Our whole ego system is a story and we fail to live in reality, the here-now, because we believe these stories. An innocent remark, a gesture, a photo, meeting someone, a look and a hundred different things could trigger your story. The story is the belief of who you think you are. For example, let’s say as a child you have been called a name such as stupid, lazy, selfish, timid, obnoxious or whatever and you, unconsciously, believed it. This name you have adopted had become your story. Around is weaved all the incidents, acts and experiences that connected you with it.
Anytime that an incident reminds you of that story, you react in anger, irritability or depression. This can’t be helped. It happens before you have a chance to know what is taking place. If, as a child, the story kept growing, then with each remembering different incidents are added to the story, so that almost everything that happens in your life triggers the story. Before you know it, you are an emotional wreck. At times you might feel that you are going insane.
Why does it happen that way?
We are conscious-beings and therefore our body is a product of that consciousness. Anytime we believe something to be real, it becomes a memory cell in the body. It is like the memory in the computer chip. It remains in the computer for the life of the computer unless it is deleted. All it needs is a keystroke on the keyboard to activate that memory and then it comes up on the monitor screen. It is exactly the same with us.
Picture a simple thought you believe-in as a small fraction of an inch imbedded in the body cells. These cellular memories in the body carry that story. Now, when something happens to activate that story, the buttons are pushed and it is activated on the screen of the mind and felt in the body where the cellular memory is situated. The body could feel palpitations, sweat, a burning sensation, churning stomach, sick feeling, shaking of the knees, trembling and a hundred different sensations. All these are stories being activated through the body’s memory. For example, if you experienced a story called ‘feeling abandoned’ then you could feel a pain in the contraction of the heart area. Or, if you had a story of being attacked by a man then you could feel legs trembling (the need for flight). Every story has its physical action accompanied with it.
The more the story is believed to be real and reinforced through denial, escape, control or attempts to change it, the more it is validated. In other words, the more we try to get rid of it, the more we strengthen the belief in its power over us. This is where we can begin to experience panic attacks, anxiety problems and even nervous breakdown. Chemical changes in the brain occur when we try to get rid of these sensations. They could easily lead to prolonged mental illness.
Another aspect of this pain-body memory is the identification with it to the point where we are convinced we are that story. This is the ego’s domain. In fact, we are so convinced we are that story that we even try to protect it. We will fight to the death anyone that tells us it is just a story. When the pain-body reaches this point in its identification, then it starts looking for pain to sustain its nourishment. In other words, it starts looking for pain to feed on. It might go for many days without any pain, but then it starts getting hungry and creates circumstances to feed its hunger. It might look for it through blaming, complaining, finding fault or simply creating trouble for no apparent reason. Could it help it? Can it stop doing what it is doing? The answer is a definite ‘NO!’ There is no way to stop this from happening and that is why psychiatrists prescribe drugs.
So, is one doomed to a life of miserable suffering then? Of course not! Please remember what we are talking about – we are talking about a made-up story. So the solution is to be willing to see the story as ‘the story.’ To try to get rid of it is merely to reinforce. Why try to get rid of something that is not real but made-up? The point here is the willingness to want the truth. So, here is the challenge…
Do you want the truth more than your story?
Going beyond the story.
How do we go beyond the story? Going beyond the story is so simple, so effective and so transforming that we ordinarily miss it altogether. As we said before, a story is experienced sensationally in the body cells because it is a memory. The body is a memory. The location of the sensation is according to the story. Like we said earlier, if you felt stifled from expressing yourself then you could experience a sensation of choking or a discomfort in your throat. The steps to be taken are thus:
Next time you experience an emotional discomfort – STOP – become very still and aware of any attempt to get rid of it, control it, change it or escape it. Just be still and aware of all mental movements. Then, locate the sensation in the body by asking, “where is it?” and when you find it, it could be your whole left side of the body or your whole upper part or the lower part and so on. Focus on that whole part while slowly breathing into it. Awareness of the breath is of utmost importance because it keeps you focused on the ‘now’ instead of the story. If you were to locate the sensation in the body without breathing into it, you might easily get caught in the story. By being aware of the breath, you stay here-now for the simple reason that the breath is always present.
Next, you keep experiencing the sensation as it actually is in the moment without the story. For example, if there’s trembling, then observe ‘trembling taking place…’ Just observe the trembling until it begins to slow down on its own. As it begins to relax, ask again while still breathing relaxed into it, “where is it now?” and again continue to relax into the sensation. Finally, you will discover that you can’t locate it anymore and you are perfectly relaxed. Do you know what has happened? You have healed that memory by removing its memory from the body just like deleting a memory from the computer chip.
Eckhart Tolle, the author of the famous bestseller The Power of Now wrote:
“The pain-body doesn’t want you to observe it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you allow yourself to observe it, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness has come in. I call it Presence. You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself through you. You have found your innermost strength. You have accessed the power of NOW!”
May you find yourself in the world, and may you enjoy the company.