Thursday, May 8, 2008

Our Pain

Eckhart Tolle and his book "A New Earth" can, I believe, help us in our recovery. However, I want to point out that Al-Anon approved literature is critically important to our recovery. One of the reasons to use and read and discuss Al-Anon approved literature is because it relates directly to our situation of dealing with our qualifiers who have addictions and specifically, alcohol. Secondly, it keeps us all from introducing new material that dilutes that material everyone else is reading which can make our lives even more confusing and - what we need least of all - more chaos.

However . . .

Today and probably a few more posts, I am going to refer to this book by Eckhart Tolle, "A New Earth." and hopefully provide some thoughts I what I have found to be interesting and helpful, at least to me.

The book talks about our pain (referred to as "pain-body"). That this is a negative emotion that could be picked up from our childhood, or from a collective group unconsciousness (such as Native American Indians and their treatment by early European settlers - this is not meant to be a political statement or argument, but just to be used to provide an example).

Often, we do not see this pain-body or pain we have suffered. And we have not dealt with it in a manner that corrects or least resolves it. The pain we keep and feel is fed by our thoughts.

It is only by being conscious in the present that we can relieve this pain. By thinking about the past, and dredging up the problem, we feed the pain. We need to figure out how to stay focused in the present. By thinking about the future, we also feed the pain. It gets larger and larger as we allow our minds to worry (think about the past and the future).

It is hard to worry if you are staying in the present with your thoughts. I - personally - am a big violator of this message. And it has only been through Al-Anon that I learned the pain I am suffering is because thinking about and visualizing the future. I sometimes grieve and pull up the past, and say, unconsciously, "if only."

Back to the book . . .

The pain-body can no longer control your thinking if you don't identify with it and can no longer control your thinking and therefore your emotions. This is a huge task for us to work on.

If you - we - can sever the link between it (the pain-body) and your thinking, the pain-body loses its energy. Your thinking ceases to be clouded by emotions; your present perceptions are no longer distorted by the past. The past can be made up of the real suffering we experienced, as well as the imagined suffering caused by playing the negative event(s) over and over again in our minds. This replaying of negative events has fed the pain-body and has kept us from living the joyful life we were meant to live out.

Now this may be easier for some. Because we are in circumstances currently that overwhelms us in an alcoholic environment. We seek answers and control over a situation we are not in control of. We tell ourselves that if we "let go" that we are not doing our duty to help the other person. And we learn - but hate to hear - we cannot fix another person's addiction.

For others, who are not living in the alcoholic environment, we are still affected by it. We are "sensitized" to stimuli that conjures up the past. Or, we think about the past. Or we react, reflexively as if the past was occurring all over again.

How do we recover?
Well, one way, as I mentioned, is staying present. Stay in the Now. This keeps us from feeding the pain with thoughts.

Second way to recover, forgiveness. True forgiveness. Forgive everyone you meet. Forgive everyone who offended you. As Tolle points out, "your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges-the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light."


Anonymous said...

It is so true that I can't change the past, I can forgive, and hope that others can do the same in regards to any hurt or anger I caused them.

In my present, I can focus on the things I can change, the power of the day, and hope that it lays the foundation of my future.

I am thankful for all I have today, even though all is not perfect.

Peace this Thursday.


Catherine said...

Another program person mentioned getting a lot out of this book, too.

ThisJane said...

I've had this book for about a month now, just waiting to start it. My thoughts and pain have so consuming, I haven't brought myself to do so. Thank you for posting, I crave to be in the NOW, to let go.

One thing I struggle with? todays present nature consists of past pain...does that make sense? I often intertwine the two.

Syd said...

I like Tolle's books. I've read A New Earth and the Power of Now. Both are good and helpful. If I think about the future then I lose focus. And if I let my ego become in charge, I am definitely not in the Now. Thanks for your thoughts on this good book.

Anonymous said...

The victim identity was one of the biggest things that I saw in myself as an al-anon, as was the blaming. Forgiveness is the key in shedding the victim mentality. Once it was shed, I felt more empowered and slow positive changes happened. I prayed for whoever and I was surprised at how it transformed my thinking and self esteem. I could say good morning to some of the most what I thought were obnoxious people and really meant it over time. They seemed to lose the obnoxiousness as time progressed.It became easier and easier to deal with them. I don't feel like a victim at all anymore. Not one bit.