The Depth of Homeopathy
Dr. Rajan Sankaran MD(H)
In the initial years of my practice, I began searching for a method that would yield consistent and successful results in every case. No one person can know everything and my endeavor for better and more consistent results is a continuing process. In the twenty-one years of my practice, this process has resulted in a shift from mechanically repertorising cases after selecting a few characteristic symptoms, to using mental and general symptoms, from there to understanding the central disturbance, perceiving the mental state and unearthing the concept of disease as a delusion, and later to a deeper understanding of miasms and the kingdom classification and finally developing a system of prescribing where all these concepts fit into place, to discovering the common sensation in each of the plant families and more recently to an understanding of various levels of experience. Studying the plant families has led to a milestone in my understanding of disease and my earlier concept of disease as a delusion, and the subsequent emphasis on the mental state gave way to an understanding of disease as a Vital Sensation that was common to the mind and the body.
This common disturbance seemed more representative of the disturbance of the Vital Force, than the Delusion had been. More recently, this latter concept too has undergone some metamorphosis with the discovery of something deeper to the Vital Sensation, viz. energy.
With the emphasis on sensations, I noticed that patients often used hand gestures to describe sensations. And as I started paying attention to these gestures I realised that only sometimes were these indicative of sensation; at other times they could indicate the delusion and at still other times they were only patterns that could not be reduced to either a nervous or emotional experience. Like sensations, these patterns too could not be localised in either the mind or the body; they were too general. Further what the patient was conveying through these was mostly movement, sometimes together with form, shape, color and speed. These patterns seemed to me to be representative of energy. And the domain of energy was once again general and still deeper than sensation.
I realised then that the delusion had merely been one level along a spectrum of various levels. I was able to identify seven levels in all, and beginning from the most superficial to the deepest they are as follows:
6. Energy or Universal level
7. The Seventh Level
The concept of these levels is universally applicable, as is true with all of homeopathy. It indicates not only the level at which the patient experiences symptoms, but also the various levels of all human experience. Further human consciousness is in a state of continuous growth, and the levels are indicative of the evolution from the most superficial to the spiritual, which is the ultimate aim of mankind. Explained very briefly below are the concepts of Vital Sensation and the Levels, and an illustration of their application in homeopathy.
The Concept of the Levels
Let us understand the concept of the levels through the following example: As children, when we are taught to draw, the first thing that we learn to draw is a line, then some shapes like triangles, squares and circles. Then we are taught to copy things we see around us: objects, houses, trees, people, etc. As we progress we are taught to qualify the subject of our drawings: for example, a sad person or a happy person, a flowing river, etc. Next we are asked to create drawings from our imagination: scenes from nature, a marketplace, a picnic, etc. Later some of us learn abstraction and we are able to express our moods and experiences through different shapes, forms and colours. Our experiences may be mental or physical or spiritual, and these can be conveyed through the medium of abstract art.
One can see that our initial drawings of lines and shapes cannot convey anything; they have nothing more than a name attached to them. For example: this is a line, this is a circle etc. The next step where we are taught to copy has to do with fact that there are things that exist around us and we replicate them. In the third step we put in the adjectives or feelings or emotions. In the fourth step we create situations out of our imagination -situations that may or may not exist - or situations we may have or have not experienced. This has to do with delusion. When we reach the stage where we can abstract, we are able to convey our delusions, sensations (mental and physical) as well as describe some kind of energy in the form of patterns and shapes. In this way, in learning art, we have progressed from what can be only named to something that has no name but only an energy pattern.
Similarly with homeopathy. The most superficial level at which homeopathy is practiced is pathological prescribing, or giving a remedy based on the diagnosis of the disease condition. (Level I: Name)
At the next level of prescribing, one takes into account symptoms of the disease. (Level II: Fact)
Then comes prescribing on the emotional state of the patient. (Level III)
Level IV or the level of Delusions is where my prescriptions were aimed at for many years.
Then I discovered the level of Sensation (Level V)
And finally that of Energy (Level VI). The levels also apply to the experience of any event or phenomenon (For example: the sunrise or the Northern Lights in the sky), or an art form (for example: music, painting, literature) or any kind of human activity (for example: science, politics, medicine, sex, relationships) or a belief, like religion. The experience of each of these can be at various levels. Let us look at the example of religion more closely.
For different people religion may be experienced and practiced to various depths. Or a person may evolve over time in his religious practice and beliefs from the level of name to that of energy. The most superficial experience of religion (at the level of name) is limited to simply identifying oneself as a Hindu or Catholic or Muslim, etc. At the factual level this experience is also superficial, being confined to daily prayers, rituals, attending mass or reading a holy book.
Taken one level deeper, religion can be an emotional experience with feelings of joy, calm, security and dependence. It can be the delusional need in a person who feels he is lost in the wilderness; religion could make him feel 'found'. Some people may perceive sensations such as binding, or togetherness, etc. At the deepest level or in the abstract form it can be experienced as nothing but spiritual energy.
The levels and homeopathy
As with any phenomena, the experience of disease can also be at various levels. A patient with a very extensive cancer may have accepted his fate so that he experiences no emotions such as anxiety or fear or grief, but only symptoms related to his problem. For him the experience of his disease is no more than a fact; he has cancer, it is his fate and he has to accept it as a fact. On the other hand a young woman with rheumatoid arthritis may experience a great deal of anxiety about her future. If you observe her or go through her case, this anxiety will be the most prominent feature. One could say even that her disease is anxiety about the future rather than the arthritis, because she experiences the arthritis as anxiety. The pains will be experienced as anxiety and the limitation of movement will be experienced as anxiety. The level at which she experiences her disease is Level III (Emotions). Another young woman with a patch of eczema may have the fear that she will be shunned by society as a result of her problem. For her, symptoms like itching and scaling, even though present, will not be as bothersome as this imaginary fear of being shunned. For her, the eczema is experienced as a delusion, the level of experience is level IV. A man with bronchial asthma may experience the sensation of being bound tightly, and this sensation will also emerge on the mental plane. Here, what is prominent is a sensation that is common to the mind and the body. He experiences the asthma as a sensation of being bound tightly, and in other areas of his life he experiences the same sensation. His experience of his disease is at level V, the level of sensation. In a child with recurrent colds and coughs, one may observe the child only running about continuously, moving constantly and rapidly. This child may not even experience the cold and cough, rather only the energy that compels him to keep running. His level of experience is that of energy, or level VI.
Having understood that each patient's experience of the disease will be at any one of these levels the question that comes to one's mind is: 'Of what use is this concept in practice?' What will be most obvious to those who used the Delusion theory, and realised that it yielded better results than prescription based on mere collections of symptoms, is that the levels of sensation and energy are deeper and closer to the Vital Force. Prescriptions based on sensations, and those that take into account the energy pattern experienced by the patient can yield far better results than did those based on Delusions. So how does one get to these deeper levels, how does one recognise sensation and energy, what sense do we make of these when attempting to understand the patient, and finally how does one use these to find the remedy?
Before we go to the process of getting to the deeper levels let us understand them some more. First, each of the levels is based on the one deeper than it. The seventh or the deepest level can be compared to an empty canvas on which some pattern or picture can take form. It forms the backdrop on which the Universe was created, on which the energy of the Universe is manifest. It is obvious just at the moment of conception, where something, a life or energy form occurs from nothing, where creation happens out of nothingness. It is therefore the basis for energy. The level of energy in turn forms the basis for sensation, but it, itself lacks the sensation. Energy is represented by the way it moves. And for any individual the domain of experience of this energy is beyond mind and body - it is the domain of vitality or the Vital Force itself. And this experience is in the form of speed, movement, patterns, colour, etc.
When this experience materialises from the domain of the material/spiritual Vital Force to that of the nerves, which are distributed everywhere in the body, then it is perceived as a sensation. The nervous system connects the mind and the body and at this level the sensations experienced are general. Let us take as an example the experience of listening to music. Music itself is pure energy. When a musical chord is struck some vibrations or patterns are created, and these are not only picked up by the nerves in the ear and experienced as pleasant sounds, but can also be transmitted everywhere else in the body and experienced as pleasant sensations. (Here, let us differentiate between general and local sensations. The sensations we are talking about at level V are general. While these are experienced on the somatic plane they are felt in more than one locality. Further, they are also experienced on the mental plane. These are different from purely local sensations, which have no correspondences on the general and physical planes.) Similarly, sensation is the basis for delusion. If there is a sensation of heaviness all over it could give rise to the mental image or false perception of being under a heavy load. In turn, delusion becomes the basis for emotions, emotions for fact and fact for name. In this way each level is based on the next. In taking a case and understanding the patient, having gone past one level one can expect to find the next one emerging, until the deepest level is reached.
It is important and interesting to note that in each case, the deepest level the patient takes us to spontaneously, is the level at which he experiences all phenomena. This is his level of consciousness. In any case therefore, all relevant experiences, viz. the chief complaint, exciting cause, stress situations, dreams, interests and hobbies, etc., will be experienced by the patient at one and the same level. This is significant as far as the process of case taking is concerned, as well as in selecting the potency. Also from deep to superficial the extent of pathology increases, so that at the energy level there is the least pathology, whereas at the level of name one usually sees gross pathology.
Sensation is non-human specific
Energy is universal and immaterial. All things - living and non-living - possess energy. Energy can be manifest in the form of different patterns, all part of a common, universal pool, yet each one with its own peculiar shape, direction, speed, form, etc. Energy patterns are common to kingdoms, so that certain plants, animals and minerals can have the same energy patterns specific to them, yet all belonging to the common pool. The energy of any substance is that which is common to that substance and to the entire universe. At the energy level therefore, it is difficult to differentiate the kingdoms. A specific energy pattern could manifest itself in a member of any of the three kingdoms. Sensation is more specific to kingdoms. Each kingdom has its unique basic sensation. With the mineral kingdom the basic sensation is structure, and in the consciousness of each mineral substance this basic sensation of structure is expressed in a way quite unique to that substance. With the animal kingdom the basic sensation is survival, and again in the consciousness of each animal, this is experienced differently and in a way unique to itself. With the plant kingdom the basic sensation is sensitivity, and each plant family has it's own peculiar kind of sensitivity. In case of diseased human beings the Vital Force is deranged so that man's consciousness is altered. This altered consciousness is similar to a specific mineral/animal/plant consciousness from the Universe. Homeopathic remedies are prepared from plant/animal/mineral sources among others, and when these substances are po-tentised to a degree far beyond the material, there remains in them nothing but the spirit or energy of the substance. These remedies, when administered in accordance with the Law of Similars, are capable of bringing back the altered state of man's consciousness to a level where he is able to achieve the 'higher purposes of his existence' - in this way health is restored.
In a diseased individual, the altered state of consciousness is similar to the consciousness of a specific plant/animal/mineral substance (remedy source) from the universe. The diseased individual and the remedy source have in common the energy pattern and basic sensation. These, the energy pattern and basic sensation, are therefore non-human specific. This means, that they are shared by human beings and other substance(s) in the Universe. On the other hand, emotions and delusions could be human specific; they may be experienced only by human beings and may not be present in the consciousness of any other substance in the Universe.
Case taking in a new light
The aim of case taking now is to reach to what is non-human specific in each patient. The patient will obviously begin with the name of his main physical complaint. From here one has to cut through the various levels and reach to the levels of sensation and energy. While traversing the various levels, one picks up (i) peculiar symptoms (sensations, modalities, concomitants, mental symptoms, delusions, dreams, cravings, aversions etc.) and (ii) sensations/words/expressions that have the potential to lead to the next level. At each level there are various sub-levels and to get from one level to the next one has to ask an appropriate question (s). Briefly the map of case taking is as follows:
Level 1 - Fact
The name, the diagnosis, the label
Question: So what exactly is happening?
Level 2 - Facts about Facts
What it is, qualified and peculiar.
Question: How do you feel? How does this effect you?
Level 3 - Feeling
What it is? (Common feelings, anger, fear, sadness.) Feeling qualified. (Feelings further described.) Feeling peculiar. (Peculiarity in the feeling.)
Question: How does it feel like? What comes to your mind? A situation that had a big effect on you? How did that feel like?
Level 4 - Delusion
The situation. How it is experienced? Dreams.
Question: What sensation do you experience in that situation? What are you showing by that gesture of your hand?
Level 5 - Sensation
Kingdom-(Sensitivity/structure/victim-aggressor) Subkingdom/family-(Precise nature of the issue)
Source- (Precise degree, depth and quality)
Level 6 - Energy
Observation of energy patterns.
Quite obviously patients do not always give the case one level after the other. They may use other routes or they may get blocked or stuck at a particular level, and in such a case one would have to use a 'by-pass'. When a patient is unable to go beyond a particular level his level of experience is usually the previous level; this also determines the potency he needs. For example: if he cannot express feelings then he is stuck at the previous level of fact, and to get beyond the level of fact one would ask: What are the feelings he does not feel, what are the feelings he felt in the past, etc.?
The concept of the levels and this new approach to case taking have so far yielded for me and some of my colleagues, very encouraging results. We are able now to prescribe remedies we might never have otherwise used. But I would like to add that these ideas continue to evolve and techniques continue to get more and more refined. It is a work in progress. As with 'An Insight Into Plants', I feel there are sufficient results to convince me that there is at least some truth in the idea and it has much potential. As long as we have failures, we need to look deeper, to look wider and to continue to evolve in our concepts and techniques. In this way we can hope for better and more definite results in our cherished and chosen task of restoring the sick to health.
- Our thanks to Dr. Sankaran for sharing this essay.