For those of you who have been to see me in clinic, or completed a Homœopathy in the Home course, you will know that I continually strive to perceive the underlying cause of dis-ease in cases and deeply recognise the mind-body connection in relation to health and happiness.
During my holidays, I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. It has resonated with me on so many levels, including my own perception of health and the practise homœopathy. I would like to share some reflections with you today, for your own interest, to stimulate your thoughts on living more consciously and ultimately for your own health journey.
The Power of Now teaches that we can learn to find our way out of psychological pain; that authentic human power is found by surrendering to the Now; that silence and space all around us is one of the keys to entering inner peace. He explains how when you are in the present moment, problems don’t exist and that we are already complete and perfect.
Tolle tell us that “True wealth is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it…To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of ‘feeling-realisation’ is elightenment.” (p13)
But what exactly is the NOW and what is BEING and how do we achieve these riches?
Enlightenment: your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with yourself and something much greater than yourself. It is finding your true nature beyond form.
Being: the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad of forms of life that are subject to birth and death. It is both beyond and deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. It is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. It can be felt but not understood mentally.
Becoming an observer of your mind
Tolle maintains that our Being is separate to our thinking and our mind; he teaches that part of learning to be truly present, in the Now and in our Being is to learn to become observers of our own mind. By mind, Tolle means thoughts, emotions and unconscious mental-emotional reactive patterns. He tells us that emotions arise at the place where the mind and body meet; the body’s reaction to or reflection of the mind.
Our society has become very fast-paced. We are constantly caught up in our thoughts and emotional responses. For many, our identity is closely connected with these patterns. Many people struggle to calm their mind and to relax. And we have lost the awareness of how disconnected we have become from ourselves, each other and our deeper sense of self. People rarely just sit and ‘be’. We are incessantly immersed in activity; our attention caught up in distraction. We read whilst we eat; we monitor our smart phones continually and access social media the minute a blank moment arises. Some even switch on to check ‘urgent’ emails as soon as they walk in the door from work. It’s almost as if we have become afraid to be still. We appear to need constant stimulus. But for what? According to Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment, it takes us away from ease; from our ability to think better and from creating a space for generative attention. We are exhausted and living on stimulants to keep us living at this pace. And the scary thing is, it is all unconscious. We are not even aware of it. And if we are aware, we are conscious perpetrators.
Tolle tells us that the less present you are to the ‘watching consciousness’, the stronger the emotional charge will be. “If you can’t feel your emotions or are cut off from them, you will eventually experience them on a purely physical level as a physical problem or symptom.”
I have seen this in practice. In my experience, in most cases of chronic dis-ease, there is an underlying mental/emotional cause. In my Homœopathy in the Home course, we spend a session exploring concepts of health and disease. The purpose of this is to support people to not always look outside themselves for solutions to health problems; to not just take medicines to enable them to ‘soldier on’. Rather, to look inside and ask what is going on; to listen and give the body what needs. Tolle also has this message and a reflective practice:
“Make it a habit to ask yourself: What’s going on inside me at this moment? That question will point you in the right direction. But don’t analyze, just watch. Focus your attention within. Feel the energy of the emotion. If there is no emotion present, take your attention more deeply into the inner energy field of your body. It is the doorway into Being.” (p 27)
Tolle teaches that the greater part of human pain is unnecessary. He maintains that it is self created as long as the unobserved mind ‘runs your life’.
We all experience pain at some time. It could be physical, mental or emotional. To know that we could practice becoming more conscious and present and that this could alleviate suffering is potentially life-changing.
“The pain that you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind.”
Tolle maintains that our mind is always trying to rule us and take us away from the Now and that the more you identify with the mind, the more you suffer.
It is true that sometimes the present moment is too unpleasant to want to inhabit. But Tolle tells us that by watching the mechanics of the mind, we can step out of resistive patterns and allow the present moment to be. Accept, then act.
Tolle also talks about the ‘pain-body’, which is accumulated pain that creates a negative energy field in the body and mind. It is from the residue of every emotional pain experience from the past that becomes lodged in the mind and body. This can lay dormant for years, or be activated/triggered by similar painful experiences.
For me, this provides a philosophical perspective as to why sometimes seemingly small events can sometimes trigger large emotional reactions in people. In my work as a mental health nurse, I have seen this in people who have been exposed to trauma and abuse. It could take them years to be pushed to the point of self-harm or a suicide attempt as a coping mechanism. But once on this journey, next time a smaller incident may occur and cause the same behaviour.
I also think about the collective pain body. Cultures that have experienced genocide, holocaust, civil war, apartheid, what part of that energetic pain body is transferred to their offspring and surviving community?
Tolle writes that
“The pain body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, ‘become you’, and live through you…it will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in any form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, violence, and even illness. So the pain-body, when it has taken you over, will create a situation in your life that reflects back its own energy frequency for it to feed on…Once the pain-body has take you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator.”
I have witnessed this in a very close family member. It is an impenetrable state when the conscious awareness is absent. It is extremely difficult to observe in someone you love when they cannot be reached.
Tolle teaches techniques to break this pain-body. It is based around sustained conscious attention. He says that it severs the link between the pain-body and your thought processes and brings about he process of transmutation.
I also believe that homœopathy has a role to play here. I believe that the remedies can heal pain that has been stored in cellular memory and the psyche for some time. For me, it is via the individualised, holistic prescription of the most similar medicine for that person. There is also interesting work being done in Africa by Peter Chappel who has created ‘homœopathic resonances’ to address en masse communal trauma, such as AIDS and genocide, for which he reports good results.
Closing thoughts for Part 1
The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle is incredibly rich and thought provoking. I have read it once, but already feel the need to read it again for a deeper understanding of the content. In Part 2, we will look more specifically at health and relationships within the Power of Now. Part 1 started with a quote from Tolle about true wealth:
“True wealth is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it…”
I’d like to wrap up this segment coming back to that point. Tolle tells us that true wealth is not material; that it’s about the joy of Being.
“Things and conditions can give you pleasure, but they will also give you pain. Things and conditions can give you pleasure, but they cannot give you joy. Nothing can give you joy. Joy is uncaused and arises from within as the joy of Being…It is your natural state, not something that you need to work hard for or struggle to attain.” (p187)
In my mind, this is all something to think about and strive for.