Intimacy and the Pain-Body

What is the Pain-Body?

Many of you are familiar with Eckhart Tolle’s work. He talks a lot about the pain-body. In A New Earth, he describes it this way:

The greater part of most people’s thinking is involuntary, automatic, and repetitive. It is no more than a kind of mental static and fulfills no real purpose. …

The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past, you are then forced to reenact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is karma. When you are identified with this voice, you don’t know this, of course. If you knew it, you would no longer be possessed …

The ego is not only the unobserved mind, the voice in the head which pretends to be you, but also the unobserved emotions that are the body’s reaction to what the voice in the head is saying.

What is the Relationship between Intimacy and the Pain-Body?

Many people, as Tolle has written, experience the pain-body most intensely in intimate situations, because the closeness and vulnerability triggers pain from their family of origin and other early experiences.

I can tell when I’m in the grip of the pain-body because not only am I in pain, but my tone changes. I can hear a “strident” quality or judgmentalness or defensiveness that is not usually there, and of course that is just a reflexive cover-up for the pain that I’m feeling. It’s a deeply programmed but not particularly helpful way of dealing with fear, hurt, anger, and other painful emotions.

Anyway, I haven’t been writing much for the past week, and this is why: recently, a large piece of pain-body was stirred up for me. This is a fairly unusual event these days. Whereas I used to live in the constant grip of the pain-body, now these moments are (thankfully) quite rare. I give a lot of the credit to the practices that I talk about on this blog: compassionate communication (which brings awareness to our automatic, repetitive thoughts) and Emotional Freedom Technique (which has the power to break us out of karmic patterns).

The pain that was stirred up is deep, intense, and feels very much to be from the past and not from the present. Rather than continue reacting to it, though, as I was starting to do, I basically stopped everything. I stopped going out, stopped most of my activities, and have been spending much time in meditation and simply becoming present with the pain. I do this because one of our ego’s favorite tricks for keeping the pain-body alive is to “cover it over” with busy-ness. The ego also loves to take out the pain on other people. Busy-ness and reaction of every kind will distract us for a bit but do not have the power to dissolve and transform the pain-body into the light.

And while we’re on the subject of the pain-body …

People ask me often how I am able to continue writing this blog and participating in forums in spite of all the criticism and naysayers. It’s for a few reasons.

First, I feel called to write this blog by the highest and deepest forces within me. It is obvious to me that one of my primary purposes on this planet (my special function in salvation, if you will) is to express these teachings and experiences no matter what.

Second, when people criticize and insult, I know they are acting from their own pain-bodies. It’s not something to take personally. Where possible, I try to give them the empathy that they almost certainly are needing. Sure, once in a while it touches my own pain-body, and then I get present with the feelings that are stirred up and use that energy for my own healing. Triggering each other is part of the planetary healing process of unwinding and integrating the ego.

Third, anything worth doing in this lifetime is worth doing in spite of the doubters, hacks, and naysayers. Do you think anyone who ever did anything worthwhile — my favorite heroine is always the humble Rosa Parks, a simple seamstress who changed the entire history of this country — did it while receiving wholehearted approval from everyone else? No. Approval-seeking leads to mediocrity and a life in the ego’s tight grip. We all know that.

Anyway, I’ll be back to writing at normal intervals when I feel like myself again. My Reiki healer predicts it’ll be by tomorrow, but I’m not going to rush it.

When the Pain-Body Subsides

Last night, around 3 or 4 am, I did have this blissful clearing. It felt like my heart chakra opened again full force, and I felt so connected, so unbelievably connected to the sleeping world and to someone who is very dear to me. And then the vulnerability of it was a little too intense for me, and dark thoughts clouded back over the clearing again.

Still, I know that each time that clearing happens, I have regained a little piece of Heaven that will never again be lost to me. I look forward to the day when I no longer ever have periods like this, and I live in a constant state of openheartedness and bliss.

Until then, I’ll keep on writing about every single way I find to give myself and all my readers a bit more happiness, trust, and joy in their lives.


– Erika

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Tolle overload!

    Good post brosephina…

  2. As I mentioned on Facebook,

    “Right now for me it’s kinda like when a person breaks their leg. All the muscles around the injured area become immobilized to allow healing to happen. I’ve kinda got a ‘stop everything’ response going on in my body right now. So I’ve been doing a lot of meditation instead of my normal activities.”

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