When enduring trauma, one may be unable to remain fully conscious and present during moments of extreme pain or shock. Western psychology refers to this as disassociation, which the Bwiti understand as the soul essentially “ejecting” itself from a traumatic situation.
There is a primal intelligence to this phenomenon, as a protective mechanism to distance one’s consciousness from an experience that is impossible to navigate with the tools we have in the moment.
The soul can remain distanced from the self over the years, sometimes barely tethered to our being. An example of this would be obsessively dwelling on the past or worrying about the imaginal future. In that way, our consciousness remains in what has been or what might be, unable to fully experience the present moment. Yet, we need to BE in the present moment in order to respond appropriately to the present moment. When we are unable to exist fully in the present, more toxic patterns emerge as coping mechanisms, and chronic retraumatization results.
The effects of trauma can echo for many years afterward. When we carry residual unhealed trauma, we look at all of life through the “lens of trauma,” seeking to identify similar potential dangers everywhere. We may be unable to discern truth from projection. In this state, we are unable to see clearly and fully connect with all that the present moment has to offer.
The Iboga medicine “touches the nerve of trauma,” because it must come up—to come out. We cannot release something if we do not completely know what we are releasing. To heal trauma, we must face what has not yet been fully experienced within a safe container and feel all the feelings that we were not able to feel. Once one is willing to experience this reckoning, all the once-buried contents of our psyche can be finally “digested,” clearing space for the new life that one is calling in.
The Bwiti approach to healing is clear and direct. To support growth and healing, facilitators offer reflections channeled directly from the medicine, a practice when takes years to master. In addition, facilitators prompt each seeker to study the absolute truth—amidst all the narratives, trauma responses, and biases of the mind.
Iboga shows us what it means to face ourselves, on a whole new level. It is a confrontational medicine, leaving “no stone unturned” within. People may be guided through a life review in their medicine journey, while along the way bringing healing to lost pieces of one’s self that were left behind.
It can be very difficult for trauma survivors to face the suffering that they may have caused themselves and others after an original trauma, sometimes for many years. This is an important piece to genuine liberation. Through ceremony, one can begin to begin to make amends in the spiritual realm of the medicine journey.
Trauma is held in the body as much as the mind, for they are not separate. Trauma and its resulting toxic biochemicals can build up in the body and tissue for years. Old patterning of the nervous system may be hardwired. The Iboga medicine can purge trauma physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The very root of trauma goes much deeper than the mind and body; it resides in the soul. Healing the soul can lead to genuine self-love, forgiveness, acceptance, truthful thinking, and unwavering peace. The Missoko Bwiti tradition offers ancient and sophisticated modalities to help facilitate people to heal their own soul. To love, respect, and accept one’s essence naturally leads to a full life focused on passion, purpose, love, connection, and wellness.
After cleansing and clearing the patterns of the past, the final critical step in healing addiction with Iboga and Bwiti is creating new patterns of thought, perspective, practice, behavior, and relating. This can be the most challenging step of all, and we are primed for success through profound physical detoxification, neurogenesis (creation of new nerve tissue), neuroplasticity (mental flexibility needed to make change and redirect impulses), clear guidance, and insights. With full participation and respect for the medicine, so much is possible. The space that once held trauma can become the space for peace and presence.