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Is every ache and pain a symptom?
Someone recently wrote and asked me,
"Is every discomfort, ache, irritation, bruise, and distraction a symptom? For instance, I will often attend to a painful hip only to have my wife point out that I should explore the other one, as that is likely where the wound is. It seems, attending to symptoms is like have an itchy nose and licking your lips to stop the itch. This never quite gets it."
So is every discomfort, irritation, bruise, painful feeling, and distraction a symptom? Yes. However, in order to understand what this means, you need to know the fractal for symptoms. In other words, what is the "recognizable visual pattern of relationships" we call a "symptom?"
Symptoms are what happen to us when our visual access to a need gets blocked. In other words, "blocked needs cause symptoms." Why? Because you cannot chose to attend to what you cannot visually see. At least, not consciously. Thus, even when we manage to avoid our symptoms (such as when we medically reduce them to invisibility), we more miss the bullet by sheer luck than become bullet proof. In other words, the war hasn't ended. And we are still being shot at. We've simply survived another near miss and may take a bullet at any moment.
Being conscious, meaning, being visually unblocked, is much like being bullet proof. Not so much from that we can be shot and feel no pain. Rather, it is like the scene in the end of the first Matrix movie, wherein the hero is so fast, he avoids the bullets. And the punches. And the kicks.
Bringing it back to your specific question though, and to your hip pain, the question to really ask is which of your needs could be blocked? And as your wife wisely reminded you, the place to begin to look is in the place where you're least likely to look; the place where you see no symptoms. Your other hip. Why? Because the wound is always what you can't see. Never what you can.
So what might you not be seeing? Perhaps that you injured this other hip years ago, say in a fall or by getting kicked during a Tai Chi match. Perhaps you even got startled by your falling, or by your taking a blow to this hip. Being as I can't imagine falling or getting kicked without first becoming hyperaware, in either case, being startled would have injured you. How? By permanently connecting the mind emptying energy of the startling event with whatever physical / emotional / spiritual experiences you felt immediately preceding this event.
What could have preceded this startling event? One possibility is that you might have been standing off balance, as in placing too much weight on the opposite leg. What makes me say this? Because this very stance, repeated over time, would cause overuse symptoms to develop. Of course, if this is true, then at the point this happened, you would likely have done what all human beings do when they are in pain; they look for relief from the pain rather than for healing. Which guarantees they will experience the symptoms again.
So in your case, what might the real injury be? The non visual state which occurs each time you stand in this same unbalanced stance. The same stance which you stood in during the wounding event. And the same stance which caused your overuse symptoms.
Why call this the "injury" though? Because if you were visually aware that you were standing off balance, you would have corrected this. Every time. Why? Because the minor discomfort of this unbalanced stance would have gently reminded you to calmly correct this imbalance. Because you cannot change what you cannot see though, and because your injury has made you hyper aware of the other hip, you never even notice this minor discomfort in the hip which is actually injured. Which means, you never attend to the actual injury.
About the Author: Steven Paglierani is a writer, teacher, personality theorist, and therapist whose work on human consciousness is read weekly by thousands all over the world. He is the author of Emergence Personality Theory, and his mission is to make the world better for children, by restoring and deepening their love of learning.
He can be read or reached at his site, http://theEmergenceSite.com