There’s a lot of emotion being thrown around our collective consciousness this week. More than the previous week, despite the heavy fact that just as much death and terrorism was being created (and on our behalf, by our political representatives) over the previous 7 days.
There is so much wrong with the media and with commonly-held perceptions, that I won’t begin to talk about all that, but I’m writing today about something which lies deeper than this surface discourse, and which might serve in this moment to distract from the chaos.
responsibility, 2002, Cyprus
Firstly, the collective conscious – what is that? It seems to me that there might even be equal and opposing parts of our collective thinking/ being: those of us who are completely unconscious and those who are (or are beginning to be) self-aware.
Tear Baby, 2000, Findhorn
And then there’s the pain body (I found this phrase useful, listening to Eckhart Tolle recently): the energetic field within and around us, which is locked into a pattern of uncreation and atrophy – rather than creative vitality and expansion.
Tolle describes eloquently how this pain body becomes our actual identity – our reason for being, our means of identifying with others. We share our collective emotional disturbance, because that’s what’s considered the ‘norm’. This makes us highly susceptible to manipulation, both individually (in relationship, family, work, e.g.) and collectively (through media, economics, politics, etc.): it keeps us all in a state on non-conscious tension and anxiety. We blame our suffering on things outside of us, things we (perceive we) can’t do anything about.
(I’ve found other ways of speaking about this ‘body’, through painting intuitively over many years, channeling that deeper wisdom which comes through creative practise and meditation.)
Running (from the Domestic Alchemy series), 2007
Having been ill recently. I had some deepening insight into the pain body, and the effects I’ve been having both inside and outside myself. I approach illness like a retreat; I know that whatever physical symptoms I have, originate from first mental/ emotional imbalance. And I know that symptoms experienced are linked to behaviours/ patterns leading up to this point, and that I’m in charge of correcting my course – whether or not I take medicine.
In order to be well and happy, we have to look first inwards, rather than seeking to destroy the symptom – which is our teacher!
Illness – or friction – as teacher is a great metaphor for our current collective state; our political and economic warring, our violent foreign policies, our perverse obsession with focussing on the negative, and our absurd falsity around being the righteous victim on the world stage, willingly gulped down daily by the masses.
Couple With Boundaries, 2000-4, Cyprus and Edinburgh
We have many choices at our current global crossroads. The knee-jerk one is trying to destroy the symptoms, even though they’ve been caused indirectly and directly by ourselves; inflicting even more death and destruction willy-nilly, starting even more people on paths of righteous vengeance, and so on.
Another is that we all begin to look deeper, be more conscious, more aware. We see behind the curtains of the world stage, and we bring light – awareness – to what is suppressed. In this way, we start to see that what we do individually has a radiating effect on our collective situation, our collective ‘pain body’. Rather than reacting out of anger and fear, rather than condoning further violence under the unconscious (and very dubious) thinking of “well, we have to do something!” or “I just want those bastards dead, those people are evil!” – we start instead to look at where do these ‘symptoms’ originate – really: where do they come from, and what are we doing to change that?
Laughing At Anger, 2001, Burghead
On a personal level, I’m bringing quiet conscious awareness into the part of me which is out-of-kilter, in pain. It is giving me huge insight into how unconsciously I have occupied my body and my mind in recent years… I’m certainly not the most loutish of citizens, but there have been more than a couple of occasions when I’ve chosen to ‘raise my voice’ with indignant negative emotion, rather than presenting enlightened – peaceful – insight.
As my awareness is more infused with light and love, I radiate out that light and love, rather than my own bigotry or indignancy – even though our individual acts seem so small and inconsequential, now more than ever before, we have power to share widely, whatever we are thinking, feeeling, intending. I have optimism we can collectively rise our vibration at times like this.
I’ll be writing more about the subject of the pain body and transforming creatively, in the Live Like A Happy Artist book series.
Lots of love, Clare xx
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