On Monday, October 21st Integral New York will once again be hosting author and relationship expert Martin Ucik for a boundary pushing presentation and discussion based on his latest work. He will be presenting brand new content from his soon to be published book The Evolutionary Human” and his new project: “Sex and the Future of Humanity”. We will explore questions such as:
How does your developmental stage impact who you choose as a partner?
What skills are needed to co-create healthy, sustainable love relationships?
How does your sexual selection process and mate choices impact families, neighborhoods, communities, societies and the world at large? How about the environment or the economy?
What does all of this tell us about our authentic evolutionary purpose and how we can discover it?
What are the benefits of knowing this purpose?
And, of course, Martin is continuing to explore the concepts in Integral Relationships which integrates the wisdom from over 200 relationship books placing them into Ken Wilber’s acclaimed AQAL Model. This allows you to meet your partner at his/her level of consciousness and to co-create a sustainable, healing and growth oriented love relationship
A bit more about Martin:
Martin Ucik is a German born entrepreneur who trained with Eckhart Tolle as a Power Of Now group facilitator and founded www.singles2couples.org, an Association for Healthy Relationships. His studies of Ken Wilber’s Integral Model enabled him to integrate his personal experiences as a divorced father and the wisdom from over 200 relationship books into Integral Relationships: A Manual for Men which Ken Wilber has said is “An astonishingly complete manual for men based on virtually all the elements of the Integral model, in itself a remarkable feat. And the advice is truly sound. A great book!”
For more information please visit: http://www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58/events/127091522/
Hope to see you there
Devin Martin – Life and Career Coach
On Monday I will be hosting an event led by an up and coming Enneagram expert from Switzerland named David Schroeder. He will lead us through an exploration of how knowing and working with our type can be powerful as shadow work.
All are welcome. For more information and to RSVP go here: http://www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58/events/127091402/
“Those items in the environment (people or things) that strongly affect us instead of just informing us are usually our own projections. Items that bother us, upset us, repulse us, or at the other extreme, attract us, compel us, obsess us–these are usually reflections of the shadow.”
– Ken Wilber, No Boundaries, The Persona Level
“The point of working with types is … to help us recognize the patterns operating within ourselves and others … . Once you can see a pattern, then you are no longer completely bound by it … .”
– Integral Life Practice, The Mind Module
Shadow work reduces our emotional suffering and enables us to see ourselves and others in a more realistic, undistorted way. Liberated zest for life and increased empathy are inevitable side effects.
In this mini-workshop with David we will explore how the knowledge of our Enneagram type can helps us to recognize our major shadow issues. In a set of exercises we will experiment with ways of applying this knowledge in a practical way–in the workshop, and in our daily life.
David works as a life coach and is about to complete the certification program at the Enneagram Institute in New York. Integral Theory combined with the Enneagram are two major “magic bullets” of his work.
After this mini-workshop there will be the opportunity to deepen this work on Enneagram and shadow with David in 4 evening sessions with a group of interested people.
Prior knowledge of the Enneagram and your Enneagram type is not required for this meetup.
However, gaining an overview over the 9 types and having a guess of your own type can help you to gain more individual insights. Here are two useful links to get started:
Brief overview over the 9 types:
This month at the Integral Salon we will be sitting down in a circle and having an open conversation about meditation led by our own Logan Beaux. As an intensely serious meditator at times and a non-meditator at others, I, for one, am eager for the opportunity to speak frankly about the many benefits and challenges that having a regular meditation practice presents. All are welcome. Please join us. For more info read Logan’s invite below and visit the Meetup page here.
Why is a meditation practice so hard to stick to? Do you ever tell people you meditate even though you rarely if ever actually do it? For that matter, is meditation even “worth it?” What’s so great about it, anyway?
If you’re anything like me, you think about these questions a lot. As curious thinkers and, ideally, doers, who have stepped into integral waters, we encounter plenty of advanced spiritual teachers encouraging us to embrace a sustained spiritual practice.
And I’ll be honest. If I could snap my fingers and instantly be someone who had meditated 2 hours a day for 30 years, I’d probably do it. But it’s the getting from here to there that gives me pause. And I start to think to myself, you know, a ton of people live successful, satisfying, fulfilling, kind lives without meditating. Maybe other things–losing weight, learning to deal with my shadow reactions, making more money, etc.–would be of more use to me when it comes down to it.
That’s how I usually end up justifying it to myself, anyway, haha. And, without pointing any fingers, I know a lot of us well enough to know that many of you have similar stories you tell yourself that keep you from engaging in a sustained meditation practice. Admit it!
Why is that? Why do so many of us supposedly integral people not meditate? Strange, if you think about it, right? For a group of people who embrace a model that gives such high praise to meditation?
I know I’m not alone. Join me. Let’s talk about it. I’d love to hear the stories you tell yourself about why you don’t meditate. I’d also like you to join me in shining a light on this gap between where we are and where we want to be. And if you do consider yourself a serious meditator, we want to hear from you too! Share with us how and why you stick with it.
For more info on Integral New York’s Ken Wilber Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58/
I have been involved in the Integral community here in NYC for many years, but last year, while I was off living on a mountain for a year I got to know the Asheville, NC community in well. It was great to see how another sangha has coalesced around Ken Wilber’s work, make new friends and take part in both their discussions and practice group. One of those new friends is Terry Poling, the president of Integral Leadership in Action or ILIA. ILIA puts on an annual conference featuring leaders from around the world who are “dedicated to the facilitation of the dynamically unfolding human condition while compassionately in service to all life.” It’s a great group of people with really boundary pushing ideas and endeavors. Unfortunately I can’t make it this year, but here’s some info in case you want to check it out yourself:
This past Monday I hosted another Integral Meetup. Our local hero Gilles Herrada presented a preview of his (then) upcoming presentation at the Integral Theory Conference. If you don’t know Gilles, aside from being a former leader of the Meetup with me, he is the recently published author of The Missing Myth: A New Vision on Same Sex Love, a book that asks questions such as: “If homosexual behavior is an aberration from the standpoint of reproduction, why is it widespread among humans, primates, and a myriad of other animal species, and why has it been favored by evolution?” Gilles is a brilliant thinker and researcher, so I was excited to get his take on gender and how it relates to Integral Philosophy and how all of this influences our minds creation of the experience that we call reality.
Gilles presentation went deep into the history of humanity, even looking at our closest primate relatives for clues about what traits, characteristics and behaviors we may have inherited vs. what is more likely to be a development that arose with culture. Gilles, as always, has done his research and he shared some interesting insights into the roots of our relationship with sex and gender. The really interesting points, that I wish we had a bit more time to discuss, came out at the end. Here Gilles brought into question humanities attachment to polarity as a concept and began to explore how this limits our ability to conceptualize gender, which is usually not so simple. Gilles showed us a brilliant slide challenging how we often think of polarity as a simple case of two opposites. He used the example of “light” and “dark”. Obviously opposites right? Darkness is the absence of light we tend to say. Well, what if you then take a look at what light is. It is a vast spectrum, only a small portion of which is visible to the human eye. What does the rest of it look like? Darkness. Might a similar spectrum of complexity underly many other concepts that we tend to discuss as a polarity? (such as gender)
This is an especially potent concept in the land of Integral Philosophy, where “types” is one of the 5 pillars of AQAL theory. When attempting to understand and then growing and transforming the self we quite often talk about how masculine and feminine interact. Rarely do I hear people talking about the vast spectrum that lies between. If they do, there isn’t a whole lot of elegant terminology to use. On a subtler level, one is compelled to consider how such widely accepted concepts impact our subconscious filters that limit what we sensory input we do and do not acknowledge as real. That comment hits at a rabbit hole I don’t have the space to get into here , but it is a topic that comes up often for me. Bit of a sneak peek into one area; a good friend an colleague is working on a book on just this topic. I’m not going to give away the working title or the concept just yet, but expect more from this space in the coming year. This is an area ripe for exploration.
In case you missed it. Here’s the writeup that went out for this Meetup. Stay tuned for an announcement about next months Meetup (Monday August 19th) where we will be gathering to discuss the reality of trying to maintain a regular meditation practice. Anyone who has tried knows that the benefits are HUGE….but so are the hurdles. Should be a great night. Here’s the writeup from Gilles presentation:
THE GENDER WAR: NO (INTEGRAL) END IN SIGHT (?)
What is gender? Does an integral worldview offer an increased understanding of gender and sexual roles?
Does it help us to answer questions such as
Is gender binary or a spectrum?
How tied to gender are our sexual roles?
Where do our ideas about gender come from?
Has integral theory added anything to our understanding of gender at all? If not, why not?
Join us July 15th at 7pm at One Spirit Learning Alliance as our very own Gilles Herrada gives us a preview of his upcoming Integral Theory Conference presentation on this topic. From Gilles:
Why has integral failed to offer a compelling solution to the gender issue? I believe the problem resides in the fact that the integral worldview remains tethered to the symbolic/mythic framework of the Axial Age and its so-called perennial philosophies. Despite their great wisdom, Axial/perennial philosophies are the primary cause of our confusion regarding gender and sexual roles. And it is only when axial philosophies and their genderized vision of the Kosmos are put into a historical perspective that a truly integral approach to gender and sexual roles becomes possible.
Head on over to Meetup.com to RSVP and for details on this and future events: http://www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58/
What were your major rites of passage?
Are there major transitions in your life that you feel lacked, but should have been marked by such a ritual?
I have often wondered about the hell that was my teenage years. So many seem to languish there never truly sure when they have transitioned into adulthood. In other times/cultures I might have been put through a trial or ritual. I might have tasted death. Perhaps I would have returned with a new appreciation for life. As it was, I think the closest I came to a real rite of passage was my use of psychedelics. My experiences with ayahuasca in particular were revelatory (the picture above is of the ceremony space where I was
Join me for a discussion about Rites of Passage this coming Monday, June 17th at 7pm at One Spirit Learning Alliance in NYC. I’m hosting as part of our monthly series of Integral explorations, but the evening will be led by the wonderful Mackenzie Amara. All are welcome. Here is the info on the integral group on Meetup.com. You can find out more details about the event and RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58/events/112904392/. The invitation that went out is below.
Traditionally, rites of passage are the ceremonial rituals surrounding the transition from one life stage into another. Birth, childhood to adolescence/adulthood, marriage, childbirth, adulthood to elderhood, secret society initiations, and death are some longstanding examples from indigenous communities. Anthropologist and historian Mircea Eliade explained that a rite of passage, no matter the life stage in question, opens the doors for the initiate to receive the spiritual teachings of his/her community. A rite of passage is an initiation into the cultural mythos, the spiritual wisdom of the collective.
The Western world is largely void of these ceremonial passages, a deficit that results in distinct pathologies. Psychologist Bill Plotkin refers to the Western psyche as “patho-adolescent,” meaning it possesses all of the psychological pathology of adolescence, without harnessing the evolutionary potential.
Mackenzie Amara is a student of psychology and passionate about the potential that the archetype of initiation holds for our collective evolution. In this evening’s discussion, we will explore the history and context of traditional rites of passage, what potential they hold for unlocking a collective awakening, and what modern developmental psychology has to offer us in paving this new road.
Do you remember being conceived?
How about being born? Or the time in your mothers womb?
Even if you can’t call forth specific memories might your cells or your morphogenic field hold the imprints of this time? If so, how could this be impacting your life, your decisions and your experience of the world today?
On Monday, May 20th I will be hosting an evening with Anna Verwaal, making a rare appearance from Denmark, where she will talk about just this. All are welcome. For more information on this event please visit our Meetup page here: www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58/
Using rich visuals Anna is going to present the latest findings in cellular biology and pre and perinatal psychology. You will leave you with a deep understanding of how conception, the time in the womb and the birth experience become the blueprint for the rest of our lives, physically, psychologically and emotionally. This talk is for anyone seeking understand, prevent or heal from birth imprints and trauma. This includes couples planning to conceive or currently pregnant.
This night is guaranteed to give you tremendous insights and teach you how to use this important information in personal life and professional practice.
Cellular biology and memory of the conception, womb and birth experience
The emotional, physical & medical events that affect the fetus later in life
The way prenatal and birth experiences & methods shape our beliefs and fears and show up in our lives (IVF, twins, stress, disease, induction, vacuum, C/S, prematurity, etc)
How prenatal and birth experiences can influence fertility, pregnancy, labor and giving birth
How to prevent birth trauma from happening and prepare for a conscious pregnancy and birth experience
Anna Verwaal, RN, CLE, born and educated in the Netherlands is a Maternal-Child Health Nurse, Conscious Conception & Birth Consultant, Primal Period Instructor, UCLA Certified Lactation Educator and Birth Photographer who lives in Santa Fe.
She currently travels internationally to lecture and teach workshops about the cellular memory of the birth experience, the physiological & hormonal blueprint for birth & bonding and the deeply psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of giving birth.
For more info on Anna Verwaal please visit her website: www.FromWombToWorld.com or watch her TEDx talk here:
Feb 18th I will be hosting the third in a multi-part discussion on Integral Ethics. My invite is below. For more details and to join us look here: http://www.meetup.com/kenwilber-58
Integral Ethics Part III: Sex
Integral Ethics SeriesIntegral Theory helps us hold multiple perspective; still, decisions must be made and actions taken. In that regard, one question remains largely unanswered, “does an integral worldview impose any moral imperatives?” Postmodernity, taken to the extreme, makes all perspectives equal. Integral includes honoring the relative truth of all perspectives but also reintroduces ranking. An integral perspective does not pretend that all actions are equally loving and good for the kosmos. No matter how many perspectives we honor in theory, we end up embodying the ones that we find ethical and act accordingly. The question is whether or not integral consciousness will tend to foster certain behaviors over others. Does integral have normative potential?
This Months Topic
This month we will look at how holding an integral perspective impacts our relationship to sex. Few things are guaranteed to exist through every stage of development. So far, sex is one of them. Clearly we have sex for a wide number of reasons. Even if technology someday changes the way we reproduce, it’s looking like a safe bet that we will continue to have sex. But many questions of how, why and with whom remain.
DEVELOPMENTALLY we could chart an evolution of sexual drives in many ways, from self serving, egocentric sex all the way up to kosmocentric attempts to serve the One through divine sexual communion. Does being integral and holding an awareness of this spectrum compel one to choose certain forms of sexuality over others? Does it free one up to engage all forms of sexuality without compulsion?
We must also consider different TYPES of sex. The integral sexpert David Deida makes a distinction between sex as Therapy, Sex as Yoga and Sex as Spirituality. Check out a couple of short videos of him discussing this here: David Deida on SEX
And what of sexual relationships with teachers, spiritual or otherwise? Adi-Da, Genpo Roshi, Marc Gafni, Osho, Chogyam Trungpa….the list of teachers who have engaged in sexual relationships with members of their community is a long one. What does the level of development of the teacher have to do with the ethics of such acts? How does the development of the student change this? Are there circumstances that make this more or less ethical?
For those of you who were a part of our sangha in 2009 this topic might well be an open wound. We had three separate discussions with Diane Hamilton, Marc Gafni and David Ingber revolving around the accusations that Marc Gafni had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student. Similar accusations were made again recently. Clearly this topic remains unresolved.
There is the question of monogamy. Martin Ucik, author of Integral Relationships, has been exploring this question with the community recently. He and I have discussed the possibility of monogamy and non-monogamy unfolding over many levels, but the highest levels are only now being created as we step into the largely uncharted territory of the more transpersonal levels of development. How does polyamory fit into all of this? Or polygamy? This topic is a potential minefield of Pre/Trans Fallacies. How do we balance judgement and acceptance, pride and shame?
And what of same sex love? I, for one, am very excited to read our very own Gilles Herrada’s new book “The Missing Myth” which explores the history of this topic and offers “A New Vision of Same Sex Love”. Our country and the world at large are in the middle of a contentious debate about the ethics of same-sex love. What insights does an integral perspective offer?
We will be rolling around in these and many more topics on Monday February 18th. Please join us, and bring your partner.
On Monday Integral New York (disclosure: I am an organizer) hosted Alexander Belser for a presentation and discussion titled “Taking Mushrooms Before Dying: Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy”. Belser and his research team at New York University are part of a small group of scientists who, in recent years, have gotten government approval to conduct studies on the potential health effects of psilocybin, the active compound in “magic mushrooms”. Currently, psychedelic mushrooms are a schedule 1 drug. This makes them the most illegal of all drugs. Schedule 1 is defined as a category of drugs not considered legitimate for medical use with a high potential for abuse (addiction).
Belser was quick to point out that there is no scientific evidence for either of these claims about psilocybin. In years past, when research was allowed, and now in recent years, as it has begun again, scientists are actually gathering data to the contrary. Far from being damaging, psychedelic use is again and again shown to have a wide range of positive effects on those who partake. Belser’s study looks at anxiety levels in those with cancer or a history of cancer. Most of these people live in constant fear of a disease that could claim their lives in a very short period of time. Anything that could help alleviate their suffering is worth exploring. Lucky for us, psilocybin appears to be a potent treatment.
The NYU study is ongoing. Their 2010 paper was the first time a paper like this has come out in a prestigious psychiatric journal in 40 years. Behavioral Biologist Roland Griffiths from John Hopkins University was quoted saying that this “demonstrates that such research can be conducted safely and that doses have palliative effects.” It is worth noting that this population is not generally regarded as responding well to psychological therapies. In stark contrast to the minimal results from months of therapy, participants in psychedelic research regularly report not only large state shifts during the experience, but overall quality of life improvements that carry on for months or more. Besler reported that it is not uncommon for participants to cite this one psychedelic experience as one of the most important events in their lives.
Other evidence for the positive effects of psychedelics is piling up across the country. MDMA is an effective treatment for severe P.T.S.D. LSD has been shown to greatly reduce symptoms in people with cluster headaches. Psychedelics have been recently examined as treatment for alcoholism and other addictions. There is a growing history outside the US of using the african root iboga to treat both heroin and alcohol addiction. Researchers in London are using M.R.I. to scan peoples brains to see what regions are effected. It is documented that in people who suffer from severe depression regions such as the anterior cingulate cortex are overactive and psilocybin may work to shut it down. My own speculation is that rather than a specific effect within the brain researchers would be better served studying its potential adaptogenic (non-specific) potential within the entire human body/mind system.
Officially, the NYU study is a Phase II randomized double blind placebo-controlled crossover study investigating the effect of psilocybin on end-of-life anxiety in patients with advanced cancer. They give people mushrooms and see what impact this has on their life. At the meetup we got to watch a 10 minute clip of one of the participants describing her experiences with the study. She is an intelligent, well spoken retired medical health professional. Her experiences were profound and transformative. To say that taking psychedelics reduced the anxiety surrounding her cancer would be an understatement of the largest degree. Her entire life was impacted by this one dose of psilocybin and she had not one negative side effect to mention. You should see the way her eyes shine when she describes months later spontaneously dancing in the kitchen with her husband in the morning. Her experience re-ignited something in her that is ineffable, but easy to feel when you see her speak.
Those of us with personal experience using psychedelics likely find this science reassuring but largely unnecessary. Other than the occasional anecdote about “the guy who thinks he’s a glass of orange juice and is afraid you are going to tip him over because of a bad trip” we have witnessed ourselves and others accessing expanded states of consciousness leading to feelings of love, connection, empathy, joy and probably had a few good laughs along the way. Psychedelic experiences, such as my own that I wrote about on ayahuasca in Brazil can certainly be terrifying, sad and difficult to endure. But in my experience when the set and setting are correct, when the approach to these powerful substances is sacred and not casual, the benefits far outway the costs and the most harrowing experiences lead to the greatest and most long lasting positive insights and transformations.
Before we left I asked Belser if he personally was hopeful for a rescheduling of psilocybin to make it less illegal or even legal. He said that he is hopeful and offered marijuana as a model for how mushroom legality could evolve over the coming years. Legally there are no significant efforts underway to change the legality of mushrooms, but scientific evidence is hard to argue against in a court of law and currently all of the available evidence disagrees with the letter of the law. This I find hopeful indeed.
Do you know the difference between Sex as Therapy, Sex as Yoga and Sex as Spirituality?
Do you want to?
Love David Deida’s descriptions in these videos.
This man is AMAZING!
1st – What is Sex as Therapy?
2nd – A BEAUTIFUL metaphor explaining all 3