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Losing Heart: Sweet Chestnut and Other Bach Flower  Remedies
By Connie Barrett
Editors' Note: The author teaches Fine Tuning the Bach Flower Remedies through the World Wide Essence Society. The type of helpful differentiation between seemingly close remedies that she covers below is the mainstay of this excellent course.

People frequently get confused between five remedies that seem to deal with the same issue: discouragement. For this reason I've grouped them together so that the differences can be made clear.

We will discuss one of these five remedies below, but in brief, they are:

Gentian: For feelings of discouragement and doubt which may be caused by even small obstacles. The cause of depression is always known. Teaches faith and trust.

Gorse: For feelings of hopelessness and despair. For those who give up in the belief that nothing more can be done: often in the case of chronic illness. Teaches that confidence in a solution or cure is one of the components of healing, and imparts such confidence.

Sweet Chestnut: For extreme anguish, the feeling that one has reached the limits of one's endurance. Teaches one to believe that change is possible, to trust oneself and the benevolence of the universe.

It will help you in choosing a remedy to think of Gentian, Gorse, and Sweet Chestnut as representing a continuum, with Gentian the mildest, Gorse more severe, and Sweet Chestnut as the most extreme.

As Gentian is for discouragement and depression of known origin, Mustard is for depression and discouragement of seemingly unknown origin. Those who experience this kind of depression speak of a gray cloud that suddenly closes over them. This feeling may disappear as unexpectedly as it arrives.

Wild Rose is somewhat different in that feelings have been buried. From the outside, a person in need of Wild Rose may appear to be depressed. The important distinction is that there is no struggle, no attempt to improve matters. The remedy is for resignation and apathy, for those who make no effort to find joy in their lives.

Sweet Chestnut: The Darkest Hour
Sarah stumbled into the woods that lay between herself and her home. Even the small pinpoints of light cast by the stars in the black sky disappeared, blotted out by the dense foliage of the trees.

And what trees! Massive, gnarled, with grasping, twisted branches that interlocked to form the walls of a narrow, low tunnel that pressed against her from all sides. The leaves whispered threats and curses at her as she stumbled along. There was no path, only a thick undergrowth of looping vines that caught her feet and bushes studded with thorns that tore at her clothing and skin.

"I'll never get out; I'll just keep wandering and wandering until I'm exhausted, starving, dying of thirst. They'll find me crumpled beneath one of these monstrous trees", she thought with growing despair.

From all over the forest, she heard unearthly screeching and screams: owls pouncing on their prey, or maybe worse, savage creatures with no names. She stumbled on, looking for a way out, praying that she could somehow get through this nightmare.

Finally, she saw it, a small circle of light far ahead. Tripping over tree stumps and logs, she hurried towards it. It grew as the forest thinned out, and at last she ran into a clearing and fell to her knees in relief, safe at last.

The Sweet Chestnut State of Mind
In the Sweet Chestnut condition there is often a sense of tumult and chaos; it is as if the interior emotional landscape is the scene of a hurricane or tornado. The individual feels despair and anguish, and the sense that the circumstances of life have become intolerable. Another element of this despair is a feeling of total isolation. There's no sense, however distant, that help is on the way, and all sense of guidance is absent.

People feel a sense of hopelessness (always more deep and acute than in the Gorse state). The ability to take comfort from memories of the past or in hopes for the future disappears; there is only the impossible present.

This condition, which is usually temporary, often represents the surfacing of awareness. A woman who has endured beatings by her husband for months or years may one day wake up and realize the horror of her situation. Someone who has denied the expression of a creative gift or stayed too long at a stifling job they hated may also have a sudden awakening.

Sometimes the destructive relationship is with oneself. One may have harmful mental or physical habits, negative and damaging thought patterns, which are creating anguish.

Ultimately, though, the cause of this level of hopelessness is a complete sense of loss of guidance. Usually, the severance has been developing for years. On the surface, the person who experiences this kind of despair might be one who always said, "I don't believe in God, I don't believe in faith, I don't believe in the soul. There's only me, and I have to get through life as best I can."

Such a person may get along as long as nothing traumatic happens, but if disaster strikes, throwing him back on his own resources, he discovers how limited they are. Since he has designed his belief system to eliminate the possibility of inner guidance, he literally has nowhere to turn.

For this reason, such deep despair is often a turning point. Sweet Chestnut can be the state that comes to people just prior to the initiation of a period of spiritual development. The anguish of this state often leads one to ask, "Why is this happening?" "What is the meaning of my life?" Many searching questions may be asked, many illusions stripped away.

The Sweet Chestnut state can be less painful if one focuses on the potential for transformation. We might think of the person who's experiencing it as being similar to the butterfly just about to burst out of its cocoon. All is dark inside; there is no place to turn. When the protective illusion of beliefs about oneself and one's life are torn asunder, the individual can discover the spaciousness of a new life.

The Dawn
the dawn!In my experience Sweet Chestnut can also be used effectively on a preventive basis. When you feel the tumult of change beginning to swirl around you, when you begin to feel as if you can't go on with your present life, when you are experiencing the longing for a new one, these are all excellent times to take this flower remedy.

This is particularly true when you are aware of your fears and resistance, when you are conscious that a part of you is resisting transformation with all its might. Then Sweet Chestnut helps to lead you gently out of the darkness and into the dawn of a new self.

Supportive Measures
In this syndrome, prevention is always the best cure. Are you going it alone? Has it been so long since you last sensed the whisper of inner guidance that you only remember it as a bad connection? This article isn't intended to be a religious or spiritual treatise. Connecting to one's intuition isn't an overtly spiritual act. It can be considered a way of developing the real estate in the right side of your brain.

Meditation is a good way to develop this, for it helps to quiet the left-brain clamor. At its best, it can help you feel aware of a greater you, a deeper being.

It will also train you to listen to your intuition. This voice has been talking to you all along; your only job is to recognize it. Once you do, begin to notice "coincidences." Appreciate every one you encounter.

This is just the beginning. Your intuition has a lot to tell you, and all of it is good. You are in for an exciting journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Barrett is a frequent contributor to Vibration Magazine. To find out more about her and to link to more of her articles, see her Frequent Contributor Page.

DESIGN CREDITS: The layers of this treatment are based on stained glass from the exceptional collection created by Kokomo Opalescent Glass. Page design by Donna Cunningham of Word of Mouth Web Design. ©2004, all rights reserved.

The World Wide Essence Society does not mean to imply any recommendation of nor give certification to any individuals or companies above. This article is provided purely for informational purposes. We ask consumers to make their own determination as to quality of the services and products offered above. This article is not meant to be advice, and the information is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.
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