Integral Life: Best of 2009

February 3, 2010

Integral Life: Best of 2009

Last year was a pretty incredible year for Integral Life. Since launching the website in late 2008, we’ve published a staggering amount of new content around almost every conceivable topic: spirituality, politics, art, business, sexuality, personal growth, etc. With such rich diversity of subject matter, it can be easy to feel lost in a sea of integral media—something we would like to help you with. So we decided to compile some data, crunch some numbers, and squeeze the results through our own patented perspectival algorithms, and are now happy to present you with your own selections for the Best Media of 2009. Enjoy!

3 Easy Steps to Transform Your New Year’s Resolution

The way you set your intentions at this time is critical. In the past, even your best and strongest of intentions have faltered in the face life’s obstacles. This quick 3-step technique will transform your resolution into a powerful tool for growth and clarity in the new year. Your friends will soon ask you how that resolution is going, expecting the same old answer. Instead, you will say, “It’s changing my life!”

The Kosmos Trilogy, Vol. II, Excerpt G: Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Subtle Energies

by Ken Wilber

You’ve heard it before: The whole universe is made of energy. Nothing can be created or destroyed, only changed. We’re all made of the same stuff, just stardust looking back at the stars. Observations like these have become cliche for new age spirituality–sincere attempts to divinize the universe, perhaps, but often founded upon hazy understanding of both science and spirituality.  Though it is true that there is an energetic component to everything in the universe, without defining just what we mean by “energy”, or discussing the many different kinds of energy, or how these different kinds of energy work and interact with each other, we are just reciting empty platitudes.  Fortunately, Ken Wilber has given a lot of thought to the relationship between matter, energy, and consciousness, culminating in this exquisite essay on subtle energies.  Here he presents a comprehensive taxonomy of energy, ranging from dense physical energies like weak/strong nuclear forces and electromagnetism, all the way to the subtlest energies associated with the most advanced states of enlightenment. This is a rather advanced essay, which may require some prior understanding of Integral theory, but one that may very well change the way you think about the natural world.

The following is an excerpt from the first draft of volume 2 of the Kosmos trilogy, tentatively titled Kosmic Karma (volume 1 of that trilogy was Sex, Ecology, Spirituality).  This excerpt suggests a coherent and comprehensive theory of the many approaches to subtle energies, their origin, nature, and development.  This particular excerpt comes toward the end of the volume, which means that somebody reading this excerpt will not have the benefit (or the torture) of having read the first part of the book.  I will therefore present a brief introduction, followed by an integral approach to subtle energies.

The first two excerpts from Kosmic Karma (“An Integral Age at the Leading Edge” and “The Many Ways We Touch”) can be found here; they explain the general approach itself.  “AQAL” (pronounced ah-quil) is short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types,” which is the metatheory of the integral approach, and which will be explained as we go along.

Right Bucks

December 23, 2009

Right Bucks

by Ken Wilber

The Dharma is free.  No one should charge money for teaching or transmitting Dharma.  Dharma that touches money is no dharma at all.  Selling the Dharma—there is a root of all evil.  The Dharma offered freely and without charge to all who seek it: there is purity, nobility, an honorable disposition.

And so goes the strange antagonism between Dharma and dollars.  In dealing with this issue of money and Dharma—or money and spirituality in general—there are at least two very different items that need to be teased apart and addressed separately.  The first is the appropriate monetary value of any relational exchange (from medical care to education to goods and services in general); and the second is, should monetary exchange ever be linked to Dharma teaching…?

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Beauty and the Expansion of Women’s Identity

by Vanessa Fisher

The history of women’s beauty is written in bodily gestures that express both the constraints of their culture as well as the unfolding desire of their interiority. Embracing the power of beauty has always been problematic for feminism and for good reason. We have yet to create a language for our own yearning or find an expression for our own radiance that could also embrace other women rather than attempt to outshine them. We have yet to acknowledge that our expression of beauty itself has an evolution that continually expands our embodiment through a process of reclaiming gestures. This article offers an AQAL analysis of the current views that dominate feminist discourse on women’s beauty. It is also a personal story of my own ongoing journey as a young woman trying to reclaim my beauty, for the benefit of all beings.

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Integral Art and Literary Theory (excerpt from The Eye of Spirit)
Ken Wilber

A pièce de résistance in its own right, here Ken Wilber walks us through his integral process of art interpretation and takes an in-depth look at a famous painting by Van Gogh of a pair of worn shoes.

The State of the Integral Enterprise. Part 1: Current Status
Roger Walsh and Ken Wilber

The State of the Integral Enterprise is the headline article in the latest edition of JITP, based on Roger Walsh’s keynote address at the 2008 Integral Theory Conference. At the conference, Roger was asked to provide some reflective comments that would help the field see itself, especially its blind spots and shadows. Roger delivered in spades! Not only were his points and illustrative stories poignant, but he also gave a dynamic and entertaining delivery. (It turns out he spent some time as a stand-up comic. Who would have guessed?). He covers topics that will interest the entire Integral Life community, including how we can optimize the impact of integral ideas, fighting developmental complacency, and what kind of traps await us at each stage.

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