Healing Dimensions ACC
Committed to Reducing the Presence and Impact of Trauma in our World

Introducing a New Approach:
"Holographic Memory Resolution®"
For The Emotional Reframing of Memory

Register for Emails   |    Contact Us

Reframing the Original "Fall"

     By Brent M. Baum, STB, SSL, CADC, LISAC, CCH (November, 2007)

In this article I draw upon my experience as an archaeologist, scripture professor, counselor, and trauma specialist. Even in the ancient texts do we find a great deal of attention directed to understanding the origins and experience of our separation from ourselves and from Source. These lessons speak to the wisdom inherent in our nature that offers us the remarkable opportunity to gain mastery of our states of consciousness. In the genius of our design we discover the capacity to clarify our decision-making and manifest the Edenic existence that comes with the dissolution of shame and dissociation: the by-product of trauma imprinting in our personal and collective evolution.

In this article I offer reflections from my own experience in archaeology, theology, addictionology, and “traumatology.” These disciplines have offered me an opportunity for interdisciplinary study that has broadened my appreciation for the essential interconnectedness of all things. They have also provided age-old truths about humankind’s development, subsequently allowing me to develop strategies that have proven remarkably effective in the healing of memory. I perceive, however, that we have a collective trauma that must also be addressed.

Like most traumas, it was not intentional, but like the well-intentioned parent, we sometimes wound our children simply in acting from our earliest imprints. We do not blame our parents or find fault when they simply did the best they could with what they possessed, but I know that it is “my” responsibility to heal that which resides within my own “Quantum” consciousness. And through a deeper appreciation of the creator within me, I have come to understand more clearly what this now means in my life.

In the following pages, I will try to share with you a simple tool that has assisted me immensely in understanding the many levels of fragmentation that have occurred in human consciousness. The simple discovery that “trauma induction” occurs at a premoral, automatic, subconscious level provided the first clue to a “primeval trauma” that led to the duality of consciousness: a conscious-subconscious split! The mechanism of trauma, which we now understand so much more clearly, explains this quite easily. Our inability to see, recognize, or understand the dynamics or occurrences of trauma led us, in our evolutionary infancy, to some rather negatively self-referenced conclusions: we must have done something wrong, or something outside of us must have led us to do wrong. Here is born a spiritual trauma of “guilt” and blame: a premature assignment of moral culpability.

My reflections here do not eliminate the discussion of the place of morality or an original “fall” or estrangement from the Divine, they simply contextualize it within a developmental framework that places such discussions in a more viable and “healing-oriented” perspective. Our capacity to freeze and fragment consciousness existed long before we had a clear grasp of “moral” precepts: and this is true both developmentally and historically. We learn this in observation of the children! I come, therefore, not to contest ancient principles, but to reframe the language and to broaden the context of the truths taught by our ancestors. When all is said and done, take what you find helpful here and leave the remainder as “food for thought.”


They really were magnificent … these first authors who over 3000 years ago sought to put their understanding of our nature and origins into writing! Millenia-old messages that resonated so beautifully in the Semitic languages of the Middle East! This richness now achieves amplification in the spirituality and truths emergent in modern times. Far from being reduced in power and import, the traditions passed on to us in Genesis come to greater appreciation in the contemporary revelations of our studies of consciousness and the mind. The bodymind itself reveals a perfection and plan that has resonance in the intentions of the authors and redactors of Genesis. The goal is the same: to chart the primeval path of humankind, assisting us in reflecting not only on the theme of the “creation of humanity,” but also on the “meaning of human existence.” We will examine these themes from within their own integrity and as they resonate with our contemporary understanding of what the human bodymind has undergone in these hundreds of thousands of years. Let us take a look at these themes.

(I would recommend your perusal at this time of the Genesis account, particularly chapters 2-3)

Among the oldest content of Genesis is the narrative activity of chapters 2-3, which dates to the tenth century BC, reflecting the arrangement, selection, and redaction of even older preliterary material acquired from oral tradition. Materials were gathered together by the “Yahwist Tradition” and clearly reflect the vocabulary, stylistic features, and theological insights of the tenth century BC. Scholars largely agree that it was at this time that traditions and teachings relating to the primeval history were compiled, though they also admit a prehistory that originated with earlier oral traditions. Among the primary features of this tradition are its insistence on God’s specific plan for humankind, an optimism that reflects victory even in moments of defeat, a clever use of anthropomorphism (making that which is “divine” appear in human form), a depth of psychological perception, and a capacity for profound theological insight. Apart from the discussion involving the “tree of life,” often considered a later addition, scholars agree that Genesis 2-3 forms a unified, self-contained narrative. It is this narrative that forms the backdrop for our discussion of the “reframing” of human nature and our etiology (the study of causes, origins). And this we will achieve in a highly optimistic manner, not unlike the original intention of the Yahwist, but seen through the maturation of these three thousand years of reflection and study.


Let us begin by examining the primary metaphor for Genesis’ revelations about the nature and purpose of life: the prominent role of the “soil” in the account. In verse 7 of chapter 2 of Genesis, God forms man out of the soil of the earth. The linguistic mastery of Genesis emerges immediately as we see the formation of “man” (the Hebrew word is “adam”) from the soil (the Hebrew term is “adamah”). The author uses the play on words to establish his point: Adam comes to us from the soil, adamah. The soil forms the constitutive, mysterious substance from which man and all living things are fashioned. The “adamah” was the metaphor for that primordial material which yields life and sustenance. As such, it was the perfect metaphor for reflections on man’s nature and the consequences of change. In all its occurrences in Genesis, notice the profound implications for human nature as the role of the soil/earth shifts. Alienation from the land is alienation from his (and all other earth-related) nature. Recall that it is not just man that is fashioned from the soil … but all the animals of the field as well, and the plants springing from the earth. To ancient man, whose subsistence was so closely bound to the states, care, and tilling of the soil, the association of the soil with life or death was a facile connection. The intimate relationship between life and soil was evident in the experience of ancient man: both from his apparent return to soil after death, and his dependency on the soil for subsistence. The animation of the soil via an invisible “breath of life” and the return to the soil once the breath departed the body were truths self-evident to ancient man. Clearly, the metaphor of the “soil” is being used to communicate profound beliefs about human nature and the meaning of human life.

A harmonious relationship between man and the soil is reflected in the “garden placement” that occurs in verse 8. The early verses of Genesis emphasize the goodness and beauty of the garden in which man is placed. There is harmony, beauty, and abundance. The subsequent introduction of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” provides the backdrop for the subsequent drama and occurs in verse 9. Man is placed and entrusted with the care of the garden, but warned of the consequence of eating from the forbidden tree. Among the features of this garden were the trees so pleasant to behold and so good to eat, as well as the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” (v.9). According to the biblical scholars, this was not a tree of knowledge of “morality” as is often misread, but one which rendered service to practicality: indicating what was useful or harmful in the struggle for existence.

We see that by v. 15, man’s appointed task is to till and watch over the garden … as of yet, in harmony with his nature. A commandment is received in vv. 16-17: forbidding access to the tree, whereupon a consequence for violation is imposed: “on the day that you eat of it you must die.” Death will follow from the loss of original innocence: exposure to the duality of the tree of knowledge. This notion will figure significantly in our later discussion of the consequence of the “fall” of consciousness.

In vv. 18-20 God seeks to make a “helper” “fit” for man: again going to the soil to compose “every kind of animal of the field and every kind of bird of the heavens.” But, of these, he found no helper fit for him. Hence, rather than return to the primordial substance from which all has been made thus far, God takes from man himself a part: a “rib.” Scholars have often wondered at the reason for the selection of the “rib”; let us recall that the rib is that bone residing closest to the divine breath (Hebrew: “ruah,” meaning breath, wind, or spirit) within man. This anatomical feature was one of which ancient man was keenly aware due to a common injury: the broken rib and its subsequent impairment of the breath; and though broken or displaced, man could survive such an injury. During my thirteen years of excavation in Israel, I had the opportunity to see the excavation of a number of burials that evidenced this feature. Hence, we see the selection of the rib. And from this rib God composes for man a more “suitable” companion: this at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (v. 23). God is spoken of in very “anthropomorphic” terms – meaning that God is depicted as behaving in the form/mannerisms of a man (morphos [Gk.: “shape/form” + anthropos [Gk. for “man”]). Woman is then fashioned from man himself, rather than from the soil – a fitting partner for him. Again, wordplay occurs, involving the use of the alternative word for man: “ish,” instead of “adam,” for the first time in v. 23. Women (“isshah”) is so named “because she is taken from man” (“isshah” from “ish”).

Chapter 2 closes with a statement about their relationship: “the man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame before each other.” This “shame” or absence thereof, will figure significantly into our discussion of the “fall.” Verse 25 focuses our attention on the deeper function of the text: tied to the development of the “shame” theme, as we shall see.

The talking serpent opens the drama of chapter 3. Of great import here is the role of the serpent in rapport with the primary theme: the intimate relationship reflected between the Adam (man) and the adamah (soil). The animal most experienced with the soil is, of course, the serpent, who serves here as the “spokesperson of the soil,” his familiar home. With its natural affinity for the soil, the serpent is the perfect spokesperson for introducing the struggle existing within human nature. He, therefore, of all the animals that God has made, can speak to us from this nature. The serpent is employed as the etiological vehicle to explain the origins of the “temptation” to eat of the forbidden tree. Note well, however, that this serpent is not “Satan” as is so often attributed, for the Yahwist indicates the origin of the serpent within the context of the divine will: “the most astute of all the animals of the field that God had made.”

The narrative presents the “fall” as a moment where doubt arises about the truth that Adam and Eve have been given: there is the making of the first “internal split” in the natural order. Eve surrenders to the urge to become “clever” -- aspiring to be “like God: knowing good and evil.” The account is presented simply and clearly: the eating of the fruit bringing knowledge of good and evil, resulting in the sudden shift in self-perception: “their eyes were opened, and they realized that they were naked.” Hence, the “shame” manifests as the consequence of their decision. This shame becomes the key to the discovery of their action by God. Their decision to eat of the tree is presented by the Yahwist tradition, not, principally as a moral failure, but as a profound shift in self-perception (shame [pertaining to identity] vs. guilt [about moral failures/actions]). Their confrontation by God leads the man to respond like a “child caught” in an inappropriate action: he displaces his responsibility onto another, as does Eve: “it was the serpent that induced me to eat.”

In subsequent verses, we see consequences materialize, also serving to introduce a number of etiological principles: why snakes crawl on the ground, the pain of childbearing, the need to till the soil to make it fruitful, the harshness of vegetation, the reason man returns to the soil through death, the reason for mortality itself. Finally, we see God in a number of very anthropomorphic scenarios: making coats of skins to clothe the man and his wife, admitting that, “man has, indeed, become like one of us … in knowing what is good and evil, ” and setting protection over the “tree of life” to prevent a similar attempt at ascension into immortality. Since man and woman by eating of the tree of knowledge have become God-like in their ability to know good and evil, it is necessary to withhold from them the fruit of the tree of life.

The context, however, provided by the grieving anthropomorphic tenor of the account, is more like the disciplining of a child of premoral age than a condemnation for moral failure. And in v. 22, we see that this acquired experience of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” is viewed by God, not so much within the context of a moral failure, but as an experiential phenomenon without judgment … and yet, not without consequence.


The "moral failure model” has been the predominant model for interpretation of the primeval history until recently. But a number of factors from within the account and the older oral traditions suggest that this model does not fully embrace the mythology and truths of the account. The notion, however, that something more profound about human nature was being communicated did not escape the attention of the early theologians. The notion of a profound “Original Sin” was derived from this keen perception, though this too was framed in the language of the “moral failure model.” Augustine’s (354-430 CE) notion of “peccatum originale” (“peccatum” meaning “sin”) articulated the early theological understanding of this theme. The predominance of the “moral failure model” has continued into modern times, but not without a cost and a valuable lesson.

In the 1950s the discovery that there were diseases that affected moral perception – robbing individuals of “willpower,” shocked many people and systems. “Addictive” behaviors had been labeled acts of “poor judgment” or “weakness of will”; “drunkenness” was a “sin.” And the more the addict was “shamed” by the moral harangue, the more likely he was to drink. There was a lot of unintentional “enabling” and little understanding for the dynamics and effects of things like addictions. Our study of addictions led us to “Family Systems Theory” where we found even more profound patterns of dysfunction that seemed to have even less to do with willpower and the conscious mind. Studying these consistently recurring patterns of dysfunction in society, we developed various theories of understanding, including “Object-Relations Theory” which taught us so much about the role of mirroring and the acquisition of our self-esteem through the eyes and feelings of our primary caretakers: there were no perfect parents … nor were they supposed be. (How else would we come to discover ourselves as our own parents and healers?) Without all of our dependency needs being met, we discovered our common societal tendency to look outside of ourselves for the completion of our unmet (early) needs. The popularity of “codependency” in the 1980s reflected this. But, ultimately, codependency was defined as an arrested moment, an “arrested state of development”: someplace(s) in our development where we “got stuck” … and stuck looking outward for our well-being and happiness. By the 1990s we realized that to address the underlying codependency and addictive tendencies within our society and systems, we had to “backtrack” to the original cause(s). Thus, at the advent of the new millennium and the end of the “decade of the brain,” we arrived at the “Millennium of the Mind.” And here we came to recognize the role of memory and mind in these dynamics of psycho-spiritual evolution. Codependency was simply the child of “trauma” and “negatively encoded memory(ies).” And this “outward looking stance” was reflected as far back as humankind could seem to remember.” So, when, in our individual and collective evolution did we start looking outward for our worth and value? Perhaps the snake and that first “external” voice of Genesis can shed some light. Was it really our own fault, or just when and how did the shame and self-doubt first arise to cause us to seek our happiness outside of ourselves? When did the first intra-psychic or “intra-spiritual” split take place? Is this why we’ve had such a difficult time taking in messages like that of Christ, for instance, that the solution is to be found within the self: the Temple of the Spirit within? We will address these questions through the metaphors of the original texts, while honoring and respecting their integrity and service to us over these last 3 millenia.

Perhaps the optimism of the Yahwist and the protectiveness of “God” portrayed in the account of Genesis 2-3 are well placed. Throughout the account there is a tenor of a compassionate creator attending to the actions of a misbehaving child … watching the child lose his/her innocence and manifest his/her own consequences. Emphasis in the account is not on a “moral” failure, but a split, an encounter with duality for the first time on a deeper level: knowledge beyond that of mere morality that induces an experiential duality. So, if such a duality occurred, and it was not presented primarily in a “moral” framework since it occurred to these “innocents,” just what was the source/nature of this dual intrusion into human nature? The ancient theologians courageously sought the answer within their limited frame of reference: that frame still being limited by the “moral judgment model” of the past 3 millenia. However, the tenor of the account suggests that the consequence of this split was not merely a moral one, but reached much deeper into the human psyche. It involved not only the moral consequence of “guilt,” but something that penetrates much more deeply: the reality of “shame.” Shame is not the matter of “morality” or “sin.” Shame reflects a split in the psyche that goes much deeper. But if the original breach was not about sin and morality, what was its origin? Here the answer that arises is shocking, but unbelievably inspiring.

Three thousand years ago, at the time of the Yahwist, the traditions that came to form the present day narrative of Genesis 2-3 were formulated. Observation of human behavior three thousand years ago, as even today, left the observer of human nature with the perception that something had gone quite awry. Raping, pillaging, and plundering on such a scale could hardly have been the original intent of the creator. Some fundamental, ontological corruption must have occurred to human nature to place us in such societal violence. This assumption was quite understandable, given the only model for framing such experiences: the moral judgment model – man created free to choose … man opting to abuse this freedom … making the erroneous moral judgment which led to the corruption, etc. which followed.

It is quite common for a child, during his/her early development, to assign blame for “bad” or painful experiences to him or herself. We, by nature and early dependency, are self-referencing. We have clearly done the same with our assumptions about the primordial history. But what if the Yahwist was correct, and there is cause for optimism beyond our imagining? What if the original supposition about an early primordial sin was simply a “best effort” to explain that which was already evident, but, nevertheless, a premature conclusion? Perhaps there is another explanation – one that may even bear us an invitation that leads to spiritual maturity. Let me explain.

Never did the creator of all things abandon us! Built into our inherent design is a remarkable plan. It appears to have been ontologically, genetically, and fundamentally placed from the earliest of our creation-evolution. Its design was to bring us to conscious awakening and spiritual enlightenment … to give us the capacity to turn the most negative experiences into opportunities for enlightenment and to deepen our relationship with the Divine. This I now know, after working with over 8000 trauma survivors, to be true!

My work with trauma survivors has led me to question, at times, the nature of humanity: both its capacity to perpetuate cruelty and harm, and its remarkable capacity to survive and to heal. Observing the resiliency of human nature in the face of the most severe of traumas led to some shocking findings.

Humankind, in fact and archaeological findings, has been around since, at least, 750,000 BCE. Shaped flint tools and hand-axes have been dated to this period of time. The biblical account of Genesis 2-3, compiled around the 1000 BCE would appear rather recent by comparison. More shocking still was the discovery that, from humankind’s earliest inception, be it via creation or evolution, there has been present within the physiology and psyche of ancient man to present, a built-in protective system. It would appear that this system is part and parcel of our design. From the time of the earliest traumas in our evolution, onward, we have been protected from ourselves and the overwhelming experiences of life. This system has now been mapped from the mental to the molecular level. It was present in our earliest genetic structure and continues without pause. Just what is this remarkable system?

From the moment that the first natural “disaster” or “traumatic event” took place, a surprising phenomenon occurred. When primitive man, with all his/her sensitivities, vulnerabilities, and fears became overwhelmed, an automatic process “kicked in” to protect him and allow survival. This system is now known to be facilitated by the Limbic-Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis. Abundant literature is now available mapping this system in its entirety (See the work of Ernest Rossi and David Cheek). This is the psycho-physiological system that activates whenever we are emotionally or physically overwhelmed: serving to contain the emotional or physical pain of the experience until we are able to handle it. The process of which we speak is, and has always been subconscious and automatic. It activated the first time that the child of ancient man experienced an accident … the first time man’s life was threatened … the first time that an injury became unbearable … the first time ancient man lost someone he/she loved. There was no thought to its activation, no decision, no failure, or missed cue. There was no morality to the moment of encoding, for trauma, by its very nature, is “premoral.”


At the momentous instant of the first encoding(s) by humankind, a split occurred in the psyche: a conscious-subconscious split in the mind. The earliest to know this experience were probably unaware that such an experience had even occurred, so subtle were its beginnings.

Since the work of Milton Erickson in the 1970s and his protégé David Cheek, we now know that stress and trauma create a spontaneous state of self-hypnosis facilitated by the L-H-P-Adrenal System referred to above. These systems are the facilitators of self-hypnosis. These self-hypnotic acts are spontaneous, subconscious, and automatic. They reflect a (predominantly subconscious) mastery of states of consciousness that humankind has largely overlooked until recently. The implications of this finding are spiritual, emotional, mental, and physiological. Let me explain.

We know now that when the earliest trauma, especially to the premoral child (moral awareness is not clearly in evidence until ages seven to eight) occurs, the mind seeks to contain the experience by freezing the act of internal perception of the event. Since we cannot control the “external circumstances,” we freeze our internally constructed picture (Quantum perception) of the event. Inside this scene are frozen the sensations, feelings, and perceptions of the experience. This takes place in a millisecond of time and is specific to the millisecond just prior to the “worst part” of the event. In other words, we do not freeze every scene of a traumatic event with equal intensity. We freeze that instant just prior when we still felt emotional control or some emotional management of the experience; this scene, nevertheless, possesses a powerful, though painful emotional charge. Again: all of this is subconscious and automatic. All perceptions of space and time are frozen and contained for a millisecond, after which time, the body has shifted and altered its biochemistry, producing the adrenalin and needed steroid hormones to protect and defend the system from further overwhelm. At the moment of encoding, there is a “psycho-neuro-physiological dissociation” – that is, a split in consciousness itself as reflected in the mind, nervous system, and physiology of the bodymind. This occurs not merely with “trauma” as we have traditionally defined it, but with any “negatively” encoded memory … any overwhelming experience to the nervous system. And this occurs in all of us. And it has done so for over 750,000 years! (I discuss these dynamics in my book, The Healing Dimensions.)

To put it simply, our overwhelming experiences in life precipitated the activation of this “built-in” system resulting in “self-hypnotic” containment of our pain. Another word for this containment process is a “trance” state. Traumas and the overwhelming experiences of our lives are automatically stored for us by our natural, inherent ability to alter, encode, and store trance states. The most dramatic evidence of this capacity are those individuals so overwhelmed by an experience that the storage process takes place completely within the subconscious mind so that no trace or recall is left of the event. This occurs commonly in cases of abuse such as incest where the child’s mind would self-destruct with the realization of what his/her own parent has just done. The “traumatic amnesia” induced by the L-H-P-Adrenal Axis allows the child to survive until he/she is strong and safe enough to remember and release the charge of this overwhelming event. We possess an innate capacity to pause our space-time perceptions until we are capable of dealing with them. As Gary Zukav mentioned in his book, The Seat of the Soul, humankind’s path of evolution up until this time has been largely unconscious from unconscious intentionality. This repressed intentionality is the by-product of none other than trauma and other negatively encoded memory. The “intentionality” which is imprinted from a trauma is subconscious and automatic in its induction. It has nothing to do with “willpower” or “morality” as we traditionally think of it. Once frightened by a snake, for example, the individual will respond with fear until the subconscious programming or intentionality is released/replaced. I provide many cases in my book of how such memory-induced intentionality can cause us to act in violation of our values and morals. This has been referred to as “acting out” in our society: the “playing out” of a subconscious script or program produced by a deeply embedded trauma or negative experience.

We must acknowledge, however, that this freezing or encoding of a painful millisecond of time has a profound, protective function. All traumatic events happened only one instant ago in the thinking of the subconscious. Though we tend to perceive reality through “linear time,” the subconscious does not operate this way. All of our traumas, irrespective of their placement chronologically in our lives, happened one millisecond ago. Collectively, we could state that humankind’s traumas have not been encoded in a linear fashion for 750,000 years. Mankind’s entire trauma happened only a fraction of an instant ago in the perception of the subconscious. From the perspective of linear time, we have been in significant trance states for 750,000 years! The question which remains is: Are we finally ready to be “de-hypnotized”?

It is not surprising, therefore, that our species has continued and “built upon” these encoded trance states, evidencing certain repetitive, dysfunctional behavioral patterns that have been viewed, for millenia, as the by-product of some primordial morality gone awry. Observing our species “acting out” its millenia of trauma, we naturally deduced the presence of an original sin, for surely God would not create such a condition in humankind. In contrast to this thinking now emerges the magnificence of the protective mechanism inherent in our design: the capacity to pause space and time perception: for 750,000 years if necessary! … Until such time as we are safe/ready enough to master our formerly overwhelming states of consciousness. Such was the goal and intention of the creative intelligence whose wisdom transcends our space-time continuum. In the vision of the Divine Mind, we have only been “left on hold” for one millisecond: not 750,000 years!

The Yahwist Tradition, reflecting on the oral traditions of our primeval history did a magnificent job in presenting our early understanding of the dynamics that led to the current state of affairs. But these early author/redactors were unaware of the psycho-spiritual dynamics protectively at work on our behalf. The underlying tenor of the whole Genesis 2-3 account held a latent optimism in watching the behaviors of child-humanity … acting out its developmental stages. The essential tone of the spiritual crisis was captured correctly, however.


The by-product of humanity’s earliest, preconscious traumas was “shame.” Shame is that experience which causes an “alienation of the self from the self” (Gershen Kaufmann, Dissertation at Michigan State University). It is considerably more potent than a moral transgression that induces guilt and leads to the invitation to correct a behavior. The Yahwist made clear that the earliest shift was not based on a “moral failure” perception of “guilt,” but a more fundamental shift reflected by an “eye opening” experience that resulted in shame. This “shame” principle is the hermeneutic key for interpretation of the dynamics of Genesis 2-3.

Humankind’s earliest experience – living in harmony with God, nature, etc., was interrupted by the voice of trauma: a voice that first manifest as coming from within his/her own nature. The only premature error in our interpretation of Genesis was assuming that the voice was first “consciously” embraced, rather than realizing that the very first fall of consciousness occurred subconsciously and automatically when man first became overwhelmed by “outside” experience. We assumed the voice of the serpent to be attended to first by the “conscious” mind, thus implying moral failure or a conscious choice toward “dis-integration.” Such disintegration, however, is the by-product of “shame” experiences, not merely the “guilt” of erroneous choices (moral failure). We all make mistakes, but the real opposition to spiritual self-appreciation is “shame.” The first voice to introduce “shame” to our experience was introduced automatically at a moment when we “split” – when our innate, protective system came online to assist us. The Yahwist was correct in his optimism! Quantum physics has affirmed that, while our traumatic experiences appear to originate “outside” of us, the reality is that all perceptive acts are internal, creative perceptions of consciousness – actions by the powerful creator we hold within. (We will leave aside for now the issue of “non-local” mind). In our Quantum consciousness, we are in the image and likeness of God.

When our first traumas occurred, we “paused” our space-time perception, actually freezing our state of consciousness. Such freezing of consciousness is an incredibly powerful act and moves way beyond a mere behavioral interruption. At such a moment there is a fragmentation of consciousness itself: what was singular becomes multiple, what was simple becomes complex, what was unified becomes binary. This initial splitting of consciousness gave us the “conscious-subconscious split” and initiated the first diminution in consciousness. The emotional experience of this phenomenon is “shame” – a profound internal sense that something is wrong within/about self. The Yahwist Tradition, borrowing from earlier oral traditions, captured the image perfectly in its depiction of the shame dynamics of Genesis 2-3.

At the beginning of chapter 2 of Genesis, Adam is fashioned from adamah and is in harmony with it. As such, he is unaware of shame. A voice comes from the soil (the talking serpent) suggesting the option of knowing both good and evil: a singular metaphor for expressing what we now understand to be duality. Man is portrayed as innocent and with his eyes yet unopened to this duality. Up until this time, his intentions and actions are singular and harmonious with his nature and that which surrounds him (soil, land, garden, etc.). The by-product of exposure to the knowledge of both good and evil is a split (duality) involving shame and alienation on three levels. Man becomes estranged from himself, from his partner, and from God. All occurs simultaneously through the internalization of shame. (I discuss these three dimensions of spirituality in The Healing Dimensions, chapter 11, pp. 180-197).

The mechanism for man’s estrangement from self, Higher Power, and others is found in the evidence of our own DNA and psychophysiology. The potency of this remarkable, protective system derives from humankind’s capacity to master its states of consciousness. This mastery, however, has been exercised both consciously and subconsciously until this time in human evolution. In a sense, we were designed so that the system would operate defensively on our behalf until such time as we could consciously begin to assert our mastery over our states of consciousness. That is and has been the invitation of life on earth since its inception. Every encoded trauma moment becomes an invitation to exercise our innate “creator within.” Our “negatively” or “incompletely” encoded memories are opportunities to learn of our capacity to master our space-time perceptions and “return to Eden.”

Whenever consciousness splits, there is a loss of energy. What was easily manifest through singular, uncomplicated intentionality now becomes complex. When intentionality is singular, we manifest easily, spontaneously – we create as needed/desired. And even our desires are “uncontaminated” when coming from a place free of trauma/duality. But this clarity of intention disappeared early in humankind’s evolution. When shame induction or splitting occurs, we now have the dual intentions of both the conscious (present) moment, and the fearful intentionality of the subconsciously stored scene. A trauma creates an intention designed to “stop space and time” in order to prevent us from entering the most painful moment of the overwhelming experience. Instead of a free, spontaneous exercise of our creativity, we become wholly focused on stopping the flow of consciousness that has begun to deliver us pain. An opposition arises that is resolved by sending the most painful aspect of consciousness into storage: the subconscious. Here arises the duality of intention. Once the initial splitting of consciousness occurs we both want to “go on living in a blissful state” and, at the same time, are “determined to store the pain of the overwhelming moment until we can deal with it.” Part of the mind continues on, while part of the mind pauses with the most serious of intentions: preventing death and overwhelm. Whenever such a split takes place, there is a loss of energy, and life becomes more difficult.

Genesis 3:16-19 summarizes this ancient perception quite clearly. Now man must work the soil. Abundance does not flow so harmoniously and spontaneously from nature any more. The intimacy between man and “creation” is profoundly affected by man’s alienation from self: “cursed is the ground because of you; with toil you shall eat from it your whole life long” (v. 17b). Man, in becoming alienated from the soil from which he was made, now has to “till the soil” to make it productive. What was once spontaneous and natural abundance now requires work and focus to achieve. This has ever been the case when our consciousness splits because of a trauma. Our creativity is necessarily diminished and our labor increases. And the more splitting occurs, the more difficult our navigation of life seems to become. Now we must focus more strongly to achieve our goals. Traumas are moments when our attention is riveted beyond our conscious choice on a crisis event. We are in a sense, “focused” by necessity and out of need to survive, on this critical moment. To free us from such moments, additional “focusing” is also required. Since such encoded moments are “trance” states, this “focusing” is the key. We can learn to focus our states of consciousness and free ourselves from those trapped moments in space and time. Diseases, relationship crises, accidents, physical pain … all of these are cues indicating to us where to place our attention – where to focus in order to reclaim our power lost from an overwhelming experience (trauma). Such pain cues are appropriate, however, since these warning signs direct us to the source of the blockages in consciousness and encourage us to learn mastery over our states of consciousness.

As a segue to this reflection, let us note in vv. 19-22 how man is now destined to return to the dust from which he was taken. Mortality is not so surprising an outcome after such a “fall” in consciousness. Long have we known that negative memory experiences and trauma result in the weakening of the immune system. Stress and trauma directly impact the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, and the endocrine system. Ernest Rossi detailed this clearly in his text, The Psychobiology of Mind-body Healing. Rossi and Cheek detailed this phenomenon down to the cellular and molecular level in Mind-Body Therapy. When traumatic experiences occur and consciousness splits, T-cell production is diminished. Illness and disease result from leaving these unaddressed “distortions” in the cells and fields of our bodies.

After working with over eight thousand trauma survivors on this planet, it is clear that there are very few persons operating with unimpaired immune systems. Even the most “healthy” individuals I have met could be found to possess some of the dense, heavy energetic encoding of negative memory. Given the number of encoded negative memories I have found in the average individual, I can confidently state that we do not have a clear picture of what the human immune system is actually capable of achieving. What was the original potential/intended function of this system? With the evident split in consciousness that occurs from one encoded memory, let us take into account that the less traumatized individuals of our society have only encoded a few hundred of such memories. The more traumatized … well, I will let you ponder the implications. (I address the interrelationship between memories and disease in chapter 14 of The Healing Dimensions and in Article 2: “A Diagnostic Alert.”)

The Genesis account leaves the question rather open-ended as to what the original intention of God was for the lifespan of man. We do, however, notice that the farther away we get from the “Genesis Event,” the shorter the lifespan of man becomes. Read chapter 5 of Genesis to see this lifespan-reduction phenomenon. It is evident, however, from the study of the bodymind, that the more trauma and stress we sustain in our bodies, the more repressed our immune systems become. Over these 750,000 years, it is apparent that we have encoded quite a lot of trauma, both individually and collectively.

The chapters which follow Genesis 2-3 continue to present the saga of the unfolding of humankind’s plight … showing further deterioration in the man-land (nature) relationship: see the effects of Cain’s act in 4:10-12. V. 10 “… the voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” Then, in v. 11-12, we see growing estrangement from the soil. This deterioration in the human condition continues on until circumstances necessitate the “purification” of the earth as depicted in the Noah account. The corruption of humanity forms the etiology for the flood and is the continuation of the earlier theme that commences with the “fall” from Eden.

Evidence of an ancient flood was known to man over six thousand years ago, if not much earlier. While much ado has been made about proving a specific flood period corresponding to biblical chronological interpretation, there were even more ancient indications of immersion below sea level. The geological formations in the Judean foothills, as evidenced on the site that I excavated from 1979-1992, showed clear submersion below the sea as evidenced by the fossilized seashells and other aquatic life forms. These were clearly visible in the rock formations of the caves and limestone formations around our own site, Tel Halif, as well as at other sites we visited. These findings, in no way detract from the discussion about the “Flood of Noah,” but add an additional level of depth to ancient man’s enquiry about the interrelationships between creator, man, land, and sea. Flood deposits of lesser duration were visible along the Dead Sea and have been studied with attentiveness to the chronology of Noah.

Subsequent to the Flood account, the Yahwist, in chapter 11, presents his climax to the whole prehistory of humankind. Here we see the familiar signature of the Yahwist at work: the play on words: the name of the city “Babel” (Hebrew: bbl – note, vowel points were omitted from the ancient texts) is associated with the Hebrew verb root, bbl, meaning “to confound, confuse.” The Babel account provides an etiological explanation for the origin of different languages, but also provides the theological reason for the division of humankind. In Genesis 3 we saw the alienation of man from God (3:22-24). In Genesis 4: 1-16 we see man’s alienation from his fellow man; and now, in chapter 11, we see the alienation of all humankind from God, and men from one another. These chapters form the backdrop for the introduction of the story of the patriarchs and the later announcement by the prophets of the reversal of this pattern of deterioration.


Our interest in the Genesis account is to assist in resolving the “seeming” opposition between the paradigms that are now emerging in present time. Up until recently the predominant model for understanding human history and “prehistory” was a “morality” model or even a “moral failure” model, based on humankind’s efforts to understand the “evils” so evident in society. No other explanation for such phenomena could be imagined in the mind of ancient man, for surely the Creator was not responsible for such societal deterioration. Something more happened, however, as these traditions were held sacred and repeated to generation upon generation. Subconsciously, the “moral failure” model became profoundly imprinted in human awareness. In a manner of speaking, it became a societal “Level 2” trauma pattern … repeated over and over in human history, by various systems, until the core belief system of the society was itself significantly influenced. The emphasis on “right behavior” cannot be faulted to these systems, for they did help to foster survival until we could provide a more effective paradigm for healing. The “morality” paradigm offered containment of behaviors: often by inducing fear of consequences or generating shame and guilt feelings. Though the intentions were well placed, there was trauma induced from such an emphasis on behaviors without providing more effective means for addressing the core emotional content of human experience.

Without providing a positive core of nurturing and grounding, premature emphasis on behaviors affected us as a society in exactly the same way that a child is influenced when emphasis is placed too early on right behaviors, before the child knows him/herself as loved simply because he/she is. Without sufficient emotional grounding, the child interprets behavioral failures as “shame,” instead of “guilt.” As more and more shame is induced, “right moral action” becomes increasingly difficult. The language of “mortal” (meaning we “die”) sin did not foster shame reduction! These wounded souls learned to use religious and sacramental experiences to medicate feelings and traumas that could not seem to be wholly resolved. I have seen many lives saved from this “fear of hell,” but I have also seen many spiritually traumatized by it as well. Understand that we cannot divorce ourselves or “judge” our history as errant when it was all the systems knew how to offer us. Let us be grateful for the models and experiences that kept us alive to this point in the awakening of human consciousness, but let us “reframe” our history within the context of a new and more effective “healing” paradigm. Containment is no longer sufficient if we are to move beyond these system-wide problems and patterns.

The proof that many of our religious and sacramental efforts at healing did not fully “resolve” our spiritual blockages resides in the scientific fact that the “emotional charge” of the memory or traumatic experience remained intact. We are far more capable, nowadays, of determining the resolution of the emotional charge of negative memory. Instrumentation has now been developed to help us assess these powerful states of consciousness. The moral model was quite powerful when the matter was simply one of “willpower” and “moral choice,” but little change occurred when the behavioral problem was trauma-induced or memory-based.

Our “traditional” approaches tended to address only one part of the mind: the rational mind. There is no surprise, therefore, that we “got stuck” in our spiritual evolution. The systems utilizing the “morality paradigm” to attempt healing were, primarily, addressing the conscious, rational mind. Moral exhortations would, therefore, only have a limited behavioral effect when the “emotional charge” underlying the errant behaviors was encoded from traumas in the subconscious. My own shift from “traditional” ministry, predominantly addressing the “conscious mind,” to my “ministry to the subconscious” was largely due to this understanding. My ministry to the subconscious mind produced far more actual “healing.”

The desire or willingness to forgive another, for instance, predisposes us for healing and release from the pain of the event. However, if the “offender” is still trapped in your subconscious mind at one millisecond prior to the worst part of the trauma … with his hand raised to hit you, for example, you will continue to react out of your subconscious fear when you are around this individual. Hence, the “moral failure” model assisted with the predisposition toward the new model of healing, but had only limited success when the emotional pain was encoded in the subconscious. The “memories” needing “forgiveness” the most were, more often than not, encoded by this protective system and were, at least in part, encoded subconsciously. Some of these experiences were wholly subconscious in their encoding, and the only clue to their presence was a compulsive or “out of control” behavior. Attempts at applying a “moral” model to an “unknown” source are even more difficult. An exercise in frustration takes place when one is encouraged to use a “moral” forgiveness model to heal an experience that was premorally encoded and is not fully accessible to the conscious mind. As I began to realize the depth of my listeners’ encoded memories, I learned to adapt my homilies to avoid shaming those individuals whose difficulties lay more in the realm of unresolved memory, and less in the “moral failure” category. We cannot fault the “moral failure” model for the service it rendered us historically, but we must mature in our thinking to incorporate these new findings about the mind and the impact of negative and traumatic memory.

Years ago we learned that the early “Biblical Archaeologists” performed some rather irreparable damage to some of the most significant sites in their zeal to find what they believed had happened. In spite of the efforts of Near Eastern Archaeology to divorce itself from this damage, a debt was owed to those who initiated the quest and caused the “right questions” and methodologies to eventually surface. They may have accomplished this through the “via negativa,” but the forefathers of Near Eastern Archaeology they became. Similarly, the religious systems’ efforts were not originally intended to render harm by their emphasis on behavior, they simply didn’t know enough about the source of man’s seemingly “evil” actions to propose any other option. As a minister, I did not intend to slow a person’s spiritual healing or growth by appealing only to his/her “moral conscience,” to the rational mind, it’s just that I didn’t know the power or quantity of memory that was actually anchored in the subconscious. Preaching to an addict about his/her sinful drunkenness was a sure way to induce more shame in the alcoholic who found him/herself failing God again when he/she couldn’t just use willpower to stop. This was a way to insure relapse or the perpetuation of a behavior!


Let us review:

The original “split” in consciousness was “premoral” in its induction and followed humankind’s evolutionary infancy into the present. The natural consequence of repeated, encoded trauma patterns is an alteration in human behavior to compensate for the “triggers” that are now active. As a result of the recurrent triggering, behaviors continue to be modified “negatively,” reinforcing the original false self-perception. Ongoing repetition leads to more severe trauma patterns: Level 2 and even Level 3 encoding – involving more and more damage to the core belief system of the client. The more trauma is induced in a system, the more the rational mind is restricted in its “options.” The powerful subconscious triggers of trauma and memory impair adherence to moral principles. When this occurs on a societal level, there is an increasing deviation from “right behaviors” and more “acting out.” Prolonged exposure to these escalating patterns necessitates the need for an organized containment of the behavioral chaos. The induction of such powerful trauma patterns does not eliminate the need for a discussion of “right moral behavior,” but the percentage of “morally induced” destructive patterns vs. trauma-induced behaviors is rather shocking. The far greater percentage of unhealthy coping mechanisms appears to be induced from trauma, rather than any “intended” moral breach of another’s boundaries. The “moral judgment model” sought to provide containment of destructive behaviors without having a first-hand understanding of the contribution made by trauma. We do not “fault” such attempts at moral containment of behavior, for we did our best with what we had available as tools: namely, the moral model. Even within this model, unhealthy dynamics such as shaming a child were employed to foster containment of “bad” behaviors. We now know that such attempts at containment can cause dramatic shifts in behavior, but the shaming that is utilized adds a “trauma layer” and, in fact, fosters compulsivity – further complicating the “healing process,” not facilitating it.

Our justice system reflects this basic effort to achieve containment of our individual and societal “acting out” behaviors. That is, when it does not seek to “eliminate” the problem and the perpetrator. Dostoevsky’s notion that the measure of a culture’s “civilization” is to be found in how it treats its prisoners should give us much food for thought.

Over these past millenia, we have become accustomed to strategies of containment, elimination, or escape (as with addictions), having no other alternative. Our access to the subconscious sources was restricted by our knowledge and lack of research – by our limited understanding of the bodymind. The magnificence of the functioning of the bodymind in times of stress assured our survival and protection. Again, there is no judgment on any methods that were employed to foster survival. But a justice system based merely on containment is what we produced in the absence of other options. We now have other options at our disposal.

Returning to reflections on our primeval history, we see that what we now know to be subconscious (trauma-induced) encoding appeared to ancient man as a powerful voice driving man to perform actions and behaviors that contradicted his rational mind and conscious willpower. Clearly there had to exist some “evil” voice from the outside tempting man to betray his best efforts and intentions. The “devil” became the scapegoat for the powerful encoding being triggered and acted out from the subconscious programming. It was far easier to blame an outside influence: "The devil made me do it,” rather than try to understand how something so against our conscious choice could have occurred.

But, just as the Yahwist does not assign the voice of the serpent to “Satan,” it is not appropriate to attribute the fragmentation of man’s nature to the “devil.” While in the therapy I have done with over 8000 trauma survivors, I have met few demons, but thousands of encoded perpetrators still at work in the subconscious minds of my clients. Here we find the destructive dynamics of shame mediated by each perpetrator and perpetration. And in each perpetrator was found a child or wounded self still undergoing perpetration in equally violent scenes. We now have an answer as to how that which is alien and foreign to our essentially good and pure natures can come to dominate our best efforts to act from integrity. Knowing nothing of the existence of their own subconscious minds and their power, humankind assumed the negative or destructive impulses of its “internalized perpetrators” to be either its own or the work of an external, evil entity. The effectiveness of our all-protective and encompassing “traumatic amnesia” was noteworthy. And when we did recall an event, how convenient it proved to be able to blame another for ones own internalized traumas. Even Adam and Eve responded with this human “blaming” response in Genesis. The collective manifestation of this Level 2 spiritual trauma to our society is the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” archetype that has emerged in many individuals. This is not to deny, by any means, that such cultic abuse does not occur; I mean simply to state that the commonality of the archetype that has emerged from independent sources that have not been abused in such a manner suggests a common subconscious pattern or connection.

My experience with so many trauma survivors indicates that the locus of all spiritual encounters is the self. Fragmentation of the self impacts all other areas of relationality. The Genesis account depicts the deterioration in relationality in 3 stages: 1) alienation from God (and self) (Adam and Eve with God), 2) alienation from fellow human beings (Cain and Abel), and 3) larger societal alienation (Babel). These dynamics are correctly portrayed, but are far more deeply imprinted during a traumatic experience than by a moral error or mistake. The “original sin” was actually an original breach that occurred on all 3 levels of relationality through the dynamics of shame induction/trauma induction; and this occurred long before we had a conception of “morality.” Where were we in the 745,000 years before the “ten commandments”? I suspect that we had been traumatized long before we conceptualized our first clear moral principles.

History has always proceeded as an historical dialectic. We attempt to articulate truth as best we know it, in our most articulate language, at each stage of our development. I studied such patterns during my post-graduate work. What was once: “There is no salvation outside the Catholic church” appropriately was retranslated and reinterpreted correctly as: “There is no salvation outside the “universal” (katholikos in Greek means “universal”) church. This is one such example of how our understanding of “truth” evolves.

We communicate truth in so many ways: in language and poetry, music, and art. The language we have employed for millenia has held a bias – a bias that was unfamiliar with the deeper dynamics of the bodymind’s functioning. We were unaware of the miracles at work within our own bodyminds during these millenia of evolution. Both individually and societally we froze those moments in space and time that we could not handle. Time is a human perception, however. In the Divine Mind, all is the eternal present. Traumas have riveted or focused our minds on overwhelming “negative” experiences, drawing our focus and energy away from the serenity of living only in the eternal present. We awaken now at the advent of new discoveries in consciousness, to have even the Quantum physicists affirm that we are, inherently, the creative masters of our own states of consciousness. We move from the subconscious victimization by our old evolutionary patterns, to “seize the moment” … only to discover that the moment was ever ours from the first and by our design. Our hat goes off to our designer who sees all of humankind’s traumas as an illusion that happened one millisecond ago. Our God, indeed has not abandoned us, but allowed us to pause all of the pain of human evolution for only one millisecond. To the whole of the individual and collective “unconscious/subconscious” mind, all the traumas of humankind happened only one millisecond ago! I don’t think we have been out of Eden very long, in truth. In fact, as we will discuss in my larger text based on these reflections, perhaps we never really left. All is a matter of perception isn’t it? And now that we perceive ourselves as strong enough to master these “perceptions of consciousness,” we are ready to “undo” our millisecond of stored pain.

The fact remains that, in the old perspective of linear time and evolution, we have some 750,000 years of history reinforcing the old patterns. Hence, you must answer the question for yourself … “What do you believe? … Have we been stuck for 750,000 years, or is this all about a single millisecond of time and perception?” The answer could change “reality” as we know it. Perhaps healing, wholeness, the cures for illness, and the “new world” is not so far away as we have been led to believe. I invite you to explore the possibilities with me. I conclude with an excerpt from Rumi’s poem, “Buoyancy” (taken from: The Essential Rumi, p. 105):

Why should we grieve that we’ve been sleeping?

It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We’re groggy, but let the guilt go.

Feel the motions of tenderness

Around you, the buoyancy.

Eternal Love and Light,

Brent Michael Baum