Let’s begin with an understanding of spirituality that most homeopaths can feel comfortable with. Let’s not confuse it with religion – for while religion can be a source of spiritual growth and inspiration for its devotees, spirituality is directly accessible to many others who may have fled the religion of their youth. Nor is spirituality New Age woo-woo. It is something practical, for it refers to a powerful dimension of reality, albeit one we cannot see with our human eyes. And it is something scientific, although not reducible to what Ken Wilber 1 calls ‘the world of flatland’ – i.e. objective material reality. Yet is not homeopathy a science of unseen energies? Our healing paradigm rests on the workings of the Vital Force, and we routinely assess its strength in our patients without being able to see or measure it. And in our paradigm, objectively quantifiable physical symptoms are often the visible, palpable manifestation of an inner energetic mistunement. In other words, the world of energy holds sway over the world of matter.
In fact, we can say that Western medicine is based on an outmoded Newtonian mechanistic/materialistic/reductionist view of the universe, while Hahnemann founded an energy-based medicine more than a century before Einstein revealed that matter and energy are twin aspects of the same reality. To deny the spiritual underpinnings of the homeopathic paradigm for fear of appearing unscientific to the allopathic world is to limit our own potential in an attempt to appease an outmoded (Newtonian, materialistic) worldview. 2
So let us begin with an understanding that spirituality refers to reality as energy, and to our inner subjective consciousness that allows us to perceive it. When we look at outer, material reality and try to understand it with our minds, we “see” the ways in which we are all different – because it is the nature of the mind to break reality into discrete particles, then compare and contrast, analyze, organize, and scrutinize. But when we “see” the invisible world of energy with our hearts (as St-ExupÃ©ry’s Little Prince said, “Only the heart sees rightly; that which is essential is invisible to the eye”), we perceive our interconnectedness through a Ground of Being, an ocean of infinite Consciousness, which the religions of the world have called God and which modern spirituality calls Consciousness or Being.
And once we perceive this infinite Consciousness, we also realize that we are on a journey towards full awakening to this consciousness within us. We realize we have a higher purpose for being here, that life on earth does have a meaning and direction. Again, are these not fundamental tenets of homeopathy? Hahnemann credited Divine Providence, his term, for the gift of homeopathy, and described our higher purpose in Aphorism 9:
“In the healthy human state, the spirit-like life force … keeps all parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious vital operation … so that our indwelling, rational spirit can freely avail itself of this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence”. 3
The concept of an inner urge towards greater consciousness and evolution is embodied in Vithoulkas’ use of the word teleosis (“the process by which a human being becomes more and more organized in his spiritual and psychic level”). 4
This inner urge for perfection and attainment in every human being is what we call the “law of Teleosis.” … What is important for human beings is a state of Teleosis, where a sense of completeness, wholeness, maturity and happiness are the principal attainments. This whole process of Teleosis is therefore closely connected to one’s health. 4
Based on this understanding of homeopathy as a fundamentally spiritual form of healing, I would like to share how my 30 years of meditation have infused and informed my practice of homeopathy. In so doing I hope I may inspire a few of my fellow practitioners and learn from many others as I welcome others’ insights.
In my office, I view my patients as my teachers – not only of materia medica, but of life-lessons for me – and I view myself as a humble instrument of their life-journey. I meditate in my office every morning, trying to silence my busy-day mind, set aside my ego, and open my heart to fully receive each patient. I pray for guidance to do whatever is best for each one. While talking to each patient, I meditate on my heart chakra and on the patient’s, often “seeing” streams of light coming from the other’s heart that remind me of solar prominences. I bring my awareness to my own heart, feeling that there is a silent stream of communication between us on a deep level. I often ask my patients how homeopathy can help them fulfill their highest purpose on earth. To my amazement and fulfillment, they really rise to the occasion in their answers! Or I might ask what they feel is the purpose of their illness, what they are learning from it, what is the “hidden blessing” – and often they reply with the words I need to hear most at that point (“Slow down, stop rushing, take better care of yourself”), which only underscores how we are fundamentally one.
I often recommend books, and depending on the patient, it might be a book of spiritual inspiration. Current favorites include Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, Michael Newton’s Destiny of Souls (if someone close to them died) or Schatz and Shaiman’s If the Buddha Came to Dinner (if they have issues with food). I rarely use a computer while sitting with the patient, feeling that my attention would otherwise get sucked into the screen, preventing me from being fully present for the person in front of me. (I ask patients for an extensive written intake, allowing me to do some repertorization before I see them, and again after they leave if necessary.) I meditate briefly between each patient and again at the end of the day, when I offer thanks for the opportunity to be of service, and giving responsibility to the Supreme Being who is the real healer.
In my school, Teleosis School of Homeopathy, we have a five to ten minute guided meditation at the beginning and end of each class weekend. Far from interfering with the time needed for learning, these meditations enhance the learning process – in the beginning, by focusing the students’ awareness in the present, helping them let go of all the rush and stress of getting to class, opening them to truly “learn by heart.” And at the end of a weekend, meditation helps to consolidate the learning, so we can leave feeling energized rather than mentally overstuffed and drained of energy as often happens at the end of a homeopathy weekend.
We also encourage students to have a daily spiritual or self-awareness practice, explaining how helpful it will be both in their own life-journey and in their role as healers. We recommend George Leonard and Michael Murphy’s ‘The Life We Are Given’, in which these co-founders of Esalen and the Human Potential Movement share their favorite daily practice based on yoga, chi gung, affirmations and visualizations.
We also meditate for the patients whose cases we study. Before a case presentation, we have a minute of silence in which we send gratitude to the patient for sharing her story, and our collective prayers and intentions for her healing. (In asking permission to show a patient video, we tell patients they will be the recipients of this healing meditation, and they have responded very positively.)
In the homeopathic community, I try to promote the “view from the heart” that perceives oneness and connection, rather than the mind and ego’s tendencies to divide and compare, to promote one way as the best and only way to practice. Clearly there are different valid ways to practice, for homeopaths would not survive in practice for several decades if they did not have reasonable success with many of their patients. I like the image used by my own spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy, that we are all flowers in the same garden. How can the rose compete with the lily, or the tulip prove that it is more correct than the daffodil?
I believe we all need to “see” and respect the devotion that other homeopaths have to this highest form of healing. There must be a nobility in each homeopath’s calling, because let’s face it, we could all be making much more money doing something else. To be a homeopath is to serve a “highest calling” as Hahnemann terms it, and if this is not spiritual, then what is?
1 I highly recommend Ken Wilber’s works as a validation of the scientific basis for homeopathy, enabling us to view science from a vaster perspective: A Brief History of Everything, A Theory of Everything, and perhaps most accessibly, Grace and Grit, the story of his wife’s illumining death from cancer interwoven with insights into his philosophy.
2 For practical reasons, I accept the necessity of documenting homeopathy’s effectiveness with the gold standard of allopathic medicine, the RCT, given the overwhelming dominance of allopathic medicine in the political, economic, and legal spheres. But I feel that within our own community we need to maintain our confidence in our world-view.
3 Hahnemann, S. The Organon of the Medical Art. Brewster O’Reilly ed.
4 Vithoulkas G. A New Model for Health and Disease, p. 136-139.
This article first appeared in Simillimum.