17.05.2021

Introduction to the integrated approach

The present translation of the introduction to integral theory and practice was originally published in the official electronic Russian edition of Ken Wilber’s book “Integral Spirituality” (edited by Eugene Pustoshkin and Alexander Narinyani, 2013).

Ken Wilber

Short review

Over the past thirty years, we have witnessed an unprecedented historical situation: all cultures of the world are now accessible to us. In past times, if you, say, were born Chinese, then most likely, you were destined to exist all your life in one culture, often living in one province, sometimes in one house – loving and dying on several scales of the earth. But today we have not just freedom of movement – we have the freedom to immerse ourselves in virtually any known culture and study it. In a global village, what the world is today, all cultures are open and permeable to each other.

Knowledge itself is now global. This means that, for the first time in history, we have access to the entire amount of knowledge accumulated by mankind: the discoveries, experience, wisdom and reflections of all the basic civilizations of humanity – pre-modern, modern and postmodern – are now open to everyone.

But what happens if we take literally everything that each of the cultures can tell us about human potentiality – spiritual, psychological and social development – and lay it out in front of us? What will happen if we, based on the sum total of all human knowledge that is open to us, try to find the extremely important, fundamental keys to understanding human development? What happens if, on the basis of extensive intercultural studies, we try to use the experience of all the great traditions of the world to compile an all-embracing, or integral , map, including all the best that they can offer us?

Sounds complicated and confusing? On the one hand, yes. But on the other hand, the results can pleasantly surprise us with its simplicity and grace. In the past few decades, we have indeed carried out extensive research to create a holistic map of the entire human potential. In this map, known to date systems and models of human development are involved – from the knowledge of ancient sages and shamans to the latest breakthroughs in cognitive science. We managed to identify the main thing in all these systems and formulate on their basis five simple factors – factors that are the essential keys to the evolution of man.

Welcome to the integral approach.

Integral, or all-inclusive, map

What are these five elements? We call them quadrants, levels, lines, states and types . As you will soon see, all these elements are available to your mind right now . These five elements are not just theoretical concepts: these are aspects of your own experience, the contours of your own consciousness, and you will soon be able to see for yourself.

What is the use of this integral card? First, whatever you do – whether you are engaged in business, medicine, psychotherapy, law, environment or just living and studying – an integrated map will help you at any time to make sure that you are in contact with all your possibilities: “touching all the basics. ” If you want to fly through the Himalayas, you will need a very accurate map, otherwise you risk breaking. The application of the integral approach gives a guarantee that you use the full range of your capabilities and in any situation you have the greatest chance of success.

Secondly, if you learn to recognize these five elements in your own consciousness (and because they are in it anyway), it will be easier for you to take them into account, develop and use them, and thus greatly accelerate your own development and movement towards higher, broader and deeper modes of being. Simple acquaintance with the five elements of the integral model will help you to more easily and more accurately navigate in this exciting journey to revelation and awakening.

In short, an integrated approach can give you a comprehensive and effective look at what is happening within you and the world around. But there is one thing that needs to be understood from the very beginning. An integral map is just a map. This is not territory. It would be an obvious mistake to confuse the map with the territory, but no less a mistake to be guided by inaccurate or incorrect card. Would you risk flying over the Himalayas with a bad card in hand? An integrated map is just a map, but the most complete and accurate map of all that is available to us today.

What is IOS?

IOS simply means an integrated operating system . The operating system is a specific infrastructure in the information network that allows you to manage various software built into it. We use the term integrated operating system , or IOS , as a synonym for an integrated map. The idea is that if in life you work with some kind of “software” – be it business, work, rest or relationship – you need to establish the best operating system you can find and  IOScompletely satisfies this requirement: affecting all the basics, it allows you to use the most effective programs. And all this is just another way of talking about the all-embracing and all-embracing nature of the integral model.

In addition, we will examine what is, in all probability, the most important application of the integrated card, or the operating system. The fact is that IOS can be used to index any activity – from art, music, business to psychology, politics, ecology – and this allows each of these areas to communicate with each other. Through IOS, business gets the necessary terminology for full communication with the environment, ecology – with art, art – with jurisprudence, jurisprudence – with poetry, poetry – with medicine, medicine – with spirituality. In the history of the human species, this has never really happened.

Using an integrated approach – resorting to an integrated map, or an integrated operating system – we can facilitate and dramatically accelerate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and, thus, start building the world’s first truly integral scientific community. As for religion and spirituality, the application of the integral approach has already made it possible to create the Integral Spiritual Center, where some of the leading spiritual teachers of the present, representing all the major religions of the world, have come together – and not just to listen to each other, but primarily in order to learn from each other. And this “teaching for teachers” is, perhaps, one of the most outstanding training enterprises that you can imagine. Later we will return to this important meeting,

But it all begins with an understanding of the five simple elements that are present in the outlines of your own consciousness.

States of consciousness

As we have said, all five elements of the integral model are available to you right now in your own consciousness. So in the end we will have something like a tour of your own experience. So, why do not you just go and see: are any of these elements really manifest in your own consciousness right now, at this very moment?

Some of these elements of the integral map are related to the subjective realities within you, others to the objective realities of the outside world, and the rest are related to collective or social realities shared by different people. Let’s start with states of consciousness that relate to subjective realities.

Every person is familiar with the basic states of consciousness  – such as waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Right now you are in a waking state of consciousness (or, if you are tired, in a half-asleep state of consciousness). There are a number of different states of consciousness, including meditative states(caused by yoga, contemplative prayer, meditation, etc.), altered states (including those caused by the intake of psychoactive substances), and various variants of peak states into which we can enter through those or other intense experiences , such as making love, walking in nature or listening to musical masterpieces.

Great traditions of wisdom (such as Christian mysticism, Vedanta Hinduism, Vajrayana Buddhism and Jewish Kabbalah) claim that the three natural states of consciousness – wakefulness, dreaming and deep dreamless sleep – in fact are able to reveal to us the precious treasures of wisdom and spiritual awakening. If, of course, we know how to use them correctly! We used to think that the state of sleep is less real than wakefulness. But what if you enter into it awakened, aware of yourself?

And the same with a deep sleep? Perhaps you will find something extraordinary in the states of conscious sleep. Can you really know until you try? In a certain special sense, which we still have to explore in detail as we go forward, the three basic natural states – wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep – can contain the full spectrum of spiritual enlightenment.

But on simpler, more superficial levels, everyone experiences different states of consciousness, and these states condition our deep motivation, our meanings and motivations. Think about many “yeah” experiences, full of brilliant creative insights: what if we could enter into such experiences always when it is necessary for us to quickly solve a problem? Some states of consciousness are less significant, others more, but, regardless of this, the integral approach can not afford to ignore any of them.

And, whenever you use ITS, you will automatically have to look and make sure that you take into account all the main points of these important subjective realities. This is one example, as a map – in this case, the IOS, or integrated map – can help you discover a territory you could not even suspect of existence…

Stages, or levels, of development

Any state of consciousness is characterized by one important feature: they are all transitory. Even the greatest peak experiences or altered states, no matter how achieved, come, continue for a while, and then cease. And it does not matter how amazing our possibilities are in them, the fact is that these opportunities are of a temporary nature.

Unlike states, the stages of consciousness are constant . These are stable stages of growth and development. Once you reach a certain stage, it becomes your steady acquisition. For example, when a child develops to linguistic stages of development, he gets constant access to the language. Language is not something that is present for one minute, and the next disappears. The same is true for other stages. If some stage of growth and development is achieved and stabilized, you gain access to certain abilities inherent in this stage. Such abilities may be a clearer understanding, more inclusive love, higher ethical motives, greater intelligence and awareness. What used to be a transitory state becomesstable characteristic of consciousness.

How many stages are there? Well, remember, no matter what map we take, the way the territory is represented on it is always arbitrary. For example, how many degrees between the freezing point and the boiling point of water? If you use a scale, or “map”, Celsius, then between them is 100 degrees. But on the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32 degrees, and boils at 212, so here the difference is 180 degrees. Which of the options is correct? Both. It all depends on which measurement method you prefer.

The same is true for stages. There are different ways to differentiate the stages of development, and therefore there are different conceptions of the stages . All of them can be useful. In the chakra system, for example, there are 7 main stages, or levels, of the development of consciousness. Jean Gebser, the famous anthropologist, speaks about 5 stages: archaic, magical, mythical, rational and integral. Some Western psychological models have 8, 12 or more levels of development. What of all this is correct? All. The only difference is which aspects of growth and development that this or that model wants to emphasize.

” Stages of development” are also called ” levels of development”, and the idea is that each stage represents some level of organization or level of complexity. For example, in a sequence from atoms to molecules, cells and organisms, each of these evolutionary stages has an increasingly greater level of complexity. The word “level” does not have an appraising or excluding hue, it is only that there are important emergent properties 1 that tend to occur in a certain order of discreteness or quantization, and these quantum jumps of development, or levels, are very significant aspects of many natural phenomena.

As a rule, in the integrated model we work with 8 – 10 stages, or levels, the development of consciousness. After many years of work, we found that more stages make the whole system too cumbersome, and less – too inaccurate and vague. Among the most commonly used stage concepts are innovative models for the development of the self of Jane Löwinger and Suzanne Cook-Greuther, the spiral dynamics of Don Beck and Christopher Cowan, and the order of consciousness of Robert Keegan. But, besides them, there are many other models and concepts of consciousness development, each of which is capable of adding something useful and meaningful to the integral approach. So you can borrow and include in your map everything that seems appropriate for you in your situation.

As we go deeper and deeper into the subject of this book, you will see how incredibly important the stages of consciousness development can be. In the meantime, allow me to show you, with a small example, what is meant.

Egocentrism, ethnocentrism and worldcentrism

Let us consider some facts of development that are closely interrelated with levels or stages. To do this, let’s take a simplified model that includes only three of them. If we look, for example, on moral development, we find that a newborn baby in the first years of life exists outside of cultural, ethical and conventional norms. This stage of development is called preconventional or egocentric , since the infant’s consciousness is largely absorbed by itself.

The preconventional stage of moral development is replaced by the conventional one , when the child begins to assimilate social roles and cultural norms of behavior. This stage is also called ethnocentricbecause the child is centered on a certain group, tribe, clan or nation, thus, as a rule, excluding those who do not belong to his group, from the circle of their care. But at the next, postconventional stage of moral development, individual self-identity expands even more, this time including concern for all of humanity in general, regardless of race, color, sex or belief. That’s why this stage is also called worldocentric .

Thus, moral development is moving from “me” (egocentrism) to “us” (ethnocentrism) and “to all of us” (worldcentrism), and this is a good example of how the stages of consciousness unfold.

We can designate the same stages differently – as a body , mind and  spirit . These words have many different and well-grounded meanings, but with reference to the description of developmental stages, they denote the following.

Stage 1, which is dominated by gross physical reality, is the stage of the “body” (here the word “body” is used in the meaning of the physical organism). At this level, you identify yourself exclusively with a separate physical organism and its survival instincts. This is the same as the “me” stage.

Stage 2 is the stage of the “mind” in which self-identity expands from a narrow fixation on a gross body and begins to take into account relationships with other people, possibly based on common values, interests, ideals or dreams. At this stage, I can already use the mind to put myself in the shoes of others, try on their roles and feel what it’s like to be them. So my self-identity expands from “me” to “us” (movement from egocentrism to ethnocentrism).

At stage 3, my self-identity expands again, this time from “me” to “all of us” (the movement from ethnocentrism to worldcentrism). Here I begin to understand that in addition to the wonderful diversity of people and cultures, there are also certain similarities and similarities. The revelation of the unity and interconnection of all living things in the movement from ethnocentrism to worldcentrism is “spirituality” in the sense that here we find things and dimensions common to all sentient beings.

This is one of the ways to show the unfolding of the stages of development from the body to the mind and spirit. Each of these stages can be viewed as a wave or level of deployment of care and consciousness in the direction from egocentrism to ethnocentrism and worldcentrism.

We will repeatedly return to the stages of evolution and development, each time viewing them from different angles. In the meantime, all that is needed is an understanding that by “stages” we mean stable and progressing stages on the evolutionary path of your own self-disclosure. Whatever we call it – the stages of consciousness, the levels of energy, the stages of the development of culture, the stage of spiritual self-realization or the stage of moral development – in fact, it is always about these most important and most fundamental steps in revealing your higher, deep and full potential.

The application of IOS in life will push you to constant self-observation and verification, so that you can always see how well you take into account the most important aspects of the stages in any situation, and this, in turn, will contribute to a sharp increase in your chances of success – whether this success is described in terms of personal transformation, social changes, advantages in business, caring for others or simply getting satisfaction from life.

Lines of development: something I’m good at, and something – not very…

Have you ever noticed how uneven we all are? Some are very well developed, say, logical thinking, but emotional sensitivity is not developed at all. Some have advanced in cognitive development (they are very smart), but lagged behind in moral development (they are dishonest and cruel). Someone has outstanding emotional ability, but he can not add two plus two.

Howard Gardner has widely glorified this idea by introducing the concept of multiple intelligence . People have a number of intellects – for example, cognitive, emotional, musical, kinesthetic, etc. Most people have only one or two good abilities, against the background of weak development of all the others. This in itself is not necessarily bad: part of the integral wisdom is to understand what we are doing well and where, in the same way, we can best offer the world the most valuable of our talents.

But this means that along with the realization of one’s strengths (where our uncovered abilities shine), it is important for us to realize in ourselves our dark, weak sides (that which we develop badly or even pathologically). And this makes us turn to the next of the five fundamental elements – to a multitude of our abilities, or lines of development. We have already examined the states and  stages . Now let’s move on to  lines , or multiple abilities.

Different multiple abilities include cognitive, interpersonal, moral, emotional and aesthetic. Why do we call them development lines as well  ? Because these abilities can grow and develop, and their development passes through several successive stages, the main contours of which we have just outlined.

In other words, any of a multitude of abilities develops-or can develop-through three main stages (or through any number of stages described in other development models-three, five, seven or more, it is important to remember that they differ in the same way as temperature scales of Celsius and Fahrenheit). You can be cognitively developed, for example, to stage 1, stage 2, or stage 3.

The same goes for other abilities. Emotional development before stage 1 means that I developed an ability for emotions that focus on “me” – especially emotions and instincts of hunger, survival and self-protection. If you continue your emotional development from stage 1 to stage 2, that is, from the egocentric stage to the ethnocentric one, you expand from the “I” to the “we” and begin to develop feelings of duty and love towards someone-maybe members his family, close friends, and maybe all his tribe or people. If you grow to stage 3 of emotional development, your emotions of caring and compassion begin to spread not only to members of your tribe or people,

And since we are talking about stages, what has been achieved becomes your constant acquisition. However, before this happens, all abilities will come to you in the form of temporary states: for a while you will connect to these abilities, experience the peak experience of extended knowledge and being – a wonderful state of delight, when we are ready to shout “hurray!” While it lasts a brief moment of insight into the innermost depths of our own greatest opportunities. As the practice continues, these temporary states are transformed into stable stages, or permanent characteristics of your own territory.

Integral Psychogram

There is a fairly simple way to represent this set of abilities or lines. In Fig. 1 you see an uncomplicated diagram showing the three main stages (or three levels of development) through which the five most important abilities (or lines of development) pass. Through this sequence of the main stages, different lines or levels of development unfold . So on this diagram we can depict any lines – sexual, cognitive, emotional, moral, etc. The level of a particular line simply means the “height” of this line in terms of development and consciousness. That’s why people often say: “this person has high moral ideals” or “this is a highly spiritual person.”

In Fig. 1 depicts a psychogram of a person who has highly developed cognitive abilities and is good – interpersonal, but almost not developed moral and emotional. Different people, of course, will have different psychograms.

A psychogram helps you determine where your greatest opportunities are. I’m sure you probably know your strengths and weaknesses, but one of the tasks of the integral approach is to contribute to increasing your knowledge of your borders more and more, so that you can confidently expand them, equally well working with advantages and disadvantages – as your own, and other people.


Fig. 1. Psychogram.

The psychogram also allows you to bring to the forefront the fact that literally all people are unevenly developed, and this avoids the erroneous idea that if we excel at excellence in one area, then we will equally excel in the others. In fact, it is true, as a rule, the opposite. Many leaders, spiritual teachers and politicians suffered a crushing fiasco because of a lack of understanding of these simple things.

Being “integrally developed” does not mean that you should master all the known abilities perfectly, or that all your lines should be on the third level. Being “integrally developed” means only that you should cultivate a clear idea of ​​the state of your abilities, because only having the holistic image of yourself, you can make effective plans for your future development. For someone, this may indeed mean the need to strengthen specific abilities, which, being weak, are the causes of certain problems. For someone – the need to get rid of serious pathologies in any of the lines (for example, in psychosexual). Well, for some, the need for a simple awareness of what their strengths and weaknesses are, in order to take it into account in the future.

Thus, being “integrally informed” does not at all mean that you should become a master in all lines of development – no, just be aware of them, that’s all. Correcting the imbalance of lines is the task of the practice of integral life (PIL), which is precisely designed to raise the levels of consciousness development with the help of an integrated approach. (We will discuss this subject in more detail in Chapter 10.)

Mark one more extremely important thing. In some types of psychological and spiritual practice, you can from the very beginning contact the full spectrum of states of consciousness and bodily experience, including peak experiences, meditative states, shamanic vision, changed states, etc. The reason why this is possible is that, that most of the basic states of consciousness (such as gross wakefulness, subtle dreaming and shapeless causality of deep sleep) are already present as our present possibilities – they “always already exist.” That is why you can experience the experience of many higher states of consciousness from the very beginning .

However, without real internal growth and constant practice, you will not be able to turn these states into realized higher stages . You can experience the peak experience of higher states (such as a vision of subtle inner light or a sense of oneness with all being), because many of them “always already exist”, and therefore can be experienced as a peak experience right now. But you can not survive the peak experience of a higher stage(for example, turn into a professional pianist), as the stages unfold in sequence and it takes some time to make it happen. The stages are superimposed one on top of the other in a completely definite way, and there is no way to jump through any of them: molecules are created on the basis of atoms, cells are based on molecules, and organisms are based on cells, so that we can not go from atoms directly to cells, bypassing the molecules. This is one of many significant differences between states and stages.

Nevertheless, with regular practice of entering the higher states your own developmental stages will usually be revealed much faster and easier. There are numerous experimental data supporting this fact: the more often you enter into the authentic higher states of consciousness – for example, into meditative states – the faster you will grow and develop through any stagesconsciousness. The practice of higher states is a kind of lubrication for the development spiral, facilitating the process of unidentification with a lower stage, so that a higher one may appear. During practice, you move back and forth until you can stably stay at higher levels of awareness for a long time, and they will not become your permanent support – so the temporary state turns into an enduring asset. Any variety of practices of higher states, for example, meditation, are an integral part of any integral approach to transformation.

In a nutshell, you can not jump through any existing stages , but you can accelerate your movement through them, using some practice of states , for example, meditation; and these transformational practices are an integral and very important part of the integrated approach.

What type: boy or girl?

The next component of the integral model is very simple: each of the previous elements can be both masculine and feminine. 2

Here we proceed from two basic prerequisites: one based on the idea of ​​the existence of types as such, the other on the fact of existence of male and female types.

Types are relevant to those things that can be present virtually at any stage or in any state. One simple example of such typology is the Myers-Briggs typology (the main types in which are: feeling, thinking, sensory and intuitive). In essence, you can relate to any of these types at any stage of development . “Horizontal typologies” of this kind can be very useful, especially in combination with levels, lines and states. To understand what types mean, we will use the typology of “male / female”.

Carol Gilligan in his very influential book, “In Another Voice,” 3  points out that both men and women in their moral development tend to go through three or four basic levels or stages. Referring to a significant amount of research data, Gilligan notes that these three or four moral stages can be called preconventional, conventional, postconventional and integrated. In fact, these are the same stages of development that we use, only with reference to moral intelligence.

Gilligan discovered that stage 1 is a morality, entirely focused on “me” (hence the other name preconventional stage -  egocentric ). Stage 2 of moral development is focused on “us”: here my self-identity is expanding, including other members of my group (therefore this conventional stage is often called ethnocentric , traditionalist or conformist). At stage 3 of moral development, my self-identity expands again, this time from “us” to “all of us”, including all people (and even all sentient beings) – which is why this stage is often called world-centric. Now I feel care and compassion not only in relation to myself (egocentrism), not only towards my family, my tribe or nation (ethnocentrism), but to all mankind, to all men and women, regardless of race, sex or ideology (worldcentrism). And if development continues further, to the stage 4 of moral development, which Gilligan calls integrated , then…

But let’s not run ahead, but first we note the contribution that Gilligan’s work brings to the common cause. Gilligan fully agrees that women, like men, develop through three or four major hierarchical stages of development. She correctly defines these stages as hierarchical, because each of them represents a higherability to care and empathy. But she also states that women go through these stages, using a different type of logic – “in a different voice.” That is, men and women have their own sound.

Male logic, or male voice, is usually based on the concepts of autonomy, justice and rights, while female logic, or voice, is usually based on the concepts of relationship, care and responsibility. Men are inclined to work, women are inclined to communicate. Men follow the rules, and women follow the rules. Men look, women feel. Men strive for individual freedom, and women – for kinship. Here is one of Gilligan’s favorite anecdotes. The little boy and girl are playing together, the boy says: “Let’s play Cossack robbers!” The girl replies: “Let’s play mother’s daughters”. The boy: “No, I want to be a robber Cossack!” Girl: “Well, let’s play the Cossack robbers who have children.”

Boys who play baseball do not like being near girls, because two different frets often interfere with each other and often create cacophony. During the game of baseball, one boy missed his third strike and began to roar. The other guys remained indifferent to his tears and, when the kid calmed down, continued to play as if nothing had happened: the rule is a rule, and the rule is that if you skip three hits in a row, you drop out of the game. Gilligan says that if there is a girl in the company, she usually starts to say: “Oh, well, guys, give him one more chance!” The girl sees the crying woman and wants to help, wants to establish contact, wants to comfort. This, however, drives the boys mad, because for them this game becomes a dedication to the world of rules and male logic. According to Gilligan, the boys will rather get by feelings,

A different voice. Both girls and boys have to go through three or four stages of moral development (from egocentric to ethnocentric, worldcentric and integrated), but they will do it “in their own way”, using different types of logic. Hierarchical stages of the moral development of women Gilligan defines as self-love (the same as egocentric), caring for others (the same as ethnocentric), universal care (the same as world-centric) and an  integrated stage. But why did Gilligan (which many misunderstood in this matter) call these stages hierarchical? Because each stage represents a higher ability to care and empathy. (Not all hierarchies are bad, and Gilligan perfectly shows why).

So, the integrated stage, or stage 4, – what is it? According to Gilligan, at the fourth, highest, stage of moral development, male and female voices tend to integrate with each other. This, of course, does not mean that a person at this stage loses his sexual identity and becomes some sort of amorphous, androgynous, asexual being. In fact, male and female beginnings can become even stronger in him. But in fact it means that a person begins to establish a deeper connection with his own masculinity and femininity, even if he continues to act more, proceeding from one aspect.

Have you ever seen a caduceus (a symbol of the medical profession)? This is a rod, entwined with two snakes, with wings on top (see figure 2). The staff itself represents the spinal column; places of intersection of snakes – individual chakras , located along the spine, from lower to higher; and the snakes themselves symbolize the solar and lunar (or masculine and feminine) energies in each of the chakras .

Fig. 2. The Caduceus

Here we come to a very important moment. The seven chakras , which are simply a more detailed version of the three main levels, or stages, represent the seven levels of awareness and energy available to all human beings. (The first three chakras  – food, sex and power – roughly correspond to stage 1, the fourth and fifth chakras  are the heart and voice as the instruments of interrelations and communication – stage 2, and the sixth and seventh chakras  are mental and spiritual – stages 3). An important idea here is that, according to tradition, each of these seven levels has both a manly and feminine mood(aspect, type or “voice”). Neither the masculine nor the feminine aspect is in something higher or better than the other – they are two equivalent types on each of the levels of consciousness.

This means that there are, for example, two varieties of the third chakra ( chakras of egocentric power) – male and female: men seek power through autonomy (“Do as I say or get out!”), While women tend to power, manifested through social or social interaction (“Do it in my opinion, otherwise I will stop talking with you”). The same is true for the other chakras : each has a sunny and lunar, or masculine and feminine, aspects. And they are all equivalent, none of them can be neglected.

However, note that in the seventh chakra both snakes disappear at their base or source. Male and female energies meet and unite at the top – they literally become one. And this is what Gilligan discovered about stage 4 of moral development: both voices in each person become integrated and give rise to a paradoxical alliance of autonomies and relationships, rights and responsibilities, activities and communication, wisdom and compassion, justice and mercy, masculinity and femininity.

The important point is that by applying IOS in life, you can automatically diagnose any situation – in yourself, in others, in organization, in culture – and see how fully and integrally both types of it are included – both manly and feminine. If you think that there are no fundamental differences between men and women, or if you question these differences, well, that’s not bad, and you can treat them equally if you want. We just want to say: no matter in what light you consider male and female, in any case it will be far from superfluous to make sure that you are in deep contact with both. In addition to distinguishing between male and female types, there are other “horizontal typologies” that are also important and can serve a good purpose, becoming an integral part of the ITS, and the integral approach takes any suitable typologies of this kind. “Types” are just as important as quadrants, levels, lines, and states.

Sick boy, sick girl

I want to make one interesting remark about the types: you can have their healthy and unhealthy options. To note that someone “hung” in an unhealthy type means not to condemn him, but to understand and more clearly and effectively interact with him. That is, if every stage of development has a masculine and feminine dimension, then each of them can be both healthy and unhealthy, which we sometimes call “a sick boy, a sick girl.” The division into healthy and unhealthy types is another kind of “horizontal typology” that can be very useful. In an unhealthy version, trends of one type or another are either not expressed or expressed excessively.

For example, if the principle of masculinity in its healthy version tends to autonomy, strength, independence and freedom, then in its unhealthy, the pathological version of the craving for autonomy is transformed into alienation; the thirst for power – in an effort to suppress and dominate; the desire for independence is in the pathological fear of intimate relations; a rush to freedom – into a passion for destruction. The pathological principle of masculinity does not go back to freedom, but tends to dominate because of fear.

If a healthy principle of femininity tends to be smooth, close to a relationship, caring and compassion, the unhealthy in all this drowns. Instead of being present in a relationship, a woman is lost in them. Instead of remaining with oneself in communication with others, it is completely forgotten in it and falls under the power of the relations in which it is involved. Not a bond, but a merger; not a state of flow, but a state of panic; not unification, but dissolution.

The unhealthy principle of femininity is not complete in the connections, but chaos in the merger. With the help of IOS you can always identify healthy and unhealthy courageous and feminine types, working with yourself and with others. So the main idea of ​​this section is simple: the benefit of these or other typologies is that they are able to help us better understand ourselves and others. Whichever typology we take, Each of the types described in it always has both a healthy and an unhealthy option. Determining a person’s unhealthy type is not at all a way to reproach him, but an attempt to better understand him, in order to build his communication with him in the most effective way.

Three in one

Let’s return once more to the states of consciousness to close this topic, before we move on to the conclusion, where we finally combine all the elements into an integral model. The states of consciousness do not hang in the void, on the contrary – each mind has its own body. Each state of consciousness corresponds to a tangible energy component, a real sense, a concrete conductor that nourishes and sustains this state. Traditions of wisdom give us a simple example of this. Because each of us has access to the three basic states of consciousness – waking, dreaming and shapeless sleep – the traditions of wisdom say that each of us also has three bodies , which are often called the gross body , the subtle body and the  causal body .

I have three bodies ?! You’re joking! To me and one is too much! But consider the following. In the traditions of wisdom, the “body” is the modality of experience or energy sense. We have an unclean or rude experience, a thin or refined experience and a superfine or causal experience. This is what philosophers call “phenomenological realities” or realities as they are presented to our immediate consciousness. Right now you have access to your gross body and its gross energy, to the subtle body and its subtle energy and to the causative body and its causal energy.

Let us turn to examples of these three bodies. Note that right now you are in a  waking state ofconsciousness, which means that you witness the manifestation of your gross body  – physical, material, sensorimotor. But when you sleep at night – you can not bear witness to your gross body: everything looks as if it simply disappeared.

You are in the process of witnessing your dreaming state of consciousness, so that you do not have a gross body consisting of dense matter, but you have a subtle body, woven from light, energies, emotions, from moving and fluid images. In a dream state, the mind and soul are freed and can do whatever they want: to imagine innumerable worlds that have nothing to do with the gross sensory reality, to be transported, often magically, to the far end of the earth, to come into contact with the souls of other people, waterfalls of radiant images, flickering and pulsating in time with the intimate desires of the heart. So what is your body in the dream?

Thin bodyfrom feelings, images and even light. Therefore, you experience all this in a dream. And dreams are not “just an illusion.” When someone like Martin Luther King says, “I had a vision,” this is a good example of the penetration of the great potential of the visionary dream, in which the subtle soul and mind become so free that they rise to their greatest opportunities.

As you pass from the dream state with its subtle body into a  state of deep sleep , or else – the state of formlessness, even the most delicate thoughts and images leave, and there remains only one boundless emptiness – a form devoid of forms beyond any separate ” I “, the ego or the self. Great traditions of wisdom assert that in this state, which at first sight may seem deprived of all non-existence, we are actually immersed in the experience of the great Void, or the Basis of Being, a space of consciousness that is practically devoid of any boundaries and limits. This almost infinite space of consciousness corresponds to its almost unlimited body or energy – the  causal body, which is the subtlest, most subtle experience of being from all possible, the great formlessness, the source of all creative potentiality.

Of course, most people do not experience this deep state in its entirety. But even here the traditions are unanimous in recognizing the fact that we can, in full awareness, enter the  formless state and  causal body , which releases the extraordinary potentials of development and consciousness.

The idea, again, is simply that whenever the IOS is used, it reminds us that we must take into account the reality of the waking state, dreams, visions and innovative ideas of a subtle state, as well as our own open, formless foundation of all potentiality, which is a source of great creative power. The important point of the integral approach is that we are striving to come in contact with the maximum number of potential opportunities so as not to miss any prospects for growth and transformation.

Consciousness and complexity

Perhaps you think that three bodies are something “too fantastic”? Well, remember that these are phenomenological realities or real experiences of immediate experience – and then it will sound no longer so fantastic. Moreover, this view has its bases in a strict and pragmatic science. They consist in the following: each inner level of consciousness corresponds to the external level of physical complexity . The higher the level of consciousness, the more complex the system must be, to which this level corresponds.

For example, in living organisms, the reptilian brain stem corresponds to a rudimentary level of consciousness that includes basic instincts, such as hunger, physiological sensations, sensomotorics (in general, everything that we previously called “rude” or focused on “me”). In the course of evolution, we developed a more complex limbic system of mammals  – the basic sensations expanded and began to include more subtle feelings, desires, emotional-sexual impulses and needs (this is the beginning of what we called a subtle experience or a subtle body that can expand from “Me” to “us”). In the process of evolution, to more complex and integral physiological structures, such as the triune brain with its new bark (the neocortex), consciousness expands to the worldcentric “all of us” (and, thus, is already beginning to approach what we called the causal body).

This is a very simple example of the fact that the internal development of consciousness is accompanied by an increase in the complexity and complexity of the external systems correlated with it. Using IOS , we often consider both the  inner levels of consciousness , and the corresponding external levels of physical complexity , which leads us to a more balanced and meaningful approach. What exactly this means, we will see.

And now: that’s how it all goes together

IOS – and the integrated model – would not be a single whole, but a “heap” of disparate components, if we did not offer a way how all its various elements relate and interact. How do they all agree? It’s one thing to just lay out all the elements of our intercultural study and say: “All of them are equally important!” And quite another is to identify those patterns that really connect them all into a single whole. Detection of deep binding patterns  is the most important achievement of the integral approach.

In this section we briefly outline the contours of this structure, all the elements of which are called together AQAL (pronounced ” a kval”) – this is a short way to say “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types” 4 , to indicate all the components already mentioned (with the exception of the quadrants, to which we will begin our consideration). AQAL  is just another term for an IOS or an integrated map, but it is often used to specifically point out this particular approach.

At the very beginning of the introduction, we noted that all five components of the integral model are aspects that are available to your consciousness right now – and, perhaps, this is most relevant to quadrants.

Have you ever paid attention to the fact that in all the major languages ​​of the world there are pronouns of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person? The pronouns of the first person denote “the person who speaks.” These are the pronouns “I” , “me” , “mine” (in the singular) and “we” , “us” , “our” (in the plural). The pronouns of the second person denote “the person who is being addressed”. These include the pronouns “you” , “you” , “yours” . The pronouns of the third person denote “the person or the object in question”. These include such pronouns as“He” , “him” , “she” , “her” , “they” , “them” , “it” .

So if I tell you about my new car, the “I” is the 1st person, “you” is the 2nd person, and the new machine (or “she”) is the 3rd person. Further, when we talk with you, we communicate, we designate it in such a word as “we”: “We understand each other.” “We” is the first person plural pronoun, but in the situation of our communication with you this amazing “we” consists of your 2nd person and my 1st person. That is why the 2nd person is often referred to as “you / us” or “you / us”, or often just “we”.

For simplicity, we designate the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person as ” I ,” ” we, ” and ” it .”

It sounds trivial, does not it? Perhaps even boring and uninteresting? Well, then let’s approach the question differently. And if we replace the “I”, “we” and “it” with ” Beauty “, ” Good ” and ” Truth “? And what if we say that Beauty, Good and Truth are the fundamental dimensions of your own being at this and any other moment at all levels of growth and development, without exception? And in the process of integral practice, you can penetrate deeper and deeper into the various dimensions of your own Good, Truth and Beauty?

Mmm, it sounds really fun. Beauty, Good and Truth are another dimension of the pronouns of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person. And we also find these dimensions in all the main languages, because they represent very significant aspects of reality, under which the language has adapted. The third person (or “it”) has to do with objective Truth, which is best explored by science. The second person (or “you / we”) refers to the Good or, more precisely, to the way that we – you and I – interact with each other, if we do it on the basis of courtesy, honesty and respect. In other words, it is the basis of morality and morality. There remains the first person who deals with the “I”, that is, with self and self-expression, and therefore with art, aesthetics and subjective Beauty that exists only in the eyes of the one who looks (ie, the “I”).

Thus, the “I”, “we” and “it” are the three dimensions of experience that are relevant to  art , morality, and  science . Or to the  self , culture and  nature . Or to the  Beautiful , the Good and the  True . (For some reason, philosophers often dispose of them in the following order: Good, Truth and Beauty, whatever order they may have, any of them is fair).

The bottom line is that any event in the manifesting world has all three of these dimensions . Any event can be seen through the eyes of the immediate participant (this is the viewpoint of “I” – how I myself experience this event), through the eyes of an outside observer (this is the “we” point of view – how the event is perceived not only by me, but also by other people ), and also considered from the point of view of objectivity (or the point of view “it”). From this it follows that to be integrally informed means to take into account all these three dimensions, thus arriving at a more holistic and effective approach to both the “I”, “we”, and “it” – or to the self, culture and nature.

If you ignore science, or art, or morality, something important will be missed and integrity will be broken. The liberation of the self, culture and nature will be achieved only in their interaction and cooperation or will not be achieved at all. The dimensions of the “I”, “we” and “it” are so fundamental that we call them the four quadrants, and in this form they become the basis of an integrated coordinate system, or an integrated operating system (IOS). (The fourth quadrant is formed by dividing “it” into a single and plural number.) The following diagrams will help clarify these basic points.

In Fig. 3 you see a schematic image of four quadrants. The upper -left quadrant is the ” I ” (the individual inner ), the upper-right quadrant is ” it ” (the individual external ), the lower-left one is ” we ” ( collective internal ) and the lower-right ” they ” ( collective external ). In other words, the four quadrants are four fundamental perspectives for any event (or four basic points of view on something) that represent the inner and the  outer sides of the individual and  collective .

Fig. 3. Quadrants 

In Fig. 4 and 5 show some details of the four quadrants. (Do not pay attention to some specific terms – for a general understanding they are not so important – just look at the diagrams and try to catch the essence of what different subjects each quadrant deals with).

Fig. 4. Some details of the quadrants

For example, in the  upper-left quadrant(individual inner) you will find your own thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc. (this description in terms of the 1st person). But if you look at your individual being from the outside and begin to describe it in terms of non-subjective consciousness rather than objective science, you will find neurotransmitters, a limbic system, a new cortex, complex molecular structures, cells, organ systems, DNA, etc. – this description in objective terms of the third person (“it” and “they”). Therefore, the subject of the upper-right quadrant  is what any individual event looks like , if you look at it from the outside. This mainly physical behavior, material components, matter and energy, the body – all these things can be classified as objective forms, forms of the third person , or “it” -forms.

Fig. 5. Quadrants for human use

Thus, from the outside, we appear to be made up of objective “it” -forms – from matter, energy and objects – whereas inside ourselves we find not the neurotransmitters but the senses, not the limbic system, but the desires, not the new cortex, but the inner vision, not matter-energy, but consciousness-and we describe all this from the first person in terms of direct vision. Which of these views is more true? According to the integral approach, they are both. These are two different views on the same event, which you are. Problems begin when you try to reject or deny any of these prospects. In any integral worldview, all four quadrants must be included.

Let’s continue further. Note that each individual “I” is in a relationship with other “I”, which means that each “I” is a member of the numerous “we”. These “we” are not only and not so much an individual as a group (or collective ) consciousness, not so much subjective as intersubjective consciousness – or culture in the broadest sense. This is the essence of the lower-left quadrant . Just like the “I”, every “we” has an external aspect or how it looks from the outside – and this is the lower right quadrant . The lower-left quadrant is often called culturalmeasurement (or internal consciousness of the group, including its worldview, common values, common feelings, etc.), and the lower-right-  social dimension (or external forms and behavior of the group, studied by objective sciences, for example, system theory).

Again, the quadrants are simply the inner and the  outer sides of the individual and  collective , and the point is that all four quadrants must be included if we aspire to be integral as possible.

Now we come to the point where you can begin to collect all the pieces of the integral mosaic into one whole: all the quadrants, levels, lines, states and types. Let’s start with the  levels or stages .

All four quadrants can grow, evolve, or evolve. That’s why all of them have varieties of stages, or levels of development, which are not rigid, once and for all fixed stages of the ladder, but mobile and flowing waves of unfolding. This occurs everywhere in the world of nature, just as the oak unfolds from the acorn through certain stages of growth and development, or the Ussuri tiger grows into an adult organism from a fertilized egg, passing through clearly discernible stages of growth and development.

This happens in people’s lives. We have already considered some of the stages of human development. In the upper-left quadrant (“I”), for example, the self develops from egocentrism to ethnocentrism and worldcentrism, or from body to  mind and  spirit . In the upper right quadrant, bodily energy expands phenomenologically from the gross to the  subtle and  causative body. In the lower-left quadrant, the collective “we” grow from egocentrism (“mine”) to  ethnocentrism (“ours”) and  worldcentrism(“Universal”). The expansion of group awareness is accompanied by the development of social systems – in the lower-right quadrant – from simple groups to more complex systems, like nations, and, ultimately, to global systems. The three stages in each of the quadrants are shown in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6.  AQAL

Now go from the levels to the  lines . Lines of development are found in all four quadrants, but since we are interested primarily in personal development, we will focus on how these lines manifest themselves in the upper-left quadrant. As we have seen, there are more than a dozen different multiple abilities, or lines of development.

Here are the most important of them:

  • cognitive line (or awareness of what is);
  • moral line (or awareness of how it should be);
  • emotional , or affective, line (the whole range of emotions);
  • interpersonal line (as far as I’m socially adequate in communicating with others);
  • a line of needs (for example, the Maslow hierarchy of needs);
  • the line of self-identity (or “Who am I?”, for example, the development of the ego by Levinjer);
  • aesthetic line (or line of self-expression, beauty, art and sensed meaning);
  • a psychosexual line that implies the full spectrum of Eros (from gross to subtle and causal);
  • the spiritual line (where the “spirit” is not seen as the Basis and not as the highest stage, but as a separate line of unfoldment);
  • line of values (or what the person believes to be the most important, this line was investigated in the works of Claire Graves and popularized in spiral dynamics).

Each of these lines of development goes through the main stages, or levels. All of them can be included in the psychogram. If we take the concepts of stages, or levels, of Robert Keegan, Jane Löwinger or Claire Graves, then we will have five, eight or more levels of development, through which we can trace the natural unfolding of lines, or flows, of development. Again, it does not matter which one is more true, it depends on what order of “gradation” or “complexity” you need to use to most adequately understand this situation.

We have already considered one of the psychograms (Figure 1). In Fig. 7 you can see one more, taken from the presentation of Notre Dame business school, in which the AQAL-model is used for business training.

Fig. 7. Another version of the psychogram

As noted, all quadrants have their own development lines. We have so far considered only those of them that belong to the upper-left quadrant. In the upper right quadrant, one of the most important lines of development is the line of solid matter-energy, which, as we have seen, moves from gross energy to subtle and causal energy. As a sequence of development, it describes the levels of permanent possession of the ability to consciously control these energy components of your being (otherwise they manifest only as states). The upper-right quadrant also includes all external behavior , actions and actions of my objective body (gross, subtle or causal).

Cultural development in the lower-left quadrant often unfolds through those waves that were discovered by the genius of Jean Gebser – their list includes archaic , magical , mythical , mental , integral and higher. In the lower-right quadrant, systems theory explores the developing collective social systems (here such stages as fodder , agrarian , industrial and  information systems are distinguished ). In Fig. 8 we showed their simplified version (group, national, global), but the main idea is that the higher the level of social complexity, the more integrated it into a broader system.

I repeat, for a general review, details are not so much important as a vision as a whole of how the nature of all four quadrants that includes expanding spheres of consciousness, care, culture and nature unfolds or unfolds . In a nutshell, “I”, “we” and “it” can evolve. Self, culture and nature can evolve and evolve.

Now we can quickly disassemble and other components. Conditions can occur in all quadrants (from weather conditions to states of consciousness). Until now, we have been mainly focused on the states of consciousness in the upper-left quadrant (wakefulness, dreaming, deep sleep) and on energy states in the upper right (coarse, subtle, causal). Of course, when any of these states acquires the status of permanent acquisition, it ceases to be a state and becomes a stage.

Types also exist in all quadrants, but we have focused on the courageous and feminine types as they appear in individuals. The principle of masculinity is more equated with activity, and the principle of femininity is with communication, but the essence is that in each person there are both these components. Finally, as we saw, there are unhealthy types of masculinity and femininity at all available stages – “sick boy, sick girl” on all waves.

It seems too complicated? On the one hand, yes. But, on the other hand, the extreme complexity of all that a person represents in the totality of his interrelations with the universe can be greatly simplified by using the quadrants model (based on the fact that any event can be seen from the point of view of the “I” “We” or “it”), the lines of development (multiple intellects, or abilities), each of which unfolds through levels of development (from body, mind and spirit), and states and  types at each of these levels.

This integral model  – “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types” – is the simplest model that can retain all the most essential realities. Often we shorten, say: “all quadrants, all levels” or AQAL , where quadrants, for example, are self, culture and nature, and levels – body, mind and spirit, so we say that the integral approach involves development and cultivation body, mind and spirit in self, culture and nature . The simplest version of this model is shown in Fig. 6, and if you have a common understanding of this chart, it will be fairly easy to understand the further.

Application of IOS

Let’s pass to the end of the review of what can be called an introduction to the basics of ITS. To do this, we will give several life examples of its application in medicine, business, spirituality and ecology.

Integral Medicine

Perhaps medicine is the sphere in which the application of the integrated model can give immediate results, so it is becoming increasingly popular in healthcare institutions around the world. A short tour through the quadrants will show how the integral model can be of use here.

Orthodox, or conventional, medicine is a classical top-right approach. It deals almost exclusively with the physical organism, influencing it by physical intervention – surgery, medication, medicine and behavior correction. Orthodox medicine is based on belief in the physical causes of diseases and, as a consequence, in most cases prescribes this or that type of physical intervention. However, the integral model asserts that every physical event (upper right, VP) has at least four dimensions (quadrant), which is why a physical illness must be viewed through the prism of all four quadrants (not to mention the levels that we will cover below). The integral model does not belittle the importance of the upper-right quadrant, it merely states that this is only one fourth of the entire history.

The recent explosion of interest in alternative medicine – not to mention such disciplines as psychoneuroimmunology – made it quite obvious that the internal states of a person (emotions, mood, imagination and intentions) can be both a cause and a medicine in that, as for physiological diseases. In other words, the upper-left (VL) quadrant is a key element in any holistic medical approach. Visualization, affirmations and conscious use of images, as already proved by experimental means, play a significant role in curing most diseases, and the consequences of the disease depend on emotional states and mental health.

But no less than these subjective factors, it is also important that individual consciousness does not remain in a vacuum – it is embedded in the field of general cultural values, beliefs and worldviews. The way in which culture (NL) treats individual diseases – with care and compassion or with contempt and ridicule – can at a profound level influence how one or another person treats these diseases (VL), and this, in his turn, is able to directly affect the course of the most physical illness (EP).

The lower-left quadrantencompasses a huge variety of intersubjective factors, which are essential for any human interaction – such as communication between the doctor and the patient, family relationships and the opinions of friends, and how it is all passed on to the patient; public acceptance (or disapproval) of certain diseases (for example, AIDS) and those cultural values ​​threatened by the disease itself. All these factors to some extent play a causal role in relation to any physiological disease and its treatment (simply because every event has four quadrants).

Of course, in practical conditions, this quadrant must be limited to factors that can be effectively worked: it can be doctor-patient relations, family and friendly support, as well as a common understanding of how public opinion can influence the disease. Studies have consistently shown that, for example, cancer patients with group support live longer than without it. Thus, there are a large number of factors from the lower left quadrant that play a decisive role in any holistic medical approach.

The lower right quadrant contains material, economic and social factors that are almost never considered part of the disease, but if we look at the facts in person, these factors, like the factors of all other quadrants, can also be the causeand illness, and its cure. A social system that is not capable of supplying the population with food will kill you (and this, alas, every day occurs in countries where ruin and famine reign). In the real world, where every thing has all four quadrants, the virus in the EP quadrant can be a central problem, but with a social system that is unable to provide the proper care, you will die. This is not a separate problem – this is the focus of the problem, because all events have four quadrants. The lower right quadrant includes such factors as economics, insurance, social security systems and even such simple things as the hospital ward environment (whether there is enough room for freedom of movement, access to visitors, etc.), not to mention about such things as pollution of the environment with toxins.

All this is an “all-quadrant” aspect of the causes of diseases and their cure. The “all-level” aspect means that individuals have at least physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels in all four quadrants (see Figure 8). Some diseases have a predominantly physical cause and require physical treatment (if you are hit by a car or you broke a leg). But there are a huge number of diseases, the cause and method of healing of which includes emotional, mental and spiritualcomponents. Literally hundreds of researchers around the world have done immeasurably much for our understanding of the “multi-level” nature of diseases and their cure (including the invaluable contribution of great traditions of wisdom – from shamanic to Tibetan). The bottom line is that simply by adding these levels to the quadrants, we get a more holistic – and effective – medical model.

In short, a truly effective and comprehensive medical plan must be all-quadrant and all-level: the basic idea is that every quadrant or measurement (Figure 3) – “I”, “we” and “it” – has a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels, or waves (Figure 6), and a truly integral treatment must take into account all these realities. And, for these reasons, the proposed variant of integral treatment is not only more effective , but also more economical , which is why even medical management is beginning to look more closely at it.

Integral business

Recently there has been an expansion of the integrated model in business – again, probably, for the reason that its use gives a quick and visible effect. Quadrants provide four “spaces”, or “markets,” in which products must be competitive, and levels give types of values ​​that create the product and help in its sale. Studies of the hierarchy of values ​​in Maslow or Graves (for example, spiral dynamics) that have already had a huge impact on business can be combined with quadrants (which show how these levels of values ​​manifest themselves in four different spaces), and this gives a genuinely holistic market map (which includes both traditional markets and virtual ones).

In addition, integral leadership training is also beginning to flourish , based on the integrated model. Today, there are four basic theories of business management (the X-theory that emphasizes human behavior, the Y-theory that focuses on the understanding of psychology, cultural management based on organizational culture, and system management that puts the social system at the center and management of it). These four management theories, in fact, come from four quadrants, which means that the integral model must necessarily include all four approaches. If we add levels and lines here, then an incredibly rich and refined model of leadership will emerge, which, without doubt, will be the most inclusive of all existing.

Spirituality of relationships and socially significant spirituality

The main significance of the AQAL approach to spirituality is that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels of being must simultaneously develop in self, culture and nature (that is, in the spaces “I”, “we” and “it”). There are many variations on this subject – from socially significant spirituality to treating relationships as a spiritual path, and we include all these important aspects in the integral practice of life (see below). The meaning of integral spirituality is deep and extensive, and it is only beginning to exert its influence.

Integral ecology

Integral, or “all-quadrant, all-level”, ecology is already being innovatively investigated by several of our colleagues in the Integral Institute and promises to radically change our habitual way of thinking about the problems of ecology and environmental pollution, and our ways of solving them.

The basic idea is simple: anything less than an integral approach with respect to environmental problems is doomed to failure. It is necessary to take into account both internal (or left-handed) and external (or right-sided) quadrants. External environmental protection is necessary, but without growth and development in internal spaces to worldcentric levels of values ​​and consciousness, the environment will remain at risk. The focus on external solutions alone exacerbates the problem. The liberation of the self, culture and nature will be achieved only in their interaction and cooperation or will not be achieved at all. How to do this is the subject of consideration of integral ecology.

The Practice of Integral Life

Previous versions of the IOS application focused on the theoretical aspects of the integrated approach. And what about the practical aspects of our own awareness, growth, transformation and awakening?

Any map of human existence, in an explicit or hidden form, contains a practical approach. The practical measurement of the experiences of the first person in the integral approach is called the practice of integral life .

The nature of the practice of integral life is simple. I schematically summarize it so: if we take the body, mind and spirit (as levels) and self, culture and nature (as quadrants), and then add them together, we will get nine possible areas of growth and awakening. In the practice of integral life, for the first time, all the most effective approaches to personal transformation have been collected.

I will give a more detailed example: if you look at Fig. 6, you will notice that 3 levels in 4 quadrants actually give 12 zones. The practice of integral life includes methods of development in all 12 zones. It represents a revolutionary new and historic approach to growth, development and awakening. (We will return to the practice of integral life in Chapter 10.)

Summary and conclusion

We have become acquainted with several applied aspects, or “applications”, of an integrated model. Now, in conclusion, we can summarize the main points of the model itself.

The AQAL  – an acronym meaning “ all quadrants, all levels » ( «all quadrants, all levelswhich in itself is a concise way of saying “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states and all types” and thus thus, to designate the five most fundamental elements that must be included in any truly integral or exhaustive approach.

When the AQAL model is used as the guiding coordinate system for organizing or understanding any activity, we can also call it an integrated operating system , or simply an IOS . There are also more complex forms of IOS, but the foundations of IOS have all the necessary elements (quadrants, levels, lines, states, types) in order to encourage anyone to master a more inclusive, integrated and effective approach.

Of course, the AQAL model itself, or IOS , is just a map and nothing more. This is not territory. But, as far as we know, this is the most comprehensive map that we have today. Moreover – and this is important – the integral map itself insists that we go out into the real territory and do not remain trapped in words, ideas or concepts alone. Remember that quadrants are just a version of the realities of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person? Well, the integrated map and  IOSthere are only words from the third person, abstractions, a set of “it” signs and symbols. However, these words from the third person insist that we also include immediate feelings, experiences and consciousness from the first person, as well as dialogues, relationships and interpersonal care from the second person. The integral card itself states: this card is only a map from the 3rd person, so do not forget other important realities, each of which must be included in any exhaustive approach.

And here things arise, like the practice of integral life. When the “all-quadrant, all-level” approach, AQALor IOS, is used for personal growth in real life, we are talking about the  practice of integral life , which, in all likelihood, represents the most inclusive and, as a consequence, an effective way of transformation from all available.

Here is another important conclusion: IOS  is a neutral coordinate system, it does not tell you what to think, does not force you to accept some kind of ideology and does not force your consciousness to anything. For example, to say that people experience waking, dreaming and deep sleep states is not equal to telling you what you should think about, when you are awake, or what dreams you should dream about when you are sleeping. IOS simply says that if you want to take an exhaustive position, make sure that you include states of wakefulness, dreaming, and deep sleep in it.

Similarly, to assert that all events manifest themselves in four quadrants – or simply dimensions of the “I”, “we” and “it” – is not equal to saying that “I” should do what “we” should do or what should do “they”. IOS simply says that if you want to include all the significant opportunities, make sure that you include prospects from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, since they are present in all the major languages ​​of the world.

Precisely because ITS is a neutral coordinate system , it can be used to bring greater clarity, care and inclusiveness to almost any situation, increasing the likelihood of success regardless of whether success is measured in terms of personal transformation, social change, prosperity in business, concern for others, or, simply, happiness in life.

However, perhaps most importantly, since IOS can be used in any discipline – from medicine to art, from business to spirituality, from politics to ecology – for the first time in history, we can begin a broad and fruitful dialogue between all these disciplines. A person who uses ITS in business can easily and effectively talk with a person who uses ITS in poetry, dance or art, simply because they now have a common language or common operating system to communicate with each other. When you apply ITS, you not only can install hundreds of different “programs” on it, but all these programs can now communicate with each other and learn from each other, thereby promoting evolutionary development to even more grandiose dimensions of being, cognition and activity.

That’s why thousands of scientists and teachers all over the world have united and founded the Integral University – the world’s first integrated scientific community. Since all the different spheres of human activity, previously separated by specific definitions and terms, are now able to begin to really communicate effectively with each other through the use of an integrated operating system, each of these disciplines can establish a dialogue with others and learn from them. This has never happened in the history, and that’s why the integral adventure really only begins.

No matter how we look at it, it all boils down to a few simple moments. In your growth and development you have the ability to raise the self, culture and nature to ever higher, broader and deeper modes of being, unfolding from the isolated identity of “one me” into a more complete identity of “us” and, then, into an even deeper identity ” all of us, “which includes all sentient beings in the universe, as your own ability to contain Truth, Good and Beauty deepens and expands. An increasingly majestic and increasingly all-encompassing consciousness is realized in the self, incarnated in nature and expressed in culture.

Therefore, you develop the body, mind and spirit in self, culture and nature . This is the extraordinary goal and task of the integrated approach, and we will be happy if you join us in this exciting enterprise.

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