I have recently been asking the question: why is it that we are so consumed with the pain of the world and at the same time run away from our own pain? Could it be that the very reason we have become so obsessed and addicted to the media, soaps, gossip and other such things, is due to us running away from what is really going on within us? What is really causing us pain?
There is the general view point that our society is fairly civilized and we have to protect it from external oppressors or what happens to us is the result of someone victimising us. However, what I have mentioned above are all popular and are seen as social norms in many ways. With soaps being extremely popular, how the media gives us our view of reality and gossip, very often being the selling point of most papers and magazines.
The question I ask is, what is really going on at a personal level for us, which make us so interested in these things?
If we were as civilized as is made out, would we really spend so much of our time exposed to these areas?
For me it all comes back to repression. How we repress and push down what is really causing us pain and end up talking about something more acceptable and this usually ends up as being the perceived cause of our problems. With what we repress and express typically being the result of what was acceptable during our younger years and what our society deems appropriate.
I would also add that to the degree we let go off our own pain, will see a direct effect on how much we are attracted all of these things. So as this happens, our interest in them will lessen.
A great example that comes to mind is what I see as often being the physical manifestation of our pain - illness. I believe that before the illness has fully appeared in the body, there is potentially years of emotional suffering before anything shows up, that can be observed by ourselves or a doctor. It is a lot easier for us to talk about what is going on with our body, than it is for us to open up emotionally. I don’t think that the more conventional doctor usually asks how the person feels about what is going on for them or how they have generally been feeling as of late or over their whole life.
I think a lot of this has come about through our lack of understanding of what our emotions are and how they work. I heard on the news the other day, while a reporter was in Egypt, that repression doesn’t work. Of course he was talking about external repression; however internal repression clearly doesn’t work either. And this is how our society has been functioning for many years. This is happening at the microcosm level, within families and at the macrocosm level of the society we live in.
We have been taught how some emotions are appropriate and some are not. This then causes us to become identified with our mind. We can then end up feeling guilty and angry at ourselves for feeling such things. Our emotions are there to give us feedback, to show us what we need to look at in our life. They are ultimately neither good nor bad, they just are. They do not represent our true nature and are largely being triggered from our past.
One of the consequences of repressing our emotions is that we can end up cutting ourselves of from our own inner guidance. Tapping into what brings us meaning and what makes us passionate, becomes difficult to say the least. A feedback loop is created: as our connection to ourselves is lost through repressing our pain, yet more pain is created, as we feel completely disconnected from ourselves and our own truth.
When our ego is in an undeveloped and regressed state, our life becomes a myriad of defence mechanisms. All of this goes on without any awareness of what is going on, unless we step into, observing, our own mind.
We all have ways of acting and thinking in our own lives that cause us to stay stuck and yet due to how the mind works, it can be extremely difficult to let go of these patterns. From my experience there is not only the behavioural and cognitive/emotional sides, there is also a biological need that is tied in with what’s familiar and what keeps us addicted. With there being a sense of safety about holding onto what’s familiar, even though it can cause us endless suffering. To our mind the familiar is safe, and therefore the same means safe to us.
This is why it is so important to observe our own mind; so that we can consciously choose another way, a way that is true for us.
Today we live in a world where there is the perspective that addicts are the ones who take drugs, drink alcohol or participate in gambling and other kinds of pursuits. However, I think if we step back and look at our own lives, we can see that we are all addicted to something. I think it is more of a question of; are our addictions helping us to realise our dreams and if not, is it time to change what we’re addicted to?
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.