“Illusion provides opportunities for humans to explore what love is not.”
THE PROMISE OF WHOLENESS
Cultivating Inner Peace, Mindfulness and Love in a Divided World
Henosis: (Ancient Greek: ἕνωσις) is the classical Greek word for mystical “oneness”, “union”, or “unity.” In Platonism, and especially Neoplatonism, the goal of henosis is union with what is fundamental in reality: the One (Τὸ Ἕν), the Source, or Monad. Henosis was the original title of this book, now to be published in 2019 as The Promise of Wholeness.
Philosophers study the foundational nature of reality and look for universal patterns that lead to lasting peace and well-being. Eternal principles, values and ethics occupy philosophers. Literally translated, the Greek word philosophia means, “love of wisdom.” The pursuit of wisdom leads to accumulated knowledge and this book stands on the shoulders of many philosophers, who birthed civilizations. Examining what feels right, wrong or wise are as necessary today as it was in ancient times. Mistakes recycle, when we fail to learn from history. The Promise of Wholeness provides modern interpretations of eternal wisdom. Transformation and transcendence requires our body, heart and mind to embody eternal principles.
Our quantum physicists state that atoms are ninety-nine percent empty, all matter contains energy, observation impacts atoms and the universe is entangled and interconnected. Thinking ahead about first principles, forms and source, the Greeks created the word meta-physika (metaphysics) to describe, “what comes after physics.” We live during auspicious times, where theology, orthodoxy and what seemed certain is up for grabs. The Promise of Wholeness examines why soul and breath were considered the same thing to a meta-physician or a Greek/Chinese philosopher. Our scientists are now revealing what many of our philosophers and spiritual teachers have been saying for thousands of years. We are one people on one planet, interconnected and entangled in perpetuity.
Dreams are created by consistent actions, heartfelt passion and focused attention. The Promise of Wholeness provides many meditations and suggested techniques that lead to lasting peace and well-being. When we are mindful about our own needs and our actions, passion and mind is focused upon benefiting everyone within the collective, we gain access to the quantum field and possibly divine intervention. The personal stories and practical examples within The Promise of Wholeness provide paths through the entanglements of illusion. When philosophy, psychology and peace unify, love replaces illusion like the sun removes darkness. Read this book slowly and consider each concept carefully. Change occurs when love replaces illusion and becomes a daily practice.
Henosis is the Greek word for oneness/unity. The missing links between the wisdom of ancient philosophy and the startling insights within modern psychology to transform suffering, transcend circumstances and increase our capacity for love are explored in The Promise of Wholeness: Cultivating Inner Peace, Mindfulness and Love in A Divided World.
Most philosophical studies of ancient wisdom lack enough practical applications and many popular psychology books simply skim the surface of the human experience. Licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Eric Ehrke offers us a new foundation for profound living based on classical teachings and enriched by modern scientific/psychological breakthroughs. He presents us with a new worldview steeped in the brilliance of the Greek philosopher and metaphysician Plotinus (204-270 CE), grounded by the work of Plato, and supported by modern thinkers such as Carl Jung and Viktor Frankl. The principles and values it takes to be happy and whole endure, but gentle makeovers are needed to modernize the message. Clinical examples from Eric Ehrke’s forty years of psychotherapy practice and personal stories from courageous individuals are also significant contributors throughout the book.
The author uses the concept of Plato’s Theory of Forms, that template of actualized wisdom and/or the complete realization of an ideal principle, to organize the book, presenting eight forms (illusion, love, cherish, grace, equanimity, empathy, incorruptibility, and wholeness) in a practical way to enrich our lives. In homage to contemporary culture, we also examine such subjects as the philosophical underpinning of the original Wizard of Oz book series and learn how the work of Plotinus and Plato support this modern fairy tale.
To the psychological canon Ehrke adds many new teachings, such as the Primary Love Template and Somatic Empathy Theory, and new critical exercises for infantile, childish and adolescent stress responses and his foundational: “Camel Wave Meditation” and the “Wise and Loving Inner Voice Meditation.” As Ehrke begins to share Henosis with the community of his peers at local and national conferences, Henosis will become a guidebook for psychology students, counselors, and therapists. At a time, when societal norms are struggling, Ehrke aligned eternal wisdom, sound psychological principles and practical solutions and created a handbook of consciousness guiding us to lasting peace and well-being.
I’ve known Eric for 17 years, and have learned so much from him, as a mentor, teacher and friend. I’m really enjoying his new book, The Promise of Wholeness (formerly Henosis). As I read and re-read, I feel like I’m on a treasure hunt, always discovering something new to delight, enlighten or challenge me. Getting a regular newsletter that actually inspires me is something I look forward to!
I respect and appreciate the author’s wisdom sharing, gleaned from his lifetime of curiosity and study of various wisdom traditions, as well as his experience working with and caring for many clients. This book was a privilege for me to read and digest, often because the author shares his own humanity and vulnerability. Somehow, this gives me permission to acknowledge and accept my own humanity and vulnerabilities, and helps me learn and grow. His writing style reminds me of two of my other favorite authors in the psychology genre, Robert A. Johnson and M. Scott Peck.
I highly recommend this earnest and thoughtful book!
“. . . rich with understanding and perspective . . . . With his forty years’ experience as a psychotherapist and seeker of hidden truth, Eric Ehrke merges classical teaching with modern psychology to create a new framework for a revitalized humanity.”
(Jennifer is a writer and coauthor of seven books, including the #1 New York Times best sellers Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul)
THE PROMISE OF WHOLENESS
Click the + sign in each section below to open it for reading.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Ancient Perspectives
Merging the Great Philosophers into Christianity
Monotheism and the Philosophy of Plotinus
The Ancient Origin of the Word Henosis
The Plot in Us
A Primer on Forms
Mankind Enslaved by Shadows
Interpreting Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
The Quest for Unification
Now That You Have Been Introduced to Henosis, What’s Next?
Chapter Two: Illusion and the Paradox of Being Human
The Form(s) of Illusion
Protagonists and Antagonists
The Primary Love Template
Enchanted by the Victim/Perpetrator Paradigm
Fear and Courage
Passive versus Active Anger
The Codependent Relationship of Dogma and Anger
Reflections of Love and Misery
Liberating Dysfunctional Patterns
The Paradox of the Human Soul
The Relationship of the Soul to Our Personalities
The Abandonment Imprint
Reconciling with the Form of Illusion
Form Meditation: Illusion
Chapter Three: Merging Humanness with Love
The Form(s) of Love
Unlovable as a Primary Love Template
The Heart Revises Our Templates for Love
An Expanded Form of Love
Form Meditation: Love
Chapter Four: The Cherished Human
The Form(s) of Cherish
Receiving the Form of Cherish
Can I Cherish Myself Flaws, Claws and All?
There Is No Place Like Home
Using the Form of Cherish
Form Meditation: Cherish
Chapter Five: Innocence and Grace
The Form(s) of Grace
Oneness in Diversity
Paradoxes of Power
The Dolphin Diagnosis
The State of Grace
Can We Create the Form of Grace?
Form Meditation: Grace
Chapter Six: Mindfulness, Soulfulness and Equanimity
The Form(s) of Equanimity
Equanimity Versus Bullies
Psychological Henosis (A.K.A. the Zone)
“Match Play” in the Field
Hansel and Gretel: Models of Equanimity
Surviving Ordeals and Enduring Love
Duality and Purpose of Illusion
Form Meditation: Equanimity
Chapter Seven: The Brain: Logic, Presence and Emotional Intelligence
A Storybook Brain Dilemma
Logic Versus Emotional Intelligence
Three Major Functions of the Brain
Function One: Reptilian Brain
Function Two: Emotional Brain
Function Three: Higher Brain
The Gut-Brain Axis
Chronological versus Emotional Maturity
Infant Stress Response
Visualization: Soothed by the Heart of Mother
Child Stress Response
Think-Feel-Do Three-legged Stool Exercise
Adolescent Stress Response
Short-Term versus Enduring Solutions Discussion
The Emotionally Mature Adult
The Empathy Round Table
The Oneness Paradox
Chapter Eight: The Empathy Paradox
The Form(s) of Empathy
Emotional (Affective) Empathy
Somatic Empathy Theory
Connecting Not Attaching
Ignorance about Empathic Velcro
A Personal Account from an Empathic Child
Somatic Empathy Within Families
Somatic Empathy Self-test
Somatic Empathy Solutions
Fibromyalgia as a Form of Corrupted Somatic Empathy
Empathy Without Suffering
Empathy Awareness Lies on a Continuum
Form Meditation: Empathy
Chapter Nine: Human Incorruptibility
The Form of Incorruptibility
Terror in Oz
Good Intentions, Corrupted Solutions
The Never-ending Story of Suffering
The Terrorist Continuum
Evil is in the Eye of the Beholder
Victims and Terrorists Flip Flop Roles
The Freedom to Choose Always Remains
War and Peace
Turning the Other Cheek
Rehabilitation and De-radicalization
Form Meditation: Incorruptibility
Chapter Ten: Incorruptibility Leads to Henosis
The Form of Henosis
Milestones Feeling Like Millstones
Individual Transformation Impacts Collective Henosis
Sacred Antagonists and Incorruptibility
We Already Have What We Need
Henosis Is Our Home
Form Meditation: Wholeness
Concluding Remarks and Hopes
Addendum #1—Camel Wave Mediation and Follow-Through Instructions
The Camel Wave Meditation
Suggested Intentions and Form Phrases
Combining Breath with the Forms to Heal Specific Physical, Emotional or Mental Problems
Hour-by-Hour and Day-by-Day Monitoring
Addendum #2—Wise and Loving Inner Voice Meditation
Steps to the Wise and Loving Inner Voice Meditation
The Promise of Wholeness is a book about love, illusion, transforming suffering and transcending the human experience. Defined in Greek as unity or oneness, The Promise of Wholeness describes the journey of being human and our soul’s reunification goal with the divine. Psychological wisdom and eternal principles from ancient philosophers is presented with modern examples to help us find lasting peace and well-being.
After growing up as a stutterer and a lifetime of psychological training, philosophical exploration and observation, Eric Ehrke realized that the power of principles, purpose and mindfulness practices became self-evident. His Ehrke ‘s 40+ years of work as a psychiatric social worker, psychotherapist, and transformative teacher have given him a rare experience level, allowing a natural merging of psychology, spirituality and Western/Eastern philosophy. With a rich background in practical psychological practices, including family systems theory, this book offers effective strategies to understand how immature emotional responses get entangled and are interconnected. New teachings about the Primary Love Template, Somatic Empathy Theory and solutions for our infantile, childish and adolescent stress responses are offered.
Personal stories from clients (permissions received), timeless parables, and old and modern fairy tales are used to make the complex comprehensible. Meditation. The Promise of Wholeness suggests that philosophy, spirituality, and psychology all seek the same goal – to help humanity transform and transcend suffering. The method of reasoning defined by Plato as dialectic, is called “dialectic discovery” in this book, which describes our focused explorations into our deepest mysteries. The Greek philosopher Plotinus and the religious thinking in 3rd century Rome AD are presented as containing the seeds of what many call modern spirituality. Plotinus has been cited as ‘the greatest metaphysician of antiquity” and “one of the most vigorous thinkers that humanity ever produced.” Henosis continues the traditions of the great philosophers and offers eternal principles and mingles psychological wisdom with a psychotherapist’s clinical experience. The goal of this book is to not offer answers but to help everyone ask better questions.
Chapter One Summary
The purpose of philosophy is considered and Plotinus is introduced, with the assertion that this is a new merging of philosophy, psychology and spirituality. We learn about the brutal role of the Emperor Constantine in silencing the academies and exiling or killing the teachers of Plotinus’s ideas and the “repackaging” of his work to shape a fledging Christian religion. The genesis of the word “Henosis” is examined, and how Plotinus taught his students to lead a virtuous life to master the illusions of the world and commune directly with their souls. Plato’s Theory of Forms is introduced and suggests that the ideal properties of a virtue, principle or value are necessary to reunite with the divine. Transcendent and timeless, forms can energize and inspire self-realization.
The Promise of Wholeness updates the ancient forms into understandable logic with modern insights. When illusion fails to corrupt and more of the forms are embodied, we can liberate ourselves from suffering. After the allegory of Plato’s Cave is reviewed, we learn why trials by fire exist. Since lessons recycle to reveal our illusions, updated stories/films from the early 20th century The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the 21st century The Matrix are examined. The upcoming chapters provide philosophical insights, literary examples and psychological insights to lay a sound foundation for wholeness (henosis). Somatic empathy and unconscious Velcro tendencies are highlighted, because many emotionally sensitive individuals are unaware of how emotional energy moves between people. Among the highlights in this book, Somatic Empathy Theory includes self-diagnosis strategies, practical remedies and clinical examples, so sensitive individuals can turn this ability into an asset. These are some of the steps that will take us to our incorruptible state, to wholeness, to unity with the divine and with ourselves.
Chapter Two Summary
The reader learns about duality, the antagonist and the protagonist and how the antagonist may actually lead the protagonist to their destiny. Illusion provides humanity opportunities to explore what love is not, and how pain is a precious tool, which can pry our heart open. The delusions related to the victim/perpetrator paradigm, where victims and perpetrators are likened to pitchers and catchers throwing the baseball back and forth in an endless game of pitch and catch. When innocence is lost through repetitive cycles of punishment, victimization and unrelenting perpetration, people usually pick from four choices listed in this chapter. The intimate relationship between active/passive anger and victims/perpetrators is explored.
Chapter two reviews how religions borrowed their definitions about the purpose of pain from many sources. Original concepts include the Primary Love Template, which describes how children accept the positive and negative examples role modeled from caretakers as an expression of love and treat themselves similarly. The illusions inherited from our families, the good as well as the bad, are encoded into the brain as our initial definition of love. Once we understand both steps of this phenomenon, we can begin to liberate dysfunctional patterns. Chapter two provides five steps to enable readers to transcend primary love templates and examines why some people choose to suffer, fail to love repeatedly and recycle victim/perpetrator paradigms. The author shares his life-changing experience from supervising juvenile delinquents at a residential treatment center where he learned about trauma and what would later be called post-traumatic stress disorders. The four choices those caught in the victim/perpetrator paradigm are explained and examined.
Chapter two discusses the paradoxical relationship between the soul and our personalities, and how the soul uses life experiences to persuade our personality to break its destructive patterns and addictive delusions. Also reviewed are the abandonment imprint and the dark night of the soul, along with immortal wisdom from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We are introduced to two life-changing tools: The Camel Wave Meditation (a powerful healing modality) and The Wise and Loving Inner Voice Meditation (an additional practice designed to help discern the helpful internal voice within your brain). In short, when we hurt we must remember our sunlike qualities or continue suffering. It is said that wisdom and pain are humanity’s primary teachers. The tools and techniques within The Promise of Wholeness can make your life easier.
Chapter Three Summary
Maintaining a principle, our divine connection and a loving heart during adversity is a significant challenge. Primary love templates encode productive but also the dysfunctional patterns modeled by our caregivers. Success rarely needs interventions, so low self-esteem, self-sabotage and loving solutions are explored in this chapter. Chronic suffering and early traumas become primary love templates and life script decisions. When “unlovable” primary love templates occur, the author reflects upon people who struggle with withering self-criticism and low self-worth. Ehrke discusses his work with a client who suffered from panic attacks after romantic breakups, the origins of her strong “unlovability” template, and how this client’s abandonment issues were overcome through the process of dialectic discovery and guided self-awareness.
The following three main points are highlighted in this chapter. Primary love templates can be re-written. Pain and suffering reveal the illusions within our love equation. Illusion provides mirrors so we can see our reflection and unresolved emotional material. We are reminded to empower ourselves by removing every illusion blocking our ability to give and receive love freely. When we pretend that our symptoms don’t exist, we stagnate and fail to grow properly. So we need to embrace each opportunity to mature and love more powerfully. Love is fundamental to our exploration into how humans overcome illusion. Chapter three summarizes what the author believes are the core teachings of Plato and Plotinus.
- Hold onto your principles and allow love to transform and transcend illusion.
- Remain connected to goodness, oneness, and all of divinity
- Embrace everything with love and then surrender to what transpires.
Expanded forms of love enable us to conquer illusion, rise above delusion, and prepare us for lasting peace and wellbeing. Many times conflict looks like a challenge to love one another more, but it is usually a reminder to fly straight and develop more self-love. Humanity is an aspect of divinity disguised as friends and strangers. We can emulate henosis by experiencing unity within ourselves.
Chapter Four Summary
Cherishing is one of the higher forms of love, similar to agape or what psychotherapist’s term unconditional love. Love is a tiny word but a daunting emotion to master because it is the most complicated, convoluted, irresistible force in the universe. Just as we have a biological instinct to breathe, so we also have a divine instinct to love. Getting to that wonderful state of love, though, when blinded by illusion is quite challenging. Chapter four explores the practical stepping stone such as feeling cherished, which can restore our balance when pain and suffering take our breath away. When divergence threatens the social status quo, people often acquiesce or resist control. Cherish is an aspect of love however, and includes blessing what we are given or receive without conditions. Breathing in love, circulating it within and extending it to others feels natural unless a heart is closed.
Unfortunately, pain and suffering originating from friends, family and society can burden love with paradoxes and contradictory messages. The ability to love and cherish in the midst of everything, including suffering, is what Plato, Plotinus, and every other sage wants us to achieve. When we accept ourselves the way we are, then it’s easier to accept others similarly. The author discusses his own unmerciful self-criticism that clawed for control and his realization that he had never truly accepted himself — and how he learned to cherish his imperfections for the first time. By loving our flaws and resisting perfectionism we gain strength and courage and the ability to re-write a primary love template or a related victim/perpetrator paradigm.
Chapter four reviews how emotions can become crystallized and examines the mystery of why some of us reject love when tender loving care is what our heart desperately needs. Six strong methods to melt crystallized emotions are provided. The Matrix motion picture contains a useful prospective about love and a cherishing parable about apples falling to earth from a loving orchard is also provided. Failure is a vital activity because accepting our mistakes helps us develop self-esteem, and increases our ability to cherish ourselves. The Camel Wave Meditation, which was mentioned in previous chapters can release crystallized primary love templates and personal paradigms. Additionally, the Wise and Loving Inner Voice Mediation is offered to discern the internal voice that provides loving wisdom. Our ability to cherish is a bridge into The Promise of Wholeness.
Chapter Five Summary
Illusion may slap us in the face, while the form of grace is an unexpected, loving embrace. Innocent longings, loving intentions and presence invite grace and synchronicity. When crises create space for healing, grace may show up unexpectedly. Grace cannot be summoned or controlled. Amid tempests or in the midst of the eye of a storm, peace can unfold, mysteries reconcile, and events synchronize without effort due to the form of grace. Emotional, mental, and spiritual surrender is another brilliant way to access grace and unify our body, mind and spirit. The author explains how he had to experience life’s complexities before he noticed how grace entered his life and helped him mature psychologically. When we solve our internal physical, emotional and mental mysteries, our presence expands.
The inability to surrender inevitably leads back to our primal fears and trust issues. Paradoxically, surrendering control looks like the absence of power and yet is one of the most fundamental sources of personal power. Giving up our most treasured delusions strengthens us. As the debris blocking the path to love is cleared, grace flows more freely. Two detailed examples of grace in action add substance to this chapter. The first explores how an assault by a cetacean actually led to an important diagnosis from the form of grace. The second focuses on a survivor of a devastating plane crash who later struggled in a failed marriage due to his drinking. When grace knocked on his door for the second time, he released an unconscious decision he made at the time of the crash. The author also relates a family incident of marital conflict and flying safe, and how the mutual terror transformed through innocence, love and presence.
Grace may appear to last for a fraction of a moment, but in that moment, whether painful or beautiful, an opportunity can transform our life to a more perfect place. We choose to cherish, but grace is spontaneous, like a divine loving embrace. Cherishing magnifies our capacity to attract grace. We can become the messenger of grace, the vehicle of grace, and the recipient of grace. Grace awakens wholeness and reminds us we are cherished.
Chapter Six Summary
In chapter six, mindfulness and soulfulness are used interchangeably to describe our attempt to merge our human and divine nature. Equanimity unifies our diverse human experience by balancing mindfulness with soulfulness until we become mentally, emotionally, and physically incorruptible, eventually indistinguishable from our soul. Mindfulness and soulfulness are the essential qualities of equanimity, which includes the realization of our physical and spiritual nature co-existing in perfect harmony. When every thought, word or deed expresses our purest attempt to love, to be loved and allow love to grow, wholeness (henosis) is realized.
Explored are the author’s encounters with bullies over his stuttering and what went wrong with his “turn the other cheek” strategy, and how he eventually learned a universal truth about bullies. Four timeless principles held within the form of equanimity to deal with bullies are offered. Approaching problems with mindfulness, soulfulness, and equanimity as a formula helps us transcend our illusions and allows access to the power of henosis. “Being in the zone” is how people can relate to psychological henosis. The “field” discussion from The Legend of Baggar Vance is referenced to illustrate this merging where all that is becomes one within our soul. This is where behavior, emotion, and intellect truly unify, becoming the base or stabilizing legs of a three-legged stool, giving our soul access to this henosis zone. Balancing behavior, emotion, and the intellect are reviewed in-depth.
The author acknowledges that behavioral, emotive, and cognitive theories dominate the conversation about human growth potential and healing modalities. He concludes that no one theory is superior to the other and all are equally valuable. The fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel is dissected to reveal models of equanimity after being abandoned by their father and enduring an ordeal with a cannibal witch. The story contains eternal wisdom about mindfulness and overcoming significant hardships. The Seven Deadly Sins are renamed the Seven Deadly Illusions towards the end of the chapter as duality and the purpose of illusion are revisited. The author reminds us that objectivity toward everyone and everything is a lofty and attainable goal. With mindfulness and soulfulness playing primary roles, equanimity will flourish. The virtues explored within the form of equanimity and each of the forms accelerate our soul’s awareness, giving us access to the immortal flow of the divine intellect and wholeness.
We are divine beings living in physical bodies. Part I examined psychological, philosophical, and spiritual expression. Part II explores manifestation, actualizing dreams in physical reality, and truly embodying lasting peace and wellbeing. To maintain the principles and values associated with the forms of illusion, love, cherish, grace and equanimity discussed in Part I, emotional and psychological maturity is beneficial. The brain and its complementary functions are addressed in Part II with practical advice and techniques to soothe immature stress responses. Empathic people often absorb emotion from others, so the challenges associated with oneness within diversity are thoroughly explored with suggested solutions. Life sometimes strips away everything alien to the love beating within our heart. In chapter nine, the form of incorruptibility describes why this purification process exists with historical and current perspectives. The form of wholeness concludes the book and can spontaneously occur when we understand the purpose of illusion and eventually embody the principles associated with all the forms love mentioned in this book.
Chapter Seven Summary
Before humanity actualizes the promise of wholeness collectively, people need to create inner peace and harmony individually. With this concept in mind, the author turns our attention to the brain to explain how theory needs practical applications. He explores how the reptilian instincts, emotional intelligence, and the higher brain work together.
Also examined, is how our brain processes physical experience and its emotional states. Effective suggestions, stress solutions and meditations for both lay people and health care professionals are offered. Fairy tales provide wonderful metaphors, so we return to the Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz who is in search of a brain and stumbles upon an inadvertent Placebo Effect. Everyone gets confused, when “flying monkeys and wisecracking crows” rip apart our self-worth like the Scarecrow experienced. The Tin Woodman and Scarecrow end the discussion with the classic debate about the relative worth of a heart versus a brain.
Chapter seven describes in detail the three major functions of the brain: the reptilian brain (dorsal ventral complex), the emotional brain, (sympathetic or limbic nervous system), and the higher brain (smart ventral complex). Each of these three aspects of the brain seeks harmony and homeostasis. The gut-brain axis is also reviewed and the author addresses trauma and memory issues. When we become physically healthy and emotionally mature, equanimity blooms. In this significant section, chronological age versus emotional maturity is examined. Stress responses are presented and effective maturing strategies for infants, children and adolescents are offered. The qualities of an emotionally mature adult lead to lasting peace and well-being. The following extensive and powerful visualizations and exercises will guide the reader through each stress response.
- Infant stress response (Soothed by the Heart of the Mother visualization)
- Child Stress Response (Think-Feel-Do Three legged Stool Exercise)
- Adolescent Stress Response (Short Term versus Enduring Solutions Discussion),
- The Emotionally Mature Adult (The Empathy Round Table)
Chapter seven concludes by considering the oneness paradox, the challenge of focusing not on our differences but on our similarities and how this is an important paradox of being human.
Chapter Eight Summary
Somatic Empathy Theory is explored in depth in chapter eight. The author offers his foundational belief about empathy and discusses emotional contagions, which are emotions we experience that originates from others. Cognitive empathy, emotional (affective) empathy, and somatic empathy are reviewed. Somatic empathy includes the absorption of contagious emotional energy, felt sensations of others into our body and our resulting cognition. When crucial sensory information from an outside source fails to activate the cognitive or emotional legs of the previously mentioned metaphorical three-legged stool, our physical leg will register it with or without our awareness.
Tracking the ambient mood in our surroundings is often accomplished with body awareness, which explains why children complain about tummy aches after family disruptions. Like lint accumulating on Velcro, highly empathic individuals process their emotional milieu viscerally in their body. The need to balance our highly refined forms of intuition and empathy require equanimity. Balancing our physical and divine nature creates an internal unity necessary to experience external oneness with equanimity and without corruption. Ignorance about empathic absorption can cause suffering. The author discusses his unfortunate experience with the Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice of Tonglen where practitioners intentionally inhale the suffering of others. Eric Ehrke’s daughter shares her personal account from an empathetic child’s perspective.
Empathetic people benefit groups in countless way due to their tireless dedication to all of humanity. However, emotional contagions and unconscious Velcro tendencies compromise our emotional wellness in four ways described in chapter eight.. The author discusses is his work with a distraught patient whose amazing empathetic abilities, self-critical nature, and lack of emotional boundaries caused her erratic mood swings. He shares the protection strategies, cleansing methods, and boundary awareness solutions that caused her psychiatrist to take her off medications and change his affective mood disorder diagnosis. Documented in this chapter is another client diagnosed with fibromyalgia, who became symptom free after using the strategies provided in this chapter. Empathy can get corrupted, so Ehrke offers the Somatic Empathy Self-Test and provides many practical solutions. He discusses immune disorders and fibromyalgia as a possible physical form of chronic, corrupted empathy. Empathy in its incorruptible form means we do not own the suffering of others.
Chapter Nine Summary
According to traditional Eastern and Greek philosophy, maintaining one’s values and virtues during significant challenges demonstrated invulnerability, incorruptibility, and invisibility. Treating another, as you would like to be treated is often called the “Golden Rule.” Maintaining your core principles and treating others with love and compassion while nothing we do seems to be working, for what feels like an eternity is called incorruptibility in The Promise of Wholeness. It builds on the mastery of the previous six forms (Illusion, love, cherish, grace, equanimity, and empathy).
The most insidious illusion existing today is terrorism and our misguided reactions. Terrorism is a corrupted form of love and a global challenge with endless victim/perpetrator paradigms. Chapter nine reviews terrorism in Oz, perpetrated against the Tin Man, whose heart remained incorruptible even though he thought his heart had been lost, when the Wicked Witch of the West enchanted his axe. In chapter nine we review how the word evil has undergone a curious makeover. We always have the freedom to choose in the midst of chaos and Victor Frankl’s insights from his experience as a Holocaust survivor during WWII are presented as an incorruptible solution. The historical context that theologian Walter Wink gives to “Turning the Other Cheek” is also credited to inspiring Martin Luther King’s civil rights strategy against bigotry. Current rehabilitation and de-radicalization of perpetuators and potential terrorists are examined by chapter’s end. In summary, the work of Plotinus is considered as a powerful remedy, because love heals and guides us toward incorruptible solutions.
Chapter Ten Summary
The power to transform illusion and experience transcendence (henosis) lies within mastering all the forms mentioned in the previous chapters. Some of the main points covered in the book are revisited:
- Understanding the role of illusion in facilitating growth can lead us to rich personal and/or collective experiences of unity with attention paid to the forms of illusion and equanimity.
- Maintaining a loving heart, mindfulness, and sovereignty through the forms of love, cherish, and grace.
- Positive and negative experiences make us incorruptible as we are assisted with understanding the brain and are strengthened through the forms of empathy and incorruptibility.
Oscar Zoroaster, the actual wizard from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reminds us about the illusion of power, where principles becomes negotiable if the end justifies the means. Dorothy Gale, on the other hand, provides a shinning example of the promise of wholeness embodied in the midst of Job-like hardships. Chapter ten looks at sacred antagonists and incorruptible solutions that recreate our henosis home. Wholeness (henosis) is an enlightened form because it incorporates each of the previous forms.
- We review how the forms assist us – Illusion reveals our lies and every delusion we bury in our unconscious.
- Love is what we are and what we take with us when we die.
- Cherish is a grammar school primer containing the essence of love.
- Grace is being present in a state of awe and loving innocence.
- Equanimity combines, balances and harmonizes the forms through mindfulness.
- Empathy is oneness with awareness of which illusions belong to whom.
- Incorruptibility incorporates principles, values and each form in all situations.
The book reminds us that life on earth challenges us to master the forms to achieve the promise of wholeness, which happens to be a unifying, divine presence embodied in every atom of existence. Wholeness (henosis) is the alpha and omega of life that opens the doors to the secrets of the universe and creates inner peace, mindfulness and love in your life.
“. . . rich with understanding and perspective . . . With his forty years’ experience as a psychotherapist and seeker of hidden truth, Eric Ehrke merges classical teaching with modern psychology to create a new framework for a revitalized humanity.”
Jennifer Read Hawthorne
Writer and coauthor of 5 books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series
“Eric Ehrke creates a tapestry in Henosis, weaving Platonic forms, Plotinus’s ideas, with Jungian and modern psychological thought. . . quality and depth . . . the time and thought needed for each chapter are investments in further understanding the glory of being human.”
David B. Henderson, Ed.D
owner, NorthStar Consultants
“Eric Ehrke gives us an open and detailed account of what he has learned over a lifetime about bearing pain and learning to love the world and all its creatures. In addition to a good understanding of modern developmental psychology and neuroscience, he has dug deeply into the history of philosophy, especially Plato and Plotinus, and shows how all of us move through many illusions to a larger understanding of all of Being, achieving Henosis (oneness with everything)—-or at least as far as we can do it, with or without the kind of thoughtful psychotherapy he practices. It is humbling and refreshing to realize that in this larger context we are all working through some of the same dilemmas as the citizens of ancient Greece and Rome. (In fact, people were probably doing it before then, but we don’t have their written records.) Although the exercises and extensive bibliography of the book show the impressive research Mr. Ehrke has done, he has the grace at times to tell an anecdote about his own personal experience which brings the account down to earth in the present. This is a book worth studying and meditating on.”
Dr. William Houghton
“It is rare when a book embodies the very potential it claims to awaken in its readers. Henosis takes us on a journey of the human quest for soul—it is a living, breathing labyrinth of self-discovery and awakening that shatters illusions and asks us to question everything. And in the end, its message is the antidote for a new humanity.”
Kara Catrelle LCSW
“Well-researched, Henosis is based on the premise of Unity Consciousness or the inherent goodness/love of every person. Through the teachings and applications of tested meditation exercises included in this book, based on the mind/body/soul connection, the reader can embrace self-discovery and ultimately reach that timeless quest for Soul. Eric Ehrke writes from a deep humility, sharing not only his own teachable experiences but also those of his clients, helping us to transform ourselves and discover what stands in the way of loving others.”
Marjorie Schramm, MS,CAEH
“Beyond the haze of illusion, revise our templates for love, and turn difficulties into blessings. With great depth he also speaks of the cherished human and how to create a state of grace for ourselves and others. His emphasis on our inherent goodness and how to maintain our principles in the midst of serious challenges offers a new and empowered understanding of individual happiness and well-being.”
AlixSandra Parness, DD
Founder and Director of Inner Focus Mystery School for Deliberate Creators
“The writing in Henosis is extremely concise and packed with meaning, full of wisdom and profound insights. The author’s powerful personal stories grab the reader and offer new perspectives to bring swift personal change. His philosophical understanding is very clear and easily woven into modern psychology to supports his examples. This is a profound read that offers solutions and illuminates our hidden lives.”
Jay Cleve, Ph.D
Out of the Blues: Strategies That Work to Get You through the Down Times & Path of the Sacred Pipe: Journey of Love, Power, and Healing
“Henosis is a challenge to go deeper into the historical, philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of our individual and professional journeys. Eric Ehrke’s writings are a personal impetus to take time from my daily multitasking for deeper thought and reflection. I welcome his insights and inspiration.”
Past President of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), Collaborative family lawyer and mediator at Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. and co-founder of the Family Mediation Center
I’m pleased to announce that my book was recently acquired by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Hard cover and kindle editions of my book will be released in the spring of 2019. The title of the book will be changing to The Promise of Wholeness: Cultivating Inner Peace, Mindfulness and Love in a Divided World. The content will remain the same – look for a blog post with new insight on the title coming soon!
For a limited time, paperback copies of my original author’s edition of Henosis will remain available with free shipping.