The News of the World and the “pain body”: lessons for conflict resolution

Posted on: July 12, 2011

So, dare we hope that Murdoch’s “evil empire” has finally been delivered a lethal blow?  Could it be that now that the full extent of the ugly truth has come out – hacking into the mobile phones of murdered children and bribes to senior police officers, even the diehard supporters of his tabloid publications will pull away in revulsion?   I’d like to hope so.  And yet, it is so easy to demonise someone like Rupert Murdoch and point the finger at him. It’s an uncomfortable truth that the people we hold in most contempt represent those aspects of ourselves that we do not want to accept.  He could not get away with what he does if there was not an appetite for this offering.

Eckhart Tolle, author of the phenomenally successful book “The Power of Now”, writes about the “pain body”.  This is the part of ourselves which is addicted to suffering, gossip, victim behaviour, righteousness and drama.  In contemporary culture it is fed by tabloid newspapers, soaps and those reality TV shows which ridicule and humiliate their participants.  I like to pride myself that I give all of these a wide berth.  And yet I recognise there is a part of me that enjoys gossiping, being right and pointing the finger at others.   The more I can bring this part of myself into awareness and detach from it, the less I am feeding the cultural “pain body” which supports The News of the World and their ilk.

In conflict, the other person is often shining a light on a part of ourselves that we do not want to see or admit to, so we put all our energy into defending ourselves, rather than accepting the feedback.  When we can compassionately recognise that we all have dark parts of ourselves that need to be brought into the sunlight and healed, conflict becomes an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a fight to be won.   Mind you – I’d still like to see Murdoch go down in flames!