Calendula - Learn to listen

Ringelblume – Calendula – Calendula officinalis

Calendula is the essence that helps to listen and to express oneself properly even when communicating non-verbally. Her impact can be compared to Blackberry‘s, which takes all information, millions of tiny nerves in the retina register, and makes a complete picture of them we can understand. Calendula similarly takes all sounds and noises and puts them in the right order, so that they make sense and we can understand them.

Calendula - Ringelblume

Edward Bach told us we should prepare essences in the morning. The preparation should be finished before the sun reaches his highest point. That means the little glass bowl with the flowers in it should be placed in the sun before 9 a.m. That is why I stood up early and went to that beautiful place in Tuscany where the colours of blooming Olive trees and Celendulas create a very harmonious space, that invited me to rest and meditate. Well, I had enough time to meditate, since Calendulas are late risers and do not open their flowers before 10. They simply ignore Dr. Bach‘s rules, and so did I and prepared the essence anyway.

When we take a look into the Genesis, what do we read first: „God said: Let there be light.“ You see, that first there was the word, then the light, first there was the sound wave, then came the light wave, first came the low frequency, then the high one. It is the very same with human nature. Before any unborn child can notice anything with his eyes, he can yet listen to his mother‘s voice.

Calendula has a unique energy that finetunes our hearing. This energy corresponds not just with the ability to hear and listen, but with the whole field of acoustics. This means it also enhances our ability to make sounds ourselves – in most cases of communication as words, but not always, speaking is not the only means we use when communicating.

Calendula - Ringelblume

Let us see what happens when someone talks to us. The acoustic waves coming from another one‘s mouth reach our eardrum and are transformed by this fine membrane into a mechanical vibration. Behind it one tiny little bone knocks on the next one until another membrane is reached, which divides the inner from the middle ear. This membrane in turn creates another wave in the fluid inside the inner ear, where it flows further into the depths of the cochlea, the place where we really hear.

The cochlea works like a keyboard. Low pitched sounds come in slow and high waves, high pitched ones are fast and not as high. They touch diffent keys on that cochlea keyboard, which in turn informs our nervous system of the input. At last our brain decodes the cacophony, reads the information and perhaps uses it to transform it into a movement of our body.

So a simple soundwave flows through all three different aggregate states: gaseous, liquid and solid and makes e.g. 70 kg protein get up from the sofa, just because these 70 kilos noticed the words: „Stand up!“, understand the imperative and transform it into a movement of a human body. Isn‘t it astonishing?! (if „Stand up!“ should not work, try „Free beer!“)

Even before a baby is born, soundwaves can reach him, but not in the way you may expect. The mother‘s abdominal wall is far to thick to let sounds through. The way sounds take again is multi-dimensional, as Alfred Tomatis found out, the researcher of means of communication between mother and child. For 9 months the mother‘s ear serves her baby as ear, too. From her ear the soundwave is directed fom one vertebra to the next until it reaches the iliac bones. They in turn can be seen as stereo loudspeakers creating a new wave in the amniotic fluid, that touches the baby‘s skin as a gentle wave.

The mother‘s words are transmitted to her baby just the same way. It should not surprise you to learn to know now, that there are nerve cells in the human skin that are identical with the ones inside the cochlea in the ear. Their task is it to notice subtle vibrations. So one thing should be clear now: we listen with our whole bodies not only with our ears – although hardly anyone knows about his skin‘s incredible ability.

The way we utilize soundwaves however does not work right from the beginning of our lives. First we have to learn a language in order to decode all the strange noises that enter our ears. But even if we do not understand the words, the sound still has an impact on us. There is simply more to it than just pure information. The soft pressure on our skin is not easy to notice consciously, but yet the vibrations touch us.

The human speech centre is located in our left brain. There it waits to be filed with words, pictures and meanings. We learn to speak by giving the things we see names: this is mama, this is a ball etc. Internally we associate words with pictures. This makes it easy to create inner movies when listening to stories. (If our senses do not work the way they should, a combination of Blackberry and Calendula is highly recommended, even if there is no obvious indication for the one or the other)

Some people have to ‚translate‘ written texts into spoken words. They have to speak out internally what they read, if they want to understand. That makes them slower readers than others, who prefer to understand the written letters directly in their visual minds. They simply leave out an unnecessary step others must take. It seems easier to make inner pictures from the words we hear, instead of first listening to an internal speaker, but many people do not know how the create this reading strategy. To make things clear I should say, that none of both methods is better, one of them is just faster, that‘s all.

All in all we know now, that Calendula improves our ability to hear, listen and understand. She makes us notice intermediate tones and understand in a wholistic way. Our perceptions improves.

However Calendula also works with our ability to speak and express ourselves (in a very creative sense, since it affects the second Chakra, too)  . This includes not just the words we use, but also the way we accentuate and how we make use of our body language. What we want to say and how we say it have to be congruent in order to make our communication perfect.
Let us take a look on an example of failed communication. Mother says something like „I told you a thousand times, tidy up your room!“ Isn‘t it most astonishing that someone repeats the same order a thousand times without really integrating the fact, that it does not work at all? What happens here? The sound reaches the right ears. But when checking with the eyes one has to notice the painful truth: nothing has happened. The children‘s room still looks like after a bomb attack. What is necessary in such cases is a change of strategy. Perhaps the result would be different if one only chooses a new way to reach out for it.

The error lies in the fact that one reacts instead of acting. One responds to what happens inside onself: anger and frustration, which in turn results from a look into the chaotic children‘s room. It would be much better to first imagine the wanted result and then find out how to get it most easily and the fatest possible way. „How often did I tell you ...“ works more like a jammed brake pedal.

The way we express ourselves and our wishes determine the results we get.

On the other hand it is most admirable, how human beings can let sound and words flow through themselves without getting touched. (This is a Zen koan) Of course parents are annoyed by this phenomenon, but if we put the stress aside, we recognize an incredible human ability! Imagine how wonderful life could be if only we would learn how to use it consciously! E.g. when they are renewing the street in front of our house. But who says we cannot?! Milton Erickson, the great therapist, taught his patients, who suffered from a disease, I could not find in my English dictionary, good old Latin speakers call it Tinnitus, that creates sound in one‘s inner ear, how to ignore the sound.

Musicians make use of a couple of methods to improve their sense of hearing. When we just like them start educating ourselves in order to become masters we can reach far more with the help of Calendula than without.

Calendula also affects our speaking, as we learned from that silly mother-child example above. She does so not just in our neck and mouth, but especially where words are created in our brain. Please do not misunderstand me, Calendula does not work like a medicament or any chemical substance. We can only understand how this essences works when we take a closer look at her emotional effects.

Calendula - Ringelblume

So here comes the next (and the last) excursion into physiology (sorry).

Right in the centre of our brain the is an area called the limbic system. There are all our emotions located. Since it is also right above our spinal cord, most of our most important nerves have to cross it. For example the nerval impulses that come from our eyes pass through it before they reach our visual centre in the back of our heads. We now can understand why people can literally see through things without noticing them, when the information passes their emotional filter. But it also makes clear why every movement we make is modified by our emotions, which creates our individual body language. We can see if somebody is anxious or depressed by the way he or she moves. We simply cannot hide our emotions, even though many people try to.

When we succeed in replacing our inner blockages by a new level of understanding ourselves and others, we shall be able  to communicate directly and without disturbances. Calendula ist the right essence to help us make this step towards openness in communication. No more misunderstandings and ulterior motives means no more anger and quarreling. Calendula creates the emotional basis for mental and spiritual development. She makes us stop listeing our own commenting thoughts and instead listen to what others are trying to tell us. In this sense this flower is an enhancer of meditation, too.

Why  this is one of our essences for children? Well, Calendula brings courage and the ability to express oneself clearly and open in the very moment one learns to listen und understand in early childhood. This essence is the appropriate tool to provide our children with the ability to communicate most effective, focus on what is essential and avoid any misunderstandings.

©Dirk Albrodt

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