working with my pain body

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.

working with my pain body

Postby jungblood » Wed May 14, 2014 4:35 am

hello friends,

I've just joined for the forum, having recently re-read 'The Power of Now'. Im a practicing zen buddhist (whatever that means), but I was drawn back to Eckhart's teachings because I find that the language he uses, and the simple but subtle explanation of how our consciousness works, is extremely powerful.. In zen we put a lot of emphasis on just being present, mindful of the here and now, without judgment... ostensibly that's pretty much in keeping with what Eckhart teaches, but I think his use of the concept of the 'pain body' is very helpful... I have been meditating for a few years, and I think I've made some progress, but as a recovering addict I have to acknowledge that my pain body is pretty strong at times... sometimes trying to just be mindful without any judgment can be challenging, because for someone with a strong pain body, being present can feel pretty uncomfortable... somehow the language of 'being with the pain body', and allowing it to be, helps me to just stay present - it's as if i'm taking a positive decision to accept the pain inside, and stay with it, rather than just watching it without any expectation or purpose - it's a subtle difference, but an important one... this more positive approach - where I accept that I am dealing with something uncomfortable, rather than just being with a completely neutral 'here and now', helps me to stay with the pain body until it ebbs away... it has been extremely helpful to my meditation practice..

Working with the pain body is, of course, and ongoing process that needs to be integrated into daily life... my painbody manifests in numerous ways, but one of the most overt is in grasping for sense pleasures... craving... I've been sober for over 12 years, but until quite recently I was quite a sugar-holic... I'm happy to say I quit sugar two months ago (so far so good!), but letting go of that source of sense gratification has really opened my eyes to the painbody inside me, and the way it pushes me to grasp at things to mood alter with... whether it be candy or netflix of whatever - anything to 'zone out'... I'm learning not to do that, and to stay present instead... and this process requires sitting with the 'pain body'...

I can either be with my pain body, consciously, or be oblivious to it and be enslaved by it... I'm glad I found this forum, as I'm sure checking in regularly will be a good support to developing greater awareness and consciousness... thank you to the adminsitrators for keeping this space going! :D

Many thanks,
Lucas
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby jungblood » Thu May 15, 2014 5:02 am

Howdy folks,

Maintaining presence on an ongoing basis is still something I'm far away from... My daily meditation is a big help, of course, but bringing presence into the rest of my day, and life, is what's really needed... one of the real markers for me of whether I'm being present or not is the extent to which I refrain from grasping at sense pleasures... when I am present, I can just witness the pain body rise and fall in the form of craving, without letting it dictate my actions... today I had a bit of a 'grasping slip', in the form of a blueberry muffin... :? ... oh well, not a big deal... this was in the afternoon...

My meditation this evening also showed me I'm a little disjointed some how... I disappeared into thinking for a good ten minutes at one point, before i realized I had done so... I guess I am a work in progress, and I remind myself not to judge my meditation.. it would be all too easy for me to slip into the egoic mind and start saying 'that was a 'bad' meditation - must do better tomorrow'...

Another think I'm really learning about myself these days is that what underpins all my grasping at things outside myself is founded on an erroenous belief that they will bring happiness... even if i dont have this belief consciously, it is still there subconsciously, driving self-defeating thought patterns and behaviors... more significantly, i think a desperation to be loved somehow underpins all this... what my pain body yearns for most is to be loved and validate by others... of course, this is born of an false feeling of separateness from the world around me... the distance between what I can understand with my mind and what I can understand with my spirit, and hence feel, can be great however, and at times the sense of separation still feels strong and painful for me...

Anyway, right now I need to lay my head down and sleep... we'll see what new understandings tomorrow might bring... :wink:

Hugs,
Lucas
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Thu May 15, 2014 2:36 pm

Hi Lucas,

Great to hear about your experiences! We're all on this wonderful journey together - so it's great to give and receive expressions of our experiences to and from others. From here it sounds like you've had some tough times and are determined to get to the root of it and have a real clean up. I certainly empathise with this - it's something of a passion for me too!

I'm looking forward to reading your future posts and seeing how things develop.

jungblood wrote:today I had a bit of a 'grasping slip', in the form of a blueberry muffin... :?


In my opinion this is certainly OK! My mum always used to say "if you learn from your mistake, it wasn't a mistake". Indulging in a craving can help us understand it more, giving us the insight to choose to let it go if we wish. Just investigating a craving is a great insight into what makes us up. It sounds like you already know this and are exploring it for yourself. Power to you! Personally I gave up smoking and alcohol quite spontaneously but in their place I now enjoy the occasionally sugary coffee. I'm interested to see how I react if my new guilty pleasure is taken away.

jungblood wrote:whether it be candy or netflix of whatever


I read a great post on this forum when I first joined that recommended watching plays as a way to test our reactions. The poster said they sat in the front row and observed how they judged the characters as the story developed. They found it a great practice to bring their introspections into the realm of personal interactions without the worry that it might have a direct impact on them. I started doing this with TV and found it extremely helpful in understanding my own conditioning and reactions to a large number of varied events. This evolved into a practice in my day-to-day life and is now an almost constant process. I find that in life whether I'm watching TV, reading documents at work, sat on the train, talking with friends, responding to posts on here, or whatever, I am in a process of engaging with that event, but also quietly investigating my internal responses to it. That way life is my teacher. I look forward to the challenges that come up because I see first hand how they expose my conditioning, leading (with patience and time) to inner growth.

To cut a long story short I'd recommend not beating yourself up over watching Netflix, but instead use it as an opportunity to quietly learn about yourself in the safety of your own home (from the comfort of your own living room no less!)

Love,

Jack
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby Onceler » Thu May 15, 2014 9:33 pm

Enterzen, I notice that I'm watching my judgments and reactions as well, although with people in real life. I'll see someone on the street and make a snap, conditioned judgment and then almost immediately catch myself, look at it and watch it slip away.

I find this curious as I'm not trying to do it, it's just happening. In fact, if I try to stay with the judgment and 'feel bad' about it or explore it further (judge the judgment), I almost can't do it. It's too early to tell if this is second nature and, often, I'm not even aware that I'm doing it. Which is really weird. It feels as if there is some kind of reverse engineering of conditioning going on. I agree though, it feels like a continuous process.....
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Thu May 15, 2014 10:26 pm

I was thinking about you when I was writing that. I know what you mean about focusing on judgements and them just falling away. I feel the same that it's too early to make judgements about this. I'd rather my attention were on other things.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby Onceler » Thu May 15, 2014 11:06 pm

EnterZenFromThere wrote:. I'd rather my attention were on other things.


Brilliant.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby jungblood » Fri May 16, 2014 6:01 am

hi there friends,

These are some interesting comments... it's funny - for the past year or so I've had a similar experience, in that I witness myself judging someone or something, and almost instantly I just see it and it starts to dissipate... maybe its growing consciousness, or maybe I'm just getting apathetic and couldnt be bothered with expending energy in judging people so much as I used to - it gets tiring! :lol:
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby Onceler » Fri May 16, 2014 1:49 pm

I believe judging is essentially fear-based. Hyper alert activation to threat......physical and psychic. Diminished sense of fear=diminished sense of threat, and less need to judge.

Just a thought.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Fri May 16, 2014 2:43 pm

Onceler wrote:Diminished sense of fear=diminished sense of threat, and less need to judge.


Interestingly for me it started the other way round.

Awareness residing in/as stillness --> a reduction in judgement --> reduced fear conditioning --> reduced fear intensity and frequency.

But I suspect it is actually working both ways - one feeding the other like spinning a wheel.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby Onceler » Fri May 16, 2014 3:42 pm

EnterZenFromThere wrote:
Onceler wrote:Diminished sense of fear=diminished sense of threat, and less need to judge.


Interestingly for me it started the other way round.

Awareness residing in/as stillness --> a reduction in judgement --> reduced fear conditioning --> reduced fear intensity and frequency.

But I suspect it is actually working both ways - one feeding the other like spinning a wheel.


Hmm, sure. I also thought today that the present is so pervasive, so superficial yet deep, that unencumbered by fear and misery, we are drawn to it like a moth to flame.

My latest meditation is to turn my attention to a natural entity; tree, leaf, plant, rock, sky, etc. there is something in me that wants to look and something in them that wants to be seen. The more I look the more is seen. It's quite gratifying and leaves little room for negativity. The natural world doesn't seem to hold any negativity in any form and is a respite from the human world.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby runstrails » Fri May 16, 2014 4:19 pm

Onceler wrote:My latest meditation is to turn my attention to a natural entity; tree, leaf, plant, rock, sky, etc. there is something in me that wants to look and something in them that wants to be seen. The more I look the more is seen. It's quite gratifying and leaves little room for negativity. The natural world doesn't seem to hold any negativity in any form and is a respite from the human world.


So lovely. Thanks for sharing this.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Fri May 16, 2014 4:40 pm

Onceler wrote:The natural world doesn't seem to hold any negativity in any form


I can't see any judgement in a tree. When it lets go of it's leaves. When it births new leaves. All the time it is so silent and peaceful. Thank you for reminding me of the wisdom in Nature.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby Onceler » Fri May 16, 2014 4:41 pm

Thanks, Runstrails, also, knowing you're a runner, I've been unable to run for a month and have been taking walks in the woods instead of running. Although my favorite thing in the world is to run in natural areas, I've been enjoying these walks without the pressure of forward movement. I just stop and look deeply at things and find it very satisfying.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby Onceler » Fri May 16, 2014 4:44 pm

EnterZenFromThere wrote:
Onceler wrote:The natural world doesn't seem to hold any negativity in any form


I can't see any judgement in a tree. When it lets go of it's leaves. When it births new leaves. All the time it is so silent and peaceful. Thank you for reminding me of the wisdom in Nature.


Yeah, these are very powerful beings and they are literally in our backyard.....we look so eagerly for human teachers.
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Re: working with my pain body

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Fri May 16, 2014 5:13 pm

It feels to me that Life is the greatest teacher. It takes many forms to teach us. Humans, animals, trees, rocks, dishwashers, thoughts, feelings. Thinking about it, Life is both the teacher and the taught. Though perhaps jaunting through such conceptualisations is less useful than just being still.
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