By: Amy Bernier
Almost a week into covid recovery, during a slow walk in the woods, I was reflecting on wholeness. Here is one definition from good ole Webster “the state of forming a well-constructed and harmonious whole or unity.” This aligns with my yogic definition of wholeness – increased sensation of one’s obstacles to one’s true nature and using yoga tools to return to center. It is so interesting how one word can midpoint so many things to so many people, increasingly on that later.
Coming when to my walk, I was musing well-nigh the multitude of emotions that come up when you are under the weather for any reason, or you are worried well-nigh your family members and their illnesses. I had mentioned to my son who is moreover ‘in recovery’ well-nigh the koshas from yoga philosophy, the layers of our being. When something is variety physically, such as the soul responding to a virus- it can impact the other layers, veritably the prana or energy layer as well as the emotional and mental layers. It may moreover be a bit harder to trammels in with the kicks layer when you are feeling sick. I think this was a meaningful conversation for us, giving us both permission to finger a bit ‘grumpy bump’ as he described it, out of sorts and anxious.
My new insight on wholeness, wisdom that often comes through for me when ambling in the woods, was that we deny ourselves true wholeness when we do not indulge for the whole spectrum of our emotions. Fear and anxiousness alimony knocking on my door. But when I truly indulge these feelings, they are not so big and scary, they are just part of the whole. I indulge them in, requite them some space and they are in the visitor of some higher vibrational feelings such as trust and love. This relates when to the koshas, increased sensation of all of ourselves, including some subtle shifts that can gently guide us when towards wholeness.
Another definition of wholeness: ‘the state of stuff unbroken or undamaged’ does not sit as well with me for this reflects a perfectionist mentality or an inability to be vulnerable and truly pure well-nigh our current reality. On the flip side of this definition of wholeness that whispers of an inflated ego is a deflated ego prevalent in today’s times. How often do we or society tell us we are wrenched or damaged goods, where then is the possibility of the attainment of any sort of wholeness? Society, secular or religious might tell us conversion, membership, or years of therapy may be the only key to wholeness. Yoga tells us there is no fee or big leap, we were born self-ruling and whole, and dear I say holy.
In fact, Jon Kabat-Zinn says the meaning of wholeness is found in the words holy, healthy, and healing. He describes wholeness as a dynamic process and not a stock-still state. I love this! It speaks to me of a wholeness that is not touchable it is much increasingly fluid and invites the qualities of acceptance, grace, autonomy, and possibility. Perhaps the mind or the soul are feeling overtaxed or neglected, what small shifts could bring one closer to center? For me, just a few deep breaths can help me indulge for all, the so-called good, the bad, and the fluid field of neutrality that the vast variety of emotions and thoughts fall when into.
One last take on wholeness points us when to unity. The insight here from my favorite theologian, Fr. Richard Rhor: “We realize that everything belongs, and everything can be received. We see that life and death are not opposites. They do not cancel one flipside out; neither do goodness and badness. There is now room for everything to belong. A radical, scrutinizingly nonsensical “okayness” characterizes the mature believer, which is why they are often tabbed “holy fools.” We don’t have to deny, dismiss, defy, or ignore reality anymore. What is, is gradually okay. What is, is the greatest of teachers. At the marrow of all reality is unchangingly deep goodness, or what Thomas Merton tabbed ‘a subconscious wholeness.’” A subconscious wholeness, sweat nectar for the seeker soul. The irony is that there is truly no seeking required, outwards anyway, the wholeness is once within, and it has your name written on it. Now requirement it, but don’t hold too tightly to it, indulge the mystery and the wholeness to be a unfurled place that you can return to then and again. Home again. Holy and Whole.
Amy Bernier – Yoga Teacher & Writer
Amy Bernier has been working in the health promotion field for over 20 years. She has her master’s stratum in Exercise Physiology and has been a certified yoga teacher for over 15 years. In 2015 she obtained a certification as a yoga therapist, from the Yoga Life Institute of NH. Because of Amy’s interest in sharing pearls of wisdom from the yoga tradition and how these teachings can bring easy, peace, acceptance, and grace into all our moments, she has begun work on a typesetting entitled You are not Broken, a Yogi’s take on WHOLENESS. Of late she has wilt passionate well-nigh weaving therapeutic yoga with the healing word of God.
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