eckhart tolle teachings

How to Dissolve the Pain-Body

The real problem with the pain-body is not the pain-body itself, but our identification with it. Everyone has a pain-body. Everyone has moments of despair, anger and unhappiness. It is what we do with our pain-body that will make your life happy or miserable. The pain-body can be a prison we are trapped in or a wake up call to Presence and the joy that it gives.

The important thing to know about identification is that you don't know you're identified when you're identified.

The real work of breaking free of the pain-body is to acknowledge that you are identified with it. The real problem is not the pain-body itself, but our identification with it. And once an identification is seen and named, it will lose its power over you. Identification robs you of Presence, which is the real source of happiness and enjoyment.

The real question to ask is how long does it take to become free of your identification with the pain-body?

And the anwswer to this question is: as long as it takes to see your identification.

This means you need to learn how to recognize the pain-body as it arises. It can arise when you are triggered by a negative encounter with someone or when something happens that reminds you of a past experience that was painful. The smallest event can trigger a big reaction, but even though the reaction is big doesn't mean you see it for what it is. How often have you been in a good mood at the beginning of your day and by the evening you are depressed or angry? Did you notice when that shift occurred?

Become expert in noticing these shifts in consciousness. They are contractions in consciousness, and whether they are subtle or explosive, if you are identified with the upset, you will not see what has happened to you.

Give yourself this practice: become an active observer of your emotional state. As often as you can (which means as often as you remember), check in with yourself. What are you feeling? How expansive is your consciousness? How present are you?

This kind of observation in itself can free you of the pain-body without having to know what its exact content is. It isn't necessary to analyze your pain-body. All that is required to become free of it is to know that it is present.

As you recognize that it is your pain-body that is present in your field of consciousness and not your own Self, the pain-body will fall away and Presence itself can arise.

Through recognition of the pain-body, you become what you are: vast, spacious Presence. You become whole and your true nature emerges, which is one with the nature of God.

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One of Eckhart Tolle's most moving, transformative talks.