Monday, May 29, 2006

The "What is Integral" Elevator Speech

Anyone who has done any sort of management or sales training knows about the "elevator speech." What do you say to someone, in an elevator, when they ask what you do, and you only have "x" amount of seconds before they get off on their floor?

Those of us who are "integrally informed" have the same problem. Have you met anyone who could tell what integral is, in 30 seconds or less? Ha! you say...that's impossible!...and you'd be right. But you can give a brief overview without stumbling all over yourself.

When SeattleIntegral was just new, several of us took on that task, and wrote our own elevator speeches. What I am presenting here is the evolution of my elevator speech.

My first draft effort said:
"Integral, meaning composed of parts that make a whole complete, refers to an emerging philosophy that provides a comprehensive picture of our universe, and a way of thinking that leads to a better world."

"It's a multi-dimensional philosophy as well as tool with broad implications for the arts, business, science, religion, and philosophy. It unifies east, west, past and present, focusing on spirituality and human development, and is a vision for problem solving and enlightened living."

Phew! In an effort to simplify my "commercial." then i wuz thinkin'.....
"Integral is an emerging multi-dimensional philosophy with a heart-centered worldview and strategies that create the potential for trust, understanding, and transformation of ourselves, our communities, and our world."

After listening to other SeatleIntegral members' responses, particularly my dear friend Tom Mull's contribution, I came back to this, which was basically where I was before this exercise:
"Integral is an emerging all-inclusive philosophy that combines science, religion, western and eastern philosophies, and the great wisdom traditions into models for personal, community, and global growth, and greater enlightenment."

The problem with some of these is that when you start talking about enlightenment to blue and orange vMemes, you lose them.

So here's my most recent version:
"In a nutshell, 'integral' is a comprehensive and inclusive philosophy, and on a deeper level, an emerging consciousness; a grand sysnthesis uniting eastern and western philosophy, religion, science, politics, business, art, morals, values, meaning, etc., that can apply to any contemporary issue. It's a new way of looking at the world, it's problems, and their possible me give you my card...." :)

Any of these, and your own, should be short enough to prevent the familiar "glazing over the eyes" that we've all experienced when explaining "integral" to our families and friends. You're welcome to borrow anything I've written here, but if you haven't done this exercise, you should, I believe it's a critical step in solidly formalizing your cognitive awareness of what integral means....even if you never wind up in an elevator.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More on Insight Dialogue

One of my favorite people in this world, or any other, is Terri O'Fallon. Terri is a long-time member of seattleintegral, one of the principals in Pacific Integral, and a member of the Integral Institute's Integral Education Committee. My understanding is she is developing a lot of the online classes I-I will be offering so people (like me!) can get AQAL Kosher I-I certified. Terri has a long history of developing online learning communities, having also been a mentor for masters' students at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).

Terri is one of my favorite people for a lot of reasons. Besides all of the above, Terri walks into a room in full presence , and unassuming humility, unlike anyone else I have ever seen. In my non-expert opinion, she radiates and embodies Spiral Dynamics' Turquoise level of development.

All of this aside, Terri introduced our first-year "Generating Transformational Change in Human Systems" cohort to Insight Dialogue, for which I will be forever grateful. It was co-developed by Terri and Greg Kramer in 1994

Here's how Insight Dialogue listening and speakingworks in a nutshell (thanks to Cain at Zaadz, for this outline):
  • Commit to the process---bring your awareness to the present moment
  • Pause–call forth to slow down, to drop ignorance, to see more deeply, and brighten the mind.
  • Relax—call forth in the face of stress, of challenging truths, and to bring ease to the body-mind.
  • Open—call to move out of isolated practice, loops, and selfish patterns, to be out of contraction.
  • Trust Emergence—call forth for energy, to end doubt, and to ride the moment.
  • Listen Deeply—call into inquiry, receptivity, and to extend the heart.-
  • Speak the Truth—call forth to end stasis, to enhance generosity and courage, to bring meditative interaction.
Insight Dialogue is a meditation practice that includes listening and speaking, and in an on-line format, reading and writing. It expands Insight Meditation and Bohmian dialogue into interaction, turning conversation into a transformative, creative vehicle where something brand new and unanticipated might emerge into a deeper awareness. The process also creates an amazing field of shared consciousness between particpants.

This is, by far, the deepest, most powerful, mediative experience I've ever had, and to share it with others is even more amazing.

3 Months Down the Road with ILP: Group Practices

After more than a year of ITP (Integral Transformative Practice), the SeattleIntegral ITP group has been alternating between Murphy and Leonard's ITP and Integral Institute's Integral Life Practice (ILP) 3-Body Workout.

Perhaps not exactly what has been described by Wilber as "transcend and include,", where earlier developmental levels have been differentiated from, transcended, and included in our repertoire of practices, but pretty damn close!

We've loved the ITP we've been doing, and a couple of members still prefer it, but everyone in the group pretty much agrees, there's a deeper spiritual presence in the ILP 3-Body Workout than in ITP. It's certainly not that spirit is lacking, or not present (spirit is ever-present), in the ITP, but with the gross, subtle, and causal body movements, and awareness created by the moderators and theme on the ILP DVD, spirit is right up there in your face. I like that my awareness of spirit is brought to full presence in the ILP DVD. It reminds me to be more present when switching off to ITP on alternating meetings.

Let me also say that ILP owes it's very existence to ITP, and we should never lose sight of that.

One small critique of the 3-Body Workout DVD with an eye to the future: the Home Study Kit is just that - a
home study kit. There is no group practice as such. Oh, a group can do the Kata (form), but that would only involve the lower right quadrant. The 3-Body Workout is hyper-agentic, or masculine in its approach, and most of us guys would be probably go right along with that, no problem. But for women, or men who recognize the importance of balancing the masculine and feminine, it's just not there. The group process must pay attention to all four quadrants.

And while I-I is working on creating a group process, SeattleIntegral is already doing it. We are developing the community aspects of the 3-Body Workout, and the first element is community dialogical processes that open up our hearts, communication, and a sense of intimacy for our members.

High on my list to bring to the group is Insight Dialogue, co-created by Terri O'Fallon, one of SI's beloved teachers, and member of I-I's Integral Education Committee. I'll write more about Insight Dialogue and how it brings the feminine to ILP in a future blog.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Integral Relationship: One on One

There have been more than a few postings on Integral Joe Perez' posting on polyamory. Integral Options Cafe actually shares the pain and effort that goes into growing an Integral relationship (I heartily applaud your extraordinary bravery, William and Kira), Meetups have been organized around the subject, and relationship in any form, evidenced by the proliferation of internet dating services and sites, weighs heavily on our individual and collective minds....and trust me...there's a dating service for every imaginable seeker!

Some of the newer and more interesting dating sites, from my perspective, that is, are David Deida's Spiritually Sexy, Conscious Singles, and Enlightened Match, just to name a few.

Like most people, I have gobs of friends in relationships of all kinds, and, DAMN, if I'm not just a little envious!

I've been married once, for seventeen years, and I was really good at it. I'm someone who should be deeply involved in a relationship, and yet, here I am, almost 61, and so solidly single I can't believe it. My whole foray into integral began with my marriage falling apart in the late 90's, and then, several years later, a painful, and painfully short and unsatisying relationship that sent me into psychotherapy. It was through that therapy that I began meditating, and well, one thing led to another. I find it amazing how many people come to radical change in their lives through painful means. I have come to call these painful paths "AFGO's", or, "another fucking growth opportunity" more AFGO's!

So what is with me and relationships? I want one, but don't have one. I suspect there's more than a little shadow work to be done, here. I have filled out profiles on five different dating sites, and not one is active. Wha's up wid 'dat? I keep telling myself I'll come across her profile, join the site, and tell her I only joined to meet her (been there, done that). Okay, when would I have time?....excuse. I'm okay alone...I am, but know it would be fuller not to be. A woman handed me her card and phone number in the grocery store this weekend....nice, but not my type.....what's my type? There's also a bit of not wanting to be disappointed, again.

Maybe it all comes down to having loved someone intensely, fully, passionately....seeing and recognizing the divine person within them that they wouldn't allow to come out.....watching helplessly as their fear drove them away.

Once you've experienced that, how do you accept anything else? I think by trying to recognize the divine in each and every person that you meet. And then you're never alone....and practice....lots of practice....I want to make this part of my practice, but it's not like you can start doing relationship, as if it were weights or meditation!

Somehow, I doubt this will be my last word on this subject.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Satori at the strangest time

I was on my way to the first SeattleIntegral Integral Spirituality meeting last Sunday, sitting at a stoplight in Fremont, when I had a sudden overwhelming recognition of the connectedness of everything. It's a good thing my windows are tinted, because I started crying at the realization (once again) of ever-present awareness.

Actually, I didn't give a hoot if anyone was watching, or not. Such is the ground of being.

Satori is a key concept in Zen Buddhism. It is the goal of Zen Buddhism, and roughly translates into individual Enlightenment, or a flash of sudden awareness. I have no doubt that mine was a "state," or peak, awareness: that is, a temporary state. It's the fourth Satori I've had, the first at 14, but I had absolutely no idea what the hell that was! I had already pretty much disassociated from the mythical relgion of my youth, and had not yet discovered the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. Unknown to me, I was in Satori limbo.

What I now know is that each of these peak experiences brings me closer to the next level of consciousness, and that while I patiently wait for that state awareness to become vertical (transcendent) stage awareness, I'll continue to work on my horizontal (translative) development, as well. Ah, span vs. depth.....another blog.

Friday, May 05, 2006

An Integral Governance System?

About three weeks ago, in a conversation with Ken Wilber, I was introduced to a unique governing system called "Sociocracy." During that conversation, Ken referred to it as "Sociocracy" and "Holacracy."

In a nutshell, Sociocracy is all about agile organizations, natural holarchies, and integrating the world, and is a form of government based on synergic consent, wherein everyone wins.

Brian Robertson, founder and CEO of Ternary Software, Inc., was pioneering Agile software development processes long before the term "agile" was coined, and presented at SD Best Practices 2005. Ternary's unique organizational design, governance structure, and business practices have forged new ground and tested new possibilities in the fields of human organization and culture.

There are four primary practices of Sociocracy:
  • Decision making by consent: Consent is a method of decision-making whereby the arguments presented in discussing a decision are of paramount importance, and the the result of the discussion is that no one present has a reasoned and paramount objection to the decision being made.
  • Circle Organization: The organization is built of a hierarchy of semi-autonomous circles. Each circle has its own aim, given by the higher-level circle, and has the authority and responsibility to execute, measure, and control its own processes to move towards its aim.
  • Double-Linking: A lower circle is always linked to the circle above it via at least two people who belong to and take part in the decision making of both the higher circle and the lower circle. One of these links is the person with overall accountability for the lower-level circle’s results, and the other is a representative elected from within the lower-level circle.
  • Elections by Consent: People are elected to key roles exclusively by consent after open discussion (this is not a democratic majority-vote election!). Most notably, the election process applies to the representative elected from a lower-level circle to a higher-level circle.
Sociocracy needs to be understood as a whole, not as a collection of independent practices – for example, consent-based decision making (the first practice) doesn’t work well unless it is done in the context of a circle of individuals with regular contact working together towards a common aim (the second practice).

We used a trial of this process at a recent SeattlIntegral Core Group meeting, and everyone was favorably impressed with how it works. Of course, we have much to learn about this process, but, upon first glance, it trully appears to be an integral approach to governance.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Creativity, Spirituality, and the Integral U-Process

I presented my first 2-hour workshop this past weekend, and judging from the feedback I've received, it went well. I'm delighted, because I busted my butt putting it together after feeling I'd been roped into doing something I didn't have enough time for!

I was first introduced to the "U-Process" last year at Pacific Integral's 2-year program on Generating Transformative Change in Human Systems. The "U-Process" is thoroughly described and documented in the book Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future. Ken Wilber and Otto Scharmer (one of four authors of Presence) expanded on the "U-Process," showing how the process can effectively plunge someone at intermediate or upper level stages into the gross, subtle, and causal states of consciousness, and help speed along the transformation to higher stages.

The process consists of gross/waking cognition fixed on anything that can be described "it" language ("Seeing" from the outside, using cognition that is distancing), "Sensing from the whole," in the subtle realm, reflecting to allow an "inner knowing" to emerge, and "Presencing," accessing your Self, or Source, which is a simple version of the causal Self. You have to contact this vast open Self expanse to have intentionality, the only time we truly have free will.

Again, this process allows people to fluidly access these states, at whatever stage they’re at. When we come out of these states we crystallize and institutionalize them. This is basically taking these subtler causal forms and materializing them in the near future. So, you’re essentially calling forth the future and embodying it by working with these creative states. The U Process means you can teach somebody who, in terms of Spiral Dynamics, is Blue or Orange or Green to be the most effective change agents that they can be at their stage.

If you haven't read Presence, I highly recommend it.

Or, you could book me for your next event!