Mindfulness in managing emotions is a key theme of Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘Practicing the Power of Now”. In the book, Tolle characterises, that is actually gives a character to, unhelpful thoughts and feelings that habitually arise in us. He calls the personal accumulation of pain in us – our sad thoughts, stories and feelings – “the pain-body”.
It’s a useful perspective, ‘to give that content its own symbolic entity because it helps us to step back from it a little when we need to. It encourages us to dis-identify from unhelpful thoughts and feelings by seeing them as a thing that is distinct from our core identity.
As taught in all mindfulness practices, but described in his terms, Tolle suggests that by becoming more conscious of the pain-body, through being mindfully present in our experiences, we can become aware of how the pain-body takes over at times. I find this way of seeing our pain as quite liberating in that it separates it out from our true nature. It facilitates a distinct de-fusion from unhelpful states of mind.
“The pain-body doesn’t want you to observe it directly and see it for what it is. The minute you observe the pain-body….the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness has come in. I call it ‘Presence’. You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself through you. You have found your own innermost strength. ”
What he is referring to here is not new to mindfulness practitioners, but worded in an interesting way. By becoming fully aware of the contents of our thoughts and aware of our feelings, moment by moment, we can become a non-judgmental observer of them. We identify ourselves as observer rather than a powerless victim of our feelings and thoughts. That means we no longer have to follow each thought or feeling round and round. We no longer have to fuse with every mind state that arises. we can simply watch and feel it rise and pass away.
We can stay so much calmer in the face of strong emotions.
Once we have achieved this awareness of our thoughts and feelings we know that we are not defined by them. We feel our pain, but we do not have to consistently identify with it. We no longer see our pain as the heart of who we are. This mindfulness in managing emotions is a key signpost to emotional freedom.
We can tell ourselves a new story about our hardships. They become the ways in which ours strengths evolved and became known to us, rather than meaningless hurts.
Just BE the love that you ARE x