Juma tracks her journey in a three-stage process from romance to rebellion to appreciation; Chris speaks of the three stages of childhood, adolescence, and mature sweetness. It’s worth noting that in their general orientation, knowingly or unknowingly, they employ the Three Stations of Love dynamic described by Marc Gafni and others and taught at Integral Spiritual Experience 2.
Juma Wood writes:
All I have now is gratitude. My life would not be what it is today without the work of Ken Wilber. He taught me better than any teacher I’ve had how to be at once sincere and critical, open and discerning, and maybe even, someday, wise.
And yet, it is coming time for a torch to pass, not just from Ken, but from his generation to the next, and from the structures that he helped erect to those that are just now emerging.
For several years, I’ve been bantering around with friends about how a second generation, or Second Wave, integral would look. Meaning, reports from the field from those who are considering, embodying and integrating the work, and who have grown up with it in their bones.
And suddenly we have a group emerging explicitly calling themselves Second Wave. And certainly that is the thrust of our efforts here at Beams and Struts. Creating platforms for emergence. Opening spaces for collective intelligence. Inviting people to lean in towards genuine liberation.
Read the whole thing.
Chris Dierkes writes:
Stage 3 is the second naivete–or better second simplicity. A simplicity, a certain kind of sweetness. The sweetness is in a sense putting down’s one arms and dropping the suspicion. It is becoming suspicious of the suspicious mindset. There’s a coming home feeling.
This response in relation to integral has a great deal to do with the state of Ken’s health. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone I love dearly suffer so greatly.
I think back to experiences and insights he shared with me. I remember how as a young (and full of myself) 25 year old, I went on a Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhist retreat. It was at that retreat that I was graced with an awakening. I came back from this retreat, blissed out on Consciousness, and wrote a long flowing email to a circle of friends and family. It was a paean to the merits of Enlightenment and the Perfect Nature of all arising reality. I had originally meant to send the note to friends and family first and then separately and individually to Ken. But somehow I ended up sending it to Ken as well. Ken then hit ‘reply all‘ and wrote very simply:
“Nice letter. Nice experience. Now get on with your life.”
He had sent that to everyone :).
Read the whole thing.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about my relationship to Ken Wilber at this time. The story of how I notoriously introduced myself to Ken Wilber is told in his Foreword to my book, Soulfully Gay. Since then we have met and corresponded warmly, but since it’s a personal relationship I don’t feel a need to write about publicly now.
What I most take away from the posts by Juma and Chris is the importance of becoming rooted in one’s relationship not so much to Ken Wilber as to the Integral movement itself. Even as they have each chronicled the steps in their journey away from infatuation with Ken and his writings, they remain within the paradigm of “Me and Ken, Me v. Ken, Me and Ken in a new way.”
Relatively few people who are touched by Integral ideas or practices will actually have personal relationships with Ken Wilber, but many more will come to know Ken through the people who he has touched, is touching, and will touch. I am more interested, therefore, iin how Juma and Chris are embodying or not embodying the Integral philosophy in their own ways.
Until we get on to telling the story of “Me and Integral, Me v. Integral, Me and Integral in a new way,” then Integral will remain immature and what is to emerge will be a ghost of Ken’s ideas and not a living, breathing, embodied reality within each of us.
From time to time I hear about someone who is becoming disillusioned with “Integral”; that is just part of the course, and may be the station they remain with for years or even for life. There’s nothing wrong with abandoning the Integral philosophy or movement and walking a different course. Integral is not a cult; nobody comes knocking on your door. Juma and Chris show how the story can have a happy ending, one which allowed them to embrace the fullness of their humanity.
When I say Juma and Chris are overly focused on Ken Wilber himself, I’m not saying that they are not telling their Integral stories in all the various things they write, not in the least. They are part of the Integral story, and helping to create new Integral stories in others.
What I am saying is that I would like to see many more people who have been touched by Integral books, people, and events telling their stories publicly. We are the Integral movement, and what that movement is is US. When we talk about our relationship to Ken Wilber, we are really talking about our relationship to our own self.