Why Not Take All Of Me?

There is a divisive force which runs through our world. Not only are groups of people separated by it, but individuals are also divided within themselves. The duality of human consciousness, which aims to be integrated into a whole, is instead fragmented. This phenomenon is built on the exact same split that is observed in the medical condition of schizophrenia (which literally means “the splitting of the mind”). This split is suffered by everyone in a variety of ways, including the many forms of anxiety that my patients describe to me, as well as all of the neurotic blockages which keep us from experiencing the flow of life fully.

Sometimes, an intense example of this appears in the form of the mid-life crisis, in all of its external and internal forms. The external form has been portrayed both comedically and dramatically many times by Hollywood, for example, in the acquisition of flashy sports cars, and sudden or dramatic changes of relationships. The internal form is generally much less visible, and is about confronting the realization that they are a stranger to themselves. The “empty outer shell” of their life is connected to feelings of loneliness, desperation, depression, and even recklessness.

The field of health care is another primary illustration of this division, where we have, on the one side, a materialistic and mechanistic form of medicine (“conventional Western medicine”), and on the other side, a mystical or energetic approach (“alternative medicine”, “energy medicine”, etc.). Patients often feel that they must compartmentalize, to keep each side of their healthcare from co-mingling with the other — they often tell us in the clinic that they haven’t told their doctor they are also undergoing Heilkunst treatment, for fear of their reaction. This feeling of a “secret life” of a person’s health care may be carried on as if it were an extra-marital affair.

The Public Education system, is also an example of the mal-effects of our schizophrenic split. Students are forced to stream either into a left-brained curriculum (maths, sciences), or a right-brained curriculum (literature, music, arts) — as if the 2 worlds are not mutually enriching. This further deepens the schizophrenic split of our minds.  Sir Ken Robinson speaks about this failure in this Ted Talk video:

Armoring of the Ocular Segment

This blog is part of a series; its original title was Heilkunst Basics : University, 3rd Year (Armoring of the Ocular Segment)

I introduced the concept of Reich’s seven segments of armoring yesterday, and today I will begin to explore in more detail each one of these segments in treatment. Please keep in mind as you follow through these, that the application of these concepts and therapeutic methods in treatment is quite dynamic and unique to each individual case, and that these are only being offered as a general indication of the emotional content which is found within each of these segments. Also, the entry into this part of treatment with a patient is dependent on how solid of a foundation has already been established in terms of the basic application of the first two jurisdictions (Regimen and Medicine), so as not to create a chaotic situation.

Photo by Jesse Davis “Big baby eyes”

Taking a look at the first segment today, the ocular segment relates to the eyes and vision, as well as other physical aspects of the top of the head, such as tension in the forehead, or temples. The general emotional tone related to a blocked ocular segment is one of depression, which can manifest in greater or lesser intensities. The fundamental characteristic of a rigidified ocular segment is of a split between sensation and perception, and a general dissociation from reality.

Virtually everyone has some degree of ocular segment, especially considering the modern birthing methods in the hospital, where life begins with antibiotic drops being put into every new baby’s eyes. Our very “head dominant” culture also encourages much intellectual dissociation from reality, and a break in contact with living processes.

Any number of common vision problems, such as near- or far-sightedness, astigmatism, or even photophobia are physical indications of a blockage in the ocular segment. Other issues such as headaches, or general tension in the forehead and temples are also related.

Emotionally, as I’ve mentioned, there is some degree of dissociation, or lack of contact with life and reality. Compensatory behavioiurs, such as voyeurism (ie “peeping

Toms”) manifest in an attempt to re-establish some form of contact through the eyes. In general, even if there aren’t any overt vision problems, there is some degree of emotional disconnection, and difficulty in making true contact with another.

Treatment involves all different types of exercises encouraging the movement, and re-mobilization of the eyes, both in an emotional and physical sense. Natural vision improvement exercises are a good area to draw upon, to start to get the eyes freed up.

Another type of exercise is to look into the eyes of someone who can give objective feedback, or a mirror if you are working alone, and intentionally express a variety of emotions through your eyes : surprise; love; hate; fear; anger; etc. This combines both the physical act of moving the muscles around the eyes with the strong emotional content that belongs there. If this is too difficult at first, the practitioner can start more simply with having the patient follow the path of a penlight in a darkened room, to simply get the eyes and surrounding muscles mobilized.

In terms of remedies to consider, Opium is useful for the aspect of dissociation, when someone seems to be living in another world. Ruta Grav is useful when there is chronic strain to the eyes, such as working long hours staring at a computer screen. Gelsimium can help when there is a tired, droopy appearance to the eyes. The Bach Flower Remedy Clematis may also be useful for that dreamy, disconnected from reality state. Also, Chestnut Bud may be appropriate where an occular block has prevented someone from gaining insight from their life lessons, and end up repeating the same mistakes over and over. The homeopathic remedy Cannabis Indica is also quite strongly related to this theme of the ocular blockage, in terms of a dissociation or split from reality. The same is true in various ways of all of the ideogenic remedies.

For all of the above exercises, it is always essential to combine them with a conscious effort to breath fully and deeply, as this is the primary mechanism for armoring and holding in the emotions.

Heilkunst on TV : Lie To Me

The television show Lie To Me is another variation on the ever-popular genre of the police detective drama. It is based on the body of scientific work by Dr. Paul Ekman, who has mapped out specific facial expressions universal to every culture. More specifically, he has identified the phenomenon of ‘microexpressions’ which occur for extremely short periods of time, even fractions of a second, and reveal an underlying hidden emotion which is momentarily bursting through on a person’s face. Usually, these microexpressions are not visible to the untrained eye, and need to be revealed on frame-by-frame videotape analysis. A contradiction between a person’s apparent expression, and a momentary microexpression which flashes across their faces may reveal a lie, depending on the overall context.

 

This form of knowledge is the core of Lie To Me, which is set in the offices of an agency who uses this form of emotional analysis to aid police officers in unravelling the true emotions and motivations of the witnesses and suspects in a given case. Some very high stakes, and dramatic situations are scripted around this basic premise, where the main characters use a combination of Dr Ekman’s work, and a generalized cultural knowledge to assess and ultimately resolve some very entangled murder cases.

Ally and I have been watching this series, and enjoying it very much in terms of its parallels with Heilkunst diagnosis and case taking. The unravelling of all of the disease layers of a patient, including emotional or physical shocks and traumas, will take us through territory containing many instances of these kinds of contradictions between what the patient says, and what remains hidden. This act of concealment may be driven by conscious, or unconscious motivations by the patient. In either case, the attentive Heilkünstler will pick up on such clues, and factor them into the overall impression they are taking of the case.

At a more specific level, when we are applying therapeutic techniques based on Dr. Reich’s medical Orgonomy, we will systematically confront the patient layer by layer with feedback about what we are observing in them, and the apparent contradiction which they are displaying. The facial ‘armoring’ which Dr. Reich identified in great detail matches precisely with Dr. Ekman’s concept around the universal expression of certain emotions. Particularly when the patient is ready to be liberated from the unconscious content which is blocking them from achieving the goals which they hold within their conscious minds. This becomes more and more of the focus as the patient enters the third jurisdiction of treatment, Therapeutic Education.

One of the ultimate goals in health is to harmonize and consciously integrate the motivations of our “upper” and “nether” beings, representing, roughly speaking, our central nervous system, and our autonomic nervous system. Our upper, waking conscious mind is generally subject to conflict or disease to the degree that it has not fully realized and connected to some of the ‘darker’ content of the nether being. The purpose of this aspect of therapy is to gradually increase the level of conscious awareness of the upper being to integrate more and more the content of the nether being, creating as fully expanded and unfolded version of ourself as possible.

Heilkunst in Art : Cindy Sherman’s Photography

I was listening to this week’s podcast of This American Life, which opened with a story about a current photography exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York by Cindy Sherman. The concept is that the photographer has photographed herself in 100s of different poses, where she looks radically different from one set to the next, and if the viewer didn’t know any better, would think that they were seeing many different models being photographed, and not one single person.

The meaning of such an art exhibit raises a number of questions about the nature of “identity”, and I’d like to offer a few possible Heilkunst interpretations of such an artistic message:

  • The schizophrenic split – fundamentally, we all start out with at least one primary split in our consciousness (see my previous series on the Ideogenic remedies), and through a variety of factors, will display any number of personas in order to cope with the anxiety of the demands of the world on us, and it takes a fair bit of work through treatment to get down through all these layers and make contact with our true self.
  • Our multi-faceted self – On the other hand, there is something to be said for our capacity to connect to the world through many different aspects of mind and consciousness, and that a full expression of health includes activating as many different parts of ourselves as possible. The unfolding of our resonance occurs through many pathways, each of which contributes to us getting to know another facet of our selves.
  • Finding expression and discharge of layers of trauma – As the Heilkunst process burrows its way down through the layers of a patient’s historical traumas and conflicts, many different forms of emotional expression and other forms of realization come up under many guises.

What does this artwork say to you, in terms of your understanding of Heilkunst?

The Ideogenic Realm : Hura

Hura Brasiliensis is a remedy which is made from the milky-white sap extracted from this South American tree. It is the type of sap which can be used to make rubber or latex products, and you could think of the way a latex condom functions to create a separation or lack of true contact in a sexual embrace as an analogy for the state of mind of this ideogenic remedy.  Homoeopathically, this is also a remedy which has been used quite successfully in the treatment of leprosy, which I’ll use to further illustrate the theme of this belief state.

We’ve seen in some of the ideogenic remedies various forms of how our fundamental split manifests in different states of mind, such as the split between mind and body in Cannabis, or between the ‘I’ and everything else in Anhalonium. In Hura, the split is perceived at the social level, especially in the sense of the feeling of being despised or an outcast, as in the case of a leper. There are, of course, some very real situations in which someone may be outcast from a group, and may suffer this feeling, but understanding the state of mind of an ideogenic remedy means to be able to see its state of mind even without an obvious situational causation.

At a deeper level, our split, or separation from the world creates a gap, or longing within our mind to reconnect or to “know” the world. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and so is born our desire to “know” the world we are increasingly separate from. The condom analogy I mentioned above represents this feeling that we increasingly have, in terms of our inability to truly connect with, and to know the living content of the world. Our culture which is based on the mindset of materialism (ie that everything in the world is made up of bits of physical ‘stuff’), is one in which we inevitably feel more and more cut off, or alienated.

At the emotional level, there are a whole range of feelings in Hura which relate back to the feeling of being a leper, or an outcast. An increasing desperation, and hectic activity to try to return to normal are inevitably followed by hopelessness. The position is felt to be that of a victim of bad luck or misfortune.

The truth, coming out the other side of the healing process of this remedy, is that while we are separate as individuals, we do have the capacity to reconnect, and interpenetrate with other people, and other living processes, in a way which adds to our knowledge, rather than increasing our feeling of isolation. As in a true healthy marriage, the two separate individuals create more by being together, yet do so through a strengthened individuality of each party.

The Ideogenic Realm : Anacardium

Anacardium Orientale is the homepathic remedy made from the crushed seed of the marking nut. Like Cannabis, and Anhalonium, it is also themed around a split — in this case, it is the split emerging from the conflicted feeling of not knowing if one is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, in a moral sense. It is related to a core layer of armoring, where the childhood stages were formed in a context of overly strict controls by one or both parents, where the natural desires and decisions were not allowed free expression, and much or all of the child’s energy was tied up in external rules and authority structures.

 

 

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The often portrayed cartoon character image of an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other, each whispering their imperatives into the ears of the protagonist, is a clear representation of the feeling of being torn within this remedy state. Typical situations of fighting with oneself over issues of one’s will power, such as in desperately trying not to go off of one’s diet into temptation, illustrate this powerful self-conflict.

The presentation of this remedy state may often be in the form of an outward compliance with rules or authority, but with an incredible seething rage and hatred simmering invisibly on the inside. When this energy is not successfully contained, you’ll see outbursts of incredible profanity, and a speech which spews out aggressive or controlling forms of language.

Anacardium will feel very cut off from their feelings, and may have little or no access to their own inner moral compass as a reference point. A curious pattern that we’ve seen many times, especially when a younger child is in this state, is a strange behaviour of ‘running away’, at least in terms of staying always physically out of reach of the increasingly concerned parent. As a teenager, this is the “rebel without a cause” who breaks free from the perceived constraints of society, and avoids being subsumed by any structure of rule or order.

This poem by Rainer Maria Rilke evokes the feeling of this remedy:

Imaginary Career

At first a childhood, limitless and free

of any goals.  Ah sweet unconsciousness.

Then sudden terror, schoolrooms, slavery,

the plunge into temptation and deep loss.

Defiance.  The child bent becomes the bender,

inflicts on others what he once went through.

Loved, feared, rescuer, wrestler, victor,

he takes his vengeance, blow by blow.

And now in vast, cold, empty space, alone.

Yet hidden deep within the grown up heart,

a longing for the first world, the ancient one…

Then, from His place of ambush, God leapt out.

The Ideogenic Realm : Anhalonium

The homeopathic remedy Anhalonium is derived from a species of cactus which produces peyote, and which is famously used in some Native American rituals. In its crude form it is one of the group of hallucinogenic drugs. Where Cannabis portrayed the theme of the split between mind and body, Anhalonium relates more to the split between self and world. The sense of having no boundaries of self, and being merged with the whole world and cosmos is one of the core effects of this drug.

The opposite feeling, of being separate, and cut off from humanity can be part of the origin of this disease state of mind. The state of fear derived from the sense of separateness of the ego, and mortality of the self will be at the origin of the state of mind of Anhalonium. This is the experience or feeling of being without roots, identity, family, or even a personal history. Similarly, there may be a feeling of drifting aimlessly through time and space, or even the delusion of being immortal. There is a very weak will power for taking outer actions, yet a rich inner world of visions or inner explorations. The feeling can be of utter aloneness, without any connection to any one or any thing in the world.

This state may emerge from various forms of trauma, including intensive brainwashing undergone by cult members. It can also originate in the absence of any trauma, in terms of a person’s natural process of development, and difficulty in confronting these core issues of their identity and sense of purpose.

The whole goal and direction of Heilkunst treatment drives the patient further and further into a complete connection with their own self, and the Anhalonium state will sometimes come out very strongly on the way to the patient completing this connection. Looked at a slightly different way, many people may exist in a mild form of this state on a chronic basis before they begin treatment, as a persistent inability for them to know themselves, in terms of a clear identity or purpose. They may not consciously understand that this state is what is keeping them from feeling a sense of satisfaction in their own life.

The Ideogenic Realm : Cannabis Indica

I’ll begin our exploration of some of the ideogenic remedies with the widely known recreational drug cannabis indica. It is one of a few remedies which address a basic ideogenic theme, which is the split which we all feel in one way or another — whether between mind and body, or our self and the world, the structure of modern consciousness is built on such a fundamental split.

In the Cannabis state of mind, the meaning of this split is one of escaping the perceived dangers of the outer world, and retreating into a safe inner world of one’s own construction. On this point, there are some autism cases which respond positively to this remedy as part of their overall Heilkunst treatment. Threat and danger is a theme which runs through this remedy, with forms of anxiety or even panic attack as part of its picture.

The symptoms of Cannabis are predominantly in the mental sphere, where incredible alternate realities or enticing visions are constructed like “sandcastles in the sky”. This is a very common state of mind within modern consciousness, where our brain-mind largely predominates over our body-mind, and most people live in a very abstracted world, disconnected from their own bodily sensations or emotions. As Sir Ken Robinson once said [in paraphrase] : “He considers his body as a convenient vehicle to carry his head around”. Various forms of theorizing and idealistic philosophies emerge from the root of this type of split.

Cannabis Indica is in widespread use as a recreational drug, and any time something exists at a mass scale like that, I wonder from a Heilkunst perspective what the underlying phenomenon is which is unconsciously driving it. The split from reality into a “head consciousness” is the origin of this ideogenic disease state. There is also a very weakened sense of identity as well as a weak sense of connection with others.

The cultural phenomenon of the Hippies is a very vivid illustration of the Cannabis state of mind. It is definitely no accident that Cannabis was one of the primary drugs of choice during the Hippie movement, which was a very strong manifestation of this underlying state of mind. A movement full of theoretical constructs (about ideal social structures, and the truth of Eastern religions, etc.) as a means of buffering against some of the harsh realities of the time (such as the Vietnam war), and also replaced with visions of bright colours (Hippie clothing, flowers, etc.) are all perfect characterizations of this state of mind. Also, the commune-style of living further speaks to the breakdown of the individual identity in Cannabis. The promiscuity of the ‘Free Love’ movement is also characteristic of this remedy.

Time magazine featured a cover story in July 1967 called “The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture.” The article described the guidelines of the hippie code: “Do your own thing, wherever you have to do it and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly. Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach. Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, fun.”

As I’ve said a number of times, I do not condone the use of “medical marijuana”, whether prescribed by a doctor, or self-prescribed, as it is generally used to suppress rather than cure a disease. However, the use of the potentized form of this substance prescribed homeopathically for this particular state of mind can work wonders at relieving a patient from this state of mind, as well as any chronic physical symptoms which are connected to it for them.

What is the Meaning of “The Ambient” of the Patient?

Dr. Hahnemann, in describing his method of diagnosis, referred to the “ambient” of the patient, as one of the factors to take into consideration. What does this refer to?

First of all, we need to distinguish between a person’s “ambient”, and their “environment”. If you and I are sitting together in the same room, we co-exist within the same environment. Each one of us, however, has a unique ambient, which is the subset of the environment which is composed of our individual resonance, both positive and negative. Everything in the environment which has some relationship to your desire function, is “lit up” before you. Two people walking into the same room will likely notice entirely different details for this reason.

It’s akin to the type of experience where you have just bought a new car of a particular make and model, and suddenly everywhere you go you see that same model.

As I mentioned, our ambient is composed of both positive and negative resonance, meaning that not only will our ambient display things which we desire, but also objects or events which are mirrors of where our desire function is suppressed or blocked. This is the meaning of all forms of “accidents”, which are aspects of our negative resonance coming at us in progressively increasing intensities until we “get” their intended lesson. A complete case-taking of a patient’s state of disease must include this whole picture of occurents (all of the things which “happen to” the patient), accidents, as well as the positive events which come into their life.

Likewise, as a patient walks through their time line treament, the healing and release from the remedies will often be accompanied by specific events or “chance” meetings with significant people (or archetypal representatives of those people), as the patient finally integrates and then lets go of the original meaning of the trauma in question.

An aspect of Hollywood films which is often criticized, is how unrealistic certain plots or turn of events unfold on the screen. The fact is, that these “only in Hollywood” scenarios are usually only slightly exaggerated versions of real-life occurents, “accidents”, and other strokes of luck which are not based on a rational logic, but on the force field which draws a person to confront whatever they need to within their ambient.

It becomes a sobering thought on the path to greater health that everything which unfolds in our life is a function of a part of our mind and consciousness, whether or not we have fully realized the source of any given part of our ambient. A definition of healing, from this perspective then, would be an increasing level of consciousness, and command of both the waking conscious mind, as well as all aspects of the sub- and un-conscious parts of the mind.

Three Streams of Remediation Within Heilkunst : Therapeutic Education (part eight)

One of the higher goals of health is to expand the functioning of the mind. Exploring the frontier of consciousness itself is actually greater than all of the curing and healing work which needs to be undergone for the physical aspects of health. A clue to this reality, as I’ve written before, is that even when I use specific homeopathic remedies for a given physical symptom, it will always contain a unique state of mind. So, for example, the correct remedy to use for a patient with a sore throat will depend on their state of mind, and a Lachesis sore throat has a very different appearance than a Mercurius sore throat (I saw an example of each of these in the clinic this week).

The third jurisdiction (Therapeutic Education) ultimately is aimed at addressing the mind, soul, and spirit of the patient, and begins by removing any blockages which are in the way of their full expression. I’ve mentioned the issue of beliefs before, which exist at many levels and in many types. One of the foundational beliefs of our culture, both formally in terms of our scientific methodology, as well as informally and at a personal level, was thoroughly and clearly articulated by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. It essentially says that we are incapable of truly knowing anything, other than what appears to our five senses. Any claim to knowing something other than the direct sense data can never be acceptable within any field of science, or otherwise lay any claim to being considered objective.

Even taking the step of declaring the meaning of what has presented itself to our senses is already on shaky ground, within this worldview. The modern methodology of science reflects this belief structure in many ways, which I’ll devote much more focus to that in other blog posts, which will include a recounting of how Rudolf Steiner overthrew the philosophical premises and conclusions of Kant. At a personal, individual level, the implications of this have boxed the modern mind into a very limited capacity, where only personal beliefs or “opinions” are allowed, but not any claim to knowledge.

This is a very important limitation to break through, even if we are limiting our discussion to the topic of our personal level of health. To allow ourselves to be cut off from this capacity which we all have, that is, “to know”, keeps us distanced from a source of deep satisfaction in our life. How much pleasure can we have from attaining arbitrary goals, which may or may not have a deeper connection to our core desire function?You can also understand virtually every form of anxiety to be rooted back to a degree of belief which is eclipsing knowing.

As an exercise, or meditation, you can spend a few minutes every day exploring the idea of connecting to what it is you actually know, rather than just simply think or believe about yourself and the world. You may draw a lot of blanks for a while, but once you start to find even a small corner of knowing within yourself, it can grow to become a foundation for actually knowing yourself and the world.