From the initial years of my practice I began to search 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 repertorizing 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 me 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 it came to my notice that patients often used hand gestures to describe sensations. And as I started paying attention to these gestures I realized that these only sometimes were 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 localized 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 realized 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 Homoeopathy. 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 Homoeopathy.
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 out of our imaginations: scenes from nature, a marketplace, a picnic etc. Later some of us learn to abstract, and we are able to express our moods and experiences through different shapes, form and color. 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; 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 Homoeopathy. The most superficial level at which Homoeopathy 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), any kind of human activity (For example: science, politics, medicine, sex, relationships) or a belief like religion the experience of all 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 then 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 the holy book.
Taken one level deeper religion can be an emotional experience with feelings of joy, calm, security and dependence.
It could be the delusional need in a person who feels he is lost in the wilderness; religion could make him feel “found”.
Some persons 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 Homoeopathy:
As with any phenomena the experience of the 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 of the future rather than the arthritis, because she experiences the arthritis as anxiety. The pains will be experienced as anxiety, 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 being 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. The asthma is experienced by him 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 the place continuously, moving about 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 realized 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 recognize 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. Firstly each of the levels is based on the one deeper to 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 has happened out of nothingness.
It is therefore the basis for energy. The level of energy in turn forms the basis for sensation, but 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, color etc. When this experience materializes 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, till 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.
The levels and potency selection:
Potency Physical symptoms experienced
– Level 1 (Gross pathology) 6C, 12C Diagnosis , Pathology
– Level 2 30C Local symptoms (Location, sensations,
– Level 3 200C Concomitants, General effects of
– Level 4 1M *N E I symptoms, cravings, sleep,
– Level 5 10M General sensations, affections.
– Level 6 (Least pathology) 50M General movements and patterns
*NEI = Neuro-endocrine-immune axis.
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 it’s 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 for 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.
Homoeopathic remedies are prepared from plant/animal/mineral sources among others, and when these substances are potentized 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 some 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:
Question: So what exactly is happening?
Level 2: Fact
– What it is
– Fact qualified
Question : How do you feel ? How does this affect 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? One situation that had a big effect on you ? How did that feel like?
Level 4 Delusion
– The situation
– How it is experienced?
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 and the new method of case taking will be better understood from the following case:
This forty-eight year old man first consulted me on 19.11.’02. His main complaint was an orbital hemangioma for which he was advised surgery. He describes the problem during the interview. The consultation took place in my clinic in the midst of a clinical training course attended by fifteen homoeopaths from different parts of the world. The interview follows:
D: Describe your problem in as much detail as possible.
P: In the middle of September I observed a growth at the corner of my right eye. I was told it had something to do with a growth and I went for a CAT scan on the 18th of September. They said that it was a well-defined tumor, non malignant, so no hurry to have it done. Then I went and met the neurosurgeon who said that it is a rare thing and has five percent possibility of malignancy. (He talks about the problem without any apparent anxiety, seems quite calm, objective and matter-of-fact about the whole thing.)
My boss’s brother is a cardiac specialist, who suggested that I let it calm down, that I may have had this for some period of time already. But he went on to say that this is a time -bomb, that it may explode and suggested that I get it out completely. I’m a little confused hearing all these different assessments. The last fellow I saw said that he had done such hemangiomas before. ( Level I: name/diagnosis.)
My eyes are a little more red. No blurring of the vision and my eye movements are normal.
I’m diabetic, which was discovered ten years ago. Only when I had a myocardial infarction two years ago was I admitted to the hospital, and now I’m more regular in my treatment. I am trying to be more regular.
I have a stressful job, which requires me to travel at short notice. I enjoy it as well, working fourteen hours a day often. It’s an exciting job, where you see things happening. We do projects in other countries. The fact that my marriage is broken probably gives me a lot of time to invest in my work and business.
They say there’s no indication of my having had a myocardial infarction. I quit smoking for a year. Now I’m back to my usual lifestyle. I’m not unhappy about it.
D: Tell more about this eye problem?
P: I thought at first that it was a stye. I could feel it moving a little. In the morning it almost vanished into the orbit. I must say I was worried until many doctors said it was probably not malignant. So I think I’m comfortable and that took a lot of pressure off my mind, knowing it’s not likely to be malignant. It’s not caused me any discomfort unless I eat ice cream too quickly. I do self-checks several times a day to see how it is.
(Level II: fact But here there is no sensation with regard to the chief complaint, only redness. To go further one would ask about the effect of the problem on him
D: What do you feel about it now?
P: I feel it should come out. I think the redness also came out more because of drops I put in the eye. I had a major presentation and I put too many drops
D: So what effect does this have on you, this eye problem?
P: Quite honestly only that I know it’s there, but if I don’t do it it might encroach; it might encroach or encircle the optic nerve. So I’m scared. When I think of it logically it worries me. Other than heaviness of the eye. (Level III: emotion, viz. fear. There are two things to be noted here: 1.Even though there is fear he seems quite composed and matter-of-fact about it. 2. One has to understand this fear.)
D: Describe this fear a little more, of this encroaching?
P: I don’t want to contribute to my condition worsening by my becoming complacent. I also fear because my profession requires me to speak and interact and if my eyes are not coordinating.
I’m in a position of responsibility. I am a part of the executive. It requires a certain level of personal appearance, a certain need for confidence, which has to do with physical well-being and your appearance. I don’t want to lose that. (The fear is of losing the level of personal appearance, health and confidence required in his job. His job is one of responsibility and where he is required to speak and interact. The effect of the eye problem seems to be on his perceived role.)
D: Tell more about this level of personal appearance and confidence?
P: I have a need to look good, to be well dressed, to be well groomed. Whatever I had before I achieved this position had to be perfect and I took time making sure this was done. How you are perceived and how you look all has to do with your level of confidence. Appearances have to be in line with how you do in the corporate world.
If I was to be driving a taxi and the police rules said that you have to have a clean uniform then out of the need to be correct I would have the most clean, spotless uniform of every taxi driver in Bombay. Everything has to be perfectly polished, my shoes, socks etc. Everything has to be coordinated. (There is the need to be perfect and coordinated. He uses the word coordinated with regard to the eye problem as well as his work. This should be explored further.)
D: What do you mean by coordinated?
P: It must go with what I have. So I mean having everything in harmony that is adjusted to each other.
D: What is the opposite of that?
P: Turbulence, chaos. (It would have seemed that coordinated had to do with personal appearance. But when one asks him what the opposite is interestingly he says turbulence and chaos. Turbulence and chaos, coordinated and perfect, have to do with the cancer miasm. If it was specific to personal appearance he might have said something like not well groomed or unkempt.) The net effect is poor. Speaks of casualness, of not having an eye for detail, maybe not having any spirit.
To me it would be uncertainty, undefined, lack of purpose, no spirit, not having given enough thought, not having tried, cared, bothered, not having harmony, coordination, balance.
D: Give some example of lack of purpose, undefined?
P: When people don’t spend enough time; it could be with work. It could be picking up the first socks that come out. Similarly you don’t prepare yourself enough for the work you do, no need to excel. ‘Let’s see what happens’ kind of attitude. While I will allow things to happen, but without a due effort in anything I do. For a presentation before the chairman most people would want to spend five or six hours preparing, but I would want to think about it from his perspective.
So I would prepare for this meeting exceedingly thoroughly. What perspective does he need to see and then I will work on that relentlessly till I see what he needs and then I will spend time crafting it till there’s not much more than I can do. (The need for coordination and perfection is also there with regard to his work and presentations. If it is there in all areas in his life he will need Carcinosin. If it is confined to a specific area he will need another remedy of the cancer miasm.)
D: What’s the effect of that on you?
P: Stress, tension. It can also be excitement. One does these types of presentations six or ten times a year. It’s like performance. An artist cannot rehearse enough. Overly need to prepare, to go deeper in detail and see if from my points of view and it’s not superficial. Whatever I have to say has to be something that’s reliable, that’s coming from a level of authority and understanding.
D: Tell about the stress?
P: Not being well enough prepared, that I need to continue with my success from the past and most important that I do not fail. It is like a child taking the hands off the handle-bars and saying, “Look mom.” The pleasure of accomplishing and the attention he gets. (He needs to perform and accomplish in order to get attention. One has now to understand the quality and degree of this performance.)