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Center for Action and Contemplation

Wholeness as Holiness

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


Wholeness as Holiness
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Spare me perfection. Give me instead the wholeness that comes from embracing the full reality of who I am, just as I am.—David Benner, Human Being and Becoming

Author and psychotherapist David Benner writes of the importance of embracing “wholeness” as a path to holiness, which recognizes and affirms the “oneness” of who we are, without needing to eliminate or perfect any part of ourselves. This generates the same goodwill towards others, leading to greater love.

The harmonic of the universe is wholeness, not perfection; more specifically, it is wholeness that involves differentiation. Fusion is a union that sacrifices differentiation; wholeness retains differentiation. Without wholeness, we hear only the cacophonous noise of the various parts of our selves, clanging together. Without differentiation, we hear only the pure sound of a single tone, but not its harmonics. . . .

How do you know if you are on a path that leads to increasing wholeness and involves living out of wholeness? You will hear harmony, not simply the cacophony of a fragmented self. You will also sense the energy of the larger whole—an energy that goes beyond your own. You will, at least occasionally, experience the thrill of being simply a small part of a large cause, the thrill of being a tool, seized by a strong hand and put to an excellent use. You will be comforted by knowing that we are all interconnected. In a very real sense, therefore, what you do for another, you do for yourself. Love passed on to others becomes the most meaningful form of self-love, and care of the earth and its inhabitants becomes care of self.

We live wholeness when we re-member our story and, through it, experience a deeper sense of being part of a greater whole. We live wholeness when we know we belong—to people, to a place, to a community and tribe, to earth, to God (however named), and to the cosmos. . . . We live wholeness when we know that what we already have is enough and that all we need is to be resourceful with it.

Living wholeness is participating in the dynamism of love that gathers everything together into greater unity and consciousness. It is to live with an openness of mind and heart, to encounter others, not as strangers, but as parts of one’s self. When we enter into the heart of love in this way, we enter the field of relatedness and come to know our truest and deepest belonging and calling.

Wholeness and love are inseparable. . . . In the words of Ilia Delio, “Our challenge today is to trust the power of love at the heart of life, to let ourselves be seized by love, to create and invent ways for love to evolve into a global wholeness of unity, compassion, justice, and peacemaking.” [1] This is living wholeness and love.

[1] Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love (Orbis Books: 2013), xxv.

David G. Benner, “Perfection and the Harmonics of Wholeness,” Perfection,” Oneing, vol. 4, no. 1 (CAC Publishing: 2016), 62‒63.

Story from Our Community:
I have long pondered the interwoven nature of divine love and suffering since I began reading Fr. Richard’s books ten years ago—the capacity to have your heart broken without resorting to bitterness. I’ve had my share of these experiences but nothing prepared me for having my husband of 31 years tell me he wants a divorce. I know the profound pain is an invitation to a deeper place of love and being— but it’s not a cup I want. The Daily Meditations and podcasts keep me going. And I don’t say this lightly. —Theresa L.

Image credit: Chaokun Wang, Landscape 山水 (detail), 2017, photograph, Wikiart.
Image inspiration: We are connected in ways we cannot begin to understand. One small water molecule sits in relationship to billions of others and is, in fact, part of an ocean. It lives in relationship to the tide, the winds, the heat, the rain, its own hydrologic cycle. And so it is with all of us, the humans, together and connected.
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