Monday, April 20, 2009

Integral Enlightenment

I am writing this blog to share myself. At times, it will seem theoretical and practical, but ultimately, simply it is a narrative of my own unfolding. My journey took me through many doors, filters, perspectives, experiences and communities all of which are present here.


After practicing and studying spiritual and religious traditions* for over twenty years, I experienced a deep emergence into everything. There was a slow yet continuing dissolution of self until there was no longer an experience of personal self. This release invited and facilitated a sense of oneness with all. The universe was comprised of simultaneously many distinct and different things and also the nature of one thing. These two polarities where never in opposition: they existed perfectly, simultaneously, without contradiction.

As this experience unfolded, my functioning self, my ego, was going through a transformation too. I was steeped in the middle of a transition moving from what is called, in developmental psychology and theory, the first tier to the second tier**; in Susan Cook-Greuter’s system, The Action Logics, from individualist to strategist; in Don Beck’s system, Spiral Dynamics, from green to yellow. Since then further transitions have emerged.

A year after my awaking, I was discussing with a friend her experience of suffering. During this dialogue I began to guide her through her interior, much like the journey that occurred for me during my process of awakening, gently revealing to her the various fixed energies and perspectives that kept her in patterns of delusion and suffering. To my interest, she experienced a spontaneous awakening.

Her awakening did not sustain itself, like mine, but it did last a few days. In a conversation of retrospection, she said during those few days she was more comfortable and free than she had ever been. She became my first student, and this led me into teaching. I would give talks, occasionally lead practices, and work with people one-on-one, combining my immediate experience with elements of Direct Path Lineages and Esoteric Hinduism.

Six months into teaching, I began to experience frustration. My teaching did not quite express the fullness of my experience and there were contradictions I could not resolve. After teaching for almost two years, I recognized that I was in another process of change; both a deepening of my awakening and the development of my functional self. At this time, I decided to let teaching go, allowing life’s mystery to continue to unfold.

Shortly after releasing teaching, a long and deep relationship painfully ended. It was simultaneously the worst and best experience of my life. It was through that experience something new and unique emerged: an experience of continuous awakening existing in equal relationship, so to speak, with my developing self. This balance birthed a new self, and importantly was not integration or unification of self with Self, but a product of living ego existing in the space of awake awareness. I am currently calling this expression of self the Passionate Self (Andrew Cohen uses Authentic Self and Marc Gafni uses Unique Self to express something seemingly similar) until I can come up with a better moniker. Passionate Self sounds a bit douchey, I think, but it’s the best I have for now.


This blog will explore three things: development of functional ego stages, the process of awakening, and the emergence of the Passionate Self. I hope it adds value to you by providing context for your triune journey, seeds of future thought and action, and a structure of potent transformation.

I, quite simply, love the conversation. I exist to evoke and share, and to delight in our mutual unfolding.

“Welcome to the Desert of the Real”: Welcome to my experience.

*Ending with esoteric Hinduism through Teacher Sally and Direct Path Enlightenment teachings through Adyashanti. Though I only met Adyashanti once, and spent years with Teacher Sally, this meeting seemed to be the straw that broke my ego’s back, and it was after this, it seems, that my awakening began to unfold. Adyashanti was never aware of my teaching, and Adyashanti never endorsed my teaching. I mention him to honor him and to give some context to the frames I give/gave to the process of awakening.

**This is based on Susan Cook-Greuter’s testing system formerly know as the Leadership Developmental Profile now called Leadership MAP.