Dialogue with A “Pain Body” in Hypnotherapy
Pain-body is a term that was coined by one of the most esteemed spiritual teachers Eckhart Tolle. It is a powerful unconscious force with great momentum. It is a semi-autonomous energy form made up of emotion. In his book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose Eckhart Tolle describes the pain body as a ‘psychic parasite’ that possesses you and causes you suffering. Everyone can get infected to some extent.
The Pain body has its own primitive intelligence, which is directed primarily at survival. Like all life forms, it periodically needs to feed – to take in new energy – and the food it requires to replenish itself is emotional pain, thus the purpose of pain-body is to continue the pattern – to bring us pain.
Of course no one would do this consciously. No one likes to suffer. And yet we unconsciously create repetitive and unnecessary conflicts. These self-destructive habit patterns are pain body seeking emotional negativity.
In most people the Pain body is dormant for some time and then awakens to assert itself and replenish its energies. And it derives its energy from pain. Pain is its food. As any life force, it needs food to survive.
Emanuel is a 23-year-old young man. He came to see me for stop smoking. He was very determined, and his will power appeared to be very strong on his first visit. He didn’t think it’d be hard for him to quit. As he put it, he just needed that final unconscious push with hypnotherapy.
Suggestions seemed to completely sink in as he was responding very beautifully in hypnosis. Just to rule out any possible hidden agenda, towards the end I had his unconscious mind come forth communicating with me by finger responses. From yes and no finger ideomotor response I realized that Emanuel may hang on to cigarettes after quitting, just like what happened before – He managed to not smoke for one and half months once, and for three months another time.
Using the technique that we call “Parts Therapy” in hypnosis, I asked what the reason was for Emanuel to hang on to cigarettes, a voice came through and identified itself as “the smoke”. It has a different tone from Emanuel, like a separate entity, who, upon my request, decided to name himself “Cool”.
Further dialogue with Cool, he said the reason to have Emanuel hang on to cigarettes was for Cool himself to assert a sense of control, which was very important for Cool to survive. I asked Cool, “How about Emanuel? To feel powerless in front of cigarettes, is that what you want?”
Cool answered very indifferently, “It doesn’t matter to me how he feels about it.”
“Do you like Emanuel?”
“I don’t dislike him. He is a host.”
“But without him, where would you be?”
After a pause, “Somebody else I suppose.”
“So before you were with Emanuel, were you somewhere else?”
The question triggered regression for Cool. He remembered the moment he came to be with Emanuel. Emanuel was crying and mourning for his aunt who just died. He was 13 years old. That was when Emanuel started smoking, as it turned out, Cool was with this aunt previously. The crying kid created a weak spot in Emanuel and Cool took the chance.
Cool claimed that he had controlled Emanuel’s aunt for twenty years. He made her smoke and drink heavily.
“Now he does what I say. That’s how I know I am in control. And I thrive on creating emotional pain.” Cool told me. That’s when I connected with the idea of “pain-body”.
Asked originally where he came from, and if other superior sent him, Cool didn’t want to talk about it, “It’s not your business”, he said.
I pointed out that Emanuel was indeed my business, because he was in my office seeking help. I also pointed out the fact that we had already found him, so he couldn’t play the tricks anymore; therefore he couldn’t renew himself anymore. I told Cool, “Emanuel would not make it easy for you to survive, as you have already noticed that to be with Emanuel was tougher than with his aunt. You know and I know Emanuel can fight and he will because he has a strong willpower.”
Cool paused for a moment.
I then told Cool, I could help him to find a better place if he was interested. Any power that relies on other people is not true power after all.
Cool showed interest. I asked him to reflect on himself, and asked how he perceived himself as an entity. He described, “I’m in his mind, with malleable shape. Maybe grey colour – but I don’t look at myself this way.”
“All right, Cool, I understand you don’t look at yourself this way, because you really never look at yourself at all. But what you just said, the location, shape and colour, was the closest that you could come up with. Is it right?”
“Yes. That’s as close as I can get.”
“Now that you have started perceiving yourself. I wonder if you can look deeper. You’ve never done this before, but you can do it now, look deeper within yourself, to the very core of your being… and tell me what you find there. ”
All I know is that pain body needs one’s unconsciousness to survive. Once we see it, it’s not in the dark anymore. Awareness is the first light to shine on the darkness of pain body.
A long silence.
Cool then said he saw “insecurity”.
That was more an idea than anything that we normally “see”. I urged him, “Look deeper. Remember you wanted to control Emanuel because you thought his emotional pain was your food. You needed his painful emotions to feel fed. The reason you NEED his painful emotions is that you don’t see that you could sustain yourself. You are relying on him. That’s why you don’t actually have any control. You don’t actually have power. Real power is freedom… that’s why I invite you to really look within, to the centre of your own being… Beyond the colour grey, what do you find?”
Another pause, then a little surprised tone spoke, “Purple stars!”
“These purple stars are actually your own sparks of light. You never knew you had them, did you? You always thought you were grey, needing light from someone else. Now that you found your own purple stars, you know you don’t need anybody else. How does it make you feel about yourself?”
“Hard to describe, but I feel great.”
“That’s how you can feel all the time, when you found your own light. You don’t have to rely on anybody else anymore.”
I guided Cool to amplify and expand the purple stars into purple light. Cool seemed to enjoy his newly found joy so much that he kept silent for a long while. Eventually I asked if Cool felt ready to leave on his own to the light, he said he couldn’t wait.
“Before you go, do you have any final words to say to Emanuel?”
Cool burst into sobbing, “I am so sorry.”
With that Cool emerged himself into the light, the ever presence.
Without being personal at all, the Pain Body is the shadow aspect of our being, the emotional part of the ego. But we can always dissolve it.
The pain-body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, “become you,” and live through you. It needs to get its “food” through you. It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, violence, and even illness. So the pain-body, when it has taken you over, will create a situation in your life that reflects back its own energy frequency for it to feed on. Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.