Contrary to the typical Western view, healing is not about the resolution of symptoms. Alleviating physical expressions is palliative medicine. Chinese medicine pays just enough attention to the symptoms so as to find their cause. The cause is usually much harder to see, especially when we are attempting to alleviate the symptom. I consider physical discomforts such as headaches, menstrual irregularities, hot flashes, and ovarian pain to be knocks on the door of our awareness asking us to pay attention.
We are meant to have pain to invite us to see where something is wrong. If we step on a piece of glass, it is meant to get our attention before it causes more damage. On futher investigation, a headache may reveal deep levels of emotional holding. I had migraine headaches for years, untreatable with medication. With deeper investigation into the energetic origin, I found my body’s wisdom was giving me very useful guidance about life decisions. When I paid attention, and acted on it, the pain resolved. Irritable bowel syndrome revealed unconscious fear and worry. When the origin was penetrated, the symptoms resolved. My ovarian and hormonal problems led me internally as well, to examine my own issues with control. When control was relinquished, so was the fertility obstruction.
True healing is about transformation – being led into the depths of our own body/mind to expose the hidden truths about life. And the catalysts for this transformational process are usually not the areas where we are comfortable in life, but where we are most uncomfortable. It takes courage to want to face our own pain. I think of retreat as a process of catalyzing transformation. And the symptoms of disharmony are alleviated permanently when their root cause is revealed.
Whatever causes you the most pain right now is the invitation to find the catalyst for its resolution. A friend recently told me a true story that says it best. A beekeeper and his son were moving bee colonies. The son told his father, “When I was moving the bees, there was an intruder.” After querying him further, the son described the invader as being big and dark, almost like a wasp, that fell away from the rest of the bees. The father asked what he did, and the son proudly exclaimed that he stomped the villain. The father said, “Oh, son, you’ve killed the queen.”
Let your pain not be ignored, suppressed, or killed. Let it invite you into the depths of your own spirit, the only place where true transformative healing can occur. Whatever you do, don’t kill the queen!