“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
Releasing Old Emotional Pain
We all have old emotional pain living inside of us. Whenever we cannot fully process a difficult life experience it leaves a painful energy imprint in our body.
Over time, these pain imprints become heavily accumulated. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle calls this accumulation the “pain-body.
The emotional pain-body remains dormant for periods of time. When the pain-body becomes triggered or activated, we see life “darkly” through the lens of old, unhealed emotional pain. People, situations, and memories become distorted when viewed through the eyes of our pain-body.
Negative Thoughts Keep the Pain Body Intact
Our pain-body feeds on negative thoughts of blame, victimization and/or self-recrimination. The urge to blame others for our emotional pain is intense when our pain-body is activated.
Our pain-body loves to create fights, especially with family or those closest to us. Because the accumulation of negative emotions in our body is exceedingly uncomfortable, the urge to project our pain out onto others can feel extreme.
Yet, instead of believing our vengeful and victimized thoughts, we can compassionately witness our emotional pain for what it actually is – unwitnessed emotional energy from the past that is trying to leave our body for good.
Compassionately Witnessing Your Pain-Body
1. Catch your arising pain-body at its inception:
Catch your pain-body the moment it awakens from its dormant stage. Watch for any sign of unhappiness in yourself – in any form. Pain-body activation can take the form of irritation, impatience, a dark or somber mood, anger, rage, depression, a desire to hurt yourself or others, and a need to create drama in your relationships.
2. Observe your pain-body without thinking:
Become very alert as your pain-body activates. Observe your compulsion to ruminate on your emotional pain. Also, observe your resistance to feeling your emotional pain. Do not look for an outside cause for your pain. Notice the urge to get the emotional pain out of your body by blaming others for how you feel.
We can mistakenly become addicted to dramatizing our emotional pain as “out there.” Observe your attachment to your emotional pain, and see how it wants to gather evidence for why it exists. Observe the peculiar pleasure you derive from being unhappy. Continued emotional suffering becomes its own living entity (called the pain body). Left unchecked, our pain body can gather speed and destroy our lives – over time.
3. Cultivate laser loving attention to your pain-body:
Focus laser loving attention upon the negative emotions inside of you. Know that this is your pain-body. Don’t judge yourself or try to talk yourself out of feeling the painful emotions that are arising.
Don’t let your painful emotions turn into negative stories about yourself, your life situation or other people. Stay present to the old emotional pain that needs to move out of stagnation. Don’t lash out at others in an attempt to dispel your pain. Let the energy of your emotions move through your body even as they are painful. Hold strong presence, and witness your emotional pain until it is gone.