Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

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rivercurrents
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Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by rivercurrents » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:55 am

Hi folks,
Here is my story in a small nutshell!
I had a painful childhood with emotional abuse/ manipulation from my mother, and little time spent with my very distant (and occasionally angry) wounded father (Austrian WW2 vet).
The only times I felt loved as a child were occasional moments with my father being together in the outdoors/nature and also some moments with my older sisters best friend (severely sexually abused neighbor who my mother took in somewhat) who used to visit us from when I was about 5 or 6 (she 7 or 8 ).
The two of us then fell in love (?) on a working holiday picking fruit together with my sister, the three of us living in a tent beside a beautiful river. I was nearly 17, she and my sister both 19.
Then after this short interlude life went back to usual with my fighting parents living on separate levels of the house (her parents also separating). I had nobody to talk to about my first experience with a woman, and so not sure how to deal with the big feelings we had, we became awkward neighbors who seldom saw each other. She began experiencing intense anxiety and panic attacks over earthquakes, burglars etc (and drank/ took drugs more and more). I remember visiting her once when feeling torn between my two miserable parents and shaking uncontrollably in her arms. Neither of our parents approved of the two of us as a couple, and though aware of what happened between us, never a word was spoken or asked. She later showed me many letters and poems she'd written me, and though deeply moved I had no concept of how to deal with this and left for Austria where I remained (essentially) for the next 10 years.
Well to cut it short, 2005 I began psychotherapy, 2006 I visited her and a month later she checked herself into a psychiatric ward. I moved back to the region 6 months later and encouraged her to leave the place where she was being over-medicated. We lived together and I tried to 'rescue' her but failed. We have a now 18month old daughter who has been since age 4 months fully in my care.
I am continuing counseling.

I find myself drawn to remember the summer we spent together by the river whenever I sit on any riverside. I usally just start to cry remembering the two teenagers we were and how for a brief interlude, I think we were happy and somehow 'in the now' to a greater degree than ever before (or after?). In therapy, this summer comes up again and again.

Am I stuck living in a pain-body remembering this time? Or is it a trigger to help me feel grief (or joy?) that I denied myself from feeling at the time??

Tolle writes on page 54 in 'The Power of Now': 'Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed. Step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life'

Yet I feel I avoided the 'feelings' of this summer for 12 years (age 17 to 29) and even now I feel I have some un-felt feelings blocking me from being able to be truly in the NOW. Why else would my thoughts/feelings gravitate to this summer whenever I sit beside a river? or when I see her face and smile or a photograph?

Is it advisable to periodically bring my attention to the past so I can cry and feel sadness (after doing this I nearly always feel lighter and more in the present). Or is remembering the past becoming an addiction? Hankering to be able to return to a time (impossible of course) when things were simpler? A time before I 'lost' myself amidst years of running away and not feeling?

Sometimes I feel almost as if there is some part of myself (my higher self?) that I left there, and I want to reconnect with it by remembering and 'feeling' it again. Yet other times I feel like I might be getting lost in the past?

Do I have to cry and cry and remember and remember until I can forget it? Or should I 'withdraw attention' from this past period of my life? And when I'm at a river, should I try and be in the NOW with the present river rather than allow myself to remember 'that' river from that summer 17 years ago?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

-ps I just wondered if it might bare relevance to note that not long after this fated summer, my father visited me in Austria and suffered a massive stroke upon arrival, and a few years later he died. So remembering around this time perhaps is also pleasant /sad / triggering for me because it was the last time I remember being with my father when he was well and comparatively 'happy'. It's also the last time in my life I was physically healthy and without ailments (chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, depression etc).

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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by kiki » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:58 pm

Welcome to the board, rivercurrents.
Am I stuck living in a pain-body remembering this time?
Yes, it would seem so.
Or is it a trigger to help me feel grief (or joy?) that I denied myself from feeling at the time??

Tolle writes on page 54 in 'The Power of Now': 'Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed. Step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life'

Yet I feel I avoided the 'feelings' of this summer for 12 years (age 17 to 29) and even now I feel I have some un-felt feelings blocking me from being able to be truly in the NOW. Why else would my thoughts/feelings gravitate to this summer whenever I sit beside a river? or when I see her face and smile or a photograph?
Feelings of grief can be triggered in lots of ways depending on ego/mind's conditioning, and they will return when they are not fully embraced/allowed when they do - not allowing something just drives it deeper. Nothing is to be avoided or clung to whenever it arises.

Is it advisable to periodically bring my attention to the past so I can cry and feel sadness (after doing this I nearly always feel lighter and more in the present).
There is no need to bring attention to the past. Let attention remain with what's happening in this moment and fully accept whatever has arisen. Let it be here without resistance or without clinging.
Or is remembering the past becoming an addiction? Hankering to be able to return to a time (impossible of course) when things were simpler? A time before I 'lost' myself amidst years of running away and not feeling?
Mind/ego is addicted to thoughts of past and hopes for the future - that's what creates what is called ego, but that ego is only an illusion. You have to discover this illusion for yourself, see that ego is nothing more than certain thoughts that are identified with. Without those thoughts from the past or thoughts about the future no "you" as a separate entity will be found.
Sometimes I feel almost as if there is some part of myself (my higher self?) that I left there, and I want to reconnect with it by remembering and 'feeling' it again. Yet other times I feel like I might be getting lost in the past?
What you probably experienced at that time was a dropping of thought, a freedom from the "story of me" for a brief period, but that has now turned into an idea that you are attempting to recapture. As you know, you can't recapture the past - it's a futile exercise that only leads to suffering. For a brief time there was a sense that nothing more was needed, and so the "story of me" was complete and it dropped away. But later that moment became incorporated into the story again as it reconstituted itself. In trying to get it back it remains elusive. All effort does is prevent you from seeing/realizing what is here now. Without efforting in any way that "seeing" presents itself.
Do I have to cry and cry and remember and remember until I can forget it?
Being "awake" does not entail "forgetting" anything. It is about being fully here right now. If tears come up then that's what has arisen, so fully feel them and accept them. Let attention rest with what is felt rather than any associated story. Stories only keep a feedback loop intact. Using ET's portal of feeling the inner body is helpful in breaking that feedback loop. Feel everything without labeling or naming any of it - just see what is present in the body as an energy that is attempting to expend its charge and leave the body. Thinking about the reasons for that energetic movement interferes with the elimination of that energy. And resisting it or trying to manipulate it in some way blocks the energy from releasing.
Or should I 'withdraw attention' from this past period of my life? And when I'm at a river, should I try and be in the NOW with the present river rather than allow myself to remember 'that' river from that summer 17 years ago?
Discover that right now is when life is fully lived, regardless if there is a river in front of you or not. Right now is all there ever is - past and future are creations of the mind only. The river represents what was once discovered, and what was discovered is what is always present right now.

-ps I just wondered if it might bare relevance to note that not long after this fated summer, my father visited me in Austria and suffered a massive stroke upon arrival, and a few years later he died. So remembering around this time perhaps is also pleasant /sad / triggering for me because it was the last time I remember being with my father when he was well and comparatively 'happy'. It's also the last time in my life I was physically healthy and without ailments (chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, depression etc).
Everybody's story is unique, but in all cases the way to freedom is fully resting in the moment, in the now.

kiki
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by OnthePath » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:25 pm

Hello rivercurrents,

Ask yourself whether you are letting go of your past or suppressing/repressing it. Letting go and repressing are two different things. If you're trying to repress the memories you had with your girlfriend, they will get back to you sooner or later.
Watch those memories coming up to you, let them be then let them go. Watch every feeling or emotion that comes up with them: sadness, regret, attachment etc.. and also observe any physical pain that accompanies them: heaviness in the chest, pain in the shoulders, heavy breathing etc.... When you do that, you'll be sure that you're watching all the process without suppressing it. These memories will eventually fade away.

Good luck

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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by Juno » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:01 pm

This is a very good video clip about suffering consciously by Scott Kiloby.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en3nNlSd ... annel_page
by thinking of something you create an entity and by thinking of nothing you create another. Let such erroneous thinking perish utterly, and then nothing will remain for you to go seeking!
Huang Po

rivercurrents
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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by rivercurrents » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:22 pm

Thank you so much everyone for the comments. They have helped me come closer to understanding this.

Yesterday a couple thoughts struck me. Firstly that the actual time which I was so affected by was only approximately three weeks (the actual time when we lived by the river in the tent). A period of time that passes by so quickly thesedays, without much to differentiate one period from another. I asked myself, how could so much happen in such a short time that could move me so profoundly? And more importantly, how could such a short space of time produce such a beautiful experience that I couldn't experience now?

Then two answers came to me about that experience. Firstly the presence and the shear beauty of nature that we were immersed in (swaying trees, pastures, and a wide flowing sparkling braided river), and secondly that I was for the first time in my life living with and experiencing unconditional love from my two closest friends (my sister who now had no reason to bully me away from the divisive favoritism of my waring parents) and my new girlfriend (and childhood friend) who simply delighted in every moment of my presence.

What I remembered was my sense of imposing dread and unspeakable sadness I wanted to then feel when the time came to pack our bags and cycle back to the ferry to take us home. Back to a life of ongoing meaningless school exams (toward an equally meaningless career) and living in a state of war and separation with my disintegrating family. But I never cried then. I remember just choking back every feeling and trying to be a tough guy.

So I think it's because I never grieved the passing of this experience, that I've been hankering and attempting to repeat it ever since. But because I never let go of it, I could never re-experience the profound degree of 'presence' that I felt then, and so I began to associate true happiness with a time that I could never revisit.. Did my ego latch onto the unexpressed pain-body as a sense of identity? (the pain-body that wanted to grieve the sadness of losing such an intense experience of joy amidst a life of pain?).

Well, so after thinking this, I began to remember feelings.. How the trees used to sway in the breeze, how the summer grass smelt and the sound of the cool sparkling water flowing over the rocks.. then I allowed myself to feel the sadness of letting these three weeks go.. saying goodbye to the time.. then tears began to flow and sob and slowly I felt the beginning of something approaching acceptance and appreciation. And then I noticed the beauty of the trees in my very own my back yard - trees which are hundreds of miles and 17 years from that river..

I don't know if I'm understanding all this correctly yet. But I think I'm getting there. :) I just read the post on crying. Every tear seems to take me a little closer to the present now.

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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by HermitLoon » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:41 pm

:D
Peace

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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by kiki » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:44 am

then I allowed myself to feel the sadness of letting these three weeks go.. saying goodbye to the time.. then tears began to flow and sob and slowly I felt the beginning of something approaching acceptance and appreciation. And then I noticed the beauty of the trees in my very own my back yard - trees which are hundreds of miles and 17 years from that river..
Yes; very good.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Q on Pain-body: Feeling past pain/sadness or present denial?

Post by Sighclone » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:18 am

Welcome rivercurrents.

You say:
Back to a life of ongoing meaningless school exams (toward an equally meaningless career)
Why are you doing meaningless things?

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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