the unprejudiced observer
One of the defining qualities that lies at the essence of the role of the healer or physician is The Unprejudiced Observer; which encompasses the capacity to perceive without projection. But in life we are surrounded by our projections – which is why the practice is so important. In the practice we can develop freedom from the limitations of our everyday self. The practice can be a vehicle for our own transformation.
In classical mythological, Mercury or Hermes was the deity that governed medicine. Mercury had the special task to carry messages between the humans and the gods – that means from the subconscious to the conscious realms. But it also refers to something else – to make the connection between the temporary realm, the everyday world we live in, and the eternal realm, which is the soul journey.
Because we don’t have access to that part, we need another, who might for a moment be such a clear mirror that they can help us catch a glimpse of our true selves, and we can begin to remember again.
The practice requires being centred, i.e. being still, being open in your heart, and working from silence. When the patient speaks, we listen to what is offered into the space, then we listen to the echo that remains afterwards, and then we listen to the silence.
We don’t fill the space with noise, chatter, comments, or even thoughts. The ruminations about the diagnosis, or which remedy the patient needs, are noisy; they too can contaminate the silence. We should be empty, so that the patient experiences the space as an invitation.
It is a held space, not a vacuum, in which the patient is witnessed and acknowledged, and experiences empathy. The role of the witness is an important aspect of the Unprejudiced Observer.
As in any spiritual practice, the essence is the deepening of our connection with our Self. The commitment to becoming free of prejudice or attachment is the focus and the drive that advances the physician or the healer. The empty, focused attention, in which the patient enters with her story, is maintained through practice. The patients help us strengthen our practice, and it becomes deeper. So the cycle continues.When you are centred in yourself, you perceive others with clarity. For example, if a patient makes a gesture, you can experience the energy that lies behind the gesture. It has a charge. We have to differentiate between a giveaway comment that has no energy behind it, and one that could open a door to the heart of the patient’s reality. The art is to know which words to mirror back, where to take the person back to in the story, when to intervene and when to hold your peace.
When you are witnessing the charge, you can feel it in the room. It affects your body. Sometimes you feel emotion, perhaps emotion that you have never felt before – you have to discern whether it is your own or if it belongs to the patient. These subtle nuances, that guide you in taking the case, are inaccessible if you are too busy in your mind, full of your own concerns, as we all naturally are, when we are not in our practice.
The Unprejudiced Observer is not you, it is what happens when your everyday self slides away, and allow the Healer to enter. The patient also evokes the archetypal dimension of a healing exchange. There is a symbiotic polarized relationship between patient and healer. The physician requires the patient. You can’t be a healer without a patient. The Unprejudiced Observer emerges in the specific conversation, in the contract, in a given place and time. It is not a truth in yourself at all times – you can not aspire to being an Unprejudiced Observer in all times in all situations.
We cannot step completely out of the process of our own personal unfoldment, and that also means dealing with our own suffering. The guide is also the seeker. But just as one can aspire through art or music towards an expression of the universal, so the physician through the practice of healing can gain a universal perspective. But however clever you are at diagnosing or analysing the case, or in classifying the remedies – the essence of the practice is in your ability to perceive and witness the patient, in humility, in truth, without prejudice; this is the true art of the healer. The correct analysis, and choice of the medicine flows from this point.
In homoeopathic medicine, the patient has the opportunity to reveal, to express, to enact, and to elucidate what it is that ails them (What needs to be cured). The tradition from which the homeopathic physician has emerged is the archaic role of the alchemist, herbalist or witch doctor. The medicine woman or man perhaps lived at the edge of the village or away in the forest. The patient would come in order to understand a dream, or to be cured of a problem. Maybe the healer was pleasant, generous or good-hearted, but maybe she wasn’t. Those were not the key issues. The key issue was the healer’s power to perceive honestly and deeply, and to create an individualised medicine.
Studying Materia Medica
When we study remedies, the subject of our study is not the information on the page in the book. We are studying a living, organic energy in nature. What we seek to understand is the dynamic pattern, the heart of the matter, the essence that infuses every aspect, and makes it what it is. To penetrate to understand in this way, we have to look beyond the written texts, and connect with the materials themselves.
The remedies exist within the context of their eco-system, the Earth, with her cycles and rhythms, and the Cosmos. To establish a relationship with a remedy, we must be firmly in connection with the Earth. And when we study a remedy with the aim of perceiving the core principles, just as with the patient, we must approach it as the Unprejudiced Observer.
The practice of being centred, working from stillness, emptiness and silence, applies to the study of Materia Medica as well as to the taking of a case. The energetic pattern that informs the plant, mineral or animal remedy exists in the etheric realm. In fact it has a luminous body that can be perceived directly. But in order to perceive it, we must enter our own etheric or luminous body. From this position, the physician can bring the medicine to life within her Self – not only in the mind, but in the eyes, nose, throat, stomach, intestines, limbs, and circulation, to discover how it thinks, how it feels, how it breathes. When we embrace a remedy in this way, we can recognize how it feels to be the person who needs it as their similimum.
To understand what needs to be cured in the patient, or what is the curative power of a medicine, we have the most wonderful instrument at our disposal, which is our Self. We can move our centre, to resonate with the other, and if we do this consciously, we can then recognize the characteristics of the altered state. But then we must know how to return to our Self once more. It is an important part of the practice to develop a strong sense of one’s own Self.
When you are centred, energy can flow freely. This state of peace, and being present is a simple and wonderful gift. It is not derived from ‘knowing yourself’ as mental information. Think of it more as BEING YOURSELF. Your feet firmly on the Earth, connected with the heavens, heart open, balanced left and right, being in the centre of your self, silent and still within, alert and attentive….
This is the Unprejudiced Observer.