Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)

Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Nerea » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:06 pm

I'm really struggling with understanding this one. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and I have been having issues with anger, anxiety, depression and feelings of emptiness for as long as I can remember. So I would say I have a strong ego and pain body. My question is this: How can I be possessed by the ego or the pain body and still be present?

For example most of today, I felt such peace and connectedness to everything. I was truly present for a long time, just went on with my day, feeling alive and joyful. I thought no matter what happens, everything is just as it is and I'm okay with that. Nothing can really affect me. But then someone did something that upset me, and my world came crashing down. (Though it wasn't even a big thing, I get angry very, very easily). I felt the rage in my gut, and I realized I'm still actually present. It was like I was watching myself from a distance, doing and saying things that are very unconcious. I was there, watching, but my ego was controlling my body and my voice. The only way I can describe it is that I was being possessed. I directed my awareness to the anger and all the things I feel, accepting them, not judging them, just watching. But still I went on shouting and saying things.

How can this be? How can my ego be stronger than being present? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Tolle teaches that awareness and ego cannot coexist.
Nerea
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:46 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Webwanderer » Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:28 am

Nerea wrote:How can this be? How can my ego be stronger than being present?

As you and the rest of us know from experience, it's quite easy. The thing is, you've spent a life time energizing your ego perspective. We all everyone have. Tolle recognized a clear distinction between presence and ego in moment of intense despair. But he also had done considerable study before this took place. Until presence and clarity of being are likewise energized, to where that presence and clarity become our default perspective, we are likely to be susceptible to the ego's emergence in times of stress.

Don't be overly concerned about it. That concern will only further feed the ego. Rather, recognize it when you can and find your way back to that presence you prefer when the egoic energy subsides. In time, as your return to presence gets practiced and becomes familiar and more automatic, it will steadily become your default perspective. Spend some time seeing yourself as you want to be, without beating up on yourself when you falter. That seeing will help energize, and pre-pave the conscious approach to life that you prefer.

WW
User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6278
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Nerea » Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:36 pm

Webwanderer wrote:Rather, recognize it when you can and find your way back to that presence you prefer when the egoic energy subsides. In time, as your return to presence gets practiced and becomes familiar and more automatic, it will steadily become your default perspective.


Thank you for your reply. I'm not sure that I completely understand though. You speak about perspective, but what I'm trying to say is that both perspectives are present at the same time. The perspective of the ego, and the perspective of awareness. I'm present and the ego is present. So should I just continue to watch from a distance while my ego hurts the people I love? Because it feels like that's the only thing I can do in that moment. I cannot control what I say or do, because my ego has so much power over my body. I can just be aware of it. But this doesn't diminish the ego in any way. The ego just continues to be and do whatever it likes, while I'm just watching and being aware of it.

Tolle says that whenever you are aware of the ego, the ego is transformed. But it's not, in this case.
Nerea
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:46 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Webwanderer » Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:39 pm

The ego lives in a kind of automatic response function. It is a conditioning or entrainment that that results in a perspective - the lens through which we see life's events. Awareness, or recognition of the ego, is where choice can be made. The ego perspective is to a large part the result of the meaning one applies to events and conditions. Even in the observation one can observe through the meaning that is applied.

But once we clearly recognize that meaning is arbitrary, and that we can pick and choose how we see events - what they mean to us, we can choose a meaning that brings us an experience that we prefer.

You speak about perspective, but what I'm trying to say is that both perspectives are present at the same time.

Yes, that's the way life works. Ego has no consciousness of it's own. It is us, each of us, that is conscious/aware through the ego identification - the ego perspective. Before awakening one is so focused through/as the ego that there is no 'conscious' awareness of our true nature. Egos are formed within that true nature by conditioning, adoption of identifying thought constructs, and meaning applied to events and conditions from the time of our birth.

As we mature and awakening begins, we start may begin seeing ego for what it is - a thought/emotion construct. That seeing doesn't mean it disappears. It just means it becomes more malleable by virtue of the thoughts we hold and the meanings we apply. A greater understanding of Life and our true nature brings constant insight in how to perceive events, what meaning to apply, and how to take more conscious control of our life experience.

Ego will persist in that it is a human perspective on this particular life experience. Awakened consciousness however, allows for a flexibility in perspective. Understand also, that awakening is a matter of degree, sort of like when you awaken from a night's sleep yet have a lot of cobwebs to see through early on. Awakening, as you are starting to see, brings opportunities for conscious choice even though some automatic responses continue to arise. In time the new meanings you apply to your life events and conditions will bring a better quality of arisings.
User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6278
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Nerea » Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:46 pm

Webwanderer wrote:Understand also, that awakening is a matter of degree, sort of like when you awaken from a night's sleep yet have a lot of cobwebs to see through early on. Awakening, as you are starting to see, brings opportunities for conscious choice even though some automatic responses continue to arise. In time the new meanings you apply to your life events and conditions will bring a better quality of arisings.


Thank you. This cleared it up a lot. I now realize I have been waiting and wishing for my ego to dissolve or something, and that is of course a thought of the ego. Maybe it was a thought that once I'm aware and present, my life will change in an instant and all my problems will go away, which is not the case of course. The ego came through the back door. Accepting everything as it is, is hard, especially when you are hurting yourself and others around you, involuntarily. It's very hard not to judge my own actions. But I will keep trying.
Nerea
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:46 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Webwanderer » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:59 am

Nerea wrote:
Webwanderer wrote:Understand also, that awakening is a matter of degree, sort of like when you awaken from a night's sleep yet have a lot of cobwebs to see through early on. Awakening, as you are starting to see, brings opportunities for conscious choice even though some automatic responses continue to arise. In time the new meanings you apply to your life events and conditions will bring a better quality of arisings.


Thank you. This cleared it up a lot. I now realize I have been waiting and wishing for my ego to dissolve or something, and that is of course a thought of the ego. Maybe it was a thought that once I'm aware and present, my life will change in an instant and all my problems will go away, which is not the case of course. The ego came through the back door. Accepting everything as it is, is hard, especially when you are hurting yourself and others around you, involuntarily. It's very hard not to judge my own actions. But I will keep trying.

Glad you found a little clarity. Ego is a part of the human experience. I know of no one on this forum, or have personally met, that did not have an ego through which they regularly perceived life. Some claimed to have no more ego, but it didn't take long in a dialog to demonstrate otherwise. Ego is not a bad thing, it's just a thing. As I suggested earlier, ego is malleable and can be influenced by our thoughts and beliefs.

That said, awakening reveals that we do not always have to perceive as ego. We can find enough clarity through meditation and (mentally) silent awareness to recognize ego's foibles from a clearer state of being. When the perspective from clarity becomes more familiar through consistent repetition, choice in the meaning we apply and our responses to challenging conditions will become more available. This conscious restructuring of meaning has a life altering effect on our life experience. There can be no hurry to fix things though. For most, it's a life long endeavor.

Start by giving yourself a break. No self-judgment is superior to clear understanding; and true understanding will hold no judgment. You are valuable to Life beyond your imagination. No life of conditioning and entrainment, no matter how seemingly negative, will dismiss this Greater Awareness and the infinite love that is your essence. Enjoy and appreciate life whenever possible. And when it's not, be patient and take advantage of such opportunities when they return. They will.

WW
User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6278
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Nerea » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:04 pm

Webwanderer wrote:Ego is a part of the human experience. I know of no one on this forum, or have personally met, that did not have an ego through which they regularly perceived life. Some claimed to have no more ego, but it didn't take long in a dialog to demonstrate otherwise. Ego is not a bad thing, it's just a thing. As I suggested earlier, ego is malleable and can be influenced by our thoughts and beliefs.


This is so true. I used to make ego my enemy. Now I actually want to be friends with it, get to know it, inside and out. I'm actually quite curious! Yesterday evening I had a great opportunity to observe my (negative) thoughts and feelings, and I experienced something I can only describe as curious joy. Like I was smiling, internally, while listening my mind going on and on about it's problems. Suddenly it all felt so absurd that I bursted out laughing! The problems didn't vanish, but I didn't take them as seriously anymore.

Webwanderer wrote:Start by giving yourself a break. No self-judgment is superior to clear understanding; and true understanding will hold no judgment. You are valuable to Life beyond your imagination. No life of conditioning and entrainment, no matter how seemingly negative, will dismiss this Greater Awareness and the infinite love that is your essence. Enjoy and appreciate life whenever possible. And when it's not, be patient and take advantage of such opportunities when they return. They will.


Thank you so much for these kind words, and thank you for taking time to reply. Sometimes the only thing we need is a reminder. I keep forgetting, but I keep coming back also. And I feel like every time I come back, I can stay a little longer.
Nerea
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:46 am

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby viking55803 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:35 pm

Eckhart Tolle's description of our pain bodies is very helpful with exactly what you experience. The activation of the pain body can indeed seem like being possessed by an "entity." The pain body is made up of all mental-emotion complexes (to use a word from psychoanalysis.) These are like sense memories with a powerful emotional charge. Anything that pushes the right button will activate a complex in the pain body that completely takes over our consciousness, often before we even realize what is happening. Whenever our emotional reaction seems to be out of proportion to the event that triggers it, you can bet it is the pain body lighting up.

We ALL have complexes, although some of us have less of an emotional charge attached to them. We ALL have a pain body; the accumulation of every unpleasant emotional experience of our lives and the thoughts that accompany them. In ancient times, the Greeks called these "gods" because they seemed so powerful and could possess a person so easily. I believe our pain bodies have distinct "characters" that we share with many other people. These are archetypal forms that have existed among humans for eons.

I do not believe there is anything we can do to rid ourselves of our pain bodies, or our egos for that matter. The "trick" that ET offers is to simply be able to say to oneself, "Oh! There's my pain body waking up!!" Just that simple awareness leads to the realization that you are NOT your pain, you are NOT your thoughts. You ARE simply the awareness, the conscious presence observing those forms.

Personally, trying to analyze or fix our pain bodies is a waste of energy. Better to just call all of that 'stuff" our pain body and, over time take away its power to create drama in our lives and feed off ours and others pain.

Maybe just a different perspective I offer.

Gary
User avatar
viking55803
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:38 pm
Location: Duluth, Minnesota

Re: Possessed by the Ego / Pain Body, yet Being Present

Postby Phil2 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:18 pm

Nerea wrote:
How can this be? How can my ego be stronger than being present? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Tolle teaches that awareness and ego cannot coexist.


This is correct, awareness and ego cannot coexist, because ego is made of thought, and when there is awareness there can be no thought ...

The problem you raise is that your presence is not permanent, therefore you let thought come in and with it the emotional 'knee-jerk' reactions ... what needs to be done is to let more presence and stillness come into your life eg. by meditating and by becoming more aware of your own emotional states and reactions ... and this process takes time too ...
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
Phil2
 
Posts: 1379
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:24 pm


Return to Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest