Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why No ILP or ITP?

At our ITP/ILP meeting (Integral Transformative Practice and Integral Life Practice) last night, we had about 10 people attend. Our reservation for a room had been messed up, so we retired to a small meeting room to meditate and dialogue.

SeattleIntegral, the second-largest integral salon in the world (I've heard it before...), has hit a milestone of 150 members this week, and yet, we only have 10 people show up for the ITP/ILP group.

I've been pondering why, out of a group this large, we only have 10-12 members show up on a regular basis. Does this mean that only a small group of people actually have an ITP/ILP? Well, I think it depends on how you define those practices. By Integral Institute's current measurement, the ILP Home Study Kit is the embodiement of the highest practive available anywhere on the planet.*

Can you truly claim to live an integral life, or embody integral, if you're not doing Integral practices that touch on each quadrant? If, like me, you favor one quadrant, and most people do, there's a tendency to remain "stuck" in the safety of that quadrant. One of the things an integral practice should do, is balance you out. It doesn't mean you have to be a superb weightlifter (upper right quadrant activity) for example, but that you're doing something in that quadrant to balance out the tendency to be too much in your head (okay, I gave away my favorite quadrant).

Now, in fairness, we have several other smaller sub-groups of SeattleIntegral that meet specific needs: Couple of study groups, and spiritual, leadership, psychology, and Meetup. what Ken Wilber says in Integral Spirituality, "The Myth of the Given Lives On," appendix III, page 300:

"Not supplementing is no longer something that is without its effects and consequences. Not supplementing - not making one's spiritual practice into an integral spiritual practice - can slowly kill you, more or less literally, or worse: figuratively, because what kills you is the the soul struggling to be reborn into today's integral age, struggling to be born into it's own highest estate of Freedom and Fullness,** struggling to acknoweldge the the Spirit that that embraces the the entire Kosmos whole, with love and charity, valor and compassion, care and consciousness, interiority and identity, radiance and luminosity, ecstacy and clarity, all at once, and once and for all."

What Wilber is talking about, spirit, could easily be any other, and all other, practices.....and without balancing those practices, heart, mind, body, and spirit, you have to stop and ask yourself, "is it integral, or am I not quite there, yet?

*That's too bad, because , as good as it is, and it is very, very good, it is by definition, a solitary practice. i.e., "Home Study Kit." Murphy and Leonard's ITP is, at this point, and in my opinion, more integral than the I-I's ILP. Why? Because ITP does include group practices. There's an entire chapter called "The Magic of Community," something sorely lacking in the ILP Home Study far. It's not that the ILP creators aren't aware of the lower left community aspect, so it's hard to understand why they left the lower right structures out. I think they may have just run out of time. New ILP study groups, like SeattleIntegral, are exploring the community aspects of an ILP.

**"Freedom and Fullness" are the elements of enlightenment: see pg 243, Integral Spirituality, Integral Post-Metaphysics.

Logo image by Gary Stamper


Peggy K said...

Hi, Gary,

I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a while, and this post finally moved me to comment.

While I understand your disappointment at having so few members show up for the ILP/ITP group, it seems to me that to take an integral look at the situation, you'd also ask how the group is failing to meet the needs of a larger percentage of members as well as why the members aren't coming.

As just one example, you said the group went into a small room to "meditate and dialogue." For me, personally, that's not an attraction. I understand that group practice is important, but my group practices are yoga and strength training. For me, meditation is a personal, individual thing, and I'm not sure I would come to a group that focused just on meditation.

I would, though, likely come to a group that did a more "active" form of meditation -- perhaps journaling together? Obviously the exact type of "active" meditation depends on the dynamics of the group you have.

I hope the ILP/ITP group finds its legs -- it sounds like you've got a good start.

gary said...

Hi Peggy, and thanks for your comments. If all we did was meditate and dialogue, I would agree, but it's not. We usually do a group KATA (Japanese for "form," a series of yoga, stretching, and stregthening excercises in a group process). If you re-read, you'll see that our regular room reservation for that was mistakenly not available, hence, the "flex and flow" of changing the process for the occasion. The group is clearly not just focused on meditation. Last, my motivation for writing about this isn't about my disappointment, but trying to gain understanding as to why others aren't motivated to join us in the group practices so imortant for an integral lifestyle.


John said...

Hey Gary,

Funny that - I was going to ask for your feedback for keeping/maintaining an Integral Group!

Unknown said...

Hey man... I clicked on the seattleintegral link and it took me a site where I could purchase a domain name. How do I get connected with you guys?

Gary Stamper said...

Hey, Unknown: This post was dated in 2006. I left Seattle in 2008....I have NO idea what's going on there. It all kinda fell apart.....

Gary, 2016