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TRA is for Trance: On the Linguistics of Crossing Over

TRA is for Trance: On the Linguistics of Crossing Over

The Emerald

Trance, traverse, transformation, tradition, transcendence, transgression — all come from a single Indo-European linguistic root TRA, which signifies some type of crossing over. Crossing over is something human beings have always been inclined to do — populations migrate across great expanses as explorers seek new horizons. Too much emphasis on crossing over, however, can lead to worldviews of transcendence, in which the purpose of existence is to 'get past' rather than exist in harmony with what is. Transcendence worldviews are alive and well in modern apocalyptic religion and in modern science, which seems determined to transcend nature, blast us to mars, and extend human lifespans. Yet traditionally, this human need for traverse was addressed through ritualized trance, which carried practitioners across a great inner divide. The great inner traverse offered by trance practice brought the practitioner into a state of focused presence, a flow state that is the heart of mystical tradition, and that requires the greatest of traverses to reach — the traverse across the torrent of agitated discursive thought to a state of seamless integration. These days, this traverse is harder and harder to make, as we are inundated with technologies that 'carry us across', and we spend most of our waking lives in an unwitting trance, perpetually crossing over without even realizing it. TRA is for trance — choose your trances wisely.

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07/15/21 • 75 min

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