You Are An Animal

You Are An Animal Presentation with Azriel Cohen

I had a phone conversation with a man named Azriel Cohen in early Sept, 2010 and the thoughts coming out of that encounter are leading me down some very interesting paths.

Suppose that …

  • most of the ‘developed’ world is in a state of ┬átrauma … all the time, with many locked in a PTSD state much of the time
  • the people living in the ‘developed’ cultures of the world are running on a traumatized auto-pilot
  • these people have little understanding of what they can do to help themselves, or each other
  • one primary function of the trauma is to maintain the illusion that there is no trauma
  • cultures that are not in the ‘developed’ world are rapidly abandoning the solutions to the trauma in favor of taking on the same trauma that is plaguing the western world

Those are some large supposes.

But what does it mean to be in a subtle trauma state all the time?

  • limited resources for responding to changes
  • ‘entrenched’ mind set that is often assumed to fend off more trauma
  • reflexive reactions to even mild stimulus, based in past experiences of trauma
  • inability to see reality clearly or to make detached judgments about next steps
  • disconnection from grounding habits that help diminish the experience of trauma
  • attachment to ‘comfort’ habits that don’t heal the trauma, but provide some temporary relief
  • development of theories to justify the trauma state
  • defense of the trauma state as the ‘best’ state to live in

What if?

  • Indigenous cultures hold many of the keys to unlocking us from this trauma
  • Animals could help us learn to release the trauma we hold in our bodies
  • We developed a way of working with one another to return ourselves to a resting state that would allow us to handle stress with more ease, flexibility and resilience?

Azriel Cohen has been studying Somatic Experiencing … an embodied practice for exploring and healing trauma through ever more subtle experiences of the body. I can’t describe his work accurately, because I yet to experience it. But what I got from the conversation is a new level of awareness about the world I live in … and some hope for yet more tools to help heal it. Azriel’s experiences have taken him around the world and into some fascinating understandings about what we might do to learn from animals and our ancestors how to live and love more consciously in the world.

Check out the video:

Azriel’s Opening Story from The Great Turning Film on Vimeo.

You can listen to an excerpt of our conversation (25 minutes) right here. The first SIX minutes will give you a very good overview of what Azriel is focused on. I apologize for the quality of the sound. It was not a planned conversation … totally off the cuff.