The Guardian Angel, by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale
This post is a part of the online book Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien.
As Eckhart Tolle says, then feelings are the body´s reaction on the mind (the thoughts). Feelings arise where the mind and the body meet. They are reflections of the mind in the body. The mind creates a build-up of energy in the body. It´s this energy, which is the feeling. It may be a lustfull feeling, or a feeling of unlust.
If you really want to learn your mind - or otherwise said, your thinking - to know, then the body always gives a true reflection of it. If there is conflict between the thought and the feeling, then the thought is a lie and the feeling is a truth. A negative feeling is a true reflection of a false thought. Note that a false thought not necessarily has to be “negative”. Very often false thoughts have to do with “positive thoughts”. Therefore false thoughts are best described as thought distortions.
It might be difficult to observe your thoughts, but they will always be reflected in the body in form of feelings. To observe a feeling is the same as observing a thought. The only difference is, that while a thought is up in the head, a feeling has a strong bodily component.
Feelings can also be a reflection of a whole thoughtpattern. A thoughtpattern can create an enlarged and energycharged reflection of itself in the form of a feeling. This means, that the whole of the thought´s past also can create a reflection of itself in the body. And if this past is filled with pain, then it can show itself as a negative energyfield in the body. Tolle calls this the emotional painbody. It contains all the pain you have accumulated in the past. It is the sum of the negative feelings which you have ”saved together” through life and which you carry. And it can nearly be seen as an invisible, independent creature. Therefore we also could, as H.C. Andersen does in his fairy tale, call it the Shadow (I will return to this in chapter 5, Epistemology, part 6: Hara – Rediscovering Existence.)
The painbody is what we speak about, when we say, that somebody can have a dark side, or a wild side, as in Robert Louis Stevensons novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, or Ursula le Guin´s Earthsea cycle about the wizard Ged, and in Herman Hesse´s peculiar novel Steppenwolf.
The painbody is the inner demon, or the devil in the heart. Some painbody´s are relatively harmless, some are anxietyfilled or angry, others are directly malicious and demonical. They can be passive or active. Some are passive 90% of the time, others are active 100% of the time.
The painbody is activated in the same moment as specific challenges activate the inappropriate basic assumptions, which have been created by bad experiences in the past. And they are being maintained by the vortex of negative automatic thinking, which follows from these basic assumptions. In other words it constitutes a rather particular reaction-pattern, a manuscript, which gets you to play the same role (or the same roles) again and again. That will say, that specific situations will continue to activate it, so that your actions become an eternal repetition of the same. It takes control over you, so to speak.
The painbody is, together with your identification with the thoughts (the Ego), the two major obstacles in order to open your consciousness in towards the Source. The painbody lives of, that you are identified with it. When you are identified with the painbody, you are absent in the past. In this way the painbody gets your energy. And for that reason you also gives energy to your negative feelings.
The task is therefore to off-identify yourself with it. This happens by being it present in neutral observation. But how can you recognize it? The painbody shows ifself as negative feelings. What is a negative feeling? It is a result of a contradiction created by the Ego. By saying yes and no, accepting and denying, choosing and leaving out, justifying and condemning - the Ego splits up the images of time. The split and contradiction-filled images of the Ego, show themselves in the body as form-formations of energy, creative tensions. It's these tensions, which provoke the negative feeling.
A negative feeling is in other words a feeling, which is poisonous for the body, and which hinders it in functioning balanced and harmonical. Fear, anxiety, anger, grudge, sadness, hate or strong disfavour, jealousy, envy – all are they up-tensed images, which disturb the energy-stream through the body, and thereby affect the heart, the immune defence, the digestion, the hormone production etc.
A common name for all negative feelings is dissatisfaction.
Whenever you have negative feelings, then be aware, that it is the painbody which now is active. Then it is about just being neutral observing. The negative feelings come from the contradictions and divisions, which are a result of the Ego´s evaluations. In this way neutral observation neutralizes this contradiction and division. Then you don´t give energy to the painbody. Moreover, you can change it´s negative energy through spiritual practice.
Beside the individual person´s painbody you can also speak about collective painbody´s. A family can have a painbody, as well as groups and countries can have a painbody. You can also say, that places and areas can have a painbody, which means a shadow, a negative energyfield, which affects all within its reach.
Finally it has to be mentioned, that the state in the Source itself hardly can be called a feeling. It's rather a state of being, a being in the timeless Now – a being one with life itself, with the Good, the True and the Beautiful.
During the spiritual practice, and the neutral observation technique, the imaginary layers of your painbody will begin to emerge to the surface. The painbody will begin to open its layers like a lotus flower. Therefore it is tempting to be seduced into the massivity of New Age psychotherapies that claim to work with these areas.
The layers of the painbody are the images of time. I have categorized them into three: the personal, collective and universal images of time. You can also talk about them as personal, collective or universal dreams, or you can talk about them as the personal, collective and universal history. Intertwined with these are many layers. Such layers have to do with: self; past lives; immediate family systems; ancestral patterns; world, global and cosmic patterns; ego death; understanding and releasing thoughtforms; personal and collective shadow; genetics and heredity; cosmic consciousness, etc.
Our view of reality is distorted by the images of time. Each layer we become aware of and work through is one image removed, one step closer to uncovering who we really are. By consciously knowing about and working through these layers we can release them and take steps further to fully awakening. For some, this process is going through each layer gradually – removing one image at a time. For others there is a sudden removal of several images at once. Each layer has its own traumas, emotions, wounding, and patters that cover the awakened state. Each layer has its own beliefs and understandings that distort our reality and obscure who we truly are and what the world actually is. Let us awaken to who we are and the true nature of the world without all of the illusions, patterns, and traumas that confine and separate us.
The layers are released through neutral observation, simple to register them, understand their nature and consequences for your life, and hereafter letting them go, again and again, like clouds on a blue sky. In this way there is also connected different kinds of awakenings to the opening of these layers and therefore questions concerning Ego-inflated awakening, Dark Nigh of the Soul Awakening, Chakra awakening, Psychic awakening, Shamanic awakening, Occult awakening, Religious awakening, Possession/entity awakening, Non-human origin awakening, and, as will be central in this article, Kundalini awakening. Such awakenings will often be experienced as a spiritual crisis.
Included in these types of awakenings are also questions concerning experiences such as physical sensations, spontaneous movements and vocalizations, chills, spiritual depression and cognition issues, chronic fatique and fluctuations of energy, digestive issues and diet, headaches, eye symptoms, dream and sleep, lucid dreaming and astral projection, emotional fluctuations, alteration of belief systems, release of behaviors, time, drug and alcohol abuse, numbing, initiations, mental illness vs. spiritual awakening.
The different types of awakenings are connected to openings of the collective time. The collective time is also called the astral plane, or the astral world. This is, as mentioned, a very dangerous intermediate area, if you not are very trained in realization and compassion. The collective time is the area where different kinds of paranormal (philosophical/religious) phenomena are beginning to occur in your daily life. It is especially the lack of understanding this area, that is due to my critique of the many incompetent spiritual teachers you see today in the New Age movement. If you don´t understand what to do, when these phenomena arise, it can end in a spiritual crisis. Though you might have paranormal abilities, then you, spiritual seen, might not necessarily be sufficiently awake on these areas, and therefore competent enough to guide other people spiritual.
So, the painbody is, through the inner evaluating ego, which the painbody is constructed around, connected with the more dangerous dephts of the astral plane´s collective history. The collective history also forms a kind of dark, ancient inertia, which opposes any change of the ego. The energies found here are unfathomable, and when you direct them into your painbody, you are really facing problems. That is what is happening in a spiritual crisis.
That is also the reason why you, through therapy, can´t heal Man from the ground. In order to heal Man from the ground you need to go into a spiritual practice. It is only within the religions and their experiential spiritual traditions they have knowledge and names for the more dark sides of the astral plane´s collective history. The West has very precisely called this factor the original sin. The East has called it negative karma.
This is the reason why I advice people to find a religion when starting their spiritual practice. And with a religion I mean one that have a long tradition for spiritual practice. Unlike the established religions then these traditional spiritual practices presuppose no religious doctrine, ideology, myth or conception. They put their emphasis on realization and inner transformation; shortly said: on awakening. But they used their religion as frame of references. And that´s very important (see my article The Value of Having a Religion Within a Spiritual Practice). The value of the traditional is the experiential background where practices has been tested, adjusted and corrected for many hundreds of years.
And the masters within these spiritual practices are precisely using a philosophical way of counseling, rather than a traditional religious counseling (see my article Philosophical Counseling as an Alternative to Pychotherapy).
In order to heal Man from the ground you need to go into a spiritual practice. The concepts of original sin and negative karma indicate, that the dark, ancient inertia projects beyond the personal history (growing up conditions, traumatic bindings, painful experiences etc.) and far down into the collective inherited backgrounds of history (genes, environment, society-ideals, the archetypes and the primordial images of the dreams, fantasies, fairy-tales, myths, and finally: instincts inherited from the animals). It is a factor, which lies in the evolution itself, in the genes, in the collective subconscious, in the collective history.
Therefore, when therapy requires a change, then the instinctive survival-preparedness in us reacts and protests. Man has survived on willfulness and a consciousness-structure, of which mental and psychic sign is Egocentredness. The bigger the Ego, the bigger survival chance.
Seen from a spiritual perspective, this instinctive survival strategy (the Ego) appears as a resistance, an invincible inertia: original sin, negative karma. You can´t, by therapeutic strategies, free the consciousness from its attachment to this inertia. Therefore you cannot dissolve or convert the original sin through therapy (or positive thinking). Only the intervention of the Source (God, Christ, the enlightened consciousness, angels) can basically help Man with a transcendence of the negative karma of the original sin. But in order for a human being to be able to receive this help from the Source (gift of grace), this requires an eminently precise and profound preparation. Subsequently, the true spiritual practice within the religions serves as part of this preparation.
So, when you in this way do your part of the work, then you will discover that the enlightened consciousness (God, Christ, Buddha, angels), already have cleansed the negative karma and taken on, and forgiven, the original sin. All enlightened teachers of this Earth (Rumi, Krishna, Francis of Assisi, Rabia, Meera, Yeshe Tsogyel, Teresa of Avila) are doing the same: they take on the original sin and are purifying it for us. All this is intimately connected with an acceptance of our dark side, our original sin and negative karma. The forgiveness, the cleansing, can be experienced as a special providence, a spirit help, a help from a guardian angel.
The "angels" or malakhim, i.e. the "plain" angels are the lowest order of the angels, and the most recognized. They are the ones most concerned with the affairs of living things. Within the category of the angels, there are many different kinds, with different functions. The angels are sent as messengers to humanity. Personal guardian angels come from this class.
The leader of the Fellowship and of the opposition against Sauron is a guardian angel. Tolkien says of Gandalf:
He was and incarnate “angel”…sent to Middle-earth, as the great crisis of Sauron loomed on the horizon. By “incarnate” I mean they were embodied in physical bodies capable of pain, and weariness, and of afflicting the spirit with physical fear, and of being “killed”…Why they should take such a form is…precisely to limit and hinder their exhibition of “power” on the physical plane, and so that they should do what they were primarily sent for: train, advise, instruct, arouse the hearts and minds of those threatened by Sauron to a resistance with their own strengths, and not just to do the job for them (Letters, no. 156, p. 202).
We have already seen that it is only the individual himself that can discover his progressive karma, or divine providence; the help from the guardian angel. There are two processes going on: the help from the source, and the individual´s own preparation. These two processes mutually fertilize each other.
Kreeft says: “Before September 11, 2001, most of us saw America as the Hobbits saw the Shire”,
As a district of well-ordered business; and there in that pleasant corner of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living; and they heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it (LOTR, p. 5).
Tolkien believed that we too have guardians, and they are not the CIA or FBI. We are guarded not by guardian agents but by guardian angels.
Personal guardian angels are not of a separate order but rather come from the order of Angels. It is a common belief that they are assigned to every human being, Christian or not. It is unknown whether they guard multiple humans during their existence or just one, but the latter is a more typical opinion.
According to Saint Jerome, the concept of guardian angels is in the "mind of the Church". He stated: "how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it".
According to Aquinas, "On this road man is threatened by many dangers both from within and without, and therefore as guardians are appointed for men who have to pass by an unsafe road, so an angel is assigned to each man as long as he is a wayfarer."
By means of an angel, God is said to introduce images and suggestions leading a person to do what is right.
Pope Francis concluded with a series of questions so that each one can examine his/her own conscience: “How is my relationship with my guardian angel? Do I listen to him? Do I bid him good day in the morning? Do I tell him: ‘guard me while I sleep?’ Do I speak with him? Do I ask his advice? ...Each one of us can do so in order to evaluate “the relationship with this angel that the Lord has sent to guard me and to accompany me on the path, and who always beholds the face of the Father who is in heaven”.
So, it is good to know a little about them – but not too much. For, as Pippin says, “’We can´t live long on the heights.’ ‘No’, said Merry. ‘I can´t. Not yet, at any rate. But a least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them…and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad I know about them a little’” (LOTR, p. 852). And so we are.
Go back to main book: