|by Kurdish painter, Bekir Orhan|
Strong emotions, at times, have overpowered us, have turned us into someone we’d despise to be. We have done things and said words that we regret, if we are honest and brave enough to admit. Extreme anger is one of those emotions I have spotted within myself and my people. While anger is a natural human response, overreaction and unreasonable fury can be destructive to oneself and to the society. It has made Kurds intolerant towards each other and has promoted violence. Inevitably, we have not been united or peaceful and have been unfair to the vulnerable population: women and children.
The purpose of this article is not to generalize or stereotype, rather this is a pathological reading of an oppressed people. As can be seen in our literature, history and everyday life, We can get angry at a flicker of a second, can hate to the point of self-destruction, and can adore to the extent of worshipping.
These qualities make us great friends because we are willing to get out of our way to help a pal. Yes, we are willing to make sacrifices for the people we like. In a larger scope, it explains why Kurds have put their lives in their hands and have bravely fought for freedom. The courage that is common among Kurds can rarely be found among many other nations.
So we are, in fact, wonderful supporters but only as long as we remain amicable because as soon as the coin turns—and mind you, that can happen quickly and without much warning— it's not uncommon to go that extra mile to revenge.
“Yes, of course! We are honest as a friend and as a foe,” some of you might think. I am not writing to pass judgement. I want to share with you the root of such extremisms.
Eckart Tolle, an internationally acclaimed author and teacher, has coined the term “pain body.” He believes that old emotional pains live on within us, an accumulation of lifetime painful experiences that were never “fully faced and accepted at the moment they arose.”
This agonizing energy exists within almost every human being on every part of the planet. Nobody has lived on a bed of roses for ever and most societies do not encourage accepting and facing pain. We tend to or difficulties. Thus the older we get and the more pain we endure, the more intense our pain-bodies get.
The pain-body is not, however, only what we have individually suffered from. Nations have collective pain-bodies and that’s what connects you and I together, the common agonizing past of our ancestors.
It is no surprise, then, that the greatest turnout for Kurdish events is at Halabja and Anfal memorial, the only time various factions and organizations are more willing to put aside their separate agendas and unite. Collective pain-body is also the force that drives many Kurds at home or at diaspora to dedicate their skills and energies to the Kurdish cause, a wonderful channelling for an excruciating experience.
So, now that we know that we have a historical wound in common that can make us overreact and take life harder than it already is, what should we do about it?
Awareness and acceptable is the answer to the problem. Knowing that such a monster exists within us and our nation helps us understand our culture better. Have you wondered why a lot of times our TV shows start by reasonable conversations—keeping the appearance of respect—only to end up in roaring and screaming and eventually nobody listening and everyone hating the people who represent the opposite point of view?
These overreactions affect all parts of our lives: our family dynamics, political campaigns, our ballots, and our romantic relationships.
Our pain-body is one of the main reasons we have and still fail to unite and speak in one voice. It is the reason the people living in two cities of the only autonomous section of Kurdistan, instead of celebrating their situation and practising solidarity, can barely stand each other.
Obviously the shape and size of pain-bodies is different in individuals. Some of us react to being ignored, some of us go nuts if someone disagrees with us; others lose control when they are accused. A group of people walk and drive on street with active pain-bodies, always seeking more trouble. Others have hibernated pain-bodies that require significant triggers to awaken. Either way, pain-body nourishes on more pain and that’s why we dramas appear and reappear in life despite the harm they cause. Pain-body feeds on more pain.
In order to improve economically, culturally, politically and personally, we need to know ourselves better and practice self-control—which is a sign of wisdom. We can guide and utilize our powers and instincts effectively, when we have deeper insights to our reality.
Once we become aware of this destructive force, we can watch it as it awakens and looks for more pain. This means that rather than completely giving in, we can claim a distance, become an observer and watch the awakened pain-body's behaviours and find out what pushes its buttons.
Happy are couples or families who can calmly and in the most amicable way discuss the pain-body and warn each other when it arises. The moment we become aware of the rising monster, we’ve taken the first step towards victory.
Awareness and presence makes the pain-body dissolve and lose control over us.
This is what Tolle explains as cutting the link between the pain-body and our thought processes, so that we no longer feed the pain-body with our thinking. “It cannot feed on positive thoughts. When the pain-body no longer runs the internal dialogue of our compulsive thinking, we become aware of it directly. We feel the emotion in our body, and so we bring awareness to it, the light of consciousness. So dis-identification from the emotion and just being in the now moment is the way to stop the cycle of constantly recreating painful experiences.”
Even though it is much easier to spot the dormant or awakened monster in others, it helps to look within and ask ourselves, why that person or that situation makes me unusually angry or sad. Why do I keep on repeating negative thoughts in my head even though I know they only cause harm?
Let’s uncover our pain-bodies and stop feeding the monster. Let’s educate our children and loved ones. Little by little, we will get liberated from this trap and calm rational thinking will take over. Then we can make smarter decisions, as to who to vote for, how to find the most strategic ways to fight corruption, and how to find peace within and work in harmony with people who may not agree with us.
To a pain-free and prosperous Kurdistan!
The article was originally published in http://www.basnews.com/en/Article/Details/Kurdish-Pain-Body/701