Integral Mindfulness moves beyond the "waking up" which is the focus of contemplative practices such as mindfulness mediation, to "growing up," broadening and deepening the interpretation and understanding of life experiences and "cleaning up" the shadow elements of personality as well as one's developmental traumas and attachment issues which can have a negative impact on awakening as well as stabilization of both higher states of consciousness (waking up) and stage of structural development (growing up).
A daily, disciplined Integral Mindfulness practice provides a supportive path for "showing up" to life as an integrated, truly authentic and embodied human being.
The program combines the comprehensive map of Ken Wilber's Integral Theory, core elements of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and core elements of somatic psychology, attachment theory and trauma resolution. An integral perspective provides a comprehensive view of ourselves and the many variables influencing our experience of reality and our beliefs about who we are, who others are and our place in the world. By holding the many variables laid out in Integral theory (i.e. quadrants, lines, levels, states, types) under a mindful gaze, we become aware of our strengths and weaknesses, where we are stuck, where we are limiting our potential to grow and connect meaningfully with others. As we increase our self-understanding, we are in a better position first to recognize these blockages and then to make the changes that will lead us to a richer, more peaceful and meaningful life. You might enjoy this article about "Integral Mindfulness" a book by Keith Witt, PhD that along with Ken Wilber's "Integral Meditation" and other Integral authors and practitioners, will provide the framework for this programs.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a popular life-enrichment program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is considered by many to be "the gold-standard of mindfulness training programs." MBSR has over 30 years of supportive clinical research and is taught by a host of skilled facilitators around the world - including your's truly. Over the past 15 years I (John) has had the honor and pleasure of facilitating this powerful program with hundreds of participants. Jordan has joined me on this journey for the past few years adding an engaging balance and a broader perspective to the mix. While there are many aspects of MBSR that contribute to its power to transform lives, a few key elements seem essential to its effectiveness. We use these key elements as part of the foundation for our Integral Mindfulness programs. These key elements are:
- Cultivation of mindfulness - Mindfulness is being aware of what’s happening within and outside of the body/heart/mind without the usual overlay of decision, judgment and commentary or the fear, anxiety or confusion that so often arise from this conditioned internal dialogue
- Shift of perspective from narrow (fearful, constricted, isolated and urgent) to open (safe, expansive, connected and relaxed)
- Ability to detect subtle bodily sensations including minor tensions and contractions associated with reactive patterns/habits/emotional triggers
- Capacity to rest in discomfort with equanimity, the ability to maintain clear/focused mind, relaxed body and open heart
- Willingness to assume responsibility for one's life and the choices one makes
- Learn more about MBSR
Integral Theory is a comprehensive map of how we view reality and how we effectively can find our place in it. The integral map takes into consideration a large number of variables and in doing so provides a panoramic view of this thing we call "me," the environment we move about in and the people with whom we interact. The integral map reveals many aspects of the territory of life through offering perspectives from multiple angles and vantage points. These include:
- Quadrants (i.e. intentional, subjective, I; behavioral, objective, It; cultural, inter-subjective,We; and social, inter-objective, Its)
- Lines of development (e.g. physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive, interpersonal...)
- Levels of development (e.g. egocentric, ethnocentric, world-centric, geocentricism...)
- States of consciousness (e.g. gross, subtle, causal, witness, non-dual...)
- Types (e.g. personality - Myers-Briggs, Enneagram; gender...)
Learn more about Integral Theory:
Our Integral Mindfulness programs bring these two recognized models together and, being true to the integral model, adds other elements including:
- Somatic Psychology - how the body, brain and emotions relate and interact particularly within relationships.
- Attachment theory - early childhood conditioning, how it impacts adult relationships and how to work with these issues.
- Trauma Resolution - working with the residual energy in the body to break the disturbing connections from the past that all too often intrude into the present. (e.g. the work of Peter Levine, Bessel van derKolk).
- Shadow work - bringing the unconscious, denied or suppressed aspects of our personality into conscious awareness. In these programs, this is done with the supportive "mirroring back" among members of the group.
- Interpersonal (partnered) Meditation practices - using mindfulness within relationships as a means of discovering and beginning to heal personal issues while deepening one's meditation practice.
A major focus of our Integral Mindfulness programs is relationship. As so much of what adults struggle with has roots in interpersonal history (e.g. family of origin, dating, marriage), it seems reasonable that it will be within relationships that these issues will come up most powerfully and create the most distress. Likewise, as these issues stem from mis-connection within relationship, it is supportive relationships that hold the greatest potential for healing, transformation and growth. In these powerful programs, a safe container is created and held within which group members can find a deep, body-felt sense of safety, a safe place to practice being open, honest and vulnerable - the key elements of deep healing, personal and spiritual growth. Jordan and I hope you'll join us on this transformational journey!
If you have any questions, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 502 727 2996.