This afternoon, I was contemplating some of the energy flows of my life, and larger patterns of contemporary culture. What struck me? How little of the dominant structures in our planetary system support a life that is healthy and whole. I’m not just talking about the prevalence of fast food restaurants, or health care systems that orbit pharmaceuticals as solutions. Much more comprehensively, health can be hard to find in the most genuine and basic facets of its expression.
Have you seriously contemplated what “health” and “wholeness” mean to you? How fully are you embracing a “healthy life”? I invite you to consider these questions with me …
What is health and wholeness?
The prevalent notion that “health” is about your physical situation — what you eat, how much you exercise, or whether you are diagnosed with something by a doctor — largely misses the deep and full embrace of a “healthy life.” For energy to flow coherently and powerfully, all aspects of life must be in relation to each other, or there are dangling compartmentalizations and cognitive dissonance. An expanded vision of health and wholeness recognizes the essential continuum of awareness, experience, and embodiment.
For starters, I would describe a true state of health to be a life filled with loving relationship connections, a full spectrum of emotional experience, work that is co-creative and co-beneficial to all involved, ongoing spiritual growth and maturation, and a clear, expanding mental/psychological view of the world. Just to name a few key aspects. Unfortunately, some, or all, of these are in short supply for the vast majority of people, regardless of their geography or economic situation.
The creation and sustenance of health is a foundational principle. It isn’t an activity, a location, a food or beverage, a spiritual practice, or any sort of singularity. From a spiritual and energetic perspective, I would say that the purpose of cultivating heath is the realization of wholeness in all aspects of your being. Physical, mental, emotional, psychological.
I am reluctant to tack on “spiritual” to the end of the list above. From my vantage point, true health emerges from wholeness on the soul-level, which reflects into well-being in all aspects of your physical and multi-dimensional experience. Most forms of ill-health in the physical experience can be traced to fragmentation, disconnect, or disturbances of the soul or higher Self.
While you can address physical symptoms of soul fragmentation or disruption in the physical aspects of existence, you usually only suppress or temporarily ameliorate the dis-ease unless you venture deeply enough to reach its origin or source. That journey generally requires strong intention, consistent effort, and dedication. (The same can be said about realizing any aspect of true health in a society that is full of normalized pathologies.)
That last sentence brings me to the reflection that originated my desire to write this article: true health is not generally embodied in the contemporary world. Health and wholeness take ongoing effort to maintain if you do wish to embody them. For a simple example, when traveling, if I wish to eat food that is prepared with conscious intention from ingredients that do not harm people or the natural world, I’d be best to cook and bring my own food with me in most locations (which I do). It’s easy to find meals filled with low quality ingredients that would bring poor health to myself or others. The same can be said for superficial relationships, synthetic technological realities, commercialized emotions, and endless mental and psychological content designed to provoke anger, fear, and reactive behavior.
These types of (unhealthy) offerings are in abundance worldwide. Metaphorically, I envision most people as living on the surface of a balloon. It appears continuous, solid, and uniform, and brightly colored. Beneath that thin skin (of reality), the inside is hollow. Emptiness resting upon illusion — and I’m not speaking of the cosmic or spiritual sense of emptiness. If you press through that thin skin, the whole superficial reality deflates, sometimes dramatically or explosively.
The commitment to true health and wholeness
One of the reasons that I am pointing out the superficiality of reality and common perceptions of well-being is because I observe a lot of discussion, much of it as vague finger-pointing, of reasons why people are widely unhappy, depressed, unfulfilled, burned out, or suffering from various ailments. Pointing at symptoms doesn’t activate change at the level of (un)creating an (un)healthy reality.
Unless an individual makes a change in what they DEEPLY want from life, and decisively acts upon that intention, then they will keep getting more of the same, though it might look transiently or superficially different. It is easier to continue living on the bubble of shared reality than consciously calling forth your existence from authentic inner awareness.
In other words, tweaking your life doesn’t equate to genuine transformation. No matter how compelling the marketing for the (rapid, external) “solution” to your (health and wholeness) dissatisfaction might be. If you are seeking revitalization, full health, and soul-level liberation, I do not suggest cherry-picking interesting or comfortable parts of your experience to contemplate and change. Wholeness requires, by definition, engaging with the whole.
Deeply wanting to be healthy and whole on all levels of existence is a fundamental commitment. It is not the path of ease, external validation, or “normality.” In fact, it is generally a path towards the opposite, as unhealthy social, economic, and political structures don’t spontaneously embrace contrast. That’s largely because the contrast of health and wholeness would cause disruption or destruction of those dominant structures if it became widely recognized and adopted. Such is the nature of undertaking change in the core fabric of reality, be it personal or planetary. No one who succeeds undertakes such a venture lightly or casually.
Furthermore, there is nothing static about true health and wholeness. My experience is that new levels of health and wholeness become desirable as your awareness opens and health deepens. Being “healthy” in the full sense is not a goal that you can measure, and then check off a list as “complete.” Furthermore, no one can proclaim health and wholeness for you. The promotion of quantitative measures of “health” are probably good to bring awareness to certain issues and things to observe, but the totality of health transcends any measurement. How do you measure a healthy relationship with another person? With the planetary system? How could you exclude those from a meaningful understanding and experience of “health”? Are you “healthy” if you can run a marathon, but lack soul-level awareness, loving connections, and inner purpose for your life?
Does healthy = happy?
Can you be “healthy” if you don’t know why you work at your job, why you are married, or why you have children? Or add in any number of the “why’s” that make up the weaving of a human life. So many aspirations to wholeness and happiness are based upon others’ ideas, re-created or repeated without much consideration. True inner/outer health — from my perspective of spiritual and energetic wholeness — necessitates deeply conscious choices of creation.
A deeply conscious choice is not the willing replication of a someone else’s path, tradition, or life results, no matter how respected or valued those might be by others. Just because something worked out for someone else at some other time does not create an inherent benefit — or obligation — for you to take it on as defining your health and wholeness. Their choice can be theirs, and yours can be yours, without conflict or contradiction. That being said, becoming conscious of the choices that have brought forth your past/present life does not necessarily evoke “happiness” or “joy” in the understanding — much of what you become aware of in the process of becoming truly whole and healthy can be rather horrifying.
In my experience, everyone that I know on a deep spiritual path can attest to (inner/outer) darkness standing out more vividly in contrast to their emerging light of awareness. This shocking, dismaying, or horrifying phase of soul awakening can last quite awhile too; it’s not wrapped up in a healing session or weekend workshop. (Years, not hours.)
Yet even this aspect of your inner process can be embraced as an uplifting part of the path to true wholeness. It is a matter of perspective and orientation. Sometimes there will be gratitude for difficult awareness, and sometimes simply acceptance of the bridge to be crossed. In this way, challenging recognition and transformation can be elevated above the purposeless misery that so many cycle within. Consciously experiencing emotion and unconscious suffering are entirely different.
Don’t give up — or believe you are on the “wrong track” — if your quest for true health and wholeness does not bring immediate inner joy, peace, happiness. Evaluate shifts rather than an idealized goal or end point. Sometimes seemingly “slow” mortal progress covers vast distances of time and space. Wholeness is a state of being experienced far beyond the ephemeral joys and happiness of physical perception.
The conclusion of these reflections is meant to be an initiation — a purposeful beginning or launch into your own deliberation and consideration of what it means (to you) to be healthy and whole. The start is a simple question: does “this” contribute to my true health and wholeness? “This” can be anything and everything in your life. You’ll have a pretty good awareness of where you are right now after 30 minutes of inquiring about “this” and “that,” even if you haven’t fully examined or defined what true health looks and feels like to you.
It doesn’t ultimately matter what health and wholeness mean to someone else. Your health and wholeness are yours to choose, create, and sustain. No one can has the responsibility or empowerment to do it for you — there is tremendous opportunity and freedom in that awareness!
My best wishes and blessings for your work, your awakening, and your journey.