When you were young part two, 2,

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From Neurodharma by Rick Hanson

So, like every young child, you needed external sources of soothing, comfort, and care. But early childhood is also a time when most parents are stressed and many are poorly supported and sometimes depressed.

And the hour-after-hour, day-after day events of your first few years were happening while your nervous system was especially vulnerable, and while the foundational layers of your psyche were being laid down.

The feelings, sensations, and longings in your younger experience were internalized into implicit memory stores but disconnected from explicit recollections of the situation in which they occurred. Today this buried material lives on.

And it can be activated by the type of cues that were also present way back then, such as feeling unheard, unseen or uncared for. In later childhood and then adulthood, something similar can occur during traumatic experiences.

The painful residues of events can get caught in the nets of emotional memory, but without context and perspective. The conscious mind may forget, but as Babette Rothschild wrote, the body remembers.

Suffering sinks deep. Thinking that mindfulness and meditation alone will remove buried material can lead to what John Welwood called spiritual bypass—and a failure to accomplaish the task of understanding suffering, including its deepest remains.

That material is embedded in physical memory systems designed to hold on to their contents.

To uncover and release it takes focused effort that certainly draws on mindfulnessa and self-compassion—-a steady mind and a warm heart–but also specific skillful means as appropriate. These include different kinds of psychotherapy and self-help practices.

There are good methods for bringing light down into the basement of the mind, and if we are to understand suffering fully, it is alright to use them.

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