If we have a pain body, and it is pretty much a sure thing that each of us do, then our most intimate relationships will certainly stimulate and activate it. Having a committed relationship is a great tool for developing one’s awareness and presents a unique opportunity to become aware of and ultimately to conquer one’s pain body. It is a fact that it is in personal relationships that we, as a race, exhibit the most extreme manifestations of our pain body. This is why it is much more dangerous to be a judge or juror in a divorce proceeding than a mafia trial.
Although we profess that we love our partner the most of anyone in our life, we also treat them the worst of anyone in our life when our pain body becomes activated. We say the most hurtful things and do the most hurtful things to those we proclaim to love the most. This occurs when something they say or do activates our pain body. For the most part this process is so automatic that we may not even notice it. Your partner will certainly notice it, at least in you. And your pain body will then activate theirs, and the intensity can escalate quite rapidly in many cases. You two can be having a peaceful day when one comment can, out of the blue, cause a chain reaction that has the two of you shouting at each other within seconds of that peaceful moment.
Some people’s pain body will not stop at shouting, however. Some are not satisfied until they have physically abused their partner. But it is important to see that even verbal abuse is abusive and damaging. It is a good idea for anyone seeking a new relationship to find out just how far your potential partner’s pain body will go when it becomes stimulated. To find out, you may have to ask their ex. Most people will not volunteer that information, or will fail to tell you the full extent of it.
Some people do not verbally or physically abuse their partner but instead will hurt them in other ways, such as withdrawal from their partner completely, what I like to call ‘take away.’ Since you hurt me, I will take away my love from you, forever, or temporarily. The important thing to know here that the way our individual pain bodies express themselves are all basically the same. When the pain body becomes active, it seeks only one thing – more pain. So, it seeks to either hurt their partner or to hurt themselves, or both. And generally speaking, once our pain body is activated, it will not stop until it feels well-fed with pain.
An innocent remark by our partner can activate our pain body. This is especially true when we are already ‘on the verge’ of a pain body activation. If I am tired, or irritated by some unrelated event or experience, my partner’s innocent remark is more likely to be misinterpreted as being against me in some way and blam! – my pain body is alive and fully awakened and seeking more pain. Most of us, when we are tired, such as at the end of a day, are much more likely to have our pain bodies activated. Just knowing this, or should I say, knowing yourself well enough to know when you have a short fuse, is a valuable awareness that can help you prevent your pain body from taking you over. The ‘I’ that we are when the pain body is not activated is always ‘sorry’ about the things we do when the pain body is activated. But that ‘I’ seems to have little to do with the pain body. They are like two completely separate entities within the same person. The innocent ‘me’ that loves you and is so happy and grateful to have you in my life and the evil or insane ‘me’ that only seeks to hurt you or hurt myself. They do not appear to have any control over the other, not any communication between them. When the pain body is activated, it has no thoughts of love or concern for the other. It is like a person who is in a life or death situation and who will kill or hurt anyone else to survive. And, its survival requires more pain.
If I truly want to become more conscious in my life and have a life that contains more of the NOW and less of the past, future and pain body attacks, the pain body activations that occur as stimulated by my partner present a unique and powerful opportunity to cut through the illusion that keeps me from being my true self. To utilize this opportunity, I have to intervene, with awareness. First of all, I have to be more aware of myself, my inner moods and state of mind/emotions. I need to know when a pain body attack is imminent. This generally shows up as irritability or sullen-ness in some form. Little events that occur in a day can cause a greater sense of irritability, which in turn takes us either close to a pain body attack or right into one. We must have more awareness of ourselves or there is no hope of ever overcoming a pain body attack.
Practicing being in the NOW on a daily basis is also very helpful. Personally I take hikes almost every day out into nature where there are very few man-made sounds and I sit for a spell each day and disassociate myself from my thoughts and emotions and just become present to everything I can sense, both within myself and without. I sense my own feelings, my emotional state, but also the sounds around me, feelings in my body, and the inner stillness that lies behind all these sense perceptions. This practice has now given me the power to be able to focus in on the NOW more easily whenever I want to. And I can use this when something my partner does or says stimulates my pain body. I can become aware of my pain body and sit there and look at it instead of being swept away by it.
How do we know we are being swept away by our pain body? We know that because all our thoughts are focused on blaming our partner, thinking of ways to hurt them back, justifying our position or ‘rightness’, coming up with new thoughts or schemes to counter what they did to us. When the mind is involved in this manner, we are already lost in our pain body. It has us. But the practice of being in the NOW allows me to intervene in this reactionary behavior and to stop it before it takes us over.
Now, I have the ability to stop my mind from going that extra step when I become activated. I can sit there, with the pain I am feeling from whatever my partner did and just be with that pain, without going into retribution, arguing, justification, or other pain-body thought forms.
As Eckhart Tolle says, the pain body is an “insubstantial phantom that cannot face the light of your conscious awareness.” If we can just be with the pain that comes up in a situation, just shine our awareness upon it, we stop the pain body activation process and make room for miracles to happen in terms of our interaction with our beloved partner.
For those who are just starting on this path to greater awareness I will say that it is a bit slow-going in the beginning. But even at the beginning there are many benefits so that we are rewarded every step of the way in this process of gaining more awareness of our true self.