When the Pain-Body Awakens

The pain-body awakens from its dormancy when it gets hungry, when it is time to replenish itself. Alternatively, it may get triggered by an event at any time. The pain- body that is ready to feed can use the most insignificant event as a trigger, something somebody says or does, or even a thought. If you live alone or there is nobody around at the time, the pain-body will feed on your thoughts.

Suddenly, your thinking becomes deeply negative. You were most likely unaware that just prior to the influx of negative thinking a wave of emotion invaded your mind—as a dark and heavy mood, as anxiety or fiery anger. All thought is energy and the pain-body is now feeding on the energy of your thoughts. But it cannot feed on any thought. You don’t need to be particularly sensitive to notice that a positive thought has a totally different feeling-tone than a negative one. It is the same energy, but it vibrates at a different frequency. A happy, positive thought is indigestible to the pain-body. It can only feed on negative thoughts because only those thoughts are compatible with its own energy field.

All things are vibrating energy fields in ceaseless motion. The chair you sit on, the book you are holding in your hands appear solid and motionless only because that is how your senses perceive their vibrational frequency, that is to say, the incessant movement of the molecules, atoms, electrons, and subatomic particles that together create what you perceive as a chair, a book, a tree, or a body. What we perceive as physical matter is energy vibrating (moving) at a particular range of frequencies. Thoughts consist of the same energy vibrating at a higher frequency than matter, which is why they cannot be seen or touched. Thoughts have their own range of frequencies, with negative thoughts at the lower end of the scale and positive thoughts at the higher. The vibrational frequency of the pain-body resonates with that of negative thoughts, which is why only those thoughts can feed the pain-body.

The usual pattern of thought creating emotion is reversed in the case of the pain-body, at least initially. Emotion from the pain-body quickly gains control of your thinking, and once your mind has been taken over by the pain-body, your thinking becomes negative. The voice in your head will be telling sad, anxious, or angry stories about yourself or your life, about other people, about past, future, or imaginary events. The voice will be blaming, accusing, complaining, imagining. And you are totally identified with whatever the voice says, believe all its distorted thoughts. At that point, the addiction to unhappiness has set in.

It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don’t want to. This is because the pain-body at that time is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure. It eagerly devours every negative thought. In fact, the usual voice in your head has now become the voice of the pain-body. It has taken over the internal dialogue. A vicious circle becomes established between the pain-body and your thinking. Every thought feeds the pain-body and in turn the pain-body generates more thoughts. At some point, after a few hours or even a few days, it has replenished itself and returns to its dormant stage, leaving behind a depleted organism and a body that is much more susceptible to illness. If that sounds to you like a psychic parasite, you are right. That’s exactly what it is.

The beginning of freedom from the pain-body lies first of all in the realization that you have a pain-body. Then, more important, in your ability to stay present enough, alert enough, to notice the pain-body in yourself as a heavy influx of negative emotion when it becomes active. When it is recognized, it can no longer pretend to be you and live and renew itself through you.

It is your conscious Presence that breaks the identification with the pain-body. When you don’t identify with it, the pain-body can no longer control your thinking and so cannot renew itself anymore by feeding on your thoughts. The pain-body in most cases does not dissolve immediately, but once you have severed the link between it and your thinking, the pain-body begins to lose energy. Your thinking ceases to be clouded by emotion; your present perceptions are no longer distorted by the past. The energy that was trapped in the pain-body then changes its vibrational frequency and is transmuted into Presence.

Excerpted from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, pages 145-161. For more from this book, click here. To access more of Eckhart’s teachings on transcendence through stillness, click here for this month’s episode of Eckhart Tolle TV.

63 responses to “When the Pain-Body Awakens

  1. I know this teaching to be true of my life experience; it simply could not be more profound. However I am trying to encourage my best friend to connect with Eckharts teachings and she doesn’t seem to get it – I don’t understand why when she has read The Power of Now – she feels it is an attack on her ego, which she is very attached to and holds dear – however, she is deeply unhappy and unsatisfied and when she practices ‘presence’ as described by Eckhart she simply says that she ‘gets bored’ and that it is ‘boring’ and she loses interest – this I find perplexing and would be grateful for any help or advice you could offer? Many thanks Sue x x

    1. Hi Sue – I can get bored and lose interest when reading Eckhart’s books. However, I have the opposite reaction listening to Eckhart’s audios. Hearing the voices of people with every background imaginable asking questions relating to their life situations, hearing Eckhart’s responses, and smiling along with the frequent audience laughter, reorients the point from which I view life, and makes it all OK. It’s great background while I prepare breakfast, shower, and drive to work. — Tom

      1. Which audio version is your favorite? I retain information better when I hear it. Not sure which audio book to invest in. Thanks for your time.

    2. Hi Sue, I think Eckhart has answered your question in the above writing, in the case of your best friend – “It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don’t want to. This is because the pain-body at that time is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure. It eagerly devours every negative thought…”

      Say your friend is having pain-body activated in that moment, her identity becomes the pain-body, which takes pleasure in pain – That’s why she feels an attack, because she has become the ego in that moment. Anyone introducing “peace” to her, even though her conscious mind says “yes, I want it”, but the deeper identity, which is pain-body itself, says, “Peace equals boredom.”

      The best way to help your friend is to meet where she is. Be there with her. If she is not ready, all your attempt to help her can be perceived as judgment. Judgment always meets resistance.

      Some people may choose to go ALL the way to the bottom to wake up to who they are; or they may choose to stop at any moment and decide “this is it”. You don’t know when this will happen to your best friend because it’s her life. But you can respect her choices and hold space for her regardless her choices, while you choose happiness even though your best friend chooses unhappiness. That way, you demonstrate the teaching by action, not just by words.

      1. Thanks for your response, Kamila. I particularly like, “some people chose to go all the way to the bottom to find out who they are.” Who would have thought it is a choice!

      2. very wise words indeed,Kemila. You should never try to force or coerce people into looking at the world as you yourself do. I agree that whenever we feeljudged we resist what the other is offering

      3. Kemila, I loved what you wrote, thank you! When I’m reading about the pain body I always think of a certain person the could benefit by reading this. Then I realize that I should focus more on what I can learn from it and be aware of what is triggering my pain body so that I want another person to change. Does that make sense? Anyway, thank you.

      4. Thanks Kemila, for your wise words about friendship. What you write makes me think about that there are people and moments all over in life, that we could meet where they are, or where it is. Your words remind me of someting else as well. I need to be my own friend, and meet myself where I am standing, trembeling because I do not know where to go, where to sit, how to become closer to my true nature.

        Your words remind me of that, and they remind med of how to breathe on. Meeting friends, people, children where they are, and give attention and precence to the moment they are foucusing on. And allowing myself to stay where I am, but also to go in there with them, into the moment where they discover something new. A colour, a shape, a form, a sound. And in that moment there is a huge classroom appearing for me. On the blackboard, there is a word written: “Equality”. Between me and the child, between me and the bus-driver, between me and the forest, the birds, the water, the snow, there is always an invitation to equality.

        When I tell others how to behave, what to say, how to be, no matter if I say it out loud or just put energy to it as a thought, I am not promoting equality. I am promoting myself, and I push my own limits on my surroundings, and tie myself even more up in my own limits. I do not want to force my egobased wiew upon a child, a friend, the forest, the snow. I prefere equality, meeting everything and everyone around me at that place, and let the moment be our connection. That is what I want. Thank you for sharing a thought that became a reminder of how I prefere to meet my everyday life.

    3. Awakening begins through an act of grace and apparently it isn’t her time yet. When consciousness is ready to awaken in her particular form the process will begin. In the meantime, it does absolutely no good to thrust it upon her. The only thing you can do is be present around her and wait for the day she is receptive. Until then be patient (and understanding),

    4. Perhaps try suggesting Abraham’s youtube videos (Jerry and Esther Hicks) to your friend. Sometimes different teachers resonate with different people. Eckhart is an absolutely wonderful teacher and I found his work profoundly helpful for myself and have also found other teachers to be valuable as well. Best wishes!

    5. your desire to encourage your friend is wonderful… I have found through life discovery that the ultimate encouragement or enthusiasm is simply by giving those around you space to be! much love to you and your friend <3

      1. Thanks, Vanessa, for putting this so very well. I just want to express that I have found your point, “the ultimate encouragement or enthusiasm is simply by giving those around you space to be,” a very profound thing in my life. I strive to do this every day and it is bringing in so much joy when I succeed!

    6. I love what Vanessa said in her reply to Sue, “the ultimate encouragement or enthusiasm is simply giving those around you space to be.”

      I love Eckhart’s work (especially his taped lectures) but maybe Sue’s friend gets bored. I imagine Eckhart’s response might be that it’s OK for people to be bored by his work, and that even though it’s hard to imagine, he’s not for everyone.

      I find that most people don’t really want to be told who to follow or what to read (myself included). I can attest to “eye rolling” and many, many “whatever’s” when friends or family would suggest prayer, or reading the bible, or whatever when one of my pain bodies would surface. Believe me, back in the day, pain bodies were flying left and right on an almost daily basis with me. Even though most people’s hearts were in the right place, I didn’t want to hear suggestions. I needed to find my own spiritual path.

      Maybe Sue’s friend just needs and wants to find her own way too, and maybe it’s OK that she’s unhappy sometimes. In fact, I say it’s more than OK. There’s nothing like a little misery to get you to notice your pain bodies. You can’t begin to work on a pain body until you notice that it’s there. Once you notice it, really notice it, that’s when the fun begins. And just when you think you’ve got that pain body licked, bam, the Universe sometimes sends you a test of that pain body. I don’t remember her wording exactly, but Marianne Williamson said in one of her lectures something like, “As soon as you start to work on our higher self or make a resolution to be happy, everything that will make you angry is on the way.”

      I’m closing my message with peace to Sue and to her friend and to all on this message board. Love you Eckhart Tolle. I don’t get bored with your work. OK, I have dosed off a time or two listening to your lectures on tape, but I’ve dosed off listening to Marianne Williamson and Wayne Dyer as well. Hey, this spiritual stuff is tiring sometimes, but well worth the effort.

    7. Sue, your friend is on her own journey. Your job is to focus on your pain body and nobody else’s. You have no control over others. A good mantra to keep in mind when you loose focus is : not my circus, not my monkeys.

    8. Sometimes individuals are not ready to receive this information and they find it boring. When Eckhart’s book came out and i tried to read it, nothing i read made sense to me at the time. However, I just read The New Earth in April of this year and it totally clicked! Your friend may not be ready right now. Everyone moves along their path at their own pace. I know it would be great if everyone jumped on board and made the changes to their lives!

  2. Once the pain body has lost energy and its vibrational energy transmuted into presence, will it always lie dormant? Do we have the power to never let t he pain body be triggered? What is a train of thought that can help not be deceived by the pain body when it is triggered. Thank you
    Rosalind Thomas in Houston Tx

    1. I may not be the authority to answer your questions, but to share my “two cents” to this questions: Do we have the power to never let the pain body be triggered?

      You ARE the power to never let the pain body be triggered. The degree you execute the power is to the same degree you stay present.

    2. “Do we have the power to never let t he pain body be triggered?”

      Probably not, but do you really want such a guarantee from life anyway? perhaps life works a lot better if you don’t seek such guarantees from it.

    3. Always, yes…but only with regular and persistent practice and time. This is what buddhist monks are doing. Practice, it’s always about practice, and lots of it, because this way of recognizing our thoughts and emotions for what they are, and transforming them, is rather foreign to us, especially in the West.

  3. What does it mean by “breaking identification with pain body” ? When pain body strikes, I can feel myself having that onslaught of negative emotions and thoughts, but other than that, there’s not much else, I’m in the mercy of the pain body, so to speak, waiting for it to be done feasting and go away.

    I’ve seen this pattern many times now. Before, I’m not even aware about pain body. But after reading A New Earth, I became more aware of it. Where do I go from here? Namaste.

    1. Breaking identification simply means realizing the thoughts and feelings aren’t you. YOU’RE actually watching it all happen like a movie.

    2. “What does it mean by “breaking identification with pain body” ? When pain body strikes, I can feel myself having that onslaught of negative emotions and thoughts, but other than that, there’s not much else, I’m in the mercy of the pain body, so to speak, waiting for it to be done feasting and go away.”

      It means you are already breaking identification with the pain-body, so congratulations.

      “I’ve seen this pattern many times now. Before, I’m not even aware about pain body. But after reading A New Earth, I became more aware of it. Where do I go from here?”

      There is nowhere to go really, Continue to let life act through you and if your required to be “Somewhere”, it was come to you..

    3. Where to go next…well, I thought that The Power of Now was a great way to follow up A New Earth…it kind of taught how to put A New Earth’s topics into motion & ways to start & maintain presence, in a literal sense.

  4. When my pain body is awake I try to focus on the way my body feels. When we feed the pain body with thoughts, usually past hurts or resentments or future worries we are completely taken over by it. I practice creating gaps as Eckhardt says. Focus on breathing, become very aware of your surroundings etc… It becomes sort of a dance, presence then unconsciousness presence unconsciousness and so on. Eckhardt says the more gaps you create the more present you will become and the less you will be completly taken over by the pain body. This is a process

    1. Lisa,
      I do not have the book in front of me, but I think that Eckhart was pointing to the fact that there is a collective pain body for races, sexes, etc. For women, there has been thousands of years of dominance, physical, mental and emotional abuse, by men and fewer opportunities for education and freedom, This collective experience has created a collective pain body for women. Hope this explanation helps to clarify.

  5. Eckhart, thank you for describing how the painbody energy transforms into stilness, after realising that it is not me, but my identification with it that keeps the painbody alive. Before going to sleep, in my case the moment for the painbody to wake up, I used to comment on my “failures” in life, preventing me from falling asleep. The negative thoughtstreams come to a halt together with the awareness of it. At that moment, there and then. For me the beginning of a transformation, doors opening to alignment with all that is…

  6. I had a friend and loved ones who said they “didn’t get it,” which surprised and disappointed me, as Eckhart’s explanation seemed so true and relevant to my own life and experience. Then out of the blue, I explained to one that this wasn’t meant to be taken literally. We’re dealing with things beyond the realm of logic, words and thoughts, and Eckhart is, like Jesus and other awakened beings, using parables to explain the inexplicable. Sort of like the debate about whether Carlos Castaneda was telling the “truth”.
    She said this made it click for her. She reread “New Earth” with that in mind and “got it”. I guess the point is the difference between wanting a literal interpretation as opposed to just watching the effect, the impression the teachings have on you. Which are wonderful.

  7. ECKHART,: thank you for this. I struggle every day for at least 6 yrs now w/ chronic lower back pain which gets worse over the yrs. I have been reading more lately on pain management & will print this to go w/ other readings in my notebook. Between my mothers death, struggles in my marriage, & chronic pain, I was in horrible shape last year. Things have settled down now but my pain-body is always in the forefront. It has certainly affected my life. I’m not a candidate for surgery yet, said the top surgeon in my area about my complicated issues, but now I’m trying to deal with the FEAR of inevitable back surgery of which I’m terrified & feel doomed. Do you have something in your magic top hat for me about dealing with my fear?

    SUE (from Aug 26 post): I love that you care so much about your friend. It is so admirable. I have always tried to help people but have come to realize most people don’t seem to want advice – they just want a sounding board. I have learned so much thru my readings of motivational & inspirational leaders which has greatly helped me & saved my life. A wonderful quote I heard some time ago (don’t know the author to give credit) but it is so very true: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Namaste.

  8. To add some lightness to my pain-body I have named it Harold. When an irrational judgment, defensive thought, or just plain irritable sensitivity pops in to my awareness I say “Good Morning/Evening, Harold!” Often this will diffuse the situation immediately. My husband has stopped wondering who this Harold person is; although in the beginning he would give me a funny look.

  9. I agree that women tend to have a heavier pain body then men. What I have found with any thinking is that I need to acknowledge, acceptance and then know if compassion and forgiveness are in play. When I acknowledge something it will return time and again until I go through the Serenity Prayer. Pain requires healing.

  10. I’ve been practicing awareness for a few weeks now and yesterday something curious happened to me. I could notice the pain body being trigged by a comment my husband made. My mood immediately changed, and I caught myself shaking. I called him apart and told him what was happening. So I was able to identify the pain body and disidentify from it. But the frustration was that I couldn’t let it go. It took over me, and for hours I was totally in domain of negative thoughts. How come that? How can I keep conscious and handle the whole process?

  11. I’ve spent my life in the midst of very dark, negative people who thrive in their pain body. Since the age of 12 when I had my first awakening, I have been striving to bring positivity to the world and met with much frustration as I bucked against anger, fear, addiction and the like. I have been accused of being a “Pollyana”, a dreamer, with my head in the clouds. Today I am 60, it’s been quite a journey. Though I am a positive seeking soul, I realize I have absorbed all the negative energy I have been exposed to all these years and it reared it’s ugly head in the form of A-Fib, a heart arrythemia. Yet Another awakening~I was forced to make a decision for my life was now depending on it. I cannot influence anyone’s pain body but I can no longer be subjected to it. Hard choices have been made to remove myself from those souls who are not on the same journey and most are family. I am at peace, I am learning that I love myself afterall!

  12. Wonderful stuff. This is so true. Especially when I am in pain, with a migraine headache, I have negative thoughts. However, when I use my Presence i.e. Mindfulness to observe the pain I’m experiencing, then put words on it (describe) it creates a space between who I am and that my body is experiencing this pain. Then I choose different thoughts and my physical pain lessens. (My resources are straight from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy by Dr. Marsha Linehan).

  13. Oh and one last thing, Louise Hay talks about Headaches in her book YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE. She says that headaches are a result of self-invalidating thoughts. She is right on the money about that, in my opinion.

  14. When I awaken each day I am full of pain. Having diagnosis of Hep C, cancer treatment last summer, and two fractures recently, one spinal and the other fibular bone, from taking a fall from my horse. Ironically, today I read this as my morning got started. Yes I came downstairs with my first words to my husband, I am really bad today my body is full of pain! Then I came straight to my computer to read this. It is very fitting for me since the pain body has strength from my thoughts. Its a vicious circle because the pain feeds from the thought, but also, the thought comes from the pain. Upon reading this I decided to not be overcome by thoughts manifested through pain. Much to my appreciation, the pain is not near as bad in fact I can feel the pain loosing strength. To this I say thank you for such wisdom. Eckhart is truly a saint on our plane. I will fill any pain body with thoughts of love and strength. I shall refuse to give the pain body thoughts to feed from. Namaste

  15. hi!
    What about anxiety? I see it and are quite aware of the thoughts that pop up, but still feel bad and feel like I get lost in it every time. its så strong feeling ond scary thougt wich get me identified every time.

  16. Hi,

    Can someone explain to me in simpler form what Eckhart is explaining about pain body. I have anxiety & lots of physical symptoms doctors keep tracing back to stress & worry. I feel like I’m in a cycle I can’t break from. Anxiety causes me to think negative fearful thoughts. Also when I’m feeling aches & pains I think fearful thoughts. I feel like what he’s saying will help me but would love a better breakdown of what he means? And what is Pain-body?

    Thank you.

    1. The mind likes to trip us up and say ‘there is no solution’. That is the mind’s roll in duality. To keep us stuck in such a manner, as we eventually cry out to god for help and assistance.

      In order to deal with chronic pain and suffering, we must first realize it is basically out of our hands, at this point. We’ve let the suffering continue ad infinitum till suddenly it begins to take away from the blessings that is our life. We no longer can do what we want and therefore must begin to reform ourselves.

      It is a forging type experience Lisa. It either intensifies (the pain) till it becomes too much and we beg to be allowed to leave this realm, or we suffer the indignation of not knowing what to do and allow other’s to help us through it.

      ET (Eckhart) teaches us to begin to allow (open up to) other possibilities in our life. One possibility being that we are too far gone to just sit and be silent with the experience (of pain/anxiety/suffering). In moments like this, we must first ask ourselves if we believe in higher intervention.

      I realize this isn’t a common topic on ET teachings/writings. But the fact remains, when the suffering is too much for me (as my only example of this tool/strategy), I ask for guidance within. I ask source to lead me to what I need to do next and trust the process of silence and awareness to bring me the answer.

      I just have to be prepared to receive it.
      Luckily we have all the tools necessary for this work at our disposal thanks to ET. Presence affords us the opportunity to tune into our highest selves by becoming present with our surroundings and form.

      In this state of stillness, we can expect to begin to receive answers to our request. Yes, it might not come right away (and in the manner we expect). We might have to deepen into the experience first as well (by committing ourselves to the process), but eventually, at least for me, results begin to appear then.

  17. Hi Lisa! You ask, “What is Pain-Body”? According the the wise Mr. Tolle, any emotion you think is a form of energy. There is something in all humans that seeks unhappiness, unpleasant experiences because the Pain-Body feeds on those things. Even though it is only active for a percentage of time, the negativity can accumulate and actually take form making some even sick, perhaps with anxiety and stress. What has been working for me was his advice to pay attention to sounds to stop my mind from thinking, allowing myself to be in the “now” moment where that is the only place I really have control over anyway. Being in the now does not allow time to think thoughts that make us become anxious and peace is the overall feeling. I start with hearing one sound, like a bird, then adding another, perhaps the humming of the air conditioner…then adding a third sound and really focusing in on JUST sound, not thinking about where they come from. Suddenly…..I am still and everything in my head is peaceful. It is possible to teach yourself not to think too much and become aware of the Pain-Body wanting attention and then redirecting your path through distraction (listening). I hope this has been somewhat helpful to you.

    1. Hi Gavi,

      Can this really help with Anxiety? How can I overcome fearful thoughts? This is amazing, I soon as I feel good when in the present moment my mind starts thinking scary thoughts.

      1. It is identification with the suffering (anxiety/whatever) that intensifies the experience (of duality).

        Just being with the pain/suffering/anxiety, brings your focus back to the present and what is going on now.

        Once you stop trying to make it go away (emotional luggage), you begin to free yourself, of it.
        It no longer has the exact same affect on you.
        You are now aware of it and can begin to collect tools for dealing with it (if you so choose).

        Hence just being with the pain-body, rather than going against it, brings relief and eventual healing. It is not a one time occurrence. All suffering and pain is held as trauma in the physical host form. It is there for a reason, i.e. to awaken you to the truth of what is real (and what isn’t).

  18. All the comments are a wealth of insightful knowledge and information that has helped me understand some and I thank you all.

    1. I have been very hurt by my two adult sons and a lot of pain is coming up in me and their bad behaviour in the past – all that is coming up in me yet again and I thought I had forgiven them and let it all go. Please help, as I feel in a lot of pain. Thanks, Carmel.

  19. Is there anyone out there who is willing to help me with a question, I have read Eckhart Tolle’s books and find them great – when things are going well, but recently my pain body has been triggered and am finding it very hard to be present and to get in touch with my inner presence, please help, I welcome any comments and feed back, thank you, Carmel.

    1. Hi Carmel,

      As i read your comment, i can really feel your urgency and sincerity, and I wanted to reach out and let you know you are not alone. I have a heavy / active pain body too, and a couple of things help me, so I thought I’d share.

      If I get “taken over” by the pain body, as soon as I can, I reflect on what happened, usually through journal writing, to understand what the trigger was, ie an old childhood issue, habitual “victim” thinking, etc. You have to be careful to keep a detached kind of perspective when doing this though, so you don’t get sucked into wallowing in the “sad story” and further feeding the pain body. For me, its more like a detective-type perspective. That can help bring awareness in identifying habitual, semi-conscious automatic thought patterns and ego stories so you are more able to recognize the thoughts for what they are (the pain body /ego, not You) when they come up again. Also, be aware that feeling bad about yourself, or guilty about “not being spiritual enough” for having the pain body come up is just another manifestation of the pain body, and another way to stay trapped in the past. After all that thinking, I just try to mentally drop it, stop and breathe and enter the Now and find the stillness.

      Another thing that helps me a lot with the actual physical sensations (racing heart, queasy stomach, etc), anxiety and other emotional pain is a technique called tapping, or EFT (emotional freedom technique). It’s a form of acupressure on the meridian points of the body. That sounds complicated, but it is actually super simple (you can “you tube” EFT or tapping). I’ve found it so helpful for presence practice during difficult emotions, and I believe it does help to energetically clear my body, and accept the Now instead of resisting it. I still get “taken over” by the pain body sometimes, but im working on transmuting the pain into presence, and I feel that reflection and EFT help me move through it.

      I hope these ideas help, xox

  20. carmel,i really appericiate ur eagernes to take any kind of comment. on my point of view you should have practice repeatdly to get what u desired.

  21. I have been reading A New Earth and it has been helping me through an affair/betrayal by my partner. I have shared the teachings with him. When my pain body arises, and I go back to the past happenings I try to tell myself that I should not go back to the past and live in the now. The challenge I am having is that when I have discussions with my partner, bringing up the past possibly due to a trigger or action that he has taken, he says “let go of the past…think about what the book tells you to do.” I feel as though he is “using” the teachings to have me forget about his past actions because it is in his best interests. Please help me understand. I have seen the following quote: “Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on” but am I doing this for my partner to be absolved or for me?

  22. I have a question about how to deal with OTHER’S pain body.

    My spouse often complains about things that happened in the past, or some injustice that is a current issue, and I don’t know how to react. Yesterday I tried to just be present without joining in with the complaining, not condemning or judging, just being present. Well, that didn’t work at all. My spouse accused me of not caring and carried on, seemingly trying to activate MY pain body. I managed to stay present for the better part of 3 hours, but my pain body was eventually triggered (at 4:00 AM).

    I guess my question is this: How should one react in the presence of someone else’s activated pain body?

    I truly hope someone has some insight into this ongoing problem.

  23. J.H. I have a reply, not sure it answers- but creates more questions. But I commend you for watching your spouse’s pain body, from a place of presence, and accepting it for as long as you able. I would try to continue to acknowledge it as awareness, just as you did… Maybe the next time will be the same, maybe different. Would it help to consider something like: wow what a strong and tricky pain body he has? Would that add a little more space for you? Or is that a form of judgment from your own ego? I wonder if it is wiser to eventually removed yourself from the interaction, to create the space… to break from that frequency where the Other was so desperately trying to resonate. Perhaps his/hers must simply get larger and create more suffering before their cycle is broken? Knowing that maybe the case, could you then make a little more room for it?

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