Tuesday, August 22nd 2017

Palin, Obama, and Eckhart Tolle

Did Tolle’s concept of the collective Pain Body drive the election?

BY DAVID RICKEY — September marked the 7th anniversary of what has become known simply as 9/11.

That horrific day flicked a psychic switch for Americans. For most of us, we suddenly had a sense of being a victim, and that completely wiped out any awareness of cause and effect. George Bush’s popularity jumped to over 90%, and the country pulled together under this unified field of “victim” identity. The United States mounted a “War On Terror” with little awareness that “terror” is not a thing to oppose on the outside but an emotion acknowledge on the inside: It increases when you try to attack it.

This is elucidated beautifully in the opening chapter of “Beyond Tolerance,” by Gustav Niebuhr.

In the presidential campaign, the “War On Terror” was less an issue than a magnetic pole about people’s common pain reflected in the economy, and their fears about their future.

In other words, our concerns about our security have shifted from a perceived external threat to a more fundamental survival-instinct oriented threat: “Will there be enough for me?”

Into this mix have came two major voices from opposite poles. Barrack Obama, the first black American candidate, who called for change and personal sacrifice for the larger good — and in the summer, Sarah Palin, the second female VP candidate and the self-described, “Pit Bull with Lipstick.”

Rather than examining the merits of each candidate, I’d like to look at the appeal of both, using the understanding coming from the teaching of Eckhart Tolle, specifically his insight into the role of the “Pain Body” in each of us.

When we feel attacked, either by an “enemy” such as in 9/11 or by a situation, such as the threat to our income stability, we have two primary choices. Either we can fall into the position of victim: “Why are they doing this to me?” – “How dare they do this to me!”, or we can observe first . . . “This is what is happening.”

Then, observe our reaction to it, and look beyond our reaction to real causes.

The Pain Body is never interested in objective “cause and effect.” Rather, it seeks someone or thing to blame. More deeply, it seeks to nurture itself with resentments or fears. However, consciousness always has a choice: to be subsumed by the pain-body or to observe the pain-body, as it were from a distance and not be contaminated by it.

Right after 9/11 it seemed impossible for the American psyche to tolerate the observational question, “Why are they doing this?,” with real objective seeking of cause and effect.

Now, with the “Financial Crisis” meltdown, it is almost as difficult to have objective awareness. Add to this, the widespread feeling of anger and frustration within many women at feeling marginalized, both generally, and specifically with the “failure” of the Hilary Clinton campaign, and there is then much “nourishment” available for the “Pain Body”.

The popularity of these two candidates represents two positions: Both admit that the American people are hurting. One seems to be offering some objective solutions to the causes of that hurt, and the other seems to be tapping into the inner sense of rage, fear and the experience of being “attacked.”

To draw the distinction more sharply, using Tolle’s image, one is aligning with, and expressing the collective pain-body, by attacking back; while the other is trying to bring objective awareness to the causes of the situation.

Granted, that in a democratic election, it is difficult for any candidate to remain objective, since getting elected means somehow appealing to where the majority of the electorate is. So there will need to be some identification with the individual and collective Pain Body.

I hope that an emerging consciousness will help us move beyond letting the pain body choose the next president. The way we choose will have a direct effect on what we then experience next.

And as has always been the case, we will be given more choices to see ourselves as “victims” or as “creators” of what we experience.

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One Comment on “Palin, Obama, and Eckhart Tolle”

  1. thanks for the great article. it certainly is a "brave new world" now. let's see how it all unfolds.

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