Integral Life Practice–Chapter 2: What is Integral Life Practice?


This is the second in a series of 10 posts, each covering a chapter of the book Integral Life Practice, which is authored by Ken Wilber, Terry Pattern, Adam Leonard, and Marco Morelli.    After having completed a course on Integral Theory in the latter part of 2013, I wanted to start 2014 with attention to taking that theory and putting into practice in my daily life.

To that end, I am going through the book Integral Life Practice so I can introduce others to the concept of creating your own Integral Life Practice matrix, which will contain practices in the core modules of

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Spirit, and
  • Shadow (the psyche)

Besides the core modules, there are other optional modules that are available, such as

  • Integral Ethics
  • Integral  Yoga
  • Integral Work
  • Integral Parenting
  • Integral Relationships
  • Integral Communication

Before discussing the contents of the core modules, I want to get to two questions that the first two chapters ask:   Why and What?

In chapter 1, I summarized the chapter that discusses the reasons why you might want to do Integral Life Practice.   In this chapter, chapter 2, I summarize the chapter that discusses what exactly Integral Life Practice entails by listing some adjectives that describe it.

1.   Radically inclusive

The “Integral” part of Integral Life Practice means that it is radically inclusive:   it includes the various insights that come from ancient spiritual traditions, modern science, developmental psychology, philosophy and other traditions.    Sometimes this conceptual map is described by AQAL, which is short for integral theory, which covers “all quadrants, all lines”.    The details of this will be covered in chapter 5 on the Mind Module.   Simply put, it means that it incorporates all perspectives, and includes all lines of development.

2.  Intuitive

Integral theory is a map of consciousness, and integral life practice helps you map the terrain of your own awareness.

3.  Modular

Integral life practice has different modules which relate to specific parts of your being:   your body, your mind, your spirit, or your psyche (also known as the shadow module).

4.  Scalable

Integral life practice allows you to adopt practices that fit into your schedule, so that you can do it whether you have an hour or as little as 10 minutes on any given day to complete your practice.

5.  Customizable

Integral life practice isn’t a rigid, “one size fits all” structure, but rather it allows you create a flexible space in which you can choose those practices which have the most significance for you.

6.  Distilled

Many practices are called Gold Star Practices, because they give you what is most essential in any given module without taking a lot of time.   These are “distilled” or “condensed” practices, which is why they are given the name Gold Star Practices.

7.  Synergistic

By doing practices in various modules, you will find that the gains in one module actually accelerate gains in the others.    Don’t ask yourself if you have enough time to do practices in all four core modules; you don’t have time NOT to do practices all four!

8.  Post-Metaphysical

Rather than just trying to develop your consciousness and gain perspective through the study of theory, Integral Life Practice helps you develop your consciousness by enacting different perspectives.

In sum, Integral Life Practice will allow your to bring a sense of awareness, care, and presence to every moment of your life.

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