Behind the scenes with the most provacative thinkers in today's world.


Behind the scenes with the most provacative thinkers in today's world.

Link: in.integralinstitute.org/Podcast/


Jim Garrison - Politics in the 21st Century

Mar 22, 2008


IN PodcastPolitics in the 21st Century. Part 1. Flirting With Disaster.

In this fascinating and provocative interview, Ken and Jim Garrison discuss Wisdom University, the explosive rise of the "cultural creatives" around the world, the need for developmental studies in contemporary politics, and the seemingly unavoidable catastrophe the world may be heading toward....

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Who: Jim Garrison is, among other things, the chairman and president of the State of the World Forum, which he cofounded with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1995. The State of the World Forum (SWF) is often thought of as a "shadow UN," in that it is the largest forum of world leaders outside of the United Nations. From Margaret Thatcher to Ted Turner, from the Queen of Jordan to Desmond Tutu, from Jimmy Carter to George Bush Sr., all have been part of the extraordinary dialogue that is the State of the World Forum. Jim is also the president and chairman of Wisdom University, a higher-education institution that offers a "commitment to personal and professional renewal" by "nurturing and addressing the whole person."

Summary: "The planet," Jim Garrison is fond of saying, "is on a collision course with itself." The monumental challenges of the 21st century seem dire indeed, almost insurmountable in many ways. And to make matters worse, only a portion of the population has the developmental capacity to fully recognize the complexity of our collective problems, while the majority of the world remains blissfully unaware of the impending catastrophe we seem to be heading toward. And many of those who can see feel utterly helpless to do anything about it, unable to find their own ecologically sensitive values reflected in the culture at large. And so they anxiously await what many perceive as the inevitable, a tsunami of global crises to wash over us all, rendering the fruits of human civilization undone in a single fell swoop.

And yet, isn't it too soon to write the future off to these sorts of doom and gloom scenarios? After all, aren't we finally beginning to see some sort of shift for the positive, a shift toward more progressive attitudes and more effective strategies for the future? Many in the U.S. are experiencing a real sense of rekindled hope and civic potency—especially in light of the Democratic primaries, which seems to be galvanizing a great number of people toward much deeper engagement with the political process. Researchers such as Paul Ray are reporting the rise of an exciting new demographic in the world within a population he refers to as the "cultural creatives." While there is still some debate over how to slice up this data or what conclusions to draw from Ray's statistics, it is clear that the number of "cultural creatives" is increasing at a fairly explosive rate, currently representing about 26% of the American voting populace. But many of these "bright greens" (as they are often called) continue to struggle to have their voices heard by the movers and shakers of world politics, and fear that unless they find a way to constellate themselves into a viable political voice, the slumbering giant of humanity will continue to sleepwalk ever closer to the precipice of ecological collapse.

If there is one thing to be said for certain about the human race, it is that we will always find a way to actualize every ounce of potential available to us, in whatever form that potential takes—whether it is the potential for barbarism, for savagery, for merciless destruction, degradation, and depravity; or whether it is the potential for transcendence, for compassion and idealism, for the heights of creativity and noble vision—we are all of these, simultaneously, all at once. We move in every direction possible, though always with a slight-but-significant tilt toward greater depth, freedom, and fullness. The current condition of humanity has been described as growing "better and better, worse and worse, faster and faster," which only makes some sort of breaking point seem even more inevitable, and the need for a developmental understanding of the human condition more crucial.

"All the world's a stage," history's most cherished bard tells us, "and all the men and women merely players." But what Shakespeare could not have possibly known at the time he wrote these words is that the world is not a single monolithic stage, but is in fact a graduating succession of stages, each built upon the other—each with its own set of players, its own set of shared values, and its own lens through which the world is interpreted. Likewise, the game of global politics is not to be played upon a single flat chessboard, but on many boards simultaneously—like a game of "Asimovian Hyperchess" in which moves are played across multiple geometric planes simultaneously. This is how politics in the 21st century must be approached, taking into account all of the different developmental levels human beings grow through (e.g. magic, mythic, rational, postmodern, and integral), while bringing as much healthy balance as possible to the individuals and cultures who exist at each of these particular levels. And only a genuinely integral analysis of world politics can promise the sort sanity and stability our yet-unborn progeny prays for us to find, before it's too late....

"You can't get 'better and better, worse and worse, faster and faster' without something going 'pop' sooner or later, in a way that would be catastrophic...."

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Saul Williams - Deconstructing the "N-Word"

Mar 22, 2008


IN Podcast Introducing Niggy Tardust - Deconstructing the "N-Word"

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Who: Saul Williams, Slam poet and Hip Hop emcee-extraordinairre, who has just released his exceptionally beautiful new album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust.

Summary: In this incredible walkthrough of The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, Saul discusses the overall concept of the album, as well as an in-depth look at many of the songs. The album is about transcendence, pure and simple, as the title clearly states—whereas David Bowie used the Ziggy Stardust character to challenge people's notions of sex, gender, and image, Niggy Tardust uses Hip Hop to challenge our attitudes of race, racism, and identity. It forces us to confront our accumulated fears, discomfort, and victimhood around some extremely sensitive issues, without the Novocain of political correctness or identity politics to numb our exposed nerve endings. He explains his effort to redefine the "N-word" itself—liberating a word synonymous with human oppression by allowing us to fully feel its power, its violence, and its pain. It is an attempt to infuse the profane with the sacred, a Tantric impulse to recognize all of existence as truly not-two, where Spirit can fully embrace even the darkest regions of our soul.

There is much talk in America recently around the issues of race. As Barack Obama continues to amass more and more delegates, we have begun to collectively reflect upon our relationship with race and racism, and the conversation seems to have polarized into two radically different positions. On one hand, Obama's viability as a presidential candidate across a wide range of demographics prompts liberals to proudly declare that, finally, we live in a "post-racial" America, no longer tethered to the racial divisiveness that has infected our political systems since the country's inception. On the other hand, a great number of people are still asking the question "are we ready for a black president?," which itself seems to indicate that a genuine "post-racial" America is still on the horizon of human evolution. The truth, of course, lies somewhere between, or beyond, these two extremes—we have certainly made some tremendous strides in our collective attitudes toward race and racism, but we cannot confuse our accomplishments with outright victory. There can be no singular victory over racism, but like peace itself, it is a victory that must be won again and again, perpetually into the future.

In furthering the dialogue on race and racism, Hip Hop culture offers a fascinating means of exploring the subject, as racial identity has always been at the front and center of the art form. Just as in any genre of art, Hip Hop is capable of reflecting the entirety of the human condition—all of our beauty, all of our misery, all of our scars and scabs, all of our boundless creativity and limitless potential. Consider the wide range of conscious depth as expressed through Hip Hop—developmental studies have consistently shown that human beings develop through several distinct stages of consciousness and identity: from ego-centric consciousness ("me"), to ethno-centric consciousness ("others like me," in terms of race, religion, nationality, etc.), to world-centric consciousness ("all of us"), to Kosmo-centric consciousness ("all of existence").

Each of these broad stages of human development open us to radically different ways of perceiving ourselves and the world around us, with our entire sense of identity being the interface between the two. And we can find all of it within Hip Hop—from the power-driven thug mentality of ego-centrism, to the rivalries, racism, and misogyny of ethno-centrism, to the more conscious expressions of world-centrism often found in underground Hip Hop, to the rare but remarkable few who, like Saul, are using the art as a genuine means of embodied mysticism and Self realization.

Hip Hop culture includes all of these very different attitudes and altitudes of consciousness, which has made it one of the most controversial art forms in the modern world, and especially frustrating to those who want to either idealize it, demonize it, or dismiss it altogether. With roots extending deep into the core of African-American oppression, Hip Hop offers us a fascinating glimpse into the problems of race and racism in the world, as well as a means of overcoming our limited perceptions of reality by simply opening ourselves to all of the different voices the genre has to offer, and integrating these perspectives into a cohesive understanding of ourselves and each other. From this integration we can begin to see the subtleties that exist between, for example, the well-known Hip Hop groups N.W.A. and Public Enemy, the former offering a 1st-person account of life in the ghetto from an ego/ethnocentric point of view, and the latter offering a more 3rd-person view of the ghetto from a largely world-centric perspective. Both accounts are necessary for a full picture to emerge, which Hip Hop culture is more than happy to serve up.

While studying the Integral model, it can be easy to mistake "race" as a notion which, once we move past the ethno-centric stage of development, is something we no longer need to concern ourselves with. (Speaking in the context of the U.S., this is probably more true for whites than minorities, simply because minorities often report being subtly reminded of the color of their skin on a daily basis, simply from living in a white-majority mainstream culture.) But it is important to remember that even if we have moved beyond our exclusive identity with our own racial heritage, that aspect of our identity does not simply vanish, but instead becomes even more textured and nuanced than ever before. We also have the ability to more deeply explore other racial identities, cultures, and heritages, further enriching our own, and slowly peeling back many of the residual filters we unconsciously place over our perceptions of reality. The goal is not to be color-blind, as our politically-correct society often tells us to be, but to allow ourselves to see the entire spectrum of color, much more vividly than ever before. From this integral vantage point, we can see that our similarities are where we find Truth, our differences are where we find Beauty, and navigating between the two is where we find our Goodness.

There aren't many artists in the world today who more fully exemplify this integrative consciousness in Hip Hop than Saul Williams. His capacity to so fully engage the "language of the mystics" of the spiritual realm, to pull it down through the sounds and visions of the mental realm, and to push the transcendent clarity of consciousness through your entire body, is absolutely unparalleled. And while he is pushing spirit all the way down through our souls, through our minds, and into our feet, he is simultaneously pulling some of our darkest shadows up through consciousness, using art to disarm much of the fear and resentment that has prevented our collective dialogue around race and racism from moving forward for decades.

This is a truly one-of-a-kind discussion, which you will find nowhere else in the world. We recommend that you visit www.niggytardust.com, download this exceptional album for a mere five dollars (or for free, if you can't donate at this time), and listen to this fascinating conversation....

Editor's Note - A Brief Exploration of Race and Hip Hop

Hip hop is a natural evolution of 20th century music, which is itself considered by many to have been derived almost entirely from the legacy of black music and culture. In the early 1950's, much of America was becoming fascinated by the new sounds they began to hear on local radio stations around the country, which were playing an exciting mix of black music, including gospel, blues, and boogie-woogie. In 1954, Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Records, was searching for someone who could translate these new sounds into something he could sell to white people. Despite the remarkable influence black music was having upon American culture, the Civil Rights movement had yet to hit its stride, and there was still as of yet no place for black artists within the newly-emerging mainstream of popular culture. To be blunt, black people were simply not marketable. So Sam found the perfect man to help bring black music into the larger culture—and that man was Elvis Presley.

Remaining one of the most controversial figures in modern music, Elvis has been accused on the one hand of "stealing" black music and diluting it to the point where it was finally acceptable to the sensibilities of white America. Elvis himself is quoted as saying "The colored folks been singing it and playing it just like I'm doin' now, man, for more years than I know. They played it like that in their shanties and in their juke joints and nobody paid it no mind 'til I goosed it up. I got it from them." On the other hand, Elvis is credited as being a genuine step forward for black and white culture alike; as Little Richard said: "He was an integrator. Elvis was a blessing. They wouldn't let black music through. He opened the door for black music."

Whether or not we perceive Elvis as a thief or as an innovator, one thing remains certain—almost the entire legacy of Rock and Roll can be attributed to his magnificent wake. Rock music itself became the soundtrack to the Civil Rights movements in the late fifties and sixties, and its unique confluence of black and white art may have actually contributed to the culture of racial equality that was beginning to emerge at this time.

Fast forwarding through five decades of music culture, it isn't hard to see the natural progression of black music through many different forms of music, wildly mutating and undulating into almost as many different sorts of sounds as the human ear is capable of hearing. Blues and boogie-woogie became Rockabilly in the 1950's, which became Rock and Roll in the late 50's and 60's, branching out into soul, funk, R&B, and disco in the 70's. It was here that Hip Hop began to take its roots, naturally evolving out of Rock and Roll into an utterly novel genre of music—even though Rock and Hip Hop continue to share some very deep similarities, most notably in the verse-chorus-verse song structure and predominantly 4/4 timing (so much so that it might be said that the primary difference between them is in overall aesthetic directionality—while many prefer to Rock from side to side, Hip Hop moves your inner b-boy up and down....)

The massive success of Hip Hop as a global art form causes many people to proclaim Hip Hop to be the return of Rock and Roll to the people who created it in the first place. At the same time, Hip Hop has already escaped these sorts of ethnocentric notions of cultural ownership, and is currently blossoming as a genuine global art form. There are much-debated statistics that report 70% of Hip Hop sales coming from white people, one of the most significant examples ever of this sort of cross-pollination of perspectives through popular culture. But this is not as idyllic as it may sound, and continues to cause much uneasiness in black culture. Adding to the complexity of race in Hip Hop, many of the more "conscious" Hip Hop artists report a largely white turnout at live shows—which isn't a bad thing from a world-centric perspective, but can be very frustrating for black artists trying to convey a message to their own culture. At the same time, criticism from within black communities has also been leveled against certain so-called "Gangsta rappers" who, far from keeping it real, are creating larger-than life personas and exaggerated theatrics based upon negative stereotypes, for the sake of selling music to white people. This, these critics argue, perpetuates those stereotypes in much the same way the racist "minstrel shows" of the 19th and early 20th century did, in which whites and even blacks would wear "blackface" and perform extremely racist skits, acts, and songs. In fact, the parallels between much of mainstream Hip Hop and minstrelsy can be summed up in this quote from Wikipedia:

"Blackface minstrelsy was the first distinctly American theatrical form. In the 1830s and 1840s, it was at the core of the rise of an American music industry, and for several decades it provided the lens through which white America saw black America. On the one hand, it had strong racist aspects; on the other, it resulted in the first broad awareness by white Americans of aspects of black folk culture."

But let us not forget all those artists who, like Saul, continue to bring genuine artistry, creativity, and spirituality to the art, despite the fact that the radio is dominated by the same shallowness and superficiality that dominated the 80's music scene. While "conscious" Hip Hop artists like Saul, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, The Coup, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, and many others are pushed to the wayside of a mainstream which once reflected our stream-of-collective-consciousness—but has now been reduced to lowest-common-denominator marketing—let's also remember that the music industry's grasp over mainstream culture is beginning to crumble, creating more and more ways for these more enlightened artists to bring their art to the masses.

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Rupert Sheldrake - How Do We Account for Memory in Nature?

Mar 11, 2008


IN PodcastIntegral Evolutionary Biology. Part 1. How Do We Account for Memory in Nature?

The man behind the theory of morphic resonance shares his impulse to explore the evolutionary impulse behind the Kosmos itself. From physics, to chemistry, to biology, to psychology, to spirituality and more, these two pioneers share their understanding of how Spirit is manifesting moment-to-moment in and through the leading edge of consciousness awareness….

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Who: Rupert Sheldrake is a British biologist and author who has developed the theory of morphic resonance, incorporating the insights of early twentieth century morphogenetic fields, and extending the understanding of biological “fields” to entire species—not merely individual groups of embryonic cells—and where evolutionary habits of nature can explain far more than eternal laws of nature.

Summary: Einstein proposed and believed in an eternal unchanging physical universe, governed by static laws, not an integrated Kosmos of both interior and exterior dimensions, governed by Kosmic habits. The difference between the two should not be underestimated. Whereas Einstein has famously stated, “God does not play dice,” Rupert and Ken go on to discuss a universe where God does indeed play dice, but in an evolutionary and developmental context—every new game of dice builds upon the billions of games played since the Big Bang, and every new game brings, or builds upon, an aspect of novelty: something the Kosmos has never seen before. The more this novel dimension gets repeated in subsequent “games,” the more likely that we will continue to see it pervade all corners of the universe, in that particular dimension, species, or level of development. One could say it’s the snowball effect writ large, and acting nearly instantaneously across innumerable light-years.

Sounds different from your high school biology class, yes? One reason for this is that Rupert and Ken are exploring how evolution and development occurs in all dimensions of existence—from physics, to chemistry, to biology, to psychology, to spirituality, and more. As Ken would state it, there is a fundamental Eros to the universe, a drive to reach higher, deeper, and further… not to get away from manifestation, but to include and embrace as much of it as possible! Here’s the funny thing about this Kosmos of ours: there are no Platonic Ideals that we should be reaching to understand. There are no eternal Forms. What we—as humans—are given is an evolutionary space in consciousness, a certain degree of depth and complexity that is waiting to be expressed in the universe, and as conscious, sentient beings, we literally determine the form that this space-potential will take as it manifests in the Kosmos. Our intentionality, and our choices, will mold the face of our collective will atop the deep structures presented to us. Nothing is pre-given except for Eros and the possibility of depth and complexity of expression that is on the horizon of our shared consciousness. It’s not so much that humanity is created in God’s own image, but that humanity is God-in-action, and we create the next form of God-in-action based on our own image of what is possible. There is no one responsible beyond ourselves for what comes next. If that happens to be true, it might be good that we all get on the same page, yes?

But that’s another discussion. In a developmental and evolutionary context, getting all of humanity “on the same page” is far more complicated than it might initially appear. However, if you’re reading these words right now, it means you’re interested in the same degree of passionate creativity and responsibility that an Integral View helps clarify and enact. You’re not alone. For a mind that only sees surfaces, one could think that this is a dialogue merely about biology, and a pretty far-out biology at that. But this dialogue is not merely about biology. It’s about the nature of the Kosmos itself. It’s about the mechanisms of evolution, the process that brought you, personally, to where you are right now. What you do from here is up to you: will I look back and understand the Kosmic forces responsible for my existence in this very moment, or will I distract myself with other affairs? It’s not that either choice is good or bad. It’s about the nature of choice itself. Will you join us on this exploration?

The surprising fact about continued human development is not that one’s sense of “family” gets smaller, but that it gets bigger, to the edges of the Kosmos itself…. We’d love to see you there, which is only ever here, closer to home than we’d ever dare to expect….

"Classical European philosophy could deal with planets beings spheres and having ellipses as orbits, but it could not create equations for giraffes or hedgehogs or any other animal or plant—basically just matter and energy, but not form…."

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Stone Gossard: Pearl Jam - Restoring Idealism to Rock and Roll. Part 1. From the Birth of Grunge to the Death of an Industry.

Feb 15, 2008


IN PodcastPearl Jam: Restoring Idealism to Rock and Roll. Part 1. From the Birth of Grunge to the Death of an Industry.

Few bands in recent history have done more to express idealism and authenticity in music than Pearl Jam. In this fascinating interview with guitarist Stone Gossard, we are offered an insider's view of the gritty origins of grunge music, the iconic rise of the "most popular band of the 90's," and the struggles of maintaining one's artistic ideals in the vertigo of sudden fame.

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Who: Stone Gossard, guitarist and founding member of Pearl Jam, one of the most influential bands in recent decades, and often described as "the most popular American rock band of the 1990's."

Summary: Every now and again, pop culture is forced to reinvent itself. Like an epic drama among Hindu deities, our collective tastes are born, destroyed, and reborn again, swinging like a massive pendulum from one aesthetic extreme to the other. As a new cultural niche becomes more and more popularized, what typically begins as fierce artistic independence eventually devolves into reckless overindulgence, and creative novelty slowly bleeds away until all that is left is a formulaic husk used to manufacture tomorrow's next fads. It is usually at this point, when a particular scene becomes so over-saturated that it can no longer support the weight of its own excess, that the entire scene will die an often-humiliating death, bloated and alone on an unflushed toilet.

In the 1980's, the music scene in America was dominated by the glut and theatrics of "glam metal." For nearly 10 years, most of popular music was defined by sex, drugs, and machismo-in-drag, and an entire generation of youth nearly lost themselves within a cloud of hairspray. There was a void in the cultural heart of the musical mainstream that was dying to be filled—an utter lack of artistic interiority, emotional depth, and authenticity. Untold millions were craving artistic substance, and were only offered artificial decadence.

Then along came grunge, taking the entire world by storm in the early 90's. From the rain-soaked streets of Seattle emerged a new voice for American youth. In much the same way that punk music arrived just in time to offer salvation for our Disco-era sins, grunge music promised to completely cleanse our cultural palette, placing an aesthetic imperative upon more simplicity, more spontaneity, and more sincerity. And so bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam came into the mainstream, forever changing the landscape of American music. From behind a tsunami of massively distorted guitars, hallowed vocals, and countless acres of flannel, appeared an unmistakable return to introspection and idealism—even while cloaked by themes of angst and despair, the natural result of our collective interiors being ignored for almost a decade.

Few bands of the era embody this move toward introspection and idealism as strongly as Pearl Jam. As the grunge scene continued to explode, it was becoming apparent that the inherent iconoclasm of the scene was ill-suited to handle the immense pressures of fame, and many artists found themselves circling the drain of inevitable self-destruction—for many, Kurt Cobain's suicide was a morbid reminder of what can happen when artistic ideals are reduced to mere currency for the status-sphere. One by one the originators of grunge began to fall away, and an impossibly huge body of talent was forever lost to suicide and drug addiction.

Not many bands survived as the industry began churning out the newest grunge-inspired fads, marketed (ironically) as "alternative rock." Pearl Jam was one of the few who did make it through this period of intense commodification. Unlike most others from the Seattle era, they were able to prevent themselves from being crushed by the enormous pressure that their celebrity brought to their personal and professional lives. While they did in a sense try to distance themselves from their own fame, they were also simultaneously using their celebrity as a platform for their idealism, soon finding themselves fighting "on all fronts" for initiating real change in the world. From their famed battle with the corruption of the Ticketmaster venue monopoly, to publicly berating the policies of George W. Bush, to expressing pro-choice sentiments in concert, to promoting awareness around Crohn's disease—Pearl Jam was helping to return rock and roll to its roots, in terms of both the profoundly personal and the deeply political. And they continue to do it to this day, over 18 years since the band first formed.

In this dialogue Stone Gossard leads us through the story of Pearl Jam's iconic rise, as well as his own experiences in the early grunge scene, long before any of us had ever known what "Teen Spirit" actually smelled like. Stone and Ken also discuss the current state of the music industry, some of the key problems it needs to come to terms with, and the role of record labels in the future of music. Stone's story is one that is truly aligned with the essence of Integral Art, which attempts to restore Beauty to it's rightful place within the human condition—emphasizing creativity instead of deconstruction, idealism instead of apathy, depth instead of sensationalism, authenticity instead of irony—and always reflecting the fullest expressions of both artist and audience alike. We hope you can join us in this fascinating exploration of artistic idealism and creative reverie....

"We felt liberated by the idea of punk rock, by the idea of social movements that gave what you were doing a little bit more significance.... We had a general belief that art was important... and that there was a whole world to be discovered as you filter art through your unique perspective."

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Neale Donald Walsch - Making Space for Emergence

Feb 15, 2008


IN PodcastConversations Between Two Faces of God. Part 1. Making Space for Emergence.

Neale Donald Walsch, writer of the Conversations With God series, discusses the need help create "safe spaces" for each other—not only to support those already on the path toward their fullest potential, but so people who may still be "in the closet" in regard to their spirituality can recognize the fact that their higher intuitions are real, that growth is possible, and that conversations with God are anything but uncommon....

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Who: Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger who's nine Conversations With God books and sixteen additional books on a contemporary understanding of God have touched millions of lives around the globe. He is also the founder of Humanity's Team, a spiritual movement dedicated to "a civil rights movement for the soul."

Summary: This is a dialogue of inspiration and awakening. This is an exploration of what it means to awaken to one's True Nature, and how one expresses that understanding—because it is the action following enlightened realization that has an impact in this world that we share, and those actions can be more or less wise, compassionate, and impactful depending upon circumstances in all the dimensions of an Integral understanding of reality.

Having travelled the globe sharing "the good news" (to borrow from another tradition), Neale reports that nearly everyone he meets, from Norway to South Korea and beyond, is suffering some form of anxiety regarding their ability to enact their vision of life at it should be, in every realm of humanity—social, political, cultural, educational, you name it. Neale explains how it feels like there is an enormous population of people ready to make real change in the world, but they are all in the closet, alone, and in that isolation they feel powerless. For Neale, his life right now is about helping create a safe and encouraging space for people to leave their closets, and enter the common room of shared purpose, intention, and consciousness. "Oh, I'm not the only one who feels this way? I'm not crazy? I'm actually a part of a very large part of the world population? All right, let's start this party and get things moving!!!"

As Ken relates, this phenomenon is powerfully present at Integral Seminars. When participants are asked about what they liked most about their experience, the top two response are: 1. I loved the teachers; 2. I really loved spending five days with fifty people with whom I could share my entire being, and leave my closet far behind. As Neale and Ken agree, the power of creating and maintaining a safe "we-space" for those reaching intuitively towards humanity's highest possibility cannot be underestimated. The revelations of the Western Enlightenment unfolded in the safe spaces of select universities and coffee shops—who knows what the safe spaces for the leading edge of consciousness of today may yield.

What an Integral Approach reveals is that there are two fundamental dimensions of what one's "highest possibility" actually is. As Ken explains, by looking at the cross-cultural knowledge of what it means for consciousness to expand and grow, there are both states and structures of consciousness—the former being freely available to everybody (e.g. spiritual states, emotional states, altered states, etc.) and the latter being earned through the process of vertical growth (e.g. through magic, mythic, rational, postmodern, and integral stages of development)—and both showing the capacity, and natural urge towards, increasing depth and complexity.

"Some person once wrote me and said 'you know, there's a lie on the cover of your book. Your book is called Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue—Mr. Walsch, with respect, there's nothing uncommon about it....'"

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Steve Whitmire on Integral Naked - It's Not Easy Being Teal

Jan 8, 2008


IN PodcastSteve Whitmire - It's Not Easy Being Teal. Part 1. The Performer Behind the World’s Most Famous Frog Recounts Coming to an Integral View.

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The Muppet famous for saying "It’s not easy being green," carries on the creative tradition founded by Jim Henson in Steve Whitmire’s puppeteering of this international figure with a decidedly more Integral tilt.


Steve Whitmire is one of the few individuals who has carried on the whole-hearted legacy of Jim Henson, and the mastery and development of puppetry through Jim’s unique Muppets. Since the passing of Jim Henson in 1990, Steve has served as the animating force and puppeteer for beloved characters such as Kermit the Frog and Sesame Street’s Ernie.


Steve Whitmire spent 14 intense and creative years with the extraordinary Jim Henson before his passing. As of 2008, Steve has been the animating force behind, most notably, Kermit the Frog for nearly two decades. This was not something Steve planned for in any way. Jim passed away at the age of 53 from an infection that no one could have seen coming—although it later became revealed that Jim had been considering Steve for the puppeteer of Kermit, so that Jim could explore other creative endeavors.

However, their connection had started decades earlier. When Steve was a scant 10-years-old, he wrote Jim a letter to express his appreciation for his work, and to ask if he had written anything on the construction of puppets. In fact, Jim had not written anything on the construction of puppets at that time, but responded personally to Steve’s letter, and directed him toward some simple Muppet patterns that had been published a few years ago in a magazine.

Thus started the career of a life-long Jim Henson puppeteer, aided by Steve’s mother’s sewing machine. As Ken comments, puppeteering can be, and has been, looked at by the world’s great Mystical Traditions as a metaphor for ultimate Spirit being the transcendental Puppeteer of all worldly phenomena. And there is much truth in that observation. Spirit, if nothing else, inhabits a massive number of multiple perspectives, and in order to perform puppeteering successfully, one literally inhabits, and becomes one with, the puppet’s personality. It is a minor re-enaction of what Spirit does moment-to-moment spontaneously, throughout the entire Kosmos.

As with Jim Henson, Steve Whitmire is a very humble soul. If nothing else, Steve is honored to carry on a tradition started by a modern-day master, by whatever name. Jim’s productions have been among the most successful television series in history: Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock were all international sensations. Sesame Street alone has aired more than 4,100 episodes over a 38-season run, winning 109 Emmy Awards in the process—and it’s still going. To say that Steve is a modern-day backbone of the Muppet tradition is in no way an exaggeration. You may not see his face, but you can see Steve animating Kermit the Frog in a musical duo with Kylie Minogue on YouTube, along with many other notable appearances.

Kermit the Frog was, and is, a public, (inter)national expression of the pluralistic, green worldview—but always with a subtle reminder of how multicultural expressions can be reconciled and brought together with an Integral View. It may not be easy being green, but it’s ever harder being teal (where an Integral understanding begins and expands). With the spirit of growth that Jim Henson embodied and intuited, and that Steve Whitmire carries on in an evolutionary context with a clearly Integral perspective, we invite you to celebrate this artistic and creative dimension of puppetry, and “taking the perspective of other” that it implies, in this one-of-a kind-dialogue….

"Jim walked into the room and said, ‘I want to do a show that will change the world and end war'—and the writers said, 'Well that’s great Jim, how could we possibly do that?' We didn’t know, but Fraggle Rock was the first ever international coproduction of any television show...."

(Click here for full dialogue.)

Previously on Integral Naked:

Tim Black - Indigenous Cultures in the Modern World

James Turner - The Integral-Political Imperative

Sally Kempton - Designer Spirituality, or Discipline Disaster?

Ken Wilber - The Origins of the Integral Perspective

Sally Kempton - From Bohemian Rebel to Integral Swami

Joe Perez - The Power of Integral Reconciliation

Alanis Morissette - Healing the Ruptures

Sally Kempton - Seeing Beyond the Mythic God

Joe Perez: Soulfully Gay - Out of the Closet, Into an Integral Embrace

Dan Millman: The Peaceful Warrior's Way - The Highest Teaching

Alex Grey: Integral Art - Anchoring the Seed of Liberation

Alanis Morissette: From Jagged Little Pill to Flavors of Entanglement

Sharon Stone: Like a Fine Diamond....

Dan Millman: The Peaceful Warrior’s Way - “This Is How to Do It”

Alex Grey: Integral Art - When Psychedelics Reveal the Spirit Within

Deepak Chopra: Buddha - A Story of Enlightenment

Integral Art

Recent Guests

Ken Wilber - Taking Perspectives on the Culture Wars

Dec 18, 2007


IN PodcastKen Wilber - An Interview with Myriades 1. Part 3. Taking Perspectives on the Culture Wars.

click here for free sample! (right-click to download)

In an interview for Myriades 1, an Argentinean cultural magazine, Ken discusses the difference between modernity and post-modernity, and how an Integral Approach exposes the difference between flatland pluralism and a truly developmental, Integral view on growth and distinctive maturity....


Gaspar Segafredo, Editor-in-Chief of Myriades 1, an Argentinean cultural magazine with an integral approach.


Gaspar and Ken engage this last section of their dialogue with vigorous inquiry.  Gaspar begins by asking if democracy, the United Nations, and human rights fundamentally stem from "pluralism."  The answer, as the evidence shows, is yes and no.  Modernity, starting with the Western Enlightenment, attempted to free itself from dogmatic mythic religion, and declare that all humans are equal.  In fact, enacting that impulse has been more of a progressive movement—not a historical moment in time—that continues to this day.  First it was that all (white) men are equal, then including all African (black) men, then including women, then including children.

In a very real way, postmodernity finished the Enlightenment project that modernity started, wherein all human beings—regardless of race, religion, creed, sexuality, etc.—should be accorded the same fundamental human rights.  But postmodernity and the pluralism it encourages can, and has, often gone too far in its impulse to equalize.  It has even gone so far as to deconstruct nearly all meaning whatsoever, which reveals the narcissistic and nihilistic core at the center of a glorious impulse taken to its pathological limits.  This is where an Integral Approach comes into play.       

An Integral Approach takes the many gifts and insights of pluralism, and then finds the patterns that connect.  All views have their right to exist, but that doesn’t mean that all views are equal.  Here, Gaspar and Ken explore developmental studies, and how—universally, research shows—people move from egocentric (I, me), to ethnocentric (you, us), to worldcentric (all of us), to (all sentient beings) Kosmocentric.  This is not merely an academic consideration.  This is a reflection of the world we all live in, where 70% of the world population is at ethnocentric or lower (to put it bluntly, Nazis or lower). 

Here, Gaspar and Ken discuss developmental stages in terms of the ability to take perspectives.  For example, egocentric can take a 1st-person perspective, ethnocentric can take a 2nd- person perspective, worldcentric-modern can take a 3rd-person perspective, worldcentric-postmodern can take a 4th-person perspective, and integral-Kosmocentric can take a 5th-person perspective (and beyond).  All of those stages of development, and stages of perspective-taking, are allowed, included, and embraced in an Integral Approach.  The question is, how can we help people grow into more mature, complex perspectives?  This is one of the many fascinating topics that Gaspar and Ken explore in this introductory, yet leading-edge, dialogue….

(Click here for full dialogue.)

James Turner on Integral Naked - The Integral-Political Imperative

Dec 11, 2007


IN PodcastJames Turner - The Integral-Political Imperative. Part 1. The Nader Years.

click here for free sample! (right-click to download)

A founding pioneer in more Integral forms of law, politics, and federal regulation shares how he got his start applying the concepts of an infamous political activist to all areas of our modern economic society, offers a fascinating glimpse into 18th-century American political history, and suggests how a more Integral Politics can illuminate and enlighten even the realm of bureaucracy….

Who: Jim Turner is a principal in the Swankin & Turner law firm, a founding member of Integral Institute, and its Integral Politics and Integral Business branches. He is also the host of “Of Consuming Interest” on the Progressive Radio Network.

Summary: Jim Turner began his career as a young law student who realized that Ralph Nader’s pointed critique of the automobile industry circa the 1960’s (e.g., Unsafe at Any Speed) wasn’t merely about cars, but about corporate power and responsibility in nearly every sector of society—and the press simply wasn’t getting it, nor the general population. Jim felt it was his responsibility to suggest to Mr. Nader how his message might be more broadly and effectively communicated—and so he tracked Mr. Nader down, eventually ending up being invited to dinner at Ralph’s home.

Nader appreciated what Jim had to say about finding parallel problems in other corporate arenas, and then said, “Well, what would you do?” Jim said, “Let’s do food.” It turns out Ralph had been a cook in the Army for six months, so he gave the go-ahead. Then, in 1970, with the assistance of two-dozen medical, law, and political science students, Jim published The Chemical Feast: The Ralph Nader Study Group Report on Food Protection and the Food and Drug Administration—hailed by Time Magazine as “The most devastating critique of a government agency ever written.”

But, ultimately, it’s not merely about cars or food, or any specific product. It’s about a more Integral Approach to corporate entities, the government agencies that regulate them, and the citizen-consumers who are affected by the actions of both (and who, as Jim makes clear, usually get the short end of the stick). Here, Jim and Ken go right back to the dawn of the United States as a country—and as an economic force—and the Hamiltonian (large federal government) and Jeffersonian (small federal government) influences that continue to this day. Ken comments that only a truly Integral Politics can reconcile the important truths of both perspectives, and then transcend-and-include them in a post-postmodern politics that today’s world demands. Jim responds by commenting that he and Lawry Chickering (both founding members of I-I) are writing a book called The Transpartisan Imperative, which is clearly an expression of the Integral Imperative in the world at large.

(To learn more about an explicitly Integral-AQAL Politics, click here.)

“Consumers play a role in the economy like voters in the political process… but the alliance between the corporate sector and the government can be so tight, that there can be huge barriers for the individuals’ wellbeing and interests being taking care of….”

(Click here for full dialogue.)

Sally Kempton on Integral Naked - Designer Spirituality or Discipline Disaster?

Dec 11, 2007


IN PodcastSally Kempton - Religion in the Modern World. Part 3. Designer Spirituality or Discipline Disaster?

click here for free sample! (right-click to download)

A deceptively profound and skillful pioneer in more Integral forms of spirituality explores what the future of spiritual practice might look like, and perhaps even more importantly, who is going to teach it—the narcissistic offspring of boomers and modern culture, or the growing number of young stars shooting for an ever-brighter tomorrow?

Who: Sally Kempton, also known as Swami Durgananda, is among the most dynamic, insightful, and sought-after teachers of Siddha Yoga, and is author of the celebrated guide to spiritual practice, The Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience.

Summary: Sally Kempton is one of the most extraordinary pioneers in more integral, comprehensive forms of spiritual teaching—but my oh my, she’ll be the first to tell you it isn’t always easy, for her or her students!

For anyone walking around the modern spiritual marketplace, one of the largest challenges is simply not knowing what the “right” thing to do is anymore. With unprecedented access to all the great Wisdom Traditions from across the world, one is left with several very difficult questions. For students, which tradition should I pick—or should I pick more than one? For teachers, should I continue to pass on my spiritual knowledge in the way it was passed on to me—or should I add in some complimentary techniques from other traditions?

This is an exploration requiring equal parts courage and humility, and it’s about this journey of exploration that Sally and Ken discuss, in nuance, with passion, and always with humor. Who will be the next generation of teachers of explicitly Integral spirituality, in each tradition, or as a tradition in itself? Who is going to train those teachers in the first place? Will the teachers of tomorrow help personalize spiritual practice to each person, a kind of “designer spirituality,” or will they forget entirely the importance of discipline, and simply have a bunch of “designer egos” walking around instead? Can teachers of today and tomorrow hold both “unique fit” and discipline in their minds simultaneously?

As Sally and Ken discuss, studies have shown that the twenty-somethings of today are even more narcissistic than their boomer parents (a rather frightening achievement), and yet within that generation is an eerily high number of young people who seem to have shot right to the top of the evolutionary wave, and are ready to keep riding higher! So what on earth does that mean for the future of spirituality? A bunch of “be-here-now,” don’t worry about practice, you’re already enlightened so just go play video-games teachers? Or a crop of teachers looking to synthesize and integrate the best that the traditions have to offer, within a framework that understands developmental structures, ever-present spiritual states, but also understands that those higher states won’t stick without diligent practice?

At the leading-edge of consciousness, where these questions are being pondered from an Integral view by both teachers and students, we are the ones who have to answer our own deepest questions, through trial and error, with support from others on the same path of discovery, and with the courage to let the exhilarating birthing pains of a more Integral form of spirituality come into the world through you. Why would anyone embark upon such a path? Because their own Highest Self is telling them “walk this way.” It is the call of Eros and evolution itself, which is precisely and only the gesture of Spirit-in-Action—your own I AMness asking you, personally, to help divine truth shine brighter, and embrace more, than what has come before.

Sound like a commitment to egoic self-aggrandizement? A Messiah complex perhaps? Not at all. Because if you truly realize what you have just devoted yourself to, humility will knock you flat. In a post-metaphysical Integral spirituality, where it is understood that consciousness evolves, those at the leading edge of consciousness evolution are literally co-creating the structure of consciousness, the world-space, into which untold numbers of others will eventually follow. So, um, don’t screw it up… and don’t let the fear of screwing up paralyze you either. Breathe, smile, and go find some friends—and teacher(s)—to help create this path together….

“I’m interested in what degree of discipline this new generation of teachers is going to require from students. My teacher used to wake people up at 3AM to go meditate. It was total boot camp. That’s very hard to do in Western culture without being called authoritarian, cultish, etc….”

(Click here for full dialogue.)

Sally Kempton on Integral Naked - From Bohemian Rebel to Integral Swami

Dec 4, 2007


IN PodcastSally Kempton - Religion in the Modern World. Part 2. From Bohemian Rebel to Integral Swami..

(click here for free sample)

One of the most nuanced, courageous pioneers of Integral forms of spirituality shares her own story of leaving her place among the liberal feminist elite, spending three decades plumbing the depths of Siddha Yoga, and "coming back to the marketplace" with a more comprehensive, integral vision for the meaning of living a spiritual life….

What Sally and Ken discuss in this dialogue is nothing less than the very future of spirituality, what it might look like, and who is going to lead the way. Sally’s perspective on this topic is incredibly nuanced, based on a lifetime spent delving into the depths of what is problematic about religion and spirituality, what the fundamental core of Liberation is in each tradition, and what isn’t even addressed by most forms of spirituality—like psychological shadow work, which Enlightenment per se literally doesn’t touch.

Born to socially-conscious parents, Sally describes herself when she was a young woman as an "ultra-leftist bohemian rebel" with a powerful feminist bite—who then abandoned the progressive cultural elite of New York City to go to India and become a devotee of Swami Muktananda. This, shall we say, was a radical change. Not only was she embracing spirituality and religion (a Leftist no-no, being seen as "the opiate of the masses"), but she was also submitting herself to a male guru in a distinctly hierarchical society (unthinkably anti-feminist, certainly for her peers).

But this was not giving up, and this was not regression. This was an incredibly important step in Sally’s life, and a bold move towards integrating truths about human existence—not deconstructing and dividing them, as was (and is) so popular. Sally spent nearly three decades in the Siddha Yoga community as a highly-regarded senior teacher, under the traditional name bestowed on her by Swami Muktananda: Swami Durgananda. Then, in 2002, Sally saw clearly that she could no longer continue to deepen and evolve her teaching methods while remaining in an ashram setting. So, with the community’s blessing, she laid aside her monastic robes, and started teaching independently. She is currently working with a small community of students on developing a four-year curriculum based on the best of what Siddha Yoga has to offer, and informed and fleshed out by the Integral Model. Sally is a founding teacher at Integral Spiritual Center, and a true gift to anyone lucky enough to cross paths with this astonishingly wise, humble, and courageous spiritual pioneer. We invite you to listen in and enjoy….

"Back in the 60s and 70s, there was an anticipation that Realization would take care of everything—and when it didn’t, there was substantial disillusionment. But all that’s needed is an Integral Approach to spirituality, and we’re seeing that more and more…."

click here for full audio

Ken Wilber - The Origins of the Integral Perspective

Dec 4, 2007


IN PodcastKen Wilber - The Origins of the Integral Perspective (19:22)

click here to listen, absolutely free! (right-click to download)

In this fascinating and memorable introduction to the Integral Vision, Ken is asked the question "How would you define what you do?" As the widely-acknowledged leader in the field of Integral studies and application, Ken goes all the way back to the beginning: a medical student at Duke University who couldn’t get any of the important questions answered from that traditional educational setting. What’s the meaning of life? Why am I here? What’s the good life? What is the Good, the True, the Beautiful? Fundamentally, what is important in human life?

Having written The Spectrum of Consciousness when he was 23, Ken began the life-long pursuit of trying to understand the meaning and importance of being human at a remarkably early age, having since expanding his work into over two-dozen books, each building on the insights of the one before. Life, and human life in particular, is a developmental affair. It’s not that there are (as Gaspar and Ken discuss) 6-7 major psychological and spiritual approaches to the same fundamental human condition, there are 6-7 developmental levels of consciousness. From archaic, to magic, to mythic, to rational, to pluralistic, to integral and beyond, there is no one answer to the meaning of life. The meaning of life literally develops along with the structures of human consciousness, in complimentary and simultaneous growth through states of consciousness, where “wakefulness” progresses from waking-gross, to dreaming-subtle, to deep-dreamless-sleep, to ever-present nondual. There are two “axes of enlightenment,” one in structures of consciousness and one in states of consciousness (see Ken’s book Integral Spirituality for more detail on this topic).

Gaspar and Ken end by talking about the fact that Ken isn’t imposing an Integral framework on anyone—he’s giving people who are already at an integral level of development a map and a way to talk about what they are already experiencing, but don’t have a language to talk about their deepest insights intuitions into life. All we do is help provide the most complete map and language for the Integral developmental wave at the leading edge of evolution, and we’d love to have you listen in and help unfold and express this blooming edge of consciousness….

Joe Perez on Integral Naked - The Power of Integral Reconciliation

Nov 13, 2007


IN PodcastJoe Perez - Soulfully Gay. Part 2. The Power of Integral Reconciliation.

(click here for free sample)

The author of one of the most searing, courageous personal memoirs of our time shares how extraordinarily helpful an Integral Approach can be in reconciling and integrating even the most volatile, difficult, highly-charged aspects of one’s own being—and not only live to tell the tale, but find true meaning, peace, and wholeness.

In the foreword to Soulfully Gay, Ken Wilber writes: "Joe Perez’s book is perhaps the most astonishing, brilliant, and courageous look at the interface between individual belief and cultural values that has been written in our time. By a homosexual, or a heterosexual, or any other sexual I am aware of." Ken wrote this foreword without even having met Joe—probably one of the strongest complements one writer can give to another—and Soulfully Gay is the second offering from our Integral Books imprint at Shambhala Publications.

We pick up this second half of Joe’s incredible story in the year 2000, when Joes launches into a four-year process of trying to reconcile and integrate his identity as a gay man, his relationship to organized religion, his occasional psychotic episodes, and his genuine spiritual experiences—the last year of which is powerfully chronicled in Soulfully Gay. During this year, Joe’s life is often literally hanging by a thread (first because of HIV/AIDS, and second by nearly driving off a cliff). But it’s also during this year that the most significant kind of integration occurs in this beautiful, courageous man. In part by reading Ken’s work on an Integral Approach, Joe is able to find a way to understand and find a place for all the apparently disparate elements of his life—including the homophobic tendencies of mythic-traditional Christianity.

Indeed, one of the most important parts of Joe’s growth and integration is in his spiritual life. Having been raised Roman Catholic—staunchly homophobic—then having religion completely deconstructed by his time at Harvard and the University of Chicago, while also experiencing authentic mystical states, Joe wasn’t quite sure where to turn when he realized that he was in dire need of a spiritual perspective in order to effectively confront his demons. Here, Joe and Ken discuss the fact that religion and spirituality looks and acts differently at different human developmental levels (e.g., from archaic, to magic, to mythic, to rational, to pluralistic, to integral, and so on). In fact, because human beings live at every single one of those levels, religion must find a healthy way to express itself at each level—not try to convert everyone to just one level (usually mythic-traditional).

Joe is pioneering not only how to live an Integral Life as a gay man, but also a uniquely Integral Spirituality for anyone with a same-sex orientation. In fact, Joe and Ken go on to explore how "gayness" can be looked at as a universal feature of human nature, woven into the very fabric of the Kosmos itself….

"When I tried to meditate, I would shake and hyperventilate. I feared that if I got more in touch with my true nature, I would go insane again. That was a real dilemma… and one that Integral helped resolve."

click here for full audio

Alanis Morissette - Healing the Ruptures

Nov 7, 2007


IN PodcastAlanis Morissette - From Jagged Little Pill to Flavors of Entanglement. Part 2. Healing the Ruptures.

(click here for free sample)

One of the most dynamic and live-out-loud artists of our time shares how, over the course of a lifetime and 11 albums, she has come to a deeply integral—and deeply personal—understanding of why "touching on all the bases" is by far the most rewarding way to engage spirituality, relationships, and self-expression.

Alanis Morissette is a glorious example of what it means to talk about living an Integral Life in a way that is fun, accessible, and quite simply the most natural thing in the world. Why would you want to do anything less than touch in on all the bases of one’s life? Actually, it’s a little spooky how spot-on she is, apparently without even really trying. Alanis has this uncanny ability to talk about a certain dimension of her life, and how she has, over a lifetime, come to a place of inner peace and integration in that particular dimension. The uncanny part is that Ken will then mirror back to her the fact that she just walked us through all the important elements of that part of one’s life, exactly as the Integral Approach would do, but without any unfamiliar technical wording. It’s pretty amazing.

Just one example: Alanis and Ken start the dialogue by talking about what practices Alanis does for her spiritual dimension. She then lists everything from "being still" meditation, to prayer, to the exaltation of singing on stage, to walking in nature with her dogs. Ken then goes on to speak about what we call "The 1-2-3 of God," and how Spirit (or God, by whatever name) can be known and investigated in three fundamental dimensions: 1st-person (I), 2nd-person (You), and 3rd-person (It). Spirit in 3rd-person is the Great Perfection of the Kosmos, the unified Web of Life, and Nature with a capital "N." Spirit in 2nd-person is the great other, the great Thou or You that created the entire universe, a living intelligence infinitely greater than one’s separate self-sense. Spirit in 1st-person is the recognition that at the core of one’s personal experience of consciousness is the pure consciousness of Spirit itself, living as you and through you, in the Supreme Identity of I AMness. Alanis’s "being still" touches on Spirit in 1st-person, her prayer and singing touches on Spirit in 2nd-person, and walking in nature touches on Spirit in 3rd-person.

The next major topic of discussion has to do with the role of relationships in Alanis’s life, and how masculine and feminine types (whether in a man or woman, gay or straight) show up in relationship, and what their primary pathologies look like. To summarize, the masculine dimension in all of us is geared towards autonomy, and the feminine dimension in all of us is geared towards communion. Unhealthy masculine is not just autonomy, but dissociation from relationship. Unhealthy feminine is not just communion, but fusion in relationship. Both of these dimensions have something to learn from the other, and any Integral Approach would be sure to include both.

It’s hard to describe Alanis’s presence in this dialogue as anything other than "delicious." You get the sense that she doesn’t stop smiling for half an hour straight, and her laughs punctuate and liberate almost every other sentence. If for no other reason than to imbibe the joyous nectar of this brilliant soul, we invite you to listen in, and drink deeply of an Integral Life lived full-to-overflowing….

"I think ultimately I was born to help heal the rupture between self and self, self and other, and self and Spirit…."

click here for full audio

Sally Kempton - Bringing Greater Consciousness to the Dialogue on Religion: Seeing Beyond the Mythic God

Oct 29, 2007


IN PodcastSally Kempton - Bringing Greater Consciousness to the Dialogue on Religion. Part 1. Seeing Beyond the Mythic God.

(click here for free sample)

One of the most extraordinary explorers and teachers of a more integral approach to spirituality—and one of the most sought-after teachers of Siddha Yoga—shares how, through the story of her life, she came to a deep understanding of why the highest form of spiritual teaching must be integral, comprehensive, and inclusive of all aspects of human life.

Sally Kempton is one of the most extraordinary pioneers in more integral, comprehensive forms of spiritual teaching, and she is also the last one who would ever make a big fuss about it.  But Sally is worth getting excited about, and we want to let you in on the secret. 

Born to socially-conscious parents (her father was a Pulitzer Prize-winning liberal news columnist), Sally went on to an amazing career as a feminist activist and writer for publications such as The New York Times, Esquire, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Harpers.  She was a brilliant example of what it meant to be at the leading edge of the socially-consciousness political Left, where religion and spirituality was generally seen as "the opiate of the masses," and one of the most oppressive forces in human history.

That all changed when Sally experienced for herself an insight so powerful that only spiritual or mystical terms seemed to apply.  Here, Sally and Ken talk about the absolutely crucial distinction between mythic, dogmatic pre-rational forms of religion and spirituality (think Crusades, homophobia, etc.), and the direct, experience-it-for-yourself trans-rational forms of religion and spirituality (think liberation, enlightenment, etc.)  The tragedy is that the social and political Left—not that the Right does any better—can almost never make this distinction: all they see is the conservative, traditional, literalistic form of religion that is probably responsible for more suffering than any other element of human existence, and therefore miss entirely the core mystical truths at the contemplative center of every major religion, whereby liberation is a direct experience of ever-present Spirit, not the salvation promised by strict belief in a mythic god. 

What makes Sally such an extraordinary teacher is that she started as one of the leading exemplars of spirituality's chief opponent—the social-activist Left—and then through direct experience and years of training she came to know personally what the heart of spirituality really is.  She has lived, and excelled, on "both sides of the street."  Together, Sally and Ken explore what a 21st-century spirituality might look like, a truly Integral spirituality, and the exciting steps each one is making towards making this vision come to life.  This new expression of spirituality can be adorned—if one chooses—with the beloved symbols of the sacred tradition one feels most drawn to.  Integral Spirituality is both a bold new path into the future of spiritual meaning, but resting always on, and transcending and including, the work and devotion of all who have come before us, clearing the path so that we could see all the more clearly who we really are….

"Back in the 60s and 70s—and also today—from the point of view of social activists, to have any form of interiority was actually seen as traitorous, selfish, and a way of 'going to sleep on the job.'"

click here for full audio

Joe Perez - Soulfully Gay: Out of the Closet, Into an Integral Embrace

Oct 29, 2007


IN PodcastJoe Perez - Soulfully Gay. Part 1. Out of the Closet, Into an Integral Embrace.

(click here for free sample)

The author of one of the most searing, courageous personal memoirs of our time shares how an Integral Approach helped him reconcile a life of fierce inner struggles with what it means to be a gay man in today’s culture, the difference between genuine spiritual experiences and psychotic episodes, and the thorny intersection of homosexuality and Christianity.

In the foreword to Soulfully Gay, Ken Wilber writes: "Joe Perez’s book is perhaps the most astonishing, brilliant, and courageous look at the interface between individual belief and cultural values that has been written in our time. By a homosexual, or a heterosexual, or any other sexual I am aware of." Ken wrote this foreword without even having met Joe—probably one of the strongest complements one writer can give to another—and Soulfully Gay is the second offering from our Integral Books imprint at Shambhala Publications.

In this dialogue, we are introduced to this "rip-roaring wonder of a writer," and hear Joe share the first part of his journey towards reconciling and integrating a life very nearly torn to shreds. This rather extraordinary chronicle unfolds around several conflict-inducing facts, one of which is that Joe is indeed gay; another of which is that Joe was raised Roman (homophobic) Catholic; another is that Joe tested HIV positive at age 24; another is that he often has authentic mystical states; and yet another is that Joe is, but only occasionally, clinically psychotic. It is the jolting collision of those items, held together by Joe’s courage in the face of them all, that makes his story so incredible in so many ways.

But all those items didn’t merely collide; they coalesced, through agony, and euphoria, and sheer determination into a deeply Integral life. Joe’s story is a shining example of why an Integral Approach is far more than "just a map," or "just cognitive head-stuff." Integral helps one find a place for everything in one’s life. Integral helps find the patterns that connect. In an Integral life, there’s room for everything... even all the things that one has disowned, shoved into the shadows, pushed away; and because all these parts of one’s own being are held at arm’s length, one can never feel truly whole. As Ken so beautifully summarizes, "Joe’s life is being artfully lived in the very fact of its truthfulness, its deep embrace, shadows and warts and worms and all, woven unhesitatingly into the tapestry of a lustrous display, a deep peace, an abiding love... and therein, surely, a lesson for us all...."

We invite you to meet this extraordinary man, and listen in to this extraordinary story....

"I didn’t know who I was anymore. Any sense of meaning or purpose had come crashing down around me. Then, one ordinary day, I was preparing for bed, and I became overwhelmed by this sensation of euphoria and bliss that permeated everything in my awareness...."

click here for full audio

Dan Millman - The Highest Teaching

Oct 16, 2007


IN PodcastDan Millman - The Peaceful Warrior's Way. Part 2. The Highest Teaching.

(click here for free sample)

It is one of the remarkable blessings of the 21st century to have such unprecedented access to all the world's great spiritual traditions. While navigating this rich ocean of wisdom, how can we determine what the "highest" spiritual teaching really is? How does it relate to day-to-day life? And how can we begin to claim this truth as our very own, right now?

From the philosophy of tennis to the highest spiritual teaching in just a few short sentences—such is an example of the tremendous value of Dan Millman. He brings us from a place we understand, a place we are comfortable with, to a place where we might be able to see something new: something bigger, brighter, and more embracing than what we had seen before—and all from the familiar comfort and safety of our favorite pair of tennis shoes.

Perhaps that's a silly example, but this really is the kind of skill that Dan has developed over the course of a dozen books and countless teaching engagements. As he relates, most of the time, people aren't asking him about the ultimate nature of reality—they're asking him about how to deal with their boss, their finances, their lover, their health, their career. Quoting a famous Indian mystic, Dan says, "I give people what they want, so eventually they will want what I want to give them." Here, Dan is referring to the core wisdom in all the great contemplative traditions, the wisdom that liberates, enlightens, and transforms.

What follows is a truly inspiring—and, indeed, enlightening—conversation about the nature of reality, the meaning of spirituality, and what the "highest teaching" really is. To say anything more would be doing this dialogue a disservice, because the extraordinary interplay of subtlety, profundity, and skillful means displayed by these two teachers is more than a paragraph can summarize. We most humbly and earnestly invite you to listen in for yourself, so that this transmission of hard-earned wisdom is direct and unfiltered….

"The act of 'exchanging self for other' is one of the most profound spiritual practices of all time. In a sense, with every breath you live the life of Jesus and the life of Buddha...."

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Integral Naked continues to be an excellent source of stimulating content and provocative conversations with the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, artists, and visionaries. Be sure to stay tuned to the IN Podcast for more weekly audio updates....

Rabbi Zalman and Ken Wilber - God in the 21st Century. Part 2. A Better Set of Skillful Means.

Oct 15, 2007


IN Podcast
God in the 21st Century. Part 2. A Better Set of Skillful Means. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ken Wilber

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Two of today's most accomplished "wise men" discuss the essential ingredients of an integral spiritual path, and the importance of knowing how to communicate that knowledge with clarity and compassion.

Who: Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal and Spiritual Eldering movements, and Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Spiritual Center and author of Integral Spirituality.

Relevance: What use is the liberating wisdom of contemplative spirituality, such as Jewish Hassidism and Kabbalah, if those who know the secrets of these traditions don't have the skillful means—the upaya—necessary to communicate those truths to all sentient beings in a way that they can hear? How might a more Integral Spirituality, in any tradition, create a more effective upaya?

Summary: Continuing their conversation about "God in the 21st Century," these two long-time friends and founding members of Integral Spiritual Center bring their attention to the question of what is most essential to the spiritual and integral path, and how best to share those truths. For an Integral Life Practice, what is most essential is the Body, Mind, Spirit, and Shadow dimensions of any person (with "auxiliary modules" such as sex, ethics, relationship, and more). And yet, as Reb Zalman so eloquently states, even if you know a deep spiritual or integral truth, if you don't have the upaya, the skillful means, necessary to communicate the importance of such a truth—we have a real problem.

Since most traditions agree that spiritual enlightenment reveals the universal Spirit-nature of all beings, those who have come to know their own Spirit-nature have an obligation to help share, reveal, and point out that truth to all those who may not yet have recognized their own True Nature. It is not enough to say that everyone, exactly as they are, is in perfectly union with ever-present Ayin, and Ultimate Reality. That is absolute truth. However, relative truth is that it is necessary for that reality to be a conscious understanding for each individual. The means by which a spiritual teacher—by whatever name—helps make this understanding truly conscious in another human being: that is the realm of skillful means. As Reb Zalman and Ken agree, skillful means must be adapted to the four-quadrant dimensions (intentional, behavioral, cultural, and social) of any given situation. Such is the nature of a truly Integral Spirituality, a vision with which Reb Zalman clearly resonates. As this wise elder Rabbi has publicly stated, "The Kabbalah of the future will rest on Ken's work."

Why Integral?: An Integral Approach to spirituality is the first approach to explore in detail the difference between states of consciousness and structures of consciousness, and how development can unfold in each dimension of human experience. This is quite possibly the most significant contribution to our understanding of human nature in decades, because the explanatory power of the Integral View as a whole is simply unrivaled. Integral doesn't change the content of human experience, it helps contextualize and explain the content that is already there. Particularly when it comes to the realm of spirituality, religion, and ultimate concern—even if that ultimate concern is scientific materialism—the possibilities for division and strife are nearly endless. An Integral Approach shows how there really is room in the Kosmos for everyone, and how the Good, the True, and the Beautiful actually evolve and develop into ever-more inclusive, complex, and radiant forms.

To learn more about how an Integral Approach can be applied to spirituality, see the essay "What Is Integral Spirituality," the book Integral Spirituality, and the learning community at Integral Spiritual Center (where Rabbi Zalman is a founding member and teacher).


(To check out Part 1 of this conversation, click here. To explore Reb Zalman's other audio and video appearances on Integral Naked, a dozen in all, click here.)

keywords: Jewish Renewal, Spiritual Eldering, Jewish With Feeling, Baal Shem Tov, Desert Fathers, Kabbalah, Hasidim, Mike Murphy, George Leonard, Esalen Institute, Integral Transformative Practice, Integral Life Practice, Teilhard de Chardin, Alex Grey, Thomas Merton, satori (a "clear glimpse" of enlightenment, from Zen Buddhism), upaya ("skillful means," from Mahayana Buddhism), Integral Spirituality, stages of consciousness (e.g., archaic, magic, mythic, rational, pluralistic, integral, super-integral), altitude of consciousness (magenta, red, amber, orange, green, teal, turquoise, indigo, violet, ultraviolet), The Secret, Jacob Atabet, Integral Spiritual Center, "What Is Integral?," The Integral Vision.

most memorable moment: "I'm a spiritual peeping tom! I want to see how people 'get it on' with God… because devoutness is beautiful."

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Corey deVos and Ken Wilber - A Post-Metaphysical Interpretation of Synchronicity

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastA Post-Metaphysical Interpretation of Synchronicity (54:11)

This is a discussion between Ken Wilber and Corey deVos, Managing Editor of Integral Naked and KenWilber.com, as well as Audio Manager for Integral Institute, about an integral interpretation of Synchronicity.

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Corey's question:

Synchronicity has long been an intrinsic part of my own spiritual path, something i have come to regard as a sort of "experiential faith", and i have long desired to find a place for it within the integral model. For me, synchronicity feels almost like a collapse of the four quadrants of my holon into a singular experience of tetra-emergence, in which my UL intention, my UR actions, my LR circumstances, and my LL sense of meaning and context all fall into perfect symmetry with each other. In these moments, there is a sensation that the totality of my subject suddenly becomes object in my awareness, a sort of bird's-eye-view of self--and perhaps more profoundly, there is usually a sense of presence of and sometimes even subtle interaction with an intelligence that is undeniably greater than my own.

In the twenty tenets, there is a wonderful description of the relationship that exists between junior and senior holons, namely that the lower determines the possibilities of the higher, the higher determines the probabilities of the lower--so that of all the things that could possibly happen, certain things become more likely to happen. Could this have something to do with synchronistic experiences? Would this explain why there have been so many different names for this synchronicity throughout history: magenta fate, red destiny, amber miracles and grace, orange luck and coincidence, green "interconnectivity of the web-of-life".... And if there is indeed a higher holon determining the probability fields of my human experience, what/where/who is that higher holon?

Previous interpretations of Synchronicity, according to altitude:

Magenta: fate, omens
Red: destiny
Amber: miracles, divine providence, karma
Orange: coincidence, “statistical anomalies”
Green: web-of-life interconnectivity, Celestince Prophecy version of Synchronicity, Hippie Karma
2nd Tier: symmetrical collapse of intention (UL), behavior (UR), meaning (LL), and circumstance (LR)

Sharon Stone and Ken Wilber - Like a Fine Diamond, This Stone Shines in All Dimensions

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastLike a Fine Diamond, This Stone Shines in All Dimensions. Part 1. Sharon Stone and Ken Wilber

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A Hollywood star who has refused to limit her shine to any one dimension of her being shares her life experience as a high-profile blonde bombshell who has broken all the rules, and forged a more integral, inclusive path for living, working, loving, sharing, creating.

Who: Sharon Stone, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee, and Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Institute and the man behind the idea of Integral Actors Studio.

Relevance: The appeal of an Integral Approach spans a truly astonishing number of disciplines, communities, and professions—Hollywood being a perfect example. Sharon has had a rather extraordinary life and career, and together, Ken and Sharon walk through the first segment of this remarkable trajectory, touching in always with the orienting contours of an Integral View….

Summary: Our story begins in Meadville, PA, where Sharon was born. At the age of 15, Sharon was transferred from her local high school to enroll in Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. With an IQ of 154, an honorary doctorate from the aforementioned institution, and ordination from the Universal Life Church, Sharon is just about as far from the "dumb blonde" stereotype as you could possibly get (which is hard to avoid if you live in Beverly Hills).

In fact, Sharon has had a decidedly integral tilt to her life from just about from the word "go." She has been active in independently pursuing her own spirituality since the age of 10, she's extremely intelligent and unabashed about her opinions ("Nice girls aren't supposed to act this way"), she crafted her physique into lean, muscular fighting form for an on-screen brawl with Arnold Schwarzenegger, she has raised $1 million in five minutes for humanitarian aid, and, need we say it, she's simply drop-dead gorgeous (one of the top 25 sexiest women ever to appear in Playboy magazine, one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people in the world, one of Empire magazine's 100 sexiest stars in film history, etc.). This is a woman who has been intuitively "touching on all the bases" all her life.

After getting her first break when Woody Allen picked her out of a line and she became the "pretty girl on train" in his 1980 Stardust Memories, Sharon's career steadily picked up speed until it simply shot through the roof a short decade later. Starting with Total Recall in 1990, then Basic Instinct in 1992, and then Casino in 1995, Sharon describes those years as something like "hanging onto a rocket while trying to not fall off or get burned." For her role as Ginger McKenna in Casino, Sharon received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

In one of the many fascinating sections of this dialogue, Sharon and Ken discuss what it was like for Sharon to allow herself to truly "become" the bisexual serial killer in Basic Instinct, Catherine Tramell. As Sharon recalls, the prospect of really diving into the darkest aspects of her own being was terrifying, and the actual process of doing so was extremely difficult—but at the end of it all, she looked back and said, "Is that it? Is that all there is?" Ken summarizes that "really good acting is really good psychotherapy," and in the year or so of shooting for the film, Sharon probably got five years worth of psychotherapy.

Why Integral?:

To really discover and learn about the life and work of any person (whether Sharon Stone, or anyone else), you of course would want to touch on as many aspects of their being as possible—otherwise, you might miss something really important. What an Integral Approach provides is a simple, clear, and accurate map of the human experience, one that you can check in on whenever you want to get your bearings. Everyone has body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature. Those dimensions are there whether one acknowledges them or not, so why not take a moment to check in with all of them? It's quick, easy, enlightening, and fun.

An Integral Approach is behind the concept of Integral Actors Studio, where Ken envisions a convergence and integration of manifold modalities brought to bear on the actor's craft and guiding vision. In a dialogue that you can find here, Ken describes what such an "integral package" would entail, and reveals how personal, cultural, and institutional dimensions can be mindfully engaged through psycho-synthesis, yoga, meditation, peer work, technical exchange programs, and other practices. Many people in entertainment have expressed a great deal of interest and excitement about creating an Integral Actors Studio, from Julia Ormond, to Steve Brill, to Saul Williams, and more.

keywords: Meadville PA, feminism, Pussycat Dolls, Carl Jung, Dzogchen, Maha Ati, Dalai Lama, Ford Modeling Agency, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, William Powell, Stardust Memories, Woody Allen, Irreconcilable Differences, Blake Chandler, United Church of Christ, Baptist Church, Scientology, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Casino, Ginger McKenna, Catherine Tramell, shadow work, psychotherapy, Integral Actors Studio, Zen Buddhism, Roy London, Susan Sarandon, Larry Wachowski, Speed Racer, Integral Spirituality, "What Is Integral?," The Integral Vision.

most memorable moment: "We 'barbie dolls' are not supposed to behave the way I do. People like it so much more when you just smile and nod. But I really don't believe in the end that that's doing your best."

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Alex Grey - Integral Art: Anchoring the Seeds of Liberation

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastAlex Grey - Integral Art. Part 4. Anchoring the Seed of Liberation.

(click here for free sample)

Alex Grey and Ken Wilber explore an integral approach to art, how visionary and spiritual art can plant a seed of liberation in the mind of the viewer, and how one can recognize and anchor that realization in one's own life.

Alex and Ken begin the conversation by discussing a question that's fundamental to the success of any visionary and spiritual artist: how do you "plant a seed of liberation" in the mind of the viewer? If you are interested in getting to know your own higher dimension of being, seeking out this kind of transcendental art can be one important practice in your own integral life—and if you have some kind of understanding of what's happening when a piece of art pops you into a higher state of consciousness, the more likely that realization is going to "stick," and stay with you longer.

What Alex has had the good fortune to discover, and the skill to express, is that portraying—as he puts it—"transcendental light in relationship with the body" is a very effective way to help people resonate with a piece of transformative art. As Ken goes on to mention, all states of consciousness are supported by their corresponding bodies, and by depicting some of the higher and more refined bodies, Alex has been able to elicit and anchor some of the higher and more refined states of consciousness in viewers.

An example from more traditional sacred art helps make clear what all of this actually means: when Christian artists paint halos around the heads of saints, they are depicting a subtle-body aspect of a saint's higher state of consciousness—and if you gaze upon the image of a saint long enough, you may start to feel saintly yourself. What's extraordinary about Alex's work is that he has taken this general concept and brought it into the modern world, always drinking deeply from the world's wisdom traditions, but then expressing those visionary insights with astonishing creativity, detail, and clarity.What follows is an in-depth discussion—carried over from Part 3 of this dialogue—of how entheogens (psychedelics) have played a pivotal role in Alex's development as an artist. One reason we are always eager to explore this topic with Alex is that he is one of the very few people who have, over a lifetime of experience, used these powerful substances in a genuinely responsible and growth-oriented manner. Entheogens are a controversial topic in spiritual practice, but experiential evidence from various practitioners suggests that use can have a powerful impact on one's spiritual perspective. Whether one is personally interested in using entheogens on one's own path or not, this is an extremely enlightening part of the dialogue, simply because this topic is so rarely spoken about in a healthy, rational, and transparent manner.

"For example, when viewing art from a truly enlightened Zen Master, there can be four simple brush strokes for a stalk of bamboo, and BOING—Big Mind."

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Integral Naked continues to be an excellent source of stimulating content and provocative conversations with the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, artists, and visionaries. Be sure to stay tuned to the IN Podcast for more weekly audio updates....

Alanis Morissette - From Jagged Little Pill to Flavors of Entanglement

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastAlanis Morissette - From Jagged Little Pill to Flavors of Entanglement

(click here for free sample)

Seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette takes us on a tour of her life and career by sharing how the threads of her life have increasingly come together into one integral tapestry—where once there may have been jagged fragments, we can now see conscious and playful entanglement with all of life….

Alanis Morissette is one of those rare souls who has been brave enough to live, learn, and grow in the public eye, over the course of eleven albums, starting with Alanis, when she was just seventeen. Now, with her latest album—Flavors of Entanglement—near completion (no release date yet, sorry!), Alanis and Ken explore how her personal and professional life has increasingly reflected an integral impulse towards embracing as much of the human experience as possible. In one of the many light and humorous moments of this dialogue, Alanis shares that she gets bored hanging around with people who have less than a "multi-tentacled" approach—truly one of the most original, and funny, ways we've ever heard someone express their understanding an integral life.

One of the fascinating elements of this dialogue is that the discussion of Alanis's personal and professional life meshes into one unified story. Her art is a reflection and expression of who she is, who she has been, and who she'd like to be—truly an astonishing feat, given that most of what the music industry produces is a superficial shimmer of human drama and emotion, not the deep, complex, and passionate narrative that life really is. As Ken shares, Alanis recently told him that she thought her purpose "was to connect the human and the divine," a remarkably succinct summary of what art has the power to do, and, indeed, is one of its highest purposes.

Alanis, with a laugh, says she's "always had a little love affair with God," although, she reflects, God is also the first thing to go when she gets stressed. Here, Alanis and Ken both share their deep appreciation for the role that shadow work can have in helping one have a clearer connection with ever-present Spirit, and also in just leading a happier, healthier life. Ken goes on to mention that, in today's world, "God has a serious PR problem." The mainstream media simply doesn't know the difference between contemplative, liberating, "experience it for yourself" spirituality, and dogmatic, mythic, "believe the Word or you're going to hell" spirituality. Alanis, needless to say, is a radiant example of a spirituality that transforms, a spirituality that you feel and breathe and touch, where one is connected directly to the center of this conscious and living Kosmos.

"I still find myself in certain circles of people who have just one focal point, and I usually glaze over after a while—if it's not a multi-tentacled approach to something, it's probably time to leave!"

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Integral Naked continues to be an excellent source of stimulating content and provocative conversations with the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, artists, and visionaries. Be sure to stay tuned to the IN Podcast for more weekly audio updates....

Dan Millman - The Peaceful Warrior's Way. Part 1. This is How to Do It.

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastDan Millman - The Peaceful Warrior’s Way. Part 1. “This Is How to Do It.” (click here for free sample)

Many of us have been told about the spiritual life, but how do we begin to actually live it? Author Dan Millman has devoted his writing career to exploring this very question. Here he shares his own personal story behind his impulse to develop a "ground-up" approach to daily life, a wonderful reminder of how simple and practical an Integral Life Practice can be....

Many of us are familiar with Dan's first book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior—which has at least 2 million copies sold, and probably 6-7 million readers. But what many people often miss is that Dan has spent the twenty-five years since Peaceful Warrior’s publication writing 12 more books, and it is in these books where Dan lays out how you can actually take the inspiring impact of Peaceful Warrior and put it into practice. Do you want more than just inspiration? Do you really want to change your life? Dan will show you how, in literally twelve different ways.

As Dan mentions to Ken, “Spiritual life, by whatever name, begins on the ground, not up in the air.” Ken goes on to note that what Dan and Tony Robbins (another Integral Naked guest) share is an emphasis on taking physical action right now as a practical means to seeing actual change in one’s life. Further, Ken mentions that Dan is “one of the masters of mastery,” which can be seen not only in his incredible body of work, but in the fact that Dan was a world champion in trampoline gymnastics at only the age of 18. However, as Dan is quick to make clear, none of this would have happened without four radically different mentors he worked with over the course of two decades, who he refers to as The Professor, The Guru, The Warrior-Priest, and The Sage. Now, Dan is a full-blown mentor himself: accessible, practical, and always moving towards a more complete, comprehensive, and indeed integral approach to living a deeply awake life.

“You’re one of the masters of mastery—you have led a life of world-class action, and, as you know, if you can get the body to do something, the mind will follow….”

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Integral Naked continues to be an excellent source of stimulating content and provocative conversations with the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, artists, and visionaries. Be sure to stay tuned to the IN Podcast for more weekly audio updates....

Alex Grey - When Psychedelics Reveal the Spirit Within

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastAlex Grey - When Psychedelics Reveal the Spirit Within. (click here for free 10 minute sample)

An important part of Alex’s development as an artist came from visionary insights while on psychedelics, particularly during formative years in the '70s. As anyone who lived through the '60s and '70s will probably tell you, psychedelics can give you "some pretty wild experiences." But at what point does a "wild experience" give way to a life-changing spiritual or religious experience? Lots of people have taken psychedelics; some report seeing God, some don’t. So what’s going on here? In your own life, if you have experimented with psychedelics, how did you interpret your experience? Secularly, spiritually, or as just scary as hell?

In this dialogue, Alex and Ken almost exclusively use the term "entheogen" when referring to psychedelic substances such as LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, peyote, and so on. One meaning of entheogen literally translates as "that which reveals the Spirit within." As Alex elaborates, the intention you had when you chose to take such a substance is extremely important in determining what your experience will ultimately be. Were you simply looking to have some fun, or were you earnestly searching for Spirit, God, or Reality, by whatever name? Both uses are clearly valid within their own purposes, but in Alex’s case, it was very much the latter—and he did see something far more Real than anything he had seen before.

Alex and Ken go on to discuss the process by which Alex, as an artist, tried to depict some of these profound experiences in his paintings, resulting in masterpieces such as "Universal Mind Lattice," "Theologue," and "Deities and Demons Drinking From a Milky Pool," so that others might be able to glimpse aspects of their own deeper and truer nature. Such is one of the most important roles of visionary and integral art—whereby it becomes transformative art—and Alex is among the most accomplished artists in this important and specialized realm of creativity.

"Not everyone who takes mushrooms is going to interpret this as a religious opening for themselves… they might just see it as, 'Wow, that was weird.'"

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Integral Naked continues to be an excellent source of stimulating content and provocative conversations with the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, artists, and visionaries. Be sure to stay tuned to the IN Podcast for more weekly audio updates....

Sharon Stone - Like a Fine Diamond.... Part 2

Oct 15, 2007


IN PodcastSharon Stone - Like a Fine Diamond, This Stone Shines in All Dimensions. Part 2.

(click here for free sample)

In this captivating and deeply personal dialogue, Sharon Stone shares her experience as a high-profile actress turned international activist, and how an integral impulse has guided both her personal and professional life. Her story is truly an inspiring one, because through it all, people have said "You can't do that,"—and all along, she's done it anyway, literally saving thousands of lives in the process....

Why, in the broader scheme of things, would it matter that an award-winning actress has been living an intuitively integral life? Because, not only will an integral approach make one a better actor, but it will inform all of one's off-screen activities—and if you're Sharon Stone, that includes raising $1 million in five minutes to help prevent malaria in Tanzania, publicly supporting an AIDS research institution back when that would have been a career-killing move, and becoming a minister so that she could help her homosexual friends gain access to their lovers in the hospital. For Sharon, celebrity has been a tool that she's used to help as many people as she can, both in her local community and across the globe—and because she has approached each situation from an integral, comprehensive, and embracing viewpoint, she has done admirably at "touching on all the bases" for each endeavor, and therefore helping each one succeed as much as possible. And she was doing it years before activism became chic amongst the Hollywood elite, almost a full decade before Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt began making headlines for their philanthropic work around the world.

After exploring how an integral approach has manifested in her public work in the world, Ken asks her about the more personal dimensions of how she's brought together and integrated all the aspects of her own being. First of all, Ken offers, Sharon is living proof that a stunningly beautiful woman can have a heart, a mind, and a spirit to match. Then, in perhaps the dialogue's most revealing and touching moment, Sharon shares that perhaps the one area of her personal life that needs the most healing and integration is with her intimate relationships. Having had several failed relationships, including a divorce in 2004, she mentions that she hasn't really allowed herself to even consider that there might be, somewhere, a "perfect partner" for her—not, as both Sharon and Ken laugh, another "fixer-upper."

Finally, Sharon and Ken talk with excitement about the third Integral Spiritual Center gathering coming up this October 29 -31, where along with Sharon, Michael Crichton, Scott Glenn, and Chantal Westerman have been invited to come, with most of them planning to do so. Integral Spiritual Center brings together thirty of the world's finest contemplative teachers, all of whom are actively applying an integral approach in their own tradition or lineage, and then has "teachers teaching teachers," so that the wisdom of each and all comes together in an integral framework and embrace, co-creating a "trans-path path" to the future of spirituality.

"In Tanzania, we know we've caused a third less deaths from malaria by something I specifically stood up and did at the World Economic Forum—when they were all saying 'Sit down Miss Stone, this isn't the time or the place.'"

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Integral Naked continues to be an excellent source of stimulating content and provocative conversations with the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, artists, and visionaries. Be sure to stay tuned to the IN Podcast for more weekly audio updates....

Deepak Chopra - Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment - Part 2

Sep 4, 2007


IN PodcastDeepak Chopra - Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment - Part 2 (click here for free 10 minute sample)

After discussing the presentation and criticism of Buddha in detail in Part 1 of the conversation, Deepak and Ken move on to explore some of the most central tenets of the Buddhist tradition, as well as Vedanta Hinduism. Mentioned first is the trikaya or "three body" doctrine, whereby all sentient being are said to have a nirmanakaya (gross body), samboghakaya (subtle body), and dharmakaya (causal body). These three bodies are said to literally support, respectively, gross-waking consciousness, subtle-dreaming consciousness, and causal-deep-sleep consciousness—all of which are states of consciousness, which everyone experiences every single day, because everyone wakes, dreams, and sleeps (it is through contemplative practice that these states reveal their deeper nature, and one can begin to Witness all states, and then find nondual Union with all states). In addition to bodies and states, Ken reminds us that both Vajrayana Buddhism and Vedanta Hinduism posit sheaths—or koshas or structures or levels—of consciousness, such as annamayakosha (material), pranamayakosha (emotional-sexual), manomayakosha (middle mind), vijnanamayakosha (higher mind), and anandamayakosha (bliss mind). Together, states, bodies, and sheaths/structures paint a very sophisticated picture of what contemplative, trans-rational spirituality is all about (and to which we would add, in an AQAL and Integral Approach, quadrants, lines, and types.

"Once you realize the world is a dream of creative play, you can do as this Zen koan suggests: If you see a boat on the horizon, pick it up…."