Eckhart Tolle and Primal Therapy
A section of Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, caught my attention. That section is called Past Pain: Dissolving the Pain Body. According to the author, the pain body is an accumulation of “split off”energy that occupies the body and mind. Much of this energy is comprised of the “pain you suffered as a child, caused by the unconsciousness of the world into which you were born”. And, anything can trigger its activation, particularly if that thing resonates with a past pain pattern.
The pain body live in darkness. It doesn’t want to be directly observed. Because, the moment that you observe it, it begins to lose its power over you. Its energy begins to dissipate.
Becoming conscious of the pain body, releases its hold over us. Until then, we remain unconscious, which “implies a complete absence of the watcher”.
In order to become conscious, you can’t think about the pain body. You can’t judge or analyze the emergence of this negative energy within. Rather, just: “Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of ‘the one who observes’, the silent watcher. This is the power of Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then, see what happens.” And, finally…
“This process that I’ve just described is profoundly powerful yet simple. It could be taught to a child, and hopefully one day it will be one of the first things children learn in school.” (1)
I couldn’t help thinking that Tolle could very well be describing the primal process. Like so many things in life, the descriptive language is different, but the meaning is the same. My interpretation of primal therapy, called Fear Memory Integration, sees the pain body as an accumulation of fear conditioned memories. Like the pain body, this “lost” energy lives in darkness…the subcortical structures of the brain. Like the pain body, this energy does not want to be seen. Yet, unless it is…until it is brought into consciousness… it will continue to wreak havoc in present-day life… the havoc being the suffering brought on by anxiety, chronic anger, emotional withdrawal, and depression.
“The Watcher” is a startling description of something that we all possess and use, yet, know nothing about…self-awareness. This ability is so mysterious that some scientists and philosophers think it’s an illusion. Whenever we use this ability, we are dipping into the sea of consciousness, extracting small fragments of energy, and examining it.
The sea of consciousness is also completely mysterious. The inability to explain it is driving many thinkers to an ancient concept called universal consciousness. Could consciousness be a fundamental aspect of all creation? All matter? Could it not be something strictly limited to our brains?
When I began my primal journey, I was fascinated by two things: my body was putting on a show of its own…and I was watching it unfold, as from a third person perspective. Is this not a description of the pain body and the Watcher?
And, did the act of bringing the pain body into the light of my awareness help dissipate its energy over me? The answer is “yes”. The primal process helped my emotional life so much that I spent many years studying it, writing about it, and teaching others about it.
And, like Tolle, I believe the process to be profoundly powerful, but simple. With intention, curiosity, and the desire to stay with it, it can be learned by anyone.