Sometimes I look back on my adolescent years and I remember the voice in my head that would pop up every now and then. It would say to me, sometimes in more of a feeling than concrete words: “Well, don’t worry, you are doing what you’re doing now, but something will happen to you at age 25. It will make sense then.” It was a rather neutral voice, and it spoke in a calm and confident manner. It did not have a stern, chastising tone of intense warning, nor did it speak in a particularly comforting and serene way. It was a voice that spoke from behind me, not in front of me, not along side me–it felt like a voice that was waiting in the wings, watching me without judgement, being very patient. Every once in a while it would speak to me from its place of hiding. I never paid too much attention to it, or sought to engage in a conversation with it, or really contemplate it at all. Rather, I would hear it, accept it, then move on without further thought. Amidst a time when my health was declining, both physically and spiritually, this voice somehow served as a protective force, because I knew that I would someday be okay, that this time period was actually quite necessary.
During those years I never paid much attention to anything divine or spiritual. Organized religion had never resonated with me in the slightest, and at the time I didn’t equate my previous childhood interests in the vastness of our universe and “where do we go when we die?” as anything particularly mystical or “out there”. I didn’t understand that the thirst for knowing how things were connected, the big “Why?” to anything and everything, was the process of approaching reality in a wholistic and dynamic way. Children often possess this innate capacity to think functionally and creatively, which is the basis for true scientific inquiry and progress.
As I grew older, whenever I looked toward that “mystical” door to ask the bigger questions about the meaning of life, I would turn my back. I believed that there was a grand purpose to things, but for the time being I was concerned more with whether my performance in school was going to allow me to achieve material success in this lifetime. I was quite confident that reality was found by looking at what I saw in the material world, and listening to what I was taught. This was re-inforced by being rewarded in school for an apparently well-functioning brain that was able to comprehend and compute the information given. A higher purpose didn’t seem to matter. The questions at hand were to be answered by looking at the world right in front of me–and I was encouraged to do so by the educational institutions I attended: “Explore the world!” Seize it! The true question is, what world? Explore through which lense? The socially accepted and politically correct one? Or the one beyond the doors that I hadn’t opened yet? I was very secure in believing that what I heard in the popular collective opinion, and what I read from esteemed and trusted sources was true–I didn’t need to look outside of this to find truth or fulfill my desires. In fact, I didn’t even contemplate it. The funny thing is, this is when I started to hear that distant voice, almost as if “I” had split away from “it.”
As I moved forward through my teens and into my early 20’s, I became increasingly un-well. I struggled with mild depression, which was getting worse. I found solace in partying, and also in rigorous athletics–both allowed me to get out of my head. I needed them to suppress a great deal of anxiety due to being cut-off from trusting in the universe and listening to my intuition. I had de-activated my healthy desire function, which had propelled me with curiosity and purpose in my childhood years. My body began to fail me, as I developed food allergies and debilitating chronic fatigue. I remember generally feeling okay about things in college, but needing to take 3-4 hour naps almost daily because I was weak, dizzy, and unable to concentrate. At the time I was still performing quite well as a college athlete, and as a student, but my ability to function was dwindling. It didn’t make sense to me, and I began to wonder if there was something really wrong.
I had my first bout of significant hair-loss around age 20, and my gastro-intestinal symptoms began to worsen. I went to a well-renowned Functional Medicine doctor, who ran tests for hormone imbalances, Lyme, and food allergies. The only thing she could find was a gluten sensitivity and a mild dairy sensitivity. Taking gluten and dairy out of my diet improved my energy, but I still knew I wasn’t well. Why could I eat these things before? What happened? Even the Functional Medicine doctor didn’t have an answer to my questions of “Why? What is the cause here?” I increasingly became frustrated that I also could’t seem to handle small amounts of sugar without having a massive dip in energy. I wanted to do things, and have the energy to do them, but my reserves were so low. I had an almost constant feeling of lactic acid fatigue in my body, which I became used to.
I continued to struggle after college, thinking that perhaps I would just be a sick person forever. I grew resentful and ashamed at my situation, so I began to identify with being un-well, and blaming food, other people, the world, anything really. I started to wonder why therapy and medications were actually serving to make me worse, when I was told these methods would make things better. I couldn’t see outside of the world that I was living in, outside of the information that I was hearing. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and I was certainly on the hamster wheel of insanity, wondering why the “best” that medicine had to offer wasn’t working. As I looked within me, and around me, I grew increasingly aware that perhaps these words of authority weren’t getting us anywhere, and were actually making people sicker. This paradigm was not where I was going to find true health. Yet, I was unable to muster the will to find another way, so I continued to dodge responsibility, trying to convince myself that the person I thought I was and the things that I thought I was supposed to do were in line with my true purpose.
I reached a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I was a shell of the vibrant, inquisitive, honest, authentic person that I had been in childhood, and my body was screaming at me to acknowledge it. And this is where that voice from adolescence finally came forward again. And yes, lo and behold, it was at age 25. It came forward and showed me (with what felt like a swift slap to the face), that I was merely inside a room, and that there were doors on the walls that I had to open. I could explore and try to master that room, and definitely be awarded and applauded by those in it, but it wasn’t all there was. The voice spoke to me, saying to me that staying in that room would continue to make me sick. It wasn’t real, it had no real sunlight, no true oxygen, no soil to walk on, and the solutions within it were simply suppressive masks and band-aids. It was cut off from reality. I was cut off from reality. Like being allergic to mold in a mold-ridden house, to find health, I had to go towards the door and walk outside. I began my journey of truth-seeking.
To improve my overall functioning, I started with cutting out alcohol. I knew that it was serving to keep me from feeling my best, and I doggedly wanted to find solutions to my misery. I didn’t want to participate in the culture of self-medication, and I didn’t want to go down a road of potentially masking who I was. I wanted to find my higher self, see reality clearly, and figure out why I had become un-well; why the world seemed to be un-well. I was still experiencing debilitating chronic fatigue, so I started researching the current system that we live in. I wanted to know about the food, the medicine, the education, all of the things that I ingested, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. I saw the documentary A Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture, which helped to open my eyes as to how my true inner being had been dampened down through modern education to think and perform as a cog in the wheel of materialism, statism, and authoritarianism. I became angry. Really angry. This is what I needed to kick-start me on a new path towards taking personal responsibility for my well-being.
I continued to treat my body really well by nourishing it with very clean and nutritious foods, knowing that simply cutting out wheat and dairy hadn’t been enough. I had researched the food system, learned about GMO’s, synthetic pesticides, chemicals in our water and air, chemicals in our everyday household and beauty products, but I still felt sick. I still yearned for medicine and healing that made sense, and actually attacked the specific root causes. Was the material world and its substances solely to blame for people’s sickness? Were “depression” and “anxiety” to blame for people staying in perpetually destructive cycles? Or was there a deeper cause to them? Was Karma real? I decided to pray, as I had become aware that my intuition and something higher than my ego had been speaking to me for years now. This voice that I had heard years ago, and that had recently spoke to me quite strongly, seemed to be quite benevolent and quite correct, so I decided to talk to it. I told it that I no longer cared what my life was going to look like going forward, that I was ready to see and do whatever was needed to be in line with truth, and to achieve real health. And then, days later, someone recommended something called Heilkunst. I asked her, “What? What is that? What is the modality?” She replied, “It’s more a set of principles than it is a specific modality. You’ll see, just have an open mind.”
So I went to the Heilkunst practitioner, and it’s like I had finally found the place where the puzzle piece was supposed to fit. The answer to “Why? What’s the cause? What IS disease?” was beginning to be answered. I found that disease is not material, it’s not the symptoms, it’s not the name that the allopathic physicians give to the set of symptoms. It’s not something you can hold in your hands, because it’s something that is dynamic, rooted in the super-sensible and expressed in the material, just like we are as beings. This made sense to me, that there were many different things, both material and spiritual, contributing to pathology, and that there was a principled approach to addressing it in a wholistic way. I was at the door, though I was scared to open it, because it would mean that I would have to let go of what I had previously known to be true.
In his work Saving the Appearances-A Study in Idolatry, Owen Barfield gives an analogy about a rainbow when asking the question: What is reality? What is truth?
“Look at a rainbow. While it lasts, it is, or appears to be, a great arc of many colors occupying a position out there in space. It touches the horizon between that chimney and that tree; a line drawn from the sun behind you and passing through your head would pierce the center of the circle of which it is part. And now, before it fades, recollect all you have ever been told about the rainbow and its causes, and ask yourself the question Is it really there? …In a word, reflection will assure you that the rainbow is the outcome of the sun, the raindrops and your own vision.
When I ask of an intangible appearance or representation, Is it really there? I usually mean, is it there independently of my vision? Would it still be there, for instance, if I shut my eyes-if I moved towards or away from it. If this is what you also mean by ‘really there’, you will be tempted to add that the raindrops and the sun are really there, but the rainbow is not.
Does it follow that, as soon as anybody sees a rainbow, there ‘is’ one, or, in other words, that there is no difference between an hallucination or a madman’s dream of a rainbow (perhaps on a clear day) and an actual rainbow? Certainly not. You were not the only one to see that rainbow. You had a friend with you…In short, as far as being really there or not is concerned, the practical difference between a dream or hallucination of a rainbow and an actual rainbow is that, although each is a representation or appearance (that is, something which I perceive to be there), the second is a shared or collective representation.”
Barfield is saying that oftentimes, what we know to be “true” at a given time in history or in our lives, is largely shaped by the perspective of the collective. These “truths” more easily go un-challenged because of the weight that collective opinion holds. The cognitive dissonance that is experienced when challenging these perspectives can be quite strong, for the fear that can come from thinking outside of the respected, accepted norm is akin to death, due to being cast out of the group on which we often depend for survival, safety, and security.
I decided to open the door and continue my Heilkunst treatment, and I am now studying to become a practitioner. Throughout my treatment, I have become more and more comfortable with entertaining the idea that anything I might find, in the external world or within myself, could perhaps be a “rainbow” shaped and supported by the current consciousness of the collective, and that this consciousness has always been evolving throughout the ages. Oftentimes the prevailing concepts of the day, and our current beliefs about ourselves, are like rainbows that end up shifting with perspective and circumstance. We can look at history to see that concepts, theories, and beliefs are a reflection of the collective consciousness at any given time. We can also apply this to our own lives, as we look back and see that what we once believed to be true about ourselves is no longer. With growth often comes discomfort, as we shed the old and step into the new. To strip away belief, we must challenge what we see both within ourselves and in the world. Our world-view is often shaped by our internal beliefs, and vice-versa.
In this blog, I will continue to share more about the transformation of my health during my Heilkunst journey. I will share information on Heilkunst principles and concepts, and practical application of regimen. This blog will serve as a platform for me to reflect upon and communicate what I am studying at the Hahnemann College for Heilkunst, and about the unfolding of truth both internally and externally, which I will do through writing and other art forms. Lastly, I will share resources such as books, movies, art, and writings that have resonated with me.