Knots

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Knots

Postby rachmiel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:43 am

We all have psychoemotional "knots" in our personal histories. Especially from our childhoods. Traumatic events that generate painful neuron/memory/emotion patterns that seem to get stuck, persist, sometimes disappear, then resurface periodically (and sometimes dramatically) at triggers.

I'm wondering to what extent these knots can ever truly be untied and "healed?" I.e. is it worth the time and energy to work at unraveling them? They are, after all, just memories, archived stories. And most of them are buried so far in the unconscious mind that it could very well be an act of futility to try to reach them anywhere near directly.

I'm wondering if the "solution" to the suffering that these knots call forth (when triggered) is not to figure them out, psycho-analyze them, work to undo them ... rather, to heal the medium in which they arise, the mind itself, moment-to-moment thought, consciousness ... through meditation and mindfulness.

Does "healing one's consciousness" via meditation/mindfulness take care of the knots? Perhaps not in the sense of un-knotting them ... rather in the sense of enabling them to filter out through consciousness like toxins do through kidneys, smoothly, painlessly, without leaving a trace? Or is this a bit like treating the symptoms rather than the underlying cause?
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Re: Knots

Postby rachmiel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:50 am

I know this is not a question about Buddhism per se ... but I'm very interested in hearing the Buddhist perspective on it.

Can meditation/mindfulness "heal" (end) the traumatic psychoemotional knots we acquire during our lifetimes? Or just prevent us from holding on to them?
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Re: Knots

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:01 am

It's totally about Buddhism, and totally worth talking about.

One idea that I recently heard explained really well in a teaching I was exposed to is that our Karma is like the tip of a huge iceberg, what we can see in this is a small, small part of the story. Nonetheless, the patterns of this life could be said to resonate with the whole, so the patterns themselves aren't new..we've had them an immeasurable amount of time, just this is a new iteration of them.

Should we work on them..I think absolutely we should, and honestly doing so seems integral to Buddhist path to me, that stuff IS your karma, or karmic seeds, or whatever classification various types of neuroses might fall under.

The teachings that resonate with me encourage "liberating" these things by seeing their empty nature, not identifying them as stable, permanent, or of a self etc..of course that's easier said then done, but one common way is Vipassana.
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Re: Knots

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:07 am

In the teachings on the practices of Yantra Yoga, 'Khrul-'Khor or Trul-Khor, and Tsa-Lung it is said that heavy stress, emotional traumas, frequent and/or intense outbursts of anger, etc. do cause knots within the Nadis or Channels, which of course effects the mind; and that these knots can actually be untied by the practice of Yantra Yoga, 'Khrul-'Khor/Thrul-Khor, and Tsa-Lung because the physical-body and Prana-energy are not separate from the mind.
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Re: Knots

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:36 am

Hi, Rachmiel,
A lot of good questions there!
rachmiel wrote:We all have psychoemotional "knots" in our personal histories. Especially from our childhoods. Traumatic events that generate painful neuron/memory/emotion patterns that seem to get stuck, persist, sometimes disappear, then resurface periodically (and sometimes dramatically) at triggers.

I'm wondering to what extent these knots can ever truly be untied and "healed?" I.e. is it worth the time and energy to work at unraveling them? They are, after all, just memories, archived stories. And most of them are buried so far in the unconscious mind that it could very well be an act of futility to try to reach them anywhere near directly.

I agree that lots of them can't normally be accessed directly but I find that they can float to consciousness during meditation without (and this is important) their normal emotional load and can then be seen for what they are - which often causes them to unravel on the spot.
And BTW, don't call them just memories, just stories, because memories and archived stories are what the "self" consists of.

rachmiel wrote:I'm wondering if the "solution" to the suffering that these knots call forth (when triggered) is not to figure them out, psycho-analyze them, work to undo them ... rather, to heal the medium in which they arise, the mind itself, moment-to-moment thought, consciousness ... through meditation and mindfulness.

Does "healing one's consciousness" via meditation/mindfulness take care of the knots? Perhaps not in the sense of un-knotting them ... rather in the sense of enabling them to filter out through consciousness like toxins do through kidneys, smoothly, painlessly, without leaving a trace?

I think I have just answered those questions. :smile:
rachmiel wrote:Or is this a bit like treating the symptoms rather than the underlying cause?

The "knots" are symptoms or results of earlier suffering but they have then become the cause of present suffering. Treating or dissolving them addresses our present suffering, and that's all we need - and all we can possibly do, anyway, since we can't travel back in time to address the past injury.

:namaste:
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Re: Knots

Postby Uniltiranyu » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:23 am

I've found that I have become accustomed to simply observing the physical and mental qualities of any unpleasant emotions; I don't fret about any unpleasantness that arises, and by and large I don't even wish that unpleasant feelings would diminish should they come up. Nothing is ever permanent. I have discovered that there are some exceptionally unpleasant feelings which can arise from meditation - after all, some meditation deities are noted as being loathsome, dreadful, etc., so you expect this from time to time. These sorts of things settle into perspective as being part of a broader mandala of feelings and sensations. I don't ever anticipate removing unpleasantness from my life; but, unless life is really difficult, I can't see why I would ever need to.
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Re: Knots

Postby Jikan » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:58 pm

rachmiel wrote:I know this is not a question about Buddhism per se ... but I'm very interested in hearing the Buddhist perspective on it.

Can meditation/mindfulness "heal" (end) the traumatic psychoemotional knots we acquire during our lifetimes? Or just prevent us from holding on to them?


Yes, certainly. I've seen this happen in my own practice: heavy emotional issues come up until they are resolved (in my case the most dramatic had to do with the death of someone close to me years before). I've seen it in my friends' practice too.

In addition to the comments made so far, I think you may find the metaphor of "knots" as it comes up in the Surangama Sutra to be of interest.

This is an excellent topic, by the way.
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Re: Knots

Postby rachmiel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:25 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Should we work on them..I think absolutely we should, and honestly doing so seems integral to Buddhist path to me, that stuff IS your karma, or karmic seeds, or whatever classification various types of neuroses might fall under.

Work on them how? Psychotherapy? Meditation and mindfulness? Medication?

To what extent can the knots be "nullified" (the illusion of their reality dispelled) by simply meditating and being mindful, rather than striving to divine the origins of the knots, analyze, feel unfelt feelings around the knots, etc.?

The teachings that resonate with me encourage "liberating" these things by seeing their empty nature, not identifying them as stable, permanent, or of a self etc..of course that's easier said then done, but one common way is Vipassana.

Yes. And again, how far can Vipassana go in nullifying the knots? Can it heal the brain so fully that the knots simply evaporate, exist no longer, memory traces/reflexes gone?
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Re: Knots

Postby lobster » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:27 pm

Uniltiranyu wrote:I don't ever anticipate removing unpleasantness from my life; but, unless life is really difficult, I can't see why I would ever need to.


I have it on good authority that life is dukkha . . . one might say knotted, convoluted, traumatic even for the lotus or Buddha birthed . . . :tantrum:

What to do? Allow the settling of arisings . . . :meditate:
Be kind to the arisen :namaste:

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Re: Knots

Postby rachmiel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:33 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
rachmiel wrote:Or is this a bit like treating the symptoms rather than the underlying cause?

The "knots" are symptoms or results of earlier suffering but they have then become the cause of present suffering. Treating or dissolving them addresses our present suffering, and that's all we need - and all we can possibly do, anyway, since we can't travel back in time to address the past injury.

Let's say you sometimes experience loss of balance (vertigo). Now you could say that the vertigo you experience is in the present. So you learn to treat the dizziness, minimize it, cope with it. But, in the past let's say you had an injury that caused physical trauma to your inner ear. If you don't address and heal that trauma, that past injury, your vertigo will keep manifesting.

I'm wondering if it works that way for mental wounds: neurotic blockages and complexes. That you need to address/heal them directly, rather than indirectly ... by healing your entire mind.
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Re: Knots

Postby rachmiel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:36 pm

Uniltiranyu wrote:I don't ever anticipate removing unpleasantness from my life; but, unless life is really difficult, I can't see why I would ever need to.

Therein lies the rub. For some of us, the knots are devastating when they reappear. Particularly for those of us who suffer from childhood abuse trauma.
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Re: Knots

Postby rachmiel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:37 pm

Jikan wrote:
rachmiel wrote:I know this is not a question about Buddhism per se ... but I'm very interested in hearing the Buddhist perspective on it.

Can meditation/mindfulness "heal" (end) the traumatic psychoemotional knots we acquire during our lifetimes? Or just prevent us from holding on to them?


Yes, certainly. I've seen this happen in my own practice: heavy emotional issues come up until they are resolved (in my case the most dramatic had to do with the death of someone close to me years before). I've seen it in my friends' practice too.

In addition to the comments made so far, I think you may find the metaphor of "knots" as it comes up in the Surangama Sutra to be of interest.

This is an excellent topic, by the way.

Cool! I'm going to check out the Surangama Sutra. Thanks, Jikan. :-)
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Re: Knots

Postby Paul » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:48 pm

rachmiel wrote:I'm wondering if it works that way for mental wounds: neurotic blockages and complexes. That you need to address/heal them directly, rather than indirectly ... by healing your entire mind.


I think you are 100% right there.

If you are trying to overcome a particular issue by analysing it away, you then have to spend time doing it to the next issue and the next - and possibly all the time accumulating more. As well as the few decades we've lived in our current situation we also have the traumas etc. of past lives, so they would presumably have to be healed in the same way. It's a bottomless pit.

So I don't think that there is any reasonable solution than to get them all at once and heal the mind in one go - there's no such thing as trauma once grasping's gone. How can anything damage you then?

This is something I've seen with a close relative who has had to deal with serious issues - there's no end to them.
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Re: Knots

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:56 pm

Yes. And again, how far can Vipassana go in nullifying the knots? Can it heal the brain so fully that the knots simply evaporate, exist no longer, memory traces/reflexes gone?


From the angle of rebirth and karma, then neuroses you have in this life are part of this indescribably huge chain of similar patterns that you've basically had forever. You won't "get rid of them" until you're a Buddha, whichever method you try. The idea sometimes presented is burning up negative karmic seeds through practice, but I have never heard it put in terms of totally eliminating negative attributes, neuroses etc. in a Buddhist context.

In fact, the only reference i've seen personally to being fully free of neuroses is again, in regards to a Buddha, everyone else still has some Karma playing out, and arguably some "knots" I think. So, my understanding is that the only ultimate way to untie all the knots is Buddhahood, from a Buddhist perspective of course.

It's also worth thinking about, the only notion of personal identity in Buddhism is basically just a collection of these knots reproducing new knots going on, and on, and on, here we are talking about negative ones of course. If you think about it, this can actually let you breath a sigh of relief..if you are practicing in earnest you are pretty much doing all you can, it might be that there are methods which are quicker or slower, some better or worse for you..but since the only complete "escape" from these things is Buddhahood, there's no reason to struggle and try to get done by next week either.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Knots

Postby dude » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:02 am

rachmiel wrote:We all have psychoemotional "knots" in our personal histories. Especially from our childhoods. Traumatic events that generate painful neuron/memory/emotion patterns that seem to get stuck, persist, sometimes disappear, then resurface periodically (and sometimes dramatically) at triggers.

I'm wondering to what extent these knots can ever truly be untied and "healed?" I.e. is it worth the time and energy to work at unraveling them? They are, after all, just memories, archived stories. And most of them are buried so far in the unconscious mind that it could very well be an act of futility to try to reach them anywhere near directly.

I'm wondering if the "solution" to the suffering that these knots call forth (when triggered) is not to figure them out, psycho-analyze them, work to undo them ... rather, to heal the medium in which they arise, the mind itself, moment-to-moment thought, consciousness ... through meditation and mindfulness.

Does "healing one's consciousness" via meditation/mindfulness take care of the knots? Perhaps not in the sense of un-knotting them ... rather in the sense of enabling them to filter out through consciousness like toxins do through kidneys, smoothly, painlessly, without leaving a trace? Or is this a bit like treating the symptoms rather than the underlying cause?



The knots exist deep within the conscious mind, where we're aware of them, at least if we look deeply and carefully. If we don't look deep, we may find ourselves being bound by them without even being aware of them. The roots of the knots are of course in the subconscious mind, of which we are only vaguely aware even when we use intense concentration. Determined practice reaches even deeper than the subconscious mind, the karmic repository of causes and effects from which the manifestation of a living being arises. Practice purifies all levels of consciousness.
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Re: Knots

Postby dude » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:14 am

Paul wrote:
rachmiel wrote:I'm wondering if it works that way for mental wounds: neurotic blockages and complexes. That you need to address/heal them directly, rather than indirectly ... by healing your entire mind.


I think you are 100% right there.

If you are trying to overcome a particular issue by analysing it away, you then have to spend time doing it to the next issue and the next - and possibly all the time accumulating more. As well as the few decades we've lived in our current situation we also have the traumas etc. of past lives, so they would presumably have to be healed in the same way. It's a bottomless pit.

So I don't think that there is any reasonable solution than to get them all at once and heal the mind in one go - there's no such thing as trauma once grasping's gone. How can anything damage you then?

This is something I've seen with a close relative who has had to deal with serious issues - there's no end to them.


Yes it's a bottomless pit, but that doesn't mean it can't be filled.
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Re: Knots

Postby LastLegend » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:41 am

What exactly are those "knots? are they simply thoughts? If more than thoughts, then what are they? Do we need to apply any antidote?

Alternatively, one can always pray to Buddha or Bodhisattva.
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Re: Knots

Postby rachmiel » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:21 pm

LastLegend wrote:What exactly are those "knots? are they simply thoughts?

I think of them as engrained thought patterns that fire like reflexes when triggered. One has about as much of a chance to stop them from firing as stopping a knee-jerk physiological reflex.
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Re: Knots

Postby LastLegend » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:45 am

Same can be said for fear.
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Re: Knots

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:50 am

rachmiel wrote:
LastLegend wrote:What exactly are those "knots? are they simply thoughts?

I think of them as engrained thought patterns that fire like reflexes when triggered. One has about as much of a chance to stop them from firing as stopping a knee-jerk physiological reflex.



This pretty much describes most of what human being is, I think...
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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