Did you ever wonder how you could have yelled at your dear friend and said the most injuring things last night and then you make up and are again close and affectionate, as if the fight had never happened? There has been quite a bit of research into the phenomenon of the so-called “pain-body” which may provide an explanation.
First of all it is important to accept that not only striking someone with your hand is violence and causes pain: lashing out with a loud voice and cutting emotions hurts, too. All violence hurts – it hurts you first most of all, and then it hurts the other. Hurt always creates more hurt – for you and the other.
How does this explosive energy rise up in us so quickly that we seem to be powerless to do anything about it? In my experience it rises up like an oil-well. When the pocket of oil deep underground is tapped into by drilling, the oil gushes up to the surface with tremendous force and speed.
Deep inside each of us are pockets of hurt, many times from our early life as a child. We were overwhelmed by the hurt, the emotional pain, physical pain and even mental pain and injury, so all we could do at that age was to push it away, deep inside. It formed potentially explosive pockets of energy in us. These energy pockets all have in common that they were formed by pain. Together, these energy pockets can be seen almost as forming an entity that lies dormant inside us, but that sleeping entity can be “woken up” by certain experiences we are having now. The name “pain-body” was given to this energetic-psychological phenomenon by Eckhart Tolle.
When someone ‘triggers” us, what happens is that they have hit something that causes our system to connect with a pocket of pain-energy in us. Just like the oil-drill, then the pain-energy (almost like a pain-genie in the bottle) gushes up and wants to protect itself by hurting others. This “pain-being” was created by pain and actually consists of pent-up old pain from earlier times, so all it knows is pain. When it can create pain and hurt it feels good – one could say that it ‘feeds’ on pain. That is why it erupts into action in a split second when triggered, causes as much pain as possible, feeds on that and, when satiated, subsides again into dormancy deep below the surface of our consciousness.
What to do? I can only say what I have done and do. As soon as I recognize the familiar “early warning signs” and at the latest after the pain-body attack, I search within me to find which energy in me was triggered by the situation. In the case of my blow-up with two young people the other day, I was able to recognize which pain energy in me was triggered. Then I was able to let go of the feeling that either of them had anything to do with my reaction. I was able to see it as my own and therefore all bad feelings toward them fell away. I could then see clearly that the blow-up and my reaction to them had nothing at all to do with these persons, but were simply the pain dynamic in me showing up. They just happened to provide the trigger for the explosive pocket of energy in me. I then could come and offer my apology to them because I deeply regretted my reaction.
This ‘regret’ is an important element in healing the pain-body, because in this regret is included regret for all the pain I had suffered in my past and regret for everything that had happened to others and had led to their actions in the fore field of that situation.
This regret is not the feeling of ‘looking backward’ and feeling bad about what happened, or wishing the incident had never happened. On the contrary, it is the feeling that I have learned everything from that unpleasant experience and no longer need to have such an experience in my life ever again. It includes the sense of that event having been valuable for me in clearing one more piece of old programming.
With this regret comes compassion, which is the feeling of understanding for myself and the others of how this life often plays out, although each of us is giving our best to live a good life together. Then I don’t make anyone “wrong” including myself, because I see how there has been a seemingly endless chain of being hurt and hurting others in this life from generation to generation.
Why do we cry? Is it perhaps because we feel so strongly that we don’t want to cause any more hurt and want to be free of hurt ourselves?
This all says simply that no one in the situation did anything “wrong” and that we do have the ability to know ourself more and more deeply, so that our pain-body loses its ground – since it can only exist and thrive as long as we ignore its existence and live in denial of it. Then we can leave all violence of any kind behind.
In this way we break the chain of “offend-and-defend” and hurting others to protect ourselves. This chain stretches back throughout humanity’s history into the distant past.
We DO have the power to live peacefully together, but we must have the deep conviction and determination to change ourselves.