An integral approach to health may look something like this…
This is the level that can offer a sense of health independent of the actual condition of the body/mind. When we open up for Big Mind – or other transpersonal aspects such as non-seeking mind – we fully and deeply experience that everything is OK as it is. As they say in Breema, true health is harmony with existence.
A sense of separation gives suffering. A sense of no separation alleviates and dissolves suffering. And we can open up for the experience of no separation – of being whatever comes up in the inner/outer world – in many ways. Breema, yoga, meditation, Big Mind process, etc. Anything that brings awareness into awareness of itself – as distinct from its content. In this, awareness discover its inherent qualities – often described as tranquility, equanimity, joy, bliss, compassion.
What small self strives for, with limited and always temporary success, is revealed as the inherent and always present nature of awareness/mind/consciousness.
We go behind the clouds (the content of awareness – sensations, emotions, thoughts), and find the clear sky and the sun – always there.
On this level, there is a shift in view from exclusive identification with small self (organism/personality) to including Big Mind (all inclusive, beyond dualities). There is a deepened familiarity with both, their relationship, and how we can move fluidly in expression of one or the other.
This is the more familiar level of “fixing” whatever is going on. We look at all levels:
- Physical level
Nutrition, structural, surgery if necessary.
Acupuncture, yoga, energy healing.
Social support, being with, empathy from inner and/or outer sources.
Cognitive therapy, Byron Katie’s inquiry process.
Family interactions, social support, work situation, etc.
Physical environment – quality of (indoor/outdoor) air, water, food, etc.
Meaning, purpose, sense of connection. Religion, spirituality, deep ecology, new cosmology, ecospirituality, etc.
Of course, many tools and approaches address several of these levels, or at least impacts several levels as the patterns shift. The body/mind is one seamless and fluid system, and if we change a control variable at one level and in one area, it can (and inevitably will to some extent) impact the whole system. A skilled practitioner – in any from a wide variety of approaches – may assist in shifting the whole system into a state of improved health (in whatever way that is defined by the person).
The practitioner is a part of the comprehensive approach. When the practitioner apply to her/himself what they suggest for others, it has several effects. (a) It serves as a model for the client, they see what it can look like. (b) The client tends to trust the advice more when they see that the one suggesting it applies it in their own life. (c) It helps the practitioner become clearer, which helps the decision process. (d) It gives the practitioner a more thorough familiarity with the terrain, another invaluable aid in helping the other towards conventional and deeper health.
There are two general processes that span these categories.
- Relationship to the disease (inner/outer situation)
At both the Big Mind and the small self levels, we can find a way of relating to the situation that gives a relief from suffering. This is inherent in the Big Mind view, and optional within the small self level (cognitive therapy etc).
- Fixing the disease
This occurs at the personal level, but can be informed by insights from the transpersonal level.
An integral approach to health may then include three main areas:
- Big Mind
Transpersonal. Shift in view from exclusive identification with small self to include Big Mind. A deepening familiarity with both helps us find more fluidity in expressing one or the other, depending on the situation. Here, we find true health in realizing that everything is OK as it is – the Big Mind view. And in not getting stuck in this view, which in itself would bring suffering.
- Small self
Body/psyche. This is the relative and small self aspect, which also must be included. We work on all levels and scales, and look for control variables that may shift the whole system towards health.
- The practitioner
Self-insight, own health on all levels.