With the rise of fake news, “alternative facts,” and compromised truth, how do we sift through the pseudo-world that surrounds us and discover what’s real? As one example, integrative medicine is expanding by leaps and bounds beyond the American Medical Association model in its discoveries. We welcome the return to health solutions that are natural and an alternative to prescriptions and/or surgery. We’re looking for the authentic, for the really real, and it’s not Coca Cola!

Being Really Real

To begin with, we need a way to sift through data, and if Lonergan is right, we have a consciousness made to do just that. Let’s stick to our integrative medicine example to explore how we can be really real.

Physically, the human person needs to consider three areas in seeking health: 1) the structure of the human person, 2) the brain and nerve extensions, and 3) the chemistry of the body’s hormones, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. If the bone structure is out of alignment, then the nerves and brain are affected. To use drugs alone to address these problems may be overlooking the real causes of the problem. The approach needs to be integrative. Healing can be psychosomatic, or it can be psycho-spiritual. The first refers to our “body” and the second to our “soul.” But the data of sense is not enough. We need to probe the data that comes from our consciousness itself. So, let’s dig deeper—from outside in. The “real” includes it all.

Holistically, the human person is a physical organism, psychic energy, and a spiritual being.

Each of these dimensions has distinctive functions. The organism is most familiar with its digestive, circulatory, and respiratory systems to name only a few.

The psyche is more mysterious because it is subconscious. Its functions include imaging, imagining, dreaming, and eleven powerful emotions. Love is one of these powerful emotions. When it is wounded, our spiritual functions can be crippled. Psychology can be helpful here.

Our spiritual functions are the most wonderful of all, and they distinguish us from the animal realm because they reveal a self-reflexive consciousness. They include the experience of wonder and awe (the base of contemplation); the ability to question for understanding; arriving at a judgment of fact or truth; and evaluating the worth of something to make a decision. Our spiritual functions are open to Mystery, thus we are made for relationship with the Holy. A second look will identify our spiritual functions in the language of intellect and will, the very image of God in our humanness.

So, as we continue to explore the reality of integrative wellness of our total person, we weave together the data our senses give us, and more importantly the data our consciousness reveals.

The function of our consciousness reveals the process by which we sift out fact from fiction—about anything. It also identifies us as a spiritual being in a material and historical world of complex emotions and moral choices. Anything left out? If not, we’ve taken a step toward being really real.