Pema Chodron is a Tibetan Buddhist Monk who has authored many popular self-help books rooted in her Buddhist roots. In Comfortable With Uncertainty, Chodron examines many different Buddhist principles and practices which help us release our attachment to what ultimately, as it is phrased in Buddhism, causes suffering. “The root of suffering,” Chodron explains, “is resisting the certainty that no matter what the circumstances, uncertainty is all we truly have.” The only certainty we have, Chodron is saying, is uncertainty. Living in a way which attempts to resist this certainty by attaching to what is illusive certainty, results in suffering. We look for certainty in many different ways. If we are survivors of trauma, very often the ways we find certainty in our lives are damaging and destructive. We look for security and to be satiated in our quest for feeling as though we have control over an inevitable world. On this, Chodron expresses that “As long as we believe that there is something that will permanently satisfy our hunger for security, suffering is inevitable.”
Through her insightful, easy to understand writings, Pema is touching on one of the most difficult yet important lessons we come upon in trauma recovery. Letting go of the past and letting go of the future is incredibly challenging. How do we let go of pain we feel so realistically in our minds, bodies, and spirits, but cannot actually hold onto with our hands? The frustration is so complex and real that it drives us to seek that tangibility somewhere else, namely security and certainty. Unfortunately, security and certainty can be deceiving. Like attempting to carry a fistful of sand, we hold our grip so tightly in a manner which prevents us from seeing the many ways even single grains of sand- single moments of security and certainty- are slipping through the cracks between our fingers. What we think we are clutching so dearly to is actually escaping us all of the time. We are only satisfied by the illusion of the captivity until we realize we don’t have all the control and certainty we were hoping for.
This is very much the experience of living in trauma without living in recovery from trauma or seeking trauma healing through treatment. Try as we may to find safety and security, we end up looking for it in all the “wrong places”; moreover, the places which never provide us the security we need. Our reasons for seeking safety are innumerable and understandable, which we will look at in our next blog. Once we understand our attachment to these needs we can let them go- ultimately resulting in the peace and serenity we desperately crave.
Trauma is most often the root cause of many emotional, behavioral, and mood disorders. Until you can heal your trauma, you will find great difficulty finding the healing you need to live a life of recovery, health, and wellness. At Khiron House, we provide effective residential treatment and cutting edge therapies which seek to transform mind, body, and spirit from the effects of trauma. Call us today for information. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours) USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).