State of Integral Play Down Under 2016

In late November 2016, a group of folks came together online in an encounter where we traversed the contours of four distinct approaches to embodied-being informed by integral theory, as it lives out in Down Under spaces. Note Down Under here has two modalities implicit in it’s expression – there is both a geographic latitude and longitude implied in our connectedness, and there’s also the sense that with each of the presentations there’s a seeking into something like the basis or foundations from which we could say that something like the content of integral theory can be experienced.

There was narration from myself in between these sessions about a kind of personal inquiry I had brought to these unique sessions – this was an inquiry about how these sessions might inform the ongoing development of Integral Down Under, with a particularly leaning into what sort of considerations could best support interpersonal engagement, as it continues to morph and change in response to situational changes – such as, for example, the social despair that seems to have emerged in 2016 in light of global Trumpism and Brexit. I’ll describe how these came to be and bear as we journey through each of the short (15 min) presentations below.

Embodied Integral Theory with Simon Divecha

Simon leads us through an embodied awareness of the psychological, biological, social and cultural aspects of our being, as informed by integral theory’s quadrants. For Integral Down Under I found myself reflecting on how it is always possible to lean into a different register as we sense forward, for a project – and how that sensing forward is informed to the extend that works not to unduly exclude any particular source of information or experience. This meditation invited me to acknowledge how these different aspects of our consciousness may themselves persist with contradictions, but that meditative awareness graces us the space to hold them, in view.

Integral Polarity Practice with David Sainsbury and Sue Stack

Integral Polarity Practice is a voice dialogue practice developed by John Kesler, extending on the Big Mind process of Genpo Roshi. Dave and Sue here walk us through the ways that encounters with otherwise-opposites, through a collective and reflective practice, can open the way for an appreciation of how a kind of still-point unfolds between polarities, which has some other quality in its essence – some broadening of capacity, evoked in a new quality. With polarity practice, the way that the gross material realm, the subtle meaning realm, and the emergent or source realm connect becomes transparent to our experience, precisely through the way that the process itself works – there is direct insight into the state-stages available, here. For Integral Down Under, I found myself curious about how we might best reflect notions, ideas, positions and principles that seemed to be opposite in their own structure –  how it might be that we can nurture a space where the fourth-person perspective on these ‘differences’ can be adopted, without reducing the differences directly to a monistic view, or the idea that ‘all is one’ in a way that obliterates their value.

Authentic Relating with Khali Young

Authentic Relating and Circling are interpersonal practices that have roots in integral theory and which as Khali describes here, lend us tools to embrace and embody conflict and coherence, as it arises in social spaces. For Integral Down Under, this calls to presence something of how difference itself may be the germinate ground of transformation – and reminds me of the complex background work that goes on in the simple experience of being human, together. Authentic Relating seems to ask us to stay true to what our response is, to each other, while also bringing to light skills in how to be aware of how expression of that response will shape the interpersonal space that we co-inhabit.

Pattern Dynamics with Tim Winton

Tim here describes for us his experiences with the development of Pattern Dynamics itself and also some exciting new ground looking at how Pattern Dynamics might feature in decisions, where decisions are taken as formative in the structure of organisations or collectives of peoples. We discussed here the way that Pattern Dynamics might shape awareness of the different means by which groups of people arrive at decisions – and how Pattern Dynamics can describe it with reference to the state-stages as experienced in the Integral Polarity Practice session. For Integral Down Under, this drew to presence some exciting possibilities in thinking through consciously using Pattern Dynamics in the development of the project and its possibilities, in a way not dissimilar to Theory U, but also in a way that allowed for a much more dynamic structure of going from knowing, to unknowing, to newly-knowing.

So very grateful to all involved, thanks very much for your time and support.

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