Posted on September 23rd, 2013
Twenty-First Century life can easily feel fragmented, a flood of often conflicting demands and responsibilities—work, family, friendships, community, politics, the shifting economy, and the thousands of avenues of interest and desire competing for our attention. In this environment, it’s easy to lose track of wholeness.
When it’s mentioned at all today, wholeness is usually spoken of as something lost through childhood difficulties, or something lost to the world since primitive times, lost, lost, lost and unrecoverable. Each accomplishment and milestone in our lives may please and fortify us, and sex, food, drink and drugs may offer immediate comfort, but none of these resolves the basic issue. We experience ourselves as fragmented rather than whole.
In reality, the experience of wholeness is completely within our grasp. The reason for this is simple: we’re already whole. All living beings are whole, just as we stand. Fish and birds, dogs and leopards are each already whole. So are human beings, whole from birth until death and at all times in between.
Then why do we have such a difficulty trying to grasp our wholeness?
Probably because we usually look for wholeness where it can’t be found. Wholeness is not an objectifiable quality; it can’t be seen, or held, or touched. Thoughts, ideas, and memories of wholeness are not wholeness. Wholeness is also not just another experience in life, another possession we can check off on our lists of desires.
Wholeness does not exist in ourselves, no matter how we define ourselves. Wholeness is connectedness, an intimate felt connection with the immediate world we are in. With wholeness, there is no thinking or judging, no emptiness, and no need or desire in search of something to fill it. The connection experienced with wholeness is love, not romantic love but an experience of union, of occupying the same psychic space.
This connection is most easily grasped through the benign simplicity of engaging with flowers and plants. Instead of keeping ourselves at a distance from the flowers through naming and/or evaluating them, if we allow ourselves to merge into presence with them, the mentally-focused “I” recedes and wholeness emerges, a union which incorporates us.
There is also often a corresponding shift in ourselves as our hearts expand and our heads become calm. Our minds are still present, but in the mode of noticing rather than thinking. In these moments, there are no judgements. We are experiencing wholeness, with nothing left to find. Multiply these moments through attentive awareness, and the experience of wholeness becomes the ground you stand on.