In ‘The Power of Now’, Tolle talks to us about pain; some people see pain as a necessary evil, suffering pain is often considered to be one of the great motivators for facing reality, for changing our lives. Tolle, though, believes, “The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life”.
Pain, he tells us, usually comes from resistance, from some level of refusal to accept what ‘is’. Many mental health workers tell us that often mental health problems are caused by loss, but instead of seeking to deal with the loss, to comes to terms with it, most of us just want what we have lost to be restored to us. Scott Peck refers to this in ‘The Road Less Traveled’. Wishing to go back, instead of accepting what ‘is’. Tolle believes that our struggle to accept what ‘is’ stems largely from the fact that the mind cannot function and remain in control without time. “The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it”.
This is the answer to much of the pain we impose upon ourselves, “….. the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain and suffering – and free of the egoic mind”. If you want to stop creating pain, for yourself and others, Tolle tells us, “then don’t create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life”.
How do we do this?
“Make the Now the primary focus of your life”, and, “Surrender to what ‘is’. Say yes to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you, rather than against you”.
Tolle believes that as well as creating pain for ourselves by denying the ‘Present’ , we all carry a pain-body within us, a vestige of historic pains which lodges within us like a negative energy field. Sometimes this pain-body is dormant, sometimes it is active. Watch out for it becoming active, it will cause more pain for you and your loved ones. “However, its more important to observe it in yourself than in someone else”, Tolle tells us, “Watch out for any sign of unhappiness in yourself, in whatever form – it may be the awakening pain-body. This can take the form of irritation, impatience, a somber mood, a desire to hurt, anger, rage, depression, a need to have some drama in your relationship, and so on”
Most of us have felt these awakening irritations which can make us so unpleasant to be with. Once the pain-body is awake and in control of you it wants to cause more pain, generating a vicious circle which it feeds upon. We all know how to niggle, how to annoy others to spark some conflict because somewhere inside of us we feel the need for it – that’s our pain-body. Tolle believes that, “The pain-body ……….. is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness. It is afraid of being found out”, “The pain-body may seem to you like a dangerous monster that you cannon bear to look at, but I assure you that is an insubstantial phantom that cannot prevail against the power of your presence”.
Remember what deMello told us in ‘Awareness’ about his 4 Steps to Wisdom. The First Step is getting in touch with the negative feelings withing us, our pain-body, the Second Step is to realise that the feeling is in us, not in reality. Step 3 is to never identify with those feelings and Step 4 is to change ourselves by facing up to reality, to the fact that these negative feelings are not reality, by shining the bright light of consciousness on our pain-body.
Tole assures us, “The moment you observe it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you observe it, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken”. Things are changing, we are at Step 3, ‘not identifying with these feelings’. Tolle says, “You are now the witness or watcher of the pain-body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself through you”. Tolle then explains what happens to the pain-body, “Unconsciousness creates it; consciousness transmutes it into itself”, “Just as you cannot fight the darkness, you cannot fight the pain-body”, “Watching it is enough. Watching it implies accepting it as part of what ‘is’ at that moment”. By watching it we have taken Step 4 in deMello’s climb to wisdom.
Remember also what deMello taught us about changing ourselves, what he said, “I’ve got a big surprise for you, lots of good news! You don’t have to do anything. The more you do, the worse it gets. All you have to do is understand”, and, “The only way to change is by changing your understanding”.
deMello and Tolle are pretty much telling us the same thing. Tolle summarizes it for us as follows, “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t ‘think’ about it – don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identify for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of ‘the one who observes’ the silent watcher. This is the power of Now, the power of your own conscious presence”
If we can do this, good things happen, Tolle tells us, “Sustained conscious attention severs the link between the pain-body and your thought processes and brings about the process of transmutation. It is as if the pain becomes fuel for the flame of your consciousness, which then burns more brightly as a result”.
“The split within you is healed and you become whole again”.
Focus your attention my friends, practice being aware, being consciousness, watch your pain-body as it emerges from its slumbers and, in watching, you will become whole again.