In the last two weeks, we discussed the first two phases of the evolution of the student practitioner. In this last part, we will explain the third and final phase of this journey to becoming a homeopath. Once that decision has been made to embrace the journey and commit to becoming a homeopath, the student practitioner begins the evolution to practitioner. As a student practitioner, the challenges are great and the biggest challenge is yourself.
The journey to being a homeopath is fraught with highs and lows, successes and failures. Because this journey is not a straight line, it is easy to get bogged down in self-reproach and defeat. I see this end in much frustration for students. The desire to know it all right now is great. This can lead to many disappointments. I encourage my students to be loving, kind, and forgiving to themselves. Never will everything there is to know be learned. It is an ongoing process. So this third phase somewhat lasts forever. It is good to get comfortable with not knowing and now is the time to get started.
The challenges of learning the repertory and Materia Medica are best approached in small bites. The time to study is especially important after the case has been worked on. This is the time to really spend looking up the rubrics that you didn't know existed and learned in the new case. Each time you open the repertory, you will learn something. You do not need a photographic memory. The mind has a wonderful way of logging information that is scanned. And when studying different rubrics, there will be information that gets logged into the mind that will arise when one least expects it. When seeing a case in the future, there may be a silent urge or even a memory of having seen the rubric you are looking for before. This happens all of the time. If the Repertory is not used, it won't be learned. It is that simple.
Now is also the time to read about the remedies that have been prescribed or considered for the case. This is the time that Materia Medica study will be relevant. I find that dry reading of remedies can be interesting but rarely does it create the ability to recall or remember. Seeing cases is really the way to learn Materia Medica and about remedies. The case will bring certain aspects of the Materia Medica alive. Especially focus on the general introduction about the remedy and the mind section. These will give a description of the major aspects of the remedy and the general energy. Look at the sensations and the organs that the remedy effects. This will start to give an essence or flavor to the remedy. I find Vermuellen's Prisma to be one of the very best Materia Medicas available. It is a great source for getting the highlights of the remedy and valuable information about the substance.
Continuing to work on cases is the most important way to grow as a homeopath. The student practitioner should see as many cases as they can. This is the time to really get proficient. There is no substitute for experience. The challenge for every homeopath is to know what is asking to be healed and seeing cases is the best way to develop this art. Finding rubrics and getting the remedies is really secondary to this...always. If we do not know what is asking to be healed, we do not have a case. It is as simple as that. Seeing and working on cases is vital to the development of the student practitioner. This is where they will have the opportunity to develop their own art in case receiving.
The best tool that a homeopath has is themselves. They are the tool. This tool needs to be sharpened and honed and polished. This happens during cases. The emotions that come up around case receiving and the process of coming to a remedy are enormous. Every student homeopath will struggle with themselves. Their prejudice is usually the last thing they will see. Long before that they will experience impatience, having the need to know, self-reproach, and feeling of inadequacy. All of these need to be met with loving acceptance. Let the dedication to becoming a homeopath continue to lead the way. The time spent in self-condemnation will not be that beneficial. If the beginner's mind and enthusiasm can be retained and cultivated, it makes the journey much easier and enjoyable. It is good to keep in mind that someday the confidence will be settled and the anxiety around cases will fall away. This does take time though. Time spent in front of clients and doing cases. It amounts to experience.
The third phase of the student practitioner ends when the student knows deep in their heart that they have arrived. They have confidence and are not continually being frustrated by the process of receiving cases. When the settled feeling of knowing-ness arrives it is time to continue the journey of learning but one can say, "I am a homeopath." When this can be said with confidence and no ego attachment then the time has come. We will never know all there is to know. It is not the tests that give us a credential that determines whether we are ready to be a homeopath. It is an evolution in our being that is recognized by a calm and centered place; a loving and open place inside ourselves and for our clients. One of non-attachment. One that is not frustrated by the process. Every case is different. Every homeopath is different. So each homeopath's greatest need is to know thyself. This last phase is best summed up by this. "Physician, know thyself." It is a lifelong process.
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