Pattern #91

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Whole Healing

Human suffering arises from many sources, undermining clear presence and responsiveness. Collective dynamics of war, poverty, oppression, cultural narratives, and damaged, damaging environments dance with personal histories, beliefs, behaviors, physiologies, genetics …  So work towards healing people and their contexts — their individual and collective physical, social, narrative, and natural life-spaces.

  • What do you think health and healing have to do with wise democracy?
  • What makes people unhealthy? How many factors can we think of?
  • How far can we stretch our sense of such causes? How big is the picture of dis-ease, injury, degradation – and healing and wholeness?
  • What should we attend to if we truly want to make people whole?
  • What conditions would be most conducive to health for everyone now and in the future?
  • Who should we consider responsible for people’s state of wellbeing? What should they (we?) do to fulfill that responsibility?
  • Do you think there is such a thing as collective trauma? What examples can you think of? What has been or should be done about it?

Going Deeper …

This is an edited version of the video on this page.

We are not just here to “fix-up“ people. The fact that somebody is sick or hurt is not only worth addressing on behalf of that person, but it is also a sign of something larger going on – and that’s what this is largely referring to.

If they are impoverished, if they are in a war zone, if they are a type of person who is regularly oppressed, refugees, whatever… These are contextual circumstances that undermine health and undermine the ability of people to give their gifts on behalf of the whole which is part of what we in the Wise Democracy movement and paradigm are thinking in terms of.

We want to free up their ability to give their gifts. They need support in doing that. Part of that support is recognizing that there’s more going on than just their suffering, there’s a larger context. That can be internal – such as thoughts that they’re thinking because of the things that happened to them in the past. Or that can be oppression.

In regard to that, in our discussion of the Equity pattern, we talked about oppression and how it can be carried on through generations, replicating itself through history, replicating itself in the ways people think about themselves. This relates not only to the current health issues they have because of poverty or abuse, for example, but also their general sense of who they are can be undermined and that in turn can make them more prone to sicknesses.

Our approach is like holistic health in the sense that we’re interested in medical, herbal, acupuncture, homeopathy, bodywork, psychology, nutrition, etc. There are all these different practices, spiritual practices, and so on… We are not an authority in any of them, and all of them are potentially useful in any given case, but it’s expanding beyond those individual practices to what are the larger-than-human community, society and natural ecological wholes that they are a part of. Whatever is going on for them is probably being expressed elsewhere, with other people, to the extent it is promoted by the larger contexts in which they all live.

There are infinite ways to address these dynamics and conditions. The resources that are being given with this pattern are guidelines to various ways to do this. But overwhelmingly it’s about seeing the larger whole that they are embedded in, and their own personal phenomenon, the individual, collective, systemic things are all part of a whole that we want to address, heal, transform, improve, so that there’s a wholesomeness, a wholeness, an aliveness, a presence that flourishes both in that person in and their context.