Wholeness vs perfection

 

In our society, we are trained to strive towards perfection. There can be many benefits and gifts in aiming at improving our skills in different areas of life. And – as we all know – striving too hard for perfection has its downsides. We may never feel we measure up, and we are chasing a moving goal.

It can be good to balance this with wholeness. And that wholeness can be found in a few different ways.

One is a wholeness that’s already here. This is the wholeness of presence allowing our experience as it is. The wholeness of what we are. It’s wholeness since it’s all inclusive of our current experience. (Natural rest, shikantaza.)

The other is the wholeness related to identity. An identity that’s more open, flexible, and inclusive. And identity that adapts and grows from finding in myself what I see in others, whatever it may be. There is a wholeness here since it can grow to include both ends of more and more polarities, and there is a gradual deepening here as well. These polarities can be body and mind, spirit and psyche, good and bad, male and female, smart and stupid, and so on. (Shadow work, The Work, parts work, body-mind practices etc.)

A third is wholeness from our connections with the larger social and ecological whole, and how we see ourselves in relationship to this larger whole. A friendly relationship to this larger whole gives us a sense of wholeness. And our identity can also be permeable and inclusive enough to include this wholeness. (Practices to reconnect, universe story, the epic of evolution.)

The first of these forms of wholeness is part of the next two. When we notice our experience as presence, we also notice our human self and the wider world as presence. And there is a wholeness inherent in that presence.

Each of these forms of wholeness is already here, and they are waiting to be brought into conscious awareness. The first require noticing and resting with it. And they all require some engagement and work.

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More or less whole in a relationship

 

Relationships sometimes make us feel more whole or less whole. And in that is the often seductively addictive and illusive nature of them.

Is this true for you? Are you really less or more whole in various relationships? Check it out.

– Lisa M. on FB

I know that I can experience myself more or less whole in different relationships, and also in different places and circumstances.

If I don’t already feel whole, I may feel more whole with some people, in some places, and doing some activities. And likewise, with others, I may feel more fragmented and less whole.

Is it true that I can be more or less whole? If I feel more whole, is it true I am? If I feel less whole, is it true I am?

What’s happening is that some people brings up my wholeness for me, and others brings up my sense of fragmentation. If it’s unquestioned, it really appears – and feels – as I am getting more whole with some people, and less whole with others. And that makes it especially painful when I lose people who brings up that sense of wholeness in me. I am not only losing that person, but my own wholeness. It feels like I am losing myself.

So this is an inquiry that can be very helpful in everyday life.

I feel more whole. Does it mean I am really more whole?

I feel less whole. Does it mean I am really less whole?

Is it true that the wholeness I am looking for is not here?

Love your enemies – as medicine

 

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. – Luke 6:27.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. – Luke 6:35.

Love your enemies. It sounds like a should, but it’s really medicine. It’s a prescription for finding wholeness and well being of myself, which in turn benefits those around me.

Who or what are my enemies? It’s anything in my world I don’t like. Anything I see as undesirable, bad, that shouldn’t be there. It can be an emotion, pain, discomfort, a person, an illness, war, delusion, a political party, noise, or anything else.

How do I find love for it? I have found these helpful:

I wish you love. I wish you ease. (Loving Kindness, Metta).

Tonglen. Ho’oponopono.

Holding satsang with what’s here. (You are welcome here. Thank you  for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really?)

All-inclusive gratitude practice. I am grateful for…. (Anything in my life, including and especially that which I don’t at first like.)

Placing myself in the heart flame. (When it’s something in me I perceive as an enemy.)

Christ meditation. Visualizing Christ at the seven points (in my heart, above and below me, in front and back of me, either side of me.) I sometimes also do this for others, and the Earth.

Inquiry into anything – any stories, perceptions, assumptions – that I use to close down my love for myself and others. Any stories of enemies. Any stories of love not being here. Any fearful stories about love.

What’s the effect of finding love for my enemies? For me, it’s a sense of wholeness and love for myself and others. A sense of coming home, and of deep well being and nurturing.

Why does this work? If life is love already, and we are life and love, then this is a way for us to come home to ourselves.

In a very real sense, love may be the medicine we are all looking for. If we had a choice, would chose to be free of a particular situation or illness, or find deep and genuine love for it? Perhaps a healing of our relationship to ourselves and the world is the healing we really wish for. (It’s not one or the other. We can find deep love for an illness, and still go to the doctor and follow her prescriptions. We can find deep love for a person, and still not allow him to hurt others if we can help it.)

Finding deep and genuine love for what’s here may even open up for our natural fearless wisdom and intelligence, allowing us to act with more kindness and clarity in the world.

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Highly sensitive

 

As part of a spiritual emergency, it’s common for people to be highly sensitive – to the energies of other people, places, the land, food and more.

I have certainly experienced my share of it.

There is a gift in this sensitivity, since it provides us guidance (what to do, what not to do), it can give us insights and inspiration (for writing, art), and it can help us help others.

It can also be very challenging – and even painful – at times.

Here are some things I have found helpful:

 Recognizing the difference between the sensitivity, and my reaction to or relationship with it. The sensitivity itself is OK. It’s my reaction to it that sometimes is stressful and painful (and it comes from my own wounding and unexamined assumptions).

Inquiring into my stories about what’s going on, including the trigger and what’s triggered. Help myself see more clearly what’s really going on.

Finding in myself what I see as “out there”. Owning it. Embracing it. Healing and finding my own wholeness as a human being.

Taking care of myself. Allowing myself to leave situations that feel uncomfortable, if that seems the most kind choice. (And owning that I am doing so at least partly because I am not quite healed and whole yet.) For instance, if I sit next to someone on the train whose energy triggers something in me, I give myself permission to stand up and go somewhere else.

Spending time in nature. Healing physically and emotionally. Finding nurturing environments, people, activities etc. Find grounding psychologically (healing, wholeness) and energetically (nature, gardening, tai chi etc.). Allowing the soul level to work on me – through prayer and meditation – infusing my human self and inviting it to heal and find its own wholeness.

Wholeness

 

Heal (v). O.E. hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from P.Gmc. *hailjan (cf. O.S. helian, O.N. heila, O.Fris. hela, Du. helen, Ger. heilen, Goth. ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), lit. “to make whole”

The meaning of the word heal is to make whole.

How am I made whole, in my own experience?

I find wholeness through noticing the wholeness that’s already here. I can ask myself, is it true the wholeness I am seeking is not already here? 

I can also engage in activities that may help me notice the wholeness that’s here – a walk in nature, inquiry, Breema, TRE, a nurturing conversation with a friend.

Through this, I notice that the noticing or experience of wholeness can come into the foreground even in the midst of illness, unease or confusion. Wholeness can and does coexist with whatever is here.

There is also another way I can find wholeness, and that is through the “creation” of wholeness. I can take medicines, receive surgery, do therapy and so on, and in all these ways my body-mind may find healing and integration in a conventional sense.

The noticing of wholeness is at the level of what I am (that which all experience happens within/as) and also at the level of who I am (this human self). And the creation of wholeness/healing is at the level of who I am.

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Morphine and finding right here

 

I received a couple of doses of morphine that interesting night at the ER, and I was curious about its effects. Mainly, it took the edge off the pain in a very effective way. And there was also a physical sense of warm and fuzzy wholeness.

The experience reminded me of the experience of body-mind wholeness (centaur) in general, and also of the shifts that happens when I do bodywork and work with projections. 

In all of those cases, there is a sense of wholeness, nurturing fullness, being home. 

There may be a shift from a sense of lack, neediness and being a victim, and into that sense of nurturing wholeness and fullness. (0ver time, the baseline tends to move so that shift may be more subtle.) 

When I explore it through the three centers, I find…

In view, there is a recognition right here of what I see out there – in the wider world, the past or the future. I see and feel it right there, in this human self. 

There is a more open heart, which in itself is nurturing and quietly joyful and satisfying. 

At the belly, there is a felt-sense of a nurturing fullness, nurturing all of me – body and mind – as a human self. 

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It is gold, so why wait?

 

Here is a slight variation on a common topic…

Our stories create a limited identity for us, and to the extent we identify with it, we are at odds with reality.

There is an identity to justify, defend and prop up. Someone may see something in us that doesn’t fit, and we feel a need to defend against it. Or our human self may do something that doesn’t fit, and we feel a need to defend our identity there too. We are at odds with life as it is, and there is a sense of drama and struggle.

So whenever this happens, it is a great opportunity to notice our identification with a particular identity. We take the offended identity as true, but what is more true for us? What do I find when I explore it for myself.

Someone may say “you are …” (fill in the blank). I notice a reaction to it, a movement to defending an identity, and this is a sure sign that I identify with and take a story as true. There may be stress. Tension. Hurt. Defensiveness. Reactiveness. Getting caught up in stories.

And I can meet and explore this in different ways. I can allow and meet the experience, and the fear behind it. I can notice the belief behind it, and find what is more true for me. I can feel and see the characteristic in me, as a part of my human wholeness, and our shared humanity.

In each case, what I find is that behind the initial reaction, there is pure gold. I find another piece of my lost wholeness as a human being. I am released out of a false – and too narrow – identity. I find another aspect of our shared humanity right here. I experience more of the fullness of who I already am.

If I get caught up in defending the threatened identity, all the usual things happen. A sense of stress. Tension. Conflict. Separation. (To myself and others.) Getting caught up in obsessive thoughts. Hurt. And more than that, I miss out of pure gold. I miss out of finding a previously excluded piece of my own wholeness.

The only problem is that most of the time, I don’t know what people think about me. They just don’t tell, at least not if it is anything they see as unfavorable. I miss out of the gold because it doesn’t happen that often. So what can I do?

Fortunately, there is a way around it. I can use any statement that comes my way, no matter who or what it is about and where it comes from (including my own thoughts), and turn it around to myself.

How is it true for me? Can I find it right here? What happens when I inquire into the beliefs and identities preventing me from feeling and seeing it in my human self? What happens when I allow myself to feel and see it right here?

Whatever statement comes up, I can turn it around to find it in myself.

This process leads to a healing and maturing of who I am, as this human self. And it releases identification out of stories, which makes it easier for what I am to notice itself.

It is pure gold, so why wait?

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Chased by our wholeness

 

I read about the hoop snake of North American folklore, which seems to have fascinated generations.The hoop snake bites its own tale, as the ouroboros, to form a circle and then roll down a hill like a wheel towards a hapless victim, who is then skewered on its tail.

We like scary stories with vivid imagery in general, and this one may have more to it as well.

The ouroboros is a universal symbol and reflection of wholeness, including the wholeness of who and what we already are. The wholeness of who we are, as a human being, independent of how fractured it may seem to us. And the wholeness of what we are, this awake emptiness within and to which all form arises, inherently absent of an I with an Other, and absent of beginning and end, outside and inside, and so on.

So how it is that our own wholeness charges after us and viscously skewers us on itself?

In general, whenever there is a sense of disturbance, it is our own wholeness calling us, and since we don’t like it (it is a disturbance after all), it can be experienced as being chased by it and skewered on it.

We are happy with our beliefs and identities, and life shows up outside of these beliefs and identities, inviting us to discover ourselves as more than and different from what we took ourselves to be. But since there is safety in the familiar, we cling to it and may even reinforce the apparent boundary between I and Other. Life doesn’t give up, so the disturbance persist. And the more we resist it, the more discomfort we experience, and the more the whole dynamic is experienced as being viscously chased and skewered by an Other.

The irony is that we are on both sides of the boundary, chasing and skewering ourselves.

We as the wholeness of this human self offer an invitation to discover ourself as more than what we take ourselves to be, outside of familiar identities. And we, as awake void and form, absent of I and Other, invite who we take ourselves to be to discover ourselves as already and always this awake void and form.

And another irony is that although a lot is happening in the world of form, nothing is really happening.

Everything happening within the world of form seems very real and substantial as long as we take ourselves to be form, and only form. But when this field of awakeness & form awakens to itself as this field, it is all revealed as the play of awakeness. It is all this awakeness appearing in temporary forms, while never stopping being just awakeness, insubstantial and inherently untouched by any forms it creates itself into.

A great deal is happening within the world of form, but since it is all the play of awakeness, from the view awakeness nothing is really happening. In the midst of everything happening, nothing really happens.