Is Donald Trump Our “Painbody” Gone Wild?

Is Donald Trump Our “Painbody” Gone Wild? February 23, 2016

There’s a rule in Internet marketing that says, “Speak to your readers’ pain.” If you’re selling a course, don’t worry about explaining the curriculum or details—people don’t care. Simply let them know you understand the depth of their discomfort, and that you have a way to relieve it.

Enter Donald Trump.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via / CC BY-SA

For those who have been worried over immigrants and ISIS, Trump understands their pain.

For those who are impatient with Washington policies and feel the United States is weak in the eyes of the rest of the world, Trump understands their pain.

For those who fear that armed guards will show up on their doorstep and confiscate their guns, Trump understands their pain.

It doesn’t matter what his policies include or the process he’ll follow. He lets people know in the clearest, most insistent way possible that he understands their anguish, and that he has a way to relieve it.

He may be a successful real estate mogul, but he’s also the consummate Internet marketer. Has anyone in our recent memory done a better job of connecting with widespread ire?

In fact, it could be said that Trump is the very representation of our collective “painbody,” something that author Eckhart Tolle describes as “an accumulation of painful life experience that was not fully faced and accepted in the moment it arose.”

Tolle also says that if we don’t provide space for the painbody, we identify ourselves with it and “believe every negative thought that it is telling you. …the painbody will feed on every negative thought that arises, and get more energy.”

A Trump rally, anyone?

This is why the candidate is Teflon Trump. Every morning Internet headlines proclaim that he’s under fire for his latest tirade. And every afternoon, the latest criticism is gone, unable to grab hold.

The collective painbody feeds on itself, and messages from the outside simply don’t penetrate. That’s why attacking Trump won’t work. But energy dynamics will.

By being present, Tolle says, you disable the painbody and prevent it from feeding on negativity. “You can simply observe it, and be the witness, be the space for it. Then gradually, its energy will decrease.”

Over time, the painbody will burn itself out. It always does. It may not be according to our schedule, but in the end healing is inevitable.

So what can we learn when a painbody goes wild? It’s time to be present. Be a witness to the distress. Bless it, and expect healing to happen.

Despite what the Internet marketers say, we are moving toward a time when we can connect with something more positive than our pain. And sometimes, a wild swing in energy is exactly what it takes to help us regain our balance.

Debra Engle is the author of The Only Little Prayer You Need. You can find her on Facebook and at

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