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Newfield Network's Virtual Summer Symposium

August 15, 2016 - August 27, 2016

Newfield Network's Virtual Summer Symposium

Living the Art of Becoming

August 15th-27th 2016

This will be an opportunity for us to come together as a community of change agents and become collectively inspired, renewed, and transformed.

Terry joins twelve other thought leaders & luminaries for this virtual symposium entitled: Living the Art of Becoming. REGISTER HERE. 

Terry's webinar will take place August 24th Wednesday at 10am MT/9am Pacific/12 EDT 


From the event organizers:

You will have access to mind-blowing presentations that explore the emergent edge of possibility that lives within us. Here you and I can discover how to think, feel, and practice in new ways to live a continually transformative life.

This becomes a springboard for participating in collectively designing a more brilliant future. In fact, we have created a post-symposium design & action section for participants to take what they have learned and work together to bring something new into the world.

Who Is This Symposium For?

  • Do you desire transformative change in your life?
  • Do you want to turn personal transformation into compassionate action in the world?
  • Do you desire community of like-minded people to engage in new conversations & explore new possibilities together?
  • Are you a coach, facilitator, teacher, leader, or practitioner of some kind who is looking for new tools & distinctions to support your clients?
  • Do you passionately care about our world and want to participate in a collective movement for co-creating a more beautiful future?

If you answered YES! to any of these questions, this symposium is for you!

So what is Becoming anyway?

Becoming is the process by which life flourishes & blossoms, forever arising as something new, creative and fresh. Becoming is the heart of transformation itself. In this symposium, thirteen thought leaders & luminaries will offer diverse presentations centered around the theme of becoming.

And the best part…because it is a virtual symposium, you can attend from anywhere and will have access to the videos forever after the event is over! That way if you miss one of the presentations you can watch it later or if you especially loved one in particular you can watch it over and over again.

Speakers list:
Barbara Marx Hubbard
Julio Olalla
Terri O’Fallon
Charles Eisenstein
Terry Patten
Bob Dunham
Susanne Cook-Greuter
Lonny Jarrett
Veronica Olalla Love
Steven McIntosh
Gonzalo Cordova
Thomas McConkie
Alexander Love

The discounted price of $97 will only be available to the first 200 participants or the August 14th cut off date, at which point the price goes back up. Join a community of like-minded people and engage in a powerful process of learning, today.

You will be transported into new realms of discovery & offered practices to transform your life and the world.


Michael Meade joins Terry on Beyond Awakening for "The World is in Trouble and it Needs Your Genius"

July 17, 2016 - 10:00am - 11:30am

On Sunday, July 17th, I’ll be joined by renowned storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology, Michael Meade, for a dialogue entitled:

The World is in Trouble and it Needs Your Genius.

Michael combines hypnotic storytelling, street-savvy perceptiveness, and spellbinding interpretations of ancient myths with a deep knowledge of cross-cultural rituals. He has an unusual ability to distill and synthesize these disciplines, tapping into ancestral sources of wisdom and connecting them to the stories we are living today.

He says that when the world is churning — from our outer atmosphere and institutions to our inner tempests — wildness is unleashed. What scares us also calls to our depths, where our genius resides. Deep sea creatures of the psyche — hatreds and fears and huge forces, threaten to engulf us.

On Sunday, we’ll be exploring Michael’s idea that though the news is troubling, it may be that our troubles are of the “right kind.” They may be calling to the souls of each of us in ways we can learn to listen to and hear.

Michael suggests that in a rapidly changing world faced with seemingly impossible problems, it becomes important to understand that each person has something to contribute to the solutions.

No one comes into the world empty. There is something seeded in each of us, waiting to be awoken, ready to lead us on the path to our true identity and our true purpose in life.

I hope you’ll join us on Sunday. Our world is now in great need of an awakening of the genius qualities hidden in each of us, including you.

Register to join here.

To our evolution,



About Michael Meade

Michael Meade is a renowned storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology. He is the author of Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of The Soul, Why the World Doesn’t End, and The Genius Myth. He is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a nonprofit network of artist, activists, and community builders that encourages greater understanding between diverse peoples.

Letting current events into our hearts in ways that empower us—Mark Nepo

  • Length: 2:31 minutes (5.77 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Stereo 44kHz 320Kbps (CBR)



A dialogue with Mark Nepo

Letting current events into our hearts in ways that empower us  


In this brief audio clip from Mark Nepo’s dialogue with Beyond Awakening host, Terry Patten, Mark discusses practicing with the shocking violence of the daily news. He suggests there is a way to process and internalize tragedy so that rather than becoming paralyzed and shut down, our compassion is awakened and we are empowered to take action.


Into the Heart of Thailand — a 10 day retreat

February 13, 2017 - February 23, 2017

I am touched with joyous expectancy about this trip! I’ll be teaming up with Dr. Michael Sapiro, founder of Maitri House Yoga, his wife, E, and Valerie Beltran, for a 10-day Northern Thailand immersion retreat from February 13-23, 2017.

This trip is appropriate for people with a sense of adventure. It will make an amazing anniversary, graduation or major birthday gift too. Michael and Sararak have led many retreats to Thailand, many of which have taken on a life of their own with unexpected side trips — among other things — to participate and witness once in a lifetime events with Buddhist monks.


Northern Thailand is a magical place of immense beauty and serenity. The locals’ carefree attitude is a refreshing — and for some a much needed — change from our regular “supernormally stimulated” frenetic consumer culture. This retreat offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the Thai culture and really feel the easy-going and gracious hospitality of the local people.

We’ll begin our trip in Chiang Mai, an ancient city nestled by mountains. Chiang Mai is an ancient region that has benefitted from relative isolation. It has its own separate culture, distinguished by unique architecture, arts & crafts. We will learn about Thai language, customs, and culture and take advantage of some of the region’s famous food. We’ll take cooking classes that leverage Northern Thai cuisine, which is made up of a blend of Thai, Lao, Shan and Yunnanese ingredients. From Chiang Mai, we’ll head south to Lampang and Tak Provinces.

I will be touring these locales with you, but during our time in Lampang Province, I’ll also be leading retreat activities and sharing integral heart awakening practices to help us more fully arrive in a soul level intimacy with the divine, ourselves, and each other as we become sangha, a circle of practitioners.

Learn more about this exciting retreat and register here. Sign up to stay informed about my retreats on the sidebar of this webpage.


The Integral Living Room: a 4-day Exploration of Death and Dying with Diane Musho Hamilton, Terry Patten, Jeff Salzman and Ken Wilber

November 10, 2016 - November 13, 2016


The Integral Center Boulder , CO
United States

Join the Integral Tribe for a 4-day Exploration of Death and Dying

Every spiritual tradition says that we only live fully when we face death as a practice. Some say that awareness of our inevitable death is the basis of the path because it teaches us how to live.

And yet we tend to live in the illusion of immortality, in a superficially positive affirmation of life that is also a subtle “denial of death.” This tends to numb us, and makes us illiterate in regard to the grieving that is such a profound dimension of the fabric of wise human living. It makes it hard to metabolize the many smaller losses that are woven into the fabric of aging, and of illness.

This is why your death is such a wise and uncompromising mentor. And why it can unlock new levels of appreciation for the gift of life, as long as it lasts.

Death twitches my ear. “Live,” he says, “I am coming.” ~Virgil

The Integral Living Room has always been a place for “high play,” and for daring to say the things we usually avoid. It is a place where even the most serious and edgy conversations can also be funny, liberating, and joyful.

In the Integral Living Room, we will “get down” with what the Buddha called the “heavenly messengers” of sickness, old age, and death. Through deep conversations and experiential exercises, we’ll make contact with the ancient and unchanging core of our mortality, as well as the emergent dimensions of the integral consciousness with which we are learning relate to it—and to each other.

Join us at the Integral Living Room for a transformational encounter with the universal teachers, death and dying, this November 10-13.

Refresh your relationship to life and death and love and loss

  • Enter a deep Integral conversation about your mortality.
  • Deepen your capacity to face and learn from loss and grief.
  • Touch into the timeless, deathless nature of who you are.
  • Explore death and dying in four quadrants.
  • Explore how your view of death and dying changes as you develop.
  • Face your losses with smart, deep friends who are also facing theirs.
  • Engage practices in preparing to die, and practice preparing for the death of others.

The Integral Living Room

Thursday, November 10th (7pm) to Sunday, November 13th (1pm) 2016

The Integral Center, Boulder CO

The Practice of "Losing Face"

In this brief video, Terry invites you to let go of looking good and open up to freedom. Instead of pretending to have it together, celebrate when you look ridiculous! Losing face is the secret to reacquiring the totality of your being.

Sarah Marshank joins Terry on Beyond Awakening for "The Dynamism of Stillness Emerging: Exploring Incarnational Non Dual Aliveness"

May 8, 2016 - 10:00am - 11:30am


On Sunday, May 8, I’ll be joined by the dynamic teacher of embodied feminine awakening, Sarah Marshank, for a dialogue entitled: The Dynamism of Stillness Emerging: Exploring Incarnational Non Dual Aliveness.

Sarah is a dynamic teacher of embodied feminine awakening who sees our crisis as an opportunity for the evolutionary emergence to call us forth into an integrated, authentic relationship — not just with Divinity, but with ourselves, one another, and all Life.
You can read my full blog post and find participantion instructions here.

Living our question in a time of global change

Our amazingly wonderful and terrible times represent a profound koan, an impossible riddle that we must resolve, an infinitely deep question that undoes our mind and reconfigures our consciousness.

We are the most blessed humans in history. We are information and material-rich. We are unlocking the human genome and exploring the vastness of the cosmos.

And yet we face global challenges on an unprecedented scale — environmentally, politically, and economically.

How do we rise to meet the challenges of this time? How can we be a part of the solution? What is needed? We don’t fully know.

In this brief video, Terry suggests that by living these questions, letting them transform us individually and collectively, something new and paradigm-shifting can emerge.


Colin Beavan joins Terry on Beyond Awakening for "Helping the World by Wanting What Actually Makes You Happy"

April 20, 2016 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

This Wednesday—Helping the World by Wanting What Actually Makes You Happy with Colin Beavan

AC_COLIN-BEAVAN_0412_085-739x1024This Wednesday, April 20th at 5pm PST, please join me for a special broadcast with author Colin Beavan, for a public conversation we have titled:

Helping the World by Wanting What Actually Makes You Happy

Colin is best known as the man who committed to reducing his carbon footprint to zero by living sustainably for a full year in New York City, as chronicled in the documentary No Impact Man. His new book is How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness that Helps the World. In it, he invites readers to explore the practical spirituality that can arise from questioning the story that we can’t make a difference. He also suggests that taking small, practical steps that express our compassion for others and the planet can simultaneously bring unexpected happiness into our own lives.

Colin discovered a whole new level of personal fulfillment by rejecting the standard narrative of what makes for a happy and successful life. That story, in its many forms, usually results in two things: one is the hamster-wheel of always chasing money and status; the other is the endless search for personal happiness. He says that what really creates happiness is moving from “self-help” to “each-other-help.”

Our conventional life approaches have not only failed to bring us happiness — they’ve also caused grave problems for the planet. But there’s a growing movement around the world of many thousands of people who Colin calls “lifequesters.” These people are forging non-standard lifestyles that are better for them and better for the world.

Colin’s most important message is that living a life in line with our values is much easier than we think. The first step is to understand what actually makes human beings feel happy and purposeful — as opposed to what society tells us. Then, one small step at a time, we can begin to build those happiness and service-oriented elements into our everyday choices and decisions, experimenting with finding what makes us feel healthy, safe and like we matter to the world.

Using our experiences with these small decisions to build confidence, we can then begin making larger adaptations to our life circumstances to support the new, purposeful way of life we are discovering.

Colin helps people notice how our lives are deeply shaped by the stories we tell ourselves. If we tell ourselves the story “I don’t make a difference” over and over, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many of us are trapped inside that story. Also, we often assume that if we tried to make a difference it would mean doing all kinds of things that don’t feel “natural” to us.

Colin turns this thinking on its head, suggesting that all we have to do is to notice and choose what is natural to us. As we make choices that express our innate compassion, we can emerge from the false narrative in which so many of us are trapped. We can begin to make new, more compassionate choices toward making a difference, even if at first they seem like baby steps.

In the context of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, most of us are “refusing the call.” The good news is that this refusal is the first step of the Hero’s Journey! Within each of us, our psyches yearn to complete that journey. When we don’t find ways to express our innate compassion, we painfully stunt our development as human beings.

Helping the world is not a sacrifice. It can be the greatest fulfillment of our nature. You can become yourself to save the world. And you can save the world to become yourself.

We deepen spiritually as well. Colin recently spoke at Harvard Divinity School about Tolstoy & Gandhi’s concept of “bread-labor.” Tolstoy said the first commandment was “by the sweat of thy brow, you shall eat your bread.” If we don’t put the labor into feeding ourselves, we become divorced from some essential aspect of ourselves. Tolstoy saw this as a political and a spiritual issue. The aristocracy were disconnected from God because they didn’t do any manual labor. For this reason, Gandhi spun his own cotton. Today, self-reliance, growing our own food in our communities, creating with our hands, puts us in a better place to experience Mystery and allows us to be in the existential insecurity that comes with experiencing God.

Colin’s work offers an invitation to reframe the possibility of making these kinds of “each-other-help” changes to our lives. Rather than being shamed by the “shaking finger of should,” we can regard these shifts as a happy opportunity to live our values more fully, build community, and contribute to the betterment of the world.

I’m excited to dialogue with Colin and discover a different place where some key themes of my own spiritual teaching, like Courage and Trust can be enacted in new ways. I hope you will join us!

Register to join the call here.

Michael Dowd joins Terry on Beyond Awakening for "The New Ten Commandments and the Coming Apocaloptimism"

March 27, 2016 - 10:00am - 11:30am

This Sunday, March 27th, at 10am PST, bestselling evolutionary theologian and pro-future evangelist, Michael Dowd, joins Terry for a public conversation entitled:

The New Ten Commandments and the Coming Apocaloptimism

Michael claims that the scientific evidence on climate change indicates that it’s too late to prevent dramatic changes in human lifestyles, values and identities. Tune in to learn why he thinks this Great Reckoning can also be a Great Homecoming, where our prodigal species returns to a right relationship to reality.

The taboo against ecstasy

Part of our unspoken contract with conventional society is that there’s a certain range of how we get to be. It’s fine to be worried. It’s fine to strive. It’s fine to be depleted.

But if you break open in the spirit of freedom itself — or joy itself? That’s just weird!

There’s a taboo against ecstasy.

In this brief video, Terry suggests that breaking this taboo and daring to be love and happiness as you…is our sacred invitation in this life.

The Integral Living Room

November 10, 2016 - November 13, 2016


The Integral Center
2805 Broadway St.
Boulder , CO
United States

The Integral Living Room

November 10–13, 2016

An Exploration of Death & Dying

Every spiritual tradition says that we only live fully when we face death as a practice. Some say that awareness of our inevitable death is the very basis of the path because it teaches us how to live.
In the Integral Living Room, we'll get down with what the Buddha called the “heavenly messengers” of sickness, old age, and death. Through deep conversations and experiential exercises, we’ll make contact with the ancient and unchanging core of our mortality, as well as the emergent dimensions of the integral consciousness with which we are learning relate to it—and to each other.
Check out the Living Room site where you can learn more and register. Check out our early bird and alumni pricing.

We’re excited about deepening the realization of our mortality together with you and our other favorite integral explorers. If you know anyone you think would enjoy joining us for this integral "Exploration of Death and Dying", please share the word.

It’s great to be back in the groove of the Integral Living Room, and to have you with us!

Diane Hamilton, Terry Patten, & Jeff Salzman

Embodying the Intelligence of Your Heart and Soul at Esalen Institute

July 24, 2016 - July 29, 2016


Esalen Institute Big Sur, CA
United States

Embodying the Intelligence of

Your Heart and Soul 

July 24-29 , 2016

Join Terry Patten and Sarah Marshank to reconnect with your embodied wisdom, power, and passion.

This program will help you join the ear of the heart to the voice of the soul, fostering intimacy with yourself, others, and the unknowable source of it all.

In a safe and nurturing space, begin to release the armoring around your heart as you engage in the following:

• Embodied transformative work anchored in breath and somatic psychology

• Playful interpersonal relating processes in twos, threes, and small groups

• Silent and guided meditation, and prayer

• Dance, conscious movement, and vocalizing

• A clear, inclusive context for understanding and anchoring your learning

Get ready to feel secure in your connection to the sacred flow: your next inspired idea, the energy that enables you to perform at your best, and the guidance for life’s most important choices.

During our time together, you can practice releasing the inner taboos against ecstasy, freeing up creativity, and discerning the voice of the soul and the soul’s higher purpose. Come enjoy an integrated, evolutionary, heart-and-soul centered initiation into a life of practice that is both sustainable and transformative.

Find more info and register here.

Terry Patten is the co-author, with Ken Wilber, of Integral Life Practice. He is a pioneering innovator, advancing the evolutionary edge of spirituality, as well as a facilitator of intimate collective awakening. He has a lifelong commitment to social activism.

Sarah Marshank is the founder of Selfistry, a methodology dedicated to mastering the art of being human. Integrating theory from Eastern and Western philosophy and psychology with meditative and somatic practices, Sarah guides practitioners to discover their authentic self and purpose in life.



Co-creating the Buddha-Sangha

Thich Nhat Hanh famously said “the next Buddha may be a Sangha.” It’s a phrase that is repeated so often for a reason — it points to something important.

 In this brief video, Terry asks — what kind of practice is required to earn our place as a creative participant in such a community? How can we join together and go way beyond what we already know? Only that has a chance to transform our world. And yet that’s what Buddhas do. 

The Heart of Your Heart’s Intelligence: a free online event with Terry

February 10, 2016 - 5:30pm - 6:30pm

The awakened heart’s intelligence is what we recognize as Love. Love is what we all most deeply appreciate, are most attracted to, and aspire to become. Join me for a free global teleseminar—The Heart of Your Heart: Opening the Gateway to Grace, Beauty & Power through Your Heart Intelligence. Register here to join live at 5:30pm on Wed, Feb 10, or for free download.

Beyond “sudden” and “gradual” enlightenment

In this brief video, Terry suggests that our time calls for more than one kind of awakening, and more than one kind of role. Our time asks us to be a culture of sudden and gradual awakening, all teachers and students to one another, giving everything we have to helping each other find everything we are.

Integral Living Room Community Calls — free and open to all

September 29, 2016 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Our monthly community calls are our way to stay connected between gatherings, and keep the conversation going! Everyone is welcome, whether or not you plan to attend the in-person event. 

Find past conversations here 

If you have already registered for the community calls, you will receive a reminder with your special PIN, as usual. If you haven't registered yet you can sign up here.  

For more info on the next Living Room event in Boulder:

Integral Living Room Community Calls — free and open to all

August 4, 2016 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Our monthly community calls are our way to stay connected between gatherings, and keep the conversation going! Everyone is welcome, whether or not you plan to attend the in-person event. 

Find past conversations here 

Our schedule of community calls: 

Thursday, August 4th, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, Sep 29, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

If you have already registered for the community calls, you will receive a reminder with your special PIN, as usual. If you haven't registered yet you can sign up here.  

For more info on the next Living Room event in Boulder:

Integral Living Room Community Calls — free and open to all

May 26, 2016 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Our monthly community calls are our way to stay connected between gatherings, and keep the conversation going! Everyone is welcome, whether or not you plan to attend the in-person event. 

Find past conversations here 

Our schedule of community calls: 

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, Sep 29, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

If you have already registered for the community calls, you will receive a reminder with your special PIN, as usual. If you haven't registered yet you can sign up here.  

For more info on the next Living Room event in Boulder:

Integral Living Room Community Calls — free and open to all

March 17, 2016 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Our monthly community calls are our way to stay connected between gatherings, and keep the conversation going! Everyone is welcome, whether or not you plan to attend the in-person event. 

Find past conversations here 

Our schedule of community calls: 

Thursday, March 17, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, Sep 29, 2016, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM Pacific

If you have already registered for the community calls, you will receive a reminder with your special PIN, as usual. If you haven't registered yet you can sign up here.  

For more info on the next Living Room event in Boulder:

On Marc Gafni

Marc Gafni

Context: This morning I spent several hours reading Facebook posts commenting on the December 25th story on Marc Gafni in the New York Times. They included links to public statements by several key Jewish organizations and calls for a culture-wide reckoning by members of the international integral ecosystem surrounding Ken Wilber and other integral leaders. There were so many posts full of emotions running high! Shortly before all this publicity I had signed a statement declaring my decision not to work with Marc; this was also signed by Stephen Dinan, Craig Hamilton, Jean Houston, and many other evolutionary teachers. One of them, Andrew Harvey, recorded an eloquent statement about Marc, and about the denial of shadow in contemporary spiritual culture. All of this landed in 180,000 inboxes, including mine, this afternoon. (Note: if the dates seem wrong it’s because it’s taken me a couple of days to finish this piece. In the meantime there have been more articles and online conversations.)

I’ve long had strong feelings about Marc, and the complex issues raised by his engagement with leaders in integral and evolutionary spirituality. I personally decided to stop working with him in 2011, and came to see him as pathological. While I sincerely pray for his healing and redemption, I think communities of practice do need to bar him from functioning as a spiritual leader within them. I’m glad that lines are being drawn, and I’m lending my name to help that happen as unambiguously as possible. 

I’m writing this blog as a member of the integral community, and as a teacher and leader who has been repeatedly asked to weigh in. We have no formal elders or wisdom council, so there will be no official integral response. This leaves everyone who is interested in integral evolutionary philosophy, spirituality and practice on their own to discern amidst an avalanche of strong perspectives. I feel an impulse not to say anything, to “rise above the fray”, since it tends to muddy all participants. All I can offer is my own perspective. I am not all-knowing. I will do it imperfectly. And others will disagree. So this will probably anger people I care about. I won’t be benefited. I’m writing this out of a sense of moral responsibility to do what I can to bring clarity here. I hope my bearing witness will be of service. 

The Current Controversy 

What’s caused this scandal, this viral outpouring? It seems that Marc Gafni did nothing recently to provoke this. There’s no accusation of any new bad behavior. It’s all a result of an article in the “paper of record”. That’s what seems to have provoked a firestorm of condemnation. Marc and those sympathetic to his leadership have been mostly quiet. They may seem somewhat dignified by comparison with the fevered tone of the opprobrium that’s being heaped on him. Some of those attacking Marc tell hair-raising stories of psychological control and abuse. Many ugly dynamics come into play. Male authority figures (especially spiritual teachers) accused of sexual misdeeds are often “guilty until proven innocent” in the court of public opinion. Sexual misconduct can be the “new witchcraft” of our contemporary Salem witch trials. Many who have spoken up seem to buy completely into a narrative of victimization. And the tone of the critique seems to have no room for complexity, nuance, or shared responsibility.

From what I understand (unconfirmed rumors) Marc himself has not only been remarkably productive lately, continuing his scholarship, writing, teaching, and community-building activities, he’s been more magnetic, warm, funny, compassionate, charming, and winning than ever—even more balanced and dignified. To hear him tell it, he’s the victim. All of this is sourced in personal and professional resentment, envy and malice. Even the accusations from nearly forty years ago are gross exaggerations. He feels confident that those who know him will stand with him. His reputation is certainly badly damaged, but he will just keep doing his good work, and those with discernment will appreciate the insights, the evolutionary inspiration, the group celebrations, the shared love and ecstasy. And he will continue. And if I were to talk with Marc, I imagine that he would be enormously persuasive, and I would begin to wonder if perhaps he is not entirely right.  

On both sides of the controversy, we are invited to examine the record. And if we look at the evidence supplied, we will find lots of historical detail to support both points of view. His victims will tell stories of mind control. His supporters will show that the victims were lovingly related to him long after his abuses had taken place. It’s “he said, she said” isn’t it? How do we get to the bottom of this?

But that doesn’t really add up. Where there’s this much smoke, there has to be some fire. It seems like nothing since the Holocaust has united the Jewish community as much as Marc Gafni has. When have 300 rabbis agreed about anything? Isn’t the integral community being tested? Are we so bound up in our complex perspectives that we can’t cut through the confusion to make a basic moral judgment and protect our own vulnerable members?

Either/Or — Drawing a Line

In this situation it seems important to include both a strong “either/or” moral stand and a deep “both/and” nuanced view. In other words, more is needed than deciding that Marc Gafni should not be a leader in the integral spiritual community, or any other community, for that matter. Nor is it sufficient to notice all the other complex issues at play. We have to grow into holding BOTH both/and AND either/or perspectives here. We have to be able to hold both nuanced and polarized perspectives.

First, I will speak from my own experience about why I won’t work with Marc.

When he was publicly accused in Israel in 2006, I presumed there were two sides to the story, and extended my hand in friendship. I tried to put an arm on his shoulder and accompany him through the process of exploring how he had somehow participated in creating hurt for others, and how now that was perhaps unjustly coming back around to hurt him. I wanted to compassionately help him learn whatever he needed to learn and do his own deep work. He could reckon with his shadow, learn how to love better and be redeemed. I liked him. I could feel his pain. I could see that there was much animus directed toward him, and I thought he deserved care. I didn’t want him to be alone. 

But he wasn’t up for that kind of friendship, or that kind of work. He never showed any curiosity about those questions, or his psychological dynamics and shadows, or any sincere interest in gleaning the moral lessons of his life. Those were the conversations I tried to have, again and again, for years, but they were never forthcoming. He redirected every discussion back to the injustice of the accusations against him. The story was always about his victimization, and he was always only defensive. He was not receptive but active, recruiting me to see it all his way. 

It didn’t feel healthy. I remember trying to give him a back massage in 2006 right after his first scandal broke. I was shocked. His body was eerily tight, utterly unable to relax, not even aware, seemingly, that relaxation was a good thing. It seems to me that he has remained tightly wound, utterly committed to defending himself, feeling under attack. I understand that his parents were holocaust survivors. Perhaps he was raised in an environment with a constant sense of threat. My heart goes out to him. I would love to see him broadly forgiven and redeemed. But what I needed then, and still need, is to see his heartfelt grappling with moral and spiritual issues, to see him bowing to a higher principle, truly surrendering to God or goodness or care or to a process of ongoing learning and growth.   

Slowly, over time, I came to a clear moral apprehension. This wasn’t an analytical mental process. It was a process of heart discernment. Even though Marc can be incredibly loving, sweet, affectionate, thoughtful, generous, fun, playful, witty, warm, creative, insightful, and magnetic… I couldn’t locate him as a fellow devotee of a higher truth. I couldn’t trust him. He seemed to have chosen a kind of dark refusal.

I think he’s a ronin, “a samurai without a master.” He has great powers,. But I cannot trust him because I do not see his devotion and surrender to a higher divinity, morality, set of values, true teacher, or even a group of friends and mentors. 

Marc can be disarmingly charming, incredibly warm and affectionate, and devotedly attentive to the people he chooses to lavish his attentions on (many of whom are among the important creative thinkers I most respect). But in my view he has used them, and everyone around him, to constellate a version of the authentic natural integral evolutionary cultural movement that places him at its very center. This is a terrible distortion—he was never at the very center of this movement. He was always an opportunist, exploiting the integral evolutionary ecosystem to gather power, credibility, and exciting new ideas to engage with to further his personal ambitions. He can make things happen, including high-energy events. But they are subtly changed by his way he shows up. The intelligence or love that they were supposed to be about are no longer at the dead-center. Subtly, they become all about him. 

Those motives present a performative contradiction—the integral evolutionary vision cannot be furthered as an act of narcissistic self-aggrandizement. It has to be about service to something larger than oneself, something no one can possibly own or dominate, something that activates and liberates the creative cooperative agency of a diverse network of free autonomous creative human beings. Integral evolutionary culture is characterized by a growth into authentic mutuality, aided by a new kind of more selfless leadership.  

Paradoxically, Marc’s unique sins are exaggerations of failings common to many of us human beings, including genuine teachers and leaders. He loves attention, accolades, and the sound of his own voice. He wants to charm and persuade. So do I. So do many of us. But he stands out. He has an uncanny ability to think ahead strategically. He was always many chess moves ahead of me—and everyone else around him. And he has enormous personal energy and ambition, working hard every day, networking and reading and writing and teaching and executing each move in his greater strategic plan. Is that evil? No. No one is perfectly pure, and I’ve seen all of these egoic qualities in people I admire and respect. 

But Marc is more formidable than the ordinary ego. He uses his power of seduction and persuasion to gain associates, and then builds networks of loose and strong alliances from which bigger projects (that showcase him) can emerge. He can overwhelm the people close to him, energetically, psychologically, intellectually, and sexually. This is why his ability to “make stuff happen” is almost supernormal, even despite his damaged reputation. In Marc’s case, these formidable capacities seem to turbocharge his ordinary egoic impulses, and they become something far more dangerous than ordinary human foibles. 

This is what I think drives people so crazy. That’s what I think is behind the over-the-top animus directed toward him by the Jewish community. I think he is the source of it, even though it seems to oppose him.

The egregious violations I saw firsthand were not primarily sexual. What in my experience has been most outrageously diabolical is his unique way of getting inside people’s heads and subtly casting a spell on them, and then using that influence to influence or manipulate others. To be used in this way is a form of abuse. To add sexuality to it, is even more hurtful. So my heart does go out to the women involved. He’s been able to work this magic with many influential individuals and thus afflict whole communities. This is the phenomenon we are dealing with. This is why I am writing this blog post. This pattern has long needed to be countered, and now that it is “going viral” I will take the opportunity to point to what I can recognize about the underlying phenomenon. 

Interrogating Myself

I am now confronting some uncomfortable questions: 

  • Why didn’t I speak out publicly until now? 
  • In what ways was I intimidated? In what ways was I too, perhaps in a lesser way than his primary defenders, drawn into his hypnotic spell? In what ways did I imagine that he had a kind of power I should “handle with care?” 
  • How can I simultaneously condemn Marc Gafni’s narcissism and endorse integral evolutionary spirituality communities where he has been a leader? 
  • How did he co-opt these communities surrounding such powerful philosophical and spiritual frameworks? 
  • How can the precious wisdom gems at the center of these enterprises be protected and defended? 
  • If I had “blown the whistle” on Marc earlier, what would have happened? Would my condemnations have cast doubt upon the leading edge of cultural evolution and some of its key figures, such as Ken Wilber and John Mackey, who Marc is effectively using as “human shields”? I didn’t want that. Or would I have simply been ignored like Marc’s other most vocal critics? So what can be learned now?
  • How can I stand against Marc without lending strength to a strain of righteous piety that reminds me of Kenneth Starr and Linda Tripp? I want no part of our pious puritan postmodern sexual McCarthyism. Since I appreciate not only Apollonian but also Dionysian streams of spirituality, how can I condemn Marc’s sexual manipulation without also empowering the narrow conservatism that tends to censor the ecstatic and tantric dimensions of spirituality? 
  • How can I point to this moral issue without colluding with victimology? Or being seen as reactive myself, seeming shrill and bent-out-of-shape like his other accusers have sometimes seemed to me?

I am asking myself all these questions now, fiercely, and the process is humbling. I don’t have all the answers. I am a practitioner and I am still learning. (I hope we all relate to this in that spirit!)

Not exactly in my defense, but to provide some perspective, I should also say that Marc’s energy presented me with a daunting communications challenge, and required a greater level of skill and energy than I felt confident I could bring to the task, given that I would be operating on a game board in which Marc himself would be playing—given that he’s a grand master in positioning and spin. 

But the fact remains that I somehow allowed myself to be intimidated. I smelled a rat and yet I went along with his presence in our community. I spoke to my friends, including most of Marc’s main supporters, and to students when that seemed appropriate, but only privately. 

It seemed like it would have taken endless tiresome hours of being embroiled in fruitless dispute, rolling around in the mud with him. So I was stymied. I take some solace in the fact that it doesn’t seem that any new victims of sexual abuse have surfaced since 2011. But this does seem to be a public relations disaster for integral evolutionary culture. 

Marc’s thrusting of himself into the integral community has been, for me, a nightmare and even a violation. All we really have is our awakeness, clarity and purity, the “ring of truth” in our more adequate perspectives. And he has been, from the beginning in my estimation, a source of impurity, taint, and distortion. Yet I have mostly felt strangely neutralized in my impulse to address the problem. I have been intimidated. I have been ineffective. 

Marc has continued to charm and persuade people and raise his profile, yet again, in our community, further compromising our reputation. Until now I have not felt it was possible to make an effective public statement. And now, suddenly, it’s unavoidable.

In a sense, we’re all his victims. This includes the Jewish community, especially the living post-conventional ecstatic Dionysian mystical stream of Jewish mysticism. It certainly includes the integral and evolutionary communities. The effect of his presence among us is not unlike Donald Trump’s in the current election cycle. He’s scandalous! Fascinating! Click bait! As a result, deeper and crucial considerations are obscured.

The victim narrative is too easy, too convenient, and very incomplete. We are all autonomous adults. No matter how smart , talented, and tenacious Marc Gafni might be, the only power he has over anyone is the power we have given him. If he has compromised our community, it’s up to us to reclaim it. It’s our responsibility to draw a clear line if we want greater goodness and moral intelligence. That’s my intent. But I’m not at all claiming to be a moral paragon. It’s not just darkness that repels me. Too much piety also makes me ill. 

Both/And—The Evolution of Justice

For me, some of the most important features of this phenomenon reside in the nuances, the things that easily tend to get completely lost in a conversation that focuses only on a couple of narrow issues—whether he can be trusted or not, or perhaps whether our community should have come together and somehow protected people from him sooner.

What I read this morning were a series of intelligent, passionate, and necessary online conversations, the process through which a community finds its way to discernment about an unusually brilliant, talented, powerful and dangerous person, and the many knotty issues raised by his behavior. I agree with the need to call him out, and I’m delighted that it’s happening at last. 

But the phenomenon amounts to much more than a simple “good/bad” polarity; it is both a watershed moment in our community moral discernment and an occasion for more nuanced perspectives. 

There is much baby worth not throwing away with the bathwater.  Marc is talented. He’s really good at everything he does. So many of us have fond memories of the loving spaces he has convened, and of loving exchanges with him. It makes sense to me how he is beloved to the people to whom he unreservedly devotes his support and affection. 

He’s also shown, in bitter irony, excellent judgment in his taste of contemporary philosophies. He made a beeline from Jewish mysticism to what I believe are the most important and critically useful philosophical ideas of our time. But this, in my opinion, is another reason he’s dangerous. His unexamined shadow compromises everything he associates with, so it’s undermining those remarkable philosophical ideas and this community of practice and inquiry, not serving them. They are the victims I’m most interested in defending.

His primary victims are especially his best friends. Many of the people who have chosen to work with him, from Ken Wilber to Sally Kempton to Mariana Caplan, Barbara Marx Hubbard to Brett Thomas, Sam and Barbara Alexander, Zak Stein to Clint Fuhs – all are friends for whom I have great affection and enormous respect. Although I don’t know John Mackey or Michael Beckwith, I have great respect for them too. I hate to see their names and the ideas they stand for tarnished by this entanglement. 

I made a different call than they did in relation to Marc, at least so far, but I am in a lifetime conversation with these people. They will offer perspectives that might in the future influence my view. I certainly don’t resonate with those who offer a more general moral condemnation of the integral and evolutionary communities and all Marc’s supporters. 

I am grateful that Marc never fully seduced me and cast his spell on me. He has a remarkable capacity to create a “reality distortion field” suffused with playful affection, resilient humor, innovative ideas, generous acknowledgment, creative energy and generative magnetism. I understand how so many good people have been swayed. They may have been fooled, in my opinion, but they are not fools. 

But make no mistake: this is a teachable moment, a developmental opportunity. Our community needs a way to protect itself from talented sociopaths with histories of unprocessed shadow and violating others’ hearts, souls, and bodies.

This is a function our gathering hasn’t yet developed. A justice system is an inherently conservative function, which requires formal structures the integral and evolutionary communities don’t yet have. Such structures first emerge in response to a need, and push forward the creative dialectic of cultural evolution. This is part of the necessary “negation and inclusion” of the previous stage of embodiment. In this spectrum of polarities, the conservative justice function is one half of an indestructible polarity, always in creative play with an inherently liberal, creative function. 

Like Marc and many of his allies, I tend to embody the other half, the innovative creative impulse. This is where he has made his contributions. Perhaps our community will have to evolve, now that our life conditions may be beginning to require this conservative justice function to emerge. I just hope it doesn’t suppress the aliveness of our gathering. Let’s remember, the rest of us have for the most part spontaneously abided, from the heart, to sincere ethical standards. Let’s not institute a repressive TSA security system at the entrance to our ecstatic gatherings! 

A big part of what bothers me most is Marc’s "reckless driving.” He aspires to leadership and to have a major impact on the most advanced thinking of our time. Those are high aspirations. But look: his actual impact has been to damage the credibility of ecstatic spirituality, integral spirituality, and evolutionary spirituality. He is detracting, not adding. This is because his extraordinary powers are linked to extraordinary shadow. Thus, everything becomes all about him. But it’s not. It’s about the values and expanded awareness that have attracted all of us to the conversations we’re engaged in together. 

Reflecting More Deeply on My Experience

Marc Gafni brought a unique combination of eloquence, psychological acumen, brash obnoxiousness, intellectual brilliance, charisma, resilience, sheer energy, and ambition to the integral community. He’s multitalented. He performs his teachings like a great (if narcissistic) thespian. 

Still, we must appreciate that this is a complex dynamic. I don’t know about his careers in Judaism, but in the integral evolutionary world he really did notice some of the most important “next new” distinctions and then articulate them forcefully in a way that sparked insights in thousands of people. He did convene amazing gatherings. He did treat many of the people he was working with really well. He often would spark creativity, and communicate love and warmth to his colleagues, in ways that have made them his willing defenders. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He was remarkable in his ability to consistently transmit joy, affection and certain forms of kindness.

But he would also often turn his evocative exciting insights and teachings into advertisements for himself. He would frequently use others to legitimize himself, and then take up center stage, tainting the transmission with his inflation, perverting the goodness at the heart of the movement. He did do so by frequently generating private conversations, “just between you and me”, and he’d avoid explicit agreements about money and then make sure that disparities in understanding were settled in his favor. And he really would arrogate the ideas of others, and work hard to convince people to defend him or keep their experience secret, even when this was costly to them psychologically, emotionally, and/or professionally. He really did show very little capacity for self-transcending care for the happiness and emotional well-being of his lovers and friends. 

He would tell one person one thing, and say something contradictory to another. He was the master puppeteer, and his victories made sincerity seem like it was for saps. When someone was important to him, he made himself irresistibly charming and supportive—the friend their hearts had always yearned for. He engaged in regular energy exchange arcs of mutual support, and cast his insidiously astutely tailor-made hypnotic “spells”, through which he captured so many people. 

I always felt like Marc was trying to “work” me, to get something from me, to position me within his great initiative. He seemed to want to be endorsed and embraced by anyone with some degree of visibility, so that he could be the central leader of the whole movement. He appealed to my own narcissism, once telling me that Ken Wilber was like Freud, and the rest of us, including him, could be like Jung and Adler. He drew my attention to the “favors” he did for me, and signified that I should do them for him in return, warning me in words I could only interpret as a threat: “I can be positively medieval.” That happened at a time when Marc dominated Integral Spiritual Experience, the largest regular integral gathering. To my lasting shame, I bit my tongue and cooperated with him. 

I remember breathing a huge sigh of relief as I felt the change in the psychic field at Merrill Hall at ISE3. Marc had co-led the first two events, and they had been remarkable in many ways, primarily due to the interwoven talents of Diane Hamilton, Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber. However, the volume was occasionally dialed up beyond my pain threshold, infected by Marc’s frenetic narcissistic energy in a way that to me felt diabolical. The beauty and goodness and truth of Integral consciousness and spirituality still shone through. They were luminous events. But there was this strange torque in the field from Marc’s unhealthy relationship to his own identity, and his centrality to the events. The purity of the integral transmission was subtly compromised. 

During Marc’s 2011 scandal, Robb Smith decided that Integral Life would no longer work with him. Robb asked Jeff Salzman and me to join Diane Hamilton in anchoring ISE3 at Asilomar, and the field clarified. I felt like we all were able to take a deep full wholesome breath. Although the previous two ISE occasions he led had been better attended, very high energy, successful events at the level of spiritual entertainment, that swirl of energy had hidden the aftertaste of Marc’s manic agenda. I realized then that I couldn’t countenance it anymore. It was a moral compromise. It cut to the core. It was like willingly adding a toxic chemical to the ambrosia of integral evolutionary truth.

Cynicism Is the Worst Poison 

What bothered me most as I read the Facebook posts was the way this scandal has fed people’s tendency to become cynical. People are quick to generalize, and it’s easy to lose touch with our best selves.

Very destructive attitudes easily take root through scandal like this. And I could see them in various posts. Stated more baldly, they expressed attitudes like, “The whole integral enterprise is bullshit.” “There’s no such thing as spiritual sexuality.” “All gurus are con-artists.” “Ken Wilber’s philosophy has no moral core.” These and similarly cynical attitudes are poisonous.

There were serious issues with Genpo Merzel and with Andrew Cohen. Many integral teachers have had lessons to learn; it’s true. But neither of those individuals should be equated or conflated with Marc Gafni. What can be learned? It’s hard work transcending ego and evolving consciousness and culture. But these are not failures; they’re lessons. They’re not a valid basis for cynicism. 

Sanctimony too hides an underlying cynicism. Victimology is at root profoundly cynical. We are asked to care and pray for the women. I don’t disagree. But we—and they—are not doomed to being victims, persecutors or rescuers. We and they can escape the drama triangle. That’s each of our responsibility. We are creating our experience. 

What shall we create? In gathering our energies and making our choices, I suggest we not draw on cynicism; it’s a toxic ingredient. It’s worth renouncing thoroughly even as we draw a bright moral line about this particular individual at this particular time. 

Back To Marc 

It’s worth remembering a core teaching from Neem Karoli Baba, a guru worth remembering with a sense of reverence: “Never put anyone out of your heart.” So that goes for Marc Gafni too. It seems far-fetched to expect him to become interested in learning, to repent and atone for his manipulation. But he needs a route to redemption as much as anyone. Let’s not forget that even as we draw a clear line. We don’t have to put him out of our hearts, and we don’t have to keep him in our lives. 

In conclusion, I want to address something to you, Marc: What can be next for you? Here’s what I suggest: Find a real master, a true teacher or teaching or community that you can surrender to and serve. Your career as a ronin, a samurai without a master, is not a happy story in the end. You need someone you cannot outsmart, someone who won’t enable and empower you, someone who sees through your bullshit brilliance and narcissism. 

You need a master who can actually help you go through a process of Teshuvah. That word is usually mistranslated as “repentance,” but it really means “return” – a return to God and, especially, a return to the person you were meant to be. There is more to spirituality and leadership and integral evolutionary consciousness than you already understand. Be a devotee of what you don’t know. Your brilliance and charm could still be beautiful; they can have a contribution. But you need to go to the very root and really be transformed. Your destiny is not to stand at the very center of a movement. Find someone who can really master you and who you are willing to surrender your whole life and work to. Learn to be a devotee. May this touch you. 

On the 7th anniversary of the final transition of Adi Da Samraj

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of the final transition of Adi Da Samraj, my root-Guru, to whose Radiant Awakened Consciousness I conformed myself, as much as I could, 24/7, for fifteen years, from the age of 22 to when I was 37. What was at the Heart of that revelation, I still resonate with. I will always resonate. What I encountered is not something anyone would or could willingly "leave". I witnessed a miracle—a miracle that exceeds anything I can describe in words.

Paradoxically a big part of what Adi Da gave me only became perceptible after I "left" Him. It was as if a secret teaching had been inscribed on the inside of the wrapper I thought I was discarding when I tried to separate the wheat from the chaff and walk away. Doing so had nearly killed me. I had been forced to find balls I didn't know I had. That's what it took to stand up to the strongest will I expect I'll ever feel. What it took to reclaim my autonomy, my authenticity, my self-authorship. In some ways I had not really fully arrived in myself until I "left the cult".

For a few years, I couldn't stand to read Adi Da's books. I was very angry. I went to therapy. I had to dare to fear that I'd wasted the first half of my adult life. I went through hell. And I felt like I had to fight Adi Da, like an animal with its back against the wall, not to lose contact with the Grace I had been shown. I had to fight to leave with my relationship to the Mystery intact. I had to summon resources, to "get down" radically, to fight for what is even more precious than life itself. It felt like it nearly killed me. But then Grace reappeared. I'd sometimes feel the very Beingness of Life luminous and effulgent. It would break through and Shine astounding bliss, just like Adi Da's transmission had. On these occasions I would even discover that the thunderous Brightness of Adi Da was still present in the world, still present in me. I was reminded that, at least in principle, it was never not here.

And I started to oscillate between two completely incompatible states.

There was a state of fierce autonomy in which I had the balls to reclaim and save "the only life I could save", to show up fully, to see directly, to trust the heart of my own knowing and feeling, and to choose, and to love.

And there was a state of ecstatic devotional recognition in which I was in love with God, and all my time with Adi Da seemed obviously to have been a great wave of Grace through which God had given Him/Her-Self to me via my Guru, and in that state I was only full of gratitude and recognition.

And I had many state-specific memories, two huge, non-intersecting domains of my life. Each state accessed an enormous body of my life experience. But the two states were mutually exclusive. So I oscillated between devotion and defiance.

After oscillating for a long time it dawned on me that the fact that there was no single state in which I could access all of my most important and existentially profound life experiences was *itself* a profound teaching. I was being shown something radical about the nature of perception and perspectives and reality. My 'point of view' melted in the heat of a light "brighter than a thousand suns."  

Adi Da called himself "a difficult man". And he has continued, long after his death, to be a great source of difficulty to me. On one hand, it was in my falling-in-love, and in my life-and-death battles with Him that I was turned inside-out. That process is what forced me, years later, even against my preferences, to teach spirituality and practice. And on the other hand, he attracted scandal and became popularly perceived as the epitome of the great narcissistic guru, all during a time in which it is almost universally understood and agreed that "the age of the guru is over", that sanity and self-responsibility requires individuals to become free from external sources of spiritual energy and truth. In fact, I am even now feeling some disquiet as I write this, knowing that posting it publicly will probably attract some scorn, voiced or unvoiced. The animosity toward the guru could scarcely be stronger in this time.

And yet I'm on a path that requires integrity, and acknowledgement of my primary sources. And Adi Da is my Root-Guru. He combined Himself with me, and I combined myself with Him. And that cannot be undone. Even though I am in dialogue now in a public conversation with many people to whom he simply seems strange, and even though I am unwilling to be confined by the cultic dynamics that tend to accrete around him. Adi Da still shines brightly in my heart.

I remember him today, seven years after He left the body, and I'm suffused with grateful gladness. A brightness that can't be captured in words outshines the heart and mind. Six years ago, I created this page with some selected writings and photos from my teacher I repost it now:


Stephen Jenkinson joins Terry on Beyond Awakening for "Death Phobia and Grief Illiteracy — How They Distance Us from One Another, Our Planet, and Our World Crisis"

January 10, 2016 - 10:00am - 11:30am

Spiritual activist, teacher, author and ceremonialist, Stephen Jenkinson joins Terry on Beyond Awakening.

About Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW

Stephen teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School, founded in 2010. With Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work), he is revolutionizing grief and dying in North America.

Stephen is redefining what it means to live, and die well. Apprenticed to a master storyteller, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is former programme director in a major Canadian hospital, former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school, consultant to palliative care and hospice organizations and educator and advocate in the helping professions. He is also a sculptor, traditional canoe builder whose house won a Governor General’s Award for architecture.

He is the author of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul (2015), Homecoming: The Haiku Sessions – a live recorded teaching (2013), How it All Could Be: A work book for dying people and those who love them (2009), Angel and Executioner: Grief and the Love of Life – a live recorded teaching (2009), and Money and The Soul’s Desires: A Meditation (2002), and contributing author to Palliative Care – Core Skills and Clinical Competencies (2007).

Stephen Jenkinson is also the subject of the feature length documentary film Griefwalker (National Film Board of Canada, 2008), a lyrical, poetic portrait of his work with dying people.

The Orphan Wisdom School is for anyone with a desire to be useful to those who will inherit an endangered and often dangerous world. It is for those who have an instinct and a desire to be an ancestor worthy of being claimed. It is for those wishing to learn something of the skills of grace in a graceless time, of mentorship and fierce and exemplary compassion. It is for elders in training.

Young people need and deserve real recognition of their worth and purpose in life, and a living example of enduring discernment and courage for the hard and often empty times that are upon us all. The esteem of parents and friends can only go so far: elders must bring the rest. Grandparents must be grand not only for their children’s children, but for all the young ones coming into the world now. Their status as grand people comes from having wrangled wisdom from experience, and from having become elders more than senior citizens. Grandparents must now be elders even – especially – when no one asks it of them.

Stephen lives a handmade off the grid life on a farm beside the River of Abundance and Time in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canad

Steve McIntosh joins Terry on Beyond Awakening

December 6, 2015 - 10:00am - 11:30am

Steve McIntosh J.D. is a leader in the integral philosophy movement and author of the new book on spiritual experience: The Presence of the Infinite (Quest 2015). Steve is also author of Evolution’s Purpose (SelectBooks 2012), and Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution (Paragon House 2007).

He currently works as President and Co-Founder of the nonprofit social policy organization: The Institute for Cultural Evolution. In addition to this think tank, and his work in philosophy, McIntosh has had a variety of other successful careers, including founding the consumer products company Now & Zen, practicing law with one of America’s largest firms, working as an executive with Celestial Seasonings Tea Company, and Olympic-class bicycle racing. He is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and the University of Southern California Business School, and now lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two sons.

For participation instructions register:



Beyond the Bypass of the Soul

I recently got back from Boulder, Colorado where I co-facilitated The Integral Living Room, a 5-day event with Diane Hamilton, Jeff Salzman, and our special guest Ken Wilber. This year’s event was A Trans-Rational Soul Initiation, and it was attended by almost 100 people.

It was a wonderful event — in so many ways — and I want you to know about it; not just the Living Room itself, which was fabulous, but also the cultural project. For the past three plus years, I’ve been working to establish a truly Integral approach to soul work and subtle spirituality. At this event, with the remarkably talented help of Diane, Jeff, and an amazing team of volunteers, not to mention Ken’s brilliant philosophical framing, I saw Integral Soul Work and ritual ceremony manifest and establish itself in an even fuller and more coherent and consequential way — and I expect it to continue penetrating into the consciousness and experience of the Integral community.

I began teaching Integral Practice in 2004. I was the senior writer of Integral Life Practice, and felt that ILP, especially as I taught it, included soul work in a rich and appropriate way. But then my life and practice took a deep turn. I was challenged, and I was lucky enough to make a powerful existential choice to trust the process of my own life. In that process, I entered into a deeper and more demanding level of soul work.

To truly trust my life, I had to go deep, tuning in not just to the non-dual Suchness, and the causal Self, but also to my subtle Soul. I needed to relate to my key life decisions in a way that allowed them to be guided by its wisdom.

What revealed itself (an ongoing revelation) has drawn me to emphasize subtle soul sadhana as a much more central dimension of practice. I realized that the well known problem of “spiritual bypassing” our ordinary human lives isn’t the only spiritual bypass problem worth addressing. There’s a strong tendency to bypass our subtle soul-level experience. Reclaiming it, in an Integral context, is an enormously powerful — and underemphasized — dimension of Integral practice. It can be done with rational discernment, transcending the magical thinking that so often finds its way into subtle new age spirituality. And yet it is what provides us the resonant power of our deepest resources. The soul’s rich reservoirs of guidance and depth are essential to our fullest excellence and empowerment.

The path of transcendental spirituality can be looked at as analogous to space, in that we continually awaken from limited identities, expanding into our ultimate identity as the universal Self and Suchness, transcending suffering and experiential limitations. It is as if identity ascends into the light.

Soul work gives us a practice path analogous to time, in which we are a traveler, taking a journey, receiving a call, being tested, fighting battles, being transformed, and thus engaging an adventure of deepening wisdom and love and self-actualization. It is as if identity descends into the underworld of the deep psyche and body, the DNA of the sap that rises in us from our depths to our heights.

As I learned, I shared my process with my students, and in that process what I now call Integral Soul Work emerged. I facilitated Integral Soul Work online and at in-person seminars in the US, Europe and Latin America. I wrote a paper about its philosophical foundations that I presented at this year’s Integral Theory Conference. As the executive director of The Integral Living Room this year, I shared my thinking and process relating to Integral Soul Work with Diane, Jeff and Ken.

I am lucky to have such brilliant and open colleagues. Because they joined with me so intelligently, honestly and creatively, this year’s Integral Living Room magnified the work I had done previously. People were able to participate in and observe a powerful “Trans-Rational Soul Initiation” as well as a thorough philosophical framing for Integral Soul Work. And I’m happy to report that Integral Life Practice keeps evolving — and becoming more and more truly Integral.

It’s worth noting that we’re entering the winter cycle — the season for taking a turn inward — what is traditionally called a “soulful” turn. We spend time in the darkness and the cold. We attend to dreams and to the exiled shadow dimensions of our being. Part of the psyche may feel called to hibernate — or to fly south.

It's a good time to attend to the soul. And the soul has its own organic pace. I encourage you to tune in, and to trust it! This was my last major teaching event during a busy year. I’m happy to now be moving into a period of staying put and entering into solitude while I focus on writing my upcoming book on awakened activism.

In case you’d like to see some soul teachings here’s a short video where I describe the ancient Greek story of what happens between lifetimes, of how our guiding spirit, or daemon is assigned to us on the basis of our character. Enjoy.