The Pain-body

Eckhart Tolle makes it easy to despise him. As a woman who has never menstruated and never will, I see how those who do might resent At menstruation, many women become overwhelmed by intense negative emotion. Or women are less mind-identified than men. Or his explaining The sacred feminine. He seems a monster of ego when he writes that he healed a woman of her negative energy, then went to a restaurant by himself. A man in a wheelchair eating nearby glanced at me once briefly but intensely then started to shout about how bad the food was. Intense, violent hatred filled the room. He left, then returned and ran into a woman with his wheelchair, pinning her against the wall and bruising her. Tolle believes the negative energy in that man was the negative energy which had come out of the woman healed- like Legion’s demons going into the pigs- which he had carried to the restaurant. The manager, asked me, half joking but perhaps feeling intuitively that there was some connection, “Did you cause all this?”

Or perhaps the manager had noticed how Tolle had reacted to the angry man.

I used the term “Pain-body” recently. I feared meditation because I would feel my pain, and then I meditated and felt it, and it did not matter. The pain is suppressed below consciousness. I realised that I feared my own fear, and over the last year I worked to accept it, to fear it less, as that reduces its power and fearsomeness. Loosely, I identified the pain-body, my emotional self, even my Real self as one: the Real self bore my pain for the sake of my conscious self, and if I could feel that pain consciously I could liberate the real self from it, and be fully me, conscious, with feelings appropriate to the current situation not in thrall to the past. The task was to liberate my feeling self from its pain, by feeling it.

From my pain I turn my eye. So the solution was to face it.

Tolle thinks of a “Pain-body” entirely differently. It builds in the human being, taking in energy each time the person feels negative emotions. The ego repeats stories about those emotions, the feeling is felt again, and the pain body grows. It comes from pain felt by the parents, and by wider society. I thought, the human being is created loving and creative, and Tolle’s idea is close to Original Sin.

That healing, which produced all that negative energy, was when a woman, living with the burden of her unhappiness, became at his suggestion fully conscious of that unhappiness. And, in that moment, she ceased to identify with it.

-If you don’t mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? he asked.
-I’m still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less, she replied.

And I thought, ach, I learned that ages ago, I feared my fear, and I am still not free. Though it is subtly different.

This is big for me. My emotional being is my inner light, I say: nobly it bears my pain, and when I liberate it it will guide me. I am intellectualising. I want a verbal understanding. And an emotional being, brought into consciousness and freed to feel in response to actual situations rather than old stories, might be a valuable guide.

Those seven months being intensely bullied at work ended nearly twelve years ago. Is that an old story, which only has power because a pathological tendency in me gives it power, or a scar/wound needing healed? These are pictures of a situation. In either case I have healing moments, letting go of some of the old pain, which makes healing the rest of it easier. I need to let go of all this old pain. It does me no good. It shows one aspect of the world and other people, which is not the whole truth.

Am I objecting to Tolle’s intellectual understanding, or resisting healing which, if I reached for it would fall into my hand? Am I suppressing and denying pain when I say “it was as it was. Human beings face difficult situations.” That sounds like what someone no longer bearing old resentments would say, but when I say it it sounds weary rather than joyful. I may approach acceptance, which may be a sudden shock or a gradual realisation.

My resistance to Tolle and different conceptions do not mean he does not have insight which could help my healing. I feared my fear and anger, and resisted it; now it irks me, and I resist it less…

All comments welcome.

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