Friday, April 11, 2008

Gremlins, and Ants, and Pain-bodies, Oh My!

© 2008 Joan M. Newcomb

Eckhart Tolle has introduced the concept of the Pain-body to the world. Loosely interpreted, it means an aspect of your energy field that is made up of pain - painful experiences, painful memories, painful thoughts. And it connects to the Collective pain-body - humanity's collection of painful experiences, thoughts and memories.

Neuropsychiatrist Daniel Amen talks about Automatic Negative Thoughts produced by our brains and psychotherapist Rick Carson calls it/them your Gremlin(s). The moment you made a positive step forward, gremlin voices arise to negate your progress.

One of the first assignments I give my coaching clients is to recognize their gremlin voices, and then personify them (sometimes as a cartoon character) and then come up with a way to 'tame' them, or at least get the focus away from them. One client's gremlin was Eeyore, and they sent it out to pasture. Another's was SuperCorporateManager (this client was an artist and really didn't need that energy, it drove her crazy and thwarted her creativity. She sent it on a fact finding mission to another country. Another's was a compilation of all the negative comments from an abusive ex-husband, and all they needed to do was raise their hand in the gesture 'STOP' silenced it. Mine were rabid chihuahuas, and throwing kibble into the woods did wonders.

I'll often call them rats, rather than ants, and ask the client, do you really want to keep feeding them? Engaging in conversation with them, allowing them to direct your thoughts, is feeding that energy. It's what that energy wants, to draw your attention away from the direction you were going in (towards the light).

Eckhart's technique is more simple. You just notice, but don't do anything. You stop feeding it and eventually its voice gets quieter and quieter, until it dies away altogether. (Or maybe it just gets bored and goes somewhere else)!

For me, the profound realization was that -- this voice wasn't me! It masqueraded as me, but I'd awake in the middle of the night to hear partial sentences of thoughts that weren't mine.

When you realize that it's not you, and stop reacting to it, the results are amazing. When I first discovered this, and started consciously redirecting my thoughts towards positive things, I came out of a depression that must have lasted for years. Others find a new burst of energy, renewed enthusiasm for life, and creativity they either had lost years ago or never knew they had.

Eckhart talks about the pain-body going dormant, that you think it's gone until something awakens it to come out in full force again. I think that we peel away the layers that contribute to it, and when it does reactivate after a quiet period, it's not that we haven't done any work, we're at a deeper level (or a different aspect) of it. Your life is an on-going 'spiritual remodel' and there's always some part that requires expansion or clearing out.

The Collective Pain-body easily triggers our individual pain body, through news reports, movies, and even everyday life dramas with friends and family. I find it helpful to avoid the news (I read the paper, where it's easier to skip such things than if you're watching it on TV), and only watch comedies. With family and friends, I try to not react dramatically even if the situation seems dramatic, in order not to get drawn into whatever version of reality is going on.

I invite you to try this for yourself, start by simply noticing the conversation in your head. Notice if it is negative in any way. If so, change the subject by consciously redirecting your thoughts. If it is persistant, you may want to personify it in some way and come up with a creative solution to silence it (duct tape comes to mind, but you may have something that works better for you). Something quick and simple, so you can turn your focus back to more pleasant things.

You'll find that it won't take very long before your whole life has transformed!

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