Visualization Ritual for Moving Through Social Despair and Collective Trauma

This is one simple way to help you begin to move through social despair and collective trauma. While this is written in the most direct and simple way possible, it is very nuanced, with layers of complexity, and if you use it, try to give yourself time to feel into it and try and understand it as best you can. Then please adapt it in any way that works for you.


Step 1: Physical Posture

Sit comfortably, drop your consciousness into your body by becoming aware of the volume of your body, your breathing and any sensations you are having, and as you do this, relax. Close your eyes if that is comfortable; if not, just soften your gaze.


Step 2: Visualization and embodiment of connection

Now, and this is critical, use your mind to remember a time when you felt deeply connected to another or others, to love in some form, or to the Divine.

You might want to start by visualizing someone who loves you sitting right in front of you. Or visualize yourself at a place and time where you felt especially connected to someone or a group. Or visualize yourself immersed in the love of your God or in oneness with the universe.

You will want to feel the connection in your body, not just your mind, so let yourself find the sensation in your body, possibly in your heart, because this process will be much more effective if it can be embodied and not just a thought.

Let yourself take as long as it takes to feel the connection in your body, because the stronger the connection you feel, the more helpful it will be in moving through this material.


Step 3: Recall what is heavy and painful to your heart

Once you are clearly connected to some loving source, let your consciousness drop into the heaviness in your heart, or the place where you hurt–where the despair, anger, pain, or fear is sitting in your body.

Just touch what it is that you want to move through. Remember, just touching it rather than going into the depth of the feelings is important.

Staying connected to love allows the painful feeling to begin to move through you like a wave. If you start feeling too overwhelmed by the emotions, just pull back from them and focus on love and connection.


Step 4: Emerge from the experience

When it feels like time to move on, stay in your heart and then visualize what form of social engagement you might be called to do. How you want to be in the world if you aren’t already. What actions you want to take now that you have let the weight on your heart begin moving through you. This could be as simple as being more connected to your family, or your neighborhood. It could also mean some ongoing engagement in your community or place of worship. Sit with this for a while, let your body rest in the experience, and remember to let yourself not just imagine but feel your connection with the people you are wanting to be with.

This is also a hopeful way to bring your process to a close.


A Concluding Thought

Of course, social despair and collective trauma are seldom resolved or passed through in a single process. So use this ritual, and what you learned from it, to help you move through the acute heaviness or emotional pain you feel at any time. It will help you stay in the zone of connection. Connection to others and the Divine is what is going to keep us resilient in the world today.