A Challenge To Frank Visser

apple-and-orangeI enjoyed reading Frank Visser’s reply in “What Would Wilber Do?” to my earlier post called “Properly Integral: A Response To Frank Visser’s Three Disappointments”, after I got over a bit of frustration at having my arguments characterized to make me look as ridiculous as possible. It’s all a fair part of the blogging game and done in good fun.

Visser begins by once again bemoaning the lack of engagement with criticism he sees with critics by the integral community and especially by Ken Wilber, citing the example of Jeff Meyerhoff’s book. Since I have previously discussed this issue and note that he didn’t specifically reply to my points regarding Ken’s many responses to critics, willingness to change, and so forth, I am tempted to move on. He continues to repeat the canard that Wilber doesn’t engage with critics regardless of how many times this is pointed out to be incorrect in so many ways, the ways that really count.

There are other responses in Visser’s article which I am not going to take on directly because I think the answers suggest themselves to the discerning reader. To respond would only take the discussion in the direction of “Didn’t Wilber say a few inaccurate things over the course of more than twenty books, and why doesn’t this bother you as much as it bothers me and should bother everyone?” and “Doesn’t the fact that I’m subscribed to a bunch of opt-in E-mail lists that I personally joined prove that Integral thought is, in fact, overly marketed in the whole wide culture throughout all media markets everywhere in the world?” and “Doesn’t the fact that Wilber once wrote that Spirit offers a ‘spiritual explanation’ mean exactly that he thinks it is actually a ‘scientific explanation as these signifiers are understood by the orange vMEME’ too, and therefore his philosophy as a whole is bunk?”

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Thomas Hübl’s Vision Of Aligning Ourselves From The Source Within

Thomas Hubl

Thomas Hübl, a contemporary spiritual teacher based in Germany and Israel, has been traveling in the U.S. recently to give talks and workshops related to a new form of humanity which he calls “We culture.” Several resources providing glimpses of Hübl’s teachings are available online at his website and various videos on YouTube. There is also an online dialogue between Hübl and Terry Patten, one of the founders of Integral Spiritual Practice.

I’ve selected one short clip to give readers a small taste of of Hübl’s approach to spirituality, one which explains the way he looks at friction in evolutionary processes. He says, “Every time evolution can manifest itself it manifests itself without the friction. Every time there is a creative impulse, we are very connected to the source within.”

Transcript from “Natural Flow” (YouTube):

There are two things that we can say about friction. One friction is a very creative friction that pushes us to the limits, to the borders. It starts like if you take a diamond, the friction will clear the diamond. This is a very healthy friction. Also some of the conflicts can have a very healthy friction in them that allows us make a step in our life, that allows us to grow.

There is another kind of friction that feels more destructive than creative. It feels more stuck and this stuckness starts to accumulate more stuckness and more stuckness and more stuckness. The lives of the people don’t expend, they just don’t integrate a wider range of reality. It feels like a swamp that is getting heavier and heavier and heavier, which is also part of our experience. And at the same time, a clear seeing of the places that are the crystallization points of this heavy stuckness start to release energy. Through the release of this energy life can come into a flowering again.

So we need to discern where is the friction coming from. In this lovely metaphor that says if you put a hand in the river there is a natural movement to evolution. Every time evolution can manifest itself it manifests itself without the friction. Every time there is a creative impulse, we are very connected to the source within. Every time the creative impulse comes it expresses itself as an awake life, no friction.

In the moment we are living in the conditioning, in an automatic way of living our lives. It is not present, not aware every moment. This creative impulse happens, but it bumps against the addiction to this behavior, and then tension happens, and we feel this tension in our body-minds.

So when we are not living according to our own inner truth, according to our own authentic energy, then the creative impulse, for example, to express sexuality … if it bumps against a No to sexuality, then the body produces a lot of energy that cannot connect in a natural way, fulfill itself… and by the fulfillment there is a natural movement to it. It’s not a big thing, it’s not a small thing, it’s just what it is.

In the moment it cannot express itself, then energy will stay stuck and it will create tensions, muscle tensions, even diseases maybe, because the healthy impulse of life cannot express itself. Sexuality is just one example, but this happens on all levels of our life. Again, if you have an intuitive insight to not take the next corner but to continue three streets and then take the corner, we don’t follow this intuition, even if our mind says why this is the shorter way, we end up in a traffic jam.

By not listening to the deeper place within us, we start being more and more consumed by the noise of reality. So if the noise of reality is louder than our inner connection, then we live our life like a machine, like an automatic… We are driven by the past, thousands and thousands of years of human conditioning.

The more we align ourselves internally and we live our life from the Source within, less and less friction will happen, and evolution will take place within this eternal Now. There is development, there is innovation, evolution, and so the friction will get less by listening moment to moment to the freshness, to the originality of who we are.

On October 22-23, Thomas Hübl will be in Seattle at Seattle University’s Wyckoff Auditorium and Gallery. He will be presenting a workshop on “Sharing the Presence and a ‘New We.’: Evolutionary Ways of Creating Community, Society, Spirituality.”

Tickets are on sale now from Pacific Integral. Courtesy of Pacific Integral, I will be attending Hübl’s workshop in Seattle as a participant and member of the independent media, and will be writing at least one blog post about the experience.

Geoff Fitch on embracing developmental diversity and creating a better world


The sweet smell of hops is in the air, there’s sunshine on my desktop, and the cool breeze of a fan on a hot summer day. It’s Friday afternoon at the Awake, Alive & Aware headquarters, but before I pack it in I want to tell you about my lunch with my friend Geoff Fitch.

Geoff is a founder and CEO of Pacific Integral, an organization that works with both individuals and organizations in service of development and the emergence of a better world. He consults with businesses on complex problems involving their cultural and structural transitions, coaches leaders, and facilitates a leadership development program called Generating Transformative Change (GTC for short).

It’s GTC that our conversation turned to today. I asked him what it is that he finds most interesting about the program.

Geoff said, “We’ve been holding this container for development and from the outset we intended it to be diverse developmentally, and we invited an diverse set of people into GTC. We have an inclusive definition of leadership. GTC reflects the real world.”

Beyond diversity of culture and nationality: embracing developmental diversity

We want to create a truly Integral container that is not just Integral talking to itself. It’s been a really good decision. It’s helped us to learn how to work with different people.”

“We don’t depend on everyone having to have a certain cultural context or familiarity with a specific language that revolves around integral. Even so, over the last 10 years, people who have come into the program have been more and more developed already.”

“The average action-logic of the cohort has steadily increased. A couple of years ago we started our first cohort that had a center of gravity at Turquoise [that is, a developmental measurement at a stage that is often called “Integral”] at the outset. In October, we’re going to start a new cohort where the vast majority of people are at that stage. It’s about 80 percent full right now, and that’s the way it looks like it will shape up.”

“What’s interesting to me about that is I can’t say why that is per se. We may be attracting different sorts of folks these days than we used to, but I have a greater sense that it isn’t just GTC’s applicants. It may be that the population as a whole is going through a shift.”

Is an Integral shift stalled, or coming online?

“Is this later stage [Turquoise/Integral] really coming on line? Is it coming online at a more rapid pace? We have a sense that it’s not stalled. You hear that maybe development has stalled, but I think what creates that sense is that we’re going from a world that has a top-down sort of culture to one that is more distributed, more diverse, and it might be going in a different direction. At the grossroots, we are seeing that there is more energy and vitality, more consciousness.”

I ask, “How do you measure the action-logic of the cohorts? And why?”

Geoff: “The first reason we measure it is when people come into the program they take the MAP [The Leadership Developmental Profile]. The MAP is a way of capturing people’s linguistic response in context, and we are using it to gauge structure stage and also complement it with our own observations of people over nine months and other approaches to judge state stage, and other capacities. We’ve also integrated a view of how the quadrants engage with it. It’s not just MAP. Our program really uses MAP Plus.”

“The primary reason we measure it is to serve the educational goals of the program. We want the participants to come into an understanding of development and to engage their own development consciously and to give them some knowledge about where they are at developmentally.”

“Secondarily, we have a long-term research program where we assess people after the program. We do follow-up assessments every two years after the program to track its impact. Our goal is to see whether there’s a sustained impact over time by having people understand their own life in the context of deep evolving consciousness.”

An Integral embrace of development for a better world

Geoff continued, “We invite people to embrace development. We want to take the ceiling off. I don’t think we as a species know how far development really goes, and of course development is balanced by several other currents, embrace, acceptance, descent.”

“One of the things we’ve been looking at is where to build bridges in community, what do we really want to create in the next era of Integral, from a standpoint of ethics, Integrity, and consciousness. I’m continually surprised and delighted about how much energy there is in the world now to link and connect. I interpret it as creating more energy and force around bringing about a better world.”

I ask, “What vision are you holding for a better world?”

“There are a lot of aspects to it. One is that I think collectively the human species is discovering a certain commonality, an essential unity as a family and out of that we grow new structures of existence that enable a certain level of care, justice, and beauty in the world that we ascribe to any human being.”

“So you could say that’s a worldcentric vision. Maybe at some point our ethnocentric self will identify more with the entire species as our tribe. At a very basic level, Pacific Integral sees a woldcentric vision for humanity as a possibility.”

Photo Credit: Geoff-Fitch.com

15 Integral organizations at the edge of the world’s development today

As Awake, Alive & Aware gets closer to its official launch, there are more changes on this beta website. Today, I updated part of the website’s directory of the Integral universe.

Below you’ll find a freshly updated slice of the Integral pie. There are some amazing people doing remarkable work in the world, and there are few better ways to understand how the Integral worldview is making a difference than to see how it is being put into practice.

At this time, the list includes Antioch University Midwest, ARINA, California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), Center for Human Emergence, Core Integral, Drishti, Fielding Graduate University, HolachracyOne, iEvolve, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Integral Institute, John F. Kennedy University, Pacific Integral, and Transpersonal Psychotherapy & Counseling.

As you will see, I have not attempted to limit the directory to groups aligning themselves with any one particular thinker or philosophy. The list includes a wide range of folks who identify their work as “Integral” in one way or another. This approach fits this blog’s understanding of “Integral” as an emergent worldview and cultural phenomenon more than any particular philosophy.

There are other groups and organizations that surely belong on the list (particularly, European organizations) and I will add them as soon as they are brought to my attention.

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