I sat on the couch performing surgery on myself. My notebook warmed my lap as I severed myself into two parts. This was no clean in & out surgery. I cut a connecting artery here, I transplanted an organ from this side to that, and I did elaborate zig-zag stitching worthy of a master seamstress.
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Blame the Greeks or blame the Gnostics, either way our culture suffers from deeply ingrained dualistic thinking. This manifests in severing ourselves from one another as well as cutting ourselves apart. The concept of wholeness is somehow an alternative, an “on the fringes” way of thinking.
In politics, where we seem to have lost respect for any opinion but our own, this dualism of polarization needs no explanation to any but the most ardent hermit. The concept of communal problem solving is a decaying corpse. We’ve abandoned any semblance of civil discourse or seeing the value in other ideas.
As North Americans, we pretend that we don’t need one another. Having bought into the myth of the white pioneer rugged individualist, who did it by himself, we de-merge from others. It doesn’t matter that white pioneers journeyed across the continent in groups, relying on the help of one another. We tell ourselves we can go it alone.
In contemporary times this manifests in lonely parenting, in stubborn self-reliance, and in self-hatred when we cannot do it all on our own. The Super-Mom myth that emerged in the last century is an example of this. Women were told that they could give 100% to a career and 100% to the home–without help from anyone else. Unable to achieve 200% by oneself, too many parents feel guilty.
As an instructor of future teachers, one of the core concepts I sought to teach students was that of the whole child. This is the idea that all aspects of the child, physical, social-emotional, and cognitive, are inextricably linked. I had to teach this alternative idea because we have artificially severed the academic from the physical and social-emotional. While there is a strong movement supporting wholeness, both within and outside the educational establishments, they are fighting an uphill battle against a deeply ingrained dualism.
Religion itself too often ups the ante. In religious dualism we’re dragged beyond the one life we all know we have, into the next. Many Christian sects, for example, set up the dualism of insiders who are saved and rewarded versus outsiders, everyone else, who is unsaved (lost?) and will surely burn in a fiery hell. We convince ourselves that only right-thinking people are worthy of the extravagant love of the God.
God of Wholeness,
You who created us to depend upon one another,
You who created us each with Gifts needed by others,
We ask that you help us to recognize,
our need for one another.
You who created us each as tapestries of wholeness,
as images of your divinity,
We ask that you help us to see the You,
in us and in one another.
You whose love knows no boundaries,
whose loving wholeness encapsulates all of creation,
We offer gratitude for the faith you have in us.
may we strive for faithfulness to You.
Gently encourage us to give up,
our arrogant individualism,
and our self-hatred that manifests,
in rejecting parts of ourselves.
For it is the One-ness of You,
in the acceptance of ourselves,
and the embracing of one another,
that we will find You.
In the many names humanity has used for you,
we pray for wholeness.