Join us for service at:
Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

Sunday Morning Service at 10 a.m.
in-person at Meadowbrook,
or via Zoom!

Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community on FacebookContact Sacred Journeys Spiritual CommunityDonate to Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community

Hoping for Wholeness

Wholeness – the feeling of being undivided, the feeling of balance, peace and harmony, the feeling of completeness and integrity.  I believe that this month, the journey of Advent, is the perfect time to talk about this because remembering the birth of the child Jesus can give us renewed hope for wholeness for ourselves, for others, and for creation. How?

Here’s my take on it. The birth of Jesus can be seen as the birth of a higher consciousness - one guided by a love ethic, one centered firmly in a connection with the Divine, one that is non-dual (no us/them, no in/out, no dividedness within self, no good/bad), one in which wholeness is the aim that all creation is striving toward.

Jesus gave us an example of what it looks like to be whole. John 1:18 says, “Of this One’s fullness we’ve all had a share – gift on top of gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, the Gift – and the Truth – came through Jesus Christ.”

As I see it, “the gift and the truth” is that in giving us an example of what a higher consciousness and wholeness look like, we find hope to achieve a higher level of consciousness and find wholeness for ourselves.

However, because Jesus saw deeper, experienced deeper, was intuitive and unconditionally loving, because he saw all people as sacred and equal, because he was so far outside of the norm, so much farther along the spiritual evolutionary path, that people called him the Son of God, saw him as a God manifest on Earth.

Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, that threw centuries of good church-going folks down the wrong path because it set him above the rest of humanity. This beautiful example of a human being achieving wholeness was beyond our reach (how convenient since that example is truly hard to follow).

If we take back the humanity of Jesus, we understand that if Jesus could do find “fullness,” so can we. And in that there is hope.

From what I’ve experienced, people don’t just hope for wholeness, we yearn for wholeness – for ourselves, for our family and friends, for our world. We long to be at peace with ourselves and the world around us, to be in balance with ourselves and others, to be deeply connected to Something More.

But simply hoping isn’t enough, it must be an active hope. There is no magic formula, we must work toward our own wholeness, we must make choices that lead down the path of wholeness, we must take time to stop, look and listen within for the wholeness that exists in the deep quiet recesses of our soul. Jesus, I believe, did this every day.

What we embrace on a daily basis is a choice leading us to more moments of wholeness. For example, we can choose to be positive or negative, to be grateful or thankless, to be cynical or optimistic, to judge or accept, to be critical or encouraging. We can choose to look for beauty or ugliness, to revel in mystery or insist on explaining everything. We can take time to be still and quiet, or keep constantly busy and plugged in. We can choose lies over truth, ego over soul, separateness over oneness.

Stephen Nachmanovitch tells a story in his book, The Art of Is, about a neighbor of his by the name of Herbert Zipper, who died in 1997 at the rip old age of 93. Herbert was a composer and conductor from Vienna and seemed destined to be one of the greats, until the Anschluss came. Hitler took over Austria and Herbert was taken prisoner and sent to Dachau.

As Nachmanovitch writes, “Herbert described how disheartened the prisoners were, hauling cartloads of cement, digging ditches, and mourning the loss of everything in their lives. One night something possessed Herbert to recite a few verses of poetry by Goethe, and, as he related it, he saw his fellow prisoners standing a bit straighter and breathing a bit deeper. Another man who knew the poems began trading lines with him, each reinforcing the other’s memory; a crowd gathered and came back for more the next night and the next. Not all the men were literate or educated, but all seemed to find some degree of refuge and solace in the poetry.

“After a time, Herbert met some fellow musicians among the prisoners and started a clandestine orchestra. He composed pieces that they sang and played on junk instruments made of pieces of wire and wood. The orchestra and their audience were made up of men who knew that most of them were going to die soon… every possible piece of civilized life had been stripped away; even names had been stripped away. But they discovered in music and poetry a way to connect with the life within them.

“They held concerts behind the latrines. There would be a fifteen-minute concert, and then another group of prisoners would come in for their turn. They posted sentried to see if the SS was coming so the clandestine musicians could disperse.

To compose, Zipper volunteered for the worst job, latrine duty, because that was the only way he could have solitude during the day. He kept pails of toilet water on hand; if one of the SS guards came, Herbert would slop this shit mixture back onto the floor. There would be a terrible stink, and then he’d start mopping it up again, and the guard would go away. In that way he bought himself the privacy to compose music in his mind, then wrote it on scraps of propaganda fliers that he pasted together… The songs he wrote were remembered as anthems of hope….”

Through the choices he made, Herbert Zipper was able to touch wholeness within himself and even bring moments of wholeness to others in the midst of a horrendous situation.

Music was the key to keeping Herbert’s sanity, his humanity, and his soul intact, at least somewhat whole. What helps you find wholeness? What grounds you? What brings you out of your ego and back into your deeper self? Perhaps it is meditation, painting, walking, gardening, playing or listening to music, helping someone else. Whatever it is, make it a priority, because it is important to your soul.

Part of maintaining a sense of wholeness is feeling part of something bigger than oneself, feeling part of a community. When we isolate, we run the risk of getting trapped inside our own head, of having our world shrink, of becoming more controlling and more alarmist. When we lose our sense of connection, we run a greater risk of feeling lost and empty.

I read a news article last week about Luleå, a small city in northern Sweden, that sees only about three hours of sunlight in the winter, which can lead to high levels of loneliness and social isolation. To help combat this, town officials have started a campaign called “Say Hello.” It draws on research that shows that saying hello to others positively affects our health and makes us more willing to help each other. Even one smile and a hello can help someone feel less lonely, less invisible, perhaps even more whole.

Wholeness is a process… a process not to find something new, but to find something that already exists within us. We may only achieve it by moments: the moment we say “hi” and someone returns the look and the smile, the moment we sit with a friend and share the truth of what we’re going through and are loved anyway, the moment we sing together and hear all the voices blending and know that we are more than our struggles, the moment a sunrise touches our souls and we feel awe, the moment we sit in stillness and sink into the depths of our soul. So many moments…  but the more we practice, the more moments we’ll string together.

Advent Blessings,