Thursday, June 17, 2010

Integral Incubator Day 3.5: Meeting Ken Wilber

My polka dot elbow is bottom left. Click to enlarge.
(Continued from day 3) As our group from the Integral Incubator settled in to Ken's window-walled living room, his assistant suggested gifts be placed in a pile by Ken's empty chair, which bore a pillow with his face on it--so that seemed my best option for presenting my book. Ken walked in, sat down, and began teaching integral theory (i.e., taking the largest possible perspective on everything) with no introduction other than to get a laugh by saying, "I've said this many times before, but I love hearing myself say it."

He took us from hunter-gatherer through integral (with a long detour on the decline of slavery, which I knew would interest my friend Amy Roth who works for IJM fighting the rise of slavery worldwide). He ended by noting its lonely at the top, and encouraging us in our work to make practical applications of Integral in the world.

Our dozen or so brief questions generated long thoughtful answers--including a fullrecounting of the plot of "to Kill a Mocking Bird" in response to a question about his favorite movies. "I don't choose movies for the amount of truth in them, but for how well made they are," he said.

Historic exchange

My question didn't form in my head until just before I asked it. Here's what I recall of the historic exchange, which got both us us good laughs.

TERI: I'm Teri, and the passion you've ignited in my life is to bring Integral to Fundamentalists (laugh). I use David Zeitler's recommendation of horizontal identification--standing next to someone in a way that highlights our commonalities and then just glowing to raise the vibration. (laugh) I did that in a two year dialogue with a Christian pastor who takes the Bible literally as recounted in my book (I point to the book in the floor, but he doesn't look). And my question is if you know of anyone else who is taking this kind of approach that I can network with?

KEN: Well that's fascinating. Most of the work we've done with Integral Christianity is with the Catholic tradition of contemplative prayer. I was just beginning to tap into the movement to apply Integral within a Protestant context when I was hospitalized three years ago, and I lost track of that project. I do recall that some of the evangelical pastors involved had very large followings, five or six million. So its time I tap back into that. In fact, I have two manuscripts on my desk now that look at Integral from the Protestant Perspective. Where are you based out of?

TERI: I'm the coordinator of the Ken Wilber Meetup in Washington D.C., and my work has been with a pastor of a black church in Fairfax. Whenever I explain to him the benefits of Integral he says, "The Bible has all that and a bag of chips." (laugh)

KEN: I wish I'd known that (in the sense of "I wish I'd know that before I wasted my time writing 30 books." Very big laugh)

I was thrilled to pieces by the spontenaity of the exchange, wishing only I'd had a chance to actually see Ken receive the book.

Next, day 3.9

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