Not long ago a new Awareness Coaching client was having a great deal of difficulty disconnecting with what Eckhart Tolle refers to as the Pain Body.
It defied her sense of logic that she could change the circumstances of her life starting with her state of mind and awareness. She unconsciously held the belief that what happened to her on a daily basis was responsible for her “negative” mindset.
Many people struggle with this, even while trying to embrace that very path. Getting past it means coming to grips with a fundamental misunderstanding of Cause and Effect reasoning.
This is no small thing!
Cause and Effect reasoning is a fundamental principle without which we simply cannot understand and function in the world we live in. And yet the the laws of Cause and Effect work exactly the opposite way that most people believe.
How could such a basic bit of reasoning become so confused?
First let’s explore how most people understand this to work in their personal lives at a very basic level. The perception is that if if a person has a bad day ( the understood cause) then they will experience sadness, depression or other “negative” emotions (the understood effect). In the world today, this bit of “logic” is so pervasive that if we could wipe it out with a wave of the hand it would eliminate the need for over 75% of the AntiDepressant medications being taken daily!
The problem is getting people to understand that their perception of Cause and Effect reasoning is reversed in this case. Most of you reading this are also holding this belief even while you read this and say to yourself: “I know! Our mental state is the cause, and the “Bad Day” is the effect!”
But do you really “know” this to be true? Can you explain it in terms other than: If I maintain a “Positive” mental attitude then “good” things will happen for me.
To really root out this misunderstanding, you have to be able to grasp the basic fact that thought, whether of a positive or a negative nature is always the root cause of any effect we encounter. This may be an immutable law. I say may be since I can only speak from my own experience. If anyone can submit an instance otherwise, then I will amend my statement. For our purposed though, understand this to mean that at root, thought (which includes emotion) is the cause of all things.
You are reading this article right now on a computer. The computer is an effect. Before it was built, someone had to think about the schematics in the design. Even before that someone had thoughts before they developed the design. Nobody could reasonably conclude that the computer sitting before you was the cause of the thought process that designed it, but that is exactly what it means when someone says that they are sad, depressed or angry because of having a bad day.
Thoughts and feelings are the architects of our lives. The choice that we have is whether we will take ownership of our own role in this or ride the waves of the thoughts and feelings of others and the resulting reactions from ourselves. Remember, most people are tied into thoughts and emotions that are the random product of events. Your life is far too important for you to trust it’s causes to something so unreliable.
This does not mean that nothing of a negative nature will ever happen within our lives. Understanding and applying the basic principle of Cause and Effect will however allow us to experience an appropriate level of sadness, or even anger in response to an event and then to move on. This allows you to experience these feelings in a way that is not really negative, but as the part of a rich emotional life that they were designed to be.
My mother passed from this life three years ago next month after an illness lasting over twelve years. The sadness I felt at her passing was deep, and carried with it all of the wonderful things that our relationship entailed. The memory of that sadness is now a cherished part of the whole memory that I carry with me at all times of my mother and all that she means to me.
I would no more want to have missed experiencing that sadness than I would want to be consumed by it ongoing. The mourning I went through three years ago was therefore not something that could (or should) become a Cause and Effect trigger for ongoing “bad” events. Being aware of this at a basic level even while experiencing this type of deep sadness allows you to welcome the richness of it in a way that changes it from a negative to something of value to you in a way that nothing else can.
Some would say to this that they were just too close to a departed family member to be able to attain this type of experience from mourning their loss. That is the ego saying “My pain is bigger than yours!” It is fighting for the life of your pain body, and for it’s place in Cause and Effect.
As always, Awareness is key…