Taking refuge

This article is a continuation of Sometimes I’m an Asshole, my most popular blog to date. Maybe it’s because of the compelling title, though I’m guessing it’s because of the universality of what I described about the longing for wholeness, and the challenges with it. Some of those considerations again include:

*Our conscious, healthy, and genuine desires to be of service, to do no harm, to extend loving-kindness. You know, our basic goodness, our deep morality, our cleanest impulses. Also, our conditioned, unquestioned, and neurotic desires to be good and do good, most often motivated by a quenchless need for positive feedback, approval from others, and the desire to belong.

*The intuitions and instincts from our internal guidance mechanisms – those parts that whisper to us, and compel us to journey beyond the known, the safe, the socially accepted or condoned. Those times when only we know what we have to do, and we have to drown out all voices of dissent and follow our inner prompts, come what may. Essentially, those things one needs to be or do in order to be in integrity with oneself.

*The moral complexity that arises when what we must choose for ourselves could cause real harm to another. The slippery navigation (no matter how mindful or self-aware we are) that requires us wonder if our impulses are trustworthy or reckless, grounded in wisdom or propelled by wound, or perhaps some of both.

Given these factors, and many others, can we still find anchor in our wholeness? Can we be with the complexity, the paradox, and the tension, and find some way to behold and be held within it all?


In response to my post on ass-wholeness, one of my most beloved elders and a true soul friend wrote:

“Surely good to join with ALL humanity, is it not? Whole means holding it all, certainly, NOT only perfection. Ultimately, WHOLE has NO duality in it whatsoever. Hard to dismantle eons of conditioning around all this, and also, view the complexity of how we aspire to do no harm and go about accomplishing this in our lives. And, we will all surely fuck up, over and over again. What a great practice to learn to love ourselves and each other endlessly, and hold it ALL in the great unfolding.”

A healer friend in the Philippines reminds me that the origin of the word healing comes from the old European word hælan, which literally means to make whole.

Dream weaver and artist Toko-pa writes that “wholeness is not, as the word implies, a state of completion at the end of a long dedication to attainment. Rather, it is a channel into which we can always tune. It just so happens that our ability to remain in reception of its broadcast can take a lifetime to master.”

Their words lift me up. I feel my dedication deepen, and I feel more integrated, more whole. I understand more clearly my attraction to modalities that are inclusive of all, and favoring of none, that illustrate the democracy within the psyche, honor all dimensions of self, and love each fractal of light as much as the prism itself.

I’m getting that the way to wholeness is through fluid inquiry rather than static answers. I’m choosing to orient to it as a study, a lifelong dedication to process, rather than as a fixed destination.  Most of all, I’m learning to invite the flailing, disillusioned, irreconcilable, and hypocritical parts of myself to the table, along with all the others, and take refuge in the sanctity of the exploration itself.

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