I’ve been pondering this for quite some time and think we don’t understand our physical symptoms from our body because of how we feel about them. Most people consider their symptoms as a nuisance, undesired, unwanted and feel they cause them pain. So it is understandably a natural desire and reaction to want to get rid of them. Might there be another way to look at them?
Lately I have come to the conclusion that ALL physical symptoms that the body is making are for the purpose to restore homeostasis or harmony back to the body, thusly they are ALL good. If this is true, then to treat any symptom – no matter the kind of treatment: medical or natural – with the goal to have the symptom go away, is bad because it prevents the body from working to restore the body back to balance. In effect one has put a stopper in the bodies natural path it was using to restore a balance. The symptom exists due to the bodies’ effort to restore inner harmony; it is an outward movement to the surface to expel unwanted items that are harming the organism. This is true of every symptom.
The best thing to do with symptoms is to observe and question them to find out about what might be causing them, so that one might arrive to the root cause of the problem and be able to take corrective steps to facilitate the healing process. Eliminating a symptom will never cure the problem that actually caused the symptom. Most often the effect of symptom elimination is that one feels like the problem is gone and therefore there is nothing more to work on, one becomes complacent. This mistaken way of thinking then has the effect that the underlying imbalance grows and gradually becomes more life threatening.
One might argue the case of someone in extreme pain from a growing cancer, that this symptom can’t be good, that to not treat it then the person would die. I won’t argue that this is not true and agree that everything should be done to stop the cancer to save the life. When the body becomes extremely out of balance and the life of the entity becomes threatened, and then the body will increase its effort to restore the balance to save the entity.
I don’t know what the answer is but somehow I know the cancer is a symptom being produced by the organism trying to restore inner balance. The out of control growth of the cancer and intense energy being exerted to save the entity is losing the battle. So cancer tells me that there is something seriously wrong in the body, but it’s not the cancer itself. Thus there is increasing sensation and intensity of pain the more life-threatening the problem as the healing sensation intensifies. I do believe that anyone facing a life threatening situation will benefit greatly by learning to not identify with the pain and just be able to observe it, perhaps this might even be enough to turn the situation around.
Personally, I have faced extreme pain (mental, emotional and physical) at different times of my life and from these experiences I eventually learned that my sensation of pain had to do totally with my identification with my attitude. It was up to me on what experience I would have. I saw it could be painful, pleasurable or none of those. How I chose to label and experience it, was how it was. When pain would increase then it drove me to the center, as the observer, simply because to stay identified with the pain, became ‘unbearable’. Pain is one of our greatest teachers, teaching us how to surrender.
Pain is what most people zoom in on when there are arising symptoms, which is why the predominant attitude prevails that symptoms are bad and need to be eliminated. Behind the sensation of pain there is a strong healing energy at work, the body is working on correcting the problem in the tissues whether it be mental, emotional or physical. Pain doesn’t have to be one’s experience, if one can observe the location of pain in the body with detached awareness and simply feel the bodily sensation, one might eventually observe that there is also arising pleasure as the area is worked on. The healing energy that is at the same time causing pain is also causing pleasure – underlying this healing energy there is a process of transformation happening. You can tune into either one of them, but neither one is the truth. The truth rests within the observer, with cool detachment and no need to label an experience as either causing pleasure or pain.
March 26, 2007