Everyone has an opinion or a truth about God, spirituality, and the essence of how the whole thing works. I’m not any different in that respect…with one exception…I know that my belief system is just a belief system. It’s not the ultimate truth – it’s just one version of the truth as seen through my perspective in this particular moment. In Buddhist tradition we look to move beyond the belief systems we hold. And yet, even that value of moving beyond beliefs is a value and belief about what is a more sane and enlightened way of being in the world. We all need beliefs; they give our psycho-spiritual selves a way of organizing. But, when we hold to those beliefs too tightly, we lose our ability to take in new information and be changed by it, to become more expansive in our understanding. This is one of the many paradoxes that the enlightenment seeker faces. In fact, one of the main things that makes us humans suffer so much is that we have serious difficulty with accepting paradox, and life is made up of endless paradoxes. But, that’s a topic for another article. This article is about one of my belief systems on Whole Person Healing.
Typically, if I say the word “person,” people think of an “I,” a “self,” a “body.” The problem with that is to heal the Whole person we need to relinquish the illusion that we are separate from others. Yup, it’s another paradox. There is an “I” and a “self,” but there is no “I” without the “you.” The only way we develop a sense of self is in relationship to others. So, when we speak to whole person healing, we must recognize that this includes a much larger frame of reference. The failure of traditional psychology was in orienting to psychological issues as the “problem” of the individual. When, in fact, individuals only have problems within a sociological context. R.D. Lang, a Scottish psychologist, put it brilliantly when he said, “insanity is a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” This is why I completed my undergraduate work in sociology, even though I knew I would eventually become a therapist and spiritual counselor.
You may be wondering, “why is she talking about psychology when this article is supposed to be about spirituality and whole person healing?” Well, my beautiful readers, that is because in my understanding, they are just different doorways into the same room. We like to separate ideas and put them into clearly defined boxes. It helps us to make sense of systems that are too big and complex to really comprehend in their entirety. It’s like studying physiology. We study the respiratory system, the circulatory system, and the cardiovascular system, but they do not and cannot exist on their own. There is no cardiovascular system without the circulatory system or the respiratory system. Psychology, spirituality, culture, anatomy, etc. do not exist in a vacuum; rather, they are all just parts of a larger whole.
In my orientation, I tend to view Spirituality as the larger complex system…maybe it’s not – likely that’s just my truth and my belief system. Still, it’s the one that makes the most sense to me, so it’s the one I have to offer you, lovely readers. In the articles that follow this, you won’t just hear about God, Yoga, Buddhism and beyond, you will also likely hear about thoughts, feelings, psychology, nutrition, culture, family and all the rest of this juiciness that is this life we are living.
Because it is my belief and my experience, that spirituality is not about transcending the physical plane or about eradicating the unpleasant aspects of others, ourselves and the world we live in. Spirituality is about becoming more fully human – it is about integrating all the parts of our lives and all the different aspects of ourselves into one integrated being.
May we live into our full humanity and in that fullness, be fully healed.
Sabrina Santa Clara