Tag Archives: pain-body

POP! goes the Pain-Body

My friend who’s been so profoundly depressed called this noon. His voice, which has sounded drugged and apathetic for weeks, was strong and lively.

“Whoa,” I said. “You sound so different. What’s happening???”

“Strangest thing,” he said. “Yesterday I was lying there on the couch, where I’ve spent much of the past few weeks, feeling totally wretched. My thoughts were so negative and anxiety-provoking that I had to try shutting them out. So I decided to see how many 19th century British writers’ names I could recall.”

“Interesting technique,” I said. “Kind of like counting sheep.”

“Well, here’s where it gets really weird,” he said. “I suddenly said to myself, ‘I’m done with this.’ The words just came up out of nowhere. I sat up, looked around, and saw some papers that needed to be dealt with, so I got up and just started taking care of things. The anxiety and fear had disappeared. Like in five seconds! I’ve felt totally fine since then.”

First, let me say I am beyond thrilled that he had this moment of enlightenment, when he just ran out of his Sad Story and popped into the present time. Into the Now, unburdened. I have long hoped and prayed for him to hit bottom hard enough that he’d have this sort of breakthrough.

Wouldn’t it be great if this clarity sticks around long enough to give his stinking thinking a good long vacation? Now he can get better acquainted with his true self. Eckhart Tolle says it is sometimes easier for folks with the densest pain-bodies to break free because they have nowhere else to go.

At the least my friend will know that this place of calm is there, and will be able to access it more readily in time to come.


Last night I got a call from the person in my life who has the densest pain-body of anyone I know.

“Hi,” he said. “I’m feeling really really bad. In case you’re interested.”

“Uh, wow.” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“So bad I’m taking Klonapin.”

Then I heard the tell-tale sipping sound. “And are you drinking too?”

“Yeah,” he said, “and it’s working fairly well.”

And then he launched into the litany of his worries and woes. I KNOW he is having a particularly hard time right now, and my heart goes out to him, but I was flummoxed as to how to respond.

This despite having just read Chapter 5, “The Pain-Body,” in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and watched the segment on Oprah.com.

Tolle talks about just being Present when you’re with someone who is suffering – and how that may give the person enough of a glimpse of the Present moment that he can begin to separate from the pain-body.

But I am not there yet. I don’t want to hear the whole depressing story; I’ve heard it in excruciating detail over the years, with only the names and places changed. Tolle says that every time a person recites his sorry story (to himself or another) he only strengthens his pain-body, and I don’t want to be a part of that any more.

Tolle says (page 144):

The pain-body is a semi-autonomous energy-form that lives within most human beings, en entity made up of emotion. It has its own primitive intelligence, not unlike a cunning animal, and its intelligence is directed primarily at survival… it needs to feed … it thrives on negative thinking as well as drama in relationships. The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness.

It’s a part of the thinking-ego-emotion cycle. This friend has an amazing mind which, when engaged in constructively, is a gift to the world. In recent years, however, his mind has been increasingly trapped in his pain-body.

I keep hoping that THIS crisis will precipitate an awareness breakthrough. That THIS time, he’ll find a way into and through his sad story, so he can see himself as the beautiful soul he really is.

Right now for my own mental health I need to keep my distance, but I will give him the Tolle book and point him to the webcasts. Maybe Tolle’s wisdom can crack a wedge in the pain-body.