A key aspect of spiritual learning is to answer the question, “What is the pain body?” Having answered that question, even if only on an intellectual level, you then commit to the practices that release the energy of the pain body.

What is the Pain Body Menu?

  • What is the Pain Body?
  • The Pain-body as Protection
  • How the Pain Body is Formed.
  • Beyond the Pain Body
  • How to Release the Pain Body.
  • The Challenge of Pain Body Release
  • Summary of Pain Body Understanding
  • Liberating the Pain-Body Resources.

Let us start with the definition of the pain-body

What is the Pain-Body?

definition of the pain body

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Here is my definition of the pain body that I use for better understanding of what it is.

The pain body is the accumulation of energetic resistances that have formed your character especially during the time of your childhood development. You created the pain body for your protection but that protection no longer serves you.

A key point to recognize is that pain body helped you to deal with issues that once would have overwhelmed you and that you felt threatened your survival.

The focus of this teaching about the pain body is on healing and the removal of the blocks to the flow of the higher. The higher knows how to flow. The flow happens as intended to flow through you.

Your work is to undo the resistances you were required to establish to ensure your personal survival.

This does not mean your life was under threat but that you felt such a threat in situations where you needed to escape but couldn’t do so.

This might have been the continued stress you felt because, for example, a parent was a rageaholic or maybe an alcoholic. Maybe one parent was constantly depressed and your essential needs for contact, love, and nurture were not met.

This is most of us.

Your child chose responses to the environment appropriate at the time, but which will later adversely affect your health and your relationships. This is at the level of your humanity. We get locked up in your character armor so that the higher energy of Divine Presence cannot flow through us and cannot heal us.

The Pain-body as Protection

effortless yoga

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You created these energetic blocks to the flow of Higher Love when you did not have the language to process them through. You only had the energy of the body. In this way, you created what the modern mystic Eckhart Tolle refers to as ‘the pain body.’ [The Power of Now].

The ‘pain body’ is the energy that blocks the flow of Higher Love. It is the ‘pain-body’ that allowed you to deal with what you felt to be intolerable.

At the time your child brain was developing. It formed structures that became your automatic defense mechanism. These became hard-wired into your body. The German psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich referred to this as character amour.

Spiritual awakening is the process of dissolving the pain body. This is not simply through analysis and words. It does not mean you cannot analyze your reactivity and defense responses, but analysis alone will not do it.

It needs a daily commitment of compassionate self-regard combined with spiritual practices that ground and support you in the practice of spiritual embodiment.

Understanding the Pain Body

understanding the pain body

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How I teach spiritual growth and development as a process is by beginning with the return to the body

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

From Wild Geese – Mary Oliver

This is because spiritual awakening happens through the body and not away from the body [Eckhart Tolle].

There are far too many spiritual seekers are taught to live some distance from their body. I have been taught by such spiritual teachers.

Mr. Duffy lived some distance from his body—James Joyce—The Dubliners

They are attracted to the teachings of detachment because they are already detached from feelings they had to suppress to get their childhood attachment needs met. [Gabor Mate]

This extract from the video The Need for Authentic by Gabor Mate (Author of When the Body Says No) shares with you what I consider the best description as regards how the pain body gets formed.

Below this video I have included the text of the presentation as shared.

This is what Robin Williams, who died at his own hand after a life of addiction and mental illness and workaholism called, “Please Love Me Syndrome.” Anything, I’ll do anything but please love me.

The child has no choice.

The child is in a situation where attachment, and attachment in this case is not in the Buddhist sense, but in the modern psychological sense.

Attachment is the drive for closeness in proximity to another human being for the purpose of being taken care of or of taking care of someone else.

So, there is this powerful attachment drive between all mammals and their children and offspring, even birds and their offspring.

That attachment drive keeps the infant close to the parent and the parent close to the infant so the human infant can be taken care of. That attachment drive is important to us all our lives as that example in elderly couples indicates.

In other words that’s the most important dynamic human life and our brains are largely wired for attachment without which we don’t survive because the human infant is the least mature, most dependant and most helpless of any creature in the universe and stays that way for the longest period of time.

Without attachment there is no life.

This attachment drive as I will be telling you in my later talk on addictions this afternoon is the source of um – when our attachment needs are not met this is the source of all pathology whether physical or mental.

How does it become a source of physical pathology? Well because we have another need. Attachment is clear but we have another need and that is the need for authenticity.

Authenticity is that sense of being ourselves and know who we are and what we feel. That’s not as a New Age abstract psychological spiritual woo woo need. It is a survival need because to be authentic is to be in touch with your body and your gut feeling.

In the long period of evolutionary development living in a state of nature and amidst all kinds of dangers how long exactly would a human being survive if there were not in touch with their gut feelings?

They wouldn’t.

The authenticity is as powerful as the attachment need in the long-term. What happens to a child were the authenticity threatens attachment. What do I mean by that?

Let’s say that is a one half your two-year-old your child is angry at you and by the way if you have a two-year-old and they’re never angry with you your not doing your job because they can’t have five cookies before dinner and I can’t climb on the table to play with a shiny knife.

So, they’re going to get frustrated. So, they’re going to throw a tantrum. This is what they do.

But what about if you grow up in a home were there is a rageaholic father and the very hint of anger threatens you unconsciously? So, you give the message to the child that little kids don’t get angry.

In other words, good little kids who are not good are not acceptable to the parents.

Well guess what? If that message is driven home powerful enough the child will repress the anger in order to maintain the attachment relationship.

Pure adaptation but in the long-term that repression of the authentic self, as in the cases I’ve mentioned leads to disease. It is the Please Love Me Syndrome.

Love me at any cost. The child when it comes to attachment versus authenticity has absolutely no choice in the matter. Without attachment that can’t survive.

Beyond the Pain Body

beyond the pain body

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The way home to your true self begins with the return to the body as an instrument of flow. This is the meaning of the wisdom instruction from the Master Jesus.

Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3

The word ‘converted’ does not mean that you convert from one religious dogma to another. It means that you convert your mind from reliance on personal thinking to allowing yourself to be the thought of the Divine (which you always are).

This is the invitation to return to allowing and trusting the flow of your energy system before you learned to lock down your system. You locked down your energy system to avoid the feelings and expressing the feelings that were not approved off.

This return to the body is not simply going to the gym. What is important is your intention? Your intention will determine whether your energetic system will open to the flow of the higher into the lower.

You can intend to become fit and healthy or to achieve the culturally approved body shape. This is intention driven from the level of the personality. We drive it from the will to personal power.

This drive from the power of the personal is a necessary first step but the focus tends not to be on the healing of the emotional divide caused by the opposing dynamic of attachment and authenticity.

How to Release the Pain-body

releasing the pain body

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There are different ways in which to release the pain body the least of which is through the intellect.

I share with you how I follow the task releasing the blocks to love these methods include.

These are the combination that works for me.

Your task is to explore what works for you. However, whatever practice or practices you engage with you must make the commitment to learning the process.

This is a different and way of learning and requires patience and plenty of compassionate self-regard.

The Challenge of Pain Body Release

pain body challenge

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Much of the pain-body is unconscious. This means you do not feel the underlying cause of the pain, but you feel the effects.

You might understand the reason for the effects, but you can’t change them. This is because they have become hard-wired into your brain and body. They are hard-wired to protect you.

Your task is to learn to rewire the brain. As Dr. Joe Despensa invites in his best-selling book it requires you to, “Give up the habit of being yourself.”

When you learn to give up the habit of being yourself you create space for the healing force that is the higher the flow through you.

There is a major problem for many people here. They want the practice to be more complex than it is. The problem is that your intellect thinks nothing is happening when the spiritual intelligence of the NO-THING that heals all things is moving through you.

Pain Body Release Practice

pain body release practice

Whether you make the commitment to exploring the release of the pain-body would depend to a large degree on your level of pain and suffering. If your interest is merely intellectual, then you won’t stay the course.

The practices of dreamwork and journaling are recommended, and I use these as part of the foundational practice of Yoga Nidra.

I love this practice of Yoga Nidra. It is a practice that anyone can do and fit into a busy lifestyle. I practice once or twice each day and particularly if I feel under any degree of stress.

The key to the practice of yoga Nidra is that you learn to turn within, and you learn to trust the unfolding of your inner knowing.

This is more challenging than popping a pill or engaging in your chosen addiction.

It is the entry into the known unknown.

It is where you explore your direct experience. This is an experience beyond words and concepts. It is energetic KNOWING. It is INNER KNOWING. In this way, you become your own authority.

Because of the practice you will become more familiar with the pain body, but the difference will be that you make it conscious.

Over time, you learn to tolerate the energies you used to suppress. The result is that you live in flow. You become less afraid of the energies you used to feel would overwhelm you.

If there is only one practice that I recommend for exploring the pain body, it is the practice of Yoga Nidra and with this practice, you are being rewired for joy.

Summary of Pain Body Understanding

understanding the pain body summary

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Below, I summarize what I think you need to recognize in relation to understanding and releasing the pain body.

Creation of the Pain Body

  • The pain-body was originally a form of protection.
  • The pain body was hard-wired into your developing child brain.
  • You formed it through energetic responses to your childhood environment.
  • You had no choice in whether to form it. It was a question of psychological survival.

Release of the Pain Body

  • The release of the pain-body is not through the intellect.
  • The release is through the return to inner body awareness.
  • To heal the pain body, you must FEEL the emotion. No feeling no healing.
  • The entrance to the pain body is through deepening relaxation.
  • The recommended combination of practices are.

Other Aspects of What is the Pain Body

  • It’s not your fault you have a pain body.
  • Recognize that this is an intergenerational dynamic that is also created by the tribe and the culture you are born into.
  • If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you—Gospel of St. Thomas.

In recognizing why the pain body is created I hope that it gives you ground for invoking compassionate self-regard.

Liberating the Pain Body Resources

pain body release

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Audio Learning Program




Somewhere between the past and the future lies a dimension that is free of problems, free of suffering, free of conflict. This is the essence of all the world’s spiritual teachings. And it is available to you now, in the moment you read this.

In Living the Liberated Life and Dealing with the Pain-Body, bestselling author Eckhart Tolle points a way out of the conditioned mind that keeps us trapped, helpless, and unhappy. In simple language, he describes a deeper level of consciousness beyond the limited thinking mind, and the way to make it available to you.

He teaches that only by fully accepting this moment in time can you free yourself from the pain-body, the accumulated pain of your past, and from your fears about the future. Once you achieve this state of presence, a radical inner transformation begins that connects you with an infinite potential that defies the human mind.

Pain Body Guided Meditation

Why do our negative experiences seem to stay with us so persistently? It is because they are the fuel for what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain-body, an energetic field that actually feeds on toxic thoughts and emotions.

Liberation from the pain-body is not about repressing or denying our thoughts. Instead, as Eckhart’s teaching partner Kim Eng reveals, we must develop a complete receptiveness to all experience-rejecting nothing, judging nothing, and resisting nothing.

Recommended Reading

Drawing on deep scientific research and Dr Gabor Mate’s acclaimed clinical work, When the Body Says No provides the answers to critical questions about the mind-body link – and the role that stress and our emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

When the Body Says No:

– Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
– Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories, including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer’s), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer) and Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)
– Reveals ‘The Seven A’s of Healing’: principles in healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress

The Embodiment Manifesto


I’ve also seen a growing awareness in people that they are living in their heads – and stirring within that awareness, a deep yearning for a more embodied way of being.

We have been estranged from the body for so long, though, that we tend to imagine that embodiment is merely about sitting in the head and noticing the body, or ‘listening to it’ – as though being stuck in the head were some sort of anatomical given.

We struggle to imagine that true embodiment seamlessly merges our abstract thinking with that of the body; that we can think with the whole of our being.

We are even vague about what the body’s intelligence is. And when we are unclear about the nature of the body’s intelligence, the journey to reunite with it can be frustrating.