Answers in Interconnectivity
Isn’t it spelled Holistic? The word ‘wholistic’ can be spelled several ways and can carry different meanings depending on its use and its user. In this context, the ‘Wholistic Approach’ refers to an inclusive understanding of the wide variety of influences that touch each of us. This is secondary to the deep interconnectivity within our bodies, between each other and in our world. One derivation of this approach tells us that each cell of our body is affected by every other cell in one way or another. This assumption then extends to every person on our planet and to every part of the earth itself. This approach breaks down the artificial boundaries that exist between various schools of thought which limit the understanding of the interrelatedness of our lives. It also looks to unify and clarify efforts to better understand and utilize all available treatment options and the communities that serve as the experts in their respective fields. When someone ‘a priory’ suggests that one class of treatment is superior to another the Wholistic Approach would ask, “What class of treatment stands outside of the influence of our interconnectedness?”
The Wholistic Approach: Understanding Interconnectivity
The Wholistic Approach encourages interconnectivity within the exploration and sharing of knowledge within the many types of professions groups who study the human condition. This is because this interconnectivity extends to the many internal circuits of our body and our culture that affect each other, moment to moment in an integrated manner. For example, when we pray or meditate our ‘highest mind’ brings the conscious and unconscious mind into correct alignment. When in such alignment, our abilities ‘take it to the next level’ as in playing the piano, hitting a fastball or expressing our love.
When we chronically live out of alignment, our brain circuits become ‘hung up’ and less responsive. Our cognitive centers like the hippocampus shrink. Emotional centers like area 25 in the brain become hyper metabolic distorting the meaning it gives to every perception. Sleep architecture changes and the mind and body lack the rejuvenation required for peak performance. We may sleep all day and remain exhausted. The perception of pain increases as down regulation of excessive transmission of pain signals fails and pain signals like an avalanche overwhelm our consciousness. Thyroid regulation both within the hormonal regulation between hypothalamus and pituitary and within available enzyme systems in the blood becomes distorted. The HPA axis (Hypothalamus- Pituitary- Adrenal axis) becomes distorted by chronically elevated cortisol levels which then fail to ‘turn off’ our inflammatory response. This creates a pro-inflammatory change in the delicate balance of our immune system.
This imbalance spreads through every part of the body limiting our brain’s ability to repair itself, our immune system’s ability to defend us from bacteria, virus and cells with the subtle changes of cancer. Metabolism of lipids so foundational to all biological integration degrades and we become ‘truly old’ and debilitated. Blood sugar, the immediate source of fuel for each cell of our body, is dumped like a toxic waste throughout our body degrading every system of the body. This can be experienced as neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinopathy (retinal damage in the eye), gastropathy (damage to the stomach and intestines) and vasculopathy (blood vessel damage).
Additionally, when the conscious and the unconscious mind remain out of alignment we walk differently, talk differently and can’t feel the love that surrounds us. No circuit of our body acts alone. Our body’s various cell types are created and developed to work together optimally in a fully integrated fashion. Every part of us twirls in a sophisticated dance with the relationships we share with each other and our environment. With the conscious and unconscious integration we include others and make the dance...beautiful.
Self-discovery to Create Lasting Change
A Wholisitc Approach to healing and growth takes into account as many of the above mentioned interactions as possible in scope and delivery of ideas. To create lasting change requires addressing the many parts of us involved in the path we choose. Attempting to change one aspect of our life will inevitably lead to the body accommodating our efforts e.g. when we go on a starvation diet, our body slows its metabolism and increases our hunger. Even more interestingly we may become bored, depressed, anxious or angry. Whenever we change one part of our life, new feelings point to another problem. When we address these feelings we unravel parts of us that require integration and differentiation. Left unaddressed, we eventually tire of the effort and return back to baseline...at best! If we walk without awareness of our integrated feelings (meditation can help us develop these) we will not hear the subtle voice of our spiritual source. Nor will we appreciate our body’s wholisitic interconnectedness with ourselves, each other and our environment. This ongoing ache sets the conscious and unconscious mind out of unity leaving us pray to the distractions of the three poisons- greed (e.g. hunger), inappropriate anger/fear and delusion (e.g. Inability to see the world the way it is.) We are wonderfully complex and the body ‘is dying’ to help us appreciate this. The issues that ‘scream to be addressed’ are likely the beginning of a journey to a rise in our physio-consciousness as well as the healthy weight we desire.
Practical Changes to Improve Interconnectivity
Medical science and the ancient arts continue to explore and adapt to new understandings of our interconnectivity. Increasingly experts in each field are ‘cross fertilizing’ and delving into new opportunities to work together. This exposes everyone involved in cutting edge findings and opportunities for growth. They provide the ‘aha’ moments that transform the suffering and confusion of the pain we all face.
For example, the very temporary relief someone with Bipolar Disorder experiences when they cut themselves creates shame and confusion for those who have used it in their ‘dark night of the soul’ experiences. This response to a particular kind of depression becomes more understandable when we share the knowledge of how we neurobiologically process pain. Not only does the person understand why this worked but it also helps them discover why they are in pain and what other strategies may be successful. For example, a therapist might advise holding a deep squat. The pain activates fight or flight centers in the brain which activates the Nucleus Basalis to optimize conscious and unconscious functions through the frontal cortex. This is one of the brain centers where a lack of integration exists in Bipolar Disorder. With this understanding and this approach we can temporarily ‘reset’ the negative reverberations of the poorly organized emotional circuits until more lasting strategies are given time to allow those affected to dance to their own music once more.