From the law of similars to the meaning of let like be cured by like
When challenging circumstances enter our lives, particularly illness, our first response is to get as far away from the dis-ease as possible. We want to turn in the opposite direction and run from all the elements that are making us sick. We want it out of our lives, now. While it makes perfect sense to run from something that is threatening us, there is a philosophy of healing that works on the exact opposite principle. It states that the very thing that makes us sick is the same thing that can make us well. The toxin is its own cure. I’m speaking of homeopathy.
Homeopathic medicine has been practiced since the late 1700’s and is a healing intervention I’ve used many times. It’s based on an axiom created by homeopathic pioneer, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann known as the Law of Similar. It means “Let like be cured by like.” Hahnemann believed that by artificially inducing the symptoms caused by a particular condition, the body’s natural healing forces for curing those conditions could be aroused. In its response, the body would seek out and eradicate all causes of the symptoms including the homeopathic substance introduced by the doctor as well as those residing in the patient’s body. The idea is that a substance, which in large quantities will cause a disease, can actually cure the same disease in small doses.
In a similar way, all healing is homeopathic. It’s natural to want to run away from our life traumas through denial or dissociation. The problem with this approach is that the emotional conflicts from these experiences create energetic disturbances inside us that end up making us sick if we ignore them. The cure lies not in running away from the pain of our traumas but toward it. If we can see our pain as a tool and cooperate with it while not letting it consume us; we can use its healing power to inoculate ourselves against what’s actually causing it. When we are brave enough to go to the deeper levels of spiritual healing, we will find healing in our bodies, as well. This can feel difficult if we’re dealing with multiple traumas or when life seems to be heaping one miserable circumstance on us after another. Even at times like these, we can always use our misfortunes as stepping stones to healing. There is an ancient parable that I love which demonstrates this idea perfectly.
“Similar to Homeopathy using that which ails us in a constructive way is the key to healing.”
A farmer owned a donkey that fell into a very deep, dried up well. After many attempts to save the animal, it became clear the task was impossible. So the farmer asked several friends to bring shovels and help him fill in the well. The water had dried up years ago and it was clear the donkey was going to die anyway. As the men began throwing in shovels of dirt, the donkey brayed and panicked. He was being buried alive! Almost immediately, the donkey’s disposition changed, and he became irritated and angry. As each shovel of dirt was hurled onto his back, he shook it off and stomped it under his hooves. After several hours, the men looked into the well and were astonished. By shaking the dirt off his back and stamping it beneath him, the donkey had built up the floor of the well and was now over halfway to the surface. The men continued shoveling until the donkey was finally at ground level, having used what should have buried him as his ticket to freedom.
Using that which ails us in a constructive way is the key to healing. Holding a spider in your hand is the only way to rid yourself of the fear of them. When life throws dirt on you, take a homeopathic approach. Use it. Shake it off but don’t forget to use it as a stepping stone to build yourself back up to where you want to be.
Dr. Habib Sadeghi is the co-founder of Be Hive of Healing, an integrative health center based in Los Angeles. He provides revolutionary healing protocols in integrative, osteopathic, anthroposophical, environmental, and family medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology. He served as an attending Physician and Clinical Facilitator at UCLA-SM Medical Center and is currently a Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Sadeghi is a regular contributor to Goop, CNN, BBC News and TEDx. He is the author of Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss, as well as the foreword to Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, and is the publisher of the health and well-being journal, MegaZEN.