integral theory? ok, i’ll bite: what the heck is it? and what’s up with no photo???? put up something with your nice, clean-shaven face.

When I say integral theory, I’m referring to the theory frameworks of American spiritual writer Ken Wilber.

Wilber has been piecing together a range of ways of integrating science and spirituality, religion and psychology, sexuality, ecology for over twenty years.

In the realm of spirituality, Wilber argues firstly that a fully-rounded path needs to account for individual and collective dimensions, for the reality of both subjective-interior perceptions (for example, visionary experiences) and for objective-exterior information (for example, brain scans of monks having visionary experience).

Secondly, he feels that a system of praxis and its supporting theory needs to include training in different states of consciousness in addition to our normal, waking state, especially visionary, subtle states and the deep, formless darkness of the causal states.

Third, spiritual teaching, in Wilber’s view, needs to be able to accommodate people at different stages of maturity (James Fowler’s “Stages of Faith” delves into this territory quite nicely) and not to restrict itself to just preaching a traditionalist form of belief.

There’s a bunch of other aspects to Wilber’s theory, but one of the other key parts in my view is a notion that he adapts from gestalt psychology’s adaptation of Jung: The Shadow – the denied aspects of the self. Only a spiritual path that acknowledges the Shadow and has practices to work with it can avoid “making a religion of our better moments”, allowing us the possibility of acknowledging, surfacing and integrating our shame and darkness.

There’s lots more. If you’re interested, pick up Wilber’s “Integral Spirituality” or “Integral Psychology”.

I’ll probably delve more into some of this in later blog entries.

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