We all have one.
Have you ever noticed what happens to your body and mind when you watch a violent or scary movie?
When I was a kid, I was horrified by Willie Wanka and the Chocolate Factory! Seriously, all those kids died because they wanted to eat more chocolate! Throughout my childhood, I cultivated a lot of fear. I was terrified of the dark, under the bed, the closet, spiders, dogs, spending a night away from home, and many more situations. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares and see strange forms arise from my imagination. Over the last few years I've been noticing and facing these fears one at a time to decrease their power over my happiness. What caused this fear and dark side to grow?
Going to a horror film actually puts your body under a considerable amount of psychological and physical stress.
Over the last year of spiritually awakening, I’ve tapped into resources about this phenomenon. Although I knew that horror and violent movies were not beneficial to my wellbeing, I now understand why. Going to a horror film actually puts your body under a considerable amount of psychological and physical stress. You may be able to tell yourself that it’s not real, but your body feels like it’s in a life-threatening situation.
Stress from a horror or violent movie is linked with memory loss and psychological difficulties like depression. But worst of all, through the adrenaline process, a cortisol release leads to the rise of bad memories from the past. Have you ever left a movie and then gradually through your dreams or thoughts the next day, you started recalling a painful event in the past, like a break up from many years ago, or anger you felt towards someone who wronged you long ago?
Your thinking pattern shifted to become deeply negative. You were most likely unaware that after the flood of negative thinking a wave of emotion invaded your mind as a dark and heavy mood, as anxiety or fiery anger. It's a part of how those bad memories got embedded in the first place. This effect can also be seen by playing violent video games and listening to angry music.
Cortisol release leads to the rise of bad memories from the past.
“Why do we constantly want to feel bad?”
In the entertainment industry we see a high degree of violence portrayed against other human beings. Eckhart Tolle poses the question in A New Earth, “Why do we constantly want to feel bad?” You cringe when you see someone get hurt in these movies, but why do you continue to watch these movies? It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don’t want to. There is an unseen dark force that causes us to unconsciously seek pain over and over again. Of course no one would do this consciously. No one likes to suffer. And yet we unconsciously create repetitive and unnecessary conflicts.
According to Eckart Tolle in A New Earth, our pain-body is the dark shadow cast by the ego. This pain body is an accumulation of old emotional pain that we’re carrying around in our energy field. It consists of negative emotions that were repressed, not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose. These negative emotions leave a residue of emotional pain, which is stored in the cells of the body. It has the impact of recurring memories and thoughts of sadness, anxiety, anger, or self-defeating behaviors.
Thoughts have their own range of frequencies, with negative thoughts at the lower end of the scale and positive thoughts at the higher. Your pain-body is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure. When our pain-body goes dormant and finished with an episode of activity, it leaves us behind as a depleted organism and a body that is much more susceptible to illness.
Our pain-body is the dark shadow cast by the ego.
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When our pain-body goes dormant and finished with an episode of activity, it leaves us behind as a depleted organism and a body that is much more susceptible to illness.
The pain-body has a dormant stage and an active stage. Periodically it becomes activated, and when it does, it seeks more suffering to feed on. Our pain-body that is ready to feed can use the most insignificant event as a trigger, something somebody says or does, or even a thought. If you are not absolutely present, it takes over your mind and feeds on negative thinking as well as negative experiences such as drama in relationships. It needs to get its “food” through you. It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, 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. Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy.
In romantic relationships, partners know how to push each other’s buttons. And what starts out as a lovely romantic love affair can turn into regular fighting. This is a manifestation of pain-bodies feeding on each other. If you live alone, like me, and there is nobody around at the time, the pain-body will feed on your thoughts.
I created this comic strip in high school after experiencing a few break-ups. My view of forever love was being tainted by my pain-body growing and telling me that this is how romance works- it will always end in heartache. The more I dwelled on this romantic loss, the stronger the emotional memory grew as my pain-body.
What starts out as a lovely romantic love affair can turn into regular fighting. This is a manifestation of pain-bodies feeding on each other.
Many of us have witnessed experiences with someone in whom the pain-body is very active, they need to drink or take substances all the time as they carry with them too much pain to bear, and life becomes unbearable. Having such great amounts of pain does not mean that you are doomed to destruction.
If we want to live in harmony with ourselves and the world, we need to dissolve this dark pain-body. We release it by cutting the link between the pain-body and our thought processes, so that we no longer feed the pain-body with our thinking. This is actually a greater opportunity for you to awaken and let the light of consciousness begin to shine through. If you become present when your pain-body acts out, it dissipates. Presence can put an instant stop to the ongoing drama and negativity.
We release it by cutting the link between the pain-body and our thought processes, so that we no longer feed the pain-body with our thinking.
Horror and violent movies were designed to mass-market fear. Why would anyone want to mass market fear? The creators of these destructive entertainment tools are also feeding into their own dark side of pain. The more they can entice fear in people, the more powerful they become. Every pain-body contains a great deal of fear, since fear is the primitive negative emotion.
The House of Leaves paints a mystifying experience of what it is like to deeply get lost in our dark side. This novel is filled with fear, depression, drugs, meaningless sex, and a vast confusion of labyrinthine darkness. The author, Mark Z. Danielewski draws comparisons of science, history, mysticism, art, pop culture, television, documentaries, and childhood trauma to pull the reader in deeper. I read this book many years ago and it was hard to put down. Is it surprising that the deeper I dove into the book, the more drama suddenly started to arise all around me. Danielewski made a reference that stayed with me related to an ancient cite that I visited back in 2007, Knossos, on the island of Crete.
The House of Leaves paints a mystifying experience of what it is like to deeply get lost in our dark side.
Allegedly in 1400BCE, Daedalus constructed a labyrinth for King Minos. It served as a prison located in the city of Knossos. The maze was built to incarcerate the Minotaur, a creature supposedly born from an illicit encounter between the queen and a bull. The narrator in The House of Leaves pointed out the scientific fact that a minotaur is not possibly produced from a queen and a bull, perhaps this monster was the king’s own deformed child with a deformed face and human body. The King Minos showed great power when he accused his wife, Pasiphae, publicly of fornicating with a male bovine. Therefore, the cult of the bull was very prominent in Minoan civilization. All over the palace were these symbols of royal power, the double horns.
King Minos formed this labyrinth as a manifestation of the dark side of his ego.
Furthermore, King Minos formed this labyrinth as a manifestation of the dark side of his ego. This expression of repression was complicated enough to keep his son from escaping. The myth sparked fear and fed the dark pain-body in the people as they believed that this monster wondered around in the dark and devoured more than a dozen Athenian youths (criminals sentenced to death in Greece) every few years. The narrator again points out that those who were supposedly “fed” to the Minotaur actually starved to death from the complexity of the maze, not the ferocity of the monster, Minotaur.
The myth sparked fear and fed the dark pain-body in the people as they believed that this monster wondered around in the dark.
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The legend continues to be a mystery if Homer’s Iliad was based on fact or fiction. The legend states that Theseus, the son of the conquered king, Aegeus, volunteered to go as one of the victims to be thrown into the labyrinth, vowing that he would slay the monster and bring his companions home. When he met Adriadne, the Minoan princess, she provided a ball of wool and told him to fasten the loose end to the entrance door of the labyrinth where the Minotaur was imprisoned. He killed the man-bull and he was able to retrace his steps by winding up the wool and finding his way safely out. After the slaying of the Minotaur, the Minoan culture supposedly began to lose their power and domination over the Aegean Sea as people no longer feared the monster bull hidden in the dark labyrinth.
After the slaying of the Minotaur, the Minoan culture began to lose their power and domination over the Aegean Sea as people no longer feared the monster bull hidden in the dark labyrinth.
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The main character in The House of Leaves comes across a piece of advice that rings true to Eckart’s message about our dark side, “Treat that place as a thing unto itself, independent of all else, and confront it on those terms. You alone must find the way.” The dark pain-body may seem to you like a dangerous monster that you cannot bear to look at, but instead it is an insubstantial negative energy that cannot prevail against the power of our awareness of consciousness in the present moment.
The only way Eckhart explained it is beneficial to watch violence is to see and become aware of the human madness. Sometimes we need to show the violence to stop the violence. For example, the best anti-war films are war films. Eckhart further points out that many cultures (Jewish, Native or African-American populations) carry collective pain-bodies that last throughout many generations. The recognition of this dark energy field is what will start the change of lifting the collective pain-body.
“Treat that place as a thing unto itself, independent of all else, and confront it on those terms."
"One way of defining the ego is simply this: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment."
Eckhart explains that we all get so caught up with “me and my story” that we revolve our lives and thoughts around that, thinking that is who we are, when it is far from the truth. "One way of defining the ego is simply this: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. If there is neither acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm in what you do, you are out of alignment with your universal purpose. You are creating unhappiness or suffering, in one form or another."
When you hear these recordings of past pains and angers, let your presence shine through by stating to yourself that this is nothing more than an old broken record of pain. As heavy as you think that past burden is, as soon as you become present, you are free of your past.
If you are faced with a person who is acting out of their pain body in a heated moment, be still and do not confront this person as no one will win an argument with a pain body, but only feed it more if you react.
The best results in a relationship will manifest if both partners allow their consciousness to guide them as much as possible.
If there is neither acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm in what you do, you are out of alignment with your universal purpose.
The pain body is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness.
Spiritual Realization is the discovery that you don't need to add anything to yourself in order to be yourself fully. You don't need to try to become good, but allow the goodness that is within you, inherent in your being, to emerge. The pain body is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness.
The physical practice of yoga and meditation is a process of awakening our consciousness.
When we bring attention to our breath and alignment in our body, we are living in the present moment, without distractions from the past (depression) or future (anxiety).
I encourage you keep this blog post in mind as we approach the Halloween season. I hope you make conscious decisions to stay away from the feeding your dark side with horror houses, movies, costumes and destructive music.
How can you focus on the positive and let your light keep shining?
I would love to hear about how you are taking steps towards dissolving the power of your dark pain body!
Please comment below.
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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