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Great article. "Strong" voted and sharing it in my blog as well.

Here is my attempt at the synthesis. (Some aspects learnt from this article, some learnt before with other books/articles, some hypotheses based on empirical but completely unscientific observations based on my own life experiences etc. - not sure which is which).

1) Certain parts of the body are inherently weak (genetic, lack of exercising that part etc.). Or are prone to be affected under certain conditions (like eating a particular food)

2) When such parts are stressed, under normal conditions, it is immediately realized and corrective action is taken and the body part is not stressed anymore

3) However, when some other psychologically stressful situations occur, the physical stress on the body part is not realized immediately. After a while, the weak body part starts hurting seriously

4) To move attention away from the psychological stress, the physical pain is amplified and more attention is paid to it. This brings in elements of helplessness, attention/sympathy of others etc.

5) Over a period of time, this process (points 3 & 4) is "learned" and the moment any psychological stress appears, the physical stress is activated as well so that the external attention/sympathy is received. This becomes the "way of life". I suspect this may even involve subconscious signaling to do certain things which will cause the physical stress, say eating things which cause trouble, sitting in a particular posture etc.

6) Whenever an awareness of this comes by (that it is a game repeating between points 3 & 4), say through questions like "what is this pain trying to distract me from?", there is a relief. Through placebos as well (medicines, surgery etc.) this negative pattern is broken and there is a "new normal".

7) Unfortunately though, it is temporary. Sooner or later, the awareness/placebo turns out to just be an extended form of "sympathy" to the helplessness and is not enough. More dose of that (attention/sympathy in some form) is expected and the physical stress returns. Sometimes, the pain is in the same area and at other times, it could be in a different area (say, another weak body part)

8) And the cycle continues

While I sort of ended it on a cynical note that we are doomed with one pain or another, that is not the case. After every awareness of the game, the overall quality of life improves. We may start identifying patterns before they solidify, we may start to make lifestyle modifications which make sure the physical stressors are not easy to come by (say starting to meditate, exercise, sleep well, practise GTD etc.). Maybe at some stage of life, we may start achieving what JK calls true awareness and have no conflicts in the mind, that there is no question of such games being played.

PS-1:: I have intentionally avoided anthropomorphizing by saying things like "brain realizes the pain" etc. because I do not fully understand how our body works. So all the statements in "passive voice" is by design.

PS-2:: A not-so-short peek into observations from my life - I have suffered from mouth ulcers for 30+ years (from the early years of my life). We (parents, wife and I) have tried varied medications, dietary modifications etc. but nothing has fully cured it. For a brief while, I consumed steroids - betnesol forte - (without knowing it was a steroid) and it was super-effective. However, it caused its side-effects so I cannot continue that forever. The times when I have had few (it is never 0) mouth ulcers is when I regularly get 7.5+ hours of sleep, exercise/meditate on most days, eat only what suits me, get enough time for my extraneous readings/writings, get enough time to practise GTD effectively, no traffic commute to work, no work-related stresses, no challenges are foreseen in my work/personal life, no dramas in family, and so on and so forth - basically, something that is difficult to achieve for extended periods of time. Or maybe, even if that happens for extended periods, some other form of stress may crop up. I just do not know. While this is the experience with mouth ulcers, I have seen pains in my muscles (neck, wrist, back etc.), bowel disorder (IBS) and throat infections (yes, I used to get throat infections when stressed!) go away after sufficient awareness of why they occur and making some lifestyle modifications.

Great mental model to have :) I wonder if this is parallel to the "Diverge" / "Converge" mode of design thinking or something in another dimension. For now, I think it is in another dimension, where one can be in Flare/Diverge mode of design thinking but be generating/recognizing and similarly, even within Focus/Converge mode, one can be generating or recognizing.