Friday, May 12, 2006

More on Integral Syncretism

Tuff Ghost has posted another insightful offering in the continuing discussion on Integral Syncretism. I want to address a few of his points -- not because I disagree, but simply in support of creating a more cohesive definition of the new phrase. Notice I am adopting Tuff Ghost's phrase after reading Jay's comment that it seemed less clumsy than his own Integral Eclecticism.

Here is my comment (edited and expanded) from Tuff Ghost's last post.


I think TG makes a good point in response to Jay's inquiry about alternate paths. I don't know anyone who has done a newer path and stuck with it. Everyone I know who has tried one of these paths (EST, Bhagwan Rajneesh [Osho now?], or Andrew Cohen) has quit in frustration or fear (EST was/is very cultish, and Cohen is stuck in his large ego).

I think that one could follow any one of these paths within the guidelines TG suggests: Wilber's defintion of a healthy spiritual movement. He has endorsed A.H. Almaas in the past, and I have read some of Almaas' books, but I can't say whether or not he is legit. Tolle seems to be legit, as well. Still, I don't know anyone following these teachers as one might follow Catholicism, Zen, or Vajrayana.

I want to address one other point TG raised earlier. I'm not convinced, either, that one needs a teacher. I don't have a teacher or guru. I might progress much faster and with less struggle if I did. But then I might be asked to set aside some of my other practices, too. The structure of my life right now doesn't allow space for a teacher, so I'm doing the best I can without one. So far, it seems to be working.

As far as the guru/student relationship is concerned, I'm not a big fan. But then I am clear that my ego has real big issues with trust and surrender, so it could be a fear thing. Still, I have seen too many gurus who are inappropriate or just plain wrong. If I found that teacher who felt authentic to me, with whom I could develop the level of trust required for such a relationship, I might give it a try. I almost got to that point with my therapist (talk about total transference!), but I kept finding myself analyzing her techniques and seeking out the other ego involved in the relationship. So I guess I have some trust issues.

Finally, I think TG and I might have different views on SDi. I don't agree with Wilber that SDi is a values line only. And I don't agree with Beck (and Cowen) that we need to stick with Graves' original formulation as closely as we can (which so far has excluded developmental lines -- possibly less by choice than by lack of knowledge). I think that SDi is not truly integral without the inclusion of developmental lines, so in my own usage of the system, I have included much from Wilber's AQAL system, but I like the SDi framework. Maybe when Wilber's new book comes out, I will adopt his new color scheme and system.


This feels like a valuable discussion to me. I am grateful for the knowledge each of the participants has brought to it, and for what I've learned so far.

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