Saturday, March 14, 2009

Start Whole

We are completely whole. Deep down, we all know this to be true, but much of this wisdom has been buried during a lifetime of negative mantras, unfortunate set-backs, and unconsciousness training -- such as from the advertising industry which thrives on us not feeling whole. Consequently, there's a part driving us that doubts our wholeness. This is the ego. For many of us, it is our delusion to believe that we are not whole and that we need material wealth, a title, fame, career success, a perfect partner or spouse, recognized intelligence, an attractive face and body, trophies, and a host of other things to feel whole. Most of us have somehow learned helplessness in one realm or another. Fortunately, we already have everything that we need for happiness and peace.

I take this lesson to heart and counsel myself with this advice (in second person). In everything that you do, whether in a relationship or alone, start by asking yourself if you already know that you're whole. That is the Self that Serves. If you are not convinced that you are whole, you may be acting out of desire or fear. And this can get ugly or embarrassing -- "Spilling your guts is exactly as charming as it sounds." (Fran Lebowitz). When you know that you are whole, you can act from a position of strength, as your authentic self. This holds true with work, relationships, hobbies, etc. If you have a regular practice, look inside your practice and see if this is true.

Next, see if the fear of being incomplete holds you back. A simple introspection: check if you seek validation through any of the so-called seven deadly sins. Give me a chance to explain that. I'm nervous to use sin, because it is a loaded word, and Words Are Powerful. Sin was not always synonymous to "act of evil". This came about by a certain church's fear-mongering oversimplification/distortion/mistranslation. Sin originated as an archery term meaning to "miss the mark." The word was used philosophically as a metaphor for missing the point, for doing something that was off a wise course, or what we might call "off track" or "off the path". Reclaim this less judgmental definition of sin as an effective tool for self-awareness. The seven deadly sins is a short list of symptoms that is helpful in diagnosing an unhealthy ego. The syndrome manifests through the ego as ravenous cravings for wholeness. Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride are all afflictions of the incomplete ego hijacking you. When you witness this taking place, your authentic self snatches the reins back from your insecure ego.

Only recently have I noticed this pattern in myself. Every time that I have acted in order to make myself whole -- to fill some need in me -- something fails terribly. When I already know my whole and authentic self, my actions work out wonderfully, either as I intended or I learn something interesting along the way.

The panacea: Start whole.

This post is dedicated to Gaelen Billingsley who guided me to the understanding that I am already whole.

Request for input - please use the stars and comments to engage back with me.


  1. I'm really struck by how these are polar opposite to mainstream Christian beliefs--the statements that: a.) sin is not necessarily an act of evil; and b.) we are fundamentally whole.

    Christian belief of course, starts with the assumption that all people are broken and thus require a savior.

    On the seven deadly sins, I think when the early Christian scholars enumerated them, they already considered these sins as sins in their modern meaning, i.e., acts of evil. Thomas Aquinas, I believe, called them the capital vices; he considered them not very gravely sinful, except that they lead to many other sins.

    Anyway, your post is some good fodder for late night musings :)

  2. Thanks, Roy. This gave me a chance to go deeper into some ideas that I like to ponder, and talk a bit about where spirituality and religion are compatible.

    I posted a detailed follow-up: