Saturday, February 22, 2014. II find it hard for me who has always lived in the trench where the grass roots and the wonderful red wiggler worms grow to wrestle with the mental experts such as Dr. Daniel J. Siegel is. His bio reads as a Numero Uno in the world on the neurobiology of human attachment and the mind. I could probably achieve a doctorate in something impressive if I were to study and learn even one-hundredth of what this man knows.
So why can’t I just listen to him speak as I did yesterday on YouTube and feel grateful to him for imparting his knowledge to me through a long, complex and circuitous route known to me in the vernacular as THE INTERNET?
Why do I struggle so hard to let in information that is new and foreign to me – in WORDS only? After all, do I question whether or not Dr. Siegel knows what he’s talking about?
Yes I do. From my perspective he is at the very TOP of the knowledge heap about attachment, the brain and the mind while I am very near the absolute bottom. This much I am certain of.
In between the continual ongoing interruptions to my trains of thought yesterday as I cared for my 19-month-old grandson in my small one room I listened – and I admit, avidly so – to two videos of Dr. Siegel speaking that I found at the link I posted on this blog yesterday.
His words were spoken at “A groundbreaking conference at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, March 31st – April 2nd, 2011” called
Conversations on Attachment – Integrating the Science of Love and Spirituality
This link is to Part One of Dr. Siegel’s speech titled “Mindsight, Mindfulness and the Journey from Me to We
This link is to Part Two of that speech – HERE
I am not saying that Siegel’s talk wasn’t as loaded with hope and life as was the primordial ooze from which this life we are all a part of today. Oh, yes. Truth is in his words. BUT!
BUT I find within myself that I believe I know a whole lot of OTHER related and important information Siegel did not directly address. How does this matter to me?
I plan to listen again to these two parts of his speech – and again – until I am far more clear than I am at this moment about what Siegel SAID so that I can become clear about what I know about what he did not say.
I will also spend the time to read everything I can find online about what Siegel refers to as “the plane of possibility.” (HERE is a basic review of that thinking.)
If you go find the second part of the speech and then listen to the first part of what he says in that after lunch talk you will hear the most accurate and succinct presentation about attachment that can be found in the world. Next Siegel took his audience of 1500 people through a meditation exercise that in the end was designed for one purpose: To introduce to those people the concept of “the plane of possibility.” Sigel then (you can find this using the scroll bar under the video by jumping to the end of this meditation exercise) gives a graphic picture of this plane along with a brief description of it.
It is IMPORTANT that readers who might follow the posts yet to come on this blog about this topic find that graphic image and discussion about “the plane of possibility” because I know one thing: I spent the first 30 years of my life nearly entirely LIVING on that plane because I had never been given any choice not to.
I have not yet had the inner stamina to re-listen to that talk. I sense that Siegel has given me the words – the plane of possibility – to describe the state I lived in during the first 18 years of my life in a psychotically abusive childhood. Because it never COULD dawn on me until I reached the age of 30 that I had been abused at all I consider that I lived on “that plane” all of those years.
THAT is what dissociation does to us – just my suspicion, my belief. Unlike probably all of those 1500 people who followed that meditation exercise – who were being encouraged by Siegel to FIND that plane – I believe those of us who suffered horrendously traumatic infancies and childhoods have ALWAYS know what that plane IS. THOSE people had a choice.
I do not.
Do I have a choice to LEAVE that “plane of possibility?”
Every time I receive a trauma trigger I lose my ability NOT to be on that plane.
And even when I am not experiencing direct trauma triggers my body was MADE to live on that plane through the trauma I endured and survived. This is likely the description of the “depersonalization-derealization” sense all of us who live with dissociation can recognize.
Does Siegel recognize what I am saying? I don’t know. I won’t even have a clue until I do my investigation as I mentioned of everything I can find on “the plane of possibility.”
I am also ordering The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician’s Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration by Dr. Siegel.
What are the implications of what I am suspecting about my own experience? What are the ramifications of being told to LEARN to do something/go “somewhere” that most severe early trauma survivors need to be shown how to highly value as a part of an inescapable survival legacy we were FORCED to experience?
What if we WANT to escape “the plane of possibility?” WANT to feel alive and real in a REAL world of “feeling felt” that was the world we were SUPPOSED to find ourselves living within – and did not?
If we want to talk possibility – I am here now, I survived my infancy and childhood then – ONLY BECAUSE it was POSSIBLE to do so. I know what that felt like – surviving what should not have been survivable. I lived on that plane because THAT WAS THE ONLY WAY I COULD LIVE AT ALL.
And Siegel is teaching others to GET THERE?
Can he teach the rest of us how NOT to be there?
Are we supposed to just learn how to “be there” and like it?
Is there anything we survivors know about “the plane of possibility” that anyone else wants to hear about? (Not very likely, seems to me.)
Those of us who live in a body that was formed by trauma do not have the same range of possibilities that nonsurvivors have. For example, we cannot go back and get a non-trauma-formed body so that we can experience our life in anything like an “ordinary” body — because it is NOT POSSIBLE!
I recognize a lot of my own truth in the visual image of “the plane of possibility” that Siegel gives at the end of the second part of his talk. What I know is powerful but it is NOT pretty. I will be pursuing my thinking on this matter.
Here is our first book out in ebook format. A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job) – what a gift and thank you Ben!o Click here to view or purchase: A STORY WITHOUT WORDS
It lists for $2.99 and can be read free for Amazon Prime customers. Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!
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