Last night I began reading a new blog on the integral scene, Integral News and Views, where I found an interview with Robert Augustus Masters. Masters is an integral writer and therapist who places emphasis on living an integral life. His eloquence is extraordinary and he gives some of the clearest descriptions of just what being integral means to our lives.
An integral approach works with our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social dimensions, level upon level, consistently taking all of it into account, without losing touch with the totality that includes and pervades it all. This means that everything relevant is considered in as inclusive, cohesive, and useful a manner as possible.
This is an important reminder to those of us who are engaged in building an integral life and forming an integral life practice. An ILP, however it is structured, takes into consideration each of those “physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social dimensions” of our lives and strengthens our capacities in each of them. When not following an ILP, it’s very easy to become wrapped up in aspects of our lives that seem to dominate.
As a student, the cognitive part of my life is always demanding a lot of time and attention, and my physical well-being suffers when I don’t take steps to include resistance training and walking in my life. Likewise, when relational demands come to dominate, my meditation practice diminishes. One of the great challenges in living an integral life is being mindful of the many dimensions and capacities we have and must work to strengthen if we wish to live at the edge of our potentials. And then comes the actual work of practice.
To think with greater clarity, to love with greater skill, to feel with discernment and authenticity, to hone our bodies and enrich our environment, none of these should come at the expense of the other and each should be given time, effort and acknowledgment. If we are to better ourselves and our world in meaningful, lasting and exciting ways we must live integrally. Being integral demands a lifestyle that addresses our fragmentation, as Masters clarifies:
Also from Robert Augustus Masters is “What is ‘Integral’?“, a call, in part, to “do whatever is needed to make ‘integral’ a fitting term for how we are actually living.”