Overcoming Suffering with Presence

A lot of things are going on in my head at the moment.  So many that I’m not even going to try to put it all down into words.  This of course is not unusual as I almost always have a tremendous amount of brain activity occurring, all of which is tremendously hard to gather in a single thought process and display through writing.  Right now it seems that this usual feeling is much worse but I’m just going to go with it.

A large amount of stress suddenly came over me this morning.  I was planning on signing up for one or two classes at the local community college here in Charlotte, which I would attend during the 2006 spring semester.  I of course procrastinated heavily, something I tended to quite often, and didn’t start looking for classes and registering until the beginning of this week.  I was hoping to take some sort of philosophy or religions course but as I scanned through the schedule of classes I found that any thing of any interest to me was full.  I then started looking at the biology courses and found Introduction to Human Biology.  It looked like a good course to get my feet wet with biology again and see how the water felt nowadays.  I registered myself as a student and signed up for the class.

The tuition page then popped up and apparently I owed the school $700 to take one class.  This obviously wasn’t correct but I shrugged it off at the time being as the web site told me I had a couple days to pay.  This morning a tried to figure out what was going on and I discovered that my residency was undetermined so they were charging me out-of-state tuition.  As I was making phone calls and browsing the web site for answers, I then discovered that the class I signed up for was all the way across town.  The 45 minute commute just isn’t worth it for one class so I’m not sure if I will be dipping my feet in any biology water this semester.

All of these shenanigans were beginning to get to me and I could feel my spiritual presence dwindling and my chaotic emotional storage unit opening up to the surface.  I have recently been reading the latest book from Eckhart Tolle called “A New Earth” and it has been helping me tremendously.  The book goes into depth concerning why most humans suffer and where this needless suffering stems from.  Eckhart discusses the ego, a false identity we create for ourselves, and something called the pain body, which is a storage of negative emotion created from past events that we carry around with us during our daily lives.  The pain body usually emerges when things go wrong and when this emergence occurs we have a strong desire to fill it with more negativity.  When my pain body is let loose, it usually comes in the form of bitterness and resentment.  The bitterness mostly comes from the fact that I’m paralyzed and resentment commonly emerges towards my parents stemming from all the past conflicts we have had.

Understanding why I am suffering and where these seemingly uncontrollable emotions are coming from has increased my awareness of my overall state and has increased my power to control unwanted emotions.  The simplest way to remove a situation where emotions have gotten out of hand, is to increase your presence of being.  When I’m feeling attacked by someone in an aggressive manner because they have challenged possibly an opinion I have on something, I first step outside of the emotions that are building up.  I then understand that I’m feeling threatened because someone is attacking my idea of who I am, an identity I have created.  Then the realization comes that it is not I who am offended, but it is my ego or my false identity.  The true state of I, my inner state of being is still there residing blissfully and content.  After this realization occurs I hopefully return to a state of spiritual presence where I’m no longer attached to the defendant ego but absorbed within my true state of being.

This morning was a little bit more difficult.  In this morning’s case my life’s events were not going according to plan and this was causing a buildup of negative emotion.  The more I tried to fix what seemed to be the catalyst of the negativity, the more the emotion built up because the situation could not be fixed as easily as I would hope.  Suddenly the pain body was in full effect and at the time was controlling me.  When the pain body has been activated, a person is very susceptible to aggravation and even the smallest things will trigger more negativity to feed the pain body.  The ego is dying to get out.

In my case this morning, in the middle of my stress a comment was made concerning what I should be doing in my daily life for healing.  Now resentment was bubbling to the surface as my ego’s fuse was ignited and was ready to fight back and win the battle of the identity.  Angry thoughts fired through my head.  “How do you know what I should be doing!?  You think you know everything!  You’re not in my shoes, what do you know?!”

Only in response to the anger on my face, more comments were made, each one pushing just the right buttons.  The ego thrives off of such interactions and I knew that if I tried to defend my hurt ego it would only cause the eruption of more ego on both sides of the front.  Ego fuels the ego in one’s own self and others.  So I left the situation and the ego was left to defend itself in presence, an environment which chokes the ego into submission.  Then to no suprise, the pain and the stress of the morning’s events fizzled out as well.

I don’t have all the answers and I never will.  The books I read are not the truth, they only point me towards the truth.  The religions we follow are not the truth either, they also simply point towards the truth.  I starve for some sort of foundation of belief.  Something I know to be the ultimate word to follow and I can have complete faith in these laws of guidance.  But whenever I seem to attach myself to a certain ideal or philosophy, some other viewpoint gets thrown my way and shakes the ground of whatever I have attached to.  I seem to get offended when people say, “why don’t you do it this way”, and if their way contradicts my way than I tend to get angry, flustered and confused.  I don’t have all the answers and no one else does either, therefore I need to be open-minded to all while being aware that nothing is absolute and it is okay when my foundation’s get shaken.  It’s OK to be confused and to not understand.  When someone comes across in a conflicting manner as having all the answers and knowing their way as the truth, I need not be offended but realize that it is simply their ego, their false sense of self attached to an ideal, and I will not let their ego unveil mine.  Instead I will exude presence which dissolves my ego and in turn dissolves all ignited ego’s around me.  Without ego I’m also then free to openly digest their comments without feeling accused or attacked.

In presence the true state of being is revealed.  A state of being where the true self expands and overcomes the senses.  This self cannot be offended and knows nothing of conflict, for the true self’s identity is rooted in God whose presence is the only ultimate truth.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Overcoming Suffering with Presence

  1. Patricia says:

    I hestitiate to comment dear Colin. But I will in the kindest of campassionate ways I know how. I remember feeling as you do and as I read I felt so much for you (and about myelf) that is the thing – it is listening and not incorporating your experiences into mine which is hard for me to do – in caring I take my experiences and what has worked for me and try to share it.You seem to be getting an overload of advice. You have done so much work – reading listening searching. May I suggest that for just one day you stop. I feel that you have beaten yourself up. Whomever is in your space saying, "In my case this morning, in the middle of my stress a comment was made concerning what I should be doing in my daily life for healing." Do they mean that you should be focused on what? Rehab? Prayer? What? I have no idea, but it hurt you. The inner voice that wanted to scream had something to tell you. I am impressed by your capability not to scream it outloud. I did this to my mother. She had a hard time with the fact that "she" was not in control to "fix" my hurt and injured brain – wanted to with love and tough comments. Gave me books occasionally about my emotions etc. I had a friend tell me to stop – listen to my heart – follow it. I am lucky in some ways because at the time I had a short memory. A blessing in a weird way. What happened when my inner voice started screaming was that suddenly my heart started screaming to – the answers were muffled. Art school became my saving grace in a way – I had to express myself through a new form and concentrating on that new form gave me an outlet to my screaming heart and gently leads me at times. It helped me know what I needed for myself to feel well. Lately I have had someone in my space a friend, they were trying to help – helping me clean and this and that – suddenly it became their thing – "you should do it this way, this is my way" was the message I started feeling as I watched some of my favorite magazines and pictures go into a trash bag. I kindly thanked and said I\’m okay. I pulled out my favorite tools that help me to hpotograph and inspire me from the trash. I put them back. As you mention here so helpfully there is no one way and unfortunately sometimes people will pick up on that and try to show you the way they think is right – it is not mean always, not pressure always, sometimes it is caring just turned about when too much is going on inside me. Additionally when there is a lot going on inside me there is my tendency to feel threatened and defensive, I realize that we call this the ego – but at times I feel the need to stand my own ground and say wait right now I need this. Right now I still need to refer to those magazines and have some of my space be comfortable to me not someone else\’s standard. This may be wrong. but to me it is what I need.I hope that you find some peace. I hope that all that noise settles and you can feel your wonderful heart. I know that you have mentioned that you struggle with this feeling that you need to be in the right state of mind to be open to healing in a way that will help you walk again. Colin, I feel choked up writing this, I feel wrong writing this outloud and not keeping it to myself and minding my own business but please give yourself a break. The pressure you have on yourself and from others is seemingly so much. Give yourself a day off – see how it feels – why do I think the answers of truth and beauty and happiness will find you this way? I don\’t know – I think that your heart will be able to speak its gentle caring ways to you – the way that you speak it to others. I wish I had a heart like yours – I would give it back to you so you could feel its beauty and strength and its own wisdom. It is all inside you. My best intentions always – patti

  2. Colin says:

    Hey Patti,Thank you for your honest and open response. I always learn a great deal from what you write and can constantly relate to what you\’re saying.The comments were made by my father who was talking on the phone with my uncle at the time. They were discussing a quote from a book called The Power of the Subconscious Mind. The quote being discussed was a mantra from the book which you are supposed to repeat in your head stating that the body is healing and becoming whole and perfect. Stated in a way so that you know the healing has already taken place.My dad then told my uncle that he has tried to get me to use the mantra but I won\’t because I\’m stubborn. He then went on and put some words in my mouth and smirkingly told my uncle that he had better shut up because of the look on my face.I feel pressure from many of my family members on my dads side of the family to know that I\’m going to be healed. They don\’t all bumbard me with that idea but I can sense it.I\’m not quite sure what you mean when you suggest that I just stop for a day. Do you mean that I should yell at my dad and let go of these negative emotions that way? If I did that they would only get worse.I find that by digging deep in searching for answers is a much more productive lifestyle for me than giving into negativity. There are times when negativity must be accepted and absorbed, but most of the time it\’s not necessary.Many days I\’ll be feeling sad for no particular reason, so I will just sit with the feeling and just be with the emotion. I find these days that I\’m not particularly happy that I\’m content. I smiled and laughed a lot more before the injury but back then I wasn\’t content. I had a lot of baggage in my brain that was always brewing.Many days I do just give in. I fight back against my father\’s comments and I follow my instinct of being rude. I then drown myself in activities that simply make me forget about my problems for the time being. On these days I\’m giving into my strongest desires but these desires do not fill me fully or permanently, they simply cover up my true essense. I always feel worse after these days.I feel more peace trying to better myself as a human being than giving into suffering that most of us go through but need not. Sometimes the pressure can be high but once you feel the possible peace within, why turn any other way?I\’m sure I probably misread what you said by a longshot but these are the thoughts that came to me as I read your response.Your heart is wonderful, more wonderful than mine. Don\’t ever hesitate to let me know your feelings because I always know what heart they are coming from.Much love,Colin

  3. Patricia says:

    p.s. – if you are concerned about expenses and your heart is really telling you that you want to go back to school contact the school about transportation or your social worker – either should be able to guide you to support in many ways. both finicially and technically as far as transportation – if you have any roadblocks or trouble getting what your heart desires in this arena I will be happy to consult with my social worker and support system and find out what services are available to you. There are services and it is all possible. -patti

  4. Patricia says:

    oops I just realized that we posted comments here at the same exact time – jinx!! and darn I started to write this next comment and pressed some button that made it disappear. No, I\’m not meaning that you should yell at your Dad – I just find that for me sometimes all the advice from people in my daily life about things can sometimes get me caught up and stressed out. It seems that you have tried taking a day off from things and it isn\’t helpful – I think it is great that you are in touch with what effects you and how – the one small difference is that when I take a day off I don\’t stop thinking about my problems as you mention, instead I let them sit with me silently. I open my heart and feel some stillness, I watch nature outside my window, and slowly I feel my heart start to come to some answers quietly on its own as I keep the obstacles in my mind in the back – like for instance I was doing something mindless and suddenly came back to thinking about your school situation – I thought wait I remember something about that and aid that my social worker reccomended -pop – there it was an idea. When Isit quietly with myself sometimes I think of – What I want to do, how I feel, what I wish to do next, work or projects that inspire me. I feel a coming together of peace and a quiet gentle determination and also a trust in nature. I do trust. I think that that basic trust straight from my gut has helped me, replenished me. Honestly I think that your father must not be aware of how much energy you spend on focusing on the belief of healing. You two are playing a game of tug of war – honestly and lovingly just give it a try – say the mantra when you feel like it, if you feel like it. Would you feel better if they had little hope for you? I think not. I know you hate me for saying that – go ahead -and I am sorry. My mother had hope for me, I think my father did not. I was torn with how I felt about both. Still am at times. I think about my mother though in my hardest moments – i hear her literally in the back of my head – it used to piss me off – but if you read the note I wrote to her on my blog entitled Love note to my mom years later- I think there are two notes actually- you will see that eventually I came to thank her for her strength and belief. She said yes, to letting me move forward like when I asked to go to art school while all others said they thought it wasn\’t a good idea. It wan\’t easy for her – I remember her dropping me off in the middle of Maine. I remember being alone sometimes and thinking doesn\’t she care? but she did; in a weird way she taught me to fend for myself and find strength in myself. No parents can be comapred though and I find myself confused at your father – wishing he saw how hard you are trying and you are doing great. No, in taking the day off – I sinply mean from others expectations and advice – even mine – I don\’t mean ignoring everything – I mean listening to your own heart for the answers. I don\’t mean turning to negativity either – definately not that – I mean turning on the positive in your heart and taking the day to sit with your dreams, your obstacles and coming to find your own answers within yourself. There is beauty within you – so much. I would never say Colin, a good day of negativity would help – no way – that is crap and wouldn\’t help anyone!! What I am suggesting is peace and it sounds like you find it in your own way all the time. So I am rambling. but what you said in your head to your father -"you aren\’t in my shoes what do you know?" – it made me wonder, okay – so what is it? what is it you want him to know or more impotantly what is it that YOU want to know. Sitting quietly as I suggested could be one way to positively become aware of the things that you hold dear and what you want in a postive and productive way. That is all I meant and maybe it isn\’t right. I just find that that is when ideas come to me. I have learned much from you and even your returning comment has made me think more deeply about my own patterns and behaviors that I need to adjust or think about. I thank you. much love and caring and humility at not knowing the right answers but hopefully something that can help in some small way. I like when you write back and challenge me to think about it thank you and also thank you for helping me to clarify what I was talking about – please always do that when it comes across as suggesting something other than helpful – I think it helps us both grow. At least it helps me grow – at this point I am probably frustrating -patti

  5. Patricia says:

    see I walked away thought about what I wrote and feel erked and dissatisfied with the way I explained – here is a simple way to simple example of how I think – photography has become somewhat metaphoric and has helped me a lot in how I think about things. I will get an assignment – the photojournalistic assignments are my favorite they are about capturing moments and I try to really capture a telling moment. the hard part comes when I get a none photojournalistic assignment – they will say for example "we need a cover that has something to do with Valentines…do whatever" hmm. It is a pain I hate it sometimes cause I sit there and think well you gave me 24 hours to come up with something – an answer to sell your magazine – I realize that time wise I gotta problem. F! I have learned that to find the solutions and the work that speaks from my heart I need to put the whole situation on the back burner of my mind and let it sizzle – then I sit, watch the birds, watch nature – ponder a tree – I notice the knots in the tree and the years and hardships it goes through – the snow, the ice, the sun. My mind is quietly working out an answer. I forget all of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, oughta\’s, and the pressures of what others think – they are hard not to initially worry about but I find them counter productive. I also find it sometimes hard not to wonder what some other photographer who is more knowledgable might do. But I let go – I let my mind wander and eventually and magically like a playful kid but more like something from my soul – I find the answer – I find the shot idea and I work from there. If that analogy makes any sense it would be what I am ultimately trying to say. peace and love, patti

  6. Patricia says:

    incomplete p.s. from last comment -gosh!!! blog hog here – wht I learned from the tree that had to do with Valentines is that dispite its hardships, with the ice, snow, broken limbs, knots, bumps, and ultimately sun – that tree grows – it weathers the good and the bad much like love – it reaches towards the sky with hopefulness, it continues, it blossoms, it waits, it bends, it adapts, it shows patience, it is beautiful. That is what ultimately gave me the next idea – the way I felt about love and its strength. It was not what I shot but was the power behind what was my idea in the shot and made the shot better. What a person photographs utlimately will show what a person is feeling -if I am in a certain mood it will come out much like using crayons and when one is in a bad mood the picture will seem tumultous. Now if someone watched me sitting there peacefully comtemplating a tree when I had a 24 hour deadline they would have screamed at me to get moving!!! But see for me, I needed to not move, but be still with my thoughts so that the answers I needed would arise. – that\’s all – patti

  7. Shannon says:

    Colin,Its always so hard to fight against that negativity. I do it as well. I still hang on to a lot of negativity from my past towards my family..my dad mostly. I have a hard time letting go of that for some reason. I tried to deal with it differently this time when I went back for the holidays and decided that whatever my family said or did, I was not going to let it get to me because they were not living my life and had no clue what was really best for me. That attitude helped a bit and I was not so uncomfortable being around them. Not nearly the same as your situation, I know, but along those lines.Shannon

  8. Patricia says:

    Colin – I lied in that I am commenting in again – I stayed up reading all night and came to some interesting revelations about myself. I came to understand that in wanting to soothe whatever frustrations you may expereince that I was unhelpful – I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I updated my space with what I have learned for myself. If I have preached to you it has been from a kind place, but it is not right. I realize now my tendency to do this and why. My best to you always and with peace. – patti

  9. Colin says:

    Hello Patti,You\’re not preaching at all Patti. We are simply having a discussion. If you did not express your opinions, what the heck would we talk about?I believe we ultimately do the exact same thing when frustration arises. When you feel frustration you say that you just sit and watch the birds, watch nature where the purest form of being exists. Just like I do when you feel emotional turbulence you turn towards your spiritual essence within where you\’re true self lies. You\’re true self where also lies the power of your creativity and imagination. The greatest revelations occur when one is not thinking about discovering them but when they are simply being. I see this in you\’re writing consistently without fail.In the words of a friend of mine, dream big,Colin

  10. Patricia says:

    It is hard when you write to wonder how the tone comes across – ya know. Plus recently a friend of mine was helping me out but freaking me out a little too – it got to the feeling that he was "fixing me" – suggestions began to seem more like demands as he realized I was open to his suggestions – it was a weird feeling and it made me concious of it as well that I never wanted to make anyone feel that way. Glad you always seem to know that I wouldn\’t – you are great. How\’s Bob? Things working out with Bob? Funniest thing, today I weaved and knocked over the books in Wegman\’s market again – the display – it is the second time – I\’ve done it and no small display – the whole place is video taped so I walk up to customer service to tell them (since last time they freaked when I started redecorating and reshelving) – and they just go "Ya did it again didn\’t you!!??!!" The whole staff was in hysterics it really was funny and actually this time they let me help – I really do love books if ya wanta know of anyof the best sellers I\’m now pretty up on it!! haha! -patti

  11. Patricia says:

    Rough day here – how\’s it going with you? -patti

  12. Patricia says:

    Hope your day got better as your energy replenished – I ended up doing some photos for a family and talking to them and hearing how they all were and being around the kids helped lift my spirits. Hope you feel your spirit shinning – dream big! -patti

  13. Shannon says:

    Hey Colin!Just stopping by to say hello! Hope you had a great weekend! Stop by and say hello…ive got a few classroom stories up there for ya to read! Just a few though…the new blog is only a week old! :-)Take care and have a great week!Shannon

  14. Patricia says:

    Hey Colin – Stopping by to see if you updated – can\’t sleep. Hope you are well. -patti

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s