Ekhart Tolle says that people are drawn to suffering because they need to feed their pain bodies. Still, where did this pain body come from? Does it have to do with Adam and Eve? Still,I wonder about the rubbernecking phenomena. I also feel that if we didn't watch the gloom and doom on TV, the news content would have to change in accordance to the new supply and demand. However, now that I think about it a little more, Why do we label anything as suffering? Aren't we all just living and learning and growing? Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that suffering is compost for flowers to grow. Still, I don't think the flower feels pain as it grows.

asked 24 Feb '10, 10:41

Brian's gravatar image


To use the terms Eckhart Tolle uses - often there is a vicious cycle going on between the 'ego and the pain body', one feeds the other through a negative thought process and until you can learn to be still and witness this process playing out on the inside,it is hard to break the cycle. Sometimes the ego can lay dormant for a while but the minute it becomes active it's on the lookout for suffering,hence it's drawn to negative situations or people - the suffering or negativity is food or fuel to the ego and generally once it's appetite is sated,it will go to sleep again until the next time. The 'painbody' thrives on negative thoughts so when the 'ego' decides to become involved in suffering or negativity the painbody is nourished - the negative thoughts cause blockages in the energy system (which Tolle is referring to as the painbody).

You are right about the news content - the media thrive on the negative collective consciousness,hence they have great ratings. Until the masses become aware of this it is not going to change, I seldom watch the news anymore as I made a conscious decision not to fill my mind with negativity - if there is nothing I can do to change the situation I don't see any point devoting energy to it - I'd rather place that energy where it can be used for something worthwhile.The plants and flowers do not feel pain as they grow because they accept what is and they weather the storms - like the palm tree,we too should bend in the storm.

Just as an aside - the 'ego' Tolle is referring to here is not the generalized meaning of ego that is used by most of us.


answered 24 Feb '10, 13:16

Michaela's gravatar image


I stopped watching the news for just that reason as well, Michaela. I can't change any of it and I don't want that negativity in my mind or home. I agree with your point of the media feeding into the negative collective consciousness and adding to it as well. Good points!

(24 Feb '10, 14:15) LeeAnn 1

Thanks LeeAnn.Some people view it as putting your head in the sand. However I don't see it like that - when a catastrophe happens we usually hear of it by word of mouth anyway so there is always the opportunity to help if we can.

(24 Feb '10, 16:48) Michaela

I also quit watching the news. I don't want to expose myself to all the crazy, bad things people are doing. I have had people tell that I need to know, but I know that I don't. People will let me know if there is something I need to know about. I can google things I hear and choose what I read or don't read. We have to filter what enters our environment.

(05 Aug '11, 14:10) Fairy Princess

I hear you Fairy Princess :)

(05 Aug '11, 21:14) Michaela
showing 2 of 4 show 2 more comments

People don't always learn without pain.

If your life is going well and everything is good for you, your family and friends, then there is no motivation to change.

If things are not going so well, you are motivated to find ways to make them better. To accomplish this, you may be compelled to change some of your beliefs or learn something new, and change the way you approach things.

Pain is the catalyst for growth.

See also http://www.inwardquest.com/questions/3670/is-evil-our-best-friend


answered 24 Feb '10, 15:33

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 24 Feb '10, 16:35

Fully agree - We need the challenges to grow but often the suffering is self created.

(24 Feb '10, 16:46) Michaela

1. I need to come at this question from three different directions. First, what you would call rubbernecking: People are naturally curious when they see a wreck or hear of a disaster. They want to know what happened. That is curiosity. I hope also it is compassion and empathy. Perhaps too it is also a little, "Man I am sure glad that wasn't me!" The media brings us the news and they speak of what makes ratings go up and what makes them money. Some things we need to see- like what happened in Haiti. Some things we do not,as the stories of homicide, and the man who beat his family to death.

2. Then there is the direction of compassion. Some of us are naturally Good Samaritans, and feel the pain of other people acutely. This kind of "being drawn to suffering" is a gift of Grace from God. Thank God for our doctors and nurses and firemen and paramedics and distance healers. Thank God they understand suffering and for the most part, are sweet and loving about it. (My experience only here). This kind of "being drawn to suffering" is a Call from God.

3. As for personal suffering, I cannot understand why someone would "enjoy" his own suffering. I have had my fill of suffering this past year, and all I could do was relate it and turn it back to Jesus.I know there are some highly spiritual people who whip themselves and wear devices that cause them pain- frankly, the way things are these days...all they'd get is a good case of MRSA staph for their suffering! I just do not understand this practice at all.

I hope this makes some sense.

Love, Jai


answered 24 Feb '10, 11:20

Jaianniah's gravatar image


edited 24 Feb '10, 17:44

this question assumes that people are drawn to suffering...if you are drawn to suffering that is part of your belief system... personally i'm attracted by health and vitality


answered 03 Aug '11, 17:22

blubird%20two's gravatar image

blubird two

Pain is the catalyst for growth

Agree whole heartedly V.

Seeing other people's pain evokes an emotional response and a large number or our society 'live' in their emotional bodies. Coarse emotions give us a thrill. Hence the attraction of Big Events, rock concerts, gang fights, sporting games, gaming machines, etc

This emotional response can be of benefit to us - at ground level, when we see bad things happen to others - it makes us feel good! Good? At one level.. we are thinking to ourselves something along the lines of 'poor person/people - we are so lucky that it is not happening to us.' So it fosters an appreciation for our everyday circumstances, something that usually passes under the radar. So pain can make us grateful.

This emotional response can also evoke an urge to go out of our way and do something to help others. A lot of people render themselves useless when it comes 'big ticket' problems. What can little old me do? It takes a tsunami, an earthquake, a flood etc to make us move in the right direction. We can feed the world, join World Vision. We can aid the sick in third world countries, join Medecin sans Frontiers. So pain can motivate us.

If the pain or disaster is happening to us our reponse to it can inspire others. (Dr Fred Hollows, a most wonderful eye surgeon who thought a third world street person's eyes were just as valuable as a prime minister's eyes, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Everyone was asking themselves why such a thing would happen to such a wonderful man... his response was "Why not?". Inspirational.)

I also believe that suffering is drawn to us - karmically one way or the other. And I am not saying here for one minute that people who suffer have all been wicked in the past. Suffering and not suffering is a difficult subject to ponder, like Good and Evil.


answered 24 Feb '10, 22:45

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

edited 24 Feb '10, 23:06

Vesuvius's gravatar image


Peace. There is a Superior Force who is controlling and managing our life events, and that is Allah(God). a humanbeing sometimes mistakenly thinks that he/she can decide everything about their lives, but the fact is that we never chose to be the way we look, we never chose our heights, we never chose the climate we're in. However, Allah fully knows everything about us and according to His Full knowledge and Full wisdom, He arranges our life events. The experience of suffering is what makes the human being remarkable, its what gives value to our purpose of creation, its what makes us profound and real, its what teaches us. InSHA'Allah, to be continued

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 03 Aug '11, 14:55

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