Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pain, Projection and Punishment

Do you know what a pain body is? I saw this expression the first time in Eckhart Tolle’s work, and this simple expression changed my perception of life and the world. Yes, we can feel the pain body in ourself. We can see it linger in the interaction of a group of people. Our families carry joint pain bodies, as do colleagues in dissatisfying work relationships.

It is hard to stare the pain body straight in its face. It is much easier to run from it—projection—that is, to channel this destructive energy into work, ambition and positive thinking instead. The other way to run away is to be on a subconscious self-demolition course—punishment. We let life beat us up again and again, to remind ourselves that something inside needs healing and adjustment.

Projection and punishment, rather than facing the pain; I believe that is the reason why in struggling families you often find the overachiever and the rebel next to each other. Neither path is satisfactory. Everyone runs away from the accumulated pain differently. To accomplish healing, we have to be willing to face the pain; we have to embrace the past, and we have to forgive.

Caroline Knapp, author of ‘Appetites’, and ‘Alcohol—A Love Story’ was an over-achiever that made it all the way to a prestigious university. One day, however,  her demons caught up with her. She struggled with anorexia and alcoholism. When she examined her childhood memories, she realized no harsh word was ever uttered at home. Yet, there was depression and suppressed pain, and she took it all in.

A spiritual path is about accepting life as is. When you find yourself distributing powerful positive memes; when you mind again the negativity in your family, with your friends, or at work, take a good look within. Could there be a pain body floating around that just wants to be pricked? It is ok to be human you know, everyone else is. Face the pain and let a healer, or life itself heal you.

Let’s be done with all that compensating projection. Let’s certainly be done with all that punishment! Life looks out for us when we stop running away from ourselves; when we stop pretending we are somebody that we are not. A spiritual journey is a path of healing, but we have to be willing to see life as it is. Pain body, you have outlived your usefulness. Pain body, be gone!

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