On Being and Becoming (ever-increasingly) a More Integrated Human Being – Part One

Greetings, friends…

This post (as well as the next two after it) is provided in direct response to what one of my readers/listeners said they’d like to hear from me. Here’s the essence of what this person wrote:

Dave… Something you’re really good at is learning how to listen to and obey your body. I know you’ve had to go through a lot of suffering physically and emotionally to be so attuned to your physical body. This “developed attunement” is a skill you’re very good at. Offering practical advice to folks on how to function in harmony with the body they’ve been given would make for a terrific podcast or blog post.

To the one who wrote such things to me: “Thanks so much for your comments. I do believe we could all benefit from spending some significant time meditating on this topic. Accordingly, I’m going to both write (blog) and talk (podcast) about it.

So, here we go!

Let’s start with a few definitions. (Note: In my life, I engage in these kinds of simple vocabulary lessons all the time. The reason? Because most of us [myself included] suffer from an arena of cognitive impairment I like to call “The Amnesia of Familiarity.” Sometimes, because we’re so familiar with a word or concept, we actually forget the expanded meanings and applied nuances of that word or concept. To counteract this in my own life, I regularly review the expanded definitions of the words I use or encounter. On occasion, I’ve even been accused–and rightly so :o)–of making up new words [or new, expanded definitions to existing words] to help me understand or articulate things better.)

To be attentive to (transitive verb, from Marriam-Webster’s):

To pay close attention to; to be alert to; to be observant of.
To show care for the needs or desires of others; to be caring or courteous.
To be heedful; to be intentionally observant; to regard with care or attention.

To integrate (transitive verb, from Marriam-Webster’s):

To form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole; to unite.
To incorporate into a larger unit; to unite with something else.
To desegregate; to end the segregation of and bring into equal membership or standing in an organization, society, etc.
To bring together constituent parts (to create completeness, where nothing essential is lacking).

To listen to (transitive verb, from Marriam-Webster’s):

To make effort to hear something,
To pay attention; heed.
To give close attention to (with the purpose of hearing); to give ear to; to harken to; to attend to.

To be sensitive to (transitive verb, from Marriam-Webster’s):

Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses.
Responsive to external conditions or stimulation; having sensation.
Susceptible to slight differences or changes in the environment.

Many, if not most, of the people I encounter on a daily basis don’t feel well in one or more arenas of their lives. What’s interesting is that how we feel physically affects how we feel emotionally. The converse is also true. The reason? Because we’re a composite (integrated) mix of the constituent material and immaterial parts of us. Anthropologically, a “complete human” is one who’s material (brain/body) and immaterial (heart/mind/spirit/soul) parts of them have become fully (and synergistically) aligned and integrated. You cannot have one side of you without the other and still be fully human. That’s why when each of us passes from this life, God will, at the resurrection, add back to each of us a new, glorified body. Until this new, glorified body is added back, each one of us, as human individuals, will remain incomplete. Did you know that? (Unfortunately, most people are largely oblivious of such things. And that’s part of the problem.)

For us to function on a more harmoniously integrated level requires first and foremost an understanding that both our material and immaterial parts are extremely important and that they’re intended to operate as one integrated whole. In fact, and this may seem (even though it isn’t) contrary to Scripture, our material and immaterial parts are equally important. To believe or say one aspect or arena of our lives is more important than the other is like trying to convince ourselves (and others) that our ability to engage our imagination is more important than our cardio-vascular system (or vice versus). Such a notion is not just untrue but destructive. In fact, such false, systemic (system-wide) beliefs underlie much of our dis-integratedness as human beings.

Okay, that’s where we’re going to stop for today. Next time, we’ll pick back up where we left off.

Peace to you, friends…


Today’s MRL Maxim: You are a mind-brain/body composite. A complete human has both material and immaterial parts. To be missing (or lacking in) one part, or to emphasize one part over the other, is to be incomplete, even dis-integrated.

Today’s MRL Call-to-action: Get to know you–the WHOLE you. On a sheet of notebook or legal paper, write the word “ME” across the top. Then draw a line down the center. On the left side, write the words “The Material Parts of Me,” and on the right side, write “The Immaterial Parts of Me.” After that, set a timer for five minutes, and then use that time to write out (using stream of consciousness writing) as much as you can about your material sides (and what comprises your material sides) on the left side of your paper. (Note: If you need more than one sheet of paper, then, by all means, use more than one sheet of paper!) Following that, do the same thing on the right side of your paper, accept write about your immaterial sides.