Core Integral: My newest intellectual wankery

Core Integral: My newest intellectual wankery

I've just powered through Core Integral Level I, the brainchild of Ken Wilber and Clint Fuhs over at Integral Life and it has been quite a ride. I feel that my mind has been pummeled and that my brain has been sent to the steam room to recover after a wicked workout. Every now and then it's good for me to tackle a big thought – and Integral Theory certainly appears to be that, a sort of metaphilosophical theory of everything.

With quadrants, lines, levels, states and types, just about any phenomenon or thought can be interpreted and classified through the Integral lens. Plus, I still get to play with Enneagrams through the wide-open Types category.

I have a new vocabulary and framework for exploring the world around me and a new set of practices to help me work on meditation and building the solid foundation required for taking compassionate action in the world. It is all rather fragile in me right now, but I am looking forward to having the practice solidify as I continue to apply the concepts to my daily life.

As an example, the Integral exploration of states (gross, subtle, causal, witness and nondual) has shed new light upon a very famous quote that I have always understood at a gross level and now can interpret at a causal level.

The Shakespeare quote: 'Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'

I'd always taken this to mean that in the big picture, the grand scheme of things, our actions have little value and though we allow our egos to convince us we our important, that we are merely bit players overdramatizing our tiny parts but having no real effect.

However, from a causal state perspective, nothing has a very different meaning. Nothing is no-thing, the meditative experience of oceanic emptiness. It is the experience we have at the level before oneness, before the nondual. And it renders everything meaningless and, paradoxically, stupendously full of meaning.

What if, instead of being dismissive, this quote is calling us to a higher plane of existence, one where we can become the Witness, and see this life as the object, where we play our parts, developing our perspectives until we can glimpse the state of  emptiness, of no-thing. Where we can realize that not only are we significant but that we are creating our lives as we go, dancing with the Sacred in a cosmic creation that is both everything and nothing.

And, of course, an archetypal Idiot, or Fool, will lead the way – their pure wisdom, empty of artifice, shocking us into a state experience of emptiness, or even of oneness.

What do you think?

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