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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

There is not a single thing you can ever do, no matter how pure or how lowly, that will change who you are in even the slightest way

Integral Transformative Practice - An Introduction
Posted on Dec 24th, 2007 by WH
[NOTE: Long before Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute released their
Integral Life Practice starter kit, Michael Murphy and George Leonard published The Life We Are Given, an introduction to Integral Transformative Practice. The text of this post was originally written as an introduction to an ITP workshop that (my ex) Kira and I wanted to teach a few years ago. Obviously, that never happened (we broke up more than a year ago). But for those readers who are new to integral practice, this should serve as a good introduction.]
Setting Up Your practice
Murphy and Leonard recommend beginning with an intention. This can be anything from losing weight to improving relationships to finding a purpose form one's life. Once you have your intention, they then recommend using affirmations to keep us on track. Essentially, this serves to help us overcome the inertia of homeostasis.
Once this is accomplished, one should select the practices from the list (above) that are best suited to helping you achieve your intention. Any combination that can help you actualize your intention is appropriate. This will be different for each person, based on the intention, one's spiritual background, and/or one's predisposition.
Ideally, we should seek to work with each of the four realms (physical, emotions, mental, and spirit) each week. For the purposes of this project, it is often good to choose practices with which we are not familiar or comfortable. This will serve to help us progress faster -- if we choose practices we are already doing, the power of homeostasis might interfere.
Many of us are busy and this project might be challenging to fit into our schedules. This is OK. The goal is to do the best we can each week, and to not be hard on ourselves in those times when life interferes. If this happens, just pick up the practices again as soon as possible, without being overly critical of ourselves or feeling like we have failed.
Conclusion
While I am a big fan of the model Murphy and Leonard developed, others might prefer Wilber's ILP model, or Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. It isn't so much important which model we use, even if we create our own. The idea is to work on multiple areas of our life simultaneously so that we can create the synergistic energy to propel our lives forward. Transformation isn't easy, but nothing in life worth having ever is.

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