“Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don't think about it - don't let the feeling turn into thinking. Don't judge or analyze. Don't make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of "the one who observes," the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.”
Someone really upset me tonight. The specifics don’t matter because it’s very likely that within six months to a year I will have completely forgotten the incident. More important are the feelings the incident brought up for me – in this case, anger, resentment, a desire to complain, a desire to be unhappy. Fortunately, I’ve been listening to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and I believe there is another choice.
First I need to be aware of my thoughts and responses. Then I can choose to keep the ones I naturally get when faced with an unpleasant situation, or I can choose something different. The truth is my normal choices have never worked. By that I mean, they haven’t changed the situation and they haven’t even made me feel better. All I have left is anger and unhappiness.
I want to be different, not only from the way I’ve often been – negative, whiney, complaining, in short, a helpless victim. I want to be in control, not of the situation necessarily (because often that’s not possible), but of myself, of my emotions, of my actions, and ultimately, of the situation. It’s not that I will necessarily change the outcome; it’s just that I won’t let the outcome change me.
The truth is I’m tired of suffering. It doesn’t change anything. Perhaps there will be circumstances in my life that will cause me great pain, but what I dealt with tonight doesn’t have to be one of them. If there’s really a Pain Body, as Tolle describes it, an emotional parasite that creates and feeds on our unhappiness, then it’s doing it’s best to take over my life. Many times it has.
But I want to be peaceful. In fact, I have an obligation to be peaceful, joyful, and thereby, more loving, more patient, kinder, more attentive, more grateful. These are not just desirable emotions, these are, as I said, obligations. What if, by my choice, I had the ability to spread peace, love, and joy wherever I went? Would I not be obligated to do so? If I had it in my power to make the world a much better place, wouldn’t I be the worst kind of person if I didn’t use this power? By power, I don’t mean the ability to rule over others, but rather, the ability to rule over myself.
I’m tired of polluting others and polluting the world with unhappiness, ingratitude, complaining, anger, and all other forms of negativity. They don’t work! Not being upset might work better.
With regard to the specific situation, I’m still not sure what I will do. I could fight it. If I chose to fight, I want to do so peacefully. “Fight” is the wrong word. Perhaps “oppose” would be a better word. I could accept it. If I choose to accept, I want to do so peacefully, without resentment. Whichever one I do, I want to do with a sense of inner peace.
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
I don’t want to be part of the collective madness that we all live with and cause. There is a lot of potential beauty in the world and I want to be part of creating it. I want to Get Started and Keep Going…peacefully.