26 March 2012

The Pain Body

by Ginny Schmidt
From "Practicing the Power of Now:  Essential Teachings, meditations, and exercises from The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle:
The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created... The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment...
The more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering... 
...every pleasure or emotional high contains within itself the seed of pain:  its inseparable opposite, which will manifest in time.
There are two levels...:  the pain that you create now, and the pain from the past that still lives on in your mind and body. ...every emotional pain that you experience leaves behind a residue of pain that lives on in you. It merges with the pain from the past, which was already there, and becomes lodged in your mind and body
...This accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind. ...It's the emotional pain-body.
...Anything can trigger it, particularly if it resonates with a pain pattern from your past. When it is ready to awaken from its dormant stage, even a thought or an innocent remark made by someone close to you can activate it.
...Watch out for any sign [italics added] of unhappiness in yourself, in whatever form -- it may be the awakening pain-body. This can take the form of irritation, impatience, a somber mood, a desire to hurt, anger, rage, depression, a need to have some drama in your relationship... 

She sucked her teeth and tossed her head. "That is a privileged point of view," she said, clearly irritated. "Just more of that privileged new age thinking that makes me sick."

Talking about the Pain Body triggered her pain-body.

Mere mention of "power of Now" or Eckhart Tolle is sufficient to trigger pain-body for some people.

Sometimes, mention of God or Christianity triggers pain-body for me.
The pain-body has two modes of being:  dormant and active. It may be dormant 90 percent of the time; in a deeply unhappy person, though, it may be active up to 100 percent of the time. Some people live almost entirely through their pain-body, while others may experience it only in certain situations, such as intimate relationships, or situations linked with past loss or abandonment, physical or emotional hurt...

When I was growing up, my father often referred to "Kinchlow luck." Kinchlow was his family name and he believed that, for those with that name, everything that could go wrong in a situation, would go wrong. He almost always wore a wry smile when he said it. (Wry smiles were confusing to me as a child: Is s/he happy or sad, I wondered.)

When I changed my name around age 20 he was so upset he stopped speaking to me for years. He felt abandoned. I was no longer subject to the Kinchlow Luck. His pain-body was triggered.

I was hurt and disappointed and frustrated and angry with my father for turning his back on me. I resisted the Now; I wanted things the way they used to be between us. That pain merged with old pain from a decade earlier when my parents divorced and my father disappeared AND I had resisted that Now, wanting things to be the way they had been.

For a long time, my relationships with men were riddled with potential pain-body triggers. Men who looked like my father or walked like him. Men who were mail carriers or who sang or who smiled wryly. Not to mention men who were unfaithful or critical of me or quiet.

"Once the pain-body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator. You want to inflict pain, or you want to suffer pain, or both. ...You...will vehemently claim that you do not want pain. But look closely and you will find that your thinking and behavior are designed to keep the pain going.."
"When you thought you knew a person and then you are suddenly confronted with this alien, nasty creature [the pain-body emerging] for the first time, you are in for quite a shock. It is more important, however, to observe it in yourself than in someone else."
When I observe in myself a judgmental thought, especially a familiar judgmental thought...hear myself thinking/saying something about "people", for example, it is an early warning signal that Pain-Body is uncoiling, preparing for a roar-and-hiss-and-spit fit.

Now and then the wry smile comes into play but more often I am inclined to speak softly and carefully -- an attempt to trick myself and anyone listening into believing and agreeing with whatever complaint or criticism I'm nursing. Because, it is often true that pain-body suffering, a form of misery, enjoys company. Feeds on company. It's been almost 20 years and I can still remember how "good" it felt the first time a therapist affirmed my complaints about the way my parents raised me. 

"Yes!  It happened to me and that is who I am:  the one whose parents hurt her. That's why I am the way I am."

by The Artist Mario
In my brief tour around the Internet to find images for this post, I encountered conversations and commentary about the pain-body concept. Most see the pain-body as a problem to be solved. The favored solutions are some variation of "love yourself" and "surround it with light and positivity." 

I don't understand the teaching that way.  I understand pain body as a result of egoic mind. Like rain is a result of  the interactions of temperature and water vapor and etc. It's not a problem -- though it is sometimes viewed as such -- it's just something that happens and will always happen where water and heat and cold combine. Where there is ego and identification with ego and thinking, there will be pain.

A battle to conquer pain with love will never end. The transmutation of pain into consciousness is what I seek.
Focus attention on the feeling inside... Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don't think about it--don't let the feeling turn into thinking. Don't judge or analyze. ...Stay present and continue to be the observer of what is happening... Become aware...of the one who observes," the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.

Frida Kahlo