Trauma: an Illness…or a Gift?


What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.”

The above article is powerful validation of my own experience processing trauma. It goes into quite a lot, but involves a fundamental shift in how we conceptual “illness”. I’ll focus on the essential theme of the deep value trauma has for the world’s evolution.

The conventional notion is that trauma indicates something wrong with the person, and that their trauma needs to first be eliminated in order for them to lead a well-adjusted life in the world we live in.

Over the years processing intense physical, psychological & spiritual trauma (which in my case includes deep, collective war trauma, along with personal trauma), it became clearer to me that trauma, albeit painful, seemingly dysfunctional, is by no means an indication something is WRONG with the person.

Quite the contrary, the trauma is an opening into a deeper nature of reality. It is a portal into the substratum of the world and society we live in…with insight to expose and exploit the cracks others wouldn’t see. In fact, the bedrock of my life mission, and the Perspective Mapper project, is illuminated through trauma, not in spite of it.

This perspective requires a shift from many approaches to healing, BOTH east and west, traditional and modern. Many conventional practices are to a large degree oriented under the premise that the trauma is to be cleared or wiped out as if it is poison or hindrance…rather than duly revered and invited to be fully expressed and translated into a message for the world.

I believe it’s far more important to target the *judgment* around trauma, and the prejudice against those who carry it, than the trauma itself. I believe the best approach to interact with someone who carries trauma isn’t necessarily to lessen their load, or to distract their suffering, or to treat their pain, but to hold them in such a way to open up their capacity to EXPRESS, duly LISTEN to what they express, and open adequate space to TRANSLATE their voice to others. Those who are carrying a load are often the ones with the healing to offer…far more perhaps than the other way around.

Ranjeeth Thunga


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