Saturday, August 25, 2012

Exploring "We" Space: A Report on the 2012 Integral Community Seminar

I think I may step in it again...I sometimes seem to have a habit of doing that. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I also seem to have a habit of writing about the stuff I'm stepping in without thinking---caring---about the consequences. I'm trying to avoid that with this blog.

But...I call stuff out. As I told Terry Patten last week, I'm a shit-stirrer because shit needs to be called out before it becomes shadow.

This seems to have begun in 2006 and when I chose to speak out about what I thought was a huge mistake by Ken Wilber around what became known as the "Wyatt Earpy Incident." According to an article by Frank Visser on, it was an "attack on reason and free inquiry, basically, which was applauded by the closest of his followers," which promped me in my response to those un-critical thinkers/supporters and coin the term "integral fundamentalism."

Ken's seemingly shadowy "suck my ****" response to his critics (who's pointing at whom?) in the Wyatt Earpy Incident tore some rifts in the Integral community that still seem unhealed today. I believe my own separation with Ken began here, and that I'm still working on getting back in his good graces...but not at the expense of my values. Still, there is certainly the awareness that I owe him so much, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Today I'm calling some stuff out again. This will no doubt further elevate my status with what I am now beginning to call the "conservative wing of the integral movement" (for years I've railed against a friend of mine calling himself an integral conservative because there was no such thing...perhaps that time has arrived, but not in the way he meant it). I think this may have affected the exposure of my book on "integral" websites---and I was aware of that possibility from the beginning, so I set out to write a book that could not be ignored by the mainstream integral community. However, not one official "integral" site has publicly explored or even mentioned the book, although I do believe I'm making some progress.

What I'm calling out is something that happened at the Integral Community Seminar. I'm not calling out anyone specific (publicly, that is, because I have no desire to embarrass anyone---besides, who is not important: the action is). The people, attendees, staff, presenters (wow!),facilitators, and venue were all amazing and some really deep connections were made. I literally fell in love with everyone. And sometimes I disagree with even the people I love the most, and I certainly don't love them any less because I disagree with them.

It was Friday, the fourth full day of the seminar, and the entire group was in morning circle trying to step deeper into a shared "we" space, a Unity Consciousness, an almost morphogenetic field where we really wanted to tune in with each other in a collective consciousness....and we weren't quite getting there. Apparently others felt that way, too, as suddenly, what and how we were doing, what we were trying to do, wasn't good enough so that whatever wanted to emerge, couldn't. And all at once everything shifted; Not to the desired place but backwards. We had largely lost it.

Since the early days of SeattleIntegral---the salon I moderated for five years---we always took the approach of setting up the container, the context, to allow conscious to arise. This allowing is far different than trying to make something happen by forcing it by ignoring the multiple shadow aspects of what might also be arising in a larger group. 

Exploring and evolving "we" space is critical stage-building. But for me the conference was about sharing the state experience of We consciousness, not about what felt to me as trying to force the state into a stage. We are evolving the "we," and the more we do the work at the states level, the closer we get to turning that state (a temporary experience) into a stage, a permanent structure. I have no doubt there were people at the seminar who are capable of being at a stage structure of the We space, but as a group, we're still evolving. We just have to be patient with each other, allow that to happen, keep practicing, and know that we are blessed that there are people with whom we can practice.

My wife Anyaa, who cut her teeth as a psychotherapist in 2nd-stage feminism along with metaphysics (strange bedfellows but she managed to integrate some things in the late 70's that did not want to integrate), says this about the seminar: "I loved the presentations which ranged from opening with a Kosmic view of the Universe and beyond, to the mechanics of cultivating the I, the I-Thou and then allowing the We to emerge. I loved the practices, the facilitation and the setting. What I felt was lacking was a recognition that there are groups and circles and communities of different world-views and orientations that are cultivating this We space and have been for quite some time. Perhaps Integral folks would call these groups Green or New Age, but Green and New Age do a really good job of recognizing group consciousness, from which the We arises. It's also called Unity Consciousness, 5th Dimensional Awareness, Ascension, as well as a Enlightenment and Source Consciousness.We are all in this together, and those of us who have not labeled ourselves Integral deserve credit as well for creating the states that will eventually stabilize us in a solid We Consciousness. It seems to me that if we really want to live Integrally, we must recognize the gifts of the earlier stages."


Joseph said...

Stir it up, Gary. With the right intention it's the catalyst for progress ;)

Gary Stamper said...

Indeed, Joseph. I've learned that stress is the only thing that brings about progress. BTW, I've started your new book,THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY, and am pleased to say I'm enjoying it very much.