I was asked to speak about integral Christianity. The group was a combination of those who have studied integral for years and some who have never heard of it. I know from experience that an initial introduction to integral can easily turn into information overload.
So it seemed best to keep it simple and practical. I don’t generally use integral language. I use integral theory all the time (at least my understanding of it). In my teaching, I try to model integral living. But I’m not yet convinced that it’s helpful to teach integral language.
Was Jesus an integral teacher? Here is my favorite integral Jesus saying- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is how I translate that saying- Love all that is, with all that you have, by being one with all things. It’s a wonderfully inclusive statement; peace beginning with your self and expanding out to include all things known and not yet known.
So here goes. My top ten uses of integral theory in my own words. Each one could be a full post on its own, but it’s a start.
1. Partial truth. We ALL have partial truth, not more and not less. We all touch part of the elephant.
2. Map is not terrain, menu not the meal. Life is to be experienced. Theories like integral, and religions, offer maps that describe life. But they are not themselves the experience.
3. Transcend and include- As I grow, I move beyond former beliefs and perspectives, but they remain part of me, like lower levels of a building foundation.
4. Translate and transform- I aim to integrate as fully as possible my current perspectives (translate), and also seek more expansive perspectives. (transform)
5. Crisis opens or closes- My perspective changes at the time when it no longer adequately explains my experience.For example a hardship makes me doubt the goodness of God. In the face of these crises, I either open up to new wisdom, or else I close down and get stuck in bitterness.
6. Glimpses- I have moments of insight into deeper states of peace and awareness.
7. Practice- I practice peace and awareness so that I experience it more fully and more often. This practice includes meditation, yoga, mindfulness and fitness.
8. Comprehensive- I seek to live a comprehensive (wholistic) life; where I develop all aspects or intelligences; spiritual, emotional, physical, analytical etc. I try to consider all situations from my own perspective, from the group’s perspective and from the highest perspective I can find.
9. Balance- I seek a balance between my own needs and others needs, equanimity and agitation, where my inner character matches my outer behavior.
10. There’s always more. Where I am now is perfect…for now……but I hold it loosely as the nature of life is change. I am open to growth. I am flexible. I am part of a flow that is greater than me, but includes me in its evolution.