Complete the following sentence with a single word: “My life would be made whole if it always had ____________.
Before I impose my response on you, I’ll let you find your own answer while I occupy the space with some old photographs of mine.
My word for the sentence above is health. For there are different orders of health, which together cover quite a spectrum of life:
- Physical and psychological health (because after all, mind and body are not two, not separate)
- Relational health: professional, personal, and even spiritual relationships; though people are often most troubled by those relationships involving the body and its organs of regeneration
- Material health: money, assets, security, the future
Your answer — be it love, peace, sanity, truth, compassion, intelligence, companionship, understanding, or whatever — is not wrong. I only offer health for its inclusiveness and versatility; and I suppose for the sudden importance it has been given everywhere in the year 2020.
This perception of health has guided me for many years — in my study of various spiritual and psychodynamic practices; in my practice of psychotherapy; and in my personal meditation, writing, and teaching work.
I often used the ancient Chinese oracle I Ching in my counseling work with clients. In that context, I referred them to this oracle not as a diviner of the future but as a broad mirror to the personal present. I sometimes call it a “user manual for the true self.” Thus, every inquiry of the oracle becomes an interaction with yourself and your connection to a greater presence than we normally account for in the narrow calculation behind our daily actions and the scope of our ordinary vision.
Therefore, the questions that people commonly ask of an oracle can be classified according to the threefold characterization of health above. This is the perspective that I hope informs most of the writing, images, and video you’ll find at this site.
Health is not about looking good or cool or fulfilling any of the self-images projected to you by a television or an ad on Google or Facebook. In fact, genuine health is usually supported through a process of rejecting and discarding those same corporate self-images from within. Health is a path of receiving so that you can give; growth is a process of unlearning so that you can learn.