Looking back on homeopathy over the years, one can see tremendous changes in the methods of practice and in the practitioners themselves. In the past, a keen grasp of the homeopathic principles and a good knowledge of materia medica were deemed enough to have a successful practice, and to a certain extent this is certainly true. In the course of practice, however, homeopaths inevitably run into many cases where they cannot help, despite dedicated study. At this point many budding homeopaths give up their practices out of sheer frustration, claiming that “homeopathy does not work!” Facing this frustration, however, can invite us to tread onto differents paths of practice. When confronted with such cases, we are offered the opportunity to look at the obstacles within ourselves; blockages in our own perceptions. Rather than collecting even more symptoms, we could, perhaps, take a step back; rather than assuming that we know what the problem is, because we have a “diagnosis”, we could, perhaps, recognise that we know very little, if anything at all. Openness but also curiosity seems necessary to allow that which truly needs to be healed to reveal itself. Paradoxically, this “letting go of knowing” usually requires a concerted effort, since our need to be in control can easily interfere.
As we look, eyes and mind wide-open, we can start to recognise the pattern of suffering in the other. The well-known spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle might call it the “pain body”: the particular form and shape of one’s personal suffering, something we identify with and therefore unconsciously cling to. Rajan Sankaran might call it “the other song.” As homeopaths, we recognise a similar pattern in nature, that which can lift this particular dis-ease. In learning to distinguish this pain body as separate from the pure essence of the person concerned, we are presented with the gift of developing this faculty of insight in ourselves. As we watch the veils of suffering lift from our patients, we, in turn, have the possibility of disengaging from our own personal suffering. We are no longer mere observers, we become participants, for Homeopathy is first and foremost a ‘way’ of working, in the same sense as one would talk about a ‘way’ of life.
The extent to which we can be available to co-operate with our patients is largely determined by our willingness to undertake our own healing journey. We cannot simply encourage our patients to plunge into unknown waters, while we stand on the shore. The challenge is to live our work, so that we can stand in the water, stretch out our arms and say “come on in, the water’s fine.”