Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease cases begins with a thorough investigation into all aspects of a patient’s life. During the initial interview, the homeopath routinely enquires about dreams (especially childhood dreams, memorable past dreams, recurrent dreams, and nightmares) because dreams have proven to be helpful clinical indicators in many patients’ cases.
The value of dreams lies in their ability to reveal the true state of the patient. People are frequently unaware of aspects of their psyche, fears or delusions (perceptions in mentally healthy people that are not reflective of reality) and are often revealed only through dreams.
As dream interpretation is prone to error and speculation, the homeopath employs dreams in two ways: (i) as symptoms just like any other homeopathic symptom, and (ii) as pointers to the true state of the patient.
Disease is a state of being, which is expressed in many cases as a mental state and as physical symptoms. The mental state is often experienced as stress. Stress does not arise from external realities (though it may seem that way) but from the individual way each one of us perceives our external circumstances.
Stress and conflict comes into play when the external reality differs significantly from one’s individual or inner perception of that reality. In the face of such disparity between inner and outer realities, the unity and harmony within ceases to be possible, and instead the person experiences duality and conflict. He experiences two inner voices: one voice saying ‘what (it actually) is’, the other articulating his inner perception of ‘what is’, which is quite different from the facts of his external reality.
Let us consider the example of a young woman who constantly feels unloved by the whole world. Objectively, she has parents who love her; the company she works for takes good care of her; and yet she dwells on the feeling that nobody loves her. Subjectively, she feels unloved. The voice of outer reality (‘what is’) is contradicted by that of her ‘inner reality’ (i.e., what she perceives to be the case). These two contradictory voices create turmoil and stress at every level in her. Another example would be someone who is well off financially but still believes he is needy and financially insecure.
The key reason for the diagnostic importance of dreams is that much of the conscious reporting of the patient is based on his or her compensated state (‘delusions’). The compensated state also involves funneling of thoughts and behavioral impulses that are appropriate toward more productive or socially acceptable outcomes.
Such restraint and re-channeling of behavior is a cardinal ingredient of any civilized society, but it makes the homeopath’s task of correct diagnosis more difficult. For example, a person with violent impulses may take up yoga, cultivating the peaceful, meditative aspect of the art and speaking at length about values such as inner calm and forgiveness. If asked directly about violent tendencies (i.e., if the homeopath were to suspect this from the patient’s ‘feel’ or appearance) such a person would answer in denial. Yet a reported violent dream might reveal what lies hidden underneath the peaceful outward manner.
Once the true state of the patient is understood, the homeopath can select a homeopathic medicine using the homeopathic principle of Like Cures Like. The remedy selected would be one that reflects the true state (‘one that plays the same song as the true state’). The effect of the remedy over time is to diminish the delusion so that the turmoil and conflict between perception of reality and objective realty ceases. With removal of the inner conflict come removal of stress and its affect on disease.