Early on, I had the sense of being at the mercy of the ills of the world. It was as if I sucked in all the negative energy expended by other people and mistook it for my own.
In his bestselling book A New Earth, spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle refers to this psychic shadow as our “pain-body,” which he describes as “an accumulation of old emotional pain.” As Tolle writes, “The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of, join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body.” But this pain is not just an individual experience; it includes the collective pain of humankind sown throughout our history of warfare, tribalism, enslavement, torture and all other expressions of violence. “The pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis, as you can verify when you watch the news tonight or the drama in people’s relationships,” Tolle explains.
My pain-body is active today. I picked a fight with my son, over something that, given the state of our world, is quite insignificant. Now I am realizing I was trapped in my own pain-body and looking for an escape. All I accomplished was to incite a flare up of his pain-body. I'm sorry, son. If only I had gone back and considered this bit of advice from the same wise soul before I acted:
It sounds so simple, and yet it is the most revolutionary act we can undertake, to live each day in a loving way, to look for ways to be of service, to have compassion for everyone we encounter. It is the only path to the Truth that says the forces of ill cannot harm us unless we ourselves believe they can. Unfortunately, most of us on the planet are terrified of what might befall us at every turn, and that keeps our vibration low, feeding our sorrow, aggression and despair, and keeping our pain bodies active.
The man I referred to above, who studied as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, also shared this:
It is important to understand that pain is different from suffering. Pain is a physical sensation of the body whereas suffering is an emotional state that arises based on your ideas about what is happening. Pain is function of the physical body while suffering is a function of the emotional/mental/spiritual body. The good news is pain and suffering are not without their gifts—they can inspire you to enlightenment as you seek to transcend them. For many, myself included, pain can also be a catalyst to understanding that I am not my body and I am not my emotion. This is just an experience I’m having in this human body and in this consciousness.
Only when we are able to love ourselves and others unconditionally can we begin to raise our vibration and transcend emotional pain. We have to learn to fill ourselves with this loving energy because the fate of our world depends on it. The equation is straightforward: If I fill my cup, then I’m just constantly giving and radiating abundance because I don’t need anything from anyone. I’m happy with myself, the way I look, the way I am, what I have, I’m just content with myself. But if my cup is empty, then I’m taking from others. When we are emotionally depleted, we deplete others. We can only take from them because we have nothing of our own to give. We are needy and hungry for spiritual sustenance. That’s why it’s so important for us to believe in our intrinsic worth and rightness. When we understand that we are divinely protected and unconditionally loved, we cannot help but overflow with compassion for others, filling their cup as well as our own and raising the vibration of the entire planet.
It is with my friend's permission that I share these excerpts. He has not yet published the wisdom he shared with me. He isn't sure he will ever publish it. He says if I am the only person who ever derives some benefit from it, then his purpose will be richly served.