Oprah, Tolle, & A New Earth, Chapter 5
In Chapter 4, you discovered how the roles you play and the stories you tell about yourself and others can cause unhappiness. This week, Oprah & Eckhart Tolle explored how negative emotions and old memories—if not faced and seen for what they are in the moment—become fuel for the “pain-body.”
Oprah & Tolle Discuss Chapter 5: "The Pain-Body"
Eckhart Tolle’s word “pain-body” can be described as something inside us that is closely related to our emotions. In chapter 5, Tolle starts by discussing emotions, particularly those that are connected to past memories. Many people hold onto their old emotions, according to Tolle, because it “strengthens their identity.” So now, what is a pain-body? Tolle describes it as an “energy field” that almost everyone carries which is “an accumulation of old emotional pain.”
The pain-body feeds on your thoughts and on drama surrounding you in order to “renew” itself and remain a part of you. Anytime you are intentionally hurting yourself or others, your pain-body benefits (and is also the cause of the hurt). The entertainment & media industries are wonderful at feeding our pain-bodies. As Tolle states, “...millions of people love and pay money to watch humans kill and inflict pain on each other and call it ‘entertainment.’ ” Many groups also carry collective pain-bodies, such as women (because of past suppression and our monthly cycles, which seem to be a magnet for intense negative emotion) and different races and cultures (due to what they have gone through as a collective body throughout history).
So how do we break free of our pain-bodies? Well that’s what chapter 6 is about!
Discussion of Chapter 5:
Here are some thoughts to ponder (and share) regarding our pain-bodies & chapter 5:
1. What is the difference between the ego and the pain body? Tell us!
2. A negative emotion is any "emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy—all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on" (p. 136) Do you feel it in your body? Is it in a particular location? Tell us!
3. Why do we choose to create unhappiness? What unhappiness do you feel you create in your life? Tell us!
This quote seems to explain the beginning of breaking free from our pain-bodies that feed on the past; meditate on it: "Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?" (p. 141)
Get Ready for Next Week, Chapter 6
Last Monday, you realized you have a pain-body. This week, learn how to break free from the pain-body by staying present and alert enough when it becomes active. Get started on your Chapter 6 workbook.
Article Written by: Amy Taylor; Amy is a graduate of FIDM in Los Angeles and is always looking for ways to better herself and the world around her.