Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours passed and as they approached the lodging temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer and asked “Why did you carry that girl across the road? We monks are not supposed to do things like that.”
“I put the girl down hours ago,” Tanzan replied “Are you still carrying her?”
The discussion about the pain-body, the hurt from our past, was probably the most anticipated webcast thus far. Through our pain-body a voice in our head develops. The voice in our head has a life of its own and many of us are possessed by that voice. The voice in our head tells a story that the body believes in and reacts to; those reactions are emotions. Our emotions, in turn, feed energy back to the thoughts that created the emotion in the first place. Now we find ourselves caught in a vicious circle between thought and emotion.
Imagine living life like the monk Ekido; someone who was unable to internally let go of situations and who continuously collected “stuff” inside his head. Think about how many of us live carrying around burdens of the past in our minds.
Eckhart describes the pain-body as an accumulation of old emotional pain which we carry in our energy fields and feed through the voice in our head. I know that voice pretty well; the one that tells me I’m lazy or unattractive or boring or whatever other little jewels it can come up with. I’m sure you’ve had a few discussions of your own with the voice in your head.
And how does one deal with the pain-body and the voice in the head? First, you must become aware of that voice in your head and recognize the negative talk. Often times that negative voice is due to some trained thought pattern or action that we were exposed to as children such as “People can’t be trusted,” “I am not appreciated,” “I’m not worthy of love,” “You’re overweight and sloppy,” “You’re lazy,” “There is never enought money.”
As children we are very sensitive to strong negative emotions. Strong negative emotions that are not faced and accepted and let go of are carried with us into adulthood. This can include not only childhood pain but also pain experienced in our teen years and into adulthood. And when we feed into this pain and the negative talk, it may manifest itself outwardly as anxiety, anger, overeating, unhappiness, addictions, and drama.
A great deal of alertness and presence is required to not be drawn into our own drama (that voice again) or into another person’s drama. To step out of the negative thought pattern, you must recognize it for what it is-an inner voice, your ego, trying to get your attention, trying to drag you into its drama through a trained thought pattern. When you recognize that voice for what it is, when you come into the present moment through deep breathing or by focusing on another object such as a flower or by listening to external sounds such as birds chirping, you step out of the negative thought pattern.
Things that were said to us in the past, perhaps repetitively, become lodged in our minds. By bringing presence to these thoughts now, by realizing that these are old thoughts, and nothing more than old thoughts, then these old thoughts no longer have power over us. Accept the negative emotion (anger, sadness, etc) that comes with the thought, accept it in the present moment, and become aware of it.
Remember too that our parents only acted at their level of consciousness. They did the best they knew how to do at their level of consciousness. Blame them if you must; but know that you are the only one who can dislodge the past by raising your own level of consciousness through awareness and presence in the current moment.