In my previous post about Wholeness, I said that recognizing when Wholeness is acting in our life is both tricky and simple. In this post I’ll start with the simple and show how I resolve the tricky.

The key to recognizing Wholeness is in the experience of resonance and dissonance. When we resonate with something there’s a feeling of internal rightness and harmony. When something feels dissonant it feels out of place or somehow wrong. Think about when you hear the wrong note played or when you see a word mispelled. Resonance and dissonance are both intuitive experiences that are mostly felt in the body or in a wordless kind of knowing.  When I notice either of them, I usually know that something is right (or wrong) with my world. Sometimes, however, it’s a little harder for a couple of reasons.

First, the experience of resonance (dissonance) may be subtle and flitting and therefore easy to miss. We may have even trained ourselves to ignore those feelings for various reasons. If that is the case, I believe that practicing and paying more attention when those experiences arise could help.

The second and more pernicious reason starts with the ego’s tendency to interfere. The ego is often driven by desire or fear, giving rise to feelings of craving or aversion accordingly. Craving and aversion are gross sensations and with the support of ego behind them, are much harder to ignore than either resonance or dissonance. As a result I often find myself moved by craving or aversion, completely ignoring my experience of resonance or dissonance.

The tricky part, then, is in telling apart aversion from dissonance and craving from resonance. I’ve noticed a couple of different ways to tell them apart:

  1. Paying attention to the self-contraction. This feeling of tightening in the gut that tells me that fear or desire are involved. The self-contraction is a clear indicator of aversion (desire) at play.
  2. If I notice that I am somehow personally invested in the result of something, this is another clear indicator that I am driven by aversion (craving). Wholeness is already whole and therefore not invested in anything. The ego, on the other hand, is very much invested in things turning one way or the other; for the ego, most anything means life or death.

My ongoing practice of learning the recognize Wholeness includes paying attention to and learning to trust my intuition and conversely, becoming suspicious of my own motives whenever I notice contraction or an investment I things turning out one way or another.

Another practice that supports the dual practice above involves journalling and self-reflection, mostly around the theme of shadow work. I’ll say more about that in a future post.