Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
March 17,   2009
Moving Inward and Upward

Moving Inward and Upward

A Commentary by Darlene Fenick, Atlantic University


Integral Consciousness*, by Steve McIntosh


The world is evolving and has continued to do so since its creation.  History and Science shows us that.  We have come from a primitive ape like creation to the sophisticated complicated creatures we are today.  The environment we live in has changed right along with us or some may say we have changed right along with our environment.  As our needs change according to discoveries and challenges we face as a society ,  we appear to rise up and adapt new thinking and technology to advance.  Once again we are on the brink of something new.  Where it is taking us we are not quite sure however, it appears this shift has more to do with our inside world as opposed to our outside world.   Abandoning the once popular quest for material gain alone, some are going inward to move our world forward in order to evolve to a higher consciousness.

Steve McIntosh terms this movement Integral Consciousness.  In order to break this term down, I think it is important to be able to understand what exactly the term means.  According to Merriam-Webster integral means essential to completeness and consciousness means the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself; the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes.

The term may sound new but the idea has roots as far back as Thoreau and Emerson.  They were leading thinkers in the transcendental movement.  This is where the idea of higher thinking started to became important and the above mentioned writers started adding insight into.  They addressed this idea more on a personal level.  They started looking to nature for insight and awareness.  There was more to us than what meets the eye and we ourselves contain the power to create what our life should look like.  We are not powerless under the rule of an angry God; we have choices and support from the universe.   We are connected by an oversoul, we are not alone in the universe.   However, Steve McIntosh takes this theory and shifts it spanning politics, cultures and spirituality worldwide.  He thinks we are shifting as a nation in order to survive and evolve to higher order thinking.  In order to move forward we must now take whatever is good from our  past way of living and thinking and combine it with a new way of thinking that includes truth, beauty, and  what is good for all.

Modern technology has given us the opportunity to see life from all different aspects around the world.  We no longer are isolated and uneducated to what others believe or experience globally.  We have been introduced to different cultures, religions, politics, wars, and devastations.  We are now experiencing nationally the breakdown of our misuse of money, our environment, greed, dishonesty, and denial.  We are self destruction as a whole as we once knew life.  Historically in the throngs of despair a new way of living evolves to navigate to higher realms to overcome those obstacles.  We now have the opportunity to push ourselves to a higher realm of thinking to survive the negative environment we have created.  As so in the past, we now have a choice to keep going as we have been or move on up the evolutionary chain. 

We can no longer sit back and expect others to make the changes needed.  We need to get quiet and become the change ourselves.  And what exactly does that mean?  It means discovering oneís own truth and living a life we were intended to based on higher level conscious thinking.  We need to stop and listen to our own inner wisdom and take that wisdom to produce the results that resonate truth, value, good and beauty and then walk the walk and talk the talk.  We need to participate as co creators of the world we wish to see and live in.  We need to search within in order to manifest the change we seek to see.  This means transcending negative thought patterns and ways of living, and seek positive thought patterns that enable growth to transpire. 

The difference this theory commands is that it seeks to eliminate the self serving attitude and strives to understand the needs of all involved.  Instead of seeking solutions to problems politically, spiritually, and culturally one a one dimensional level, integral consciousness seeks to eliminate what has not worked in the past and combine successes universally on a multi tier dimension.  This would mean crossing party lines, leaving useless man made dogma religious beliefs behind and finding global solutions to our environmental failures.  It means seeking higher level truths from all perspectives and mainstreaming them into our society.  This would entail setting aside ego and seeking truths within self, communities, and countries.

This negates there is one solution is right for everyone.  It would mean sitting down and listening to new ideas, thought patterns and higher level energy thinking.  It would be creating an attitude of service as opposed to an attitude of getting.  It would mean using different forms of universal laws that work out of love as opposed to fear, giving as opposed to getting, and truth as opposed to lies.  In doing so these notions would foster the development of a political system that people could trust and seek to support.  It would eliminate the need to choose a political party and create a community of self government that would be working for the good of all.

Spiritually, it would allow the blending of all the great master voices to be heard.  That doesnít mean throwing away all parts of our past religious or spiritual teaching.  It means taking from it what we already have discovered as truth and looking for additional truths that we have not yet discovered.  Being open to new possibilities and learning that there are many paths to enlightenment.  It would eliminate the need to fight for our beliefs and just respect the good, beauty, and truth in all.  It would mean rising from the depths of self destruction and transcending into the light of self love for oneself and others. 

While this all sounds good on paper, the hard part is undertaking the journey first on a personal level.  One can not just speak of these notions, they have to be lived and experienced in order to create a model for others see and live by.  For me, it has been a journey into the darkest places of who I was in order to become the person who I was meant to be.  That alone continues to be a daily life of choosing how I wish to react in each experience I encounter and choose the set of values I wish to display in each experience.

Being brought up in a very strict rule driven Christian environment, my spirit rebelled at these notions from a very early age.  Of course back then I didnít understand why I felt the way I did.  The strict ďGod fearingĒ dogma of my parentís religion while living with a set of angry wounded abusive parents felt so very wrong to me.  Yet, my voice was not allowed to be heard or respected.  It created anger and rebellion inside of me, which is exactly how our society has been living.  We have demanded that others live and believe what we believe and have not let other voices to be heard and shared. 

It has been a long painful road of seeking my own personal truth.  After choosing people and a spouse based on my old destructive thought patterns, swimming in grief and unhappiness there came a time in my life when I had to make a choice about how I was going to continue living my life.  I knew I either had to reevaluate and change what was causing all this anger and unhappiness, or keep living in this unhappy environment.    Eventually the pain got bigger than the fear of change so I decided it was time to look at just exactly who I was and want I wanted to be.  It was an ugly picture at first and it required the painful journey of change and restructure.

Of course it grew out of a series and crises that seemed to slap me in the face.  Losing two family members to death, one being a suicide I couldnít run away anymore from myself.  Being in an unhappy and stagnant marriage for 15 years and in an unfulfilling job, I had a lot of work to do.  Facing my demons was a scary, painful process that I realized I had to do.  Knowing it might mean leaving behind all that was safe and familiar touched a fear so big it almost froze me into inaction.  But I knew deep inside if I didnít take some kind of action my misery would just continue to grow. 

My first goal was to find a counselor to help me untangle this weave of confusion, anger, and unhappiness.  I was very lucky to find one who believes in body, mind, and soul healing.  Every Friday night for two years I religiously went to my appointment.  Every truth I uncovered dating back to my childhood up to my present relationship brought me into a place that required change, transition, and discovery.  During this painful period I discovered meditation, insightful moments, and new perspectives.  I started leaving behind what didnít serve me anymore, keeping what was good, and finding new truths about myself to replace the old ones.

Throughout this time I let go of thought patterns given to me as a child, went back to school to change careers, ended a marriage, and let go of friends and habits that had negative impacts on me.  It was hard and painful work.  However in the process I rediscovered truths that worked for me, started finding joy and peace, and started attracting new and different friends into my life.  Integral consciousness played and is still playing a vital role in my life.  I continue and have been letting go of what no longer serves me, letting in what does, embracing what others on the same journey has worked for them, and filtering out what can work for me. I now am trying to live a life that entails respecting my truth and the truth of others, instead of judging.  Really, it has been a journey of dying to self and ego and transcending old thought patters of lies and finding truths.  I am learning to listen to my inner voice and seeking to fulfill my divine purpose through the philosophy of integral consciousness.

The amazing part is that when I shift up, I now can see the positive results in my life and in my family.  As I move forward, I can see my daughter moving forward through my efforts of modeling my new value system.  My sisters have been listening and watching also.  We have been healing together a lifetime of division and destruction.  We have ventured into our past and are now creating new relationships being cultivated based on love, respect, integrity and truth.  We are forging a new path for our children and our own small communities.  I have seen the importance of the integral framework at work in my family.  As we strengthen our bonds, I am sure it will eventually spill over on to our friends and our community.  That is why the framework is so important.  It continues to grow and strengthen as each person and relationship takes on it qualities.  It becomes a universal truth, spilling over boundaries bigger than ourselves.


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