This Journal is a follow-on addition to the series entitled “The Daily Tinkering…Transforming Pain” whose earlier iterations were written in March, 2015, and in the more expansive initial Daily Tinkering from October, 2014.
We’ll consider some more thoughts about how we can understand our pain on a daily basis, accept its presence in the moment, generate the intention of transforming our pain, and then begin the daily life practice process of transformation.
If we do not transform our pain, then we will transmit our pain, either outward at others in the world around us, or inwards, back into the inner world of our own self that it came from. The transformation of our interior pain is not about how we exert our intelligence, willpower, control, or our striving for perfection. Instead, it is about how we allow ourselves to practice honesty, humility, willingness, and surrender.
The transmission of pain in either the outer or inward directions creates more pain for the various recurring cycles of our life, and this just serves to bring more pain right back to us. Such transmissions also create more shame and guilt in our interior, and this only magnifies our pain-body even more.
Over the ages many have professed their thoughts on the subject of human pain. The subject of our human pain has undoubtedly generated more thinking and writing and preaching than any other subject that we might imagine.
And yet, for all of our philosophizing on the subject, we are still bringing war and destruction to our own species, as well as to our own planetary home. Such are examples of our outer transmission of individual and collective cultural pain.
The human race has been at war for over 95% of the time over the past 2000 years. In the past 2 centuries we have also devised more and more methodically aggressive ways to usurp and corrupt the bounty and generosity of earth. The health of our ecosystem and its sustainability is not open ended and infinite.
Irrevocable bridges of environmental balance are being destroyed with a frequency which our cultured and ingrained sense of entitlement and greed simply allows us to choose to dismiss. We have lost touch with the wisdom of Nature, the great teacher and source of all life on earth.
If we fight something long enough we begin to mirror its shadow qualities because we take on those shadow qualities in our own lives. This is why violence begets more violence in our world of fabricated terrorism. I ask you…who is fabricating the terrorism? Where does terrorism begin?
The solution to our collective pain-body lies in how each of us manages our own individual pain.
What have others said about Gandhi’s mandate…“we must become the change which we wish to see in the world”…?
Franciscan priest Richard Rohr is one of the best current thinkers and teachers for the increasingly chaotic times we live in. He expresses his multicultural wisdom on the subject of the pain-body in a manner which cuts across the limitations of all religions, psychologies, and various institutional failures, including our pathetic global governmental system failures.
The following writing, quoted liberally, is from his recent messages on “Healing our Violence,” from October 19, 2015.
The next time you are offended, consider it a “teachable moment” and ask yourself what part of you is actually upset. It’s normally your false self. If you can move back to the big picture of who you are in God, your True Self, you’ll find what upset you usually doesn’t amount to a hill of beans! But you can waste a whole day (or longer) feeding that hurt until it eventually seems to have a life of its own and, in fact, “possesses” you. At that point, it becomes what Eckhart Tolle rightly calls your “pain-body.” We all have one. The pain body is probably what Christians meant by “original sin.” The only problem is your degree of identification with it.
Tolle defines this “accumulated pain” as “a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind.” In your mind, it makes you judgmental and negative. In your body, it makes you fearful and angry. You can observe this energy in yourself as a knee-jerk, self-protective reaction to everything around you. I emphasize the word reaction here because there’s no clear, conscious decision to think or act in this way. Tolle says, “If you look on [the pain body] as an invisible entity in its own right, you are getting quite close to the truth.” Tolle never uses the word “demon,” but perhaps his term “emotional pain-body” is a good description of what Scripture often means by a demon. Tolle says, “The pain-body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it,” which is what most people do. Then you are indeed “possessed”! In healing work and in meditation, you learn to stop identifying with the pain and instead calmly relate to it in a compassionate way. Some call this “taming your dragon.” Ironically, your demon now becomes a friend and educator.
For example, in centering prayer, you observe the hurt as it arises in your stream of consciousness, but you don’t jump on this boat and give it energy. Instead, you name it (“resentment toward my spouse”), then you let go of it, leave it on the boat, and let it float down the river. You say, “That’s not me. I don’t need that today. I have no need to feed this resentment. I know who I am without it.” This is the beginning of emotional sobriety. Many are converted to a spiritual life, but without this emotional conversion their behavioral reactions remain much like everyone else’s. Thus the importance of contemplative prayer.
If you’ve been eating that resentment toward your spouse as a regular meal, the boat’s going to come back around in the next minute because it’s accustomed to you filling your plate with such fast, cheap food. When you still don’t give it any energy, it’ll probably try a third time, too. Devils are persistent!
“You’ve always identified with me before,” it says. But then you must know, “Who was I before I resented my spouse? And even before that?” This is the primary way you learn to live in your True Self, where you are led by a foundational “yes,” not by the petty push backs of “no.”
Crestone and Beyond
All of our pain is created by the cultured, habituated, and addictive illusion of separation. We feel and think that we are separate from the rest of creation. This sense of separateness permeates all aspects of our lives. Being born into an earthly plane where we learn our sense of separateness in the preverbal period, we begin to develop basic fear patterns before we can even speak.
We learn this feeling state as the feeling of “what it feels like to be me” in our biological family of origin.
Each one of these fears leads to the next fear construct:
- the fear of scarcity, or lack
- the fear of not being good enough
- the fear of rejection
- the fear of loss of control
All addictive patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior are created in our attempt to placate these fear constructs.
As these 4 basic fears take hold of our life and become the fuel for our pain-body, we live our lives in the ongoing constant clutch of fear, and along the way we develop the final fear, which is the greatest illusion (fear) of all…the fear of death.
We fail to understand the importance, necessity, and vitality of death…the necessity of letting go of this lifetime in order to experience birth and rejuvenation into a new life after life. For many who live with a fear of living, life is often filled with an emptiness and a sense of meaninglessness.
Because of the layered fears listed above we quickly lose touch with our connection to the ongoing eternal multidimensional nature of our Being, or, our Higher Self. Our sense of separation blankets our ability to see our connection to everything at finer quantum, holographic, cosmic, and multidimensional levels; a subject of a number of past writings in this Journal stream.
Those who fear death the most are those who have not lived full lives. We are never ready or prepared to leave this life until we have fully lived inside of it. It is only those who have experienced life fully and intensely who are the ones who are the most ready, willing, and able to let go of it.
People who have not fully lived know inside of themselves that deep awareness, consciousness, and life force have eluded them. They do not understand the reason for their birth and their life. Since they have not fully lived, they have great resistance and difficulty imagining their eventual death.
If we have these clouded fears about life and death, we will have a resistance to both life and death. Being defined by what it is that we resist, we will continue on in the resistance pattern, and then this pattern turns into an addictive pattern. We never take this lifetime seriously enough to understand its inherent spiritual gifts and graces.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered…“Man…because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.
The Gradual Scribe
- The Three Things We Fear Most…a Buddhist practitioner considers fear from the standpoint of 3 kinds of fear: insecurity and helplessness, aloneness and disconnection, and unworthiness….posted here on October 24, 2017.