Here is what I am learning through the tough love lessons of my teacher and through my deep love relationship with my partner: You have to want to starve your painbody and not feed it and you have to want to do that with all your heart and all your will and all your discipline. You must learn to separate your True Self out from the painbody taking over and filling you with darkness. Dark thoughts that you will never be loved, never be happy, don't belong, aren't good enough. Imposter thoughts that pose as Truth, pose as you. But absolutey is not you.
It was writer, Eckhart Tolle who first coined the phrase, "the painbody" in his book the Power of the Now. He describes it as our own self-destructive habit patterns; a powerful unconscious force with the sole purpose of continuing the negative pattern and to bring us pain because the painbody feeds on pain. Tolle describes the painbody as a ‘psychic parasite’ that possesses you and causes you suffering. Everyone has a painbody to greater or lesser extent and you actually want to have someone come along and trigger it so you can begin the painful and prolonged process of extracating yourself from it's power over you.
“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.” - Eckhart Tolle
How do you know the painbody has taken control of you? For me it often looks something like this: I cleverly seek out a relationship, person, event that will predictably trigger me (my Wiser Self knows that this is not to hurt me but to bring awareness to my painbody, to reveal it so that it may be known for what it is (a dark shadow) and for what it isn't (my True Self).
It might happen in the beginning of an argument; I react and I say that thing I know very well is not going to make things better. The Wiser Witness within me may even ask: why am I saying this? I know very well where this will lead. It will lead to a deeper conflict and it will hurt us both but somehow, the reactive words still come out of my mouth anyway and the argument goes down a predictable and painful path.
"People and situations do not cause you pain.
Your thoughts and emotions about them do.
You can change those reactions.
This is the key to freedom."
- Ram Giri