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Wholeness, Explicit and Implicit

There is a level of wholeness -- which I call explicit, or practical wholeness -- which excludes things which are not whole. When we address this level of wholeness we can rightly say that something that is fragmented is not whole, that exclusion prevents wholeness, and so on. At a certain level this is true, just as there is a level at which matter exists separate from energy.

However there are deeper levels at which matter is just a form of energy, and at which fragmentation and exclusion are part of wholeness rather contradictions to it. Full integration involves seeing or finding a place for everything. If we exclude anything -- even exclusion -- we are not talking about "real" wholeness any more, but a sort of myopic wholeness that excludes without coming to terms with that exclusion.

Of course the previous paragraph, by denigrating "myopic wholeness," manifests exactly what it claims to transcend! Suddenly we find it almost impossible to talk about this very important distinction.

That is why I have chosen the more descriptive and less judgemental terms "implicit" and "explicit" -- or "fundamental" and "practical" -- to explore this distinction. Implicit/fundamental wholeness is the wholeness that exists no matter what we think about it; it is something we either see or we don't, but our failure to see it doesn't change the fact that it IS. The universe IS whole. Each person IS whole. Everything DOES have a place in what IS. Implicit/fundamental wholeness is something to come to terms with and live within. It provides a transcendent understanding that helps us avoid the booby-traps of absolutism and ideology. But we can't DO much with it.

Explicit/practical wholeness, on the other hand, is something we can DO something with. We can heal things, we can integrate things, we can make things more whole. Although things may be fundamentally whole, they may be ("for all practical purposes") broken, ill, fragmented, incomplete, etc., such that we can heal or fix them. The downside of focusing on healing, integrating, completing, etc., is that we can overlook the implicit/fundamental wholeness of things. Not only does this deprive us of a healthy sense of harmony and order, but it neglects an important ally in our journey to greater wholeness -- the fact that wholeness exists everywhere around us, ready to help us fill the cracks we see in the world. For example, if I respect you for being fully yourself, you become my ally in helping you become even more fully yourself.

Sages seem fond of inviting us into paradoxes like "Wholeness includes non-wholeness." Sorting out the terms we use to describe wholeness can (sadly, blessedly) often evaporate such seeming paradoxes. We might, for example, translate the above quote into: "There is an implicit wholeness of the world that embraces things we don't normally think of as whole -- such as fragmentation -- which undeniably have a place in the Whole Picture, but which we also have a legitimate desire to fix or heal."

Implicit/Explicit aspects of the six parts of wholeness

Each of the six parts of wholeness has implicit/fundamental and explict/practical dimensions.

Explicit wholeness has at least two variations: natural and intentional. The people on a bus are in greater relationship to each other (natural explict relationship) than the people watching TVs in the houses they pass (implicit relationship), but the passengers could be in greater relationship if they started talking to each other (intentional explict relationship). In each of the six parts of wholeness listed above, the explicit wholeness could just naturally be there or develop without any conscious effort from those involved. On the other hand, it is also true that there are things those involved could do to intentionally establish or increase that dimension of explicit wholeness.

We can also explicitly increase our awareness of our implict/fundamental unity, diversity, relationship, uniqueness, context, interiority and wholeness. Our awareness of What Is can make all the difference in the world, transforming what we do in the world and how we feel about it, and giving us the power of alignment with the world, so we feel we are swimming with the current of life instead of against it.