There is nothing quite as life-altering as being told you don't have long to live. It’s impossible to imagine what that must be like.
Over the years, I’ve felt the pain and suffering of thousands of patients but I have to say that looking at someone suffering from AIDS is the most soul-stirring. Kunal Joshi told me what it felt like.
I will never forget his words… “What is the point living? Why should I trouble others for months and months?”
Kunal’s haunted and hunted look, and his empty eyes said it all. His body was in the process of breaking down. It had been four years already. But even more alarming, his Mind had also given up. And when the Mind gives up, the body will necessarily follow suit.
That is the sad reality of patients suffering from HIV and AIDS. Kunal’s was a case of full-blown AIDS. What can be worse than a body attacking itself? Why would the human body wage a war against itself when self-preservation is the very driving force of life? What makes the human body self-destruct?
The answer lies in the extremely subtle and complex interplay between Mind and body. On the physical level, Kunal’s condition actually has very little to do with the HIV virus, or for that matter, any virus. At the very centre of our health and well-being, both physical and mental, is the immune system.
For most people, the immune system is something that is weak when we are unwell. And when our “immunity builds up”, we begin to recover. Although that is correct, it is wrong to believe that the sole purpose of the immune system is to “keep illness at bay and to fight infection”. In fact, the mechanical view of the human body perpetuated by conventional medicine leads some to erroneously believe that illness weakens our immunity when it is actually the other way around!
Apart from fending off infections and devouring pathogens that invade our body, the immune system plays a vital role in keeping us alive. That is because its primary function is to defend. If we had no defences, we would not be alive and ticking.
At any given moment, every human being is defending at two parallel levels – physical and mental. But what are we constantly defending against? At the physical level, the immune system battles pathogens and chemicals such as toxins that make us sick. It mops up harmful substances in the bloodstream, kills potent microorganisms, transports toxins to the liver to be neutralised before elimination, and generally keeps our organs healthy. It essentially defends against biological breakdown.
Just like the body, at the mental level too – and this relevant in the homeopathic context – the Mind is constantly and reflexively defending. And, believe it or not, our psychological and mental defences too depend on how our immune system behaves and its state of health.
But why is the mind constantly in defensive mode? This may seem like an extreme statement but, indeed, we build our perception of the world and live our lives as a reaction to perceived threats – loss of love, financial insecurity, feeling unwanted, feelings of inadequacy, abuse and trauma, fear of losing respect, etc – that we harbour deep in our subconscious minds. When the mind and body sense a vulnerability, there is an instinctive and innate need to defend. It is the law of survival.
We each one of us builds elaborate mental defences, weaves intricate thought processes and designs personality systems to protect ourselves against our core sensitivities. Since most of our psychological injuries and weaknesses take root in infancy and early childhood, they are largely subconscious but they stay with us for the rest of our lives.
It is these core issues and the unique way in which each individual experiences them that I call Key Sensitivity. The next step for the homeopath to discover how exactly the patient has defended their Key Sensitivities.
To link this to our material state… As is the case with pathogens, our brain interprets emotional complexes too as ‘threats’ and calls upon our immune system to start ‘defending’. Thus, physical as well as emotional defences draw on our immune capabilities. And since our key and core issues persist throughout our lives, imagine the toll they take on the immune system.
It is the immune system, along with its complex interaction with the brain, that mediates between Mind and body. It is, in fact, where Mind and body neurologically and biochemically intersect. Thus, it is not only our physical state but our underlying emotional and mental health that depend on our immune system.
The quest of the homeopath is to find the right remedy for each patient, and this right remedy does nothing but optimise the patient’s immune system – because a healthy and strong immune system keeps the mind healthy. For the layperson reading this blog, make no mistake, it is not possible to optimise and strengthen your immunity via chemical drugs, no matter how cleverly they are marketed. And food supplements and vitamins can go only so far. But imagine your mind and body being in a state of optimal health, and then living and eating healthy. Isn’t that an enviable place to be? Homeopathy not only cures disease; it also restores the balance within mind and body and helps you be the healthiest person you can be.
But what is it like to have no hope of living and wait helplessly for death to come a-calling? Millions of people around the world are routinely led to believe by conventional medicine that the HIV virus is a killer. Am I saying it is not?
The initial clips are in Marathi but following this, the patient narrates his case in English. Homeopaths can click here for the Case Analysis
Kunal was a 36-year-old who was diagnosed with AIDS four years before he came to my clinic. He was an ambitious man, who had always dreamt of doing something worthwhile with his life. He wanted to “become someone” (his Key Sensitivity) and enjoy a secure social standing.
Kunal was unable to fulfil his deep-seated need to “become someone”. The best he could do was land a modest job in a telecom company. Adding insult to (perceived) injury was his wife’s constant nagging. She said he could have done much better with his career. She also claimed he didn’t look after the family as he should have nor did he care for her and their children enough. His wife made Kunal feel like failure, which only built on his feelings of inadequacy.
All this gnawed away at Kunal, day after agonising day, weakening his immune system over the years. He finally contracted the HIV virus, presumably from sexual encounters outside his marriage.
When Kunal came to my clinic, his nervous system was a wreck. He could barely speak, he couldn’t walk properly, his vision had diminished greatly, and he did not have full bladder and bowel control. Kunal was taking as many as 17 different drugs but he still grew weaker. The side-effects of these drugs were phenomenal. Worse, Kunal had hidden his condition at work and from people at large. But he lost his job anyway as he was too sick to continue.
Despite his attempts to conceal his condition, there was always a possibility that people would get to know the truth. Apart from being a “failure in life” and as a “husband and father”, he now faced possible social stigma and rejection. This was the third and final blow in an area of Key Sensitivity.
I treated Kunal for 8 months, and the improvement in his health was dramatic. All the difficulties mentioned above had reversed themselves. His health improved to the point where he was able to work again. The last time we spoke, Kunal said he had landed a new job and was excited about getting back to leading a “normal life”.
Note: There was a point during treatment, when Kunal suffered extreme skin eruptions. This was an excellent sign as the toxins in his body – imagine the toxic build-up in an AIDS patient in addition to the by-products of the allopathic medication – were expelling themselves from his system. This is called the Healing Crisis, sometimes dubbed as “getting worse before you get better”.
The skin eruptions were so severe that the blisters burst, his skin cracked and Kunal bled. Usually, skin eruptions that occur during a healing crisis do not break the surface but Kunal was in an extremely destructive or Syphilitic stage when he came to me. His Miasm had not yet reversed to Sycosis or Psora when the boils and blisters appeared.
But the key question remains: Why had Kunal come to a point where his body was unable to defend itself any more? Note: This is not only the case with AIDS but happens with people who contract any serious illness (unless, of course, the body is under sustained chemical or toxic assault or you live in a radiation zone, which eventually will overwhelm the immune system).
Kunal’s downslide began some time before he fell sick. The cumulative effect of feeling like a failure finally took its toll till Kunal’s immune system could defend him no more. His Mind had unwittingly chipped away at his immune system, ironically causing both Mind had to cave in.
Here are some fingertip facts:
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