Here we are; the last week of 2014. I hope it has been a rewarding year for everyone.
As we leave 2014 and go into the New Year, I would like to remind us all of a few important ideas.
Join the shift!
Every year brings us closer to the cultural transformation that realizes the connectedness that is essential to our existence in this universe. Western thinking has been grounded in the paradigm of “individuality” for several centuries. The harm this view has caused can be seen all around us. As long as we continue to perceive that our reality is compartmentalized and mechanistic, we can only see the surface of our world. To perceive deeper into the reality we all exist within requires a shift to understand that all the compartments and mechanisms are completely interactive with each other. Each individual is a unique expression within a framework of connection; in essence a member of a symbiotic relationship that includes all that exists.
As each of us joins the paradigm shift to a holistic perspective, we can contribute to the wellness of each individual, and in the same act, we contribute to the wellness of the whole organism that we are an integral part of.
Spirituality is not religion!
I continue to see the idea that in order to expunge the harm that may have been caused, and is still caused by “religious” ideas and actions, we find it necessary to throw out the concept of spirituality. Personally, and in my humble opinion, I find this thinking to be extreme in its own right. If we understand spirituality to be the experience of the interconnected essence of the universe, we might realize religion can be a vehicle for that experience. In the cases that religion has been abused by individuals and groups who seek power over others, should we blame the religion or the individuals and groups who perpetrate the abuses?
When we accept the evidence that has been growing over the past century in support of understanding reality as a holistic energy field where information and consciousness are the fundamental essence of all that exists, we can begin to realize how spirituality is simply the experience of this aspect of reality. By connecting to the “holistic energy field that is the source of all manifestation” (in some ways a definition of God), we begin to perceive our role as a member of an interactive process, the symbiotic dynamic that I described above.
Wellness is not only about “you”!
When we see all the content that is produced about health, wellness, and fitness; it seems that most of the message is all about “you”. What is your BMI? What is your fitness level? What is your blood sugar level? And on and on… I am not trying to say that these are unimportant measures of wellness. The point is they are limited in scope and evidence continues to be contradictory across all domains of research. Since science can only give us so much information, and has only had a couple hundred years at best to answer questions that are related to wellness, I tend to rely on healing traditions that have many thousand years of exploration available to provide answers to these questions. It is important to let go of the rigid expectation that the only valid evidence is provided by the modern scientific method. Once again, I find this attitude a bit extreme and verging on the fanatical.
The ancient traditions that have provided wisdom and insight into wellness practice have held a more holistic perspective through the ages. When a practitioner examines someone who has some kind of health complaint, the assessment will focus on the individual and also the environment. The understanding that a person is composed of the interactions of internal states and external context will inform the diagnosis and recommended treatment for whatever the complaint is. External context includes the family situation, work situation, climate, geography, and in many cases the astrological signs (I know this is not an accepted method in Western science, yet it is culturally congruent for many of the peoples across the globe.) The point is, wellness is not only about you, it is so much more than that.
Open your mind!
Based on the few ideas that I have expressed above I am suggesting that wellness is very attainable to all of us. We just need to shift our thinking a little bit. Try to expand the source of your answers to more perspectives. If you are only finding your answers in the Western medical model and scientific method, you are losing out on a rich source of information. As always, it is very important to become an informed and well educated consumer. Do not take anything at face value! That includes reporting on “science” just as much as information from “alternative” sources. Do not blindly accept anything that you hear, regardless of the source.
With a more open mind, you will find answers to questions that come from many sources. With these answers in hand, you will be able to choose the ways that you want to enhance and enrich your wellness practice. If going to church every Sunday is one of your wellness practices, don’t let anyone stop you with opinions about the harm that religion may have caused in one context or another. If your fitness level is not as high as you want, take it one day at a time and increase your activity in small increments. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will make progress. Don’t let the singular focus on biometrics rule your appreciation of your wellness. If your BMI is higher than “normal” and your family connectedness is high, or your social consciousness is high, or your stress levels are managed and lower than “normal”; it is likely that the protective factors will help balance the harmful factors. Remember it is all about balance.
Take a holistic view!
It is the essence of the reality that we exist within. Consider who you are and where you are in relationship to all that surrounds you. The energy exchange that you are aware of will inform you of the balance that you experience. When your energy is in balance, this is harmony. The awareness of this energy exchange requires practice. Add a little bit of meditation into your daily experience. As your awareness of energy grows, you will see how the true nature of the universe is interconnectedness. Let it grow at its own pace. Think of yourself as a seed. Just provide the nourishment and you will grow and grow.
This is my wish for all of you in the coming New Year.
May you all find the peace, harmony, and blessed serenity that are the foundation of true wellness!