Safe Place

There is a Safe Place Inside

I often have the privilege of meeting with people who are wanting to learn how to meditate or learn how to deal with their internal struggles. Here’s a recap of one experience as we spoke of this lady’s fear that there would be no space place.

She told me there was no safe place. There never has been. She told me that when she listens to meditation tapes that guide her to find some safe place inside she only feels more alienated and separate.

Things like that emphasize how much she doesn’t belong, how different she is, and that even when others are well meaning, they really have no clue what it is like to live her life.

I remember that moment in the conversation clearly. There was a still point. I could choose to speak therapeutic platitudes or I could speak as one who has also been ravaged by trauma and who has had a committed spiritual path for over 30 years.

Yet, while making the choice to speak more authentically, or transparently as the Australian therapist Michael White would say, I still paused to cloak myself with courage.

The woman I was speaking to had called on the recommendation of her therapist to find out how learning to meditate can help her.

So far in the conversation we had had a pretty straight therapeutic dialogue about her process. Never having meditated, she described symptoms of acute anxiety and depression, barely contained by the pharmaceutical drugs that her psychiatrist had prescribed.

Never delving into details, she told me there is no safe place, there never has been, and she fears there might never be.

So I take the opening. Sharing that I understand from my own experience
what it is live with anxiety and depression, I tell her that meditation is designed to provide refuge, to build internal strength and mental equanimity.

I say that trauma does make you feel that there is no safe place inside.

And I suggest to her that there is a sacred space somewhere in her which is safe, that real safety is developed when we allow ourselves to get in touch with our heart, our soul, our source energy, our self, whatever word we want to use to describe that part that is larger than the suffering.

Centered in that space, we can finally hold the horror and agony that are the unfortunate consequences of trauma.

The air between us changes. There is a sigh – but I am unsure if it comes from her vocal cords or if it’s the relaxation of her system exhaling to make room for the ineffable.

There are no quick and easy solutions, I tell her. It takes practice, motivation, intention. But it can be done. You can find safety inside your own skin, your mind can be calmer. You can travel inside and find refuge.

The reassurance seems to remind her of something that she already knows. Something she seems to have, maybe not forgotten, but pushed away.

My words just re-orient her, back to where she wants to go.

Back to herself.


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