Realizing Wholeness: Principles of Wholeness Work
Process Coaching provides the tools and training, and Wholeness Work provides the understandings and perspectives that enable people to be more of who they really are and have more what they truly desire in life. The tools and perspectives work well together to help people discover the self love necessary to heal themselves at all levels of being. The following seven principles are perspectives that guide the healing work through both the personal and transpersonal layers of process.
The various spiritual traditions and even the 'perennial philosophy' have long emphasized the importance of loving acceptance as an essential step in the journey of enlightenment and self realization. By accepting what is, we stop fighting against reality.
The ancient teachings go on to say that when we accept whatever is present here in the moment we free all of the energy that's been wasted in resisting the truth of our perceptions, feelings and sensations. And with that surrender comes enlightenment and true freedom from the limitations of manifested existence.
Acceptance is the vital first step, and the beginning of real love. Unconditional acceptance opens the door for unconditional love. And unconditional love is the only stuff strong enough to heal the deepest wounds and the most severe gaps and separations in our beings.
Healing happens when an emotion, sensation or 'part' of ourselves receives our complete acceptance, just as it is without having to change or be different in any way. To heal to wholeness is to unconditionally accept everything about ourselves, just as we are now. This includes our bodies and all of our emotions. It includes every part of our being, regardless of how 'bad' it has felt, and how severely we may have judged against it or otherwise denied it in the past.
Wholeness work at first leads to the same goals as the traditional disciplines of spiritual seeking and self realization. However complete wholeness requires a crucial movement beyond the state of enlightenment, self realization or nirvana. True wholeness of being requires the presence of all our lost essence, and spiritual practices alone have not been able to address how to find and heal the most lost and tortured parts of our whole beings.
The crucial movement that has been needed is a movement in awareness. When conscious awareness is free of the mind and its conditioning, it's free to chart its own course. Once freed from the judgments and limitations of the mind and its conditioning, consciousness can bestow unconditional loving acceptance on every feeling and sensation that comes to awareness. When we are able to make our loving consciousness available to all of our pushed away, lost and suffering parts, healing manifests and we experience true wholeness of being.
The key to healing to wholeness at all levels of being is in the distinction between the two modes of awareness, consciousness and sentience. Consciousness is very often used synonymously with awareness. Although conscious awareness is the more comfortable, known and understood kind of human awareness, it hasn't always been this way. There is another kind of awareness that predates consciousness, and this vital distinction is lost when the earlier kind of awareness is left unmentioned. Often eclipsed by conscious awareness, is the mode of sentient awareness.
Conscious awareness holds space for the representation of thoughts, visions and spiritual realities. Consciousness is associated with the mind, with thinking, information, and spiritual light. At the deepest transpersonal levels of being, this mode of awareness is called Spirit. It is the outward moving, yang, electric, penetrating, more masculine kind of awareness.
Sentience is the in-drawing, yin, magnetic, yielding, more feminine mode of awareness that opens us to emotions, feelings, sensations, subtle energies and intuition. Sentient awareness is crucial to deep healing and true wholeness because sentience is the only way to experience the deep emotional realities of the most lost parts our beings. To conscious awareness, sentience is associated with darkness and mystery. At the deep transpersonal realm of process the metaphor for this mode of awareness is called the Mother.
The magnetic power of the deep sensate is the energy that draws beings and objects into manifestation. This is true at both the personal and transpersonal levels of process. The most potent form of the sensate is desire, and at the universal level of our beings, it is called the Will of Creation, another term for 'the Mother.'
Ironically, consciousness has been avoiding the very energy that can manifest what we want in our lives. We have been conditioned by both the culture and our own experiences to favor conscious awareness over sentient awareness because mind has judged emotions and the body as 'not rational,' and many feelings as 'bad.' The same conditioning has also encouraged the expansion of consciousness, and often at the expense of our sentient realities.
Our deepest and most compelling conditioning has been demanding that we seek pleasure and avoid pain. In almost every case this has meant ignoring or otherwise denying perceptions that have come to us through sentient awareness whenever they have been judged against by consciousness. This difficulty has been exacerbated by spiritual paths and self-help approaches that have emphasized working with consciousness in ways that enables it to rise above or lift out of the pain and despair of our deeply sentient, feeling parts.
While wholeness has been the stated objective of many therapies and spiritual disciplines, most have unfortunately advocated reclaiming only the lost parts of the self that can align with the needs, desires and aims of consciousness. This bias has naturally left many sensate parts out in the cold, and complete wholeness an elusive goal.
This work reverses the age-old tendency of consciousness to judge and dominate sentience. Only the sensate in us can know what is needed for the healing of our long-denied feeling parts and their return to wholeness with the rest of our essence. And only when the sensate is free of conscious judgments and denial energy can it draw to us our hearts' desires.
The role of consciousness has been to lord over the feelings. It has been conditioned to either ignore them or subjugate them. Now the role of consciousness is to help the healing work go more quickly, easily and painlessly by staying present in loving acceptance for even the most desperate feeling parts and everything they experience, including their pain. 'Consciousness in the service of sentience' is the master key to finding wholeness at the deepest levels of being. But who is equipped to use this key?
The key can be used by anyone, as long as a vital part of the whole being is present - a loving and resourceful inner healer. As the healing work progresses, it's the inner healer who brings the needed strength, resourcefulness - and most importantly - loving acceptance to each of the other parts of self, no matter how 'bad' they may have felt at first.
The Healer can Integrate the Self
Wholeness is possible when we identify ourselves as the responsible, loving and resourceful Healer. With our loving acceptance in the present moment, even the most traumatized parts can move back into wholeness with the rest of the Self.
Denial is the opposite of acceptance. The energy of acceptance moves to include, denial energy moves to exclude. Since wholeness includes everything, it cannot manifest in the presence of denial energy. This is simply because denying anything excludes it from unconditional acceptance, from love. Whatever form it takes and whether its energy is active or passive, denial energy will consume any acceptance that attempts to include it.
Denial energy is ready to surrender. Although it will fight against acceptance and win every time, it responds readily to simply being released. The judgment release practice and the concentrated denial energy release practice are easy and effective ways to take a stand for loving acceptance of every part of yourself.
Fragmentation, separation and gaps inside have caused many important parts of us to become lost. Denial energy fills these gaps and fights against acceptance - until it is released. When there is no longer denial energy present, acceptance is easy.
If I am having an experience, I am also the one responsible for generating it. When I know myself as both the one having the experience, and the one creating it, I close the circle and experience the essence of wholeness. This means if there is hurt, I am both the victim and the perpetrator. If there is love, I am both the lover and the beloved.
As described in 'The Movies' Metaphor, at the deepest levels of our being it is as if we are the producer, director and script writer of our own movie. With this frame of understanding we can more easily remember to take full responsibility for whatever we experience. Otherwise, we can get stuck, somehow experiencing ourselves as the effect of another's cause. If I am only the victim or only the perpetrator, I am only a fragment... and therefore not whole.
Who am 'I'? This ancient question of self-inquiry is helpful in untangling any confusion about the previous principle of self-responsibility. Even in wholeness, we are not one homogeneous being. We are an assemblage of parts, lovingly bound together in harmony. In the normal fragmented state, however, each of our parts believes that it is the answer to "Who am I?" The Iceberg Metaphor sheds more light on this principle.
The easiest way to stay on course in the healing work is to keep our identity fluid and flexible. Identity is a matter of personal choice. For instance, in the Regression Process we take turns being both the child experiencing a trauma, and the movie director as the loving, resourceful Healer. If we extend this flexibility of identity and don't permanently identify with any part, we won't get stuck 'being' anyone or anything in particular. And then we can even sometimes experience being no one at all, the pure essence of our most true identity. The Perceptual Positions Exercise is an excellent way to practice identity flexibility.
Complete wholeness is not a future event, or something to be achieved. Wholeness is possible only now, in the present moment. The future never really comes. It is only a mental construct that exists in the mind, and of course wholeness includes much more than just the mind. Wholeness is already here, but unknowable to the conditioned mind. An important part of the work is to come out from under the domination of our mental conditioning, including compelling concepts like 'the future' and simply be present with and in acceptance of whatever we find here in the present moment. Realizing true wholeness is the same as realizing the complete depth of the present moment - with both conscious and sentient awareness. The experience of wholeness is the experience of awareness moving down through each layer of the one eternal moment, lovingly accepting everything that is seen and felt. Like the eternal moment itself, true wholeness is outside of time and outside of mind. And yet of course it includes them both.