The evolution of this book mirrors the evolution of own consciousness (of our traumas)

Navi Radjou
3 min readMay 21, 2024

I waited 10 years to publish this story.

In 2007, I had a severe burnout.

All my symptoms-insomnia, deep anxiety, weight loss — were just SOMATIC (physical) expression of something deeper: the physical and emotional trauma I endured during my childhood.

The Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) therapies I underwent in Marin County in California during 2007–8 saved my life and regenerated my mind, body, and soul.

Since then, I began learning how emotional traumas inflict enduring damage to our brain and impair our mental health, which then manifests into physical illness (ranging from inflammation to even cancer, as new research shows)

For several years, I couldn’t find a book that explains in (neuro)scientific terms how the body “remembers” your traumas, especially related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Then, in 2014, came “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Dr Bessel Van der Kolk, a Dutch psychiatrist.

In this book, Dr. Van der Kolk draws on his vast research and experiences — and scientific data — to show how psychological trauma, also known traumatic stress, affects deeply the mind and body.

Read his interview in The Guardian: https://lnkd.in/eKuzyRxb.

In 2014, I was living in PaloAlto, California.

I discovered this book in a Barnes & Noble, Inc.’s store in San Francisco, buried (hidden) amidst among many other books in the “Self-Help” (Personal development) section.

This book was a godsend to me.

It enabled me to better understand my own PTSD, and cultivate self-compassion

It also validated what I knew empirically since 2007 : the assiduous practice of mindfulness meditation, yoga, and self-compassion can overcome the debilitating effects of traumatic stress

Between 2014 and 2020, every year, I watched WHERE this book was placed in Barnes & Noble stores

In 2014, as mentioned above, it was buried in the Self-Help section.

Thereafter, the book came out of its anonymity and first was placed “face up” in the Self-Help section.

Then, it was placed amidst a pile of “Noteworthy” books displayed prominently in the MIDDLE of B&N stores.

Fast forward to 2020:

I was living in Brooklyn, New York when COVID-19 struck.

When I visited B&N stores across New York, this book was displayed right at the ENTRANCE of all B&N stores !

I believe Covid-19 — a traumatic experience for entire humanity — made people conscious of their past traumas and got them interested to learn more about it by reading books like this one.

The Body Keeps the Score, published in 36 languages, has spent over 188 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List, with +27 of those weeks in #1 position.

This book’s long evolution to becoming a #1 bestseller mirrors the gradual evolution of human consciousness: it takes time in societies to break taboos on sensitive topics like traumas and take responsibility for our mental health.

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Navi Radjou

Indian-French-American Scholar in Frugal Innovation + Wise Leadership. TED Speaker. Based in France. Visit: NaviRadjou.com