Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A New Integral Spirituality and Integral Religion

An Integral Religion? Heaven forbid (pun intended)! I can hear all the people wounded by religion in past lives and today saying, "no way".....Especially those at scientific rational and relativistic levels of consciousness.

But religion is not going away, and whatever claims we make around "Spiritual, not Religious," anyone else looking in is going to consider it religion. So what would the next step in the evolution of religion look like? It certainly won't be the gods of nature or tribalism. Nor will it be the wrathful power god of the old testament, the mythic god of an absolutist consciousness, a rejection of anything metaphysical  by the rational/scientific level of consciousness, or a sensitive new-age egalitarian deity that says we make everything up as we go, locked in a pre-trans fallacy of magic and myth.

I came across a very long article on the Integral World website called Integral Religion, Uniting Eros and Logos by Dan Araya, a graduate student in Toronto examining instructional technologies and values development within Education, and the Director and co-founder of The Institute of Integral Evolution, located in Toronto, Canada.

Araya's article points to where an Integral Religion must go in order to be considered integral, and in doing so sets up some parameters of that emerging religion. By definition, Integral Religion must marry east and west, Science and Religion, Eros (Ascent, Many to the One)  and Logos (Descent, One to the Many), and Eros (the masculine) and Agape (the feminine), and much, much more.

In the article he quotes Auribindo in the Ideal of Human Unity:
A spiritual religion of humanity is the hope of the future… A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest present vehicle on earth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here. It implies a growing attempt to live out this knowledge and bring about a kingdom of this divine Spirit upon earth. By its growth within us oneness with our fellow-men will become the leading principle of all our life, not merely a principle of cooperation but a deeper brotherhood, a real and an inner sense of unity and equality and a common life.
-Chapter XXXV, p. 307 (July 1918)
Araya concludes by saying:
"Whether we ascend to the Apex of Consciousness through meditative practice or serve Spirit's teleological drive towards emancipation, we are participants in a single spiritual evolution. Always we must remember that in integral religion it is wholeness that we seek: the integral embrace of immanence with transcendence, of Ascent with Descent, of humanity with God, and of enlightenment with the divine kingdom come."
My sense is that Integral Religion isn't something that we can decide to do or not do, validate or invalidate, it's something we must do if we are to lay claim to the term "integral," and it's already emerging. It is time for us to grow up. As Wilber points out, an integral religion must grounded in pluralism (SES), and [an] emerging religion must transcend and include religions of the past.

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