We know by now that the holism movement is based on a philosophy of combining the body, mind, and spiritual elements as the earth, moon, and sun.
Nature, Nurture and Spirit
If you have trouble envisioning how the Earth, moon, and sun are spiritual, consider this account, by Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man on the moon (and later a founder of The Institute of Noetic Sciences). Mitchell said that while standing on the moon he was deeply moved and felt a strong connection to our planet.
“It was a beautiful, harmonious, peaceful-looking planet, blue with white clouds, and one that gave you a deep sense of home, of being, of identity. It is what I prefer to call an instant global consciousness.”
Roadblocks to Holism
Once you have a sense of the personal variations within the holistic state of your client, you can begin to identify areas that may be experiencing a block to parts of their holistic health status. Perhaps your clients are blocked because some areas are too painful to examine as needed, or in order to move on with a more holistic lifestyle. Some of these blocks might include a lack of connection with themselves and the world overall, an absence of community, or an inability to communicate with others.
Addiction, which is the way many people cover up emotional pain, is perhaps the most common wedge between client beliefs and the truth. However, there are countless more subtle forms of personal and cultural addiction most people never notice. They end up as roadblocks to holism because their purpose is to distract us from what’s inside of us emotionally and spiritually.
One very significant block is the split we believe exists between spirituality and sexuality. This block can not only separate us from our significant others, our spouses and loved ones, but separates us from our bodies and from the natural world as well. It is a major detour on the road to holism. It adds to the repression of the shadow self (the dumping ground for the parts of our personality we disown), and to the separation of the body, mind, and spirit. This can lead to shame, and poor grounding of personal energy, which are roadblocks in themselves.
The Power of Our Physical Surroundings
A holistic lifestyle, inspired by the uncountable virtues of nature, encompasses all possible dimensions of our existence—the mind, body, spirit, and the natural environment that surrounds our entity. Through the ages, it has been acknowledged that our physical surroundings have tremendous positive, vital energy and power that can be cultivated by us for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Today, this very realization of living in harmony with nature has been the core philosophy of holistic living. Many people view holism as natural, as described by exponents as “the art of living” – as it derives its essence from the ancient Greek concept of “holism” (a Greek word meaning “entire” or “total”) that believed in the cumulative entity of the human (combining the biological, chemical, social, economic, mental and linguistic attributes).
The general principle of “holism” advocated by philosophers like Aristotle has evolved through the years, culminating in a philosophy of life that emphasizes the integration of the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical elements of a being. There is a tendency for some people to think of religion when they hear the words holism or holistic. This is not accurate and would be far too limited in trying to describe what holism means.
Spirituality’s Role in Holism
Also confusing to some is the term spirituality; as part of a holistic approach, it is not necessarily a religious entity that is referenced. An individual with no religious affiliation could still view life from a holistic perspective, provided there is something of substance in their spirit.
Spirituality is not necessarily a religious affiliation and is actually more secular in its meaning. While the terms spirituality and religion can both refer to the search for the Absolute or God, an increasing number of people have come to see the two as separate entities, religion being just one way in which humans can experience spirituality.
Cultural historian and yogi, William Irwin Thompson states, “Religion is not identical with spirituality; rather religion is the form spirituality takes in civilization.”
According to one poll, just over a quarter (27%) of the United States population identifies itself as spiritual but not religious. One might say then, that a key difference between the two is that religion is a type of formal external search, while spirituality is defined as a search within oneself. One might also say that spirituality is the path itself, rather than the goal: the attitude and the way a person chooses to live rather than a goal they must reach. Since spirituality is understood as the search for (or the development of) inner peace or the foundations of happiness, then spiritual practice of some kind is essential for personal well-being. This includes any activity that one associates with cultivating spirituality.
For some clients, this activity may or may not include belief in supernatural beings. If one has such a belief and feels that relationship to such beings is the foundation of happiness then spiritual practice may be pursued on that basis: if one has no such beliefs, spiritual practice is still essential for the management and understanding of thoughts and emotions which otherwise prevent happiness. The applications used in coaching have to have roots in both open-minded thinking and judgment-free communication.
Many techniques and practices developed and explored in religious contexts, such as meditation, are immensely valuable in themselves as skills for managing aspects of the inner life.
How You Can Help
The stress of living during a pandemic has turned our daily lives and the lives of our clients and their families upside down. It comes at no surprise that most of your clients are concerned about their health and well-being during this time.
If you focus your work in the “holistic” areas of health, fitness and wellness, the Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach course is your next step. Without this knowledge and certification, you won’t have everything you need to help all your clients.
Our Stress Management coaching program is designed for life coaches, as well as fitness and wellness professionals who want to expand his or her knowledge in the lucrative and expanding field.
Become a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Holistic health and well-being are essential to overall life success. Now you can earn a credential and gain the skills to help your clients achieve this success.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.