What is Holistic?

What is “holistic?” Here are some of the answers I’ve heard:

  • Natural medicine
  • Holistic medicine
  • Nutrition and eating organically
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga and Meditation
  • Chiropractic

This is a big question. It seems everyone has their own answer to this question with no two exactly the same. This is the way it should be. We are all individuals and we see the world through the filter of our experience.

Holistic has many factors that influence how you experience it. Yes, holistic is not a specific dogma or truth, holistic is an experience. This experience depends largely upon the scope of what you have learned and all you allow to be within the scope of holistic.

As Dr. Rudolph Ballentine writes in Radical Healing, human beings operate on at least five distinct layers in a specific hierarchy:

  • Physical – This is our biology from genetics to nutrition to structural integrity and biochemistry to our physical interaction with the environment.
  • Energetic – This includes a field of energy within and about our physical being. Our sense of having “hi” and “low” energy is one way we experience this.
  • Mental – Our cognitive experience of the world is in this realm.
  • Emotional – Emotional experiences are distinct from our mental experiences. Emotions do not have the logic of mental processes. Emotions have their own distinct processes of evaluation.
  • Spiritual – This is the most subtle aspect of being human. The essence of a spiritual experience is in how we relate to ourselves, others, and all of the universe. How we discern and define our relatedness to the world is the space in which we have the experience of our spiritual being. If you want a greater spiritual experience, then dare to expand how you choose to be related to the Universe.

Inside of the spiritual experience we have realms of awareness. Here are some of the realms in which we may experience our relatedness:

  • Individual – We are aware of ourself as separate from others.
  • Family – We experience ourselves as members of a whole family.
  • Community – We feel affinity for others by virtue of living in proximity or sharing interests.
  • Country – We have a political connection with rights, responsibilities, and collective protection.
  • Humanity – Relating to another person transcends political, religious, or geographical differences.
  • World – We relate not only to other humans, but also to our belonging to the world.
  • Universe – We recognize that we are born from and into the entire cosmos and we share it equally with all.

Notice that it is very different to think about spirituality than it is to have a spiritual experience. The thinking occurs on the mental level of our being. The experience of relatedness is spiritual.

As Ballentine instructs, the five layers are hierarchical. An action on the physical level may affect the emotional level only by affecting the energetic and mental levels. Similarly a spiritual experience  will influence the emotional state, which in turn may shift the energetic state, and, finally, the physical level is affected. The process may be instantaneous or it may occur over time.

So, what is holistic? If you relate to yourself as a purely physical being, then you might consider an approach to yourself as holistic when it takes into account not only the health of your individual organs, but also the balance of health between the organs and how this contributes to your well-being. If you are conscious of your mental health, you might require a consideration of the effect of your emotional state and mental stress on your physical health in order to consider an approach holistic. So, what one person considers holistic, another considers to be narrow and specific.

I promise to expand your experience of holistic as you enjoy reading holistic.com. Keep in mind that holistic is an experience. As your expand your perspective, your experience of life expands and your capacity to experience health, connectedness, and joy expands.

Welcome to Holistic.com!