What Would It Take to Heal Intergenerational Trauma?

posted by Roman Hanis on March 2nd, 2020

Update Note: This article reflects a personal experience not originating in the US culture and I am unfamiliar with the generations of trauma that have led to the recent uprisings. In the sharing of my own personal experience I am making an effort to relate and am willing to listen to the experiences of other people for the sake of seeing a more objective perspective besides what the media is presenting. If you are inspired to share you are welcome do so in the comments. If you do post and engage in dialogues with other people, please keep in mind that peaceful and civilized dialogue is essential for all sides to be heard. I do not wish to argue with anyone but I do intend to share and listen. There will be no tolerance for insults, bullying, trolling, threats, ultimatums, and extortions.

“To be angry toward the people in power does not create change. It creates more anger, more resentment, more fighting.” ~ Dalai Lama

With the inter-racial issues being perpetuated in the world today, I wonder what it would take for resolution and healing to take place globally. In my experience, conflict resolution and trauma healing can only happen from a clear and objective state – which is easier said than done – and yet very much possible. I’ve been a refugee fleeing for safety alongside my family, persecuted by racism, bullied and subject to a corrupt political system of the former USSR as an ethnic minority from early on in life. My ancestors have been slaves. Because of knowing how that feels I would never wish that to anyone and see everyone as equals. I’ve often contemplated these issues throughout my own healing journey – how our entire world can begin to heal to the core. I do have faith in humanity and it’s based on each individual and not political movements.

Here are some of my reflections and I invite a meaningful and open-minded dialogue on the subject.

Image by stokpic

Many activists today are referring to “righteous anger” that makes for “noble action.” While it’s essential to acknowledge and be present with all the emotions associated with wounding, the ancestral medicine lineages I’m a practitioner of consider emotional dominance to be the root of all problems in life. Especially strong emotions can be blinding, and I’ve definitely done stupid things in my life when anger took over, which I later regretted and faced repercussions for. Yet in the moment, I felt that what I was doing was righteous and justified.

Basically it’s “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” type of vicious cycle that perpetuates collective suffering, preventing healing from taking place. Especially when there’s very provoking emotional content without any emotional support and guidance. What happens when, in addition to that, there are persuasive political agendas and media bias pouring gasoline on the fire? 

In Moldova where I am from during the national uprising people would be beating up those who did not speak Moldovan on the streets. Media manipulated people to cease to be individuals and instead, become a mob mentality blind with anger. Historically speaking, further scarring then keeps recurring. When I watch instances of police brutality I cringe and become angry for justice. Then I am shown angry mobs injuring people and destroying everything on their path in retaliation. I witness more wounding and separation taking place. 

In Moldova the media ignited the conflict of polarities to such a degree that a war ensued between neighbours, splitting Moldova into two countries. As always 1% of the population has made a tremendous profit exploiting both sides of the conflict with the oldest conquer and divide trick in the book.

The wound becomes an identity that is continuously reinforced by the inner shadows that are collectively projected. And of course, it’s not the target of the projection that is the issue but the need to keep projecting the unconscious content of unhealed wounds. Although the tables may turn with the oppressor becoming the oppressed, the wounding doesn’t disappear but only grows while flipping from one side to another. Especially with the media manipulating events and situations to serve the elite. In Spite of noticing these repetitive trauma dynamics, I’ve always been inspired by the people who stood up for change peacefully and with undying love no matter the circumstance. 

Image by Thomas Mühl

An essential healing practice that I engage with regularly is to focus and dedicate all of my heart to one individual or a group of individuals as conduits for the greater whole. For example I truly wish for you to be happy and then all beings through you. And through you it doesn’t just go to some abstract beings. It goes to the people that you are in conflict with first and foremost.

This collective healing practice has to start with oneself willing to face one’s own emotional content and intergenerational trauma, learning to transform and not project one’s shadows. I believe if our society can be based on this principle, the world will be a better place. With greater healing taking place within each individual, true change is more likely to occur because we then recognize each other as human beings beyond labels and masks. Returning to wholeness within, the outer fragmentation can also be resolved and unity of diversity restored.

All this doesn’t mean that no action should take place, however, each action should be undertaken with personal responsibility for one’s behavior. Action for real change comes from the willingness to keep the flame of love alive, not being obscured by emotions and the stories that keep feeding them. It’s natural and human to feel anger towards injustice. This initial feeling of anger can inspire us to help make the world a better place and take action. The action, therefore, should then be based in authentic care, concern and justice for all. In martial arts it’s common knowledge that if the opponent loses their focus they lose the fight. The unwavering focus on the heart centered presence is what makes a noble warrior capable of true change. It’s important to remember that many atrocities have been committed in the name of ‘Justice.’

This quote by Dalai Lama has been especially helpful for me during these times:

“Problems arising from attachment and hatred are not eliminated by resorting to the use of force. No one ever achieves complete victory; enemies are never completely vanquished. Because, ultimately, we have to live together, we have to settle our problems through dialogue and negotiation. And to achieve external disarmament requires that we first have a sense of inner disarmament.”

Image by Gerd Altmann

This is how I stand with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities right now. I stand for love and resolution in all who are oppressed and struggling inwardly and outwardly. In my experience, noble action can only come from this perspective. This is what the ancestral wisdom has taught me – because there’s an intergenerational memory of the ancestral trauma one can return to the original pre-trauma ancestral memory as well when the heart was not wounded. It will take each individual leading by example for the sake of everyone. The healing has to take place for the greater whole and not just for individual factions within it. It’s not just the government that needs a reform; our whole society and the values that it’s based on needs a reform.

This is what I stand for and I do it through my life’s work continuously in a way that I find most meaningful. I see that everyone does their part – whether they know it or not – and I appreciate so many of us working for true change in so many diverse ways. Although the issues of our world are hard to look at and difficult to deal with, each of us can learn the lessons of the past so they are never again repeated. What is happening in the world today is a paradigm shift, encouraging a collective healing, one individual at a time. I honor each individual’s contribution – I see people’s noble intentions and am grateful for each of us that is willing to be the change. Once again I encourage through my own life to keep focus on the heart in the midst of chaos and invite a collective reflection with a willingness for all sides to hear each other. I wish you to always be in love, so the whole world may be at peace!


On behalf of our organization we can share that Paititi Institute is a Peruvian based nonprofit dedicated to the support of healthy eco-systems for native communities and living wisdom traditions.
Our organization is dedicated to being the change in the world on the grass-root local level. We encourage and honor everyone to have a unique way to contribute to the paradigm shift in the world.

Since the author of this article is not so familiar with the intergenerational trauma in the USA we find it beneficial for our greater community to learn and share all sides of the current topic in a peaceful way. This can help gather greater objectivity around the situation. We do find that the ability to share and listen to all the differences is healthy and supports a resolution. We ask that everyone express themselves respectfully without forcing anyone to subscribe to any political movement or ideology.