The pain body has been showing up for me lately. Lack of sleep and the uncertainty that exists in many areas of my life right now makes for fertile soil for this old friend.
The pain body, a concept discussed in depth by Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now, is where we hold old wounds and stories of suffering. It is where behaviors like sabotage, projection, and blame come from. When we are living from the pain body we are in a state of reactivity rather than response. This is a very difficult place to get accurate information from when we are trying to make decisions and have meaningful discussions with people that we are having challenges with.
Our tendency might be to deny the pain body and to pretend it’s not there. Who really wants to hang out in that space? I mean really!? Yet, the pain body cannot be shoved down, pushed aside or dressed up. You can try but it will only ooze out somewhere else at another time – I guarantee it.
So, what’s the plan for dealing with this old friend? Here’s mine for the day.
- Acknowledge where you are. That’s what I’m doing right now. As I write this post I’m naming this critter, pain body. I’m calling it what it is. Okay. There. I did it.
- Breathe. At various points this morning I’ve asked myself to watch my breath. I slow myself down. Even if just for a moment.
- Ask it some questions. What are you afraid of? I’m afraid I’m too difficult or unloveable. What do you need? Reassurance. Call some friends. Get a reality check. Go play in the woods.
- Who would you be without the thought? This is a great one for me. It’s based on the work of Byron Katie. So, who would I be without the story that this pain body is sending through me – the story of unworthiness, unloveability? I would trust my basic “beingness” and my place in the world. I would be more in the flow. I’d feel better about asking for help and I would find peace, even in the uncertainty.
- Breathe some more. If you need more on this one, check out some of my posts on mindfulness or my online course in mindfulness.
- Forgive yourself when it returns and love yourself enough to begin the process again.
What it comes down to is that the pain body wants to tell you that you are IT. It wants you to believe that it is your true nature and it will give you all kinds of data that it has accumulated over your lifetime to prove this to you. Ultimately, following these six steps of inquiry when it shows up is literally rewiring your brain so that you can reach a greater of understanding of your true, beautiful nature.