From rheumatoid arthritis to homeopathy

In 2003, only three weeks after the birth of my first child, I fell ill with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It started with a severe acute attack with pain and stiffness all over the body spreading out from my neck and shoulders.

This was very difficult to handle since I had to take care of a newborn. I was hardly able to take my child out of his crib for nursing at night.

RA cannot be cured by conventional medicine. Physicians can only suppress the inflammation with drugs with more or fewer side effects. I got cortisone and sulfasalazine which made me fat and tired.

I was disappointed with conventional medicine and didn’t want to accept the statement that this disease cannot be cured.  Therefore, I sought help in alternative treatment. After trying various paths (massage, acupuncture, bioresonance therapy, nutrition, vitamin supplements, etc.) without success,  I ended up with homeopathy.

I vividly remember the first time I got a homeopathic remedy. “Let them dissolve on your tongue,” said the doc as he gave me two white sugar globules for my RA. “I won’t tell you the name of the remedy so you won’t be tempted to look it up. See you again in six weeks.”

I headed home and observed my physical reactions.  There was a marked improvement the next days. The veil of heavy lethargy was lifted and the joints were not as stiff anymore.

But – what was that? Blue spots all over the body! Like bruises but not painful. No way that I had bumped into that many tables without noticing. “Geez, you look like you are bleeding internally,” said my husband. “You better get your blood coagulation values checked!”

The bruises faded after a few days. Six weeks later at the next appointment, the physician told me, “Blue spots that look like bruises? Yes, this is a so-called ‘proving symptom’ of the remedy I gave you. Actually,  it is a good sign that the remedy was a good match. I gave you potency 200C of a snake poison, Lachesis.”

In order to understand my bafflement, one must know that a 200C potency is so highly diluted that it contains no molecule of the original remedy anymore. Then why does it have any effect at all?

It is not clear how homeopathy works.  But there is no way that these bruises could have been a placebo reaction. I became convinced that this alternative healing method was the way to go regarding my RA.

During the following three years, I became passionate about homeopathy. I read many books, took a couple of classes, and learned a lot about it.

Before the disease, I was into dancing. It was my passion. I danced about 5 times per week, competitive Latin and ballroom dance. But there was no way I could dance with this disease.  I was desperate since I had derived so much joy from dancing. I thought, ‘I can’t dance anymore. How can I ever be happy again?’

I was confident, though, that I could handle the RA attacks with homeopathy, and I decided to have another child.

In 2004, just before the birth of our second child, we moved into our house. With two children and the new house, life became even more busy.

My health was getting back to sort-of-normal or at least bearable.

Even though homeopathy did not completely heal me, I was able to leave away the conventional medicine entirely and rely solely on homeopathy for the treatment since 2010 (which was seven years after the sudden onset).

Later, I wondered what this phase had been good for. There was a lot of physical and emotional pain. But was it also good for something? Eventually, I settled for the following conclusions: (A) I got used to watching the reactions of my body closely, how it would react if the homeopathic remedy was changed.

And (B) I got familiar with the fact that something non-material as a homeopathic high potency does have a remarkable effect, even if no one knows how this can be explained.
In retrospect, I think that homeopathy served to crack my world-view open.

Using the metaphor of the hike, my path had become rocky due to the pain. I had tried various side roads which all came to a dead end. But when I came upon homeopathy, that was a turning point in my path. I became aware that there was a mountain which I had not seen before.


In 2006, I was in my mid-thirties and had achieved my goals in life:  a job in the corporate world, a husband, two children, and a house.

‘Life could go on like this,’ I thought. But again, life had different plans for me.


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).



Life in flatland

While the previous three posts (map, emotions, insights) gave an overview of my spiritual journey, I will share a more detailed version in the following posts.


I am from Germany and was born in the end of the sixties. Both of my parents were teachers.

I grew up without any spirituality other than normal Christian religion. We were Protestants but went to church basically only on Christmas Eve.

However, I remember that I often had a hard time to hold back my tears when the pastor talked about the love of God. I never knew why this touched me so deeply.

But other than that, religion didn’t play a major role in my life.  I wasn’t sure whether there was really any God and whether prayers would be answered.

One day when I was still a little child,  the doctor said with a sorrowful look that a family member very likely had cancer. I was devastated. I cried and prayed with all my heart, “Please,  God, make that this isn’t true!”

And then, it wasn’t true. The result from the biopsy was negative.

I remember my relief and gratitude. Had my prayer been answered? I wasn’t sure.

Early interests

During my teenage years, I developed an interest in science. My motivation was to look behind the appearance of matter. I thought if I could only zoom into the world and look at all the tiny atoms and molecules, then I could understand the world.

I read books like Double Helix by Watson and Crick about the DNA structure and thought that must be really exciting to do scientific research and find out about the secrets of our world.

My earliest aha moments were with Einstein’s relativity theory and with quantum mechanics:

Time and space are not what we think they are. If we move very fast, then they change.

Atoms are pretty empty and subatomic particles can behave as particles or as waves depending how we look at them.

Fascinated by these world-view shattering insights, my wish was to become a scientist and find out about the secret truths of our world.

Back then, I didn’t imagine what kind of more profound secret truths I would eventually discover later.

Illusions were another topic which fascinated me. A book about optical illusions impressed me deeply.

Later, I devoured books by neuroscientists Oliver Sacks and Vilaynur Ramachandran about people who experienced a radically altered perception of the world as a consequence of brain damage.  All of that left me with the impression that our sense perceptions and our brain are not the appropriate tools to see reality as it is.

I was also interested in psychology, always asking, ‘What is it that makes us happy?’ When I came upon the theory of flow of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, it made sense to me at that time.

I experienced flow during painting, dancing, solving math problems, and computer programming.  These activities kept my mind engaged and were creative. Back then, I thought the recipe for a happy life was that I just needed to make sure that I could fill my time with a lot of activities that allowed me to be in the flow state.

Because of my interest in science, I studied chemistry.  But after my doctorate (German PhD equivalent), I thought that staying in science would not contribute to finding out the truth about the world and it would not make me happy either.

Therefore, I decided to leave science and got a job in the corporate world.  That was not about finding the truth and understanding the world any more, but at least it gave me some financial security. In addition, part of the work was fun and allowed me to sink into a happy flow state.

Then I got married. And in 2003, our first child was born.

For my spiritual journey, I use the metaphor of a hike up and down a mountain. This part of my journey was in flatland. Even though I loved mind-boggling new insights, I was unaware of a dimension behind the visible 3D world  (- the mountain at the horizon was covered in clouds and invisible to me – ). And I was always busy achieving the next step in my life.



I had it all, a job and a family. Life could go on like this, I thought.

But life had different plans for me.


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).




Insights from the spiritual journey

My spiritual journey has turned my worldview inside-out and upside-down. Here are my key insights:

1. Consciousness can exist without a body.
Before becoming aware that there is something more behind the 3D visible world, I grew up with a scientific, materialistic worldview. I assumed that consciousness was just a by-product of the activity in the brain. (I use consciousness and awareness interchangeably here.)

But then I read a lot of near-death experiences (NDEs) and reincarnation stories. Later I had some meditation experiences which involved the void. And that shifted my worldview. I am consciousness with some content in it. Even after leaving this body, I will be consciousness with something in it.

2. Consciousness is a higher dimension.
What do I mean by that? When we think of  life in a two-dimensional plane, for example (like in the book Flatland), then the higher dimension would be the third dimension which is perpendicular to that 2D plane.

And what characteristics does the 3rd dimension have compared to the 2D plane? It is at the same time everywhere inside  the 2D plane and also surrounding  it. It is above and below and inside the flat sheet of paper, for example.

Yet, even though it is everywhere, it cannot be detected easily  when one is a being which is living in the 2D land because the 3rd dimension is not a 2D thing.

Only its effects  can be felt in 2D land. In the book Flatland, there is a scene where the 3D sphere tries to convince a 2D being that it (-the sphere-) is real. After several fruitless attempts, it does so by punching it in the middle of its 2D-shape, something which is painful but seems supernatural enough to convince the 2D being.

For our 3D world it cannot be visualized that well, but I think of it as analogous. Consciousness is that which embraces all and permeates all.

The witnessing awareness is not just a silent and watching witness. The void (which I call the void because it is not in the realm of things and therefore we have no words for it)  is the potential before manifestation.

3. Everything is connected via consciousness.
As illustrated in the following picture, one 2D being (red triangle) would be able to make a connection to another 2D being (red square)  even if they are separated by a wall. The connection could simply go upwards and then downwards again, passing through the 3rd dimension.


Again, here in 3D land it cannot be visualized that well. But it works analogously. Telepathy or remote viewing are possible for some people because they can connect via consciousness. I have experienced getting messages from others in my dreams and also feeling the physical pain from from someone else in my own body. These messages were passed via consciousness.

Consciousness is one. There are not many single consciousnesses floating around. The many expressions of consciousness are more like branches of a single tree or arms of a single octopus. Individuated but not separate.

4. Thoughts create.
Some may think, ‘Duh, obvious, we have to think before we create something.’

But that is not what I mean.

I mean that thoughts, especially if coupled with emotions, can manifest stuff, literally (for an example, see post Can thoughts influence the weather?).

After I came upon that insight, I understood why it is important to learn to watch and control my thoughts, especially when the interval between thinking them and receiving the effects became shorter.

5. Inner peace is inside – and can cause miracles.
This could also be phrased as ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within.’

I used to unconsciously search happiness by rearranging things ‘out-there’.

But now my focus has turned to finding the inner peace first. (by turning the focus of attention back on awareness itself, see post Describing the ineffable)

It does not mean that I have to put up with whatever disagreeable circumstances are apparently ‘out-there’. I am not a doormat. (see post The riddle of acceptance)

But finding the inner peace inside first  does two things. A) I can hear guidance more easily when I am at peace. And B) inner peace is the place from which miracles tend to happen. So, even though I do not necessarily change things on the outside by my action, circumstances still change for my benefit (see posts The power of forgiveness and  The magic wand of inner peace)

The insight that inner peace can cause miracles is nothing new. The teachings of The Work by Byron Katie, Ho’oponopono (The World’s Most Unusual Therapist), and A Course in Miracles (ACIM), for example,  all use different approaches for dealing with upsetting situations, but they have in common that they all aim for inner peace when shit hits the fan.

6. There is a guiding force behind the veil.
I was raised partially on spiritual texts that talk about ‘We are consciousness. Everything happens in consciousness. Stay as the witness. Watch your thoughts float by. Detach.‘ and so on. These are important and useful practices.

But I don’t recall any mention of spirit guides, synchronicities, and a force behind the veil which guides us (see post, Coming out of hiding). (Well, there are some mentions, like once we realize what is going on, our head is already in the tiger’s mouth and it is too late. But that didn’t prepare me for my experiences.)

So, I was very surprised when I got clear directions as to where I had to go. Even though I was familiar with the phenomenon of channeling and that there is an inner voice which can tell us wisdom, I was not prepared that this inner voice would give me directions. And not just in a polite way like a sat nav would give them,  but it sounded more like a drill sergeant. Apparently consciousness is not just a silent witness, but it has a direction and a will to it. Once I had done the plunge into the void (awareness looking back at itself), it was like a new boss took over.

And resistance was futile (- surrender is still work in progress).


These insights represent what I have come with up to this point in my spiritual journey.

I did not mention every point in my worldview that has shifted. There is certainly more, for example, what about time?, what about free will?, and much more. But the ones mentioned above are the foundation.

For me, these insights are a shift in my worldview that is comparable in order of magnitude to a Copernican Revolution. What seems ‘out there’ is not really ‘out there’ as everything happens in consciousness and therefore happens in me. And reality (i.e. the ever changing content of consciousness) is more pliable than I had assumed before.

(Related post: 15 insights from the spiritual path)


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).


Emotions on the spiritual journey

What does the spiritual journey feel like from a psychological or emotional point of view? Is it a continuous climbing up the vibrational ladder of emotions from depression over boredom towards bliss?

I was searching for inner peace, but ironically the journey went through terrain that often brought up emotions that were the opposite of inner peace.

Everyone’s path and experience is different, of course. Here,  I share an overview of my own experience with the hope that it is helpful for others. I refer to the metaphor of a journey up a mountain to a lake at the mountaintop and then downhill in a river (which I presented in my previous post ).


While I was in flatland, unaware of a dimension behind the visible 3D world, I was ambitious and focused on my next goal of my career and family life. When one goal was reached, there was always a next goal.

That time was marked by intense work, often accompanied by a sense of stress, tension and anxiety,  and also by joy about success and joy during activities that allowed me to be in a flow state.

On the uphill phase, the road had several turning points. Each turning point was a problem/solution pair:

  •  A sudden onset of rheumatoid arthritis led me to homeopathy.
  •  Overwhelm led me to spirituality.
  •  Anger about what I perceived as unfair treatment at work led to acceptance and letting go.

That phase was emotionally difficult. I experienced:

  • Confusion, anger, sadness, listlessness, fear, loneliness
  • But also hope and fierce determination when searching for solutions.
  • Besides the negative emotions, there was also a feeling wonder and awe. At every turn of the way, a wonderful new worldview opened up which I would not have discovered had I not gone through the previous challenging time. And there were synchronicities and miracles which left me in awe and gratitude.

On the mountaintop, I found mainly peace by looking back at awareness itself.

Downhill, strand A (lessons, tests, divine help; not contained in the picture above)
On this part of the way downhill, there was fear again because of the lessons and tests.

But there were also joy about new insights and awe about the divine which was peeking out from behind the veil every now and then.

Downhill , strand B (being in the river, i.e. guidance and sharing)
My guidance told me to share more frequently and more widely. But often I resisted this. Here I experienced the following:

Procrastination loops at the riverside: Doubt, confusion, fear, resistance, guilt, restlessness, sadness, annoyance, apathy. But also a feeling of safety.
Not yielding to the urge of my soul to share sometimes feels like building a dam and being about to burst.

In the river:  Upon surrender,  a sense of obedience,  reverence, and being humbled. But also an inner temper tantrum because I don’t like to be bossed around.
There is fear, but also faith. Awe, wonder, and gratitude about the many forms of divine guidance.
Passion (yes, sometimes).

Although things tend to fall more into place when I eventually follow the river, it isn’t that life becomes just more and more wonderful and free of problems. Sharing openly on the internet brings up new kinds of challenges and lessons which in turn can evoke anger, confusion and so on (see above, “downhill, strand A”). Also, the shock about the fact that a spirit guide became negative and started to feed off my pain is something I have yet to make peace with.


That shows that my spiritual journey is far from the continuous climbing up the vibrational ladder into bliss states. It is more like a transition from one operation mode to another, i.e. from ‘living-in-flatland mode’ to the ‘yielding-to-the-river mode’. And that transition is accompanied by all sorts of emotional upheaval as well as inner peace, awe, and wonder.

I remember one time when the emotions became too strong and it felt like too much to bear, I fretted, ‘I was much happier when I was not yet on the spiritual journey. Ignorance is bliss.’
But a couple of days later, I had a spam comment on WordPress and the email address of the sender contained the words ‘Ignorance isn’t bliss. Ignorance is ignorance.‘  LOL. Isn’t it awesome how the universe uses even spam comments as an input channel to get its point across?

Now, what has changed compared to flatland where I started from?

  • When I am off track, running in circles in the loops of procrastination and resistance, then there is a feeling of guilt which I did not feel before.
  • Also, the feelings of being humbled by the forces behind the veil and reverence towards the divine are new to me.
  • The feeling of inner peace and quiet joy that I find when I turn the focus back on awareness is something I did not know before I had reached the mountaintop. I see this as the holy grail or the pearl of great price.

(Related post : Dark Night of the Soul)


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).