by Edward Bach, MBBS, MRCS,LRCP,DPH
It is impossible to put truth into words. The author of this book has no
desire to preach, indeed he very greatly dislikes that method of conveying
knowledge. He has tried, in the following pages, to show as clearly and simply
as possible the purpose of our lives, the uses of the difficulties that beset
us, and the means to which we can regain our health; and, in fact, how each of
us may become our own doctor.
It is as simple as this, the Story of Life.
small child has decided to paint the picture of a house in time for her
mother’s birthday. In her little mind the house is already painted; she knows
what it is to be like down to the very smallest detail, there remains only to
put it on paper.
Out comes the paint-box, the brush and the paint-rag, and full of
enthusiasm and happiness she sets to work. Her whole attention and interest
is centred on what she is doing - nothing can distract her from her work in
The picture is finished in time for the birthday. To the very best of her
ability she has put her idea of a house into form. It is a work of art
because it is all her very own, every stroke done out of love for her mother,
every window, every door painted in with the conviction that it is meant to be
there. Even if it looks like a haystack, it is the most perfect house that has
ever been painted: it is a success because the little artist has put her whole
heart and soul, her whole being into the doing of it.
This is health, this is success and happiness and true service. Serving
through love in perfect freedom in our own way.
So we come down into this world, knowing what picture we have to paint,
having already mapped out our path through life, and all that remains for us to
do is to put it into material form. We pass along full of joy and interest,
concentrating all our attention upon the perfecting of that picture, and to the
very best of our ability translating our own thoughts and aims into the
physical life of whatever environment we have chosen.
Then, if we follow from start to finish our very own ideals, our very own
desires with all the strength we possess, there is no failure, our life has
been a tremendous success, a healthy and a happy one.
The same little story of the child-painter will illustrate how, if we allow
them, the difficulties of life may interfere with this success and happiness
and health, and deter us from our purpose.
The child is busily and happily painting when someone comes along and says,
"Why not put a window here, and a door there: and of course the garden
path should go this way." The result in the child will be a complete
loss of interest in the work: she may go on, but is now only putting someone
else’s ideas on paper: she may become cross, irritated, unhappy, afraid to
refuse these suggestions: begin to hate the picture and perhaps tear it up: in
fact, according to the type of child so will be the reaction.
The final picture may be a recognisable house, but it is an imperfect one
and a failure because it is the interpretation of another’s thoughts, not the
child’s. It is of no use as a birthday present because it may not be done in
time, and the mother may have to wait another whole year for her gift.
This is disease, the reaction to interference. This is temporary failure
and unhappiness: and this occurs when we allow others to interfere with our
purpose in life, and implant in our minds doubt, or fear, or indifference.
Health depends on being in harmony with our Souls.
t is of primary importance that the true meaning of health and of disease
should be clearly understood.
Health is our heritage, our right. It is the complete and full union
between soul, mind and body; and this is no difficult faraway ideal to attain,
but one so easy and natural that many of us have overlooked it.
All earthly things are but the interpretation of things spiritual. The
smallest most insignificant occurrence has a Divine purpose behind it.
We each have a Divine mission in this world, and our souls use our minds
and bodies as instruments to do this work, so that when all three are working
in unison the result is perfect health and perfect happiness.
A Divine mission means no sacrifice, no retiring from the world, no
rejecting of the joys of beauty and nature; on the contrary, it means a fuller
and greater enjoyment of all things: it means doing the work that we love to
do with all our heart and soul, whether it be house-keeping, farming, painting,
acting, or serving our fellow-men in shops or houses. And this work, command
of our soul, the work we have to do in this world, and in which alone we can be
our true selves, interpreting in an ordinary materialistic way the message of
that true self.
We can judge, therefore, by our health and by our happiness, how well we
are interpreting this message.
There are all the spiritual attributes in the perfect man; and we come into
this world to manifest these one at a time, to perfect and strengthen them so
that no experience, no difficulty can weaken or deflect us from the fulfilment
of this purpose. We chose the earthly occupation, and the external
circumstances that will give us the best opportunities of testing us to the
full: we come with the full realisation of our particular work: we come with
the unthinkable privilege of knowing that all our battles are won before thy
are fought, that victory is certain before ever the test arrives, because we
know that we are the children of the Creator, and as such are Divine,
unconquerable and invincible. With this knowledge life is a joy; hardships
and experiences can be looked upon as adventures, for we have but to realise
our power, to be true to our Divinity, when these melt away like mist in the
sunshine. God did indeed give His children dominion over all things.
Our souls will guide us, if we will only listen, in every circumstance,
every difficulty; and the mind and body so directed will pass through life
radiating happiness and perfect health, as free from all cares and
responsibilities as a small trusting child.
Our souls are perfect, being children of the Creator,
And everything they tell us to do is for our good.
ealth is, therefore, the true realisation of what we are: we are perfect: we
are children of God There is no striving to gain what we have already
attained. We are merely here to manifest in material form the perfection with
which we have been endowed from the beginning of all time. Health is
listening solely to the commands of our souls: in being trustful as little
children: in rejecting intellect (that tree of the knowledge of good and evil)
with its reasonings, its ‘fors’ and ‘againsts,’ its anticipatory fears:
ignoring convention, the trivial ideas and commands of other people, so that we
can pass through life untouched, unharmed, free to serve our fellow-men.
We can judge our health by our happiness, and by our happiness we can know
that we are obeying the dictates of our souls. It is not necessary to be a
monk, a nun, or hide away from the world: the world is for us to enjoy and to
serve, and it is only by serving out of love and happiness that we can truly be
of use, and do our best work. A thing done from a sense of duty with, perhaps
a feeling of irritation and impatience is of no account at all, it is merely
precious time wasted when there might be a brother in real need of our help.
Truth has no need to be analysed, argued about, or wrapped up in many
words. It is realised in a flash, it is part of you. It is only about the
unessential complicated things of life that we need so much convincing, and
that have led to the development of the intellect. The things that count are
simple, they are the ones that make you say, "why, that is true, I seem to
have known that always," and so is the realisation of the happiness that
comes to us when we are in harmony with our spiritual self, and the closer the
union the more intense the joy. Think of the radiance one sometimes sees in a
bride on her wedding morn; the rapture of a mother with a new-born babe; the
ecstasy of an artist completing a masterpiece: such are the moments where
there is a spiritual union.
Think how wonderful life would be if we lived it all in such joy: and so
it is possible when we lose ourselves in our life’s work.
If we follow our own instincts, our own wishes, our own thoughts, our own
We should never know anything but joy and health.
either is it a difficult far-away attainment to hear the voice of our own soul;
it has all been made so simple for us if we will but acknowledge it.
Simplicity is the keynote of all Creation.
Our soul (the still small voice, God’s own voice) speaks to us through our
intuition, our instincts, through our desires, ideals, our ordinary likes and
dislikes; in whichever way it is easiest for us individually to hear. How else
can He speak to us? Our true instincts, desires, likes or dislikes are given
us so that we can interpret the spiritual commands of soul by means of our
limited physical perceptions, for it is not possible for many of us yet to be
in direct communion with our Higher Self. These commands are meant to be
followed implicity, because the soul alone knows what experiences are necessary
for that particular personality. Whatever the command may be, trivial or
important, the desire for another cup of tea, or a complete change of the whole
of one’s life’s habits, it should be willing obeyed. The soul knows that
satiation is the one real cure for all that we in this world, consider as sin
and wrong, for until the whole being revolts against a certain act, that fault
eradicated but simply dormant, just as it is much better and quicker to go on
sticking one’s fingers into the jam-pot until one is so sick that jam has no
Our true desires, the wishes of our true selves, are not to be confused
with the wishes and desires of other people so often implanted in our minds, or
of conscience, which is another word for the same thing. We must pay no heed
to the world’s interpretation of our actions. Our own soul alone is
responsible for our good, our reputation is in His keeping; we can rest
assured that there is only one sin, that of not obeying the dictates of our
Divinity. That is the sin against God and our neighbour. These wishes,
intuitions, desires are never selfish; they concern ourselves alone and are
always right for us, and bring us health in body and mind.
Disease is the result in the physical body of the resistance of the
personality to the guidance of the soul. It is when we turn a deaf ear to the
‘still small voice,’ and forget the Divinity within us; when we try to force
our wishes upon others, or allow their suggestions, thoughts, and commands to
The more we become free from outside influences, from other personalities,
the more our soul can use us to do His work.
It is only when we attempt to control and rule someone else that we are
selfish. The world tries to tell us that it is selfishness to follow our own
desires. That is because the world wishes to enslave us, for truly it is
only when we can realise and be unhampered in our real selves that we can be
used for the good of mankind. It is the great truth of Shakespeare, "To
thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst
not then be false to any man."
The bee, by its very choice of a particular flower for its honey, is the
means used to bring it the pollen necessary for the future life of its young
It is allowing the interference of other people that stops our listening to the
dictates of our soul,
And brings disharmony and disease.
The moment the thought of another person enters our minds, it deflects us from
our true course.
od gave us each our birthright, an individuality of our very own: He gave us
each our own particular work to do, which only we can do: He gave us each our
particular path to follow with which nothing must interfere. Let us see to it
that not only do we allow no interference, but, and even more important, that
we in no way whatsoever interfere with any other single human being. In this
lies true health, true service, and the fulfilment of our purpose on earth.
Interferences occur in every life, they are part of the Divine Plan, they
are necessary so that we can learn to stand up to them: in fact, we can look
upon them as really useful opponents, merely there to help us gain in strength,
and realise our Divinity and our invincibility. And we can also know that it
is only when we allow them to affect us that they gain in importance and tend
to check our progress. It rests entirely with us how quickly we progress:
whether we allow interference in our Divine mission; whether we accept the
manifestation of interference (called disease) and let it limit and injure our
bodies; or whether, we, as children of God, use these to establish us the more
firmly in our purpose.
The more the apparent difficulties in our path the more we may be certain
that our mission is worth while. Florence Nightingale reached her ideal in the
face of a nation’s opposition: Galileo
believed the world was round in spite of the entire world’s disbelief, and the
ugly duckling became the swan although his whole family scorned him.
We have no right whatever to interfere with the life of any one of God’s
children. Each of us has own own job, in the doing of which only we have the
power and knowledge to bring it to perfection. It is only when we forget this
fact, and try and force our work on others, or let them interfere with ours
that friction and disharmony occur in our being.
The disharmony, disease, makes itself manifest in the body, for the body
merely serves to reflect the workings of the soul: just as the fact reflects
happiness by smiles, or temper by frowns. And so in bigger things; the body
will reflect the true causes of disease (which are such as fear, indecision,
doubt, etc.) in the disarrangement of its systems and tissues.
Disease, therefore, is the result of interference: interfering with someone
else or allowing ourselves to be interfered with.
All we have to do is to preserve our personality, to live our own life,
To be captain of our own ship, and all will be well.
here are great qualities in which all men are gradually perfecting themselves,
possibly concentrating upon one or two at a time. They are those which have
been manifested in the earthly lives of all the Great Masters who have, from
time to time, come into the world to teach us, and help us to see the easy and
simple way of overcoming all our difficulties.
These are such as –
And it is by perfecting these qualities in ourselves that each one of us is
raising the whole world a step nearer to its final unthinkably glorious goal.
We realise then that we are seeking no selfish gain of personal merit, but that
every single human being, rich or poor, high or low, is of the same importance
in the Divine Plan, and is given the same mighty privilege of being a saviour
of the world simply by knowing that he is a perfect child of the Creator.
As there are these qualities, these steps to perfection, so there are
hindrances, or interferences which serve to strengthen us in our determination
to stand firm.
These are the real causes of disease, and are of such as –
These, if we allow them, will reflect themselves in the body causing what
we call disease. Not understanding the real causes we have attributed
disharmony to external influences, germs, cold, heat, and have give names to
the results, arthritis, cancer, asthma, etc.: thinking that disease begins in
the physical body.
There are then definite groups of mankind, each group performing its own
function, that is, manifesting in the material world the particular lesson he
has learnt. Each individual in these groups has a definite personality of his
own, a definite work to do, and a definite individual way of doing that work.
There are also causes of disharmony, which unless we hold to our definite
personality and our work, may react upon the body in the form of disease.
Real health is happiness, and a happiness so easy of attainment because it
is a happiness in small things; doing the things that we really love to do,
being with the people that we truly like. There is no strain, no effort, no
striving for the unattainable, health is there for us to accept any time we
like. It is to find out and do the work that we are really suited for. So
many suppress their real desires and become square pegs in round holes: through
the wishes of a parent a son may become a solicitor, a soldier, a business man,
when his true desire is to become a carpenter: or through the ambitions of a
mother to see her daughter well married, the world may lose another Florence
Nightingale. This sense of duty is then a false sense of duty, and a
dis-service to the world; it results in unhappiness and, probably the greater
part of a lifetime wasted before the mistake can be rectified.
There was a Master once Who said, "Know ye not that I must be about My
Father’s business?" meaning that He must obey his Divinity and not His
Let us find the one thing in life that attracts us most and do it. Let
that one thing be so part of us that it is a natural as breathing; as natural
as it is for the bee to collect honey, and the tree to shed its old leaves in
the autumn and bring forth new ones in the spring. If we study nature we find
that every creature, bird, tree and flower has its definite part to play, its
own definite and peculiar work through which it aids and enriches the entire
Universe. The very worm, going about is daily job, helps to drain and purify
the earth: the earth provides for the nutriment of all green things; and, in
turn, vegetation sustains mankind and every living creature, returning in due
course to enrich the soil. Their life is one of beauty and usefulness, their
work is so natural to them that it is their life.
And our own work, when we find it, so belongs to us, so fits us, that it is
effortless, it is easy, it is a joy: we never tire of it, it is our hobby. It
brings out in us our true personality, all the talents and capabilities waiting
within each one of us to be manifested: in it we are happy and at home; and it
is only when we are happy (which is obeying the commands of our soul) that we
can do our best work.
We may have already found our right work, then what fun life is! Some from
childhood have the knowledge of what they are meant to do, and keep to it
throughout their lives: and some know in childhood, but are deterred by
contra-suggestions and circumstances, and the discouragement of others. Yet we
can all get back to our ideals, and even though we cannot realise them
immediately we can go on seeking to do so, then the very seeking will bring us
comfort, for our souls are very patient with us. The right desire, the right
motive, no matter what the result, is the thing that counts, the real success.
So if you would rather be a farmer than a lawyer: if you would rather be a
barber than a bus-driver, or a cook than a greengrocer, change your occupation,
be what you want to be: and then you will be happy and well, then you will work
with zest, and then you will be doing finer work as a farmer, a barber, a cook,
than you could every achieve in the occupation that never belonged to you.
And then you will be obeying the dictates of your Spiritual Self.
Once we realise our own Divinity the rest is easy.
n the beginning God gave man dominion over all things. Man, the child of the
Creator, has a deeper reason for his disharmony than the draught from an open
window. Our ‘fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves,’ and how full of
gratitude and hope can we be when we realise that the cure also lies within
ourselves! Remove the disharmony between soul and mind, and the body is once
more perfect in all its parts.
Whatever the disease, the result of this disharmony, we may be quite sure
that the cure is well within our powers of accomplishment, for our souls never
ask of us more than we can very easily do.
Everyone of us is a healer, because every one of us at heart has a love for
something, for our fellow-men, for animals, for nature, for beauty in some
form, and we every one of us wish to protect and help it to increase.
Everyone of us also has sympathy with those in distress, and naturally so,
because we have all be in distress ourselves at some time in our lives. So
that no only can we heal ourselves, but we have the great privilege of being
able to help others to heal themselves, and the only qualifications necessary
are love and sympathy.
We, as children of the Creator, have within us all perfection, and we come
into this world merely that we may realise our Divinity: so that all tests and
all experiences will leave us untouched, for through that Divine Power all
things are possible to us.
The healing herbs are those which have been given
the power to help us preserve our personality.
ust as God in His mercy has given us food to eat, so has he placed amongst the
herbs of the fields beautiful plants to heal us when we are sick. These are
there to extend a helping hand to man in those dark hours of forgetfulness when
he loses sight of his Divinity, and allows the cloud of fear or pain to obscure
Such herbs are –
Each herb corresponds with one of the qualities, and its purpose is to
strengthen that quality so that the personality may rise above the fault that
is the particular stumbling block.
The following table will indicate the quality, the fault, and the remedy
which aids the personality to dispel that fault.
Failing- Herb- Virtue
Restraint- Chicory- Love
Fear- Mimulus- Sympathy
Restlessness- Agrimony- Peace
Indecision- Scleranthus- Steadfastness
Indifference- Clematis- Gentleness
Weakness- Centaury- Strength
Doubt- Gentian- Understanding
Over-enthusiasm- Vervain- Tolerance
Ignorance- Cerato- Wisdom
Impatience- Impatiens- Forgiveness
Terror- Rock Rose- Courage
Grief- Water Violet- Joy
The remedies are endowed with a definite healing power quite apart from
faith, neither does their action depend upon the one who administers them, just
as a sedative sends a patient to sleep whether given by the nurse or the doctor.
The real nature of disease
n true healing the nature and the name of the physical disease is of no
consequence whatever. Disease of the body itself is nothing but the result of
the disharmony between soul and mind. It is only a symptom of the cause, and
as the same cause will manifest itself differently in nearly every individual,
seek to remove this cause, and the after results, whatever they may be, will
We can understand this more clearly by taking as an example the suicide.
All suicides do not drown themselves. Some throw themselves from a height,
some take poison, but behind it all is despair: help them to overcome their
despair and find someone or something to live for, and they are cured
permanently: simply taking away the poison will only save them for the time
being, they may later make another attempt. Fear also reacts upon people in
quite different ways: some will turn pale, some will flush, some become
hysterical and some speechless. Explain the fear to them, show them that they
are big enough to overcome and face anything, then nothing can frighten them
again. The child will not mind the shadows on the wall if he is given the
candle and shown how to make them dance up and down.
We have so long blamed the germ, the weather, the food we eat as the causes
of disease; but many of us are immune in an influenza epidemic; many love the
exhilaration of a cold wind, and many can eat cheese and drink black coffee
late at night with no ill effects. Nothing in nature can hurt us when we are
happy and in harmony, on the contrary all nature is there for our use and our
enjoyment. It is only when we allow doubt and depression, indecision or fear
to creep in that we are sensitive to outside influences.
It is, therefore, the real cause behind the disease, which is of the utmost
importance; the mental state of the patient himself, not the condition of his
Any disease, however serious, however long-standing, will be cured by
restoring to the patient happiness, and desire to carry on with his work in
life. Very often it is only some slight alteration in his mode of life, some
little fixed idea that is making him intolerant of others, some mistaken sense
of responsibility that keeps him in slavery when he might be doing such good
There are seven beautiful stages in the healing of disease, these are –
To gain freedom, give freedom
he ultimate goal of all mankind is perfection, and to gain this state man must
learn to pass through all experiences unaffected; he must encounter all
interferences and temptations without being deflected from his course: then he
is free of all life’s difficulties, hardships and sufferings: he has stored up
in his soul the perfect love, wisdom, courage, tolerance and understanding that
is the result of knowing and seeing everything, for the perfect master is he
who has been through every branch of his trade.
We can make this journey a short joyful adventure if we realise that
freedom from bondage is only gained by giving freedom; we are set free if we
set others free, for it is only by example we can teach. When we have given
freedom to every human being with whom we are in contact; when we have given
freedom to every creature, everything around us, then we are free ourselves:
when we see that we do not, even in the minutest detail, attempt to dominate,
control, or influence the life of another, we shall find that interference has
passed out of our own lives, because it is those that we bind who
bind us. There was a certain young man who was so bound to his possessions
that he could not accept a Divine gift.
And we can free ourselves from the domination of others so easily, firstly
by giving them absolute freedom, and secondly, by very gently, very lovingly,
refusing to be dominated by them. Lord Nelson was very wise in placing his
blind eye to the telescope on one occasion. No force, no resentment, no
hatred, and no unkindness is necessary. Our opponents are our friends, they
make the game worth while, and we shall all shake hands at the end of the match.
We must not expect others to do what we want, their ideas are the right
ideas for them, and though their pathway may lead in a different direction from
ours, the goal at the end of the journey is the same for us all. We do find
that it is when we want others to ‘fall in with our wishes’ that we fall out
We are like cargo-ships bound for the different countries of the world,
some for Africa, some for Canada, some for Australia, then returning to the
same home port. Why follow another ship to Canada when our destination is
Australia? It means such a delay.
Again, we perhaps do not realise what small things may bind us, the very
things that we wish to hold are the things that are holding us: it may be a
house, a garden, a piece of furniture; even they have their right to freedom.
Worldly possessions, after all are transient, they give rise to anxiety and
worry because inwardly we know of their inevitable and ultimate loss. They
are there to be enjoyed and admired and used to their full capacity, but not to
gain so much importance that they become chains to bind us.
If we set everybody and everything around us at liberty, we find that in
return we are richer in love and possessions than ever we were before, for the
love that gives freedom is the great love that binds the closer.
rom time immemorial humanity has recognised that our Creator in His love for us
has placed herbs in the fields for our healing, just as He has provided the
corn and the fruit for our sustenance.
Astrologers, those who have studied the stars, and herbalists, those who
have studied the plants, have ever been seeking those remedies which will help
us to keep our health and joy.
To find the herb that will help us we must find the object of our life,
what we are striving to do, and also understand the difficulties in our path.
The difficulties we call faults or failings, but let us not mind these faults
and failings, because they are the very proof to us that we are attaining
bigger things: our faults should be our encouragements, because they mean that
we are aiming high. Let us find for ourselves which of the battles we are
particularly fighting, which adversary we are especially trying to overcome,
and then take with gratitude and thankfulness that plant which has been sent to
help us to victory. We should accept these beautiful herbs of the fields as a
sacrament, as our Creator’s Divine gift to aid us in our troubles.
In true healing there is no thought whatever of the disease: it is the
mental state, the mental difficulty alone, to be considered: it is where we are
going wrong in the Divine Plan that matters. This disharmony with our
Spiritual Self may produce a hundred different failings in our bodies (for our
bodies after all merely reproduce the condition of our minds), but what matters
that? If we put our
mind right the body will soon be healed. It is as Christ said to us, "Is
it easier to say, thy sins be forgiven thee or take up thy bed and walk?"
So again let us clearly understand that our physical illness is of no
consequence whatsoever: it is the state of our minds, and that, and that alone,
which is of importance. Therefore, ignoring entirely the illness from which
we are suffering, we need consider only to which of the following types we
Should any difficulty be found in selecting your own remedy, it will help
to ask yourself which of the virtues you most admire in other people: or which
of the failings is, in others, your pet aversion, for any fault of which we may
still have left a trace and are especially attempting to eradicate, that is the
one we most hate to see in other people. It is the way we are encouraged to
wipe it out in ourselves.
We are all healers, and with love and sympathy in our natures we are also
able to help anyone who really desires health. Seek for the outstanding mental
conflict in the patient, give him the remedy that will assist him to overcome
that particular fault, and all the encouragement and hope you can, then the
healing virtue within him will of itself do all the rest.
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