yoga, Meditation, and gratitude journaling. So, I started a new regimen.
I joined a gym and found a wonderful Yoga instructor who helped teach me to focus inward. She talked in such a relaxing way, and every time I went, I felt like a different person. I gained a feeling I had only experienced once before, in Thailand: a world of peace.
Then, I downloaded an app called CALM that had many different meditations lasting anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. As I continued my practice of meditation, I learned the difference of guided and unguided meditations and found that, after a while, I could clear my mind.
It was a slow process, but my fog of depression lifted, and my self-worth returned.
I learned to like and even love myself again, and realized my dream of letting go of the past—not focusing on what would happen in the future, but focusing only on the now.
Today, I am a different person, and I have dedicated my life to helping other people experience what I did in recovery and find love within themselves. It allows you to help and love others, which is so important.
I am happy to be in this moment now, able to share this with others as a recovered, practicing mindfulness person, using Yoga and Meditation as techniques for my recovery. Of course, I also use some western techniques, but I know that my mind now thinks in the positive.
I could not have changed my thinking without Yoga and Meditation, as well as mindfulness techniques. For that, I am forever grateful for the second chance at life I have been given.
Latest posts by Alan Eisenberg (see all)
- Using Mindfulness, Yoga, And Meditation For Bullying Recovery (C-PTSD) - November 9, 2015