Ritam "Health, Homeopathy and Spirituality"
By Nandita Shah
Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, said that a healthy body is an asset to any spiritual quest:
- “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.” (Organon of Medicine)
Homeopathy helps us to reach the “higher purpose of our existence” by freeing us from our physical and mental problems. Most of us get stuck in our stories, which become more complex as the pace of life increases. The stress from this causes disease. If we could step back and observe these stories, as just stories, we could be free.
Nature intended us to be healthy. The closer we adhere to nature’s laws, the healthier we are. Despite the progress man has made nature often proves herself wiser. Our distancing from nature is one of the important reasons for the sickness of our race. Our delusion as humans is that more is better: “If I go to all these healers I will be better;” or, “ If I take all these medicines, I will be better,” or “If I get a bigger house and a better car I will be happier,” etc. This race for more has left the planet polluted yet we are unable to live without the plastics, batteries and fuels that endanger us and every other species on the planet. Human population too has grown out of balance with other plant and animal species.
Despite all the successful efforts to reduce mortality through science and medicine, morbidity has increased. Incurable diseases, like AIDS and cancer, are affecting growing populations. Our sickness is a direct result of not following nature’s laws. Because of over-medication, in the United States there is almost no tap water free from medication! In India the situation is not much better; recent newspaper reports on the soft drink and bottled water industry reveal that there is hardly any ground water free from pesticides. Both these situations are bound to get worse. The examples are limitless, and this is the price we pay for development.
Homeopathy is based on nature’s laws, and so it is not just a system of medicine, rather a philosophy of life. A homeopath uses minimum dosages and only when necessary. It is not polluting and nor does its production and testing cause harm to another species. Essentially it is based on the opposite of the ‘more is better’ idea. Unfortunately homeopathic remedies are often misused because they are believed to be harmless.
‘Homeopathy’ means a therapy based on the law of similars (‘Homeo’ is Latin for similar and ‘pathy’ means therapy). Allopathy is for the most part based on the law of opposites. For example, a man suffers from asthma, which results in the constriction of the bronchi or respiratory tubes. An allopath may prescribe a bronchodilator, which dilates them, allowing the patient to breath better. According to nature’s laws, every external influence is opposed in an equal and opposite way by the organism, in this case resulting again in broncho-constriction. This is why the effect of the bronchodilator is only temporary. Therefore in chronic asthma the bronchodilator would have to be used repeatedly, and gradually the dosage would increase. Most chronic diseases are treated with lifelong prescriptions.
Correct homeopathic treatment works in the opposite way by stimulating the body’s defense system. A remedy is chosen which in a healthy person would produce a similar set of symptoms to what the patient is experiencing. A minute dose of this remedy is given to the patient, which causes a slight aggravation of his symptoms. This stimulates an equal and opposite reaction from the patient’s vital force against this artificial (medicinal) disease. Since this medicinal disease is very short lasting but similar to the original disease, this reaction serves to oppose the original disease, being therefore curative by nature. As long as this curative reaction persists, it must not be disturbed — so no further doses or other treatments are required. Repetition is indicated only when this process stops.
Homeopathy can be practiced at different levels:
- Pathological – The remedy is prescribed based on the pathology. This is effective in alleviating symptoms but requires frequent repetition and after some time the remedy may stop working.
- Symptomatic – The symptoms are understood in greater details, including the qualities and modalities of the complaint, and a prescription is made for this particular condition. This is more effective than pathological treatment, so less repetition isrequired, but here too the remedy will work for sometime and then may stop.
- Emotional – A remedy is chosen which connects the emotional and physical states. At this level, the efficacy improves.
- Delusional – The physician tries to understand the block or the delusion, which prevents the patient from being completely in the present. This is often based on past experiences but could also be based on past lives or one of the parent’s histories. For example a patient is always afraid that thieves will rob him and has to keep checking the locks. The problem makes him distrustful and sleepless. A theft in his past has been blown out of proportion in his mind and now affects everything he does. Even if he is in a very safe situation, his perception is still one of fear. The treatment of this stress will cure the physical disease because a deeper root has been reached.
- Sensational – The prescription is based on the physical, emotional and delusional levels connected through a vital sensation which is the point where all three meet. The cure is at a still deeper level.
- Energy based – It is the relationship of the patient and all their states to the universal energies and the substance that they require. This deeper understanding of the patient is just emerging and is not yet fully understood.
Often patients who are in homeopathic treatment do not understand what is being done for them. This can cause difficulties in their treatment and sometimes problems for the practitioner. Some patients prefer to have several different kinds of alternative treatments at a time, and often say that their other practitioner has told them that it is alright to take homeopathy with the other modality of treatment. This is true when both the other modality and the homeopathic treatment are being done at the pathological, symptomatic or sometimes at the emotional level. But if the level of homeopathy being practiced is a more holistic deeper level then everything else can be an interference including other homeopathic remedies. Although in certain rare emergencies other modalities may be necessary, in most situations their use would make it very difficult for the homeopath to treat at the deepest levels since assessment of the remedy would be impossible.
When treated homeopathically at a deeper level, patients usually do not require vaccinations, vitamins and minerals or other supplements (although sometimes minimal supplements may be required in the initial stages). In fact these can be considered harmful. Supplements are often sold in doses as large as 100 times RDA (Recommended daily allowance), which is good for sales since more is considered better, but such a large dose of daily nutrient(s) puts the ratio to other nutrients out of balance and the liver, kidneys or excretory system are overloaded and have to expel the excesses.
We are seldom aware of the many ways the body is always healing itself. Every breath we take contains hundreds of bacteria and viruses, which generally go unnoticed because the defense system is working efficiently. We succumb to sickness either when the invading organisms are too many or too strong, or when we are too weak due one of the following reasons:
1. Personal care problems like bad nutrition, lack of sleep, etc.
2. Environmental conditions like extreme heat or cold, pollution, etc.
3. Psychological issues like being stuck in emotional problems or stressful situations.
Rather than use other modalities during the homeopathic treatment, the patient can best assist their cure by ruling out any of the above and by following nature’s laws. The science of natural hygiene often called ‘the do nothing cure’ explains these laws in terms of diet. Natural hygienists take into consideration our physiology to understand what nature intended and therefore what is most healthy. We have lost our natural intuition. Healthy animals will always chose by instinct. A cat would prefer fish or chicken to beef or cow’s milk as these are more likely to be natural to them. I list a few principles of natural hygiene here as guidelines. The reader is referred to The History of Natural Hygiene and the principles of Natural Hygiene, or Natural Hygiene – the Pristine Way of Life by Herbert Shelton, or any other book on natural hygiene for a deeper understanding.
1. Nature meant humans to be predominantly herbivorous. Our dentition with more molars and premolars than canines, our long intestines, absence of claws, etc, all point to this. It is scientifically proven that a carnivorous diet predisposes humans to colon cancer because the meat putrefies during the long journey in the intestines. Carnivores have short intestines, so do not have this problem. High protein diets predispose us to allergies, skin diseases, diabetes, gout, breast and prostate cancer, high blood pressure and other heart diseases, and so forth.
2. Nature intended milk for the young of mammals, not for adults and definitely not across species. Human infants require milk with less protein and fats, but more vitamins and minerals because humans grow slowly physically as compared to animals and brain growth is important. Traditional South East Asian diets do not contain milk, nor is there any tradition of dairy farming in Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia or Sri Lanka. These cultures have lower incidences of breast and prostate cancers, heart diseases and even osteoporosis.
3. Every fruit or vegetable in nature contains a balance of nutrients so eating fruit, vegetable or grain whole is better than eating a part. Eating coconut does not raise cholesterol but coconut oil does. Similarly whole rice is better than white rice because it contains proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates, and white rice only contains carbohydrates. Today people are eating more whole grains but some still peel their vegetables in the hope of avoiding pesticides not realizing that the pesticides reach every part of the plant. Pesticides used around a coconut tree can be traced even in the coconut water. The answer is not peeling, which removes important fiber and nutrients, but producing and eating organically grown food. Fruit too should be eaten whole rather than as fruit juice.
4. Nature’s first law is a raw food diet of fruits, seeds, nuts and vegetables. If cooking is necessary it is better to eat the food immediately after cooking so as to not lose vitamins. It is almost impossible to overeat on a fruitarian diet, and there is no risk of protein shortage. In fact raw food diets are being recognized as a cure for diseases ranging from high blood pressure to cancer.
5. Food combining is important. Different foods require different digestive processes so mixing various categories of food makes digestion more difficult.
Like homeopathy, natural hygiene is holistic. Natural eating can be related to natural farming, the opposite of industrial farming. Masanobu Fukuoka, the founder of Natural Farming, explained that man feels the more he does the better, but in reality he needs to do very little. He says in agriculture doing more can actually be counter-productive. Plowing to aerate the soil kills helpful organisms like earthworms that naturally aerate and fertilize the soil. Farmers must use chemical fertilizers after plowing which further imbalance the soil rendering it more infertile. The nutrient imbalance results in crops that are less healthy so that pesticides and herbicides are required. The result is big beautiful vegetables and fruits with less taste and less nutrient value.
Fukuoka described natural farming as ‘do nothing farming.’ It involves no plowing, but mulching and intercropping to keep the soil fertile, conserve water, and to not allow any one pest to multiply unrestricted. It is environmentally sound and helps keep the natural balance. It is not hard to imagine that plants can grow with minimal interference when one observes nature in the wilderness.
Man has grown away from natural farming and eating for predominantly economic reasons. For example a fruit orchard would provide more kilos of food per acre and is less labor intensive than a field of wheat. Fruit is healthier but not so easy to store or transport. In the recent past not so much meat and milk was consumed; 30 - 40 years ago the average European ate meat mainly on Sundays. In India milk consumption has recently increased due to refrigeration and powder milk production. The need for more protein has been over emphasized by the meat and dairy industry. Scientifically humans need no higher percentage of protein in their diet than that of human milk. This is similar to the percentage of protein in fruit juice (another reason physiologically humans are fruitarians). Animal milk contains far more protein, as young animals must grow rapidly. We are only now seeing the effects of this change, which has resulted in an increase of various diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancers and obesity.
This change affects us at a very deep level, because it is connected to the psyche with the associated greed. The idea that more is better draws us away from our spiritual goals and the higher purpose of our existence, and is the cause of stress and disease. Many spiritual communities in the world are vegetarian and frugal because they recognize the importance of ecological and sustainable lifestyles.
In order to achieve good health, we need to consciously do almost nothing. Lead a simple life, eat the simplest food, grown in the ‘do nothing way’. If help is required, homeopathy ‘the do nothing medicine’ can fill in.