gabor on role of spiritual

from maté and almaas on trauma and spirit series

video 1/3 – 39 min []: The role of spiritual awakening in trauma healing – with gabor maté

alex: (met wife in hameed’s school) precursor for series they will be doing in october.. 1st video is interview i had w gabor.. 2nd video w hameed.. same topic. potential of spiritual awakening working w traume.. 3rd video i’ll talk about this online program gabor and hameed will do together in oct..

4 min – alex: bio of gabor

5 min – g: trauma is greek word for wound.. if wound is raw.. it’s very sensitive so when touch it it really hurst.. so trauma induces these sensitive spots.. where they are touched later on in life and have this big pain reaction.. on other hand.. trauma is the wound.. wounds form scar tissue.. which is thick/hard w/no nerve endings.. so you don’t feel .. and is not flexible.. is rigid.. can’t grow.. so traumatic insult to you will have the aspects of 1\ being very sensitive/painful when it’s touched 2\ you have developed defenses against that make you more rigid less flexible.. you can’t grow emotionally/spiritually.. it’s just a constrictive thing.. that’s on the metaphorical level..

7 min – g: when people use the word trauma.. they often think of terrible things happening .. like tsunami or war or abuse.. severe neglect or beating.. well those are traumatic.. but they’re not the trauma.. trauma is not what happens to you .. it’s what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you..

maté trauma law

g: and this is where we get closer to hameed’s work .. because he says somewhere that the biggest calamity that happened to you is that you lost the connection to yourself.. and the essence of trauma is that you lose your connection to yourself..t

almaas holes law

maté trump law

brown belonging law

et al


begs a means to get back/to that.. imagine if we org’d around legit basic needs (maté basic needs): attachment and authenticity

8 min – g: in my observation of spiritual world.. (and i’m no expert.. just oberve) there’s been a lot of ignoring of traumas in the spiritual world.. and people want to transcend their traumas.. to get past them to reach states of oneness and realization.. and they can even do that on a cushion or the setting of a spiritual event.. but it doesn’t translate into their lives.. because the underlying traumas keep pouring them back into reality.. so for me.. it’s absolutely essential that people do the spiritual work but the trauma work at the same time

problem deep enough2 needs & a cure

9 min – g: many people w trauma have had severe illness.. addiction, depression, or physical.. even terminal physical illness.. and not infrequently these people have told me that the illness is the best thing that ever happened to them.. because it forced them to reevaluate their lives in relation to themselves.. and it gave them the gift of connecting to themselves.. so i’m not recommending illness as a way of learning.. easier ways to learn.. all i’m saying is that even in context in your life being threatened.. some people have appreciated the lessons that working thru their traumas allowed them to gain and therefore reconnect with themselves.. and i think what hameed might say.. reconnect w their essential selves

missing piece #1

11 min – felt sense is the key word there because what happens in traumatic situations.. is one way you deal with them.. shouldn’t say you.. not consciously/deliberately.. but your mind/body deals with them is to disconnect from that feeling.. because that feeling is too much to bear.. undurable.. so when you allow yourself to feel.. whether it’s the anger/tension/pain.. you are actually reconnecting.. so that felt sense in the body is a very important gateway to gaining back yourself

when body says no et al

12 min – alex: on defenses of fear, terror.. and as result we never have chance to move beyond that felt sense

g: first of all that sphere needs to be respected.. because that sphere has got a wonderful reason for being there.. because when you first experience the trauma.. which is usually in childhood.. you simply could not allow yourself to feel those things.. you have to fear them .. because to feel them would be far more dangerous..

13 min – g: ie: if you felt rage toward your abuser.. that would be very dangerous.. you should be afraid of what you felt.. that’s a survival dynamic.. another question is.. when we’re doing the spiritual/trauma work.. what is the context.. are you in a situation where it’s safe to feel.. it wasn’t safe to feel originally that’s why you stopped feeling.. but can we create situations for people where it’s safe to feel.. then to allow themselves to have the experience again.. and there’s no growth/transformation w/o safety whether in spiritual/trauma.. if people feel safe they will eventually allow themselves to feel..

unconditional ness.. spaces of permission .. with nothing hidden.. .. with nothing to prove.. et al

14 min – g: and hameed said it beautifully.. he said ‘when compassion is present.. will people allow themselves to face the truth’

alex: on inner rejection.. and shame of history


g: well yes.. and again if one approaches with what i call compassionate inquiry or compassionate curiosity.. even that sense that i’m not lovable was your friend at some point.. in other words we can approach everything w curiosity.. like.. don’t even make wrong your belief that you’re not lovable.. because .. as a child when you’re being hurt you could make 2 assumptions.. 1\ my caregivers don’t love me or they hate me or they’re totally unreliable.. or 2\ this stuff is happening to me because i’m not lovable.. and maybe if i work hard enough i can be lovable..

socrates supposed to law.. pleasing people.. et al

15 min – g: now which is the safer assumption.. it’s the second one.. so.. make friends even with that.. but again what it requires is the context.. so it’s hard to do this on your own..

alex: on trauma not being part of spiritual awakenings causing more trauma – fear/confusion/bewilderment

16 min – g: we’re not enough trauma informed.. but on the hand we use the word cavalierly (showing lack of concern).. ie: ‘i went to a movie last night and it was so traumatic’.. no it wasn’t .. you just felt upset.. ‘i had a lot of fear.. it was traumatizing’.. not it wasn’t you just had a lot of fear.. trauma again.. is when you’re wounded and you’re more restricted.. so you can have all these experiences of fear/confusion/bewilderment.. w/o being traumatized.. what is happening actually is not that you’re being re-traumatized.. it’s that you’re original trauma is being brought to the surface

17 min – alex: one of my first experiences w gateway to emotions was actually on a retreat as part of the diamond approach which is the school hameed runs.. i was dealing w trauma w father leaving – abandonment – soon after i was born and the intense intense pain with that.. but in going into that very very painful place.. there wasn’t just a sense of some resolution around that.. there was also a very powerful sense of temporary disappearance of ego/oneness/connection-to-everything.. those sort of spiritual experiences that are hard to describe w words.. and i know a lot of people have experiences like that.. i’d love to hear you speak about those states of disillusion of ego.. even if temp.. and how trauma can be the gateway to that

? pain just after born? i don’t know..

18 min – g: so .. i’ve not had those experiences myself.. i’ve talked to many people who have.. including i’m married to one of them.. my wife had one of those experiences when there was a very painful passage in our marriage and how it was showing up was really hurtful to her and she totally surrendered to the pain.. and all of a sudden.. the world becomes one.. the ego disappears.. and it’s all pure energy.. and you can read about this in the mystic poets of any denomination.. people will also tell you.. an actress once told me in painful moment like that she surrendered to a god she didn’t even believe in.. to it’s that giving up.. there’s nothing i can do and here is reality.. i’m just going to accept it.. and that can give rise to those transcendent experiences it seems you’ve had the grace.. or you’ve been bestowed.. the grace that you’ve been bestowed with.. so .. in that sense again.. the pain of trauma.. when you can surrender to it.. i know can lead to those experiences.. my problem is.. i don’t do surrender.. i haven’t got a clue how to surrender to anything.. so .. i can read/talk about it.. and i can even guide people to it.. but i’ve not .. except when it’s in psychedelic settings .. i’ve not surrendered

20 min – g: and i don’t know.. it’d be interesting to see what hameed has to say about it .. because i don’t think even he would say that anybody can do surrender..

alex: it’s a psycho oxymoron.. isn’t it.. let me rephrase.. on awakening and losing it are so close

21 min – g: on the importance of ie: shaman’s of helping you thru it.. today.. no guidance.. so many think they’re crazy.. so lot of greats in past would today be in psych hospitals

crazywise (doc) et al

22 min – alex: on trauma having wisdom

g: yeah.. well trauma has wisdom in two significant ways.. 1\ we’ve talked about.. in exploring trauma.. learning from it.. it can be a growth edge.. can grow from it.. greek play ‘ the way gods made us we have to suffer into truth’ so trauma is a way to suffer into truth.. w the right guidance.. trauma can also shut us off from truth and for some people .. that’s the effect.. and then they go into politics.. but that’s a whole other story..

23 min – g: the wisdom of trauma is that when we explore the trauma and hameed says this.. ‘the deficiencies can lead us back to our essence’ and trauma work can do the same thing.. that’s one kind of wisdom trauma has.. 2\ in the traumatic experience itself.. because the trauma is disconnection from self but there’s a wisdom in that disconnection.. because it was unbearable to be connected when we weren’t supported.. so that even the traumatic response.. like what we call ptsd.. that’s a medicalization of a normal response to abnormal circumstances.. there’s a wisdom in it.. when you’ve been shot at a lot it’s wise for you to be scared of loud noises.. of course it’s dysfunctional.. but there was a wisdom in it originally.. so that there’s the wisdom both in the working thru the trauma .. but also even in the traumatic response.. that’s kind of an immediate wisdom.. a protective aspect to it

25 min – alex: how this program we’re putting together came about.. knowing hameed and meeting you.. curious how you see that (hameed’s) body of work has shaped your work.. particularly for people who have followed you for years and perhaps haven’t heard of hameed’s work before.. i’m curious how you see that influence

how could they not?

g: well.. anybody has every attended a workshop with me has watched me fumble thru phone for a quote of hameed’s.. so a lot of his teachings have.. and this is before i was aware of trauma work actually.. just.. his understanding of the personality as a kind of response to the loss of self.. and that we’re not the personality.. and that the features of the personality can guide us to where we lost connection w ourselves

yeah.. if we could just undo our hierarchical listening

26 min – g: then his whole theory of essence.. his theory of holes.. where we lose essential aspects of ourselves we develop a hole which we try to fill up w compensatory elements.. and that’s the personality.. so that’s really helped me understand human beings..

almaas holes law

27 min – g: and of course i read many of his books.. and i’ve even made notes on his books.. volumous notes.. one of the reasons i did that is because i kept thinking.. if i write it down maybe i’ll learn it.. and the funny thing is.. i’ll read my notes.. here’s how it works.. i read the book.. i underline them.. i reread the underlining.. i copy out the underlining.. and then i reread what i copied out 3 yrs later.. and i say.. why didn’t he say that before.. of course he did say it before.. but it’s my somewhat futile attempt to grasp thru the mind that doesn’t come thru the mind.. so for me.. it’s a constant challenge to come to terms w his work.. it’s a challenge that i find invigorating/illuminating.. and to tell you the truth.. i keep forgetting it.. at least on some level i do.. my mind keeps forgetting it.. that’s why i read it again and say.. that’s not unique to my relationship to hameed.. it’s in general my relationship to spiritual teachings..

*that deep.. essence ness.. no words..

28 min – g: but for me.. he.. far more than anyone else.. has been able to show the congruencies and differences.. and he’s actually melded in some ways.. though he might dispute that.. eastern spiritual traditions.. and spiritual work in general.. including the spiritual pathways he’s pioneered for himself and his followers on the one hand and western psych on the other

alex: on attempts to negate/remove the spiritual from this work/convos

29 min – g: there’s no attempt to remove it in med work.. it’s just not recognized.. it’s not that they’re trying to remove something they recognize.. it’s that they don’t recognize it.. number one.. and number two.. they even separate the mind from the body.. let alone the spiritual aspects of our being.. the mind from the body is separated.. and so it’s very interesting

30 min – g: when i researched.. and med colleagues of mine.. which there are many of.. who have researched people who heal from terminal diseases.. when they have been written off.. told they have 2 mos.. and here they are 20 yrs later.. thriving.. there are such documented cases in all manner of illnesses.. when you look at what’s changed for these people.. these so called spontaneous remissions.. they’re not spontaneous at all.. what’s changed is there’s been a profound shift in the individual’s relationship to themselves.. and almost always that includes a spiritual dimension


let’s do this first.. free people

maté basic needs.. let’s org around those 2 needs

g: but even if it doesn’t include an overtly identified spiritual dimension.. it does include a dimension of people seeing themselves no longer isolated as individuals.. but as part of a far greater whole.. not even as belonging to something but as being part of something.. and their sense of self expands beyond the little personality whose limitations/false-compensations led them into illness in the first place

brown belonging law.. maté trump law.. so tied.. has to be both.. a&a

31 min – g: some of these words.. like god and even trauma.. it all depends on who’s saying it and what they mean by it.. we all have our own language.. because the experiences are ineffable.. they’re hard to put into words.. t


so let’s not.. let’s listen that deep.. to what’s in each person’s heart.. ie: idiosyncratic jargon ness as language.. rather than language as control/enclosure et al

rumi words law.. lanier beyond words law.. et al

32 min – g: but for me spirituality .. it might be a rather pedestrian defn given my own lack of soaring into the spiritual realms.. but it’s a sense that there’s more to it.. the big it.. there’s more to us.. than simply our physical/psych boundaries and that .. now biochemically that makes perfect sense to me.. because at some point we were all dust.. and here we are dust w consciousness.. why do we think we’re separate from the dust we came from in the first place.. you know.. it’s just an awareness of something greater and the seeking to experience that .. that greater it

33 min – g: when people say to me.. ‘i’m a very spiritual person’.. i think.. no you’re not.. if you were you wouldn’t be talking about yourself as spiritual.. in psychotherapy i have this rule.. whenever anybody denies something they were asked about it means the truth is the opposite

34 min – alex: why you chose to collab w hameed and do this project.. what’s exciting to you about it

g: laughs.. i’ve been following his work for 30 yrs now.. reading his books.. taking his teachings very seriously.. to the extent that i understand him .. which often i don’t.. but i always think there’s something there that’s worth understanding.. and to me he’s not as spectacular/charismatic as some others who are considered spiritual teachers.. and maybe not as accessible.. but to me he’s deeper..t.. than anyone else i can think of in the spiritual work these days.. and so for me.. it’s just an opp to engage w somebody who i deeply respect.. from whom i’ve learned a lot.. and w whom i hope/trust that the intercourse will yield some more learning for me and for the audience..


this is what we keep missing.. going deep enough

part\ial ness and band aid ness.. are killing us.. for (blank)’s sake.. they’re keeping us in the myth of tragedy and lord et al

35 min – g: i do have some anxiety going into this.. what can i contribute.. but that’s just the voice in me.. i can get beyond that.. so thank you for the opp.. even w the anxiety.. it’s an opp to grow..

alex: for me.. bringing together 2 areas that have so much to offer.. w two of the most developed/deep voices in those areas..

hameed: most people are not awake.. but it’s potential for all human beings.. most suffering in the world is because human people are not awakened.. connected to true nature.. if connected.. can’t be self.. any experience you have in the moment can be a portal.. and suffering .. is what people are experiences..


maté and almaas on trauma:

video 1: gabor on role of spiritual

video 2: hameed on role of trauma

video 3: