Posts Tagged ‘kailo



(First published in February 2009)

I had once read that the words whole, heal, health, and holy all came from the same Indo-European root, kailo. With this etymological piece of information, the author, a psychiatrist, speculated that there must be a reason for these words to have the same root – that they must have more in common than just their origin.

The author further suggested that one must be whole to become healthy and holy. This makes sense to me because in order to be physically healthy, one must have a holistic approach to health: eat right, work right, exercise right, play right, and even sleep right. And as for holy, it could also mean as having a healthy spirit, or a spirit that is whole.

Now it should occur to all of us that we are not whole all the time. Most of us are not even whole most of the time. And some of us had never been whole at all.

I am not just talking about the wholeness of the body or spirit; I am talking about the wholeness of the heart. And by “heart” I mean that part of us which makes us human, the part of the mind that seems irrational at times but to which the rational mind is eternally beholden, the part that makes our existence truly worthwhile.

“Follow your heart”, people close to us would often say when we are at the crossroads of career, ambitions, lifestyle choices, and of course, relationships. I guess most people instinctively seek wholeness through these things. Many succeed, many do not.

But what matters is the attempt, the undertaking, the journey towards wholeness – not the wholeness itself. In fact, some of the most boring people I know are partly whole (now isn’t that an oxymoron?). I mean, these are the people who “have arrived”, and all they talk about is how glamorous their jobs and families are and then they show you pictures of their kids.

On the other hand, the most interesting people I know are obviously “un-whole”, and like an atom robbed of its electron, they go on seeking, positively charged, trying to find that which would make them whole again – or at least a temporary substitute. And substitutes can either yield favorable or disastrous results. Nevertheless, the important thing is the attempt.

Because in attempting to become whole again, many artists are born. Some of those whose hearts are in pain try to heal themselves by creating beauty – a poem, a painting, a song – and for a time make themselves whole again.

As for those “non-artists”, I dare say that as long as they are in the process of trying to become whole, they are often the ones who can truly appreciate works of art, who can see through to the soul of an artist, who know with bittersweet understanding the ecstasy of filling a void and the melancholy of having a vacuum.

And for those of us who are kailo, who are “whole”, at least as of the moment, may we never grow complacent and boring, and may we try to continue seeking wholeness in all facets of our lives, impossible though the task may be. After all, what matters is the attempt. innerminds inner minds


Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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