The Journey Toward Wholeness: We’re Not Broken
“I feel broken. Like someone took a sledge hammer and delivered blow after blow, shattering me into a thousand pieces.”
If you’re like most people, you’ve felt something like this at least once in your life. You might not have voiced it, but inside you’re like, “OMG, I’m drowning in this pain!”
I feel ya. I’ve been there a time or two or three…
Regardless of what spiritual path you’re traveling, you’ve probably heard something along the lines of “becoming whole”.
- “Do these 5 steps and you’ll be happy and whole!”
- “The SECRET to manifesting bliss every day!”
- “Fake it till you make it!”
While getting to where you feel “whole” at least the majority of the time is possible, it’s not always a piece of cake getting there. It’s not just a snap of the fingers and bam! You’re whole! Nah, most of the time it takes plenty of ingredients in the mix, like effort, time, patience, discipline, and more.
You ever feel broken? Like you need fixed? Feel disconnected?
You may wonder what exactly this “wholeness” is all about.
I checked out a couple definitions for wholeness, and really like this one:
“The state of being unbroken or undamaged.”
So, wholeness feels a lot like harmony, unity, oneness. It feels good and right.
The Yearning To Feel Whole
Most people are seeking to experience this feeling of wholeness in one way, shape, or form. They might not be aware that this is what they’re yearning for though. Others might desire it and actively be seeking it, but maybe they don’t feel they deserve to feel it. Or maybe they think they’ve got to do a hundred spiritual calisthenics to find it.
While there aren’t any “get whole quick” schemes or secrets, there are some practical tips and insights toward experiencing this wholeness. As a society, many people want an instant fix and instant gratification. (Ahhh, dammit! I just want to feel happy!)
However, the spiritual path toward joy does require some inner work, for sure. If you’re looking to push a button and experience instant enlightenment, you’re in for some frustration.
Now, before I get started with tips for experiencing this state of wholeness, let’s define this concept a bit further.
What is Wholeness?
Well, to be whole is to feel whole. To feel good. Worthy. To feel connected with yourself, others, the world, and God, however you define God. To be whole is to NOT be split apart. Think of a whole pizza, sitting there in all it’s delicious glory. Yum!
Now think of it missing pieces (because like I said, yum!). It’s now disconnected and NOT whole. Only fragments of it remain. Now, when we feel fragmented, it just doesn’t feel that great.
You may hear people use the terms “wholeness” and “oneness” interchangeably. It’s the feeling of fulfillment, harmony, and completion. It’s the embodiment of our spirit selves, rather than the identification with our false selves, or ego.
Why Do We Feel So Disconnected? Broken?
Ah, wouldn’t it be bliss if we all just felt connected, healed, and whole? Why can’t we? Why is it oftentimes challenging to experience a feeling of being whole?
Well, most gurus will say it’s because of our minds. It’s because we’re not solely this spiritual being walking the earth. We are spirits, yes, but we are spirits with a physical body and a mind.
~I am a spirit.
~I am a mind.
~I am a body.
This “mind” is the thing that trips us up. It’s the mind that keeps us from recognizing and experiencing this wholeness or oneness that we ARE.
Now don’t get me wrong. The mind, or ego, isn’t a horrible thing. I mean, we can do so many great things with the mind. Speaking for myself, I can create, learn, visualize, and plan with my mind, and this feels good!
However, the mind can also be full of thoughts that generate negative emotions, past memories that haunt us, faulty belief patterns, and strange ideas about life. In other words, the mind or ego is a false persona that we’ve created while living on this planet, and it’s not always a reliable source of truth.
It can skew the truth and cause us to feel as if we are the negative emotions or the disconnection or the faulty thoughts… rather than who we REALLY are – which is SPIRIT.
I am not my thoughts or beliefs, and neither are you. I think and I have beliefs, but they do not define me. They are separate from my true self, which is what I like to call consciousness or spirit. That part of me that is from another spiritual realm.
What Does It Mean To Be Fragmented?
In some spiritual or psychology circles, you’ll hear talk about being fragmented. To be fragmented means to be broken into pieces. Synonyms include shattering, being cracked apart, or imploding. How many times have you heard people say they were broken? Ripped apart by something?
Our minds or egos do a great job at helping us feel fragmented. From the time we were little ones, our minds have been helping us chip away parts of our true selves. Let me explain better.
So, let’s say when I was four, I experienced the trauma of my parents’ divorce. At four years old, I had no idea how to process the pain I felt due to that trauma. So, my mind/ego got busy doing something that it thought would protect me. (think coping mechanism)
It took the pain I was experiencing and stuffed it deep into my psyche. Out of sight, out of mind, right??
And let’s say this helped me at the time, but just because the pain was out of mind doesn’t mean it disappeared. Rather, that suffering lodged deep within my energy body (because the body is made up of light energy particles) and the thing is, that “pent-up” energy will stay there until I process and integrate it. (Which usually isn’t until we become adults) And so begins the blowing up of an “emotional balloon” that’ll get bigger and bigger through the years, eventually getting to a point where it will pop – which usually means hitting a rock bottom emotionally (tapping out, breakdown, dark night, etc.)
Now, along with the stuffing of that pain, I likely experienced some negative thoughts about myself or life growing up too. Thoughts like, “I’m not worthy” or “I’m not good enough” or “No one likes me” or “It’s my fault”.
Now, there’s a whole lot of this type of thinking going on in the world. Just look at the stats on anxiety and depression. It’s alarming. It’s disheartening. Surely, we can all relate to feeling flawed at times, or anxious, or even sad, but these feelings can become extreme and cause you to feel void of love, empty, hopeless, and so on.
And I get it: We don’t want to feel this way, but most people I know that do feel this way aren’t sure how to STOP feeling this way. They’re stuck. They’re numbing out with alcohol or drugs, or some other addiction. They’re miserable, simply existing day to day in the mundane – wanting more, wanting to feel whole, but not knowing how.
Why Is Integration So Important?
Not everyone understands what integration means or why spiritual or mental health people talk about it. Integration is the exact opposite of fragmentation. It’s calling back those parts of you that have split off over your lifetime and “integrating” them into your psyche or energy field.
Remember, you’re not just that hunk of flesh you scrub in the shower. You’re also a mind and a spirit. It’s that mind that says, “Oh, wow, this hurts! This feels awful! I don’t want to feel this!” So, it casts that pain (that part of your psyche) away; it splits away from it. It fragments, and this leaves you feeling less whole. Feeling broken, ashamed, fearful, and more.
Descending To Ascend
When someone comes to me struggling with something, I tend to help them remember that they are more than just this human flesh. They’re also divinity. We’re human and we’re divine, as I heard it put recently, “We’re simultaneously gods and food for worms.” A bit graphic, perhaps, but it paints a good picture of our non-duality.
We’re mind, body, and spirit; all in one!
We’ve got to start directing people to go within first. Rather than running from here or there trying to fill the void or soothe the pain with food, sex, booze, drugs, people, fame, money, etc., we’ve got to descend to ascend. You get that?
Dive deep into our depths to see what’s going on there. In other words, take time to do some real and raw soul searching, because it’s there we will get some insight as to how to go about becoming more whole. (And, less sad, angry, lonely, anxious, etc.)
But How Do We Become More Whole?
How I wish there was a simple answer for this question. “Just be happy.” Have you ever heard that? Yeah, that works about zero percent of the time. Tell that to someone who is going through a gut-wrenching divorce. Or just lost a loved one. Or got diagnosed with something serious. “Just be happy” is not what they need to hear, for sure.
So, how do we experience life embodying wholeness? Feeling whole? Happy? Content? Loving ourselves?
Well, there are many paths to wholeness, or what some might call enlightenment or holiness. There’s not just one path, though some religions will tell you that. In fact, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world, with most of them working toward becoming “whole”, loving self and their higher power more.
My advice is to find a spiritual path that you resonate with, and actually practice that path. There are spiritual paths and tools you can use to dive deep into your psyche and deal with what’s hidden there. There are also tools that you can use to become more in tune with your spirit self and God, however you define God.
This is the thing. We are a diverse people. People in Africa have a different way of life than we do here in America. A different past, different beliefs, and so on. Their path toward feeling more whole may be different than ours, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I hope that we’ll stop judging others and let them find their path, while we find and commit to ours.
I’ve experienced more wholeness through the years using various tools, techniques, and paths. I’ll list a few here that I resonate with, but feel free to go on your own spiritual journey seeking yours. Take what you can and leave the rest, without judging.
1. Mindfulness and Meditation
Surely you’ve heard about mindfulness and meditation, as these tools have become more popular around the world. And, rightly so. They’re powerful when you take the time to practice them. Mindfulness is simply being mindful in the present moment, each moment. Meditation is an ancient tool where you sit in silence, and go within, focusing on your breath. Granted, there are different types of meditation, such as Vispassana or Zen or Transcendental. The key is to commit to a practice of daily meditation, even if it’s for 15 minutes.
2. Do The Inner Healing Work
My background is mental health, so doing the inner healing work is big on my list. I work with plenty of people who have major emotional issues, but have never taken the time to do any healing work. They’ve never seen a therapist or maybe hit one or two sessions. They’ve never really even read a book about going within to deal with the shadows lurking there. They’re getting up each day basically thinking and doing the same things they did the day before. Over and over.
Some aren’t aware of how helpful this work can be. Others are stuck in a victim mentality, thinking it wouldn’t help anyway. Others say they can’t afford counseling. Others just won’t make the effort, like buy a book or go to the library to see what’s there.
There are various ways to “do the healing inner work”, but the gist of doing it is to start digging to see what’s going on in your psyche. What shadows are lurking? What pain have you stuffed deep? What trauma have you endured, yet never talked about or processed? You tucked it deep, deep, deep and it’s stuck there affecting your mind and energy body.
Carl Jung talks about making the unconscious conscious. You’re going inside in the dark and shine light on those parts of you that you’ve fragmented. The parts of you that are hurting. Ashamed. Fearful.
That wounded little boy or girl. That angry little boy or girl. That part of you that you’ve lost sight of.
You might hear of this work being called “inner child” or “shadow” work. I’ll say that John Bradshaw’s inner child work helped me a lot. Check out his books and videos on YouTube.
Consider making a commitment to go within and start doing the inner healing work, with a therapist, on your own, or both.
3. Get Into Nature
Nature is healing, so if you’re not getting out in nature regularly, I encourage you to do so. Just get out there and take it in. You don’t have to “do” anything. Just sit or walk and observe the awesomeness. Hear the sounds, smell the fragrances. Feel the oneness that nature can model for you.
4. Get Comfy Spending Time Alone
If you can’t spend time alone, this may indicate that you’ve got some codependency traits running in your psyche. Learn how you can love to spend time with yourself, alone. If anxiety is getting the best of you, reach out for help from a therapist or start going to support group meetings. Read books and educate yourself on overcoming codependency. When you can really begin enjoying your solitude time, your anxiety will decrease, and your joy level will increase.
5. Commit to the Path
To become or embody more wholeness, it’s going to take a commitment to your spiritual path. I understand that many people have a tough time committing to anything. It’s easier to go through each day just doing what’s easy or the routine. For some, it’s easier to remain miserable, stuck in their pain.
The monotony of waking up each day feeling blah, sick and tired of the mundane just sucks. Let’s just agree on that. Sure, life can become routine, but each one of us has the power to make some changes. If you’re really wanting to read an excellent book on experiencing change, check out Joe Dispenza’s book, Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself. Oh my, I really admire Dispenza’s work. Check it out.
I encourage you to COMMIT to growing and evolving no matter how you’re feeling. There will be days when you won’t feel like meditating, praying, “doing the work”. Do it anyway, as consistently as you can. I don’t mean become rigid and beat yourself up if you miss a day or two or three or your “work”. Be easy on yourself, but don’t give up. Don’t just fall back into your old ways, unawake or numbing out or running.
It doesn’t matter to me what your path is. It could be Buddhism, Christianity, Shamanism, Hinduism, Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, etc. Whatever resonates with you, be consistent with your path and your practice. Each path will be unique to you, as it is for me. Don’t try to force yours onto others; let them be and love them on their path.
Keep in mind that feeling whole doesn’t mean you’ll feel happy 24/7. Accept the reality that as a human, you might feel mad, sad, fearful, etc. at times. Accept these parts of you too. You’re not going to get stuck in those emotions, but you’ll accept that they may come at times. Observe them, and remember who you truly are under those emotions.
I’m going to close with a quote by Carl Jung:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
My hope is that you will commit to your path toward wholeness, whatever that path is. If you need help, reach out. If you want different results, do something different. I assure you that the inner healing work is worth it!