Carl Jung is reported to have said - "I would rather be whole than good". Perhaps now I understand the meaning of this profoundly meaningful quote; prior to recent years -- my attention, my focus and my effort would always be on being perceived 'good'. During my childhood I saw myself as good, every time I earned the labels like obedient, disciplined, caring, intelligent etc. It became habit to earn those labels. As I grew older my addiction with being perceived good continued. It was important for me to be seen as a good son, good student, good employee, good boss, good husband, good father, good friend et al. That defined my persona, ego, and self-image. Much later I began to understand the difference between 'growing older' and 'growing up'. Hopefully, now I comprehend the true difference between 'whole' and 'perceived good'.
I fail to be whole when
- I am angry and act to be seen as calm
- I feel the right thing to do is to reject and I end up accepting
- I wish to reprimand but chose to praise
- I must disagree but for the sake of diplomacy agree
- I love but pretend to be indifferent
Often our urge to appear 'good' is driven by our roles such as those of a parent, teacher, boss, colleague, sibling, friend, spouse, lover etc. That's precisely where the contradiction lies -- the moment one embraces 'goodness' over 'wholeness' the very effectiveness of the relationship gets compromised and consequently the joy in that role diminishes. In Sanskrit the matching word for wholeness is pūrṇa; how can one be an effective parent or a teacher or a lover without being pūrṇa? The projected goodness may at best provide transient happiness but can never be a substitute for meaningful relationship or a fulfilling satisfaction of doing justice to the role (refer http://celebratetheright.blogspot.in/2013/01/happiness-versus-meaningfulness_6.html).
The wholeness implies health; for, the English word “health” originally meant a state of "wholeness". No wonder that for scores of bodily illnesses borne by people, the root cause is lack of wholeness. Conversely, many a people become Healthy by embracing the process of attaining wholeness. How does one attain wholeness? Here's my take on this process -- it is by
- Reclaiming the child in you -- the child who is pure, the child who's content with her uniqueness, the child who doesn't need a facade or filter to be, the child who embraces inquiry in place of judgement or prejudice
- Cultivating authenticity -- claiming to be the one who I am, truly and always
- Living congruently -- when thoughts, feelings & actions are in alignment and in harmony with one's inner core
- Listening to your inner-self
What would you say? Are you ready to join me in shedding the facade of goodness? Are you ready to stake your whole being to become "whole"?