Reprinted courtesy: The Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy http://vcch.org/
Soul & Survival by Grant Bentley and Louise Barton was written for patients – for the people who shared their faces and their life stories and wanted to know how so much could be learned from their facial structure. Providing an in-depth look at how energy affects all of us, by describing a miasm as an energetic survival instinct rather than a disease, Soul & Survival is also for practitioners.
Students and practitioners are taught that a miasm is a negative force within the patient. When we are out of balance this internal energetic survival instinct can bring about a host of negative signs and symptoms. And yet this same survival instinct is trying to protect and ensure our safety and longevity. The survival instinct has many roles including our immune response, nervous response, emotional response and provision of skills to deal with stress or crisis times.
The following is a guide to the clinical significance of using facial structure to determine the pattern of our internal energetic survival instinct. Energy is the realm of homoeopathy. The homœopath uses the energy of substances to improve the energy of the patient. This energy is not measurable and remains unseen and yet when applied according to the law of similars, its benefit is evident to the observant practitioner and felt as a health advance in the previously sick patient.
Soul & Survival describes energy patterns by highlighting their directional force, their impact on inherited memories, through specific behaviours under stress and by the natural skills belonging to each colour group’s survival instinct.
Individuals and groups
The survival story in chapter one shows the importance of group survival to the survival of the individual. Human beings are physically a precarious species but have a brain and abilities given by a conscious mind to adapt to different environments, as well as to recognize and utilize individual skills. These skills help to ensure the survival of the group. Human beings exist to help each other and the presence and input of others ensures that each of us can survive. This delicate balance between individuals and the group has been in existence since human beings first walked the planet and the same rules apply today as they did during prehistoric times. We need each other and we must show each other how much we are needed. All of us require an edge so we can be seen by others as worthwhile, and this edge becomes our bargaining tool, a behaviour or skill or combination of both, that will endear us to those around.
A healthy person knows who they are; they feel confident in their own abilities and yet know their own limits. They appreciate others’ skills without being threatened by them. But at some point everyone will feel threatened by others. This is the point that we all need to be aware of – this point will come about because of a change in energy.
Being unsure prior to entering a new group of people, being judged by others in a performance situation, being left out and wanting to belong are all natural states and part of the human condition.
Others and us
The politics of survival is a complicated business and yet an undeniable reality. We need others and yet other people are also our greatest threat. If we find ourselves out of favour with our group they can wield more power than we would wish in regard to our personal fate. Whether in the family, the local community, school or in the workplace we are all familiar with the politics of getting along. Different opinions, different strengths of character all play a critical role in our own personal happiness and survival.
If a situation occurs where we are out of favour with our group most of us will suffer greatly. Nature has instilled this fear in us to ensure we strive for acceptance by the group. Without the group, nature knows our individual days could be numbered. The same fears arise within us even in contemporary times and clinically this is seen frequently. “I don’t know why I worry about what others think of me”, “I don’t know why I got sick after my friends left me”, “I don’t know why my husband has become a different person since he can’t find a job”. These are all natural outcomes to not being accepted and rewarded by our group.
Understanding individual and group behaviour is vital for clinical interpretation. If a patient is experiencing any of the following feelings it is normal and part of the human condition when the external situation calls for such a response. When those feelings are out of proportion to the external environment or they don’t switch off after the stress moment is past, then they become a symptom to treat.
- Feeling anxious prior to a job interview, a live performance or meeting a new person
- Feeling sad and hurt when the group doesn’t invite them to participate
- Being concerned about what others think of them
- Feeling depressed and not wanted when unemployed
- Concern over personal skill levels
- Concern when others don’t acknowledge their contribution
- Being frustrated when others don’t hear them
- Needing group approval in regard to culture, manners, dress or habits
- A person superior or dominant to us getting their way in opposition to our way, causing stress and upset
The homœopath must know what is normal and what is out of balance in accordance with the external environment. Many people live in ongoing stress and although the right remedy can alleviate their suffering it will not necessarily change their environment. After the remedy the patient may or may not choose to remove themselves from this environment. Sometimes when they are personally less stressed, another person close to them who has been their stressor may become less stressed themselves, but this is not always the case. A remedy is still effective if it helps the patient – even if it doesn’t change the situation around them. Sometimes after the right remedy, a miracle will occur in the patient’s life but this is not always the case and shouldn’t be used as the measure of success in all cases.
The soul, the survival instinct
The practitioner must understand the two distinctive parts of who we are. Hahnemann was very clear and understood this difference.
- Aphorism 9
In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force (autocracy), the dynamis that animates the material body (organism), rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purpose of our existence.
The indwelling reason gifted mind can employ our body for the higher purpose of our existence. Our higher purpose is always associated with our soul desires, not those of a material nature but an energy that belongs to us and is ever more with us. The spiritual vital force is another side of us. By referring to the vital force as both a “dynamis” and as “spiritual” Hahnemann is defining the vital force as an energetic part of us.
Based on Hahnemann’s observation and our own clinical and life observation, we can see that we have two parts to our nature – both energetic and yet with different purposes. The use of the word ‘spiritual’ in aphorism 9 is confusing because in modern times ‘spiritual’ and ‘soul’ are often seen as one and the same thing. However it is clear that Hahnemann saw the vital force and the reason gifted mind as separate entities and Soul & Survival follows this classification while using different terminology.
The soul is an energetic component of us not bound to material form. Both conscious and self aware, it is the creative part of us and can think and behave outside the stress of the moment. Our soul is immortal and is the part of us that reincarnates in cultures of that belief.
The survival instinct is also energetic but an automatic unintelligent part of us. Responsible for our body functioning, our sensations, our emotions and nervous system it is our early warning system and operates directly in regard to the danger it perceives itself to be in. Disease will result when the survival instinct is switched on indefinitely even after the external danger is no longer there.
Homœopathic remedies treat the survival instinct, not the soul. The soul becomes imprisoned by a continually switched on survival instinct. After the right remedy is given, the survival instinct will calm down allowing the patient to pursue soul actions. Now able to think outside themselves they show true compassion for others and an understanding of everyone’s, needs not just their own. Once the soul is free to rule the patient, that person makes sound judgments, moves forward in their life and learns from their past mistakes.
The soul works with the free will of the person. Once the patient is feeling calm and energized they will often pursue creative or healthy activities that enrich them. It is common for people to do simple things such as choose to eat better or join a gym, or try with a relationship they had deemed to be over, once the right remedy is given. Their survival instinct has been switched off red alert, allowing them to become the person they want to be.
The homœopathic remedy deserves much accolades for this outcome but the remedy has not touched the soul – only freed it. The survival instinct remains at the alert (and will do so for life) ready to rule the patient again should their external environment or their perception of their external environment become stressed again.
At the heart of every substance, at the core of our universe and our planet is energy. Einstein showed how this energy could be harnessed by breaking down an atom but so too did Hahnemann more than one hundred years earlier. His gentler version was called homœopathy and the energy was and is still used for healing. Energy is intangible and yet we are all aware when we have or don’t have it. “I have no energy, I am so tired all the time” or “I woke up this morning with heaps of energy” are phrases we have all heard and understand and yet individual energy is something we can’t measure. After a homœopathic remedy which matches the state of the patient, the feedback is always “I have more energy”. The same is true in reverse. When a patient is tired, lacking sleep or a good diet, not only are they lacking in energy but they are more aware of their aches and pains, their signs and symptoms. Our body always notifies us when it is out of energy by creating symptoms – often our weakest organs begin to suffer.
Like the instant response to remove our hand when we touch something very hot, the link between low energy and being unwell is natures warning system. It’s a sign we must act to improve our situation. Often a good night’s sleep, healthy eating and a rest are all we need to pick up again and to be healthy and re-energised. However sometimes these attempts are not enough and we need an energetic medicine to take up, what change of routine cannot fix.
A practitioner must be able to read and measure their patient’s energy. They must observe when an energy impact has occurred (never been well since) or a continual drain of energy is occurring. They must be able to measure the outcome of the right remedy through both signs and symptoms and available energy. A patient’s external environment must be factored into their remedy response. Sometimes the patient will need counseling to explain to them how the lack of energy in their life is affecting them and what activities could turn this state around.
A teenager studying for their final exams is exhausted, has chronic headaches and stays up till 2am every night attempting to memorise their work. The right remedy is given and the headaches abate but this patient must also be counseled on how their lack of sleep is affecting them. Teenagers need a minimum of eight hours sleep per night and will study more effectively if they get this amount.
The wife of an alcoholic has been diagnosed with incurable cancer. She has suffered emotionally in her marriage but doesn’t want to leave her husband out of loyalty and to keep the family intact for her children. The right remedy is given and her cancer abates – she is given the all clear and told she is in remission. Prior to the cancer she had pains in her back and sleeplessness. These symptoms improve too. However her external stress (her husband’s drinking) remains and within months (although her tests are still clear) her pains and sleeplessness return. The remedy needs repeating and once it is repeated she sleeps and is pain free again. If this patient could leave the stress and not be more stressed by doing so, her symptoms would not return so frequently. The practitioner always has to consider the impact of external stress on their patient’s ongoing case management. Hahnemann called external stress “obstacles to cure” but sometimes these obstacles can’t be removed.
A mother suffers with chronic cystitis, back pain, recurring colds and has poor sleep. The reason she can’t sleep and is under constant stress is looking after her grown disabled daughter. She is awakened numerous times per night. The right remedy reduces her symptoms but they still return. Less frequently than before, now they occur once per month instead of weekly and are less intense. The remedy hasn’t removed every aspect of her condition but she is markedly better. Her external stress combined with lack of sleep (sleep is the time of energy renewal and vital for good health) means her body cannot heal itself any further even with the aid of the right remedy. She improves even further after her daughter is treated and begins to sleep more soundly herself but the overall demand and continued 24 hour care she must provide means the treatment is limited. It is to be expected than when her daughter is more demanding the demands on her own energy mean the remedy must be repeated more often and less is to be expected. However the overall outcome is much better than without the remedy.
A thirty year old woman suffers with chronic fatigue. Her diet is good and she exercises regularly. She suffered a major grief three years back and has been unwell since. The right remedy is given and her fatigue improves by 95%. She is very pleased and begins to exercise even more. After one month she is slipping back and the remedy is given in higher potency but it doesn’t impact on her like it did the first time. Perhaps the best remedy hasn’t been chosen and yet it worked extremely well when first given. Before looking at a new remedy her lifestyle and external stress are examined. She enjoys her work and her friends and lifestyle and doesn’t feel stressed. The only change is her exercise routine. She always ran 5km per day which dropped back with her chronic fatigue. Once the remedy acted with her raised energy she increased her running to 10km per day and from this point has slipped backward. She is advised to only run 5km per day and within 3 days of this new routine is back to optimal health again. Too much exercise is just as depleting as too little. A balance must be struck for optimal health.
A young man has very bad acne and comes for treatment. His diet is extremely poor – he eats up to six take-away meals per week – sometimes twice a day and skips breakfast. He also suffers with chronic headaches and poor sleep. The right remedy is given and his sleep improves and skin improves 50%. His headaches are less but not gone. He is advised to completely change his diet and to only eat take away once per week and eat unprocessed and preferable fresh foods the rest of the time. After one month his skin is completely clear and his headaches all gone. A remedy can go a long way but every person must eat well for optimal health. Food gives us energy but it also takes energy to digest and metabolize. Heavily processed food makes us very tired as it takes more energy to process than what it gives in return. Fresh natural food is easily digested and provides maximum nutrition as well as maximum energy.
Examples of energy enhancers
- Sound sleep
- Meaningful work
- Acknowledgment by others
- Moderate balanced exercise
- Fresh unprocessed or home cooked food
- Creative pursuits
- Balance between work and play
- Surrounded by people we care about – both family and friends
Examples of energy depleters
- Not enough sleep
- Restless sleep
- Excessive care of others
- Lack of acknowledgment
- Too much or too little exercise
- Processed bought foods
- No time for personal pursuits
- Lack of contact with loved ones
- Major stress that is still dominant
- Ongoing stress
- Chronic pain
- Menstrual cycle
- Unknown situations
- Lack of boundaries (children especially)
In the clinic all of these factors must be weighed into the case analysis and the ongoing case management. Homœopathic remedies are energy medicines and the right remedy will increase available energy to the patient. However all external factors must be considered and adjusted where possible. The practitioner must explain how energy affects all of us and counsel the patient in how to maintain and manage their own personal energy. As part of this process they must be educated as to the role of the remedy and how much to expect from the remedy alone and how much in combination with appropriate life changes. Where a remedy is no longer required the patient must be educated into knowing when to return to see the practitioner. This is usually when external stress has risen again and their own survival instinct is overwhelmed and dictating their emotional responses and symptoms in their weaker areas.
Soul & Survival explains energy from a universal point of view. The universe is formed by the very same energy that forms us; the outward energy of the sun, the inward energy of gravity, the circular energy of the planetary cycles. These three energies exhibit all the qualities attributed to Psora (outward), Sycosis (circular) and Syphilis (inward). We recognize these qualities in our remedies – the outward centrifugal force of Sulphur, the encapsulating circular energy of Thuja and the inward degeneration of Mercury.
The same qualities can be seen in the subatomic particles of all substances – the independent electron outside of the nucleus (outward energy), the bonding nature of the neutron (circular energy) and the gravitation pull of the proton.
Hahnemann saw these three energies in diseases – leprosy and psora, gonorrhea and sycosis, the disease syphilis and the miasm syphilis. If we turn his theory around the opposite way, we can see the outward energy of leprosy (the leper is caste out), the bonding glue like nature of the inflammatory disease gonorrhea (encapsulated by mucous secretions) and the inward degenerative nature of syphilis working its way toward the brain.
Energy drives the disease in a specific direction. The direction of that particular energy forms the basis of the miasm or survival instinct.
If the universe were just outward, circular and inward forces, none of the complex structures around us would exist. Energy can combine and form new substances. However at its core there are only the three primary energies and their combinations.
Hahnemann outlined the concept of dominance. Where one disease was dominant it would subdue the weaker but if two diseases were of equal strength they would combine to form a new complex disease.
These same observations are vital for the homœopath to understand. Firstly the three primary energies can combine to form new energies but only if the original energies are of equal strength.
- Psora and Syphlis can combine to form the tubercular survival instinct
- Psora and Sycosis can combine to form the syco-psoric survival instinct
- Sycosis and Syphilis can combine to form the syco-syphilitic survival instinct
- Psora, Sycosis and Syphilis in equal proportions can combine to form the cancer survival instinct.
So from three energies comes a total of seven energies or seven survival instincts. Also known as psora, sycosis, syphilis, syco-psora, syco-syphilis, tubercular and cancer.
Energy, disease and colours
As disease is the outcome of this energy (but not specific to any particular pathology) it is more appropriate to call each group by another name OTHER than a disease name.
Each of these energies is no better or worse than any other. They are all a vital part of the whole and each displays its own unique character. They have as many positive qualities as negative ones. Disease is always a negative state and every sufferer wants to rid themselves of disease, so using a disease name is inappropriate to define what can also be positive.
In 2003 when Appearance and Circumstance was written and published, colours were chosen as labels for each of these energies (even before we really understood the energetic quality of each!). This was fortunate because colours are energetic and yet neutral. They imply a quality that is different but not superior to each other.
Hahnemann called miasms a disease and said the miasm came from a disease. Soul & Survival explains the miasm as a survival instinct; a part of every person’s attempt to reestablish balance (which is the same as the vital force). Stress leads to the survival instinct overcompensating, which in turn leads to symptoms (or disease). Basically this is the same process as Hahnemann outlined but the other way around and this makes all the difference. The survival instinct is not designed to be “removed” but to be calmed and put into balance. It is an energetic response that reacts to stress.
Stress comes in many forms but is often associated with depletion of energy (sleep, diet, exercise), emotional anxiety or in some cases can be out of balance from birth (previous energetic impact). The survival instinct will respond to a correctly chosen energetic medicine (homoeopathic remedies).
Our vital force is a necessary part of who we are, however it is not the only part of who we are. Our soul is our creative aspect and cannot be touched by remedies but it can be freed by them when our survival instinct is rebalanced.
Disease is the outcome of stress not the cause. The survival instinct is an energetic part of all of us and designed to adjust to stress and provide emotional and physical responses to protect its host. If the stress goes on for too long or the survival instinct doesn’t believe the stress is over, the body can become physically and emotionally exhausted. The practitioner sees disease as a natural outcome but knows they are not treating the disease but the imbalanced survival instinct. The experienced homœopath understands they can’t ‘remove’ this survival instinct as it is a vital part of us and will remain with us for life.
The seven different types of instinct allow for diversity of individuals and diversity of stress response. Knowing these types of stress responses and how to classify them, means we can choose remedies that match this same response. When we give a remedy we are giving our patient an energy that matches their own survival instinct’s attempts to work with the stress situation. However due to lack of ongoing available energy it is failing, leading to emotional stress and physical signs and symptoms. Our correctly chosen (both totality and miasm) remedy will give the patient more available energy so their immune system can heal as it should.
The more the facial research project taught us about the seven different survival instincts, the more our patients and students wanted to understand them. Everyone wanted to know what was good as well as bad about them. Clinically we always look for the negative because it is the negative state we are trying to rebalance. We would never expect our patients to come back after a successful remedy and say “my headaches are gone, my heart palpitations have stopped but I can’t play the guitar anymore”! The experienced practitioner understands that the remedy only treats the bad signs and symptoms not the creative individual aspects of the patient….and that the survival instinct energies (or colours) have many good qualities to them.
In nature there is a reason for every action and reaction. Sometimes we just need the perspective of time to see what that reason is. However knowing that all behaviours and outlooks serve a purpose it became a challenge to work out the positive purpose of each of the colour groups (the seven survival instincts or miasms).
Some of the groups were easy to understand – the green (tubercular) patients always displayed senses that were more acute than average. Knowing that all behaviour and skills are related to ancestral times, it was easy to work out that this person would make a very good hunter. Similarly the ability to exchange was often seen in the yellow (psoric) person that is seen in the traditional role of the trader. The other five groups took some more consideration but over time all were allocated a role that traditionally matched their natural skills, that would have been valuable for their group and therefore for their own survival.
The traditional roles embellish and provide stories that help us to understand the myriad of ways a simple energy or combination energy can manifest in behaviour and stress responses.
Soul & Survival outlines the common history of each group and the implication that each of us has inherited the survival instinct stress (and memory) of others who have come before us and survived their own particular type of stress specific to each traditional role.
Every material substance is formed from energy and the shape, structure and use of that substance is a direct outcome of its internal energy. Humans are the same and their internal energy (survival instinct) is determined by their facial structure. The three primary energies (psora, sycosis, syphilis – yellow, red, blue) can be assessed through the shape and structure of the face.
The ability to assess a patient’s internal energetic survival instinct (their miasm) is a tool that is indispensable to the practitioner. Pathology is a poor indicator to the survival instinct. Our study of remedies indicates this immediately. Taking the disease cancer, it has been treated successfully by many remedies irregardless of their miasmatic origin. The same is true of all other pathologies. The survival instinct is a true indicator of the patient’s internal energy or miasm. And the best way to determine the survival instinct is through the face.