One of the more insidious spiritual problems of our culture is the lack of a healthy, balanced soul relationship to one's own body. It can show up in numerous ways. Whether it's a sense that the body is "unclean" or impure, that certain bodily functions are disgusting, a preoccupation with physical beauty, adherence to a "life-denying" religion, or even a potentially life-threatening condition like anorexia nervosa, nearly everyone has some difficulty accepting their physical nature. These body-image issues are often a subtle trap along the spiritual path, since it pits one part of yourself against another, destroying the awareness of wholeness that is the soul's goal. Fortunately, the very Nature that we disown provides us help for our dilemma in the guise of flower essences that heal this inner split.
It may seem unusual to describe body-image issues as spiritual problems. However, there's one certainty about life on earth: any soul that wants to join in the party on the material plane must take on a physical body. It's our vehicle for walking around in this world and for interacting with other souls at this level. If the soul and the body are estranged, it cripples your ability to live a full life.
Let me spin a metaphor that explains this more deeply. In flower essence work, there are no problems that fit in neat pigeonholes such as the physical, emotional, mental, etc. All problems are ultimately energy problems, the energy of the Life Force that animates our lives. This energy comes in a number of forms or levels, much like different radio stations are spread out across the dial. When you tune into life via one station, you experience emotions and feelings, while another station brings you the world of thought and ideas. The station relating to the physical plane puts us in touch with the world of the senses, our bodies, our animal drives and instincts, and the experience of the material world about us. It's necessary to have good reception on all levels. You can't enter the world of emotions if you don't know what a feeling is, you can't share ideas if you never developed your mind, and you can't participate in the world of the flesh if you disown your own body. There's only one spiritual task: learning who you really are and living that way, free of illusion. And as long as we're alive, part of our nature is physical, so you'd better make peace with your body now.
Here are some of my favorite helpers for healing this split of body and soul.
Crab Apple is one of the original essences from Dr. Bach. The person in need of Crab Apple feels the body is unclean, impure, and imperfect. This imperfection is a source of great shame and loathing, making the person obsessed with cleanliness. Behind all this disgust of the "merely physical" is a soul enthralled with some ideal sense of perfection that is at odds with the realities of living, embodied beings. Due to the creative ability of the unconscious to create outer circumstances that mirror inner beliefs and conflicts, Crab Apple people tend to attract impurities and dark energies into their lives like dust bunnies collect under beds. The ultimate lesson, of course, is to learn to accept and appreciate the physical. By the way, this essence is also recommended when you are going through any healing or purification practice, such as fasting. It aids the body in throwing off and eliminating any toxicity.
A similar flower essence comes from Australia, the beautiful Billy Goat Plum. It also relates to the themes of impurity and perfection. There are two special uses for Billy Goat Plum. It's indicated when healing from skin rashes, acne, eczema, etc., that create a feeling of shame or disgust. Skin rashes are usually a healing reaction of the body as it attempts to eliminate inner toxicity. As the toxicity passes, the skin clears up; this essence helps speed along the process. It's also useful when the sense of shame is about areas or functions of the body connected with sexuality. Sex is just too juicy to be politically correct, causing these people to recoil in horror. Sexual abuse can also create a feeling of being "polluted" physically. Billy Goat Plum helps them appreciate the pleasures and beauty associated with the life of the body.
The name of the next flower, Pretty Face, is almost a comic book version of a common body-image problem. The Pretty Face person has lost sight of what makes one truly beautiful. Beauty flows from the inside out; it can't come from the clothes closet and the cosmetic counter. These people are overly concerned with socially dictated standards of beauty. In an attempt to preserve their attractiveness, they wind up living behind a mask that hides their inner loveliness. They are also the kind that abhors growing old and losing their youthful appearance. Ugliness is their greatest sin -- and don't ever say their face has "character." Pretty Face helps them learn true beauty comes when the soul is fully revealed, not when it is covered up.
With Dogwood, a person's energy withers and hardens under the adversities of living. Whether due to abuse, difficult living conditions, or just plain "hard living," the joyfulness and grace of the soul is lost. As your energy goes, the body follows. A Dogwood person's body is often hard, knotted and withered, lacking flexibility and coordination, and prone to physical accidents. Their movements lack fluidity and gracefulness. As Dogwood softens the soul, the body reflects this shift by being more at ease in the world, instead of giving into the feeling that "life is hard."
These essences by no means exhaust all the issues people have relating to their bodies. The area of sexuality alone encompasses dozens of other remedies. However, as long as we have to walk around in the flesh, these beautiful flowers can help make the trip a more enjoyable one. To Life!