Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Blogisattva Awards Announced

Congratulations of the highest order to William Harryman at Integral Options Cafe for the Blog of the Year Blogsattva Award, the Svaha, of 2007! In announcing the award, honoring excellence in English-language Buddhist blogging during calendar year 2006, Blogisattva had this to say about Bill's blog:

"The premier award, Blog of the Year, Svaha!, goes to Bill Harryman’s Integral Options CafĂ© [link] the fulsome and intellectually hefty -- yet fun, smooth, easy and delightful -- carnival of information and insight. Bill has a broad and sophisticated palate of what is worthwhile and interesting and has an ability to sweep his readers in to his world of treasures and responsible living. We learn to stay fit; eat right; take care of body and mind, but we are not being lectured to by a finger-wagging nag. Bill gives us things to do, fun to find and insights that come from his challenging, interesting life and then adds thoughtful essays that are finely crafted, masterfully done, about Buddhism informed by Integral theory."

I'm not surprised. Bill has been my favorite blogger for months.

I didn't win an award, but am honored to have just been nominated in two of the categories.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sex. Passion, and Enlightenment: The Infomercial

There were some noticeably nervous men walking in the door at the beginning of the the free all day Warrior Sage workshop yesterday: many they had been dragged, threatened, cajoled, or sweet-talked into attending something they might not ordinarily and willingly attended without the threat or no sex for a year or impending alimony and child support payments.

And although I could almost hear them thinking, "WTF am I doing here?", almost all of them were singing a different tune at the end of the day.

But before I get into what I really liked about this workshop. let me touch on what I didn't. As I expressed in my previous entry, I was turned off by what I felt was a pretty tasteless web presentation that could have been geared to hawking Viagra tablets. The presentation was similar in that I couldn't get away from the sense that I was sitting in infomercial hell (If you act now, that price is only....).

The second thing was that Satyen Raja, the man I went to see, was no where to be seen. In fairness, the infomercials never said he would be, but they sure implied it! The workshop was facilitated by Gary and Deborah, a charming couple with lots of presence and energy, but I felt let down by not seeing Raja.

Now to the good stuff. The best part of the day was when some actual work began. The men and women were separated and off to do their own work. When the men were in their "cave" (actually a medium sized hotel meeting room with no chairs), Gary's tone noticeably shifted to a hyper-masculine mode. After talking a bit, Gary had us do a couple of exercises that helped the men both get in touch with their softer sides toward other men, and to define and challenge each other's purpose, with other's giving feedback. Pretty powerful stuff, designed to allow us to take ourselves off the relativistic cross the we've allowed ourselves to bear, through culture and our own confusion about what it means to be a 3rd stage man.

The women had been doing their own work, and when we came back together in a set up procession, the polarity between the men and women was incredibly high. The men were stronger, more capable of meeting these women on their own terms. empty, ready to be filled, and the women, more juicy and full than when we had left, and both, literally, melted into each others masculine and feminine with an almost indescribable richness. This is really good stuff!

My friend Brian, who also attended and is a member of SeattleIntegral's Core Group, and I talked later about how important we thought a men's group would be for SeattleIntegral. Warrior Sage has a local men's group, but you have to go through their actual 3-day workshop before you can join it, and we want to offer this work to the men of SI as soon as possible. 3rd stage/second tier men need to have other men meeting them, challenging them in a loving manner, and holding each other accountable.

An example of how you can lovingly hold your male friend accountable: "Dude, I love you you, but you need to get your ass off the couch and into the gym...."

You could never say that to your woman, but you could say, "God, it really turns me on when you come back from the gym and you're just glowing...."

So to all my men friends, in and out of SeattleIntegral, in spite of a pretty cheesy marketing program (which apparently works because there were over a hundred people there): "Dudes....get your ass to a Warrior Sage workshop and learn how to fully meet your woman or to call that woman into your life and stop screwing around in the dark around your relationships."

Besides.......there are some really juicy women there!

And to my female friends, if you're single, these guys that attend are doing the work...and if you're already in relationship, this will greatly improve that relationship.

Two thumbs up to Warrior Sage for doing great and really important work.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sex, Passion & Enlightenment

Today I'm attending Satyen Raja's (an apprentice of David Deida) free all-day Warrior Sage workshop called "Sex, Passion & Enlightenment." The free workshop is apparently designed to sell you on the full three-day deal, which I'm pretty sure I'm going to do.

On the Warrior Sage website, Satyen says, "My goal is to give you what works--what really works in Real Time. Everything I teach on The Path of The WarriorSage is time-proven in the real world by thousands of my students. I will share with you only proven strategies, teachings and practices that are guaranteed to help you realize your deepest spiritual happiness fast!"

, huh? Asking you to pardon my skepticism about fast, I've heard too many good things about this teaching to ignore it, or the slick, used-car-salesman-no-risk-invitation approach of the website, which seems more designed to sell something like Viagra than enlightenment.

Workshops like these, I hope, are designed to help us more fully step into our authentic selves that "live with courage, intention, action, and endurance of the Warrior combined fluidly with the Humour, Transcendence, Wisdom and Love of the Sage" (again, from the website).

I certainly support that.

More after the workshop.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Integral" Shamanism

Last year, Bill, at Integral Options Cafe, wrote about what he called "Meta-Shamanism," where a "meta-shaman moves vertically along the whole Spiral, accessing the necessary energies, values, or traits of any given Meme as needed to solve the current situation. Within the Meme accessed, the meta-shaman is able to move within the horizontal or vertical orientation of that Meme as needed."

He goes on to say "The meta-shaman recognizes the entire Kosmos as a manifestation of Spirit, the source and destination of the manifest Universe. The gods, goddesses, and spirits humans have recognized throughout their history remain alive and valid within each of the vMemes that spawned them."

"Meta-shamans are capable of selecting (through a conscious process, or some intuitively - Gary), the Meme required at any given time. Within the selected Meme, whichever form of consciousness transformation is appropriate to that Meme is accessible, whether it's the trance state of the traditional shaman in Purple, or the nature mysticism of the Green Meme."

The danger with traditional Shamanic practices is, of course, the classic trap of of the pre/trans fallacy (as first identified by Wilber), in that it mistakes a previous level for an advanced level.

It is in this sense that I agree with Bill's well thought out analysis of "Meta," or even "integral," shamanism. I like his use of Spiral Dynamics as a values model to move through various stages of shamanism, and I want to try to take it a bit further, moving into Wilber's AQAL model, as well.

As Ken points out in Boomeritus, one of Shamanism's great contributions has been providing profound techniques of inducing altered states of a psychic and subtle nature, and that can be a path out of flatland. The trick seems to be to be able to take the altered-states technology of the shaman and fit them into more adequate interpretations. That shamanic STATES exist cannot be denied, but what STAGE do they get plugged into?

Whatever one's experience is of the shamanic altered-state practice is, like all state experiences, they will be interpreted first, by the altitude of the shaman, and individually interpreted, or reinterpreted, by the person experiencing the altered state based on their own development.

In this sense, Shamanism is no different than any other path that leads to altered states and transformation. "Integral" shamanism goes beyond traditional therapy and traditional shamanism: During this time of evolutionary unfoldment, an "integral" shaman may intuitively, or with purpose and intention, use all their tools, all the perspectives, including the the AQAL model, developmental levels, lines, states, and stages, recognizing that the people they are working with can be met where they are, and with a sense of using these skills, including shamanism, to have a sense of what needs to happen next, healing and opening paths to higher states of consciousness.

Relationship: An Integral Practice

The most sacred and exquisite practice in my life is my relationship with my beloved. It's a practice that is integral by it's very nature: Receiving, giving, feeling, shadow, surrender, fear, pleasure, pain.....It is an opportunity to stand in my power and face my weaknesses.

It is authentic. Not as a way to get somewhere, but a way to BE, here, now, this moment.

It is the relative expression of the non-dual.

Every bit of this practice is played out by a broken, wounded, hurting human body/mind with an intuition of what it means to be ecstatic, unlimited, and utterly happy.

Love works.

The Lover is ever drunk with Love.
He is mad,
She is free.

He sings with delight,
she dances with ecstasy.

Caught by our own thoughts,
we worry about everything.

But once we get drunk on that Love
whatever will be, will be.

Terry Patten on Integral Naked
Image from Dancing with the Divine

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Humbled and Honored.....

I am pleased (but not attached) to have been nominated in two categories in the 2nd Annual Blogisattva Awards, honoring excellence in English-language Buddhist blogging during the calendar year 2006.

I was nominated for "Best Acheivement Blogging in the First Person," as a diarist; writing of events in one's life; offering thoughts; or by venturing out into the world, gonzo style; 9 nominees, and for "Best Achievement Blogging on Integral Issues," 5 nominees.

I didn't even know there were Blogisattva Awards, or that I was was a Buddhist blogger (many of my practices are Buddhist, but I don't consider myself a Buddhist....Oops, did I just blow it?)

The announcement of the winners is on February 25th.

Photo by Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

From 3rd Stage to Fusion

There's a place beyond David Deida's 3rd Stage relationship model of holding the masculine and the feminine at later stages of developmental consciousness. It's pretty well accepted that to get to later stages of development, you have to pass through the earlier stages.

I think it's true for 3rd Stage relationship, as well, on its way to the beyond.

This is a place where the masculine and the feminine both drop away, where the lines separating them cease to exist, and where it's no longer important how each other carry the masculine and the feminine in "real-ationship."

It's what I'm calling "fusion."

It's melting into non-dual awareness, two breaths becoming one, the breath becoming the entry point into the "fusion" of emptiness and form into a pure blissful state of the one. It is pure concsiousness from which everything....everything....else arises.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Consort of the Goddess

She comes in beauty,
a Goddess,
a Woman,
a Friend,
a Lover,
a Poem.

The Universe smiles her name.
She lives within me.
In every star,
in every flower,
every breath of a breeze,
in everyone I meet.

She is the essence of Love,
the BE-ing of Buddha,
the Salvation of Jesus,
the Glory of the Goddess.

I am the Consort of the Goddess.
I am the one who adores her.
I am that she is.

Poem by Gary Stamper
Photo by Anyaa McAndrew

Monday, February 12, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More on Integral Relationship

Bill Harryman, Integral Options Cafe, has five excellent articles on Integral Relationship, beginning here. They are well worth reading.

Relationship as Transformation

I walked the lake alone today...
you left this morning,
off on your adventures
changing the world
changing women's lives
changing the world....

I wonder if you know
how much you've changed
my world

I walked the lake alone today....
but you were with me
every step of the way...
our way

I didn't really
walk the lake alone;
You were in my heart.

All of these posts on all of these techniques, meditations, and practices to transform my consciousness and open my heart.....when all along I was calling in conscious relationship as a way to call forth the highest and best within me. Of all the practices that can open your heart, a conscious, deliberate, open-to-the-point-of-total-surrender-relationship, grounded in who you are and your original face awareness, blending in unity, coming together as one, and yet holding the masculine and feminine polarity.....breathing in emptiness and fullness in pure non-dual bliss.

This is relationship at it's highest potential.

Photo and poem by Gary Stamper

Friday, February 09, 2007

Shamanic Breathwork and Open Heart

Hoo boy! Anyaa McAndrew's coming to Seattle next week and I get to do another session of Shamanic Breathwork! Like Big Mind (see the article below), Shamanic Breathwork can lay your heart wide open.

SeattleIntegral will be sponsoring a SBW weekend in June. Watch for more information.

Anyaa is a Shamanic/Transpersonal Psychotherapist, Ordained Priestess, Pastoral Counselor, Shamanic Astrologer, Shamanic Breathwork™ Facilitator, Imago Couples Counselor and Tantra teacher. She has a private practice and offers a variety of services. She teaches Tantra in the context of her couples counseling work and work with women.

Anyaa also teaches the Shamanic Priestess Process, intended for women only and women who are interested in expanding their spiritual life and also stepping more into their own personal and spiritual authority and “individuating from patriarchy,” all about women coming into their full, rich, beautiful and divine power.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

BIG LOVE, Big heart, Big Life

Put away all hindrances,

let your mind full of love pervade . . .
the whole wide world,
above, below, around and everywhere,
altogether continue to pervade with love-filled thought,
abounding, sublime, beyond measure.
—The Buddha

I've done Big Mind with Genpo Roshi twice, now. About much more than Big Mind, it's "Big Mind, Big Heart".....and I'm starting to think in terms of "Big Love, Big Heart, Big Life, Big Everything."

In my last post, I wrote about Open Heart and offered a way for people to actually create that opening in themselves. A new friend, Micki, reminded me last night after our SeattleIntegral/Ken Wilber Meetup, that my posting sounding a lot like Tonglen, the Buddhist meditative practice of of the first practices I learned, and I didn't make that connection.

Roger Walsh, author of Essential Spirituality, also offers a way to open one's heart to an all-encompassing love that pervades everything and everyone in the simple meditation contained within this wonderful article.

Aside from these practices (or possibly because of these practices), I'm beginning to develop an awareness of my ability to hold multiple loves in my personal life, both in and outside of the contexts of romantic love. This is still unfolding for me, but it feels like what I'm starting to think of as "Big Love."

Big Love is the ability to love all persons, and the ability to love more than one person. Polyamory, a term meaning "more than one love," doesn't quite seem to fill the bill, here, and seems to come with lot of baggage. If we're truly learning how to open our hearts fully (how possible is this?), what does that mean in the context of relationship? Does it include our sexuality, as well? What happens at later stage development that allows this "letting in and letting go" that encompasses this concept of Big Love, part of which is about more than one partner?

It seems essential that everyone within this context be pretty much at the same level of development, actually embody this "all encompassing love" awareness, and transcended above the shadow elements (jealousy, anger, fear, to name just a few) that can play havoc with relationship.

I am not suggesting everyone at later stages of development should, or could, take this on as their path, including myself. But I am suggesting we should not dismiss it out of hand for whatever reason, including culture and our own fear. I am coming to believe that anything that stretches us or makes us uncomfortable is our practice.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell

Quoting David Deida: "To become truly intimate, we must come to terms with our deepest desires to give and receive our sexual, emotional, and spiritual gifts. We may find that we are hiding some of our real desires, thinking they are unfair or taboo. Before we can learn to give and receive our deepest gifts, whether gently or wildly, we must understand why we often confine our loving, and how we can liberate the mysterious force of love which lies yearning in our hearts."

I'm working on giving up my fear of giving and receiving, and my reluctance to fully express my own desires and gifts - sexual, emotional, and spiritual desires - in intimacy. One more surrender to the total openness of who I can be, releasing me from the trap of my head.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Open Heart, Open Hands

I recently attended a discussion where I talked about how, when difficulty arose, I practiced keeping an Open Heart. Another man there asked what happened when I was through and my heart shut down, and I replied, "why would I shut my heart back down?"

What does it mean to fully open your heart? To allow whatever arises to come at you fully whether it is love, joy, or distress and pain? Sometimes even love can come to you in the form of distress. Even love can test our ability to hold an Open Heart. Ha! It is especially love that will test us!

As men, we are trained to shut things off, be strong, to be unfeeling and uncaring. Man up. How's that working for you?

It's not easy to hold an Open Heart. When it feels like you're being attacked it's the easiest thing in the world to shut down, close yourself off, thinking you're protecting yourself, when, in actuality, it's one of the worst thing we can do to ourselves. An Open Heart is the purest of love, and it can be learned. It's really quite simple.

It just takes practice. Here's way you might be able to do that.

Imagine someone in your life that you dearly love. It might be a lover, a parent, a child, a friend, whatever. Now feel into how your heart feels when you embrace them, and your heart opens to them.

Now choose an object that you can see. It might be a book, a desk, a chair, it doesn't matter. Now focus on that object, call forth the feeling of love and openness you felt for your loved one, and say to yourself, "I see this as being sacred and open my heart to it." Now, really feel into it, opening and allowing yourself to really connect with this object, concentrating on opening your heart. Practice until you can really feel yourself opening. Continue doing this with other objects throughout your day.

Next, start looking at other people the same way. At first, you'll forget, and fall back into your regular patterns, but eventually, and with enough practice, it will start to feel automatic with you. You can then apply this same learned technique, this practiced embodiment, and apply it to every situation in your life. This is the work of the Sacred Warrior.

This is particularly difficult when you're scared, or frightened that you might screw up, or that you might not be up to the task.....and there's no better time to practice. When it's happening to me, I have to be conscious of keeping my heart open, and reminding myself to always act for the highest good.

And when you master it, or when you just practice it, you'll be touching enlightenment and the very face of Spirit by whatever name you call it.

Digital image by Gary Stamper

Sacred Marriage, Part One

This is what I think second tier/third stage relationship looks like (not the picture....the article below). Aside from loving someone deeply, it's about using relationship as a path for growth and transformation. How do we do that?

From Deepak Chopra:

"People often think of relationship in terms of “convenience,” but what could be more inconvenient than having every fiber in your body touched by the timeless gifts of passion and love? Passion is not only one of the greatest gifts of life, but one of the strongest bonds of a relationship. In the early stages of a relationship, we experience attraction and infatuation. The passion born out of those stages can be intoxicating. As Rumi said, "If infatuation is madness, then I want to be crazy."

Read the entire article here.

Early Alex Grey painting.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Within, as Without....

I don't usually post stuff that isn't of a personal journey nature, but this is too beautiful not to share. These photos illustrate that our universe is not only deeply strange, but also almost impossibly beautiful.

The Divine Masculine

My previous article, The Divine Feminine, was about more than the feminine. It was also a deeply personal accounting of my own journey. Some of my very closest friends will recognize the deeper message and challenge therein, but I don't think it's necessary to know about that to get the important aspects of that blog.

What is important is how, and why, I find myself stepping up to a new way of doing relationship. New, at least, to me, and, I think, to most men. In that lies the essence of the Divine Masculine. I couldn't live the relationship I'm now living ten years ago. My consciousness would not, could not, have held it.

Ironically, it seems to me that the men's movement, in it's varied forms, has been shocked into existence by patriarchal behavior from the women's movement, and our rising need to reclaim, rediscover, and reinvent what it means to be a "man." We have surrendered to a hero image we can't possibly attain, the accumulation of wealth, disregarding everything but our own ego and power. Patriarchy is the consciousness of greed, the conqueror. We move forward, willfully, throwing our weight around and bend all before us to our will. We are the bully.

We are the sum total of all that has come before us: the Mesolithic hunters, gatherers and Neolithic farmers of matrilineal culture (7000-2000 B.C.); the Indo-European warriors emphasizing the male sky gods in the centuries of the Bronze and Iron Age (2000-800 B.C.); the turn of the millennium with the advent of Christian mythology and its concepts of dualistic division between body and soul, world and spirit and Original Sin; and finally the age of scientific rationalism. Rationalism allows for nothing supernatural and reduces the universe to a language of numerical abstraction - mathematics.

We are also the wounded warriors.

Centuries of patriarchy have numbed our souls, our feelings, our spirit, and we are beginning to awaken to the need to love and work in ways that heal our lives, and the lives of those we love, and those we want to love and want to be worthy of.

With later stage consciousness comes new awareness about the changing role of the masculine. The new masculine, this Divine Masculine, Eros, considers all other aspects, integrating and calling as many perspectives into his BE-ing as he can with fierce awareness, stretching the boundaries of what is possible. Bravely holding space for the feminine, nature, body, spirit, integrity, authenticity, wisdom and heart. The new masculine moves forward, aligning with his true purpose and the full embodiment of presence for the highest good of all beings.

Opening is a conscious choice.

In the deepest relationship I've ever been in my life (and still only five months old) I am being challenged to stretch, to step up, to be bigger than I've ever been, to be fully present with my woman, and the world. I'm in this relationship because I'm finally at a place where my consciousness can fearlessly hold it, embrace it, and fully open to it as my heart explodes in radiance and gratitude.

"Depth is your nature. You are inherently open and loving. You are openness and love. Relax as who you are, which includes woman and world. You will never master them nor escape them. They are you. The light of your consciousness appears as woman and world. The moment you drift into assumed separation, as if you could surmount or escape them, they will bite you--that's how the universe reminds itself who it is: consciousness appearing as its own radiance alive as love." -- From "Finding God Through Sex," a book by David Deida

Find out more:

The Path of the WarriorSage Trainings are Initiations into your inward journey of Awakening as a fully bloomed and embodied WarriorSage. Find out more about this FREE One-Day Introductory Workshop, or register go to

The Mankind Project TheNew Warrior Training Adventure