Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's Your Drama?

Ok, I'll go first.

My drama has been to allow my pain-body to take over my thinking in the context of a love relationship.

No, that's too abstract. Let's try again. My drama has been to take things personally in the context of a love relationship. There, now that's something people can relate to, I think. 

Things said and done by my significant other would be felt as intense "emotional pain."

[Ok, now I've said the same thing in three different ways. Take a moment and look at those three descriptions of my drama and try to understand how they're all saying exactly the same thing.]

This "emotional pain" would cause me to react against the supposed source of this pain, my significant other. But of course, she wasn't impacting my physical body in any way, so how could she have been the source of my pain? She couldn't. In fact, it was my own thoughts that were causing this "emotional pain," so called. I was doing it to myself.

I've put quotes around "emotional pain" above to highlight the fact that there is no such thing as emotional pain. Most people know what I'm referring to when I use the phrase, but it's important to realize that pain can only be felt in your physical body.

Ok, now it's your turn. What's your drama? It could be almost anything. Could be finances. Could be your children. Could be your spouse. Could be your boss or your job. Anytime you're feeling physical discomfort or pain in your physical body when nothing is physically impacting it . . . that's your drama. Simple as that.

[Of course, in order to realize when you're feeling physical pain in your physical body, you have to be aware of what's going on in your physical body in the first place. Most people are partially or completely cut off from their physical bodies. And the more completely they're cut off, the deeper their problems seem to be. Here's a post about getting in touch with your inner body: Your Outer World is a Reflection of Your Inner State.]

The realization that what you're feeling in those moments of strong emotion is physical pain allows you to demystify it and devalue it. When we're dealing with a simple (and generally pretty mild, once we take all the judgment out of it) sensation, that's something we can deal with pretty easily. 

The pain takes you out of your mental processes and back into the moment where everything slows down. It causes you to withdraw little by little from the emotional situation into a very simple issue with which to deal: my stomach doesn't feel good right now, for example. In this way, your body is like a handle on your emotions and your mind. Use it.

As you become aware of the physical pain your thoughts are causing, say to yourself, "This is my drama." By taking ownership in this way, you're placing your awareness where it needs to be, on your inner state (over which you have complete control) rather than on something or someone in your external world (over which you have no control). Say this simple sentence a few times, to yourself or out loud, emphasizing a different word each time: "This is my drama," and "This is my drama."

If you do this, you will break the connection between the unconscious built-up emotion living inside you and your thinking. This is what Eckhart Tolle is talking about in A New Earth when he talks about the pain-body:
Because of the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion, almost everyone carries in his or her energy field an accumulation of old emotional pain, which I call "the pain-body." We can, however, stop adding to the pain-body that we already have. We can learn to break the habit of accumulating and perpetuating old emotion. [Paragraph break omitted]
When you take responsibility for your own drama, you will still notice the pain-body flip-flopping inside you like a fish on a dock, but it won't be able to cause you pain anymore and most important, it won't be able to take over your thinking, causing you to react in unseemly ways.  (See list of articles on the Pain-Body for more information). 

It's taken me years to understand that if I'm causing myself pain, I'm continuing to add to my pain-body.  Knowing about the pain-body isn't enough. You have to break the connection to your thinking, and that's extremely simple to do. When you take ownership of your drama, the pain subsides almost immediately and there will be no going back to it. The illusion of its necessity at that point is broken forever. And what a glorious day that will be, I assure you! This is the process of dis-identification from the pain-body.

This technique has worked for me to end years of unwise and ineffective behavior patterns. Maybe it will work for you too.

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