Wholesome

The most recent episode of the Unmade podcast is a wholesome episode, and it seems that the hosts see “wholesome” as meaning saccharine and slightly patronizing and contrived. (Which is why I initially didn’t get through more than the first one or two minutes.)

I see wholesome a bit different.

DEFINITION OF WHOLESOME

Here are some definitions of wholesome:

1 : promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit. 2 : promoting health of body. 3a : sound in body, mind, or morals. b : having the simple health or vigor of normal domesticity.

And something about the origin of the word whole.

whole (adj.) – Old English hal “entire, whole; unhurt, uninjured, safe; healthy, sound; genuine, straightforward,” from Proto-Germanic *haila- “undamaged”, from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (see health).

THE REVERSE – PARTIAL & DAMAGED

The reverse of wholesome is partial, unhealthy, and damaged.

If we have wounds, emotional issues, and hangups, and live from these, we tend to behave in a not so wholesome way. We may get caught up in anger, sadness, reactivity, compulsions, and so on.

If we are more healed and have found more of the wholeness of who and what we are, and especially if we relate to life in a more healthy way, we’ll tend to behave in a more wholesome way.

We can find wholeness in three general areas: as a human being in the world, as what we are, and perhaps most importantly in how we relate to life.

FINDING WHOLENESS AS A HUMAN BEING

I can find wholeness as a human being through finding healing for my emotional issues, hangups, wounds, and traumas.

And I can find wholeness as a human being through intentionally working on projections. Whenever there is a charge in how I relate to someone else, a situation, or the world – whether it’s attraction or aversion, I can explore what it points to in myself, and find and befriend in myself what I see in the wider world.

These two are related since thoroughly finding healing for emotional issues typically requires projection work.

FINDING WHOLENESS AS WHAT WE ARE

Human wholeness is one type of wholeness, and it’s not the whole picture.

I can find what I more fundamentally am than this human self.

I can find myself as capacity for the world, and what my field of experience happens within and as.

Here, I notice that any sense of boundaries comes from an overlay of mental images and words. They are not inherent in the world. To me, my field of experience – which includes anything relating to this human self and the wider world – is one.

And this is another form of wholeness.

FINDING A MORE HEALTHY WAY TO RELATE TO LIFE

Wholesomeness is ultimately about how we relate to life.

It’s found in how we relate to ourselves, others, situations, and life in general.

We can find ways to have a more healthy relationship with life.

We can do this even if we are not completely healed as a human being, and even if we don’t notice what we are.

And there is a mutuality here. Finding a more healthy way to relate to life supports healing as a human being, and it can make it a little easier to notice what we are and living from it. Similarly, healing as a human being and noticing what we are supports finding a more healthy way of relating to life.

WHAT IS WHOLESOME?

So what is wholesome?

For me, it comes from relating to life in a more healthy way, supported by finding healing as a human being and perhaps also noticing what we are.

Wholesomeness comes from a generally healthy way of relating to life, and it’s real and authentic.

OUTLINE

  • wholesome
    • whole, healthy
    • if unhealthy, damaged
      • can get stuck in anger, sadness, complaining, regret, shady things, and so on
    • is the reverse of that
      • comes from finding wholeness and health
      • largely how we relate to ourselves, others, and life
      • wholesome is to relate to life in a more healthy way, in a way that’s also authentic, real, grounded and so on
    • whole in two ways
      • psychological – healing + finding wholeness through working on projections
      • spiritual – notice what we are, finding that wholeness, oneness
    • how we relate to life
      • if healthy way of relating to life, can find wholesomeness even if not fully healed or don’t notice what we are
      • healing + noticing supports this form of wholesomeness

….

Wholesome refers to whole and healthy. It doesn’t refer to partial, sentimental, and saccharine.

….

It’s not wrong that I am this human self, and that I can find more wholeness as this human self in the world.

….

Human wholeness is one type of wholeness, and it’s not the whole picture.

I can also find myself as capacity for the world, and what my field of experience happens within and as. Here, I find that any sense of boundaries comes from an overlay of mental representations.

When I notice what I am, the world to me is one. All is one.

And this is another form of wholeness.

….

There is another way to find wholesomeness, and that is through relating to life in a more healthy way.

We can relate to life in a more healthy way even if we are not fully healed as a human being, and if we don’t notice what we are.

….

It’s not sentimental or saccharine. It’s real, authentic, grounded, and engaged.

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