Dr Raoul Goldberg on the evolution of his learnings, teachings and practice
Because my father was a free thinker, a medical doctor and a writer with an avid love of literature, I grew up in a world of books and progressive ideas. As long as I can remember the world of soul and spirit has been a reality for me. I can remember as a child living intensely in my feeling experience, creating my own inner secret world of soul reality. The mind – body connection was likewise very real for me; for instance, I could bring on a tummyache when I did not wish to go to school.
Since my medical student years, I have striven for insight into the nature of the human being as an integrated continuum of body, mind/soul and spirit – a pre-requisite for an holistic approach to diagnosis. I was profoundly frustrated that the training was based on a materialistic understanding of the human being. It seemed to me that the real human being was ignored completely, and intuitively I missed the training and skills that could access the whole person. I sought understanding from ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, as well as Eastern philosophical and spiritual traditions, but had to acknowledge that my roots lay in the Western Judaeo-Christian paradigm.
Finding anthroposophical spiritual science, and the medical system that evolved out of it, was like coming home for me, a newly qualified medical doctor. Its descriptions of the body-soul-spirit immediately resonated with my own intuitive experience, and I could with passion embark on my post-graduate studies in anthroposophical clinics and institutes in Switzerland and Germany, a seven-year apprentice journey gathering information, knowledge and experience from many doctors, scientists, teachers, artists, farmers and artisans engaged in anthroposophical endeavours.
I was also driven to understand the interconnections between the human being and earthly nature, and between the human being and cosmic solar systems. I intuitively grasped that substances and energetic force fields from these natural and cosmic sources were the foundation for multi-faceted and individualized therapy. I therefore embarked on my life-long Goetheanistic and anthroposophical orientated study of the mineral, plant and animal kingdom, as well as the astrosophical study of planets and constellatory stars, with special focus on their correspondences and interconnections with the human continuum. I learned the method of Goetheanistic observation, and Steiner’s methodological approach to spiritual training through such writings as Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment and An Outline of Esoteric Training, as well as from direct exposure to many doctors and scholars who had worked directly with Steiner.
Once these correspondences were clear, I felt the imperative to prepare remedial substances in a form that could best be utilized by all aspects of the human continuum including his subtle bodies. Accordingly I set about studying the Bio-dynamic approach to farming and herbal gardening, a scientific and holistic method of growing remedial plants in ways that enhance their therapeutic potential. I also learned to observe plants in nature, and discovered those elements needed to harvest them optimally. In addition I followed the practices used to obtain mineral remedies from their natural sources (silica, gold, iron), insect remedies such as the red ant (formica rufa) or the honey bee (apis mel), aqueous, amphibian and reptilian remedies such as ink fish, toad skin, snake venoms, as well as animal remedies such as embryonic stem cells (disci) and organ remedies. I spent time in the Weleda and Wala manufacturing laboratories learning to understand anthroposophical pharmaceutical processes, and to master basic techniques such as potentizing minute -dose medicines and rhythmic processing.
On returning to Cape Town, South Africa, I chose to train myself further in nutritional science, acupuncture, homeopathy, psychotherapy and functional medicine. I was able to manufacture my own rhythmically prepared remedies in my own herbal gardens and processing laboratory, with a process that could keep them fresh and potent after 30 years, without benefit of any preserving ingredients. Currently I am still manufacturing and potentising by hand many of the remedial preparations that I dispense in my practice.
I was further intrigued by the value of the fine-, moving- and expressive arts and crafts in holistic healing. I attended a variety of courses in therapeutic artistic and craft activities, such as painting, sculpture, metal work, wood work, eurythmy, Bothmer gymnastics, therapeutic dancing. I was inspired by the Ruskin Mill Educational Trust, which has centres in Nailsworth / Gloustershire, Stourbridge and Sheffield, where socially and intellectually-disadvantaged adolescents and young adults are offered an alternative education based on the healing value of the arts and crafts.
Since my return to S Africa, I have been grounding the deepening and enrichment of my medicine experience in clinical practice. As of 2015 I have been practicing as an integrated family practitioner, in Cape Town for 33 years.
In my second decade of practice I grew increasingly disillusioned with relying on the words and formulations of others to describe this extended knowledge of life, thus adding to the worldwide information overload. I began to search for my own way of communicating this knowledge. I acknowledged internal self research as the source of this wisdom, but realised that everyone had the capacity to find their own validation of the original research through their own experience. I began to look for ways to get in touch with my own field of experience, for instance, kinaesthetically experiencing the flow of water or the power of fire.
This development of original experience began in earnest at the beginning of the ten-year cycle of practice that commenced in 2002, when I was introduced to Psychophonetic Counselling. The in-depth training in this modality provided the tools that I lacked to deepen my experience, open up new frontiers of knowledge. and acquire enhanced skills in diagnosing and treating illness.
At the same time there was growing in me an awareness of the profound importance of healthy child development for future life: a realization that the foundations for physical, mental and emotional health are laid down in the first ten to twelve years. This inspired me to do whatever I could to promote, protect and nurture the health of children in the widest possible way. I dedicated a good part of my professional medical work to treating children and advising parents of their optimal care. I joined the Alliance for Childhood. I also took up the daunting task of writing about children. I found I could only do this in an authentic way by exploring within myself the journey of my own childhood and adolescent experience. This took place mainly during my psychophonetics counselling training, where I discovered that the whole of my childhood and adolescence was present in my unconscious inner life, layered like annual rings in a tree,
From these personal experiences and from my work as a psychophonetic practitioner, I realised that these past experiences lie hidden within every person because we all have been there before, and that with the right interest and proper training we can bring at least some of these experiences to conscious memory. It is not only the content of the past that we can vividly recall, sometimes in great detail, but also the inner personal feelings of what it is to be a three-year old, a ten-year old or a fifteen-year old child.
Using the methodologies of psychophonetics, psychosophy, Goetheanistic observation and Steiner’s spiritual science, I have used the past decade to actively access and research my own body mind/soul spirit continuum, thereby enabling an authentic communication about such matters with others.
It is this experience that has enabled me to write my first book on the journey of the child to adulthood, and the second book about the challenges that face children who become dependant on some agency for their security or well being. It was the primary intention of the first book to awaken readers to an experience of their own childhood nature and spirit, and in the second to an experience of addiction that lies within us all. This experience will enable the reader both to listen to and understand children with an awakened heart, finding the right means to care for them, and also to learn to understand oneself with compassion, and to look after oneself in the most effective way possible.
This approach to empowering people to find their own fountainhead of knowledge within themselves has inspired me to develop a method of teaching and coaching which I call Participatory Awareness. This has as its fundamental reality the following dynamics which are at the core of every human interaction and which everyone can experience for themselves:
In every encounter with the world, we connect ourselves simultaneously with something outside and with something inside and discover that what is outside is at the same time inside. We reach out to an object – a child, a flower, our own body – and we perceive it and cognise it, we may feel it and then express it in some way.
We see a sad child, recognize who it is, feel into his sadness and reach out to pick him up and comfort him. We meet the child outside, but we can only do this because simultaneously we create inside a mental picture of the child, an emotive feeling, a cognitive understanding and a wilful response. The object outside in the present moment may also evoke within us the past and the future: the child outside may evoke a remembering of the child of this age or of sadness: I reach back into the past. It may also activate a wish to do something or be something for the child: I reach forward into the future.
Through our experience of the world, we unite and become one with the world.
Furthermore, it utilises consciously the four psychological agencies or activities that enable all human experience. In normal waking consciousness, we experience the world in only four ways: all interactions and all learning takes place through our cognitive functions of thinking, remembering and visualizing; our sensing and perceiving functions; our feeling or emotive responses; and our expressive, intuitive and will-based actions.
When we become conscious of these four basic modes of experience, we can sharpen and strengthen these capacities and lay the foundations to become a knower of life. We can become real experts in any field of life and at the same time we discover ourselves. We begin to open up and liberate the vast potential that lies hidden within and achieve thereby deep and lasting fulfilment. These self-empowering tools can be taught to all who seek to deepen their experience of life and wish to empower themselves to become active carers of self and the world.
I have become convinced that one cannot the serve world in a healthy way until one has learned to serve oneself properly. This requires getting to know oneself, both the light side as well as the dark. One discovers that this will empower one to get to know the whole of humanity. For experiencing the human psyche is experiencing the whole of mankind, and written into the human life body is the memory of mankind. Only through understanding and caring compassionately for oneself will one know intuitively how to care for others.
Writing and researching the theme of addictions in children and adolescents, it soon became apparent that this is a book as much about adults as it is about children and adolescents. Furthermore it is a book as much about our own habitual dependant behaviour patterns as it is about others out there with addictive behaviours. For the nature of dependency is a universal reality and if we look within we shall all find various degrees of addictive behaviour.
It has also become clear to me that addictive behaviour is perhaps the most important cause of all chronic illnesses. For if one follows the biography of every individual afflicted with an illness, one will always find a pattern of addictive behaviour which creates a particular long acting psychological activity. The close connection and the continuous impact this activity has on the functioning body, will inevitably create dysfunction in one or other system, leading eventually to the signs and symptoms of illness. I believe the addictive behaviour patterns, which include prejudices, dogmas, fundamentalism, preconceptions, egoistic self righteousness etc, is a highly influential factor in the socio –political – economic – scientific and environmental arenas. This insight has propelled me to try to gain deeper insight into the psycho-somatic connection in illness because of its profoundly important public health issues.
At the same time the medical issue is one that concerns both the health practitioner and the patient or client. Their interaction is a given in every medical, health or psychological encounter. More and more patients and clients are looking for a more holistic and humane way of getting well and are actively participating in their diagnostic and healing process. More and more doctors are looking for ways to enhance their diagnosis and therapy by integrating a wide spectrum of medical options and improving their patient skills. They are seeking to bring the heart and soul back into medicine. The concept of Participatory Medicine has become my abiding interest, pursuit and research theme. The conscious interactive process taking place between practitioner and patient, within the client’s self as well as within the practitioner’s self, can enhance diagnosis and therapy to a great degree and provide the foundation for an intuitive, integrative and holistic medicine. The process is codified in a methodology that I call PATH (Participatory Awareness for Transformative Healing).
This is a work in which I am currently engaged, and which hopefully will be completed by the end of 2015.