Sunday 25 September 2016


2016-39  Dr Edward Bach: Selecting Flower Remedies

Selecting Flower Remedies

Dr Bach wanted his system to be easy to use. Anyone can select and take remedies without professional advice. You don't need special techniques or mystical abilities. Here's what to do.

Physical problems

Suppose you are suffering from asthma. There is no Bach remedy for asthma, since this is a physical complaint. So the first step is to forget about the physical problem. Instead of concentrating on the asthma, think about how you feel emotionally, and about the sort of person you are.
Similarly, when it comes to selecting Bach remedies you should ignore any physical symptoms. They are not relevant to which Bach remedies you need.
The remedies work on a emotional level. If you need help with a physical problem you should consult a qualified medical advisor in addition to taking Bach remedies.

Your current feelings

Start by thinking about the way you feel at the moment. Perhaps your son is about to start school and quite without cause you are frightened that he will be bullied? - Red Chestnut is the remedy for the fear that something bad will happen to loved ones. Perhaps you have been working too hard and are exhausted? - this would indicate the need for Olive.
Consult the list of remedies - there are only 38 - and see which ones best match your current feelings.
If you do have a physical problem, consider how it makes you feel emotionally. Do you feel frustrated, annoyed, resentful, discouraged, resigned about the condition? Are you always thinking it about it? Does it make you feel anxious?
As before, look through the list of remedies and find those that best match how you feel.

Your personality

You could also think about your basic personality - the sort of person you are underneath everything else.
Perhaps you are someone who tends to be quiet, shy and timid, and doesn't like meeting new new people? - This might indicate that you are a Mimulus type.
On the other hand, maybe you recognise yourself as a Vervain person, full of enthusiasm and energy, and committed to justice for others? 

Or you might be something of a loner, liking quiet pursuits and your own company, reserved and upright? - That would be a Water Violet personality.
Don't worry if you can't find a personality remedy right away, though. The important thing is to select remedies for your current emotions.

Narrowing the choice

You can select up to five different remedies [Rescue Remedy is a combination of Star of B, Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis and Cherry Plum] in this way. Don't worry if you make a wrong selection, because if a remedy is not needed it won't do anything - it certainly won't make things worse.
Experience has shown, however, that too many remedies taken at one time tends to lessen the effect. This means that there is no point mixing all 38 to zap everything at once!
If you find you have more than seven or eight remedies in your mix, you are probably including some that are not needed. Leave out any that relate to feelings that are in the past, and any that aren't really needed because another remedy is more accurate.
For example, if you have several fear remedies in your mix - such as Mimulus,AspenRock Rose - it may be better to concentrate on the remedy that most accurately represents the quality of your anxiety.

Getting help

There is a full list of remedies on this web site; links lead to individual pages on each remedy. We also have a guide to dosage.
If you need some help to get started, or if you get stuck and would like an outside opinion, you can always consult a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner. BFRPs act as teachers and advisors, and will give you the confidence to select remedies for yourself, and for your family and friends.

Sunday 18 September 2016


2016-38  Noble Nature:  Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson [1572-1637]
Benjamin ["Ben"] Johnson (1572–1637) was an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic of the 17th century, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy.  He is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, after William Shakespeare. Johnson’s first widely acclaimed play, Every Man in His Humour, included William Shakespeare in its cast. Jonson was a classically educated, well-read and cultured man of the English Renaissance whose cultural influence was of unparalleled breadth upon the playwrights and the poets of his time. 

The Noble Nature
Ben Johnson [1572-1637]    

A tree 300-year old

It is not growing like a tree 
     In bulk, doth make man better be; 
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, 
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere: 
A lily of a day
          A lily of a day           Is fairer far in May,      Although it fall and die that night—      It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures life may perfect be.

Analysis of the poem "The Noble Nature" by Ben Johnson
What makes us better as people? What makes us happier or gives our transient moments of wakefulness a lasting significance? Johnson's poem, extracted from a longer Ode, offers a pithy reply one rooted in commonsense rather than irony, punning or stylistic innovation, but no less profound for that. He compares an old tree with a lily that blooms and fades in a day.
Johnson says that we're not made better by mere "bulk" or "standing long." In other words, earthly power is irrelevant and so is mere endurance. Even the "three hundred year" oak, so strong in its prime, becomes "dry, bald and sere." 
The image of the tree chopped into firewood may symbolize being sacrificed to doing; beauty sacrificed to utilitarian purpose. Certainly, the next image brings to mind the Biblical injunction against needless work: "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin." The lily or Eastern lotus is a flame of quiet joy in a world of duty, distraction, and war.
As we read through the poem, we are drawn into a range of speculations. Do we prize use or beauty, quantity of time or quality? Could the tree represent the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden? By preferring the "lily" that "falls and dies" in one night, bringing to mind the fall of man and our entry into history, is Jonson suggesting that we are better off as outcasts from paradise? 
Although we so often long for utopia, once we got there we might well die of boredom. What reconciles time and eternity? Put together, the image of the "flower of light" and the notion that in "short measures life may perfect be" and we have a very good definition of an epiphany. This is a shining forth of reality. As Stephen Daedalus puts it in James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: "The three things requisite for beauty are integrity, a wholeness, symmetry and radiance. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance."
What shines forth for us, even in "small proportions," is the sight of "just beauties." Here "just" means correctly proportioned. It gestures toward the idea of there being some kind of unchanging and unchangeable mathematical law made manifest in the frailest thing, whether a tulip or a blade of grass, as well as the vast spiraling patterns of planets and galaxies.
Johnson's poem is, itself, justly proportioned. Woven together by rhyming couplets, it expands and contracts organically, sound and sense in one breath. The meter is iambic, with the beat falling on every second syllable, carrying us forward. The opening lines contain four beats, but as the poem describes the growing "three hundred year" tree, another beat is added. As our attention is brought to the fleeting "lily," the lines shorten to three beats. The poem then lengthens, until we end with an emphatic iambic pentameter. Through this varying meter, what might have seemed trite is given a more surprising, and thus more persuasive, lilt.
What do we conclude? Our four score years and ten are indeed a short measure in the music of time. Most of our time is wasted in doubt and pointless activity punctuated by tragedy: The crushed ambition, the silly squabble that turns into a family feud, and the agony of bereavement. Yet when we least expect it, there is a sudden moment of grace a moment that bathes the mystery of life in the light of perfection. It could be a look, a lightning flash, this poem. 

YouTubeAudio: Ben Johnson's "Noble Nature":

Sunday 11 September 2016


2016-37  NATURE:  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Composed of an introduction and eight chapters, Nature, Emerson’s first book, contains all the fundamental ideas that were to be developed at length later in his life. The dominant theme of this work—the harmony between humans and nature—also became the theoretical basis of many literary works composed after it in the nineteenth century United States.


[Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE. Nature, in the common sense, refers to essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf.]

...All natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood. When we speak of nature in this manner, we have a distinct but most poetical sense in the mind. We mean the integrity of impression made by manifold natural objects. It is this which distinguishes the stick of timber of the wood-cutter, from the tree of the poet. 

The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men's farms, yet to this their warranty-deeds give no title. To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing.

The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, — he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue.

Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair.

Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, — master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.

The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.

Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both. It is necessary to use these pleasures with great temperance. For, nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume and glittered as for the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy today. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. To a man laboring under calamity, the heat of his own fire hath sadness in it. Then, there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the population.

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson: [Click Here]

Sunday 4 September 2016


2016-36  Naladiyar Chapter 14: Learning

The Nāladiyār  is a Tamil classic treating of virtue, wealth and love, containing 400 quatrains composed by Jaina ascetics. Every poem deals with morals and ethics, extolling righteous behaviour. Here, we analyse the chapter [14] on Learning.

Analysis:  [from Rev. G.U.Pope's translation of Naladiyar]

1. Learning is the chief ornament of man; and this, because it gives a sense of equity, and enlightens his conscience. [131.]

2. It has four special advantages, and is the remedy for unwisdom. [132.]

3. It dignifies men whatever their place of birth. [133]

4. It has three special advantages, and is the best legacy a man can leave to
his children. [134.]

5. It requires discrimination. [135.]

6. It is to be respected wherever found. [136.]

7. The pleasures of learned converse are surpassingly great; [137]

8. and these increase with enjoyment. [138.]

9. Association with the learned gives wisdom even to the foolish. [139]

10. But not worldly knowledge merely is to be sought, true wisdom is needful. [140.]

CHAPTER 14.--Learning. [from Rev F.J. Leeper's translation of Naladiyar]

   1. The beauty of the hair, and the beauty of the encircling garment, and the beauty of saffron is no beauty; the beauty of learing is (real) beauty, for it is decisive of our mental excellence. 131

   2. Since learning even in this life will be beneficial, since when it is imparted to others it is not diminished, since it renders its possessors illustrious, since they who have it during life suffer no loss, we see no medicine like it which destroys delusion.  132

   3. Wise people take the salt produced in a barren soil to be more valuable than the rice of a fertile soil. Though they be of the lowest station, people who have acquired learning will be put in the chief place. 133

   4. From the place in which it is stored up it cannot be stolen. It can suffer no harm, though to that place fire should come. Though very glorious kings rage, they cannot sear it. Therefore wisdom, and nothing else, is what one who intends to lay up an inheritance for his children should acquire.  134

   5. Learning has no bounds; the students' days are few. Would they calmly reflect, diseases are many. Let them carefully investigate and make themselves acquainted with those things which are essential, making a good choice like the swan, which drinks the milk and leaves the water.  135

   6. They will not despise the boatman because he is at the lower end among the old castes. Lo, by his assistance they pass the river! And like this is getting advantage through the help of a man who has learned books.  136

   7. Let me see whether the joy of associating with those who possess the qualities which are derived from indestructible ancient learning, who are without hatred and also very acute, be not as sweet as dwelling in Amravuti, the city of the gods, in the wide expanse of heaven.  137

   8. Lord of the cool shore of the roaring ocean! the friendship of those who have acquired learning is like eating sugar-cane from the top (downwards). Attachment to those who are graceless and destitute of good qualities is like eating it from the root (upwards), having rejected the top.  138

   9. Though unlearned, if they walk in the society of the learned they will daily acquire good understanding, as a new (earthen) vessel by contact with the bright-coloured Padiri flower gives (its scent) to the water itself.  139

   10. If a man learn ever so much, instead of studying the books of wisdom, the reading of worldly books is all of the nature of mere noise: there are none who can discover from them the way to rid themselves of sorrow.  140

Source Text with Tamil Commentary by Ilavazhaganar for a few gems among these
[quatrains 131, 135 and 140]:

131       குஞ்சி யழகும் கொடுந்தானைக் கோட்டழகும்
மஞ்சள் அழகும் அழகல்ல - நெஞ்சத்து
நல்லம்யாம் என்னும் நடுவு நிலைமையால்
கல்வி அழகே அழகு.

(பொ-ள்.)குஞ்சி அழகும் கொடு தானைக் கோடு அழகும் மஞ்சள் அழகும் அழகு அல்ல - மயிர்முடியின் அழகும் வளைத்து உடுக்கப்படும் ஆடையின் கரையழகும் மஞ்சட் பூச்சின் அழகும் மக்கட்கு முடிந்த அழகுகள் அல்ல; நெஞ்சத்து நல்லம் யாம் என்னும் நடுவுநிலைமையால் கல்வி அழகே அழகு - நாம் நல்லமாக ஒழுகுகின்றோம் என்று தம் மனம் அறிய உண்மையாக உணரும் ஒழுக்கத்தைப் பயத்தலால் மக்கட்குக் கல்வியழகே உயர்ந்த அழகாகும்.

(க-து.)நல்லொழுக்கம் பயக்கும் கல்வியே மக்கட்கு உயர்வான அழகாகும்.

135    கல்வி கரையிலகற்பவர் நாள்சில;
     மெல்ல நினைக்கின் பிணிபல; - தெள்ளிதின்
     ஆராய்ந் தமைவுடைய கற்பவே நீரொழியப்
     பாலுண் குருகின் தெரிந்து.

(பொ-ள்.) கல்வி கரை இல -கல்விகள் அளவில்லாதனகற்பவர் நாள் சில -ஆனால்,
கற்பவர் வாழ்நாட்களோ சிலவாகும்மெல்லநினைக்கின் பிணி பல - சற்று அமைதியாக
நினைத்துப்பார்த்தால் அச் சில வாழ்நாட்களில்பிணிகள் பலவாயிருக்கின்றன;
தெள்ளிதின்ஆராய்ந்து அமைவுடைய கற்ப நீர் ஒழியப் பால்உண்குருகின் தெரிந்து - 
நீர்நீங்கப் பாலைஉண்ணும் பறவையைப்போல அறிஞர்கள்பொருத்தமுடைய
ரிந்து அவற்றைத் தெளிவுகொள்ளஆராய்ந்து கற்பார்கள்.

(-து.) தக்க மெய்ந்நூல்களையேதெரிந்து தெளிவாகக் கற்றல் வேண்டும்.

140   அலகுசால் கற்பின் அறிவுநூல் கல்லா(து)
     உலகநூ லோதுவ தெல்லாங் - கலகல
     கூஉந் துணையல்லாற் கொண்டு தடுமாற்றம்
     போஒந் துணையறிவா ரில்.

(பொ-ள்.) அலகுசால் கற்பின்அறிவுநூல் கல்லாது உலகநூல் ஒதுவதெல்லாம் -
அளவமைந்த கருவிக் கல்வியினால் ஞானநூல்களைக்கற்று மெய்ப்பயன் பெறாமல் 
உலக வாழ்வுக்குரியவாழ்க்கை நூல்களையே எப்போதும் ஓதிக்கொண்டிருப்பது
கலகலகூம் துணையல்லால்கலகல என்றுஇரையும் அவ்வளவேயல்லால்
கொண்டுதடுமாற்றம்போம் துணை அறிவார் இல்-அவ் வுலக நூலறிவு கொண்டு
பிறவித்தடுமாற்றம் நீங்கு முறைமையைஅறிகின்றவர் யாண்டும் இல்லை.

(-து.) கருவிக் கல்வி கொண்டுமெய்யுணர்வுக் கல்வி பெறுதலே,நோக்கமாதல்வேண்டும்.