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The Busy Body - A Sibling Of Eckhart Tolle's Pain Body

Apr 12, 2008
Have you ever noticed that your mind is chattering constantly? Have you ever been able to stop this chatter? Almost everyone answers, "Yes" to the first question and "No" to the second one.

I call this part of ourselves the busy body. It is like a restless, frisky kitten, pouncing on anything that draws its attention and batting it about with no particular purpose other than to keep itself constantly busy. In most of us, the Busy Body is utterly unrelenting in its pursuit of items with which it can play around. Any stimulation of our senses may set it off on a series of mental associations, one leading endlessly to another until a new focus catches its attention and then off it goes in another series of directions.

I woke up one morning to the sound of a construction crew hammering on the roof of a home across the street. I was tired and annoyed to have my sleep interrupted, feeling I was being treated inconsiderately by the universe.

My mind pulled on this thread of feeling inconsiderately treated, finding that it was also attached to the neighbors who had been partying the previous night, keeping me awake late; to blaming myself for not getting to bed earlier so that I wouldn't be so tired; to blaming myself for blaming myself rather than being kind and compassionate with myself.

This started a new series of thoughts about my practice of meditation, disciplining my mind so that it would not constantly chase bits of chaff blown in the breezes, winds and storms of my thoughts and imagination; and then turning a corner to chase memories and speculations about my uses of WHEE (a self-healing method) with myself to release bunches of my self-criticisms; and then off to threads of WHEE that tangled into untidy webs of memories about clients I was helping with WHEE and some of the lessons I was learning along with them about my own issues that needed clearing...

In classical Freudian psychoanalysis this process would be called "free association," which is presumed to be a completely normal activity of the mind. In fact, free association can reveal much about ourselves when we observe the threads of associations that we weave.

The patterns in the weaving help to uncover ways that we defend ourselves from anxieties, fears and hurts that were long ago buried and forgotten by our consciousness - but remain alive and very active in the depths of our unconscious mind. By practicing observing these patterns we learn to disengage from them to the extent that we can catch ourselves chasing about and bring ourselves back on tracks of our conscious choosing.

I find it more helpful to identify this part of ourselves as this restless, mischievous kitten I call the busy body. This is similar to Eckhart Tolle's identification of the pain body, an inner aspect of ourselves that thrives on pain and seeks frequently to cause and experience pain.

Tolle notes that when we become aware of the pain body, it is possible gradually to reduce its intensity by disengaging our energies from it. Tolle's approach is to constantly bring our awareness back to the Now, the present moment, the only moment that actually exists. This, like psychoanalysis, is usually a process that takes a very long time to learn and master.

Anxieties, worries, fears and pains increase the activity of the busy body. They also make it more difficult to control the pain body and to stay in the Now.

Calming the busy body is also very helpful in developing a practice of meditation. By quieting the mind, we are able to stay centered and move more deeply into the meditative states we are pursuing.

WHEE (Whole Health - Easily and Effectively) is a powerful method for decreasing anxieties and other stress reactions, which then slows down the busy body. For instance, sorting myself out at the end of my meanders described above:

I realized my most intense annoyance was with myself. I used WHEE, tapping on either side of my body while reciting an affirmation, until I released this irritation. This helped me settle my mind down to where I could concentrate on what I needed to do that day.

Working as a wholistic psychotherapist, many of my clients have reported they also find WHEE helpful with their busy body, their pain body, and with the stresses that often made it difficult to deal with these challenging parts of themselves.

More on WHEE in articles detailed on my website.
About the Author
I'm a wholistic psychiatric psychotherapist, with a passion for teaching self-healing, bodymind and personal spiritual awareness. I authored Healing Research, Volumes 1-3 and many articles on wholistic healing. I am editor of the International Journal of Healing and Caring http://www.ijhc.org, a Founding Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine; and appear internationally on radio and TV.
See More by and about Daniel Benor, MD
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