Dictionaries define the word ‘balance’ in terms of equilibrium, calmness, and equal distribution – concepts which are key to happiness and healing.
It is often said that the Bach flower remedies work by restoring balance to the personality and emotions. In other words, they help to convert an unduly negative state of mind into its more positive counterpart. The first two remedies discovered by Dr Bach provide clear illustrations of this: Mimulus to promote courage instead of fear, and the aptly-named Impatiens to promote patience for those with an impatient nature. Some more detailed examples:
Beech: people in the negative Beech state can be critical, intolerant, judgemental and arrogant. The remedy helps them to realise their positive potential of feeling a sense of compassion and unity with others.
Centaury: those in the negative Centaury state find it hard to say ‘no’, and are so anxious to please that they continually let themselves be imposed upon, to their own detriment. In the positive state, though still willing to be of service, they can also fulfil their own needs and follow their own path.
Gorse: the negative state is one of hopelessness and despair, such as is often felt by those who suffer from a chronic illness from which they see no prospect of recovery. The positive potential is a sense of faith and hope, the willingness to try new treatments and the ability to find some positive aspects in the experience of adversity.
Balance is a key concept in relation to holistic healing for medical conditions. Besides emotional balance, this includes balance with regard to lifestyle, and to decisions about the management of illness. However, some people approach it in a quite unbalanced way. For example they may refuse a highly effective orthodox treatment because of their idealogical commitment to ‘natural’ therapies. I gave a few other examples in my book Persons not Diseases. To quote:
‘Some enthusiasts lose their sense of balance by going to extremes which do more harm than good, for example following strict diets which lead to emaciation, nutritional deficiencies or eating disorders; taking excellent care of their physical bodies, but continuing to live with the stress caused by an unhappy marriage or work situation; meditating for many hours each day but not taking any exercise or brushing their teeth properly; spending their life savings on some new ‘miracle therapy’ which has not been properly tested; or becoming so obsessed with health-related issues that they neglect other domains of life relating to work and leisure, home and garden, finances, relationships with family and friends, and spirituality.’
The Bach remedy Vervain can be helpful in curbing the over-enthusiasm of people like this, who are often highly strung, fanatical over-achievers determined to convert others to their own fixed principles and ideas. In the positive Vervain state, while still idealistic and energetic, they are more flexible and relaxed, and can appreciate Dr Bach’s statement that ‘It is by being rather than doing that great things are accomplished’.