Religions are complete packages that provide us with comprehensive worldviews and corresponding codes of conduct for how best to live in accordance with such views. As such, it is not surprising that religions stress the importance of wholeness: developing oneself as a well-rounded person and leading a balanced life rather than overspecializing. When we get so entrenched in one mode of thinking and experiencing the world, we forget that there are people with other ways of living and we lose the ability to understand and empathize with such people. We can learn so much from people with other viewpoints and experiences and this is a big part of what wholeness means. Reminders from religious texts to embrace more wholeness can ensure that we retain the willingness to engage with other cultures.

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Huston Smith
Scholar of religion

“Turning to the doctrine of the Atonement, its root meaning is reconciliation, the recovery of wholeness or at-one-ment. Christians were convinced that Christ’s life and death had effected an unparalleled rapprochement between God and humanity."

Shoghi Effendi
Baha'i leader

“Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness, culminations; also, the reason it is used in the Temple’s form is because 9 has exact numerical value of ‘Bahá’ (in the numerology connected with the Arabic alphabet) and‘Bahá’ is the name of the Revealer of our Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. The 9-pointedstar is not a part of the teachings of our Faith, but only used as an emblem representing ‘9’."

Mahatma Gandhi
Acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

The Upanishads
Hindu scripture

“Now, take the bees, son. They prepare the honey by gathering nectar from a variety of trees and by reducing that nectar to a homogenous whole. In that state the nectar from each different tree is not able to differentiate: ‘I am the nectar of that tree,’ and ‘I am the nectar of this tree.’ In exactly the same way, son, when all these creatures merge into the existent, they are not aware that ‘We are merging into the existent.’ No matter what they are in this world—whether it is a tiger, a lion, a wolf, a boar, a worm, a moth, a gnat, or a mosquito—they all merge into that. The finest essence here—that constitutes the self of this whole world; that is the truth; that is the self (atman). And that’s how you are, Svetaketu."

Lieh Tzu
Daoist sage

“Kang-sen-tzuthen said, ‘It is really quite simple. My body is in harmony with my mind, and my mind is in harmony with my energies. My energies follow my spirit, and my spirit is in tune with everything around it. Therefore, I can hear the faintest sound and see the slightest movement. Nothing escapes my awareness, whether it is far away or right in front of me. I do not know whether I perceive it with my senses, experience it with my body, or know it in my guts. Let’s say it is just a natural feel for the way of things.’"

Founder of Confucianism

“Tzu-lu asked about the complete man. The Master said, ‘A man as wise as Tsang Wu-chung, as free from desires as Meng Kung-ch'uo, as courageous as Chuang-tzu of Pien and as accomplished as Jan Ch'iu, who is further refined by the rites and music, may be considered a complete man.' Then he added, ‘But to be a complete man nowadays one need not be all these things. If a man remembers what is right at the sight of profit, is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger, and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life even after having been in straitened circumstances for a long time, he may be said to be a complete man.”

Aldous Huxley
British-American writer
Art & Literature

“Civilization is harmony and completeness. Reason, feeling, instinct, the life of the body—[William] Blake managed to include and harmonize everything. Barbarism is being lop-sided.  You can be a barbarian of the soul and the feelings as well as of sensuality. Christianity made us barbarians of the soul and now science is making us barbarians of the intellect.  Blake was the last civilized man."

Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“We could almost say that seeing ourselves as belonging to the whole is what religion—religio, rebinding—is. It is mankind’s fundamental thrust at unification. The first motif—unity—leads to a second. If things are more integrated than they seem, they are also better than they seem. Paralleling the astrophysicists’ report that the world is bigger than it looks to our unaided eyes, the wisdom tradition reports that it is better than it feels to our unregenerated hearts."

Pascal Boyer
Cognitive anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“This distribution among systems is in fact a familiar feature to anthropologists, who know that religions the world over tend to be multimedia, multisystem affairs. That is, we know that religious concepts are transmitted in a variety of manners and contexts in any single human group. People sing, tell anecdotes, use moral intuitions, use evocation of dangerous situations, dance, take drugs, fall into trances, etc. Naturally, the particular panoply of techniques used varies a lot from one group to another, but there is generally no religion that is confined to one and only one kind of experience.”