“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” – Eckhart Tolle

Rainbow RoomI recently talked about experiencing negative emotions and how to sit with them until they dissipate.  Sometimes a situation triggers a host of negative reactions that are disproportionate to the event itself.  For me, this tends to be how my pain body awakens. The pain body is the energy of past experiences of pain that haven’t been fully processed and continue to live on in the body.  When the pain body wakes up it brings with it the opportunity to dissolve the pain you’ve been unconsciously carrying around.  It also means you have to feel it, sit with it, and not allow yourself to get distracted.

This happened to me just the other day, and as I was comfortably lying there I found myself wanting to scroll around on my phone, or see what was on TV.  If I had allowed myself to get up and go about my day the pain body would have subsided, and I would have gone on having a fine time.  But the energy I was experiencing wouldn’t have been dissolved.  It would have come up again when the opportunity was right.  So I gave myself permission to feel both the uncomfortable negative energy, and the inertia pulling me to get up and do something else.  This is an endlessly worthwhile practice.  I plan on living for many years, and the benefits of practicing how to deal with negative emotions will be of great assistance on a journey that largely includes letting go.

It is also helpful to learn how to be with negative emotions, and a feeling of restlessness, because it can show you how to accept these energy forces in your friends and partners.  I intend for this practice to help me allow my loved ones to experience whatever it is they are going through.  It can be just as difficult, if not more, to bring acceptance to the suffering of a loved one.  First trying out surrender for yourself can tremendously aid you when you see someone you love going through the same thing.  If your loved one is suffering, and there isn’t any physical solution you can bring to them, you can surrender to their pain and be a peaceful presence in their time of need.

As a child growing up my mother would always sit at my bedside when I would cry into my pillow for whatever reason.  Even if it wasn’t visible at the time, just having her there helped me heal faster and more profoundly than I would have on my own.

Even further, you can bring surrender to the suffering of those you don’t know but witness day-to-day.  When I see homeless human beings on the street I don’t pity them.  I see them for the true radiant being that we both are, let go of any judgment of their situation, and smile with a genuine sense of connectedness.  If I have a dollar bill I offer it, but even then it is not the money that is healing.  The healing takes place in the moment that we are present with each other, without the judgment of the thinking mind, in the kind of communion that sees through the veil of form into our shared reality.  Every attempt to “just be” is different, whether it is with myself, a loved one, or someone I just met.  No matter how it goes, to let go of judgment and allow the experience to be as it is, is what I call success.


Don’t Let It Go To Your Head

WinterNegative emotions are low frequency energy currents that pass through the body, and often surface from within the body if they weren’t fully felt and “digested” when they were created.  I sometimes feel negative emotions unconnected to thoughts, which surface randomly.  They are uncomfortable.  But they can also be dispelled.  The trick is, don’t let negative emotions go to your head.

It is easy to not want to feel negative energy currents and try to numb them, or come up with various schemes about how to rid yourself of those emotions.  When this happens, thoughts end up feeding the negative energy currents with more energy of a like frequency, creating a cycle of negativity within the body.  Not only do thoughts create more negative emotions, but they also prevent them from being dispelled.

When I feel negative energy rising up within me I find the most helpful way through it is allowing myself to feel the emotions fully.  I let myself sit with them.  It is not comfortable, but it is also not difficult when I tell myself that it is okay to feel negative emotions.  There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling “bad.”  I give myself permission to feel what I’m feeling, without trying to explain it away or come up with a solution.

Negative emotions are just another frequency of energy we can experience.  So I let myself have the experience.  By accepting what I’m feeling in the moment, space is created around the emotions.  I don’t give more energy to the negativity by wrapping myself up in it, and letting it feed my thoughts.  Instead of becoming the negative emotions, I experience them.  (This didn’t happen overnight, it is an ongoing practice!)

As an energy current, negative emotions naturally try to feed and grow, but this can be prevented by retaining the awareness that they don’t actually help.  I know that feeling bad isn’t going to make me feel better, or improve my circumstances.  Only high frequency energy can take me where I want to go.  So even as I’m feeling the emotions fully, I am aware that I needn’t let it go to my head, because after they pass through I will once more be on my way to feeling peaceful.  One of the most life changing observations I learned from Tolle is that behind all negative emotions is the belief that they will somehow get you what you want.  But they can only feed on the same low frequency of energy that they are, and cannot improve your circumstances.  What happens when you have a surge of negative emotions?  Does it trigger your thinking mind?  Next time you experience a “bad” feeling, see what happens when you allow it to be there.  It may pass through quicker than you think.


The Stranger Who Killed My Ego

Happy Sign

One night a few summers back I went to the gym, and feeling quite proud of myself decided to walk home to keep the momentum going.  As I was briskly walking along, with my rainbow New Balances and a big grin on my face, a young artist who could’ve been my age asked me to look at his photographs.  I admired them, complimented his artistic eye, and was about to continue on my way home.  But before I could, he started asking me if I was going to buy them.  I told him I had no money on me but that I wished him good luck with his work.

Instead of the usual disappointed face and goodbye, I received a totally unexpected barrage of questions.  Did I really have no money at all?  Couldn’t I go to the ATM? Don’t I just live off my parents’ money anyway?  I admitted I was blessed and did in fact have some money to my name, but that I too was an artist, working part time.  He wouldn’t stop asking questions.  I could have made the choice to walk away.  In my mind it was important to just watch him and see him as a human being.  But when someone is completely taken over by the voice in their head, as he clearly was, the most helpful thing can be to choose a new situation, and exit.

Saying things like “I am blessed” and telling him how, as a poet, I understand how difficult it is to make money, set me up for a barrage of attacks on my religion, and my art.  “Oh yeah right, we’re all poets aren’t we?” he sarcastically remarked.  Along with, “If you really were religious you would go and get money right now but you’re not, so I guess you aren’t really what you say you are.”  On and on he went.  And I just stood there in awe, listening.

Eventually I gave it up as a bad job and walked away, tears streaming down my face.  He had attacked every identification I held dear.  He tore down all of the things I associated with to give me an identity.  He acted as if he could not see me at all, as if I were not a real person standing in front of him.  He may have appeared like many of my acquaintances from art school, with his hipster clothing and shaggy hair, but he didn’t seem to relate to me on any level.

I was in shambles the rest of my walk home; you would have thought something truly terrible had happened.  But I knew in the deep recesses of my consciousness that something terrible had not happened to me, it happened to my ego.  The part of me that attached itself to things and ideas had been belittled.  The voice in my head that demanded others take it seriously, and believe in what is says, had been attacked with no chance of retribution.  Not my true self, but the mind which seeks outside things to feel secure and to attain an identity, that ego self, had been greatly diminished.  He had claimed to know me better than myself.  He took everything I thought I was, and laughed at it, claimed it was all one big hoax.

Now I can say, thank God for this stranger.  Everything he said, all of the parts of me he attacked, were much too specific to be meaningless.  The universe is a beautiful being, who used this man, a person completely taken over by his ego, to show me the vestiges of my own ego.  The universe teaches lessons through joy, but it can also use negative people and situations for your good.

Since I couldn’t defend myself after parting ways with this stranger, my ego could not repair itself.  It couldn’t build itself back up, dig its heals in, and explain why it was what it said it was.  Whenever the ego is diminished without being repaired, space is created for your true self to emerge, that which is beyond thoughts and emotions.  Instead of defending my beliefs about who I was, I allowed myself to let go of what others thought of me, along with letting go of what I thought about of myself.  No thoughts, no labels, are who I am.  Nothing I can ever think about myself will ever come close to the reality of my being.  That stranger was a small flame of refining fire, burning up the egoic mind-made self, leaving room for my eternal being to live more fully through me.  It did not feel good.  I was amazed by how truly terrible it felt.  But through acceptance, the pain dissolved, along with the resilient attachments that are the ego, and I was still there.  Completely whole, undiminished, and open to life as it really was.  We don’t need others to define who we are.  We don’t need ourselves to define who we are.  Beyond definitions, we just are.

consciousness, spirituality, Uncategorized

Laughter: Fake It Till You Make It!

I am a huge Michael Jackson fan.  Since I was in grade school MJ’s music has had a profound effect on me, lifting me up and inspiring me.  The day MJ died I was at the Satchidananda Ashram. I found out by overhearing some other people from the dorms causally discussing it.  I was completely beside myself.  It may seem silly to be so mournful over the death of a celebrity, but I had loved MJ for so long and was looking forward to him creating new music.  I had even purchased a ticket to one of his shows in London without having any clue of how I would get there.

The day after his death I was very low.  I didn’t want to do anything, let alone something enjoyable (the pain body can’t stand enjoyment).  My roommates then tried to persuade me to go to “Laughter Yoga” with them.  Laughing was the very last thing I felt like doing, but eventually they convinced me.  In Laughter Yoga you “fake it till you make it.”  I’m not sure if  I truly laughed or not, but afterwards I felt considerably lighter, more peaceful, and even a little bit happy.  Laughter doesn’t have to be real to have positive effects on your mood, thinking, and physical health. Now I try to remind myself to laugh every day, no matter what.  And this video really helps with that:

Thanks to Marc and Angel Hack Life for introducing me to this video!

consciousness, spirituality

Backstreet Boys and God


The other day in my post about religion as language I mentioned that at this point in my life I can’t help but see God in everything.  Tonight I was at a karaoke bar and the Backstreet Boys’ song “Larger Than Life” came on.  While at first seeing God in a Backstreet Boys song seems ridiculous, (unless you’re a big fan), when I saw the words to the chorus come on the screen I was totally blown away:


“All you people can’t you see, can’t you see

How your love’s affecting our reality

Every time we’re down

You can make it right

And that makes you larger than life”

Who knows what the author was going for when this chorus was written, but when I saw these words I heard a powerful message.

Each individual’s state of consciousness has infinite consequences for the whole.  Because of this the most important step to achieving peace for all, is to create peace within yourself.  The far reaching effects of one person’s state of consciousness can never be known; the entire history of time would need to be traced to see the effects in their fullness.  In this way, each person is “larger than life;” we are much more essential than we can know in our current experience of reality.  As for, “every time we’re down, you can make it right,” I hear that when the world is in pain, you can help by dealing with your own pain body.  The collective pain body of humanity is dissolved one person at a time.

So who can say that boy bands are all bubblegum and no substance?  Anything can point you towards God if you receive it.

consciousness, spirituality, Uncategorized

The Pain Body Practice and The Beginning of Inner Peace

I’m a huge fan of audiobooks. Every morning I listen to an audiobook, interview, sermon, or anything that will inspire me and bring me more fully into the spirit of the present. I am always amazed by how words of inspiration change my inner state from tired and dreary, to awake, energized, and joyful. As I do my makeup I let the positive words sink in. By the time I’m out the door I feel excited for life. This is the polar opposite of the feeling I have when I first wake up in the morning.

Inner peace is a practice. It requires practice in every single moment. This looks different in every moment. I know that when I’m at work it looks different than when I’m at home. At home I can listen to my audiobooks when I get ready for the day. At work I can allow myself to focus fully on each task, keeping my attention on the “doing” instead of the result I am working towards. When I am at home watching TV and a commercial about some deadly illness comes on and I am about to be afraid of it, I have to practice peace by letting go of fear. Each and every now is an opportunity for greater peace. It is totally fine that not all moments seem as peaceful as others, that is all part of the practice.

Yesterday I began talking about the pain body, the residual energy of past pain that lives within each of us. The pain body creates great opportunities for practice. Of course they don’t feel great, but the awareness gained in the moment of disidentification from the pain body can put you light years ahead of your current state of consciousness. Practicing inner peace with a heavy and active pain body can thrust anyone into a spiritual awakening.

When I was just entering high school I had a very active pain body. I can see now how the emotional pain and the thoughts in my head fed each other constantly. This was a blessing because I knew something was wrong. I knew that the pain and anxiety was not okay. I remember telling my mom, as she was driving home from a friend’s house, that there was something wrong with me. I told her that the voice in my head was always coming up with horrible scenarios about the worst things that could possibly happen to me. It would come up with scenarios where everyone I loved died and play through how I would cope and what it would feel like. While that all sounds quite dramatic, it wasn’t until many years later that I realized everyone had a voice in their head that was making up various scenarios, many of which had negative outcomes. The active pain body was so uncomfortable that it woke me up to that voice as a “problem.” Instead of assuming that the mind is just the way it is, I knew it was causing me too much pain to be in its natural state.

Together the pain body and the voice in the head create the ego. They live their lives through you, and until a little spark of disidentification comes in, they are you. They make your decisions, they create your reactions, and they completely obscure the inner peace that is your natural state. The ego will cease to run your life the moment you realize it is not you. That is all that is required. That is where the practice of inner peace begins.

consciousness, spirituality

What Is The Pain Body?

For the last two weeks I have been driving my Mom’s car, and what a blessing it has been!  I had totally forgotten when I had to give it back, and was just reminded that tomorrow I would be without a car once more.  Although not having a car was normal for me, hearing I wasn’t going to have one anymore provoked some negative feelings.  I felt disappointment and then it slowly dissipated.

What would have happened if I hadn’t let go of those negative emotions and held onto them?  My mind would have started thinking negative thoughts.  The voice in my head would have been talking about all of the reasons it was anxious about not having a car, describing exactly what would be more difficult, and why this was indeed an upsetting situation to be in.  Those thoughts in turn would have given rise to even more negative emotion than I had felt at first.  When emotional pain turns into thinking, the voice in the head is acting on the assumption that being upset will somehow help it get what it wants.

Eventually that pain subsides, and the mind starts thinking about other things and moves on.  What happens to the pain that subsides but is not let go of?  It is still within, and when an emotion akin to itself is provoked at some other time, it takes that opportunity to arise once more and add to the new emotional pain being experienced.  The new negative energy feeds the old negative energy lying dormant within.  And when that past pain is woken up, it takes the opportunity to feed negative thinking, which will make the negative emotions grow.

Eckhart Tolle describes the negative energy field that dwells within us as the “pain body.”  Deeply negative people are often controlled by the pain body.  That is the deep negativity; the heavy pain body.  It is not who that person is.  Awakening to the pain body is freedom.  The cycles of the pain body no longer have to operate.  You don’t have to feel bad every 3 weeks, or have a fight once a month with your partner.  When it wakes up and you know how it operates, it ceases to control your life.  Instead you have the opportunity to observe the pain body, be with the pain without reacting, and dissolve the past pain whenever you choose to express and let go of a negative emotion.

Consequently, when you awaken to your own pain body, it is easy to awaken to the pain body in others.  For me this has helped me to not take negative comments and actions from others as personally.  When I see it is just the pain body, I am able to see through the person’s pain to their true self. Have there been situations in your life where you can see now that a person had been taken over by their pain body?

consciousness, spirituality

Today’s Take Away

I feel this last week’s lesson in “divine compensation” is very relevant today.  When someone takes something away from you, or harms you, the universe repairs itself by restoring to you what you lost in a new form.  The person who took from you will also get to experience the loss they facilitated in some form in their own life.  But to feel the peace of this knowing requires complete trust.  For me learning a lesson helps evoke this trust, which is why I write these posts.  I think we are all learning something about ourselves, and what our personal views of justice are, from the Trayvon Martin case.

Eckhart Tolle sends out “present moment reminder” emails and the one he sent out this week, from A New Earth, says, “Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.”  So today I look within, with an open mind, at the assumptions and attitudes I hold.  Where do I perpetuate injustice?  What assumptions and attitudes do I make about people who I don’t truly know?  When do I put the blinders on and stop seeing my human kin as brothers and sisters and instead treat them as “other”?  Without judging what I find, I am able to learn from myself.  From the higher vantage point of the watcher I can view the parts of me that do not operate from my true self, and find they dissolve in the light of awareness.

In the coming weeks I will begin to address the pain body, that energy created by past pain that lives within us and is added to when painful events are not fully accepted and let go of.  I feel that the recent events from Florida may add to this nation’s pain body.  Our collective pain body has surely been awoken, as can be seen on any social media outlet.  But it can be dissolved, by dissolving our own individual pain bodies.

I also find it very healing to remind myself that I am seeing current events from a very limited viewpoint and cannot judge what I see.  I have no idea for what purpose any event happens,  and labels such as “good” and “bad” are merely thoughts in my head.  For now, I think we could all use a bit of good news: