The Whole View Method has been conceptualized through my many years of engaging with deep inner work through formal studies, experiential learning, meditation (guided/ self-led) retreats, workshops, courses, personal practices, my own inner journey, & supporting several others on their inner journeys.
You can choose to read more about my experiences & learning (a.k.a., my credentials) here.
What is Whole View Method?
Whole View Method (WVM) involves working with the Whole Self (the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development) v/s only the mind (cognition-focused methods, like cognitive behavior therapy) or only the body (body-focused methods, like somatic therapy) or only the energy (like reiki & qigong, amongst others). It works on the core assumption that every aspect of the being, is equally important in order to truly resolve the mental &/ emotional suffering. It takes into consideration not just the individual, but also the intergenerational & societal lens.
I believe this method is much more holistic than most other therapeutic/ healing approaches, and as you read on you’ll begin to see why & how.
This work is a testament to my life.
I’ve struggled with *symptoms of high-functioning BPD.
I’ve struggled with *symptoms of high-functioning Anxiety.
I’ve struggled with *symptoms of binge eating disorder, bordering Bulimia Nervosa.
I’ve struggled with *symptoms of Phasmophobia – an intense and irrational fear of ghosts.
I’ve been in umpteen number of Anger-Guilt-Shame cycles.
I’ve struggled with emotions for a huge chunk of my life.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with my primary caregivers.
I’ve had failed romantic relationships & have struggled with my guards being up high & dry.
*I say “symptoms of” because I didn’t receive a diagnosis from someone with a license. However, I lived it all, and for me, there’s more value in my lived experience.
At the end of the day, these labels of disorders don’t matter. For me, every time I discovered that I met the criteria for one of these labels, it allowed me to breathe a little easier as I realized (probably for the first time then in my life) that I was actually not a “bad” person.
What I was struggling with was a symptom of a deeper wound. Creating this separation between me & the symptoms helped me drop self-judgment. And once self-judgment drops, half the work is done!
The Whole View Method, & its way of life, has helped me understand & dissolve many of my challenges.
I’ve been able to ease my high-functioning struggles, & cultivate their gifts.
I’ve been able to create my Life, & live it, the way I want. I do the work that calls to me – guiding others on this journey, while also continuing to deepen & nourish my own journey.
I’ve been able to see my anxious attachment pretending to be avoidant, & shift my “usual” suffering-creating responses. I’ve cultivated meaningful relationships aligned with my being.
I’m no more paralyzed by my intense, visceral fear of ghosts. I meditated in isolation & complete darkness for 10 nights & 11 days.
I continually, and gently, work on my relationship with food & body image. I’ve fasted for 10 days, 21 days, and 13 days, respectively, with 0 food intake.
Today I live with a sense of curiosity & innocence, continually learning, growing, & evolving.
The core of me doesn’t associate my worth with what I do/ have (neither in the material sense, nor in terms of relationships, nor in terms of my actions &/ results).
Thus, at my core, I’m always grounded & safe. From this safe, stable space I’m able to open myself up to my expansiveness which allows me to experience love, belonging, meaning, & growth, unconditionally.
The goal of inner work/ therapeutic work/ spiritual work is broadly the same – to remove suffering, whether mental or emotional, &/ to move towards happiness/ peace of mind.
To reach this goal we need to see, & understand through experience, the “Whole View” – the what, why, & how, of suffering, and the way out of this suffering, at all its levels. This Whole View enables us to move from an unhealthy sense of Self to a healthy sense of Self to (eventually) Selflessness.
It is a process of dissolution – dissolving the hold that suffering has on us. While the apparent causes of suffering may or may not change, the Whole View practitioner’s perspectives begin to shift which transforms the way they experience & engage with the apparent causes of suffering.
As they continue to develop in their practice, the experience of suffering begins to dissipate even when the causes remain.
Note: In WVM, there are no “clients”, instead there are practitioners – anyone who practices WVM is a practitioner, whether they are the one teaching the method, or the one learning it.
What Is Suffering?
Simply put, when in life, we don’t get what we want (the job/ the relationship/ the money/ the respect/ etc.), or get what we don’t want (a colleague promoted over us/ end of a relationship/ less pay/ ridicule/ death/ etc.), we experience a sense (of varying intensities) of aversion or unpleasantness or discomfort. The more intensity and duration, the greater the suffering experienced.
Why Is There Suffering?
While this is a complex question, at the root of it, suffering is there because of attachment. Attachment to what we want, or don’t want (aversion & attachment are two sides of the same coin).
This attachment is caused by ignorance – the lack of knowledge & understanding about the nature of life – ever-changing, impermanent, & interdependent.
Important to note: The word “attachment” here is not used as understood in Attachment Theory where it basically refers to the bond that the child has with their primary caregiver(s).
Instead, it is viewed as a “grasping” of wanting something, for instance, “I want the job.”, or “I want ‘not to be jobless’.” Attachment is when this wanting creates a sense of unrest within as one desires to achieve the want.
How Is Suffering Formed?
There are four main factors, all feeding one another all the time (this also throws some light on the complex “why” behind suffering)
In many ways, life (or one may say, not understanding life) itself is characterized by (interspersed) suffering. A baby is born crying, when it’s hungry it cries, when it’s in discomfort it cries, when it’s sick it cries.
As the baby grows older, the crying may shift form – it may now be in the form of feeling hurt/ angry/ sad/ disappointed. As an adult, life happens to all of us – there are times we don’t get what we want, & there are times that we get what we don’t want.
In fact, even when we do get what we want, eventually it’s bound to be lost (it might break/ get stolen/ die/ etc.). So suffering becomes a part and parcel of living life. Finally when it’s time to die – most people either don’t want to die or don’t want those close to them to die – both are inevitable.
Thus, we see that suffering is a part of life at every step. There is no escaping these evident causes of suffering. While these causes will always be there, there is a way out of the suffering caused by them.
Those who don’t know/ learn the way out of suffering, continue to suffer.
2. Disconnect from the “Self”
Anyone who spends intentional time with themselves, diving into deeper waters of who they are, begins to see that the Self is beyond name, form, actions, habits, beliefs, narratives, etc. They begin to realize that they are not their achievements, values, past, or future.
Those who have gone deeper in this quest of discovering themselves, have eventually been able to touch into the Self that’s always present in each one of us – grounded, unconditionally loving, non-judgmental, & continuously contributing. This is our “true” Self.
It has the qualities of clarity, awareness, joy, & expansiveness. And just like a tree doesn’t need to do anything special to have roots, branches, leaves, & fruits, similarly, we don’t need to “do” anything special to have these qualities – these qualities are our true nature.
So then what goes wrong?
a. Child-Caregiver Relationship
Three things to note:
1. Every child is born with a certain temperament.
2. Every child forms their understanding of themselves, others, & the world based on how their caregivers engage with them, with each other, & the world.
3. The narratives & core blueprints that the child carries into adulthood are a result of the interaction between their own temperament & their experiences with caregivers around them.
Every caregiver was once a child with a certain temperament, and had interactions with caregivers who were adults carrying narratives & blueprints from their caregivers. Ad infinitum.
Most people, and thereby, most caregivers, are unaware of the “true” Self (as described above). They have never experienced it. On the contrary, for centuries what most people have experienced is a sense of scarcity/ fear, unhealthy competition/ ambition, and fight/ flight responses.
When you have a caregiver with such a narrative, it automatically transfers into the child as a blueprint.
Moreover, as the English poet, Alexander Pope, famously wrote, “To err is human”, and so it is highly likely that no caregiver, however great, can meet every need of their child in the perfect way to suit the child’s exact temperament.
Depending on the caregiver’s understanding & wisdom (which is directly related to parenting skills – something that has been missing in most parts of the world), the child’s needs (beyond the physical body needs of food & bodily safety) may or may not be met.
If they are met, the child, more or less, grows up as a secure adult who has a healthy sense of self. In reality, for many children, their needs have not been well met.
What are these needs that the child has?
b. 3 Core Needs
Every single human being’s needs can be classified into 3 core human needs:
1. Safety: A sense of feeling safe, secure, & grounded.
2. Love: A sense of belonging, being cared for, & loved.
3. Meaning: A sense of growth, evolution, & contribution.
*Safety includes physical safety – appropriate food/ clothing/ shelter – however, human beings also need to “feel” the sense of safety & security within themselves which is beyond the material facets.
When you compare these 3 core needs to the qualities of our “true” Self, you’ll find they match! The “true” Self is grounded, loving, and ever-contributing. And these very qualities are our core needs – to feel safe, to be loved, & to contribute.
You see, deep within we know who we are, & are always trying to go back home to our true Selves. In trying to meet our 3 core needs, we are only trying to find alignment within ourselves.
Again, the truth of this moment is that most people are unaware of these core needs. They think they want a better job, a better relationship, a bigger house, and more cars – in reality, all these are nothing but dark & hollow shadows of their true needs.
Since most people don’t understand their true needs, in trying to feed the hollow shadows they end up with lifeless holograms – disappointingly dissatisfying.
c. Relationship Blueprints
As the child, with the blueprints drawn from their childhood narratives, enters the adult world, they engage & relate to everything &/ everyone based on the same blueprints. This child, who is now seen as an “adult”, repeats & relives the same patterns over & over again.
What do you think is the difference between a child & an adult, if you set aside the physiological differences for a moment? Children are “innocent”, they don’t yet understand many things, for instance, a child may wonder how the sun comes out every morning & then disappears after a few hours. How innocent!
What do you call an “adult” who doesn’t understand how &/ why the sun “disappears” every day? Depending on your orientation you may choose a different word, but mostly all the words would broadly point towards the word ‘ignorance’.
So when a child doesn’t know they are innocent, and when an adult doesn’t know they are ignorant. Why the difference in judgment (innocent vs ignorant)? Simply because we think that adults “should know”. This is how most people differentiate an adult from a child.
Of course, there are various other factors, like responsibility, dependability, etc., however, please note, these are qualities that if not cultivated since childhood won’t suddenly spring up one bright sunny day in the adult version of the child!
Also, to be responsible & dependable you have to first understand what these terms mean, and how you can be responsible & dependable in a way that nourishes you, & those around you. You can only give of what you have, so if you’re not nourished in some way, you can’t really provide that nourishment to anyone else.
How I see it – most adults are just (physiologically) grown-up children who still don’t know what life is all about, what causes their suffering, what to do to reduce it, & how to have a happy & productive life – not because they are “ignorant”, but because they are innocent – they don’t understand any better, yet.
Those who have, & make use of, the opportunity to explore these questions & the truth behind their actions, thoughts, & emotions, begin to cultivate the understanding needed to gradually move out of their stuck patterns.
Many people, however, continue to repeat most of their repetitive cycles for most of their lives. The more we repeat the cycles, the more suffering solidifies in us.
When a child’s needs are not met, & as a result they move away from their true selves (safe, loved, contributing), multiple layers begin to form within the psyche.
One can also think of this as splitting of the psyche into different parts – a part that’s angry, a part that’s afraid, a part that’s ambitious, a part that’s jealous, a part that compromises, a part that solves problems, a part that’s organized, etc.
Due to our (societal) conditioning, we consider some of these parts to be “good”, & others to be “bad”. We associate ourselves with the parts that we think are good, & we (subconsciously) hide the ones we think are bad. For instance, a part that’s organized & on-task might be seen as a good part, while the part that doesn’t want to work might be seen as a bad part.
When you’re on-task you feel good about yourself, & when you don’t want to do anything you feel bad about yourself. In order to not feel bad about yourself you try to always be the “on-task” you, suppressing the part that wants to take a break. Thus, starting the cycle of workaholism.
Since these processes are subconscious we are unaware of the existence of these multiple split parts within us. Thus, when we act through the impulses of the parts that we are unaware of & consider bad, we experience confusion, inner conflict, & overwhelm, finding it hard to understand ourselves – our actions & emotions, others around us, & life itself.
“As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without.” – (a famous) Alchemy Quote
Just as we are split within, similarly we have split the way our world operates. One of these many splits is where physical well-being is separated from psychological well-being which in turn is separated from spiritual well-being, and so forth.
The split is what initiated the suffering in the first place, & so a split way of healing may not be the best way. While conceptually we have a body & a mind, really they’re always together – affecting, & being affected by, each other.
Truly, our well-being is the sum total of our physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual well-being. And as with all things, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
4. (Current) Context
Everything must be contextualized as everything exists in a context. So does the understanding of suffering. The Buddha himself was known to teach according to the context of his students.
Three important factors for the context of suffering in our world today are:
a. Lack of Knowledge
While there is “Google-full” information easily available at the tip of a finger, there are negligible spaces with wholesome & holistic systems of knowledge where one can learn, practice, experience, understand, ask questions, and be guided & supported in this utmost important life skill of managing one’s inner world.
Neither our homes nor our schools, prepare us to work with the avalanche of emotions most people experience at some point in their lives, if not for most of it.
Another point to consider is the fact that when we think of the word “knowledge” we think of being able to figure out our thoughts & beliefs, & then somehow changing them. However, knowledge goes beyond the cognitive meaning-making of things.
Cognitive meaning-making is, in fact, the last step in the process of gathering knowledge, & it best happens when we have access to an array of knowledge pieces to play with.
This array includes the big picture (whole view), emotions, physical body, energy body, deep-seated narratives, & a lot more than just a cause & effect analysis.
Again, there are negligible spaces in today’s world that support such in-depth understanding.
b. “Instant” World
We have become accustomed to an instant world – where everything is a quick fix, everything can be brought to our doorstep at the click of a virtual button. And so our mind begins to think something must be wrong if an issue is not being “fixed” instantly.
We feel almost entitled to have everything presented to us on a readymade platter, including well-being. Everywhere you look you’ll find messages telling you, in some or other variation, that there’s a “shortcut” that involves minimal effort from you, & that you deserve such an “easy” life!
The reality is quite different. The reality is: there is suffering, there is a way out of suffering, & no one escapes the effort needed to get out of their suffering! No one deserves anything. It’s a simple law of cause & effect that’s in play that’s completely unbiased to anyone deserving anything!
The “instant world” troubles don’t end here – those of us who try to move out of such “life should be easy” mindsets, & begin putting in some effort, are then vulnerable to the umpteen distractions (in terms of numberless choices) at every step in this “at your doorstep” world!
c. It’s a Small World, indeed!
Humans, historically, have never lived in such big societies as we do today – given the technological advances, the whole world seems to have shrunk. Until a few decades ago I could compare myself (and feel good or bad) to a few of my neighbors, today I can do so with people living across oceans from me!
The more, (not) the merrier! While all these advancements & the “shrinking” of the world definitely have their advantages, it may be wise to also look at what it takes away from us. One of the bigger disadvantages is that most of us don’t have the whole view of anyone else’s life, instead we have “glimpses” of many people’s lives.
Glimpses that are, intentionally or unintentionally, lopsided. And so the messaging that most people take away for themselves is that everyone else is getting it “right”. Everyone, but them. The more this idea is reinforced, the more their suffering is.
Another major shift in the way we live today is in our experience of Collective Trauma. A few decades back when the world didn’t seem so small, & we were privy to the lives of fewer people, we experienced grief from only those who we could see or hear from.
Today we can see & hear from people in every corner of the world. And so when they grieve, we (usually without realizing it) grieve with them/ for them. Never before these times have we had to work with grief & trauma at such a vast collective level.
We, as a species, are yet to come to grasp the wholeness of the experiences we’ve been going through ever since the world has shrunk.
How Is Suffering Resolved?
In order to truly resolve mental & emotional suffering we need to be able to see the Whole View, & move from an unhealthy sense of self to a healthy sense of self, with the larger aim of moving towards experiencing our core sense of selflessness, unconditionality, & interdependence.
In other words, cultivating Emotional Wisdom.
Holding any exaggerated ego – “I am superior or inferior/ best or worst/ right or wrong.” (are all extremes, a.k.a., exaggerated) – is unhealthy.
A healthy ego is one that is able to analyze itself appropriately, without spiraling (up or down) by the analysis and is able to continually evolve by making the shifts needed.
The goal of the healthy ego is to eventually understand through experience that it’s not a single fixed entity – that it’s ever-changing, arising interdependently from one moment to the next – arising, dissolving the next moment, only to arise again, interdependently.
This process of resolving suffering involves cultivating emotional wisdom which has 4 facets:
1. Working with the Whole Being (to build the core skills)
We are not split beings. Nothing in this Universe is split. While it may appear to be so, not everything that appears to be so is necessarily so!
However, the non-split(ness) is non-conceptual – which means, I can tell you the different components that form water (2 part hydrogen, 1 part oxygen), but to truly understand water you have to experience it, & when you do – you can’t truly describe what it is to someone who has never experienced water.
You may be able to describe it very well. Yet, you can’t describe it beyond a point – and what point is that? The point between conceptual & non-conceptual.
Our analytical mind, while an extremely crucial tool for our learning, growth, & evolution, cannot grasp the non-conceptual. At the same time, this analytical mind is what will take us to the door beyond which concepts don’t exist.
The Whole Being is a felt experience – non-conceptual. To reach there we need to use the analytical mind with the view of reaching the felt sense of our whole being.
The way to reach there is to work with every single aspect of our being that we understand through concepts, namely, body, mind, emotions, & beyond (some may refer to it as spiritual).
And the work to do is simple – the kind of simple that’s not “simplistic”, it’s complex because it has many nuances to it, though it’s not complicated. So what is the work? In a word – Expansiveness.
The work – in all aspects of the body, mind, emotions, & beyond – is aimed at creating greater expansiveness in our being. Expansiveness is a core quality of our being. It allows for acceptance, non-judgment, unconditionality, & contribution – all of it, from a space of grounded wisdom.
How do you do this?
a. Working with the Body
Suffering may manifest in various forms, like, depression, anxiety, violence, panic attacks, aches & pains, and various other physiological & psychological disorders. However, if you were to notice what happens at a visceral level when you experience unpleasant feelings, you’ll find your body constricted.
This constriction can make you clench/ tighten different body parts. It can make your breathing shallow &/ fast. It can make you feel as if heat is radiating from within. And, at times, this constriction can go on an overdrive shutting down your body where it goes limp & cold, & you experience a collapse.
On the other hand, when you experience pleasant feelings you notice a visceral sense of expansion as if there’s more room in your chest for your lungs to breathe in the oxygen. As if your body is light. As if there’s a spring in your step.
Body-based practices, like observing sensations, asanas, breathwork, chakra work, intuitive movement, shaking & releasing, etc., allow us to build tolerance & ease when our body reacts with constriction, and also teach us to cultivate expansiveness.
b. Working with the Mind
Some schools of thought claim everything is the mind – all emotions, thoughts, memories – all are in & from the mind. For our purpose, in WVM, we make a distinction between Mind & Emotions. At the end of the day, the labels don’t matter much, but at times categorization can help grasp concepts better.
So, for WVM, the mind consists of thoughts, habits, beliefs, narratives, memories, & ways of thinking.
A core nature of the mind is to find the easiest way to survive with the least amount of exertion. Thus, it loves to build habits & patterns so it can run on autopilot without expending energy to make conscious choices.
It also loves familiarity, & is threatened by unfamiliarity. Thus, even when a habit is harmful we continue it, & find it difficult to form a new one.
In order to work with a mind that has such characteristics it is important to see the Whole View so that it can see the full landscape & then feel more comfortable as it continues to familiarize itself with the View. When the mind is able to feel comfortable & safe, it eases, creating space for expansiveness.
Processes like psycho-education, learning how your mind works as you understand your thoughts, acknowledging-accepting-changing beliefs & narratives, reparenting, etc., help work with the mind.
c. Working with Emotions
Every thought has an underlying emotional charge. Every single thought. One of the reasons we experience suffering (beyond the factual event itself) is that we judge our emotions as good or bad. When we experience an emotion we consider good we feel pleasant, & vice-versa.
A deeper analysis of emotions shows us that no emotion is good or bad by itself. Each emotion carries a message with it. Our perception of the emotion makes it good or bad.
In fact, if you were to notice, you’ll realize that it’s actually not the emotion but how you feel about the emotion that creates unrest within you. For instance, when you experience anxiety, it is usually not the anxiety that’s causing fear in you, it’s your fear of anxiety that is causing the fear!
Once you’re able to see what message each emotion brings and greet & meet each emotion with love, curiosity, & acceptance, you’ll begin to feel pleasant no matter what emotion arises in you. Whenever you feel pleasant, the body, by default, goes into expansiveness.
Embodying emotions, staying with emotions, processing emotions, changing our relationship with emotions, flowing in & out of emotions, art & expression – all these help to work with emotions.
d. Working with the “Beyond”
Some may think of this aspect as the spiritual aspect. The reason I don’t call this spiritual is that the word spiritual actually means “of the spirit” or “of the soul”, or “of self”. Thus, any work on & with the Self is spiritual work, as it is “of the self”.
I find the word “beyond” more befitting because a lot of things in this aspect of the being are non-conceptual or beyond the conceptual.
There are many things in life that we don’t understand. For instance, where do the dead go, what happens after death, why does someone have all the luck in the world & someone else all the bad luck, and how do some people happen to be “better” than others, (the age-old dilemmas of) who am I, what’s my purpose, etc.
The more we don’t understand, the more we feel lost. The more we feel lost, the more we feel confused. Confusion makes us feel out of control & unsafe. This leads to a lack of clarity which leads &/ adds to our deeper suffering.
To explore questions that science is yet to find answers to (by the way, if you think about it, science doesn’t really “create” anything per se, it only finds “evidence” for what was always there) we need to go beyond concepts and the limitations of our conceptual mind that is usually married to logic (by the way, we call things illogical when we aren’t able to see the cause & effect connections).
Experiencing the senses, the elements, the energy, & the interplay of it all; experiencing emptiness, interconnection & interdependence (at the societal, intergenerational, & spiritual levels); experiencing self & selflessness; experiencing the safety, love, & meaning within – all such practices help us to work with the beyond.
As we work with the beyond our unanswered questions mentioned above begin to dissolve, and, once again, we experience an ease of expansiveness in our being. A sense of safety emerges as we begin to make sense & see life with more clarity.
As you build these skills across the 4 aspects, you begin to experience nuances of your whole being, increasing your capacity to let go, relax, & be your expansive self that is ever-accepting & evolving. From here come our deepest gifts for both, the world & ourselves.
2. Healing the Wounded
While the above enables us to build new skills, there is another important work to do – heal the wounds from the past. As we practice the new skills, past wounds will begin to come up to heal. It is helpful to actively heal the wounds that are loud at the moment.
There are 3 broad healing spaces:
a. The Relationship Blueprint
Explore your attachment style. The more we move towards secure attachment, the healthier & more fulfilling our relationships are. In order to move towards secure attachment we first need to understand why we attach the way we do, how it benefited us when we were younger, and how it’s now taking away more than it’s giving us.
Then, while you practice skills to build security within through various skills mentioned in the first facet above, you also start practicing skills to create secure bonds in your current relationships (romantic &/ platonic) through needs work, boundary work, vulnerable communication, & seeing others’ & collective trauma dynamics.
b. The (fragmented) Parts
Explore all different parts within yourself in the form of very young hurt parts (more commonly known as Inner-Child), slightly older rebellious parts (I refer to them as teenage/ young adult parts), & any other parts that may be present.
Acknowledge them & their suffering, accept them as parts of you, change the narrative of the past memories that might be stuck, and integrate them back with your present self & senses.
c. Reparenting (the fragmented parts)
This is a crucial aspect of healing. Most of us have a “strict” part within us that judges us, ridicules us, gets angry at us, and shames us. It’s often referred to as an inner critic. A prerequisite to healing is unconditional love & kindness.
So, in order to heal, we need to replace this inner critic who’s taken the role of our inner parent. A part of us that’s more loving & kind takes the parent’s place, & can begin by reparenting the inner critic! This part then parents every other part, as and when needed, the way a wise & kind parent would parent their child.
As we continue this work, eventually we experience the parent part dissolving into our “true” self as it was always a reflection of it.
As we experience this dissolution, we’re able to experience how it all was always a manifestation, as if a projection from a projector on a screen. This is where concepts begin to point to non-conceptual experiences.
Churchill correctly pointed out, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Whether you’re happy or sad, excited or fearful, a winner or a loser – your attitude decides. These five helpful attitudes will carry you well on this path:
Life is simple – there is birth, growth, sickness, and death – these are all ripe causes of suffering, there is a way to stop the suffering, if you follow the way you’ll stop your suffering.
Life is simple. Don’t complicate it. Whatever you put into it, is what you will get out of it. So put in the effort to get out of suffering, and you will be successful as long as you’re out of the misconception of overnight success stories!
Nothing shifts without effort, and not every shift may be a desired shift. So it’s not just important to put in the effort, it’s equally important to put in the right effort that will efficiently take you toward your goals.
To know the “right” kind of effort, it’s crucial you find the “right” source to learn from. How do you know if the source is right? Try it. Practice it. If it gives you benefits (helps you work with difficult emotions & situations, brings a sense of groundedness & clarity within) it is right for you at least at that moment.
At all moments let your own experience (with the practice) be your standard of measurement.
The Buddha is known to have repeatedly reminded his students that what he had found was his truth, & that each one of them must find their own. You can learn skills from others who might have walked a few steps ahead of you, however, you have to find your own truth.
It is not enough to put in the right kind of effort once. In order to see shifts, the effort needs to be consistent. Over & over & over, the more you continually keep coming back to practicing the skills, the greater the shifts you’ll see.
Consistency is not about showing up every single day. Consistency is showing up again & again, no matter how long you didn’t show up. Consistency is about coming back on track, again & again & again, no matter how long the break is.
As you keep coming back, eventually you’ll find the gaps between on & off track reducing, until one day, showing up every single day comes “naturally” to you. There is nothing “natural” about who you think you are based on your habits/ reactions – every single habit is learned by having consistently repeated it until it seemed as if it was “natural” for you to do.
This work is simple – a refined kind of simple that has nuances (which some may call a complex system). While it is simple, it may not always be easy. Every high-level skill, in the beginning, seems hard, & as you uplevel in the skill you again find challenges on the way.
That’s how this is too. It is not always easy. Some days it can be downright rough & tough. And in order to walk such a path it is extremely important that you practice kindness for yourself.
Self-judgment, blame, & shame are the apt recipe for adding to the wounds & staying in the repetitive cycles. As a dear teacher of mine says, “Be kind to yourself, be wisely kind to yourself.”
Children, when allowed to be children, have a sense of curiosity & fun in exploring the world around them, as if the world was an extension of their make-believe game.
Guess what? They got that right! If you were to imitate them, & live your life as if a child’s game – full of curious learning & fun – you might be able to let go of taking yourself as seriously as you do. And the moment you stop taking yourself seriously, a lot of serious & heavy work becomes fun!
Ideally, an advantage of a small world should have been easier access to support structures through communities of support/ practice. Unfortunately, the shrinkage has caused a further shrinking of support for many people.
The last important attitude to cultivate is actively creating support structures around you. If you’re one of those lucky people who have all the support they need within their family & friends circles it’s a boon – a rare miracle in today’s age.
However, if you’re like most of us, once you’re an adult, you become your responsibility. And so as a part of your responsibility you need to actively set up support structures because no matter who you are, how efficient you are, and what your qualification or bank balance is – you, like everyone else, need support. Period.
What kind of support? Support to help you figure out what’s keeping you stuck in life, support to help you stay accountable to your decided goals, support to help you show up consistently when developing habits, support to help you learn life skills like emotional wisdom that most of us are pretty illiterate in.
Find your communities of support.
4. Living Non-Duality
As the WV practitioner becomes better established in their practice, they’re ready to dive deeper, beyond the world of black & white, right & wrong, this or that.
As they develop their understanding of emptiness & interdependence being two sides of the same coin, they’re also able to discern situations at a more nuanced level where they have the capacity to appreciate the gray areas, the uncertainties, and the unknowns.
Once these – the gray, the uncertain, & the unknown – become the practitioner’s friends, suffering’s grasp loosens. Even if it loosens just a tad, their experience of deep inner joy, clarity, & wisdom increases manifold! As their capacity to live life from such an expansive self widens, so does their life.
Practices to live nonduality are very simple, though may not always be easy. For instance, whether you win or lose the case – it’s the same thing, whether you eat at your favorite restaurant or at a restaurant you despise – it’s the same thing, whether you give in to your spouse’s demand or they give in to yours – it’s the same thing…and so if it’s all the same thing, then maybe just let it all go, & do as others wish you would.
I can almost hear ridicule as I’m typing this out! This is why I said that these practices are simple but not easy. This is why higher teachings of tantra are kept a “secret”.
This is why we only enter the non-dual living domain once we have established ourselves in our practice. In Tantra, by letting go of our ego, we expand even more as we experience the oneness with everything & everyone.
The caution here is – get into it too soon, with either not a strong enough base in your practice or no teacher/ guide to help you maneuver it, & you’re likely to get lost!
In WV, the belief is that while practitioners will only begin these practices when they feel ready, nevertheless, it is important for them to see the view & the path whether or not they are ready to practice it.
For instance, if you plan to summit Everest, you would want to know how Everest looks, learn the best path towards Everest, prepare for the challenges along the path, & then start your trek up the mountain.
You won’t say that since you can’t yet see it so you shouldn’t bother with seeing it! Similarly, even though the WV practitioner might take some time to be ready to practice living nonduality, it is never too soon to see the view & understand the path toward it.
The Rooted in Chaos program, through WVM, provides the practitioner with the most effective tools, views, & path (structure). As the practitioner practices in full earnest, they’re able to see shifts within them in a week’s time. These shifts are subtle, yet they are significant as they form the foundation of transformation.
As the practitioner continues to show up consistently, they’re able to witness greater changes within them that act as a motivating factor to continue showing up for the work.
This change process, though doable alone, highly benefits from a reliable guide, who has gone through the process, & continues to do the work themselves. Such a guide is able to point out nuances that a beginner would miss, thereby, hindering or slowing down the learning process.
Within a period of 6 – 12 weeks of consistent effort the practitioner’s core tendencies, or patterns, will begin to mold, and their sense of safety & belonging within themselves will begin to feel more tangible.
This will create a deep, felt sense of grounding, rootedness, & expansiveness in the practitioner, loosening the rigidities & tightly held ineffective ways of being that cause suffering, and cultivating emotional wisdom.
At times, when life situations get tricky, the practitioner might fear they are regressing to their old ways of being. However, that’s not the case.
They can never regress – they’ll understand this when they see that their bouncing-back time has reduced. What happens is, at times, the challenge of the current life situation can be higher than the skills they have developed so far.
As they continue practicing, their view of themselves, others, & the world will begin to shift & form anew.
As this process continues, slowly and surely, the suffering will begin to dissipate – the unwanted intensity & frequency will reduce. And their whole being will sense the transformation!
The role of the guide is to show up as whoever the practitioner needs them to be in the moment:
- As a teacher to teach the skills.
- As a coach to help them better their skills.
- As a therapist to hold space for their wounded selves.
- As a guide to guide them through the nooks & corners of the journey.
- As a mirror to mirror back to them their thoughts, emotions, beliefs, & narratives.
- As a deep listener, fully attuned to the practitioner, to pick up things the practitioner might be blind towards.
- As a channel to allow for teachings & learning from the collective conscious, subconscious, & unconscious spaces, that might be beyond the guide.
Why WVM Might Be Better (Than Other Approaches)
In many mainstream therapeutic modalities, the focus area of therapy is either behavior change or root cause analysis. Both of these are important pieces for growth, however, they are severely limiting if there aren’t any other puzzle pieces to complete the picture.
Also, in most therapeutic orientations the focus is to provide coping mechanisms to get rid of whatever is causing the mental/ emotional struggle. However, as we’ve seen above, suffering is a part & parcel of living – we can’t get rid of it.
The only way to reduce, & eventually stop suffering, is to see the big picture of life, and within that build a deeper understanding of how you relate to suffering, and how to shift it.
2. Whole Person
Most mainstream therapeutic modalities are cognitively inclined. This means that while the mind is put to some ease, the rest of the person is still stuck. Imagine when walking if you only moved one leg, and the other stayed at the same place, how far would you be able to go?
Every thought has an underlying emotional charge. All emotions are processed in the body. In cognitive modalities, while the thoughts may get analyzed, the processing of the underlying emotions in the body remains stuck.
Moreover, humans are complex beings. This means many more factors, than just our individual selves, affect us – like, our family dynamics, intergenerational patterns, and cultural wisdom – most mainstream providers aren’t able to provide such a holistic space for learning & growth.
Thus, while the client may think they’ve become “self-aware”, they may still struggle to shift things they are aware of.
3. Nature of Intervention
Usually, a therapist/ coach will see a client once a week or two for 50 minutes. If the client is struggling a lot, then they might be seen thrice a week for a certain duration. In an extreme situation, the client will be advised to move into a residential care facility which isn’t sustainable in the long run.
None of the above scenarios create a space for continual practice which is a core part of any long-term change. Moreover, when a client meets their care provider once a week, they mostly talk about their day-to-day struggles. This is surely beneficial to the client in the short term. However, it usually doesn’t translate to the client building long-term skills.
WVM is taught through the Rooted In Chaos program which is a lifelong space, with weekly live guidance. This ensures that a strong base is created for the practitioner to keep coming back to, the practitioner has a platform to maintain consistency of practice, and access weekly customized guidance.
4. The Practitioner’s Inner-Work
While many mainstream practitioners, like therapists & counselors, have their own therapists – their therapists too use similar modalities as them. A therapist, a coach, a teacher, a guide, or anyone, can only guide you into going as deep as they’ve themselves gone.
Someone who hasn’t done emotional processing within their own body, or hasn’t experienced the sense of expansiveness of their “true” Self, or hasn’t worked with nondual living, will most likely not be able to hold a space for another to do so.
This method is influenced by:
- Buddhist Philosophical View: The greater view/ direction of the method is heavily influenced by Buddha’s teachings without any ties to Buddhism as a religion.
- Attachment Theory: One of the core reasons for continued suffering is our relationship blueprints based on attachment theory.
- Internal Family Systems: While the idea of multiple different disintegrated parts within the psyche is not exclusive to IFS, it has a systematic approach to parts work that has heavily influenced my approach to working with disintegrated parts. As has the concept of the inner child, first conceptualized by Carl Jung.
- Psychoanalytic Theory: The concept of reparenting is an important aspect of healing & developing a healthy Self.
- Compassionate Inquiry: A crucial psychotherapeutic tool, developed by Dr. Gabor Mate, to be able to see what lies behind what appears to be in the psyche.
- Yogic Practices: WVM uses various yogic practices of asanas, breath, & chakras to open up the mind & body to experience groundedness, free flow, expansiveness, & unconditional acceptance.
- Non-Dual Wisdom Teaching: As the WVM practitioner becomes more established, they are invited to start living the teachings of nondual wisdom. The core of non-duality is that there is no this-that, either-or, neither-nor, you-me, us-them – everything exists in everything else, or everything is one & the same. In WV, we bring this view to daily life where mundane actions & days become platforms of spiritual growth & evolution.
Transpersonal Psychology: While I wasn’t influenced by Transpersonal Psychology because I never studied or heard about it until recently, WVM would come closest in its orientation to this field of psychology if one wanted to see it in a psychological framework.
While the term “transpersonal” was coined in the late 1960s, in my research I’ve found there to be no one agreed-upon definition of transpersonal psychology. There are, however, some common themes.
International Transpersonal Association (ITA), founded in the 1970s, defines the term ‘transpersonal’ as having three fundamental connotations: connectedness to a larger sense of being, recognition of the sacred, and sense of quest – that we all have a journey to make to reach that larger sense of being.
Wikipedia shares more details, stating:
Hartelius(1) et al., conducted a retrospective analysis of definitions of transpersonal psychology. They found three dominant themes that define the field: beyond-ego psychology, integrative/holistic psychology, and psychology of transformation. Analysis suggested that the field has moved from the study of alternative states of consciousness to a more expanded view of human wholeness and transformation.
The way Caplan(2) conveys the genesis of the discipline, states its mandate, and ventures a definition, resonates the most with me in how I see WVM:
“Although transpersonal psychology is relatively new as a formal discipline, beginning with the publication of The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology in 1969 and the founding of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology in 1971, it draws upon ancient mystical knowledge that comes from multiple traditions.
Transpersonal psychologists attempt to integrate timeless wisdom with modern Western psychology and translate spiritual principles into scientifically grounded, contemporary language. Transpersonal psychology addresses the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development – from our deepest wounds and needs to the existential crisis of the human being, to the most transcendent capacities of our consciousness.”
Many mental health issues are due to our lack of healthy emotional & relational skills.
To resolve emotional & relational struggles we need to see the Whole View, or the full spectrum of human psychospiritual development, which enables us to move from an unhealthy sense of self to a healthy sense of self, to experience the sense of selflessness.
The Whole View Method is a holistic way to live life with a deep sense of inner stability, clarity, & joy, as you continually cultivate emotional wisdom.
If you feel called to the Whole View Method and are ready to dive deep into yourself to resolve emotional stuckness, heal relational wounds, and cultivate a deeper relationship with yourself, I’d love to see if I can be of support.
Book your Inner-Work Strategy Call with me to explore your current emotional-relational struggles and put together a bit of a roadmap for your situation.
As always, I would love to hear from you – all thoughts &/ questions are welcome in the comment box below
(1) Hartelius, Glenn; Caplan, Mariana; Rardin, Mary Anne. “Transpersonal Psychology: Defining the Past, Divining the Future”. The Humanistic Psychologist, 35(2), 1–26, 2007
(2) Caplan, Mariana (2009). Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path. Sounds True. p. 231. ISBN 978-1591797326. Retrieved 5 May 2010.