Holy, Whole, Health, Heal: Words of our Oneness or Nonduality

Sometimes the relationships between words, and their origins, can help us understand them better.

Holiness is simply being connected to our Source.

-Richard Rohr, “A School of Love,” June 23, 2019

When we are connected to this Source, we are “whole,” which has the same roots as “holy,” from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *kailo- meaning “whole, uninjured.” No longer are we disconnected, separated, alienated, independent, cut off, apart, fallen, a “sinner,” a subject with all else being objects.

When we are holy we belong fully to Reality, as Reality, and all things and beings are the Beloved, fully Loved in unifying relationship and interbeing. Instead of objectifying all things, we subjectify them, all being members of the same Subject or Source, including our Self. Nothing is fundamentally “other,” but is our Self.

This seems to have been Martin Buber’s idea in his book I and Thou. An “it” is an object over there, a thing separate from me. A “thou” is in a relationship with me, not separate from me because of the relationship itself. The relationship makes it not separate. For Buber, “all of our relationships bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou” (Wikipedia).

These words also have the same root as the word “health,” meaning a wholeness, soundness, wellness, as well as the word “heal.” The rift is mended, the division repaired, the separation reunited and made one again, what was fallen is returned to reconciliation, reunion. When we are healed, we are made whole, are healthy, and are thus holy. Healed, whole, healthy, holy.

It’s insightful that the anointing practice was anciently used to mark one who was healthy, or even to bring wellness, being a form of medicine. A “messiah” or “christ” (anointed) was one who was healthy, whole, well, holy, in mind and body, in a psychospiritual sense, and perhaps a physical bodily sense too. They were undivided, both their mind and body being at-one with the ground of Being that includes all beings, all of reality.

Another word that has a similar meaning is the Greek teleios, translated as “perfect” in the NT, as in “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), or as I’ve translated it, “Then realize your essential nature is perfect, or complete and whole, even as the Source from which you’ve come is complete and whole” (BHT). It means complete, full, finished, wanting nothing, lacking nothing. It is undivided. It is One. Our Source or “Father” is complete and full, or “perfect,” and so are we, as we originally are, underneath our psychological ego which tends to distract us, divide us, separate us from others. It even separates us from our Self.

We are fundamentally One, and cannot be otherwise (see Rom. 8:38-39). But the ego often lies, deceives us, and is that mythological “serpent” that we’ve personified as “Satan” or the “Devil,” which tempts us to not be the One that we are, to think we are separate, divided, disconnected, not belonging, unbeloved, alienated from Reality.

It is that “natural man” which is an “enemy of God” (Mosiah 3:19; Rom. 8:7), our self-awareness of being a separate “self,” which blinds us to our deepest being as One. When the ego-self falls away from consciousness, we are made whole again, we are liberated, we are saved from our self, we realize the wholeness that we’ve always had, and always were, this oneness, this nonduality, this at-one-ment, which was obscured by the ego, hidden beneath it, that “hidden treasure” within us.

I think this is the deeper mystical meaning of forgiveness, of redemption, of being freed from “sin,” the liberation of the East, the awakening to the true Self. The “sin” is thinking we are separate, which only the ego does in its dualistic subject-object perceptions. When we transcend the ego, there is no more separation. Subject and object are seen as One. The Seer, the seeing, and the seen are One Great Whole.

We are whole, we are One—the Holy (Wholly) One. We are Love.


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2 thoughts on “Holy, Whole, Health, Heal: Words of our Oneness or Nonduality

  1. Excellent Bryce, especially in describing the equivalence of holy and wholly.

    In that same book, Martin Buber wrote: “Of course God is the “wholly Other”; but He is also the wholly Same, the wholly Present. He is also the mystery of the self-evident, nearer to me than my I.”

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