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    Dear Friends,


    At 8:30 PM on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, while Becca and I were watching a movie, I had a grand mal seizure that was quite severe.  Although these are common with CFIDS/REDD/ME, it has only happened once to me before, as far as I can tell.  A really major grand mal seizure can kill you.  Although this one didn’t do that, it came damn close, and was in any event severe enough to precipitate ten more equally severe seizures—one after another after another.  By the time they got me to the ER and stabilized—about 12 hours later—not only had I suffered around a dozen grand mal seizures in a row, I had essentially flat-lined three times and had the electric paddles applied to my chest three times—overall, a pretty gruesome ordeal. 


    Every one of the eight physicians (each specialists) who worked on me, told me afterwards that they honestly did not think I would pull through.  The good news is that I got several nights of really terrific sleep—actually I didn’t come to until three days later, in part because I was kept unconscious inasmuch as most patients panic if they awaken on all the life support systems I was hooked up to—no real polite way to say all this, but there was a tube up my ass, one in my penis, major catheters in the groin and carotid, and for three days was intubated (which means a breathing tube inserted past your larynx and into your lungs).  My tongue was nearly bitten off in several places, and it was swollen to the extent it completely filled my mouth—basically it was the size of a tangerine, making intubation necessary for me to breath.  I also had what’s known as aspiration pneumonia (which means that during several of the seizures, I vomited into my lungs, where the stomach acid eats away the lung tissue, leaving it open to serious infection, which is what happened).  Creatine levels, which they wanted under 5000 before I could leave, were over 150,000.  This could be an indication of extremely serious and irreversible kidney damage, making dialysis a life-long necessity.  It was pretty easy to see why the doctors didn’t think I would make it.


    During the three days and nights that I was unconscious, there actually was quite a bit of conscious activity going on in me—half of which was quite familiar, and half of which was just plain weird.  On the one hand, there was ever-present Big Mind and an awareness of one’s True Nature.  On the other hand, I kept dreaming that I was in this really strange room of blue and pink pastels done up in a rather wretched aesthetic.  I kept thinking, “This is a horrible dream—actually, with that color combination, it’s more like a nightmare”—and then I would think that I have really got to wake up.  Then I would shake my head really hard, open my eyes, and find myself in that same wretched room.  I distinctly remember that happening at least three times.  This wasn’t happening to the frontal personality of Ken Wilber (who often wasn’t present); it was simply happening as a modification of Big Mind.  That’s one of the wonderfully weird things about that part of the experience; instead of Big Mind dreaming an entire Kosmos, it was simply dreaming this wretched pastel room.  Big Mind was awake as Big Mind, and I was fully aware of, or rather as, that.  That wasn’t what was bothering me.  What was bothering me is why nondual awareness couldn’t shake off this horrid little pastel display (it reminded me of the last words of Oscar Wilde.  The last thing he is reputed to have said on his deathbed was, “Either me or those drapes have got to go.”) 


    On the fourth (or technically, third and a half) day, when Ken Wilber awoke, there was considerable confusion about this Ken Wilber character.  Big Mind was still Big Mind, no problem; the external nightmare of the pastel room had been replaced with the “objective reality” (i.e., relative reality) of the actual pastel room—no problem there either, ugly as the room was.  But I couldn’t remember anything about this KW fellow.  As a matter of fact, all short-term memory had been thoroughly scrambled.  During the three-day period that I was “unconscious,” I had at least one and possibly two experiences that were roughly similar to the near-death experience of light and tunnel (probably when they were using the electric paddles to stabilize my heartbeat).  But even then it didn’t involve any choice that a Ken Wilber was making.  KW just wasn’t there (the “choice” about whether to come back or not had to do with the destiny of the Integral Vision in today’s world; and I had fully consented to come back and serve that Vision, but there was no “me,” just ever-present nondual awareness.  But even then I remember thinking this is the kind of dilemma or “choice” that regularly arises on a day-to-day basis, and so there was nothing especially new here).  But it was after I had regained normal consciousness, sometime on the fourth day, that there was confusion for the first time, because this KW personality was starting to form, in addition to Big Mind and objective room.   


    The next several days were pretty intense, to put it mildly.  First of all, it was pretty clear that my tongue was in a pretty bad way.  For quite some time I thought it had literally been bitten off, and that I might never speak again, or that if so, it would require extensive reconstructive surgery.  Even more concernful to me, however, was that several doctors had, no doubt trying to prepare me, began indicating that they were following my kidney function carefully, because the kidneys were about as sick as they could possibly be and this might indicate I would need dialysis for the rest of my life, a truly unpleasant prospect.  


    I’ll have those who were there speak more directly to this issue, since they witnessed it, but, despite all of the true gruesomeness of the situation, I remember my distinct and first concern was the personnel who came into the room—making them feel at home, making them feel comfortable, making them feel happy, making them aware of their own True Nature to whatever extent possible.  As I said, I’ll have a few others address that in a moment, but I believe to a large extent this succeeded.  Odd as it might sound, that hospital room became a place of true joy and happiness for pretty much everybody on the sixth floor of the Intensive Care Unit.  (Of course, I had been trained by the best in this—Treya.)  But that room lit up with laughter and light and so much care…. 


    Still, this was without doubt the most horrific experience my life, and I commented frequently to friends that I honestly didn’t see how people who didn’t meditate could possibly endure something like this, let alone make it an occasion for levity and luminosity.  And not just meditation.  The doctors told me that the only reason I survived was that I was in such good physical shape at the beginning of the ordeal.  When people started asking how I managed to get through something like this, I therefore started joking, “Meditate and eat your veggies.” 


    In other words, get Integral. 


    Which is what a lot of the physicians and nurses started looking into during our stay.  By the time I came to, pretty much everybody had googled me and were well into starting their education on Integral Medicine.  I stayed in Intensive Care two more days and then was transferred to another floor for another two days, and much of that time was spent in wonderful discussions with the entire staff on what Integral meant, and especially on the necessity of Integral Medicine—which they all intuitively understood is necessary, but I don’t think any of them really had a framework that actually worked—up until now, anyway.  We brought books up for everybody, and I ended up signing probably 20 or more books all with variations on, “Thank you very much for helping to save my life….”


    When I said “our” stay, it really was plural.  As has happened in the past, Colin, Rollie, and Becca stayed with me 24 hours a day (or took shifts doing so).  They made an absolutely hellish circumstance so much easier to tolerate.  I still had tubes coming out of virtually every opening in my body (at least I didn’t have to get up and go to the bathroom); was strapped down so as to not accidentally pull needles or catheters out; had major needles still in my neck and groin and catheters in penis and anus; and, at this point, had not been able to even sit up for four days.  I still could feel no tongue at all (just a round ball, about the size of a tangerine, that filled my mouth); kidney functions were improving, but were still alarmingly high.  Having these dear friends there around the clock was truly a godsend.  During all that time, even with all the horrifying news, I don’t think anyone ever saw me upset or angry or even irritated—but acts of kindness would just start me sobbing, and there was so much love and kindness shown by all of them it was so extraordinarily touching. 


    So, how am I doing now?  Essentially, really well.  Once I regained consciousness (i.e., gross-body consciousness), things seemed to improve quickly and dramatically.  I am now over the aspiration pneumonia, and, most important of all, it looks like my kidneys have not suffered any serious permanent damage.  This is really good news.  I used to joke that the only major reason for having kids was for organ donors; since I don’t have any kids, I really would have gotten stuck on four hours of dialysis several times a week, not to mention all the peripheral damage.  The one lingering problem is that I have one hell of a lisp.  I’m told that it will continue to significantly improve; the tongue is so highly vascular that it has a high degree of healing capacity.  But for the next month or two, if you talk to me, you’ll see what I mean by “one hell of a lisp.”  I was thinking about having a t-shirt made that said: “I Had Twelve Grand Mal Seizures and All I Have to Show for It is This Stupid Lisp.” 


    (The first day that I had regained consciousness, and before I knew that I would regain any speech capacity at all, I knew that the staff at Integral Naked and I-I would of course be primarily concerned for my health as a friend, but that they also couldn’t help but be worried sick that this might mean the end of Integral Naked, because I could no longer talk, and because Integral Naked is our primary source of income, the end of I-I as well.  So I spent the better part of that day trying to think of some way to handle that situation and thus mitigate their worry as much as possible, and finally hit upon what seems to be a really terrific idea.  I leaned over and whispered to Colin, “I figured out how to save Integral Naked—let the staff know.”  He lit up when I wrote the idea down, and agreed it would work.  Basically, the idea—a version of which we still intend on doing while my mouth continues to heal—is that I will ask each of our Integral Naked guests to pick one of their best friends and interview them for IN, and then we would carry that—in a sense, a guest host and a guest guest.  This could bring us over a year’s worth of absolutely fascinating dialogues by and with some of the coolest people around.  All of us still just love this idea—which happened under the oddest of circumstances, because I was still strapped down in bed on my back; I didn’t have to get up to urinate or defecate because the catheters coming out of my body automatically handled that; I didn’t have a tongue, but more what looks like a golf ball; and worst of all, I’m in this horrid little pastel room.  Anyway, despite whatever fortitude with which I may have handled the thought of not being able to speak again, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to slowly have speech returning.  This stupid little lisp is the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard.) 


    The other thing you might notice when you first talk with me is that lots of short-term memories are still reassembling themselves.  Sometimes even really obvious things—from a person’s name to even who they might be—need to be mentioned, but once they are, everything falls back into place.  So don’t worry if we are talking and I ask you to remind me of several really obvious things; also, if there seems to be something important about a topic that I’m not reflecting, don’t be shy in mentioning it.


    What Caused the Seizures?


    Initially, there was quite some confusion among authorities on exactly what caused this series of seizures.  Several orthodox doctors believe it was caused by Neurontin, one of the prescription medications that I am on for CFIDS/REDD/ME.  That never made sense to me, for several reasons: (1) I’ve been on this amount of Neurontin unchanged for several years; (2) the primary reasons Neurontin is prescribed is precisely because it’s an anticonvulsant and reliably prevents seizures.  Neurontin really isn’t even a drug; it’s a simple sugar, much like table sugar; and experts such as Teitelbaum recommend doses up to 6 grams.  Although you can’t rule out paradoxical affects of any med, this explanation never made much sense.  I don’t do street drugs, so it wasn’t that (indeed, that was one of the first things the ER tested for).  At one point it seemed somehow connected to a CPAP machine, but that didn’t hold much water, either.


    When the intensive care doctors asked me what I thought it was, the first thing I always said was that we can’t rule out the most obvious: it comes with the territory of CFIDS/REDD/ME.  In fact, the reason that this illness is often referred to as M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is that, as one of it’s leading authorities, Byron Hyde M.D., put it, “By definition, all M.E. patients will have some level of seizure activity as part of their illness.” And as for types of seizure activity, a standard comprehensive guide to M.E. lists them as: “simple partial seizures, petite mal seizures, and grand mal seizures.” 


    I had not had, to my knowledge, any major seizure activity up until this point, and so I had simply assumed I had lucked out on that symptom.  However, it now appears almost certain that the incident around a year and a half ago where I broke my shoulder actually involved a grand mal seizure.  We’d always assumed that I had gotten up in the middle of the night, pitch black, on a slippery wooden floor, and taken a dive.  That probably happened, but it never made sense at the time that I couldn’t remember the actual accident itself—incidences that painful are rarely forgotten (whereas with grand mal seizures there is usually total amnesia).  Besides, my tongue was banged up quite badly and I had popped a crown, all symptomatic of possible seizure.  Put that incident together with this recent one and there is little doubt in my mind about the cause.  The good news in all of this is that, as deeply unpleasant as these last two weeks have been, at least I now know about it and am on dilantin, the top-of-the-line med for seizures.  If this incident had happened any place other that a few blocks away from the finest ER in Colorado, I’d be dead.  All in all, I consider myself one lucky boy. 


    A Few Other Perspectives


    Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this, it can be so self-serving, but so many have asked how things really went in the ICU, I asked the three folks staying with me to respond:



    [From Colin]


    On December 8th I had posted a short blog explaining that Ken was in the Intensive Care Unit and to please send him all the love and healing energy you possibly could, through prayer, tonglen, or simple loving-kindness.  Well, excellent job everyone, because 24 hours later Ken regained consciousness wondering what all the gosh-darn fuss was about.  We decided not to blog publicly about this event until we had a better understanding of the situation, which, thank goodness, is much clearer today than it was then. 


    Towards the end of his stay at Chateau de Hospital, I was astounded to notice that Ken looked happier, healthier, and more rested than I’d ever seen him.  He looked, I kid you not, twenty years younger.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more radiant, energetic, and wickedly funny hospital patient.  I know the folks in the ICU had never seen anything like Ken before—the doctors weren’t cheering Ken up, Ken was cheering the doctors up!  Ken made sure that everyone who entered that room left happier than when they arrived, and many doctors and nurses told us, “It’s patients like you that make this whole job worth it.”  One doctor even told us, “My career was at a point that it really needed something like this.”  It truly became a room of love, light, and levity….





    [From Rebecca]


    Ken's surprisingly ubiquitous and inviting sense of humor has not only kept him alive and well during this otherwise bleak and unexpected hospital stay, but has also (and just as importantly) lit many fires in many others—fires that actualize immediate and visible bridge-building between heart and mind leading directly to experiential and causal communion among absolutely everyone with whom he came in contact, whether they were consciously aware of it or not.  Ken often uses humor as transmission: levity = light = luminosity (“vast emptiness, nothing sacred”), and it was apparent constantly.


    The doctors and nurses who visited him showed their happiness: one brought him home baked cinnamon rolls, many googled his work on the internet before their shifts with him, and still more were grateful to receive signed copies of their book of choice by the famous author.  And they were aware that something extraordinary was going on.  Ken’s primary physician, who doesn’t often gush, said, “Well, we think they’re going to name a species after you….” 


    I am so very grateful for how adeptly his unyielding humor, good spirits and open warm-heartedness have bloomed and left their mark in this quick healing.  Now his full efforts have returned to sharing with YOU and for YOU, his integral life vision. THANK YOU DEARLY FOR YOUR LOVE AND PRAYERS. You are all forever in ours. Yours, Rebecca Maria Carlson



    [From Rollie]


    I'm humbled by the honors bestowed upon me in the past couple of years: to meet, work with, and study with a man who writes as none other.  And through the past couple of weeks, I've had perhaps the greatest honor of all: that of sitting with Ken Wilber, keeping vigil as he fought for his life in Intensive Care, and walked steadily and surely back toward health.


    All of us were speechless after my Blackberry rang with news of Ken's hospitalization.  Five of us from Integral Institute had just begun our "Date with Destiny" in Palm Springs at Ken’s good friend Tony Robbins' invitation.  After consulting with one another, it became apparent that none of us had the heart to stay, given the news from home.  Even as Tony began to address the crowd, we spoke with his wife Sage, who conveyed the concern that they shared for Ken.  She assured us of her prayers, and we began the journey back to Denver.  The journey was spent partly in silence, and partly in some of the most extraordinary conversations I have ever partaken in.  Each of us echoed what was soon apparent as a worldwide phenomenon: the hope and the faith that Ken Wilber had not yet spoken his last word.  Prayers and good wishes poured in from every corner of the globe, so much so that it began to look like Ken would eclipse even Barbaro the race horse as the sentient being for whom the most candles were lit on Br. David's website,


    Nomali met me at the airport and we drove straight to the hospital, hurrying toward the ICU.  There we met Colin, Roger Walsh, and Stuart, Marci and Ara Davis.  We shared some quiet moments with them, then walked into Ken's room.  I don't know that I had ever seen him with such quiet strength.  We sat with him for a time and I uttered the words closest to my heart, somehow knowing that they would be heard and received.


    Ken's progress defied all expectations.  His vital signs quickly approached normal levels, and within a day or so he came back to consciousness.   I have never seen someone quite so glad to see me as Ken was that day.  And in that moment I knew him to be something beyond my boss; something beyond my teacher.  I knew him to be deeply my friend.


    Soon, it seemed to me, the ICU became an altogether and uncharacteristically festive place.  Ken was having a grand old time with the doctors and nurses, signing books and discussing his work.  More than a few of them Googled him on their breaks, and came to know that the patient in Room 600 was not a typical one.


    To me, the surest sign that Ken was doing well was a phone message I received one night just prior to driving to the hospital.  It was Ken, saying he looked forward to seeing me, and wondering if I might stop by McDonald's and "pick up 3 or 4 cheeseburgers, a Big Mac, large fries and a chocolate shake."  In that moment, I knew that all was well (especially since he normally doesn’t eat like that!).


    I sat with Ken during the night shifts.  It was an incredibly powerful time, as I sat in prayer with him and over him, and health returned, quickly, quietly.  As is his habit, he rose early in the morning hours, and we talked, laughed, and shared more deeply than we ever had.


    It was with great joy that he returned to the loft, which we affectionately began referring to as "the farm," home to two dogs and a brand new piglet.  Ken was incredibly happy to see Bodhi and Kailin, and to meet LeeLoo for the first time.  Things have slowly begun to get back to "normal," as normal as can be surfing the Integral Wave, with its exhilarating rushes and its occasional wipeouts!  I treasure those moments in Room 600 and the knowledge they've imparted of the gift of life, ever precious, ever precarious.  And I am grateful beyond words for another day in the life of Ken Wilber, and another day in my own life.  May I use it well....







    The medical team I had really was the finest ER team in Colorado, and they really did save my life.  But, as orthodox physicians, they knew pretty much nothing about CFIDS/REDD/ME.  I had to point out to each of them that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta) had finally conceded that not only is this a brutally real illness, it’s approaching epidemic proportions.  The CDC now estimates that at least one million Americans have this illness, although expert opinion puts it at at least double that.  More people have it than have HIV, and quality of life studies indicate that the quality of life for those with active CFIDS is comparable to those undergoing chemotherapy.  The parameters of this illness are actually fairly well understood.  The exact trigger mechanism is not yet known, but it’s mechanism of action is—it involves the damaging of the human body’s production of the enzyme RNase.  This defective enzyme then begins to dissolve the body’s own RNA, and does so in literally every cell in the body, which is why so many different organ systems can end up involved.  There is now even a test for this defective enzyme that is 95% accurate.  All the other symptoms of this illness are caused by this central mechanism, which is why the only really accurate name for this illness is REDD (RNase Enzyme Deficiency Disease).  “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)” is almost a complete misnomer, first, because it’s not really fatigue but paralysis that one experiences when there is a flare-up; and second, because that “fatigue” is the least of your worries in any event (it’s definitely a problem, but quite far down on a list that includes everything from seizures to organ failure).  For years now there has been a concerted effort to get the name changed, but so far the only alternative to CFS that one sees in this country is CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome)—which is at least a slight improvement since the immune system is one of those systems hit hardest.  In Britain it is referred to as M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)—reflecting the neurological damage that is in fact quite similar to M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis).  As “A Hummingbird’s Guide to M.E.” puts it: “In reality having M.E. is like having parts of Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Alzheimers, Arthritis and Epilepsy all mixed together at once, with some extra horrific symptoms thrown in that are entirely its own.  M.E. is a neurological illness of extraordinarily incapacitating dimensions that affects virtually every bodily system—not a problem of ‘chronic fatigue.’” 


    For those of you who would like more information on this syndrome, the aforementioned Hummingbird’s Guide is one of dozens of sources of information that have finally become available that are quite accurate and useful.  The resources they recommend are also ones that I highly recommend.  Also check out and my own discussion of this illness and how it has affected me can be found here (as well as “A Sudden Illness” by Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit).


    Karma and Illness


    I’ve dealt extensively elsewhere with the concept of karma and illness—in Grace and Grit, for example, and more recently in Excerpt A of volume 2 of the Kosmos Trilogy.  But it remains one of the most confused areas of understanding imaginable.  I’m not going to get into it at any length here, but just let me make a few very brief points.  Many people hear of situations like this, or perhaps suffer similar ones themselves, and imagine it must somehow be retribution for some horrendous crime in one’s past.  But keep in mind that karma doesn’t mean that what happened earlier in this life is finally catching up with you; the orthodox doctrine of karma actually means something that happened to you in a previous life.  According to the doctrine of karma, in this life you are reading a book that you wrote in a previous life.  Many people draw the erroneous conclusion that because, e.g., they used to yell at their spouses, they now have throat cancer—but that’s just not the way it works.


    As a matter of fact, from at least one angle, the “bad things” that are happening to you now actually indicate a good fruition—it means your system is finally strong enough to digest the past karmic causes that led to your present rebirth.  So if you were reborn—that is, if you are alive in a body right now—then you have already horrifically sinned, and unless you work it off in this lifetime, guess what?  You’re coming back.   Illness itself does not cause more karma; your attitude towards illness, however, does.  Therefore, if you are undergoing some extremely difficult circumstances right now, and you can meet those difficulties with equanimity, wisdom, and virtue, then you are doubly lucky—the causes that led to your being reborn now are starting to surface and burn off, and you’re not generating any new karma while you burn them (as long as you meet them with equanimity and awareness).


    I only mention this because all too often, people undergoing difficult circumstances of one variety or another add a type of New Age guilt or blame to an already difficult enough circumstance, and truly, that’s not only inappropriate, it’s inaccurate.  If you would like to pursue some of these concepts in this more integral fashion, please check out Excerpt A.  In the meantime, if you’re undergoing some sort of truly difficult or even horrific circumstances, please don’t kick yourself when you’re down.  That, indeed, would create bad karma.  The good news is that you are finally ready and able to burn off the karma that led to this rebirth, and this is good news indeed—if you meet it with love and openness and a smile.


    Next for Integral Institute


    Aside from being set back a couple of months, Integral Institute is moving forward just fine.  As a matter of fact, we are extraordinarily fortunate in that we escaped a proposed change in middle and upper management that would have spelled absolute disaster for I-I.  We have completed our first round of looking for a new CEO, and are delighted with what we found. 


    (My only major regret is that we did lose one terrific person who was also our main financial contributor, and we are definitely hurting because of that.  But we will simply put the word out and begin looking for some person or persons who can step in and help us out in a similar fashion as benefactor, in addition to the wonderful contributors that we still have and that are a central part of I-I’s organization.  If you know anybody, or you yourself would like to work directly and closely with us in this regard, you know my email address—or simply email us from the President’s Circle page on the Integral Institute website.  But we are beginning a serious search for patrons and benefactors, and would love to hear from you.) 


    In the meantime, the business aspects of things are going extraordinarily well.  We have found our CEO candidate who will start with a two-month trial period—we are extremely happy with this person.  (For those of you who applied for CEO, and have not yet heard from me, please forgive the delay, as I will personally be getting back to you.  Also, because we might have found our CEO, there are also some other positions available that we would like you to consider—again I will be getting back to you on all of this.) 


    My own writing is continuing to go extraordinarily well.  My first truly “popular” book, The Integral Vision, will be out this summer from Shambhala.  Further, I’m about 90% done with what I think is one of the most important works I’ve written, Transformations of Consciousness (which is the original book of that title with some 400 new pages of material—exploring healthy and dysfunctional forms of both states of consciousness and structures of consciousness—and in what I believe is a landmark fashion).  The Many Faces of Terrorism, as some of you know, has grown into a trilogy (three books at about 450 pages each), which we simply call the “terrorism trilogy” and which I’d say is about 70% done.  We are, however, going to excerpt three of its main chapters that present a full-fledged theory of Integral Politics—and these will be included in the first two issues of The Integralist, Integral Institute’s membership magazine (the first two chapters are also available on right now, here and here, with the third yet to be posted), whose first issue is due out sometime this spring/summer.  All in all, some really good stuff, I think, coming down the pipe. 


    A Little Help from My Friends….


    I’d like to thank again Colin, Becca, and Rollie for staying with me (or taking turns) every minute, day and night, for the week that I was in the hospital, either in intensive care or telemetry.  When you’ve been strapped into bed on your back, with tubes coming out of every orifice, and with no chance to even sit up, things like having some crushed ice to suck on can make all the difference in the world.  These are always such clarifying moments and, paradoxical as it might seem, there was an astonishing amount of love and clarity and laughter and care coming out of that room all week long, it was obvious to everybody. 


    I also want to thank Dr. Roger Walsh for dropping everything he was doing and flying out from California.  Roger is one of my two or three oldest and best friends and it meant a great deal to me.  Dr. Mike von Gortler saved my life yet again, this time very literally, and reminded me how in debt I am to that incredibly decent human being.  And thanks to Stu, Marci, Ara and Aja.  But outside of these few folks, however, we tried to limit, at least at the beginning, the amount of information that went out, because many of my friends would want to come out immediately to see if they could help, and they would feel horrible if they didn’t—and since there really was nothing that could be done, we didn’t want people feeling bad about this.  I still haven’t really made contact myself yet with hardly anybody, and that will still take a few weeks to a month or so, so please bear with me (my body really got creamed and is moving pretty slowly).  But I thank all of you for your prayers and well wishes, the flowers, the candles lit online, and other deeply appreciated gestures of care and love and concern.  Rollie said literally thousands of responses came in from all over the world, and I will never forget it.  I have no doubt that’s why I pulled through this as quickly as I did.


    Sending all my love and care and life and light,





    (PS Please feel free to direct any concerned friends or colleagues to the blog version of this letter:   

  • Creating a new world together

    Hello Friends,

    I'd like to take this opportunity to share my perspective on what is happening at Integral Institute.  I've enjoyed reading some of your posts, but this is the first one that I've made.  This is partly due to being busy and partly due to being lazy…  So I would like to thank everyone for their recent posts and interest in I-I that inspired me to write this.  I would also like to apologize for the length, since it's now all coming out at once.  :-)

    First, a bit about me and how I got here.  I've had the privilege, honor, and challenge of working with I-I for almost 4 years now in a variety of different capacities.  I've been the CFO, COO, teacher at our seminars, and several other roles.  I can't say that I've been perfect, but I've done my best to do whatever I can to help the organization develop and grow. 

    In this past 4 years, my wife and I also decided to start a family (we now have 2 kids - Sky & Shen) and buy/remodel our first house.  So let's just say it's been a bit intense for a while now.  You know the experience of looking at your to-do list of 10 top priority items for the day, and realizing you only have time to get like 3 or 4 actually done?  Well, that's pretty much been the story of my life these past years.  Thank god for practice. 

    But I wouldn't have it any other way, because I love it.  All of it.  I of course love my family.  And I love all of the joy, chaos, turmoil, and opportunities for growth that I get working with I-I.  I think I've always been a bit of an idealist who wants to help make the world a better place, but just never found something that inspired me enough to put all my energy into.  That is, until I discovered Ken's books and I-I. 

    I still remember the feeling of when I first read Brief History of Everything, and so much became clear to me.  It was almost like I had all the pieces to a puzzle, but didn't know what the picture was supposed to be.  Then reading the book, it all just seemed to come together inside of me.  I just felt more expanded, open, and able to take in more of the world - because now I could see how it all fit together.  Everything just seemed to make sense to me.

    One night I googled Ken, and discovered the I-I site.  I read every word on that site, and stayed awake that night dreaming about the possibility of working at I-I.  I didn't know Ken or anyone at I-I at the time, so I had no way of connecting.  But I like to say that I was so inspired that I was able to access my good karma, because 6 months later I was sitting in Ken's loft, talking to him about his vision for I-I and how I could help.  

    Well, it's been quite a roller coaster ride since that time.  And I'd say that the past few weeks have been the most ‘thrilling' yet.  As most of you know, our CEO resigned, along with several other staff members.  These events have spawned a variety of discussion around I-I, and generally speaking, it's pros and cons.   I am choosing not to discuss any specific details from these circumstances.  Rather, I'd like to share my perspective of what I feel is happening, from a more energetic level.

    Sometimes at I-I, we like to say that, “we're helping to carve a new groove in the kosmos”.  I'm not sure if any of you have tried doing this, but it ain't easy…  There is a lot of subtle resistance, in all 4 quadrants.  At the same time, I can't imagine anything more worthwhile to be dedicated to.  I feel extremely grateful that I have this opportunity to be an agent of evolution.  And along with this, I feel that we bear a huge responsibility to do the best we can.  Because we are not doing this just for ourselves, but for all of us. 

    For those of us that have chose/been chosen to play this particular part in the unfolding story of humanity, it feels like we are being purified for this role.  A purification process involves purging out what no longer works, or is appropriate at the next level of growth.  I spoke with my good friend, Brian Johnson, about this one night and he sent me this quote from Rumi:  “This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross. This testing purifies the gold by boiling the scum away.”

    It feels to me like I-I, as an organization, is going through this process of purification.  Just to be clear here, I am NOT inferring that people that left are scum.  :-) Just the opposite, in fact.  Some of the people that left were my best friends and closest colleagues at I-I, and I will miss them dearly.  (Jeff, it's just not the same without you!)  The ‘scum' are the parts in all of us that are contracted, shadow elements, aspects of our being that we've outgrown, need to let go and embrace a new way of being.  And, as I'm sure most of you know, this is usually a painful process.  But that's just life giving us the feedback we need to evolve.

    There has been some talk of more transparency and inclusion.  I hear that, and this is my personal move in that direction.  I would also like to say that it is painful for me, and the staff at I-I, to know that some of you feel like we do not care about the community, or ignore intentionally.  I/we feel like the community is what we are doing all of this for in the first place.  And I acknowledge that we have not always taken the time to share with all of you what we are doing, and the process that we're going through.  It's not that we don't care; it's just that we don't have the bandwidth.  But more and more, we are seeing the importance of staying more connected.  So we will do our best to explore new ways of communicating as we move forward on this Integral journey together.   

    Another thing we like to say at I-I is, “Integral is a real thing.”  What we mean by this is that Integral consciousness is real, and it's not necessary for Ken or I-I to be around for it to exist.  Ken has brilliantly articulated the Integral vision, but it's alive in each and every one of us.  So let's all work together, constructively, to help bring this gift to a world that desperately needs it. 

    In that spirit, I would ask that all of you in the wider Integral community continue to give us feedback and share your perspectives.  It is all welcome.  I would also ask that you consider your underlying motivation for doing so.  What is the intention of the expression?  All of our intentions, thoughts, actions, bring energy into the world.  So let's all do our best to be conscious of what we're giving our energy towards building.  I like the Michelangelo quote that FLOW uses, “criticize by creating”.

    As I sit here at 4:30am, writing this, I am starting to think about how my lack of sleep might come into play when I have to wake up in a few hours to take care of my kids…  :-)  In fact, over the past few years, I've had to consider how all the time I focus on I-I is time away from my family.  What I came to realize is that working for I-I is the best way that I can see of giving my energy to something that can help create a world in which I want my kids to grow up in. 

    So a deep bow to all of you for being a part of creating this new world.

    With love,


  • Ken's Health

    Dear Friends,

    Early Wednesday morning Ken was admitted to a local hospital for repeated seizures and an abnormal cardiac pattern.  Ken is currently in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit.   

    Ken does not have a history of seizures, and there was zero warning that something was about to go wrong.  In fact, Ken had a fantastic day Tuesday, writing all morning and then meeting with several folks at the loft.

    Doctors believe that they understand why these seizures occurred, and the good news is that it's nothing intrinsically wrong with Ken's physical well-being.  In other words, we have strong reason to believe we can avoid these in the future.

    Ken has been sedated since admission to the hospital in order to help prevent additional seizures, and doctors are planning on slowly backing off the sedative in the next day or so.

    This is clearly an extremely serious situation, but it does not appear life-threatening, and according to the lead doctor at the hospital, she has no reason to believe that any of these conditions are irreversible. 

    If you would like to express support for Ken, please pray, do tonglen, or simply hold him in heart and mind with loving-kindness.  Ken has always said that these practices work wonders, for both giver and receiver, and all of your love and care will be deeply appreciated by him.

    Please do not send flowers; if even a dozen kind souls send flowers, the doctors will have no space to work.  And naturally, please do not try and visit Ken in the hospital.  Ken is in Intensive Care, and only family or extremely close ties are allowed in, nor is the hospital allowed to disclose that Ken is a patient there.

    For the time being, I will be posting short updates on Ken's condition daily.  As might be expected, we are looking at days and weeks in terms of recovery, but even just 48 hours after all of this started, recovery does indeed appear to be the path we've already begun.

    Please, friends, walk with Ken on this path.  Lift him with your heart, touch him with your mind, bless him with your soul, liberate him with your spirit.  He will feel you, and you will feel him, and this miracle of we shall embrace us all, radiantly erupting as the bliss-agony of One Heart pulsing in so many bodies.  Ken is nearer to you than your own skin; feel him with reckless abandon.  Nourish this precious body of our beloved friend with all the love available to you.  Let that love open you to infinity....



  • Opposing Forces

    Coming off last week's important election day, What's New highlights a series of partisan debates:

    Randomturtle wonders about our ideas of Liberalism and Conservatism and how intertwined they are with stages of development in: Conservative and Liberal at many levels.

    "So, to me, it appears that being a conservative or a liberal isn't about a specific stage, per se, but about what a specific stage looks like within a specific system/culture of the Lower Left (and to some extent the Lower Right)."

    Next, commenting on a recent Wired article in The Crusade Against Religion, balder wonders how the Integral community should engage the New Atheists.  Are they just the newest flavor of fundamentalism?  For additional perspective, checkout this blog post by's very own C4Chaos.

    And finally, following up Ken and Stu's recent talk, Fast, Furious, and Moving at the Speed of Thought. Part 2. Politics, Ecology, Energy, member Grant inquires as to what exactly is the Integral perspective on climate change in Crichton's State of Fear vs. Gore's An Inconvenient Truth---so what is the integral response to climate change research?

    Some further postings and materials worth checking out about this complex issue:
    Integral Climate Change
    Climate Change Action Needed - Here's the Plan
    And for Sponsor members and above, check out Eye of the Storm: An Integral Perspective on Sustainable Development and Climate Change Response from the IU Presents Sustainability Library.

    And finally, as many of you are aware, there has been a lot of unrest lately in the IN Forums over the last weeks regarding moderation of member Helene, and what many people has felt to have been I-I's lack of a response to the issue.  Please checkout the latest from Integral Naked's managing editor here..

    P.S. As a reminder, anytime you have an issue, be it bugs with the websites, issues with other users, feedback of features you'd like to see, billing problems, techical problems, or anything else; please contact our Member Services Center and they'll do everything in their power to assist you!
  • The latest and the greatest

    Hello again Integral!

    Inspired by the just completed ILP Weeklong seminar, iiwhatsnew asks you:
    Have you been reading the forum for a while and not posted?  Do you have an idea that you think might be great but have been afraid to share?  Can you hold that lightly enough, as object and not subject, that you can share it with the community and see what we can make of it together?  Consider it a friendly challenge… perhaps you will learn something and be glad you shared.

    Just getting started we have Succeeding in spite of all the odds against you:

    “Success and failure have roots in the famous Sermon on the Mount in Jesus’ closing discourse to a multitude of people who were following him throughout Galilee. He sat on a mountainside known as the Mount of Olives or Olivet, and began to teach them. What was his message?“

    Up for a while now but lively last week, Differentiating Quadrants vs. Quadrivia and why burn Burning Man?:

    "Why? Consider the following questions:
        * Where can I experience a strong, healthy form of magenta?
        * Where can I experience a strong, healthy form of teal/turquoise?
    It seems to me that the answer to both is Burning Man.”

    And building momentum fast is, Forgiveness; from the original post:

    “Does anyone have any experience with forgiveness as a spiritual practice or know of any particular teachings from any tradtion regarding forgiveness? It seems important to me because until one can forgive one can't respond from one's higher self. Ken once said that his wife Treya's favorite spiritual practice was forgiveness (perhaps in Grace and Grit); does anyone know how she practiced it? Somewhere recently I heard someone speak of "instant forgiveness" in some context, perhaps with regard to a particular state or stage. Wouldn't that be something, having the ability to forgive instantly?”

    Hope you have a great week and practice integrating your Body, Mind, Spirit and Shadow!  May we all find a place for all of us.
  • Summetime is over...

    Darkness is coming!  Daylight saving time ends this Sunday, so don't forget to turn your clocks back!  Enjoy that extra hour of sleep; or use it to catch up on some of the exciting threads of this week:

    Over in How Close to Catastrophe?, Adastra has posted an article which suggests that "The technology we need most badly is the technology of community -- the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done."

    What do you think? Can community alone save the world?

    Have you listened to the IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1 yet?  If not, go listen to it right now!  ISC member Martin Matustik posits that a 'transversal' line might be a useful addition to the AQAL framework.  What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the discussion!

    Do you know what Ayahuasca is, and how it’s related to the Return of Quetzalcoatl?  Find out here!

    Finally, just a reminder about IU Presents!  Check out some of the resources and discussions on Integral Art, Education, Sustainability, and International Development available to all I-I Members!

    Until next week, have a fun and safe Halloween!

  • We're Back!

    I-I What’s New is back from hiatus!

    What have you been missing?

    Anima Women has exploded with thirty nine posts in only three days…How is this for provocative:

    “My answer to the question of where all those men are who want real relationship is: they're languishing in that place that so many women put them: not good-looking enough, not rich enough, not MEAN enough, not tall enough, not muscular enough, etc. Many women say they want relationship, but when it comes calling, they say, "Let's just be friends.”

    Also new and active is the 300 Millionth United Statian thread…

    “Distilled to their essence, the fierce patriotism I see as basically red-meme individual power values, religiosity fervor as blue meme -enforced conformity and rampant materialism as orange meme meritocracy.........The question I have (given all the current controversy over new immigrants.....e.g., Pat Buchanan ironically said, "Look the north American Indians had a lax immigration policy and look what happened to them!") is, can we not improve on our American value system to find a real solution to the "problem?”
    And interesting without so much traffic yet: Global Warming.....A slight return…

    Find this surprising…?  “Global warming will not be reduced much by efforts to limit carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere, say two scientists.”

    Also, checkout some earlier thoughts on the subject in the Integral Climate Change thread...
    Big thanks to everyone that's been actively posting and smiles to those that prefer sitting back and reading instead!
  • Here's lookin' at you, kid

    Dear friends,


    No overarching theme this week, no special message. Let me just point out a few conversations you may have missed and a few places your input might be important.


    Commenting on the second Integral Spirituality conference call, Fairyfaye has asked an interesting question about the way Ken presents the quadrants, the big three, and the Modernist denial of spirituality: “in 'integral spirituality' i heard for the first time, ken say that when the big3 value spheres(arts/morals/science) were differentiated, it should have been 4: spirituality was not differentiated. I'm trying to figure out, if the big3 value spheres are the 4q's then where does the spirituality value sphere fit into the 4q map??” At first blush it seems to be a slight wrinkle in the AQAL map. Do you have the tools to smooth it out for us? Some folks around the office suspect Ken would say that Spirit manifests equally in all four quadrants, and so spirituality as a value sphere transcends and includes all four quadrants. What do you think?


    Speaking of wrinkles to be smoothed out, can you help Yschachter and Kessels figure out what the Wilber, as a unit, should measure? Integralism? Development? Rhetorical Force? 


    One of the advantages of this blog is its opportunity to tie related threads together. A number of interesting discussions living an Integral Christianity have arisen separately in the forums, and may benefit from exposure to one another. Describing difficulties in his relationship with Mother Mary, Timelody says “… that is where I feel Christianity (and especially mystical Catholicism) has a lot to teach us about Spirit's manifest potential in the world/ or our own potential to manifest Spirit in the world. These things are just too extraordinary (and too real) to ignore.”  This raises issues not far afield from those mentioned in the “Integral Contemplative Christianity” thread that was quite active a while back, in which people discussed methods of personalizing their connection to Christ and Christianity, and also the “Is Integral Christianity still Christian?” thread, which deals with the challenges of taking Christianity beyond its mythic-rational expressions.


    And it may be no coincidence that these all tie in nicely with the ongoing discussion of Integral Spirituality chapter 9, “The Conveyor Belt.” This chapter must have particularly captured the imagination of ISC members, as the conversation about it is still going strong, and getting deep into questions of what really causes or inspires developmental growth, and the help and hindrance of a cultural center of gravity. Says Davidd “Its the dynamic of evolution, that this must happen and also that, nevertheless, change happens and we lay posthumous garlands on the graves of the heroes in whose steps we follow.... “ One of the great opportunities offered by the Integral Multiplex is the chance to discover together how to move ourselves and the world beyond current modes.


    Also – for those of you who attended the meeting with Ken in New York City last weekend, the rest of us want to know what you think. Please share your reactions with us here.


    Finally, we’d like a little feedback here in the I-I staff as to how you think we’re doing with this blog. Do you read it regularly, and do you find it helpful? How do you think it could be improved? In the reorganization shuffle of going into Phase 2, we’re considering letting this one blog go, or perhaps only altering it. We’d love to know what you think. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to, mentioning “weekly forum digest” in the subject line of your email. Thank you very much, and keep on making these forums so spectacular.




  • The Best Game in Town

    Dear Friends,


    Before discussing the genuinely new, let’s return to the three “tense” threads mentioned in last week’s post.


    Yschachter and Timelody, arguing over applications of Spiral Dynamics in the Integral View of Abortion thread, have managed to resolve their differences. The unfortunate consequence of their tussle, however, is that a once lively conversation has stopped short. Did interest die down? Or was confrontation, even after it had been resolved, too unsettling to allow discussion to continue?


    The integral vs. Integral thread transformed first into a beautiful series of contemplations on the relative importance of sincerity and eloquence, and then began applying this question to the recent “Essential Spirituality” dialogues with Willow Pearson. It appears that McFarlin’s challenge to Integral, and to Integral Institute, has not dissipated, but it is being met constructively.


    The Banish thread has continued very much apace, however. Corey DeVos, the IN Managing Editor, finally weighed in after 254 prior posts on the subject, encouraging the community to treat violations of the Road Rules on a post-by-post, rather than user-by-user basis. Not that this has settled the argument, however.


    Integral was primarily, for most of its existence, a theory. A grand theory, surely, and one that everyone here found deep resonance with, but a theory nonetheless. And what we have here—what we are here—is one of the largest experiments so far in applying that theory. Can we really gather a community around second-tier values and make it work? The discussion of what to do about this one member has touched on nearly every element of Integral theory already—Whose shadow is being projected? What level is this or that on? What are the exterior components of the website shaping the interior conflict and unhappiness?—and there are no clear answers just yet. The results of this debate will echo far beyond the fate of one member of our community, and into the way that Integral values are lived for some time. I wonder if we yet have what it takes to live up to our shared ideals, whatever that living would look like. I wonder what you think.


    Elsewhere in the multiplex, participation in this community has become part of some people's ILP. Scrap your own post as an ego busting practice has been discussing the practice side of obeying the Road Rules, and how they can be used to help the individual grow, as well as the community. On some occasions “I've discovered that I wasn't even aware that my intention wasn't other than wanting attention,” says thread-starter Geomo. A number of members have resonated with that, and found the discussion an inspiration to better examine themselves.


    Another unusual take on practice has gotten attention in the Lucid Dreaming thread, starting from a fascinating interview with Robert Augustus Masters and moving into various members’ experiences with lucid dreams. This is an often-overlooked means of exploring one’s own consciousness, and we love to see Integral folks helping each other navigate this territory. Beware – reading this thread you might have to confront the question “Are you conscious of being conscious?” Results may vary.


    A few people have also been working their psychodynamic module in the ISC forums, discussing the nature and importance of forgiveness. To ‘see humanity in the face of the enemy’ is to begin to see them integrally, as fellow creatures caught up like us in samsara.  Yet, is noone personally accountable?  In choosing to harm others, are we a product of our context, so that there is nothing, ultimately, to forgive?  What do you think of forgiveness as spiritual practice? asks Davidd. “That is what holds us back from forgiving ... the incorrect assumption that if we forgive, we are implying that what was done was okay” replies Fairyfaye, and the conversation continues from there into the practical difficulties of actual forgiving.


    And to what extent must practice involve religion? Chapter 9 of Integral Spirituality seems to indicate that spirituality is best practiced with a church, for the sake of the children. Ats disagrees with this, proposing secular spirituality instead. It’s an interesting post, musing on what is truly inherent in spiritual practice and the difficulty of bringing religions into second-tier. A variety of interesting responses have already been posted. Is yours next?


    We’re in this together, my Integral friends. We are the frothy edge. It is here and now that Integral Theory is translated into practice, both within us and between us. It’s a challenge, certainly, but it just might be the best game in town.

  • Sunshine, conflict, and a series of monkeys


    Dear Friends,


    The sun sets, the sun rises, the sun rinses and repeats six more times, and we return to Wednesday, when it is time to discuss the Forumnal events of the past week. Not that we’ve been doing that much lately – my apologies for skipping Wednesday of two weeks ago. There was an incident with a fish, a bicycle, and a series of monkeys that we needn’t go into. You may be reading about it in the news, soon. And last week’s attempt to revive old conversations resulted in a final score of 0 revived and 11 still dead, which means it’s high time for new topics.


    More of the intentionally controversial threads have sprung up lately. Gay Marriage and Abortion were followed up with Gun Control and Capital Punishment. There seems to be a certain glee among the Integral community here for taking apart major political wedge issues. If you have some topic you’d like discussed, but don’t want to bring it up yourself, go ahead and private message me (iiwhatsnew) and I’ll make it happen for you.


    Particularly in the Capital Punishment thread, people have come forth with a lot of heart and openness, sharing their thoughts and awaiting insight together. Randomturtle says, “Killing off bits of the spiral is not healthy, though it sometimes seems much easier to just kill off our shadowy elements, rather than bring them out into the light and heal them,” and Balder says “Even if… there is a direct correlation between the harshness of a society's response to crime and the crime rate, I ask: At what cost?  In my view, such a harsh and "final" approach to justice cannot help but spill out into society and affect it in subtle and profound ways.” What do you think?


    There has been a certain amount of controversy in practice on the site lately, as well as in theory. A little bit of tension has sprung up in each of the three major forums.


    In Integral Institute forums, I-I staff’s own Yschachter recently clashed with one of our members, Timelody, over his use of Spiral Dynamics – one of the most direct conflicts we’ve yet seen arise out of these controversial topics. After the critique of Timelody’s post, Yschachter says generally of interpersonal conflict in the forums, “It seems to me that the danger of avoiding Green as we often do here is that it makes Red riskier, because healthy Green can help soften the blows of healthy Red.” As we continue to discuss and debate here at I-I, conflict and tension are sure to arise. Will we find an Integral way to resolve them?


    On the ISC side of the fence the challenge is directed a little more globally. User McFarlin, in the Integral vs. integral thread, encourages folks in the community to consider how Integral appears to the rest of the world, given the emphasis on jargon and the implicit sense of superiority that can be seen in all the talk of second-tier. “Do you wonder if you're becoming too comfortable in your own ‘community’?” she asks us. There have been some very interesting answers already, but it’s a tough question, and one that may be increasingly important as I-I continues to grow.


    These issues become even more difficult when we begin to discuss who should and should not be participating in these debates. A few days ago, one member of the IN forum suggested that another only be allowed to post in the 7th Circle, and the debate is still raging. The I-I Road Rules have been used as guidelines by all so far, and have helped us create a second-tier community. It’s a difficult moment when we have to start thinking about enforcing them, especially in a case as ambiguous as this one. These conflicts, however they will be resolved, are the birth pangs of a new way of relating to one another. No one ever said changing the world would be easy.


    On a more pleasant note, an effort has come up to balance out the controversy. You may want to take a look at the attempt to find something we can all agree on, and consider adding something to the list.


    Excluded from that thread by virtue of its obviousness is agreement about the work of one Ken Wilber, whom everyone here seems to enjoy. The latest chapter of Integral Spirituality, “The Conveyor Belt,” with previously unmatched enthusiasm. “A brilliant climax to the book,” Davidd calls it, and Timelody calls it “nothing short of a Holy and inspired sermon!” Not we are without our uncertainty, however. Even as PrickliestPear reflects on the idea of religion as conveyor belt, he says, “I do wonder, though, how such an idea could be implemented.” Davidd also adds later, “I'm kind of worrying about the extent to which such disparate traditions can be generalised about...” This is where everything in the book so far comes together. What do you think about it all?


    That sun, it just keeps on rising and setting, doesn’t it? And in the meantime, all kinds of interesting things happen. We’ve got lively and at times heated debate going on in these forums. Thanks to all of you whose posts are helping to build this community. And if you haven’t posted anything yet, could this be the moment for you to join in the fun and share with us your thoughts on something? I think it could be.

    posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 1:43 AM by iiwhatsnew | 0 Comments
  • Stirring Up the Integral Cauldron part 2

    Dear Friends,


    It is long past time to devote another post of this Blog to “stirring up the cauldron,” digging some of the chunky, yummy, flavorful conversations lying at the bottom of the Integral stew back up to the surface to be enjoyed. With all the wonderful activity on the forums of late, a number of interesting threads have ended, perhaps before their time. Consider the following members were saying, with no response in the last week (and often longer):


    Coppersun, explaining AQAL to a hypothetical preschooler, the ultimate AQAL beginner: “you can see your hands and feet and tummy but you can't see your feelings, that's your inside and your outside.  everyone can see you and your family when you go places with them, but only you know what it's like to be a part of your family.  that's like an inside an outside of your family.” 


    [Two weeks ago, Ralphweidner responded to in a different thread, saying: “the 5 year old might interpret outside and inside as visible and invisible. she would say her heart is inside. i imagine she would also feel that any other 5 year old who did not know what it's like to be a part of his family as she did hers must be dumb, assuming she hadn't yet gotten beyond narcissism.” But there has been no discussion of the matter since.]


    Vivianb, speculating on trends in psychotherapy: “Perhaps the transluscent openness which some psychotherapies consider a goal is based on an understanding that there needs to be a healthy & stable enough personal/conventional self-sense before we can transcend it without inducing fear. This is Jack Engler's important point. My take on many traditional psychotherapies is that their focus is on achieving horizontal health in the pre-personal & personal lines of development & that they don't focus on vertical growth into the transpersonal levels. Even those traditional therapies which acknowledge the transpersonal levels are not immune to the "pre-trans fallacy" which Ken talks about.”


    Integrallyne, considering how to spread Integral thinking in the Leadership and Business thread: “How do you know when you are embodying AQAL? How do you explain that to those you are coaching or leading?  I find it fascinating beyond measure that those I am working with cannot/might not have the words to explain what they are doing or feeling, but they know that there is something different going on.”


    Marushia, also considering the spread of Integral thinking, though in a more global context: ”I believe that in the next 5 - 10 years, as we find more ways to work together and share knowledge, we will see a Golden Age of intellectual advancement on a global scale! Kens framework is a great beginning - now we need to find more ways to give people access and understanding to a new way of thinking. Despite the incredible advances we are seeing now, I don't think the Golden Age of the Intellect has really begun.”


    Randomturtle, imagining a positive future for Iraq: “So, I see a pulling out the vast majority of military troops as the first step in getting out of the way of growth, and then sending in the psychologists, sociologists, spiritual leaders, and conflict resolution (or difference reconcilliation, as Beck calls it) experts to help bring the Iraqi people together working on a shared goal of taking care of the whole of Iraq.”


    Bhopkins, considering the possibility of same sex marriage: “I think the best chance for SS marriage is for the development of a parallel institution that can be developed outside of the church and then maybe later be reintegrated with the churches if they change their thinking on it.”


    Maxresonance, attempting to universalize the practices described in the Contemplative Christianity thread: ”Instead of using language such as "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me", one could use the Pure Land Buddhist Mantra of "Namo Amida Butsu" or any that you could make up or choose.  Just make sure the mantra represents Infinite Compassion and Wisdom being invoked as the already existing core of your own Heart Chakra.”


    Geomo, elaborating on the age-old question of What Am I?: I as an object is a fallacy.  I is just a conceptualization.  It has no reality either.  If the witness itself dissolves, then there is no identity left, no "I" to even partake in witnessing.  So, what is ‘I’?”


    Kyellow, responding to Introduction to Big Mind with Genpo Roshi: Genpo mentioned the human ego is what the West has to offer.  I would agree this is good.  I think maybe the best thing we can do is try to convince the ego that we are not trying to destroy it.  This is my challange.  Mine doesn't buy it!  It clenches with an iron fist!”


    And last but (perhaps) not least, the two threads I tried to start the last time around, ADD/ADHD and The American Dream, have gone sadly unnoticed. That just makes me unhappy.


    posted Wednesday, August 23, 2006 10:52 PM by iiwhatsnew | 0 Comments
  • Big news, reincarnation, hatred, and the Simpsons.

    Dear Friends,


    The big, Big, BIG news this week is that we finally got a little taste of Integral University. Once a week, I-I’s own Katie Heikkinen will be releasing an AQAL-certified, peer-reviewed, Integral-inspired, never-before-seen paper from Integral University’s library. We’re calling it Integral University Presents. We’ll be having moderated discussions of the paper, information about the thinker behind it, and occasionally even conference calls with IU directors. Eventually, IU Presents will work its way up to teleseminars, mini-courses, surveys, audio or video blogs, and downloads. Please join us as we, in Katie’s words, “explore together how integral theory can be applied to academic, research, and professional venues.” This week we are reading Theory and Practice of Integral Sustainable Development, by Integral Sustainability director Barrett C. Brown.


    And as IU Presents was just warming up, the II forums remained as red-hot as ever. Started only four days ago, the Reincarnation thread has rocketed to 93 replies and counting, with personal reflections and published literature mixing in a dynamic investigation of an eternally sticky question. Chances are you’ve already read the thread or posted there, since everyone has, but just in case you haven’t, this might be worth your attention.


    Another perpetually active forum superstar, the I Fucking Hate… thread, has taken the 7th circle beyond cursing and teasing and into the realms of deep personal shadow stuff. Everything I-I supports, from God herself to personal growth to shadow work, has been fucking hated by someone, and often more than one person.


    At the same time, within the safety of “Road Rules” governed forums, a very different approach to shadow is being taken. Perhaps the Outside to the Seventh Circle’s Inside, the discussion of Integral Spirituality Chapter 6: Shadow/Disowned Self has proven an occasion for very honest examination of both self and other. The discussion has already broached the importance of helping oneself instead of curing one’s own shadow in others, the differences of shadow issues between types (especially male and female), and the relationship of shadow-work, developmental arrest, and healthy but unpleasant emotions.


    In the Integral by Topic forum, a healthy dose of controversy has started to arise.. It appears that a few folks around the community have been, as we would say in my old neighborhood “trying to start something.” Discussing topics such as videogame violence, abortion, same-sex marriage, and suicide, users are making a conscious effort to bring a little dissent to the Integral community. And everyone involved should consider it a success. Even were the insights arising in these discussions less keen, the sheer level of responsible, civilized disagreement displayed is exactly what we would hope to see in a second-tier forum. Effectively applying an Integral approach to some of these questions is a difficult challenge, but I’m proud to say we seem to be up to it.


    Also in Integral by Topic, one of our under-achiever threads, is the Integral Science discussion mentioned in this blog two weeks ago. Still more wind-up than pitch, this thread shows a lot of promise, and a number of folks have shown up, ready to take a swing. How do we understand biological evolution in relation to AQAL? How can the practice of scientific research be improved by a recognition of interiors? How well does Integral Post-Metaphysics jive with String Theory? All we need is for someone to finally get some real discussion going, offering up some questions or insights into any of the topics touched on there so far.


    I think you should do it.


    In Casual Conversation, though most of the latest posts have dealt with The Simpsons and Duck Tales (of all things), this is primarily the fault of your beloved I-I staffers. In more serious business, some speculation about the role of Integral Institute in history has been bandied about, in the context of wondering just how much of a movement Integral is. And the gloriously indulgent musing over who should play Ken in the upcoming Grace and Grit movie has evolved from a free-form discussion to a “scientific” poll.


    Speaking of the size of the Integral movement, I was asked to end this week’s blog post with some updated numbers about membership. It has now been a month and a half since the Multiplex started accepting members. There are now 8,949 multiplex accounts out there of one variety or another. Of those, 837 include membership in the Integral Institute, and 1,593 include access to We’re doing pretty well, folks, for a little organization on the cutting edge of human understanding. I hope you’re all having as much fun with it as I am.

  • The light in the middle of the tunnel



    Dear Friends,


    Of course, the big story around I-I this week is the unfortunate turn in Ken Wilber’s health. We at the office are all deeply troubled by his situation, and appreciate the care and love you have all expressed. It is beautiful that both he and the community he has started can shine so brightly during upsetting time. Thank you all.


    And this community does indeed continue to shine. Insight and debate abound, and in the week since this blog has last gone up, the discourse has only gotten richer as always.


    In the Integral Spiritual Center, in the general Integral Spirituality thread, folks are wrestling with the intricacies of the definition of enlightenment put forth in Integral Spirituality, asking how one can resolve the tension in becoming one with the timeless being of Spirit as well as the timefull doing of Spirit. (Be warned, this conversation may move to the Chapter 5: Boomeritis Buddhism thread soon.) Meanwhile, next door, in Chapter 2: Stages, the question is how the doing of practice can create the being of consciousness in a stage. I’m certain that Ken will be proud to hear of this engaged, living interaction with his text.


    (By the way, the most recent word is that the ISC conference call with Ken scheduled for August 12th is still on.)


    In the newly reborn IN forums, our community is still hard at work pushing the bounds of Integral understanding. A conversation has arisen considering the possibility of “climatic engineering” as a solution to global warming, working nicely in tandem with the Integral Climate Change thread. In Embodied Practice, folks are discussing the intersection of practice, oil, and architecture, a subject that pulls the four quadrants together in a particularly intricate way, as the intentions and behavior of individuals play out in both local and global communities. And while the thread on whether Jennifer Aniston should in fact play Treya has focused primarily on the actress’s qualifications to play that role, there are hints there of a very intriguing discussion of what role this movie may play in the future of I-I. (And don’t miss the hilarious depiction of how Jennifer and Ken’s appearance on Oprah might go.)


    The new experiment that is IN’s Seventh Circle, the one forum free from road rules, has continued apace. So far conversation there has been primarily an opportunity to curse excessively and display creativity in insulting one another, but folks are really enjoying letting their hair down, letting their highest selves take a nap or go roll another joint. This has all been in fun – we have yet to see true demonstration of shadow. There is, however, a fascinating examination of Shadow itself there to be found.


    Highlighted in this blog last week, the Integral Politics thread has been come to focus lately on questions of security, a particularly difficult issue for to approach with any kind of subtlety or Integralism, and also the possibility of a Gross Domestic Happiness measurement. And in Causal Conversation, the Pale Blue Dot thread has become a repository of the mind-blowing, with various demonstrations of the sheer vastness of space, in such a small corner of which all the great drama we experience occurs.


    Despite Ken’s hardship, despite our hardship, it has been a good week in the I-I forum world. Keep on shining, my friends. Let’s never stop shining.
    posted Thursday, August 03, 2006 4:42 PM by iiwhatsnew | 1 Comments
  • Nakedness, Parenting, and the W-C Lattice (among other things)

    Dear Friends,


    It’s been a big week all across the Multiplex forums, with interesting conversations emerging and evolving left and right.


    Integral Naked announced the relocation of its discourse to the Multiplex, and the already thriving community of IN posters have started to make themselves at home here. As well as tagging up the place and good-humoredly squabbling about who got there first, they’ve begun some conversations with the potential to be very timely and insightful. The nature of the situation in Israel and Lebanon is the subject of one of our new discussions, while the difficulty and necessity of creating a global second-tier organization is the subject of another. As the old IN forums close, I’m sure we can expect the vibrancy of the IN community to continue in its new location. It’s good to have the whole Integral family under one roof.


    Three threads of the Integral by Topic forum have emerged this week that may prove particularly interesting. I, for one, am deeply moved by the level of communication I’ve seen  the Integral Parenting thread recently rise to. Members have been challenging one another to approach some very difficult questions with honesty and presence, finding that all-important delicate balance between theoretical and practical approaches. An interesting series of posts about nurturing growth through the Spiral Dynamics memes recently gave way to the meta-question of whether Integral Parenting is a philosophy or strategy to follow, or simply the habit of responding to particular occasions in with an AQAL awareness. And just today, the conversation has turned to the formation of local “affinity groups,” a context for parents to commune in person. The six pages of conversation thus far would make a good evening’s read for any of you who haven’t stopped by the thread yet.


    Members are taking a similar approach to the Integral Politics thread. Already, people are holding themselves to an impressive standard of self-awareness in their perspectives, and balancing the practical with the theoretical. The conversation has yet to focus itself to a significant degree, but a wide variety of interesting ideas have been put forth, including an Integral Constitutional Convention of sorts.


    Another thread in Integral by Topic which shows the promise of integrating a variety of perspectives with comparable skill and subtlety is Integral Science. The AQAL take on biological evolution is one area where I-I has often been criticized (see Integral World, for instance), so it will prove interesting to see how the subject will be treated within our own walls.


    The ever-continuing Integral Spirituality Chapter 1 thread has turned toward an examination of the sentience of social holons. [Spoiler warning: this is may be the perfect preparation for Chapter 7: The Miracle of We, to be released in coming weeks.] In the general Integral Spirituality thread, a small but dedicated collection of members is taking a good hard look at the Wilber-Combs Lattice, comparing it to centuries of traditional wisdom and previous Integral approaches (you just have to scroll past some bug reports to find it). And elsewhere in the Integral Spiritual Center forums, members are wrestling with integrating spirituality with the material difficulties of life.


    These are your struggles and questions, my friends. These are your perspectives, your insights. Thrown together in your Multiplex, they are forming a beautiful dance.




  • New Forum! Casual Conversation


    We have added a new discussion board to our collection. Check out the "Casual Convesation" forum for, um, casual conversation...

    We're taking it down a notch here from the ridiculous heights of abstraction achieved elsewhere (nothing personal, Balder, but one can get a bit dizzy). Some members, perhaps including yourself, have told us they'd like to put before this community of Integral-minded folks questions or thoughts that may not themselves be inherently AQAL, Integral, or spiritual, and we were more than happy to oblige.

    So jump in and let your hair down. Take advantage of the great crowd with whom you're sharing this space. Wax poetic on music or cooking. Tell us your thoughts on the weather or the new season of Lost. Who do you think should play Ken in the movie of Grace and Grit? What is your son-in-law doing buying a car that color? The answers lie within.

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