Blessings of the Ancestors – the Epigenetics of Resilience
“They fuck us up, our Mum and Dad,
they don’t mean to, but they do.”
~ Philip Larkin
Research showing epigenetic evidence of the transition of trauma through generations, from parent to child, is getting a lot of attention. It can seem a hopeless case. Looking back to our ancestors, we can trace unlimited amounts of traumas around gender inequality, slavery, world war, poverty, abuse and endless cycles of loss. It can seem impossible to find where to begin healing. Yet, still, we feel afflicted. We’re unhappy, but as the roots of our suffering are deeply rooted in the unconscious, we don’t ‘know’ where to begin with liberation. Is it a pandora’s box? Should we, as the British saying goes, let sleeping dogs lie?
The beauty of the science of epigenetics, according to Dr. Bruce Lipton, is precisely the opposite. This knowledge – which amazingly gives scientific affirmation to the ancient wisdom of many mystical traditions, has the potential to remove that sense of victimhood in which we are genetically and environmentally disempowered and without h0pe. The science of epigenetics reveals that we have the power to lift the family curse and to free ourselves, our ancestors and our successors from needless suffering. It even shows that in every trauma healed, an incredible resource of resilience is born.
Trauma moves in cycles. From the original banishment from the consensual whole, it spirals into its own universe of despair and existential angst, before moving back into the whole through some form of manifestation. Each cycle heals a little bit of it. It can require a lot of time and the ability to take it in little pieces – a method Peter Levine has called titration. It will also always require at some stage a transpersonal element – talking to a friend, therapist or any other human. This is because trauma is born in the junction between one human being and the whole.
The full healing of trauma is only found when the cycling itself is released and there is a sense of great peace. Often, this is prevented by our reluctance in allowing the most taboo aspects of the traumatic event – the energy of the abuser, the shame of the murderer, the insentience or cold heartedness of the ‘bad guy’. Our healing agenda means we try and keep these taboo energy charges out of our system and to rescue only the ‘good’ bits. Yet, in this way, we continue to be traumatized and to hold onto the energetic contraction. We still move with the logic of exclusion, which is the logic of trauma.
Because trauma works through cycles, there is a high chance that a traumatic event experienced directly in one individual’s lifetime, can be found repeating back through his or her ancestry. It can be quite specific – for example a theme around drowning, a theme around poverty consciousness, or a theme around military service. The beauty of acknowledging inherited trauma here is that we also get the possibility to open up inherited resources associated with the theme. It can sometimes look like a collaboration of evolutionary mastery moving through the family lines.
When we successfully resolve a trauma and it comes to peace, we don’t loose the resources around the traumatic experience. We still remember that we could drown in an ocean, or we still intuitively know how to survive if we haven’t got a dime. What get’s lost is the contraction – the immobilizing and confusing stress responses that offer the limited options of fight, flight or freeze.
Healing any energetic contraction involves moving out of the polarity of the spiral – whether it a belief system or feeling affliction – and without denial, allowing a third non-dual position to also co-exist in and around the contraction. Often this non-dual position will come forward by itself, simply through sentient sourcing. The process is beautiful. It involves moving awareness to the heart area and feeling the presence of either your mother or father behind your back. Behind their back, you imagine their mother or father (or both) and perhaps on. By connecting with them, through feeling or imagining the feeling of their presence watching you, certain feeling atmospheres come forward, as well as certain grievances, attitudes or beliefs. Through allowing the contemplation, insight and inner wisdom begins to emerge.
Traumas moves in chains, and often one will invite the next. A contraction around abandonment is often linked to a contraction around death or loss, for example. The art is to take it piece by piece, with love, some playfulness and while maintaining a lightness of heart.
Through it all, we will see a spiralling of sentient dualities between ‘self’ and ‘other’, or ‘individual’ and ‘the world’. For example, a theme around sexual abuse could manifest as a contraction of shame (self) V disgust (other/world). The healing energy for this contraction from the subtle nondual dimensions is the energy of purity – purity that is inherent, that never needs to be earned and which can never be taken away.
The cycle of healing in this instance will involve experiencing both the shame and disgust as energetic manifestations, unidentified from the story, alive in the survivor. In this, the boundary of self V other breaks down in acceptance of the living energy contracted through two poles within the inner system. In feeling through the contraction, an emphasis is placed on purity. Purity regardless of shame; purity regardless of disgust. Purity is also located at some level in the antagonist in any story.
If the traumatic contraction began generations before, then it is possible to work directly with the ancestors. For example, to feel through the energy playing out in a case of incest – the shame in the disgust and the disgust in the shame of all players, as well as the purity behind the helplessness of all players within the suffering whole. The key comes in sourcing identical atmospheres in ourselves and our ancestors, and in realizing that our ancestors didn’t curse us, but actually are screaming purity, wishing purity for us. The whole traumatic universe of this particular contraction is about the liberation of purity through physical form. Also our ancestors, we find on inquiry, are determined to redeem that inherent purity that has been so obscured through the family evolution. They are on our side.
The same principles apply through other, connected nondual fields, such as Guilt V Accusation returning to inherent innocence; or Hatred V Self destruction returning to love.
Being the Evolution
Our ancestors are not our curse nor our burden, but our blessing. They walk behind our backs in a great, expanding pyramid of endorsement. They wish us love, freedom, peace, purity, innocence. They are for us with all the resources of their hard-lived lives, and they are within us as genetic imprints, as lessons and resources every step of the way.
When we are able to acknowledge that we are intimately an expression of this golden chain of evolution, then we are able to open to a deep responsibility – to let these packages of frightened energy unfold and come to peace through us. The process heals and also enlightens. Subtle inner states that we could have believed to be part of ‘reality’ emerge and dissolve within the light of our own consciousness, releasing subtle shields of negativity and defensiveness against ‘the world’. The process – moving through beliefs, feelings and emotions, and bodily pains and afflictions – is always worthwhile, every micro-detail of it.
At a certain stage, trauma becomes mastery, enforced by incredible wisdom. Here, we find the ones who move into the world in service to the whole, with insight and depth that moves beyond the superficiality of discrimination. We see these beautiful souls active n their areas of mastery – born of family trauma – whether it is working with the dying, rehab centers, rape crisis centers or bringing relief to the hungry.
Fearless in the dread-fields, they have learned how to navigate the dark precincts of the collective unconscious, and how to release the contractions of separation that seem to have banished them from the whole.