In a previous blog post, we set a foundation for the topic of holistic living. Check it out here: What is Holistic Living? Let’s dive deeper into one of the three key areas of holistic balance now: The Mind.
At birth, we are what John Locke calls “Tabula Rasa”, or a blank slate. What he means by this is that we have no built-in knowledge, and what we learn, we learn through our experiences and our individual perceptions. It is the classic Nature vs. Nurture argument, in which Locke would favor the nurture point of view.
Our thought patterns and knowledge have been formed by the environment that we have found ourselves inside. From our socio-economic status, parents, friends, and culture, we have been influenced by our surroundings, for better and worse. Our experiences are what make us unique individuals, but they also hinder us from seeing the perspectives of others.
For most, if not all, of our lives, we only see through our own individual lenses. We tend to see our perspectives as the right or true perspective and others as wrong. We begin to separate issues into right and wrong, black and white, or true and false. History has been defined by this way of thinking, resulting in different religions, wars, racism, and the like.
Instead of seeing the world as united and one, we separate everything, including ourselves. We become fragmented and torn in all directions, condemning ourselves for our failures and shortcomings. Our inherent goodness is blinded from us because we compare ourselves and our actions to the accomplishments of others.
Holistic living is the attempt to become balanced within yourself and with the world around you. Separation ends in isolation, not balance. In order to reach balance, we need to let go of what we have always believed to be true. Launching from our past experiences and thought patterns, we seek to understand the perspectives of others. Once we understand others, we can cease our inner turmoil, which then extends into making peace in the world surrounding us.
In a puzzle, individual pieces cannot make the whole. It is only through the collective work of all the pieces that the picture comes into full realization. Not until we let go of our individual perceptions and biases can we see the beautiful tapestry of life come into its full realization.
Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, talked about this idea of becoming one with yourself and the world. He said, “The object and goal of all spirituality is finally the same for all genders: union, divine love, inner aliveness, soul abundance, forgiveness of offenses, and generous service to the neighbor and the world.” Freeing the mind to become balanced ends with a loss of self. You lose what you always have been and gain what you always should have been. In other words, you lose your false self and gain your true self.
We leave you with this passionate plea for unity from Kosal Khiev: