A New Earth, September 21st, Chapter 5

Pain-Body

We all experience suffering, some experience more than others.  Much of our suffering in based in our own thoughts, which tend to be repetitious and negative.  Many of our thoughts are just “static” or constant chatter within the mind.  Because these thoughts are so constant we become unaware of what we are really thinking, but may notice that our mood changes suddenly.  The negative energy from these thoughts creates negative emotions and together they form the pain body that we carry around all our lives.  Some people’s pain bodies are denser than others and carry much negative emotion.  The negative emotion we carry can be from our own experience or from experiences of those who have lived prior to us.  It is like the pain is carried in our DNA.

Pain bodies can lie dormant for years in some cases.  In other people the pain body seems to be continuously searching for one little thing to get it going again.  It often doesn’t take much and the drama is on.  “Emotion from the pain body quickly gains control of your thinking, and once your mind has been taken over by the pain-body, your thinking becomes negative.  … It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don’t want to.  This is because the pain-body at that time is living through you, pretending to be you.  And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure.”  (pg 147)

Pain-bodies become very apparent in intimate relationships, as that is where they get most of their food. (pg 148)  “It is tough to resist another person’s pain-body that is determined to draw you into a reaction.  …It is raw emotion looking for more emotion.. The other person’s pain-body wants to awaken yours so that both pain-bodies can mutually energize each other.  (pg 148)  In homes where much drama is acted out, young children are painfully affected.  Ekhart says this is one of the ways that the pain body is passed on from generation to generation.

The media and movies also play into the pain body.  People love to pay money to watch people kill others and inflict pain on others.  “Pain bodies write and produce these films, and pain-bodies pay to watch them.”  (pg 153)

On page 155, Ekhart discusses “the suppression of the feminine principle, especially over the past 2000 years, has enabled the ego (which is more dominant in males) to gain absolute supremacy in the collective human psyche.  He says that although women have egos, they are much less “mind-identified” than are men.  “they are more in touch with their inner body and the intelligence of the organism where the intuitive faculties originate.  The female form is less rigidly encapsulated than the male, has greater openness and sensitivity toward other life-forms, and is more attuned to the natural world.” (pg 155)  What was it about the female principle that made men feel threatened?  The evolving ego in men made them realize that the only way to gain full control of the planet by males was to render the female powerless.  (pg 156)  “The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain.”  (pg 157)

Ekhart then goes on to discuss the pain bodies of entire countries as well as various races and cultures.  These pain bodies have build over centuries and continue to create major problems for we humans.  He talks of various ways of dealing with this pain.  He suggests that some countries turn to alcohol, yet China turned to t’ai chi to release what no longer serves them.  (pg 158)  Increasingly more countries including western cultures are turning to t’ai chi, qigong, and yoga.  “These practices do not create a separation between body and spirit and are helpful in weakening the pain-body.” (pg 159)

He ends the chapter saying, “there is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness.  That realization is true forgiveness.  With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves and your true power emerges—the power of Presence.  Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.”  (pg 160)

 

Next week there will be no Book Club, as Sandra is doing a Pranayama Workshop and many of us will be at that!  See you in 2 weeks, Oct 5th to discuss Chapter 6 and the first half of Chapter 7.

Have a great week.

 

A New Earth, Chapter 4

Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego

The roles we play are often a part of our “unconscious” life.  We are not aware we are playing a role, we mistake it for who we are.  Unfortunately we then lose our authentic self in the playing of the role.  Roles can come in many forms and in the early days of civilization roles where assigned based on the family you were born into.  When Jesus and Buddha came along, they challenged this idea that we are the role that we live.  They tried to get the message across that roles are based only on thought forms and physical form, but that our true authentic self comes from within and is eternal.  It is not temporal as are all thought and physical form with which we identify.

Roles can be the parent, the victim, the caregiver, the peacemaker, the doctor, the priest, the general, etc.  There is no end to the number of roles we play.  Roles are not bad; it is only when we lose ourselves within the role that we have problems.  When our whole focus stays on the outer world we do not get re-connected with our true selves.  We become our story, and often the story is fraught with problems.  We begin to take life and ourselves very seriously.  We lose joy and spontaneity in our lives.  True authentic interaction is lost and we feel disengaged.

Ekhart says don’t look for happiness, look at the feelings behind what is making you unhappy.  Start to see the link between your thoughts and your emotions, once you are aware that it is your thoughts about a situation that are making you unhappy, not the situation itself, you can do something about it.  You are now starting to be the awareness behind your thoughts and emotions.  You can now seek freedom from unhappiness.  Doing this will bring you back to an inner peace which is the true source of happiness.  (pg 96)

To give up playing a role “is an essential lesson in the art of living that each of us is here to learn.” (pg 106)  “You become most powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance or conform to your role identity.” (pg 107)

“A person in the grip of ego, however, does not recognize suffering as suffering, but will look upon it as the only appropriate response in any given situation.” (pg110)  The ego does not see the needless suffering it inflicts upon itself.  When we spend time being angry, resentful, envious, we are holding others responsible for our pain, we see it as “outside induced”, we do not see the ego as playing the role, we see it as others are doing this to me.  (pg 110)

“Anger and resentment strengthen the ego enormously by increasing the sense of separateness,… creating …a mental position of “rightness”. (111)

Listen to people’s stories and they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now”. (pg 115)

“To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment.” (pg 116)

“The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life.  It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others.  But, of course, you won’t be able to see that.” (pg119)

“Those who are exceptionally good at what they do may be completely or largely free of ego while performing their work.  They may not know it, but their work has become a spiritual practice”. (pg 121)

“In order to attract success, you need to welcome it wherever you see it.” (pg 123)

“So, there is no such thing as “my life”…I am Life.  Life and I are one.  So how could I lose my life?  How can I lose something that I AM?  It is impossible.”  (pg 128)

This is a great chapter, so much in it, if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so, as I just picked some of the topics to address.

Next week we will meet at Indra’s Grace at 1PM.  September 28 there will be no Book Club as many members will be attending the Pranayama workshop.  See you next week when we will be discussing Chapter 5, The Pain-Body

Have a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Club Notes – A New Earth, Chapter 3

The Core of Ego

Most of us are conditioned to believe that we are our thoughts; we are possessed by our minds.  Many of us are unaware that we are not our thoughts that we are instead the observer of our thoughts.  First though we need to step back out of our story and observe where our thoughts take us.  Our thoughts lead us to take on different roles depending on our life experiences.  “The content of the ego changes from person to person, but in every ego the same structure operates.  …egos differ only on the surface.  Deep down they are the same.  …They live on identification and separation.”(pg 60)  It is easier to stay in this egoic state when we are fault finding or seeing others as our enemy.  This really helps us to find our separateness and at times our “rightness” in many situations.

“Complaining is one of the egos favorite strategies for strengthening itself.” (pg 61)  This is interesting to me that whether you complain aloud or to yourself it is the same.  It becomes your story; it becomes habitual, and unconscious.  We are totally unaware that we are complaining.  (pg 61)  Resentment goes along with complaining.  It helps energize the ego.  When resentful and complaining we apply negative labels to others.  One level below labeling and name calling is shouting and screaming and then down a bit further is physical violence.  In all these scenarios we are feeling totally separate and working to feel powerful and to feel “right”.  The easiest way for the ego to feel “right” is to find fault in others.
On page 62 he says that  “What you react to in another, you  strengthen in yourself.”

“Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.” (pg 62)  To do this we have to be able to recognize that whatever is happening is coming from the ego, is a part of “collective human dysfunction”.  (pg 62)  Once we realize it is not personal, there is nothing to react against.  Staying non reactive can bring calm to many upsetting situations.  Yet, this is difficult to do and when we are not aware we become reactive, always waiting for the next thing to react to.  (pg 65)  Reactivity and resentment can lead to a grievance.  “To carry a grievance is to be in a permanent state of “against”.” ( pg 65)  Grievances are a recollection often from the distant past of something very upsetting.  These memories are kept alive by compulsive thinking and retelling our story.  When we are caught up in the retelling or remembering of the grievance, we are not living in the present moment, we are missing out on life around us.  Our story becomes deeply entrenched and we believe we are our story. ( pg 65)

When talking with others and we state a fact and another challenges the fact, it is not ego to say the reason behind the fact and let it go at that.  But if we go on to say, “believe me, I know” or “why don’t you ever believe me” that is ego speaking.  (pg 67)  Going into I am right and you are wrong in any relationship is a “dangerous” thing. (pg 69)  He then discusses how this has been used in Religious and Political ideologies.   This has caused divisiveness and conflict between people.  ( pg 71)

Ekhart says “there is only one absolute Truth, and all other truths emanate from it.  When you find that Truth, your actions will be in alignment with it.  Human action can reflect the Truth, or it can reflect illusion.   Can the Truth be put into words?  Yes, but the words are, of course not it.  They only point to it.”  (pg 71)  He goes on to say that “You are the Truth.  If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time.”  (pg 71)  He then quotes Jesus “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (pg 71)  Here he explains that the words I Am, refers to the essence identity of every man and woman, every life form. ( pg 71)  This is what some call the “Christ Within”.   When you are in touch with that aspect of yourself, “all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within.” (72)

War is a mind set and as Ekhart says, when we are crusading in a War on Drugs, Cancer, Heart Disease, etc, we are doomed to failure.  He says when we treat the disease as an enemy we go on to create more diseases.  He quotes a study in the Journal of American Medical Association that state the medical treatment is the 3 leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer.  “War is a mind set and all action that comes out of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy,  the perceived evil, or, if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to or worse than the one defeated. “ (pg 76)  He suggests looking at alternative approaches.

When ego is in reactive state it is difficult to stay the observer or “witnessing Presence”.  We want recognition, power.  When we become aware of what the ego is doing and instead go within to silence we realize great peace.  “Once you have had a taste of it, you will grow in Presence power, and the ego will lose its grip on you.”  “All that is required to become free of the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible. “ (pg 78)  The realization that I cannot find myself in thoughts and things that continuously pass away.  (pg 78) Then I realize that what remains is the deeper true I.  Life looses its absolute seriousness, its heaviness when we are continuously aware of our inner being, our presence our oneness with all.

Thanks to you ladies who came today.  It was a great discussion thanks to your participation.  Have a wonderful week.

Just a reminder that there will be no Book Club next week, as the Yoga Immersion course is on next Saturday.  See you in two weeks.  Enjoy your reading!