Spirituality and philosophy forum
Last year we held a day at the Bach Centre so that a small group of us could discuss how we as practitioners worked with Dr Bach’s ideas on spirituality and philosophy. Judging by the deluge of bookings it was a timely idea – there were only twelve places available, and they filled in days.
We began (and finished) with a brief meditation on Heal Thyself. This was the core text we worked with throughout the day. Each person then identified the main topics they wanted to explore. We ended up with four key words: Challenge, Change, Simplicity and Trust. These words formed the springboard for the morning’s discussions.
Under the first heading, ‘Challenges’, we looked at challenges from scientists and clients, and at the challenges we set ourselves. We discussed the need to develop our skills and qualities so as to enhance our work. We also identified challenges in the way we understand Dr Bach’s writings and how we interpret them to our clients. It was important to talk to people in ways they could understand, without judgement and with compassion, so as to make what Dr Bach had to say relevant to them.
The topic ‘Change’ linked naturally with the idea of challenge, particularly when we are working with clients who seem not to want to change. Are the difficulties our clients have a reflection of our own difficulties? How self-aware are we, and what are we doing to resolve our own feelings? The discussion underlined the extent to which personal development and self-awareness are ongoing processes.
‘Simplicity’ led us to talk about the remedies. The idea of simplicity seemed paradoxical given the philosophy, not to mention the complexity of explaining how the remedies work. Discussing this led us as far out as the molecules in space… and back again to vibrational medicine. This is still a relatively new concept and many do not understand it. Keeping it simple is already a challenge in our complicated world. The practitioner’s job is to give enough information without overwhelming people, allowing out clients to find their own depth of understanding when they feel ready. Which led neatly into our fourth topic, ‘Trust’.
We talked about the need to trust ourselves, the remedies, and most importantly our clients. They know what they need. In trusting our intuition, we need also to keep an eye on our own egos so that we don’t begin to think that we know better. We are not ‘the experts’, just people with some expertise who can help others to help themselves.
The inner ‘thing that knows’ of client and practitioner gave rise to the question ‘what is the difference between soul and spirit?’ Is Soul the passive container which holds Spirit the active searching? Is Soul the developing self, Spirit the access? Is it beyond understanding by the intellect and therefore infinite? We didn’t come to conclusions but there was a lively debate that gave us all a lot to think over.
In the afternoon our discussions centred around some ‘difficult’ case studies. This gave everyone the chance to choose remedies, but more importantly let us share how we might respond to situations that – from a client’s point of view – could be at odds with the philosophy in Heal Thyself.
At the end of the day we focused on seven (not planned, honestly!) key words that we felt we needed to remember in our practice: Mindfulness, Compassion, Balance, Awareness, Simplicity, Respect and Trust.
It was a fascinating day, and we plan to hold more in the future. It will be interesting to see what topics and issues different groups will decide to focus on.
A couple of case studies
Alison and Michael were having counselling to help them through some problems between them. She was a quiet person who knew her own mind. She found it difficult to handle his indecision and apparent lack of direction. She was also becoming quite insecure and threatened by people on the edge of her space – children playing outside the house were getting to her. And getting up in the morning to go to a job she didn’t enjoy any more was becoming a real burden.
In her early 30s, Alison described herself as totally self-reliant and said she had always been a loner. Yet she had always worked in a field requiring constant interaction with other people – sales. She had even become the sales office manager, and was very good at her job. Her colleagues thought that she was very energetic – a real live wire.
The conversation revealed quite a conflict between the two people inside her – the quiet, self-reliant Alison who needed her own space and became unhappy if she couldn’t get it, and the lively, bouncy Alison who kept everyone else going with her energy – a conflict between Water Violet on the one hand and Agrimony on the other.
We thought it probable that on leaving the safety of childhood Alison had felt, however unconsciously, that she needed to protect her inner nature from the outside world and had used the coping strategy of hiding herself completely behind the live wire exterior.
From the beginning she took Water Violet and Agrimony. We also used other remedies to address her feelings about her husband and their situation.
After two months’ taking the remedies Alison was waking refreshed. She felt she had put herself back together without the hardness, and that the shell had gone. Things had also changed for her husband and this, combined with her own progress, meant that she felt much more relaxed, less emotional; she felt ‘at peace’.
Michael was finding the counselling sessions very enlightening. He discovered he needed other people’s permission to do and be what he wanted. He also understood how much of a worrier he was, how afraid of getting it wrong – in fact, his worry had led him to ulcerative colitis and a colostomy. When he first came for a consultation his co-ordination and balance were not good and he found the tinnitus he suffered very stressful.
A gentle person, Michael worked in the computer world with colleagues made hyperactive by the pressure of work. He was good at his job, but at great cost to his quiet nature. He had always been interested in the complementary therapy field, especially reflexology. He and his wife dreamt of living in France where they had a little house, but Michael could not bring himself to a decision on whether to break away from his regular job.
For about six weeks he took Larch to boost his confidence, White Chestnut to relieve the worry, Scleranthus for the indecision as well as the problems he was having with balance and co-ordination, and Mimulus for his fears about doing what he wanted to do.
Then they went to their house in France on holiday. On his return he said the holiday hadn’t recharged him. He felt so unwell that he had taken time off work – something unusual for him. He had lost his appetite completely and felt tearful. ‘I’ve been here before,’ he said.
We identified a lack of trust in life, a continual fear of things going wrong. We talked about how his sensitive nature found it hard to cope with the cut and thrust of his work environment, how in fact his whole system was crying out to live differently. We also discussed possible ways forward that would be more fulfilling for him.
In his treatment bottle this time he had Chestnut Bud to help him move forward, Centaury and Walnut to strengthen and protect his resolve, Pine to ward off any guilt feelings about doing things his way, Larch to give him the confidence to go for it and White Chestnut to stop him worrying.
Next day Alison came for her appointment saying ‘I have a new husband’. Michael had already handed in his notice and had booked a place on a reflexology course. He was full of life, could see his path ahead clearly, was decisive and very positively moving along it. They are now planning to take the leap and go and live in France in about a year’s time.
Since the last (December 1999) issue was prepared, 28 new practitioners have joined the register:
- in Argentina, Lucia Fernandez Grillo, Dorana Carrera Ortiz, and Gustavo Sergio Masieri;
- in Brazil, Maria Goreti Flores Soares, Rita Fialho Meireles Haddad, Joseph Dillon, Zaida De Barros Mello Nascimento Santos, and Maria Cristina Pereira Torres Zeppelini;
- in Canada, Jacqueline Le May;
- in France, Bernard Bellegy;
- in Germany, Lynette Mackey, and Helga Braun;
- in India, Anita Chakravarty;
- in Japan, Yoko Takahashi;
- in the Netherlands, Ilonka Woltering;
- in New Zealand, Marni Macdonald, and Jean Payne;
- in Switzerland, Caroline Sommer;
- in the UK, Lucy Garthwaite, Maureen Fitzgibbon, Ramon Jose Burley, Sue Diggens, Jenny Thurston, Christine Watson-Bartlam, Christine James, and Janet Mapes;
- and in the USA, Karen Whalen, and Katja Hess.
There are now 670 practitioners on the register.
by Jane Finn
My son (aged 4) started full-time school last autumn. When we went to view the school in the summer he was the only child who would not leave his parents to go into the classroom for a half hour story. He was extremely nervous and clung to my husband as if he was about to be abandoned.
I spent the rest of the summer working out what I would do in September when he refused to go in to class on his first day. I made up a treatment bottle for what I thought he might need and started him on the drops about two weeks before the first day of term. It contained Mimulus, Larch and Walnut. (Normally the last things he needs are Mimulus and Larch!)
The first day arrived. After a quick kiss goodbye he ran straight into the classroom on his own. Every morning he races in ahead of all the other kids, and has apparently been looking after those that are still upset. I helped out in the classroom last week and have now put him on Vine!
We want you to use this Bulletin to keep in touch with each other. If anything wonderful, funny, interesting or just plain typical has happened to you in your work with the remedies, or if there are any questions that have been nagging away at you, or if you simply want to say hello, please write to us at the Bach Centre, marking your letter clearly as being ‘FOR PUBLICATION’.
We can’t promise to print every letter in the Bulletin, but even if we don’t use your contribution we always love to hear from you.
I am thinking about offering to do some work with the local Sue Ryder hospice. Do any other practitioners have experience working voluntarily in hospices or hospitals that they would like to share with me? I’d be grateful for any guidance.
Judith Brooke, UK
Thank you for sending me the reply sent in from Japan in answer to my request about epilepsy in the Bulletin some time ago. I am very impressed that the Bulletin has produced such a detailed response and that someone somewhere has taken the time and trouble to produce the lengthy translation. This information will I am sure be valuable to others involved with the treatment of epilepsy – a condition where drugs appear to be the one and only choice of treatment.
As I obviously don’t know everyone concerned in all this effort, I trust that the Centre will pass on my thanks when the opportunity arises.
It might be encouraging for Bach practitioners to read in the bulletin that although they might think their enquiry is unusual it is possible to get a reply form the other side of the world.
Thank you again.
Marian Dickinson, UK
…from everyone associated with the Bach Centre…
…and we very nearly made it all the way to the end of the Bulletin without once mentioning the Millennium.
This archive material has been edited to remove some out-of-date advice and information.