Read more about Lennart Hennig's journey and the development of his work in the People Section ->
Existence is the conjunction of one with itself as a many.
The idea of wholeness is one of the hardest to grasp metaphysical concepts, and at the same time the most fundamental matter. The word is being excessively used today, often without a deeper understanding of its profound implications. Clearing some of those misunderstandings around this confusing term can open a profound path to dealing with the big questions of the human experience: Who am I? What is the self? What is the ego? What is good? What is death? What is purpose? What is reality? What is love? What is evolution? What is sacred? How can we heal?
The coincidence of opposites
One way of grasping wholeness is by understanding its relationship to separation, which leads us to the truly mind-bending case of the coincidence of opposites, the "coincidentia oppositorum". Everything in the cosmos but the whole has an opposite. You might have noticed that if you go far enough in any one direction, you reach not more of what you desired, but actually the opposite you tried escaping.
It just happens to be the case that our brain is fundamentally divided in a way that allows it to perceive the two fundamental qualities of the cosmos - union and division - separation and wholeness - non-duality and duality - simultaneously. They are two fundamentally contradictory way of looking at the world it seems, or as Iain McGilchrist put it, ways of attending to the world.
And indeed, it is our conscious attention that decides if we perceive the world through either of these ways of attending to the world. On the one side we have narrowly targeted attention, as a world of things that are known, certain, fixed, isolated, explicit, abstracted from context, disembodied in nature, known by their parts as inanimate mere representations of reality. On the other we have broad, sustained and open attention to a world that is never reducible, known or certain, never accounted for by its parts, always understood as wholes, that incorporate and are incorporated into other wholes, unique, always changing and flowing, interconnected, implicit, understood in context, embodied in Nature, a direct experience of an animate, vivid reality that is onefolding right now, around us, through us and with us.
Yet these seemingly contradictory perspectives are not meant to stay divided, they are meant to work hand in hand, because they are fundamentally asymmetrical in the role they play, they are actually not created equal, they are in a relationship of master and emissary, again quoting McGilchrist. The right is supposed to perceive the whole gestalt of the world, hand it to the left to enrich it with seemingly infinite detail, to then hand it back to the right for a more colorful, vivid and enriched, yet direct, presenced experience of the whole of the cosmos.
Unfortunately, or maybe necessarily to learn something, in our cultural development, we got off track. We forgot about the right side, the whole vivid experience, entirely, and got addicted to a left-side-only perspective on the world. Ultimately turning everything into an inanimate, decontextualized, dead, partial, deconstructed, disintegrated, representation of the whole, alive world. This cultural perspective has left us disembodied and disconnected from the whole that we are, and from the alive, vibrant, living ecology of this planet. We feel alienated, meaningless and out of touch with deep purpose. Everything we do is about manipulating a lifeless accumulation of parts, so that they give us some short-lived satisfaction. Nevertheless on the inside, we find an ever growing emptiness that forces our whole culture to engage in collective dissociation by numbing out through social media, TV, news, tobacco, sugar, and superficial entertainment.
Iain McGilchrist: "And the origin of everything, there lies a coincidence of opposites that is profoundly generative, indeed necessary for creation, that gives rise to everything we know, is by no means contrary to reason."
Healing and evolution
Once we understand wholeness as that which contains both the whole and the separate, a completely new take on the concept of healing emerges. In the paradigm of separation and mechanistic reductionism, healing usually is understood as a process of fixing something that is broken, changing and manipulating what is, to match our imagination of what should be.
At the core of our mission is dialog: the lost art of holding of thesis and antithesis for a synthesis to emerge.
The journey of liberation is in its core the journey of overcoming the limitations of our animal body's primal focus on survival, while including the wisdom of these instincts into the wholeness of our being.
Unfortunately in our culture, we are constantly told that pain and fear are things we can and should avoid. Thus for many, the tricky path of self-development is a constant attempt to cut off parts of their being and to dismiss and disapprove the emotional reality and the unique experience they are holding. A powerful shift can happen when we fully accept everything that is within us - our emotions, our pain, our fears, our wounds and our dissociated split off parts.
Developmental, relational, and collective trauma leaves us with a fragmented sense of self, a chaotic circus of partial selfs - inner children, warriors, victims, perpetrators, rescuers, hyper-independent professionals - all with their unique identity, summoned by bodily memories that have yet to be integrated and felt fully. These fragments don't live next to a perfectly developed adult self that we just have to uncover, there actually is no "true" other self anywhere to be found to begin with. Our perceived self, is not a real subject, it is an impermanent, constantly changing, fleeting process of regulating a flow of information and energy that is witnessed. Our most authentic sense of self is emerging from a compassionate relationship between the inner fragments we're trying to escape. It is this relationship that allows authentic expression from a sense of wholeness, this relationship is who we are. Just like it is the relationship between electrons and protons that creates the atom, there is no substance beyond this relationship. Everything that exists is relationships, between relationships, in an infinite fractal whole.
Relationships are the alchemical cauldron through which all integration in the cosmos happens. They are the only thing that is real, and the biggest challenge in our life.
Once we fully accept our experience, open the gifts of our traumas, and cast light into our shadows, we live more authentic and whole. From this wholeness it is, that we can be intimate with others, that we can express our deepest desires, that we can grow and step into our full power - while truly holding ourselves in connection. Knowing that we are complete and imperfectly perfect with all the fully lovable parts of ourselves, we can find the true meeting point.
Most relationships are built on fulfilling needs that are rooted in incomplete attachment experiences from early childhood. These underlying dynamics keep recreating paradigms that touch our very core woundings around connection and lead to disconnection from the present moment reality and projection of our internal fragments onto our partners.
Attachment patterns as a part of our survival system are closely related to developmental trauma and the inner fragmentation it leaves us with. Here embodiment as the gateway into the present moment can create a profound experience of safety within the body that is the foundation to explore our inner parts, build the capacity to feel what was too much to be felt, and create a compassionate relationship between the fragmented parts within, meeting the inner wounded child and giving it attunement and safety.
The evolutionary journey does not end with individual liberation, it's rather the beginning of a conscious participation in the collective evolution through transformative leadership.
Our take on leadership goes beyond the archetypes we know from todays business culture that are focussed on vision, decisionmaking, accomplishment and success through a process of social influence. When we talk about transformative leadership we talk about the capacity to be profoundly present with whole of reality and deeply listen to the emergence of life, which is constantly rebirthing itself through the dialectical transcendence of contradictory polarities into a new whole. This is the regenerative process of life that cycles though birth, preservation and death in an endless movement towards the one life that is already manifest in all form.
If the formerly described aspects of traditional leadership are embraced by and embedded in this quality of deep presence and listening, a powerful, purposeful and incredibly creative agency emerges that is in service of life, alligned with its constant unfolding and a transformative participant in our collective development.
This is the integrated, transformative leadership our work seeks to nurture in this world. The capacity to listen beyond self-confirmation, listening for contradictory information as the source of renewal, listening to another’s reality, listening to the arrival of the highest future possibility, and the empowerment to connect to it. A capacity to engage with contradictions in a state of not-knowing, a willingness for an open mind, open heart and open self for the mystery of life. It means to facilitate co-creation, to engage in a shared vision that not everyone can see yet, and to become a channel for the collective empowerment of the human journey, as an open channel of power, purpose, and will.
The Symbols of our Culture
The Philosophers Stone
“Make of the man and woman a Circle, of that a Quadrangle, of this a Triangle, of the same a Circle and you will have the Stone of the Philosophers.”
The philosopher's stone is an ancient alchemical symbol. It represents the long-sought goal of alchemy to find the “elixir of life” that turns any mundane substance into gold, reflecting the challenge of squaring the circle. The innermost circle can be interpreted as the harmony of the sexes as the two natures of humanity, similar to the Chinese yin and yang.The circle of humanity then is embedded within the square, representing physical creation and matter as a combination of the four elements, which is then subsumed into a triangle as the traditional alchemical symbol for fire being used as a transformative force, and the harmony of body, spirit (mind), and soul. The inner circle reflecting the microcosm of man’s physical existence and harmony, eventually, through the physical existence becomes the outer circle as the macrocosm of the universe and all creation.
Carl Jung: "The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. The Ouroboros has been said to have a meaning of infinity or wholeness. In the age-old image of the Ouroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia of the art was man himself. The Ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow. This 'feed-back' process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the Ouroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilizes himself and gives birth to himself.
He symbolizes the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which ... unquestionably stems from man's unconscious."