Hearing the Inner Story of the Patient (Diagnosis Through Participation Instead of Observation)

The mode of diagnosis in Heilkunst works in a unique way, as I’ve explored in recent blogs. At first it is difficult to understand what Dr. Hahnemann meant when he instructed the Heilkunst Physician to “participate” rather than “observe” the patient. What exactly does he mean by this? We are so used to the language of Western science hinging around the concept of observation which is objective, so what benefit would an apparently subjective approach of ‘participation’ add to a medical science?

To “participate” the patient, is, in a sense, a sexual concept, meaning that it is the living energy of the Physician which is actively intermingled with the patient’s energy, so as to get to know the inner working’s of the patient and their disease from the inside-out, rather than the usual mode of medical observation from the outside-in, which looks upon the patient as an external object. This is no different a requirement than in our personal relationships, where we seek to truly relate to the other, rather than simply manipulate their outer form.

To understand the difference between ‘observation’ and ‘participation’, think, for example, of the cold feeling we’re left with when an old school sales person attempts to sell something to us with obviously scripted sequences in order to manipulate us — this is the feeling of being “observed” and manipulated from the outside-in, and not treated as an individual. Despite any personal warmth and “bedside” manner that a given Doctor may have, they are still constrained by this model of observation (of outer form) which leads to specific pharmaceutical prescriptions (designed to manipulate the outer form, rather than make a true inner change to the root of the disease itself).

Now, to go back to our original question of objectivity versus subjectivity, we come to some uncommon thought forms to begin to understand this. Although we normally think of our own opinions and inner experiences as “subjective”, there is a mode of observation where it is possible to connect to the objective aspect within this inner realm, and Heilkunst Physicians specifically train themselves to connect to this level of observation.

Dr. Rajan Sankaran, an Indian Homeopath, wrote about this concept in what he calls “The Physician’s Reaction” — here, he makes an important distinction between the subjective and objective components of our inner responses to a patient. While we always have a range of subjective responses to a patient (such as irritation if a patient always comes to their appointment late, for example), there is also a part of our response which is objective, and equally accessible to any observer who has learned to hold their own subjective response at bay. This “objective feeling” is initially learned most readily from the realm of art, where the viewers of a painting or film will all come away with their own subjective response, but can all come to agree on a singular underlying objective feeling of what the piece is about — “it’s a story about first love”, or “it’s an image about the innocence of childhood”. These same objective feelings are discernable when a patient has been participated rather than simply observed, and is the underlying core story which the patient may not even be conscious of themselves, in contradiction to the story that they share about their life.

Through the process of Heilkunst treatment, the patient begins to gain this perspective about themselves, and gains clarity about the objective feeling of their own life story, as an image distinct from the subjective feelings they have about themselves and their life, which is another aspect of cultivating a healthy state of mind.

 

 

 

A Closer Look at the Ontic Organization : Real Cancer Prevention

I briefly described the four bodies in yesterday’s post, and now I’d like to take a bit of a closer look at the ontic organization (fourth body). As I mentioned yesterday, the birth of the ontic organization happens somewhere around the age of three, and one of the significant markers of this event is the beginning of correct pronoun reversal.

The word “I” is the only word in the English language which cannot be learned by direct imitation — for example, if I am teaching a child to say “I am going to the store”, the correct response is to say “You are going to the store”, and vice versa. One of the classic indications of autism is an inability to correctly make such reversals, as the healthy birth of the ontic organization has been impaired.

The details of this pronoun reversal are simply an expression of the deeper function of the ontic organization, which is the source of our self-consciousness, and identity as a separate entity. It is what provides the human kingdom with a unique waking consciousness, which is not posessed by any of the other three kingdoms of nature (mineral, plant, and animal). This is why, incidentally, for the treatment of any domestic animal, the health issues of the human owner need to be addressed in conjunction, as the pet will be drawing on the ontic function of their master.

Another counter-example to help us understand the healthy function of the ontic organization is the disease of cancer. Of course, there are very significant physical aspects of treating an active case of cancer, but here I am talking about the state of mind which is at the root of the disease (as every disease is built on a unique state of mind). In the disease of cancer, the state of mind is one which eclipses the healthy function of the ontic, or the sense of self, and the eventual physical symptoms are a reflection of this unclear definition of the self, and its corresponding weak immune system. In both the prevention of cancer, as well as its active reversal, a good prognosis will always include a palpable shift in this underlying sense of self, and healthy emotional boundaries (the emotional immune system, so to speak).

This is also the key to a truly “early” diagnosis for prevention of cancer — the well-trained Heilkunst physician can diagnose and treat at this level long before any tumour has emerged out of this deeper cancer state of mind. The so-called “early” detection of tumours within the conventional system is actually quite a late stage in the game. This is one of many reasons that having an annual “physical” with the conventional MD is not nearly enough for attaining true health at the level of all four of our bodies.

The Basics of Physiology : The Four Bodies

Previously in this series on physiology, I described the difference between the radial and spherical forces, as the fundamental polarity which every process is built upon. Today I want to describe another basic perspective we use in understanding physiology as applied in our diagnosis, namely, the four bodies of the human being.

The first and most obvious body is our physical body. It is what we have in common with the mineral kingdom — our skeleton, and all the tissues which we are made of. It is the primary object of study within conventional medicine, as witnessed by the “annual physical,” as well as any number of diagnostic technologies which focus on some aspect of this physical body (x-rays, blood tests, etc.). It is interesting that the “annual physical” is supposed to be yearly, as the cycle of renewal of the physical body is about 1 year.

Our etheric body is what we have in common with the plant kingdom. It is more subtle than our physical body, and is what governs all of our living functions. Metabolism, process of nourishment and growth, and all forms of healing and cell repair are governed by it. The etheric body on its own isn’t conscious, beyond the level of “vegetating,” as someone would be in a deep sleep or even in a coma. It has a monthly cycle of renewal, and is the basis for our monthly follow-up cycle with patients, as disease is primarily lodged into the etheric body.

The third is our astral body, which is what we have in common with the animal kingdom. Elements of movement, desire, passions, and emotions make up the function of this body.  It is the body through which we feel resonance with something. The consciousness of an animal illustrates the division between an outer world and its representation within our inner world, and is akin to the level of “dream consciousness”. It has a weekly cycle of renewal, and is illustrated, for example, by some businesses which have a weekly planning meeting, to course correct the activities and direction the business is heading.

The fourth body is unique to the human being, and is what we call the ontic organization, or simply ‘the self’. This first wakes up in us at around the age of three, which is typically around the time of our first memory. The so-called “terrible” twos and threes is all about this emergence of a self-aware separate individual giving birth to their own “I am”. The example of autism illustrates  what happens when this birth is blocked or impaired for any number of reasons. The ontic organization has a daily cycle of renewal, which is why we are prompted sometimes to say “Let me sleep on it”.

There you have the four bodies — in future posts, I’ll expand more on how they interact with each other in health and illness, as well as how they each related to other aspects of our health in general, as well as our natural growth and development phases in life.

What gets in the way of health?

Becoming and staying healthy is simple in some ways, and complex in others. What are some of the common stumbling blocks that patients have had?

In no particular order:

  • Misinformation. Health is one of the largest industries in our modern economy, and like any area of human activity, is full of both good and bad. Patients have been led astray by countless “fad” or “one-size-fits-all” diets. The worst part of this is that many people just “give up” after hearing the “experts” go back and forth about what is supposed to be good or bad for us. We have much better ways of connecting to the individual needs of the patient which go beyond fads and guru-based advice.
  • Inertia. Despite our best intentions, it takes a fair amount of focus, will power, and persistence to change an existing bad habit, or begin a new healthy one. Taking small steps, and engaging in a formal treatment process help to create a structure within which real changes can be made.
  • (Perceived) Lack of Time. There are many things that people tell themselves they “should” or “would” do if they weren’t so busy. The truth is, small, incremental changes take little time, and can build up to some significant results before you know it. Take “Slow Burn”, as an example which we recommend for strength-training exercise — it only takes about 20 or 25 minutes once ever 7 to 10 days to get the maximum benefits. How many people don’t have time to fit that into their schedule?
  • Misunderstanding. As I said, health is both simple and complex. Outside of Medical Heilkunst, the distinction between imbalances and diseases is not clearly understood, and so most people are put on treatment programs that work superficially, at best. You can’t consistently solve a problem that you don’t understand in the first place.
  • Impatience. In cases of very deep, chronic illness, it takes time to uproot all of the underlying diseases. We generally see slow, steady improvements through Heilkunst treatment, but in the deepest cases, it can take months or even years to reach a full resolution of all of the issues. Since the roots go back into the genetic past of the family tree, there is an incredible depth which needs to be addressed, and this takes time.
  • Disease. Let me explain what I mean by that — each disease has, at its root, a unique state of mind, which influences the otherwise healthy state of mind of the patient in a negative way. The greater the influence which the patient’s diseases have, the more impaired will be their own judgment and will power to improve their health. Most commonly, this manifests as various forms of conflicts about undergoing the treatment process, where part of the patient has the drive to get healthy, which is in conflict with the diseased part which sabotages forward momentum. This is a definite struggle, but the good news is that the more treatment the patient completes, the smaller the influence of the diseased state of mind becomes. The trick is to get to the point where the balance of health becomes greater than the disease.

Which of these issues have been your biggest stumbling block?

Resonance as a Living Polarity

Patients typically respond eagerly to the concept of ‘resonance’, and start to explore what it would mean in their life. This is a positive thing, as the greater the resonance operating in someone’s life, the greater will be their overall health and satisfaction in life. What most patients don’t realize at first, is that resonance is not always easy. As opposed to the seemingly similar (yet very different) concept of “attraction”, “resonance” is a dynamic concept which contains a full living polarity (where “attraction” is an abstraction that doesn’t relate to a deeper living polarity, and therefore doesn’t contribute to health). “The Law of Resonance”, and “The Law of Attraction” are two entirely different concepts.

The living polarity within the concept of resonance is between “consonance” and “dissonance”. To draw on the musical aspect of these terms, consonance results from the combination of two or more notes which have a simple mathematical relationship to each other, and therefore produce an easily pleasing, harmonious sound. The strong, comforting simplicity of a major chord, for example, is frequently used within music for this reason. The more consonant a harmony is, the less tension that it produces in the listener.

By contrast, the dissonances in music are made up of two or more notes which have a more complex mathematical relationship to each other, and create a feeling of tension in the listener. There are varying degrees of consonance and dissonance, and the artistry of music depends on how the harmonic structures in a piece play within this polarity, to create a feeling of momentum and ultimately balance between the moments of tension versus relaxation.

The point for the purposes of this discussion, is that it is the polarity between consonance and dissonance which creates resonance. Consonance on its own is lacking any tension (and therefore forward motion), and dissonance on its own is too jarring which is repellent. The fad of “New Age” music, for example is built on the idea of exclusively using consonance, but in my opinion is lacking in any true substance or living energy.  The complex 12-tone rows of Arnold Schønberg, as a counter-example, are extremely dissonant, and very difficult to sit through as a listener. Most music, of course, falls somewhere between these extremes, and depending on the state of the listener, will benefit from more consonant or more dissonant music at any given point in time.

In a relationship, likewise, it is this living blend of consonance and dissonance which is required for forward momentum. Couples who strive to never engage in anything dissonant (like an argument, for example) are often avoiding an important element of a healthy relationship. Or more generally, the white-washing of the distinct individuality of each person in a relationship in this quest for peace seems like a good goal, but is actually destructive over the long-term. This is why all the wedding vows are traditionally coined in terms of living polarities (“in sickness and in health”, for example).

Or within the unfolding of a person’s life, there are more expansive and more contractive phases which are experienced. It is the contractive (and painful) experiences which give the energy needed for the following expansion to be fruitful (bearing life), rather than an abstract or simplified concept of “happiness” as somehow meaning that nothing should ever go “wrong”.

The role of using the remedies within Heilkunst treatment, then, is to help the patient get right to the crux of the dissonance, and through the exact issue it is related to, rather than the false goal of eliminating it so that the patient never has to experience it at all. A proper engagement with our dissonant elements is brought to full expression through Heilkunst medicine, and therefore a deeper resonance with our life in general is made possible.

A Different Kind of Love Story

I recently wrote about the little girl who was obsessed with the thought of being arrested and put in jail, and how this wasn’t getting any better until I figured out that I was using the wrong remedy for her state of mind (I was using Lachesis which is related to guilt in the sense of not being good enough, while she needed the remedy Medorrhinum which has more the sense of guilt linked to having done something morally wrong).

This story reminds me of another similar remedy lesson I learned, and happens to fit into the Valentine’s theme of love (although in a bit of a different way). I had a patient who was very ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY all of the time! Angry at her housemates, her boss, her family, everyone and everything! Not only did she have a high energy fuelling this emotion, but behind everything she did in her life. She was always doing or trying something new, and never sat still for a moment.

 

Photo by Melissa O’Donohue “Scream”

Well, just like the Lachesis which I ineffectively gave to the little girl for guilt, I was also ineffectively giving this woman Staphysagria, which is one of the primary emotional remedies we use for issues of anger, betrayal, or victimization. But it wasn’t working. Not even a little bit. She’d come to her appointments and tell me through clenched teeth that the remedy wasn’t working. While we were getting improvements in some other health issues, this one wasn’t budging.

I was more experienced at this point, so it didn’t take me long to realize that I had to go back to the drawing board. I reviewed the whole case, and realized that it wasn’t at all a Staphysagria kind of anger, but another remedy — Tuberculinum, which is one of the chronic miasms, or genetically inherited disease patterns in the family tree. The anger of Tuberculinum isn’t one of being victimized or betrayed (ie theStaphysagria pattern), but rather the feeling of being held back or prevented from making contact with one’s true love or desire function — the anger of this remedy is one which is attempting to burst out of a confinement, and make contact with their heart’s desire. Think of all the incredible love stories portrayed in book and film, where the main characters travel tremendous distances over impossible barriers to reach their love — this is the energy that is driving a Tuberculinum patient. The anger and the irritability of this remedy are actually seeking love, rather than justice (which is what Staphysagria is seeking).

In a certain sense, then, you could call Tuberculinum the disease of the fundamentally broken heart — the heart which has been separated from its true love (think of not just a human love partner, but any creative activity which one hasn’t been able to make contact with, for whatever reason). We live in a time and a culture where the needs of the “head” are extensively catered to, but which leaves so many broken “hearts” littered on the landscape, having been prevented from discovering and activating their true talents and creativity.

After one single dose of Tuberculinum, this patient returned for her next appointment as calm as a sleeping kitten, and truly having found a peace within herself that she had never experienced before. The constant chaos that was her mind had evaporated, and she was looking at her life with a clarity and perspective she had never had before. Whew! What a true relief (more for her than me) to hit upon this remedy!

The Basics of Physiology : “Radial” and “Spherical”

The study of physiology within Medical Heilkunst is considerably different from that of conventional medicine which begins and ends with a biochemical model (not surprising given the biochemical model of the drugs used). Rather than a biochemical model, Heilkunst instead studies physiology in terms of the ‘powers’, ‘forces’, and ‘energies’ which govern all of our functions with a much more dynamic understanding of how things emerge as an interplay of a variety of elements in motions, rather than the static model of biochemistry.

As a brief introduction to one of these dynamic relationships (and one which you can easily start to apply to your own everyday thought process), is the polarity between “radial” and “spherical” forces. I’ve touched briefly on this concept when I wrote about the Sulphur constitution, but here I have a little more space to explore it further.

The radial force is one which has a strong outward direction (from the center to the periphery), and is expansive by nature. The spherical force is the polar opposite, and is more of a ‘containing’ force which holds something within a boundary.

Every physiological process illustrates some meeting of a radial with a spherical force; and in any disease process, an unusual balance between the two is struck. For example, in a migraine, the radial forces of the metabolic system have penetrated too deeply into the head system, which is normally more spherical by nature. The pulsating or throbbing of the migraine is largely a misplaced function from the metabolic pole. The opposite example would be stomach ulcers, where an excessive spherical force descends from the head, and inverts the normal function of the metabolic system.

I can also view the same kinds of polarities within emotional or psychological process of a patient — someone who lives within too many self-imposed limitations (due to fears or moral restrictions) will come across with a very restrained or spherical personality. This is in contrast to the excessively radial personality who moves forward through their life with such a blind momentum, that they are almost incapable of any sort of learning from experience or self-reflection.

In terms of my prescription of homeopathic remedies, I’ve been incorporating some use of the ‘Fibonacci’ series of potencies in certain cases to unlock deep or old disease patterns. In terms of the radial/spherical polarity, this series is interesting, as it is based on a mathematical sequence which defines a perfect spiral motion, as is found through many processes in nature. A spiral is formed from a kind of dance between a radial and spherical force which creates a continuous expansive motion.

 

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Review of a Book Title : “The Genius of Homeopathy”

One of the books on our reading list as students at the Hahnemann College was Stuart Close’s The Genius of Homeopathy. I’m not going to go into the contents of the book here, but this is still a book whose title itself evokes a range of meanings in my mind:

  • The general meaning of ‘genius’ as being other than the commonly held definition of a “high IQ”, but rather as the ability to penetrate into the essence of a subject matter, and bring out a clear meaning or purpose that no one had been able to see before. This isn’t so much a matter of a high IQ, but more a healthy EQ (emotional quotient) which is able to connect to the living essence of something, and communicate clearly about it, bringing it into the light of the waking conscious mind (the visible aspect of science).
  • The genius of Dr. Hahnemann, the creator of the system of Heilkunst and Homeopathy, who was able to see through the material veil of outer nature, and extract something valuable from its inner essence. He did this on a number of fronts, including the development of the methodology of provings, as well as his new clarifcation about the essence of disease itself not originating as something material.
  • Dr. Hahnemann’s Heilkunst and Homeopathy emerging within the historical context of the Romantic Era, which was the critical point in history of reversing direction of the evolution of the human mind to focus increasingly on the outer, material aspect of nature, and begin the journey back into its interior or inner essence.
  • The process of treatment itself drawing out the ‘genius’ of each patient, by removing any diseases and imbalances from them, so that their inner essence, talents, and creativity can unfold to its full potential. Everyone has a capacity for genius, and the key is to find the unique desire function within each person as their doorway into their genius.
  • The nature of diagnosis within Heilkunst working to penetrate to the inner realm of the patient and their disease(s), rather than the outer form as described by ‘false disease labels’.

When is McDonald’s Good For You?

Morgan Spurlock, the director of the documentary Super Size Me, spent an entire month with a self-imposed rule of only being allowed to consume what is on the McDonald’s menu. If water is wasn’t on the menu, for example, then he couldn’t have water. He is monitored throughout the month by a doctor, and the entire process is filmed for posterity, and the production of the documentary. His main purpose in creating this work was to illustrate the adverse health effects of consuming the food from McDonald’s, especially on a regular basis. Throughout the documentary, we see him gaining weight, and becoming progressively burdened by many health issues. He ends up producing a very vivid and visual illustration of the negative consequences of consuming a diet made up exclusively of McDonald’s food.

While this documentary succeeds in its vivid portrayal of these health issues from McDonald’s, there is another very interesting point which I take myself from a Heilkunst perspective. The whole idea of gaining a strong degree of knowledge about something through direct participatory experience, is central to the fundamental method within Heilkunst of determining the exact curative properties of any given medicine.

This is what Dr. Hahnemann originally called a” proving”. Before Dr. Hahnemann created his medical system, the whole history  of Western medicine preceding him had systematically avoided the use of the law of similars. Although the law of similars is the law of cure of disease in nature, it is, in fact, so powerful that it can also kill when the medicine is given in a crude dose. Once Dr. Hahnemann discovered a safe way to overcome this danger of using similars, (by using potentized medicines), he then had to tackle the next issue which was to determine in a consistent and scientific way the exact properties of each medicine, in order to know exactly which medicine would be similar to which disease. He solved this problem by inventing the method of doing a “proving”.

A ‘proving’, within Dr. Hahnemann’s system, is the conscious ingestion of a given substance by a group of healthy individuals, who then record in great detail all the symptoms, sensations, and functional changes that they experienced. This method reveals a composite image of the medicine in all of its manifestations — from different bodily regions and systems, to mental and emotional functions. This makes the practical use of the law of similars straightforward, as these proven remedy images are now matchable to the living disease image of the patient in the clinic.

This method created a way of determining the inner content of a remedy (and therefore disease), and raises it up to a level of objective knowledge which then becomes useful in a collective sense. This as opposed to any number of experiences we have throughout our life which we just passed through, without extracting any meaning.

In a sense then, this movie is an example of the director doing a form of a proving on himself – that is, he conducting a proving of McDonald’s.

This is interesting from a Heilkunst perspective for a few reasons:

  • Provings can be done at a number of different levels. The doctor, for example, does a “proving” of the patient, when they are taking in a complete impression of the whole patient, and then converting this into an accurate image from which to prescribe the correct similar remedy.
  • This method illustrates how Heilkunst practices a form of “science of quality”, and “science of the interior” — the proving reveals an objective image of the inner essence of something, rather than the outer material form.
  • Spurlock’s Super Size Me also recalls the Heilkunst concept of ‘tonic regimen’ which we’ll explore in an upcoming blog post.

How to Weed Out Misinformation

I had a little online chat with Anne McShane of the Feel Good Store this morning about an article which she posted on Twitter. It presumed to answer the question of whether red meat should be included in a healthy diet, or not. While this question may lead to a fruitful exploration of regimenal principles, this article was so chock-full of myths and misinformation, that I was inspired to use it as an example of what to look out for in health advice.

The myths and misinformation it was based on includes: