December Focus Week2: Wholeness (Purnatva)
PURNATVA (THE PRINCIPLE OF WHOLENESS, OF PERFECTION)
Purna (Wholeness, perfection, fullness) Tva (principle, element, quality)
Have you ever hold a newborn in your arms? Have you lied in the sand, at a summer night, gazing at the starry sky? Have you felt lost for words beholding the magic of the full moon? Have you drifted away at the sound of a beautiful melody? Have you nested in the hug of a loved one? Have you gazed the sunrise or the sunset? Have you achieved something that you really wanted?
These moments seem to be perfect, we taste wholeness, right?
But, what happens when things don’t go well? What happens when life presents us with difficulties and challenges? What happens when we are sad, angry, disappointed, ill, when we experience loss, or injustice or deficiency? Can we accept ourselves? Can we take each moment as it is? Can we embrace the wholeness of life?
Purnatva is a state where divine perfection is acknowledged in all things and it comes from the notion that life is full and perfect just the way it is. There is no wrong or imperfection in the universe or the creations. My teacher in Philosophy, Dr. Douglas Brooks, says that we are “Perfectly imperfect beings”, highlighting the paradox of a perfectly imperfect world.
According to tantric philosophy, Purnatva (wholeness) is one of the 6 qualities of the Absolute and it refers to that part of existence which is eternal, infinite, endlessly free and whole. It is that part of us that remains stable, unaltered and peaceful, even in a setting of destruction and chaos.
When we are not aware of our perfect nature, we constantly chase after perfection, through things that are outside of ourselves. We try to achieve the perfect looks, to be successful, to have money, to be the perfect partner, to buy that piece of clothing or jewelry, or that perfume that will make us seem perfect. We invest valuable time, vast amounts of energy and lots of money to the hunt of an ephemeral, passing, and almost always, unattainable wholeness.
If we really think about it, the principle of wholeness is the ability to accept the wholeness of life. Wholeness is so complete as to include even the very notion of imperfection or deficiency. Wholeness includes everything and that’s why it is whole!
The Upanishads teach us Purnatva in a unique way. If we deeply comprehend the following statement, we will be able to experience wholeness at every moment in our life:
“Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat
“This is whole, That is whole
Wholeness comes from the whole.
Even if we take the whole
out of wholeness,
the wholeness still remains. “
Sit with your back straight, close your eyes and meditate on the wholeness of your breath for a couple of minutes.
At each inhale, repeat internally: purna
At each exhale: purnatva
After a couple of repetitions, stay in silence, experiencing the wholeness of your existence.
By Maria Stylianaki,
οf the Neda Yoga Shala Team