I often end an email or conversation with the phrase “Be Well.” What does it mean to Be Well? This and deeper questions like ‘Who am I and why am I here?’, ‘Does life have a purpose and what is it? often arise most poignantly when we face a personal crisis. When we compound that by seeing our personal crises embedded within the larger social and cultural fabric, as we unavoidably must now, we are confronted with change on every level. How we respond has vast implications, both for ourselves and for the new world we are creating. How do we personally and collectively Be Well? The answer may surprise you.
In the ‘old world’ we were separate. Separate individuals, separate groups of many kinds: families, genders, organizations, communities, races, religions, nations; grouped us into ‘belonging’ groups where we felt safe and significant–two of our primary needs. Today, a microscopically small virus, COVID-19, dramatically demonstrates the lie. We are not separate at all. We are inescapably interconnected at every level, and what each of us does, how we interpret events, and what choices we make, affects not only us but the larger whole whether we are aware of it or not. Particularly in the US, where individual rights have been a treasured hallmark of our collective identity, the concept of interconnection seems to imply to many a sameness; a uniformity of being that grates at a deep level. This misunderstanding lies at the root of our collective dis-ease. We each treasure our individuality and creative potential, and at the same time feel a deep need for community; a longing for connection and relationship with others like us. How can both be true at once?
The answer lies in the critical need to grow beyond the ‘either/or’ thinking that is a hallmark of our mental, rational brain consciousness and the source of the victim mentality. What???? Are we at an evolutionary leap for humanity?
Until very recently the only consciousness we were aware of was our rational thinking brain. It has been regarded as the epitome of what it means to be human. It’s analytical, creative, and automated powers have given us great gifts of survival and innovation in the natural world; our collective ego elevating us in our thinking to the highest form of life on earth. From a perspective of separation, we have misunderstood “have dominion over” to mean control and dominate, rather than serve as stewards of. We have created a story of humanity where we are separate observers of an ‘outside’ world that we interact with, but are separate from. Imbedded within this perspective is the origin of fear. If we are separate from the world, we need to protect ourselves from outside potentials that might threaten our wellbeing, or even survival.
From this level of consciousness our reactions are not surprising; are even logical. Consciousness itself has only been overtly recognized for a relatively short time in our history, and still does not enjoy an agreed upon definition. While the recognition of thought as a human faculty has been explored and written about for hundreds of years, it was only about a century ago that Freud attempted to delineate what it was and how it is structured for the western world. He identified three ‘layers’ of consciousness: the id, the ego, and the superego; what we would come to commonly refer to as the unconscious, the subconscious, and the conscious. His protégé, Carl Jung, would further identify a personal consciousness and a collective unconscious, a realization that created substantial chaos in the thinking of the 20th C. Jung further defined archetypes, or patterns in the ancestral and collective unconscious that influence our thinking in ways we are not aware of, and that affect our mental perceptions and behavioral choices.
Astrologers, indigenous histories, and contemplative spiritual masters have been saying much the same thing for thousands of years, but in the ‘age of science’ which found only the material world to be ‘real’, and in which Descartes and others of The Enlightenment agreed to keep science and spiritual worlds separate, lie the beginnings the outcome of which we are now experiencing in our collective reality.
Others have noted that science was the religion of the 20th century. We are just now beginning to recognize the collective egocentrism of this. Even though we are now beginning the 3rd decade of the 21st century, this remains the prevailing paradigm, albeit with increasing awareness of its inadequacies to explain much of our lived experience. Like all paradigms which have outlived their usefulness, this one too is crumbling under the weight of evidence that there is so much more than just the material. For the past 50 years or so, even science (with the notable exception of medicine) has come to realize that everything is energy; matter merely the densest form of it. The quantum world is beginning to reveal itself in many ways, not the least of which is the need to expand our scientific inquiry to a larger sphere than just material reality if we wish to understand life and the universal principles which govern its origin and unfolding.
In terms of being well as a human being we can start with what we have affirmed as far back as we know—humans are composed of body, mind, and spirit. While medicine in its early study naturally began with the physical body, easiest to see, dissect, examine, and measure, it has gradually acknowledged the impact of thinking and feeling on health outcomes. Our culture is still struggling to incorporate the mind and its influence, and reflects many negative stereotypes relating to mental health. It’s shocking to realize that we still largely look at human beings as biochemical factories which can be successfully adjusted and regulated physically and mentally by chemical interventions and surgical manipulation. Even acknowledging that these treatments only mask symptoms and rarely address cause, the medical and psychological community largely resists the application of quantum science and holistic methods to human function and wellness.
As bizarre and antiquated as our scientific blind spots are, our foundational belief in separation fosters an acceptance of our physical bodies and our mental function as separate realities operating independent of each other, and excludes entirely our spiritual dimension from consideration when evaluating our health and wellness. As whole persons whose wellness and lived experience resides in the coherent integration of all three dimensions of our being this is an irreconcilable and inexcusable stance to remain in.
Religions too have contributed to this unsustainable confusion. Post Descartes and others, patriarchal religious structures found it far easier to have power and control others with fear than demonstrate and teach the inherent presence and power of love and the reality of interconnection taught by all the great spiritual masters. Absenting the a priori message of We are One, they too created and sustained separation in our most basic identity. One of today’s most encouraging signs is in the many who now identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” It is a striking indication of the emerging realization that spiritual integration is essential to our experience of ourselves as whole persons, and is an absolute requirement of health and wellbeing. It is only at the level of spiritual consciousness—what I have called heart consciousness—that we experience our connection to the larger collective, and what Jung called the collective unconscious becomes increasingly collectively conscious.
This level of consciousness is not possible for the brain which is only capable of binary processing. As miraculous as it is, the brain can only look for patterns, and patterns are only found in the past. It is only at the higher and deeper, larger sphere of vibrational reality that is present within our heart field, and broadcast with each heartbeat, that we experience the present. And it is only with presence that we experience reality as ‘both/and’; simultaneously individual and collective. This is the spiritual dimension of our being, and the level of consciousness now required of us to address our world in constructive, healing ways.
The essential need to reunite science and spirit in service to humanity and the world is the evolutionary demand of the moment. Science has shown us that everything is energy and operates at the largest and smallest levels according to holographic principles of unfolding. Without science, our spiritual life can easily diminish to just wishful thinking and beliefs without foundation. Without Spiritual consciousness, our science becomes a sterile, mechanistic machine devoid of meaning and purpose. Their artificial separation has been very costly in human and worldly terms. Both at their highest and best have affirmed our interconnection and demonstrate an ongoing search for what is true.
So we return to our original question, what does it mean to Be Well? Several observations emerge and resonate:
-life is dynamic; energy always in motion operating automatically according to universal principles of waves, fields, frequencies; quantum mechanics as best we understand today
-information travels on energy
-the foundational substance of life is Love which is present everywhere at all times
-fear is the absence of experiencing Love in our conscious awareness
-human beings are composed of energy and thus operate according to the same quantum holographic principles as all life.
-the principle of ‘as above, so below, as within, so without’ is the spiritual way of stating the holographic nature of reality; affirming differences of scale and sameness of process
-life energy can be directed with conscious intention, not of thinking but of vibration which we experience as feeling
-health and wholeness is our natural state which we return to whenever energetic obstructions are removed
-dis-ease occurs when the natural free flow of life energy in our heart field is obstructed
-obstructions can be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual
-our heartbeat vibrationally broadcasts the current state of our physical, emotional, and mental states, both within our physical structure and without to the environment
-coherence is when all 3 dimensions of our being—body, mind, and spirit—are connected and operating as a unified whole
-our Heart Field affects all those within its field, either positively when we are grounded and coherent, or negatively when we are not
Being Well is the natural state of our human being nested as an integral part of the larger whole that is our unified Oneness. As such it is much more powerful than any ‘outside interference’ and can only be directed from within. Inner knowing and direction is developed through practices of contemplation and meditation as we experience both our particular uniqueness and our universal connection and learn to direct our life energy with integrity.
The ‘how to’ accomplish this is the focus of practical application. Much can be said about this, yet the baseline always remains the same, “Love one another as you love yourself.” The obvious assertion is that you must first love yourself–experience yourself as love, loved, loving–before you are able to love others unconditionally and authentically. May we each contribute our own life energy of this truth, expressed in our own unique way, as best we are able.