ISE Keynote: Why Be a Buddhist, When You Can Be a Buddha?
with Lama Surya Das

Why Be a Buddhist, When You Can Be a Buddha?

With this simple question, Lama Surya Das cuts directly to the heart of the integral spiritual impulse, hinting at a secret that lies at the center of all the world’s spiritual traditions.  It is a secret that has been hiding in plain sight for thousands of years; a secret that you yearn to discover for yourself.  You know that the world’s religious legacies represent so much more than mere codes of conduct, moral platitudes, or anthologies of myth and superstition.  At the core of every major religion we can find a treasure trove of powerful technologies for awakening, transformative practices designed to invoke in us the very same experience of fullness, transcendence, and immeasurable love as the great religious founders themselves were able to have.

That’s right—you can have the same experience that the Buddha had. You can have the same experience that Jesus Christ had.  Or that Muhammad had, or St. Teresa, or Rumi, or any other great mystic in history.  All this is abundantly available to you, at this very moment.

Why is this important?  Simple: it’s your birthright.  It’s why you are here, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous incarnation.  This is not an invitation, nor is it an obligation—it’s who you already are, right now.  All that’s left to do is to wake up.  But first, you need to know that you can wake up in this lifetime, that enlightenment is a real possibility for you and for your loved ones.  Second, you need to give yourself permission to pursue your own enlightenment.  You deserve to be awake—because in a certain sense, you already are.

This realization forms the bedrock of the 5-year Integral Spiritual Experience event, which is rapidly becoming something like “the United Nations of world spirituality.”  It is a space where teachers and leaders from any religious tradition can share their own insights, teachings, and practices with a wide community of spiritual seekers and practitioners in a truly “trans-lineage” embrace—recognizing the timeless core shared by all religions, while celebrating the vast differences between them.  After all, each religion may represent a different path up the same mountain, but each path continues to offer its own unique vantage of our shared spiritual heritage.

We recently held our first annual Integral Spiritual Experience event in Asilomar, CA over the 2009-2010 New Year, and were deeply honored to have Lama Surya Das as one of our featured keynote speakers.  An exemplary teacher of Dzogchen Buddhism, Lama Surya delivered his presentation with diamond-tipped clarity, precision, and wit.  He suggests a few ways we can carry this realization for ourselves through our day-to-day lives, while reminding us how simple it all really is: the most sublimely ordinary experience you will ever know.

Be sure to stay tuned in the coming months for more ISE keynotes (including presentations by Jean Houston, Sally Kempton, and Marc Gafni) as well as some exciting updates around our next Integral Spiritual Experience event: The Future of Love!

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!

Incubate, Don’t Procrastinate!
with Jeff Salzman and David Riordan

Have you ever felt like you were long on vision, but short on actually making it happen? If so, Jeff Salzman’s Integral Incubator is something you will want to dive into deeply. The first Incubator event hatched in November, attracting participants from seven different countries who all crowned it a wild success.

In this latest interview, Jeff explores the work/career themes that he noticed resonating in the first Integral Incubator pioneers, and how they will help shape the next Incubator event coming up in March 2010. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • How do you know that your great gift actually meets the world’s great need?
  • When do the many perspectives the world offers become distracting?
  • Can a task perseverance practice give you a shot at entering the creative flow?
  • What if the project that brings meaning to your life is… you?

So, what are you waiting for? Are you doing what you love? Does your calling support you financially? Is your success; however you define it, all that you want it to be? If your answer currently is no or you don’t know, it’s time you begin incubating your genius instead of procrastinating about enacting your unique calling in the world.

Ken Wilber’s Personal Development

with Ken Wilber

After presenting his fascinating lecture on states of consciousness, stages of consciousness, and the three kinds of “self” (see the previous videos in this series), Ken is asked to report where he is in his own growth and development, what obstacles he has faced, and where he thinks his edge currently is.

False Self, Actual Self, True Self

with Ken Wilber

Ken continues his discussion of the three kinds of self: the False Self (the broken or illusory self image), the Actual Self (the “authentic” or healthily-integrated self at any particular stage of development), and the Real Self (the timeless Self behind and beyond all manifestation).  He also talks about the two different vectors of growth, which he calls transformation (the vertical ascent through different stages of consciousness) versus translation (making sense of the world from whatever stage you happen to be at, in the healthiest way possible.)  This is a crucial distinction, especially for idealists who consider the goal of the Integral movement to be to “raise consciousness” and transform the world.  But forcing individual or cultural transformation is not only impossible, it’s really not very compassionate, as everyone has the right to plateau at whatever stage works for them and the circumstances of their lives.  Integral practitioners should not be focusing on transforming the world, but rather helping people better translate the world from wherever they might be—after all, the best way to foster and support people’s growth in the long run is to make them as healthy as possible in the short run.

Integral Profiles: Rollie Stanich. Part 2: From Communion to Integral Christianity

with Rollie Stanich and David Riordan

Many are fortunate enough to be born into a religious tradition that provides a tremendous amount of meaning for us at an early age.  But at some point in our lives, we often begin to outgrow the religious teachings of our youth.  Where do we go when these once-sacred stories suddenly appear to be little more than a collection of superstitions and hollow myths?  How do we reconcile these myths with the developmental capacity for reason and critical thinking?  Is there a way to actually deepen our relationship with our inherited religion, rather than being forced to step outside our tradition to explore more exotic paths—or worse, to abandon spirituality altogether?

These questions have been at the core of Rollie’s spiritual journey for decades now, guiding him toward more loving and more inclusive expressions of Christian scripture with each and every step.  It is clear that Rollie is going well beyond semantic interpretations of ancient words on a page.  He’s doing much more than just reinterpreting the Gospel for a new generation (an admirable and much-needed undertaking in itself)—he is actually enacting and embodying the Gospel in his day-to-day life, revealing the “uncreated light” of God’s love for all to see.

Integral Profiles: Rollie Stanich. Part 1: Who Do You Say That I Am?

with Rollie Stanich and David Riordan

Rollie Stanich has been a vital part of the emerging Integral movement for years, having previously worked as the Chief Facilitator of Integral Spiritual Center, as a former managing editor of Integral Naked from 2004-2005, and as an ongoing contributor to Integral Life.

Rollie’s spiritual path is one of contemplative Christianity—he is a practitioner of Centering Prayer and a longtime student of Fr. Thomas Keating and co-wrote and co-produced the 2008 Integral Life DVD The Future of Christianity.

In this remarkable and long-overdue interview, Rollie discusses the book he is currently writing, titled Who Do You Say That I Am?—a question Jesus asks Simon in biblical scripture.  When Simon responds “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus blesses him and changes his name to Peter—a symbol of the transformation of identity and spirit that can occur when we are able to meet Jesus exactly where we are.  Rollie talks about how this story has been taken for granted by the mythic church, accepting Simon/Peter’s response as the single correct answer to the question—even if we don’t really know what the words “Christ”, “”Messiah,” or “Son of God” actually mean.

But when Rollie is asked “Who do you say that I am?” he doesn’t hear it as a question with a single fixed answer, but as an invitation to reflect upon our own station in life, to see Christ wherever we happen to be, and to acknowledge the fact that our relationship with Christ can appear quite different at different points in our life’s journey.  Rollie’s practice of contemplation, prayer, and self-inquiry has helped him to see Christ everywhere he looks—a Christ in all four quadrants, a Christ for all states of consciousness, a Christ for all stages of development.  Christ is everywhere at once, loving us exactly where we are, while inviting us to step beyond ourselves.

Rollie is an extraordinary friend, teacher, and role model; an extraordinary example of clarity, compassion, and grace; and is dearly beloved by all who have been fortunate enough to feel the tender warmth of his heart.  Not to mention that he is clearly bringing sexy back to Christianity—and God knows that is a good thing!

Watch Now.