Holism is derived from the Greek word ὅλος holos “all, whole, entire”. It is the idea that physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc. systems and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not just as a collection of parts.
„The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC)
„The part can never be well unless the whole is well… For this… is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that physicians separate the soul from the body.”
Plato (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC)
„Everything is connected. You can understand a whole only by looking at its parts. You can understand a part only by looking at its whole. Celebrate diversity and connection.”
– Foundation for holistic spirituality.
Holism and Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy works on a holistic level by addressing the Body, Mind and Soul. It does not focus exclusively on symptoms, but it aims at treating the whole person. A holistic approach to healing recognises that the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical elements of each person comprise a whole system. Aromatherapy aims to treat the whole person, concentrating on the causes of the illness as well as the symptoms. Aromatherapist tries to help his client to find the roots of the disease and encourages self-responsibility for the healing process and development of wellbeing.
Holism in Nature
Words I have written down on a summer day seems to echo, as my teacher said to me, Schweitzer Biography Writer Brabazon’s definition of his Schweitzer’s Reverence for Life:
“Reverence for Life says that the only thing we are really sure of is that we live and want to go on living. This is something that we share with everything else that lives, from elephants to blades of grass—and, of course, every human being. So we are brothers and sisters to all living things, and owe to all of them the same care and respect, that we wish for ourselves.
Holism in Education
Teachers and parents who raise children and prepare them for living in the ‘grown up’ world need to take a holistic approach in their teaching by abandoning the fragmentary knowledge of the individual phenomena. This is to prove that the boundary between man and nature is out of focus, to see a clear picture that they are one. To understand the phenomena occurring in the world, an open-minded study of the universe as a whole is required rather than study of its individual components because those separated from the whole, may be incorrectly interpreted. Teachers and parents goal should become a comprehensive development of human personality so that children are ready to face creative and independent living in ever so changing society. By considering genetic, environmental and child’s own activities, a growing human being can live in harmony with others and itself.
Holism in Medicine
When reflecting upon professions such as doctors, they all need to become partners with their patients. Any doctor wishing to help an ill person should consider their integration at all levels, namely the body, mind and spirit. Holistic approach sees body as energy combined with other forms of life through which they can see the underlying problem that sometimes exists in a human mind.
It has been scientifically proved by Candace Pert from the National Institute of Mental Health in United States that in some cases there is an association between the emotional state of a man and his mind, the root cause of various diseases.. It is important to look at a human with a ‘holistic eye’, care and compassion to create conditions when a person feels comfortable, accepted, understood to to be able to actively investigate himself and start personal healing process.
However, I remember words of Albert Schweitzer that „every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.” I agree that as a human I am the only one who’s responsible for my state of mind, body and soul. I am sometimes lost and I seek for help from others which is a natural reaction. Yet, it is only when I let my inner voice speak to me, I can then live a life full of harmony. It is necessary that I take care of my mind, not letting it to overfill with negative thoughts. Just as a gardener who takes care of his garden so that beautiful flowers can grow and give happiness.
Erich Fromm had once said that „Happiness is a man’s greatest achievement. It is the response of his total personality to a productive orientation toward himself and the world outside.”
I believe that happiness is not a coincidence or a gift of fate. It is something that comes from my direct awareness in all its dimensions: intellectual, bodily and emotional. It is the process of learning about myself and how to control my own behaviour and feelings and how to achieve the ability to take responsibility for my life. The search for direct awareness is in here and now. So as to maintain a balance in my life I cultivate my body, I listen to my mind and ‘look’ into my soul to fulfil its needs.
I think all areas in life should not be treated separately and people consciously need to investigate their body, and allow for a dialogue between mind and soul. And that is what following a holistic philosophy of life means to me. Try to see yourself as one, and you will find your inner peace and harmony.
Holistic Values Statement
This Statement was composed in 2008 after consulting over 200 other Values Statements including the UN Declaration on Human Rights, The Earth Charter and the UK Inter Faith Code of Conduct. The values named here are high ideals and are always work in progress.
These values are presented in no particular order of priority.
HOLISTIC VALUES STATEMENT
INCLUSION AND RESPECT
I welcome diversity of belief, faith, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, intellect, ability and age – and value the unique contribution of every individual.
I recognise the sacred interdependence of all life and behave so as to protect the health and
sustainability of our natural environment now and for future generations.
I recognize spirituality to be a normal and healthy part of daily life, as people experience the wonder of nature and all creation;
and I celebrate the many paths that explore this wonder and its meaning.
At home, at work and in my community, I am committed to respectful, loving and positive relationships.
I maintain a life style and gain my income in ways that benefit and do no harm.
GLOBAL AND LOCAL CITIZENSHIP
I actively engage to build community, alleviate injustice and relieve suffering; and deplore any situation that limits the rights, development and fulfilment of any being.
I am actively committed to managing my own health and development;
and I value life as an ongoing process of learning.