ne0n-drag0nflyy asked: hey, i read a bit of the power of now, and i have a question, because i don't think i fully understand. he talks about the pain-body, like a field of physical pain that we manifest with our emotions when they control us. i think (correct me if i'm wrong) that he said that the pain-body is NOT us. i don't understand how this is, or what it means for how we should lead our lives. this idea makes how much we are "responsible" for our feelings/actions confusing.
You are not what you experience. You are the witness to your experiences. The pain-body is an experience. It is when you mistake it for who you are that you unconsciously cling to it and your pain.
The pain-body is the accumulation of these unconscious identifications with pain. Suppose when you were younger, someone always yelled at you for blowing and popping bubbles with your bubblegum. Over and over this happened. Now when you see and hear someone else doing it, it fills you with a kind of anger. Why should they get to do that when you were never allowed to?
The pain-body is kind of like that. Or it could be that you had a bad breakup with your last ex and now you are overly sensitive to everything your current partner does due to a lingering fear and insecurity.
Essentially, the pain-body is the way we relive past pains through the present. Often we are unaware as to the root of the pain we feel. It can manifest as rage issues, trust issues, depression and victim identity, or any number of ways.
Not only is this pain emotional but it can cause bodily reactions. It can become difficult eating and sleeping and nausea can become a constant companion. Sometimes physical pain in the limbs happens as well due to the way we hold tension. This is one reason I like yoga, it can dissolve the physical effects of the pain-body.
The major clue about recognizing the pain-body is to take your attention into the present. Nothing may be happening in the present moment, everything could be just fine. There may be no immediate physical or social threat for you to feel suffering. And yet you are in pain with reoccurring compulsive thoughts and feelings.
That is how you can tell when the pain-body phenomenon is active or partially active.
You cannot push it away, control it, or suppress it. But if you watch and witness it directly, not judging or analyzing your thoughts but just seeing them as they come and go, you can let the pain-body burn itself out.
This is like depriving a flame of oxygen. Eventually it will die. Once you have weakened the pain-body in this way, it will only ever come back in a diminished form. Over and over you have to be mindful and alert of when your pain-body activates. Be ready to dissolve it with this sort of silent, patient, and attentive mindfulness.
I would recommend reading the rest of The Power of Now rather than just a bit, as Eckhart Tolle goes into depth as to the various ways the pain-body works, manifests, and how it may be dissolved.