Community Road Rules



Community Road Rules

Integral Life strives to provide a community space that is integral—comprehensive, open, inclusive, and transparent. The quality of this integral space depends on the quality of your participation. Therefore, like all communities we have guidelines, and ours are integral. The following guidelines are designed to help make everyone’s experience in this “we-space” a fulfilling one:

  1. Let your very next communication in this space come from your Highest Self.

If you understand what “integral” means, then let the next words out of your mouth be from your own integral mind or integral awareness. If you don’t know exactly what integral means, then use “Highest or Higher Self,” “True Self that is no-self,” “Spirit Mind,” “Big Mind,” or whatever you are comfortable with that evokes the highest or deepest or brightest You.

  1. Feel the thinker.

Feel your self, feel your ego, feel the self-contraction. That which feels the thinker is beyond the thinker, that which feels the self is beyond the self, that which feels the ego is beyond the ego, that which feels the self-contraction is free of the self-contraction. When you feel the thinker (or ego, etc.), you engage your Higher Self. You take the stance of the Witness, the I that is aware of I, the I-I in you that is beyond you. And the Witness, although itself empty, takes on and speaks integral at any level.

Therefore, feel your ego, or feel your self-contraction, and then speak and act from the awareness that’s doing the feeling; that sees the ego as an object like any other; that impartial Mirror Mind reflecting and embracing the universe in its brightness and luminous equanimity, the higher perspective that is no special perspective but open to all. Make the subject object whenever you can, and this will help you come from your Highest Self.

But don’t make a big deal out of this. Simply try to feel the thinker or feel the self-contraction every now and then, and sooner or later it will make sense and feel natural to act from a higher level that is not the ego but is aware of the ego.

(Those rules help with your Higher Self, however you understand and intuit it. And now, a few rules to help with your lower self (aka, your unconscious, your shadow, the disowned self, or the self that will sabotage your every move, given a chance).

  1. Discern your “emotional buttons,” or the things to which you overreact.

In many cases, whether or not your judgment is true, a hyper-emotional recoil often means that shadow elements have been triggered, or as everyday parlance has it, somebody “pushed your buttons.” Simply notice this happening; try to make the subject an object (which, as we know, is the fundamental rule of development). In other words, try to make the reactive self (the lower self) an object of awareness. Just see and feel your emotional reaction; you don’t have to do anything else. It’s that simple. Don’t worry whether something spectacular happens or not; that very act has already caused a small transformation and disidentification, and repetitions of that simple act will have a profoundly cumulative effect. Of course, you can do more work on it if you choose, but most essentially, they are ways to just further that process.

You can investigate this more if you want. If someone or some comment gets on your nerves, what are you pushing against? Seek the underlying value in you that is trying to be expressed in your emotional charge. If you’re experiencing strong recoil, resistance, or rage, odds are what you are experiencing is a symptom of your own shadow. If this is so, we recommend doing a little shadow work with your response (ahhh, so that’s what the Shadow Channel is for!). Again, don’t make a big deal out of this, but work on it in whatever way you know how.

If you don’t want to do shadow work, or don’t have the time for it, not to worry: as we said, simply feel the self that is recoiling and acting negatively. Simply try to make the subject an object. And then go on about enjoying the community.

  1. Don’t wait for others to make the experience you’d like; ask explicitly for what you want and take steps yourself to help create it.

  2. Before you offer your wisdom to or about others, remember that your perspective is yours, and just one of many.

Can you admit that your perspective is a limited one? Can you distill out your clear observations from your interpretations and assessments? Are you still curious about other perspectives? Are there any shadow elements in any of your interactions in the community? Before pointing out the negatives in others, we try to clean our own house first. Don’t be afraid to make judgments—we want your opinions and judgments very much—just try to have the next judgment that comes out of your mouth be a discernment from your Higher Self.

It is your imperative to do your best to understand and accurately represent other people’s viewpoints. It is also your imperative to clarify your own viewpoint if you are feeling misrepresented.

  1. Your participation in the Integral Life community indicates that you have read and accepted these general guidelines, and that you will do your best to live up to them.

Like communities elsewhere, IL reserves the right to refuse community service to anyone for whatever reason. We relish diversity of perspective; we also value basic remembering of the I-Thou We-space. If you’re routinely causing a disturbance, or not living up the guidelines, you will very probably be asked to leave the community. If you enter this community, you are agreeing that you can be removed for any reasons whatsoever judged necessary by IL, and reasons that do not have to be argued or explained; you are entering this We-space with that understanding and agreement.

This mutual understanding is a pledge we all make to each other to engage or live up to the highest, deepest, best, brightest, clearest, caring Self that we can. This is our promise to each other, because we are here not merely to share, but to grow.

Other communities share; IL community helps us grow, because the guidelines actually foster transformation and help us grow, even as we share. We all want to change the world, and IL actually does it—and you are now a member of that wonderful community, and we dearly welcome you.

Just remember the single most basic Road Rule: when in IL, speak from I-I.

We are here to grow, but also to play, to practice, to hear, to be heard, to dance, to reflect, to contemplate, to receive and to contribute.

Stir the pot. Have fun. Debate. Put it out there. Reveal Spirit. It always already Is, and It always already is HERE.

Community Etiquette

The community that forms Integal Life is a dynamic part of the whole that contributes in immense ways to the experience for everyone involved. With this in mind, it is the policy of Integral Life to adhere to very particular guidelines with regards to internet abuse that might diminish the experience for any one of our community members. Integral Life does not encourage, nor propagate the use of Spam or Phishing in any of its manifestations, such as E-Mail Spam, Instant Messaging and Chat Room Spam, Chat Spam, Forum Spam, Blog Spam, Video Sharing Spam, and Social Networking Spam.

An Integral Life Representative will never ask a member for a password. Should there be any question or concern regarding spam or phishing, please contactMember Support with detailed information into the matter at hand. Each inquiry will be dealt with on a case to case basis. Serious infractions may result in suspension or cancellation of a member’s account.

Also, Integral Life is a community that honors diversity and breadth of opinion and experience in all manifestations. Community interaction at all levels of experience is not only necessary, but also inevitable. Therefore, there might be times that arise when the dialogue between two or more members escalates in intensity. Even during these times Integral Life strives to hold a safe container that recognizes and respects the myriad views that we all hold. However intense the interactions may be, we ask that members refrain from personal attacks, defamations of character, and trolling, baiting, or flaming other members. For a great guideline to community interaction that is held here in high regard, check out the above Community Guidelines.

The Integral Life Forum encourages passionate discussion, respectful disagreement, and even interpersonal “shadow work”. Members are invited to explore, engage, and challenge each other. However there comes a point when prolonged clashing is unproductive for everyone. It is healthy for individuals to let go and important for Site Moderators to cultivate an atmosphere that is attractive to many participants. Moderators will use their discretion in giving warnings which may lead to a decision to suspend one or more participants.

Suspension is not a judgement by Integral Life about the validity, morality or developmental capacity of those who get removed. It is a practical calculation. Suspended parties are not being “blamed” but merely acknowledged as a catalyst for ongoing, unproductive and publicly distressing exchanges.

Should there be any question or concern regarding general or particular community interactions, please contact Member Support with detailed information into the matter at hand. Each inquiry will be dealt with on a case to case basis. Serious infractions may result in the deletion of posted blogs, inquiries, or responses, and suspension or cancellation of a member’s account.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Spend time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

Your Participation Counts

The conversations we have here set the tone for every new arrival. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.

Discourse provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

Let’s leave our community better than we found it.

If You See a Problem, Flag It

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

Always Be Civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
  • Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
  • Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.

Keep It Tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:

  • Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
  • Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
  • Don’t post no-content replies.
  • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
  • Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.

Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.

Post Only Your Own Stuff

You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.

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What's your biggest disagreement with Integral theory?


1st button pushed, guilty as charged :slight_smile:

After starting to read the “community road rules”, I paused to write this…: because I’m sorry, I would really like to ask:

a) why should I “remember to always speak from my highest Self”? Are we i) discriminating against our other selves, and / or ii) not seeking inclusion (transcend AND include)?

And b) who is going to judge if I speak from my highest self, is that only me or also a “higher self police”?

-> If an integral life practice has taught me anything, it would be that to be striving after “always” doing anything, such as to speak from a specific kind of self… is neither possible nor desirable… If that was my goal, I could have stayed in the tibetan-buddhist sangha, or the Raja Yoga sangha, etc.

How can you include something if you don’t… include it?

Just writing this to check out whether this truly is not a group for me…

All the best,



Hi Bettina,

It’s more aspirational than it is prescriptive. It’s like saying “be on your best behavior”. Clearly we don’t expect that every single interaction will reflect your “best possible behavior” but we certainly do not want to include our WORST behavior in a community like this. That gets negated, not preserved. So we went with the old Quaker rules of “come from your highest self” here.

In other words, bring all of yourself to this community, but when you are interfacing with other people, do your best to be your best.

“And b) who is going to judge if I speak from my highest self, is that only me or also a ‘higher self police’?”

You are your own “self police”, of course. But we very much want to explicate this part of our community guidelines, and include this as fundamental ongoing micro-practice whenever we are engaging together.

That said, while we cannot reasonably enforce rules around our best behaviors, we will certainly be enforcing our rules around bad behaviors, as we need to work together in order to create the most rewarding community experience that we possibly can.


Thanks for answering! I guess with all the boundary-violating behavior we’ve seen at times in facebook groups, you have deemed it necessary to be explicit about this. Best of luck with it!


I usually do not read these types of guidelines assuming that I will behave well but being surprised at how badly people behave to one another, or even just in general. I long ago abandoned Facebook but have spent a great deal of time in many subreddits, watching the violation of most of these rules, by people who seem to enjoy poisoning the well because they can.

But I have enjoyed watching the way ideas are formulated and discussed in the various integral content I have consumed. And so I read this word-for-word, to continue absorbing the integral approach and so I can participate well. These are good to know for this forum and for other places we engage as we wrestle and collectively nudge ourselves up the spiral.

Good basic rules as expected, with the nice addition of rising up above the fray and our shadows, doing the work, to simply be better. And as a community, to help us all rise to the occasion. Thanks for thoughtfully laying them out.


Thank you for establishing and expressing the terms of conduct that we can intend to communicate by. I haven’t used FB for the very reasons you express in the introduction and its apparent appeal to the lowest aspects of self, ego, ahankara.

May all who join us be benefited and use the opportunity to practice…


I like these rules! What comes to my mind is: it is relatively easy to handle behaviour by rules, and it is not so easy to handle mind-content with regard to the difference news / fake news. As an example: there is a lot of interpreting space about what Ken Wilber has said and written, but it is not arbitrary. You can in many instances say „this is what he said“ and „this is not what he said“, and of course this applies to all ascertations which are not merely opinins and taste, but which have an “objective” or truth-component with them. So how about something like: "We like your opinions and we like your assertations. Please differentiate them, and when you make a statement with an objective claim, please follow to the facts - and don’t make them up :-). (I remember a Wilber audio, where he gives an example for the applicability of the quadrants in real life, mentioning the importance of this distinction. Was it in the audio series of Religion of Tomorrow?)


Hi Everyone – I would like to add my thoughts to this, as a relative newcomer to Integral Theory and the work of the community in general - specifically for me, at this stage, the writings of Ken Wilber. I would like to add I read SES sometime ago, but to be honest I don’t think I was ready for it at the time, not from an intellectual point of view, as from a spiritual one. Subsequent to that, I went through a major life transformation process, with intense suffering and hardship involving my three children, and it lead me to Integral Meditation, which was the spark I needed. Following that I immediately jumped into The Religion of Tomorrow, and quite frankly, these two books together, are transforming my life. Although I have always been a “growth junky,” I recognize now that I have always been a 1st tier human being, with my center of gravity being somewhere between orange and green (in terms of structure) and a state center more or less gross. I do not want to say I am a victim of the society around me, although maybe one could make a strong argument for precisely that - that we are, all of us, ideological victims of the concrete and intersubjective systems that around us. I am, however, no “victim”; I am a product - my ego-driven subjective self is a product. My constructed ego with all it’s fears, anxieties, joys, aspirations and lusts, is a product of family, society and Western civilization itself. I am, however, a product with a capacity to make that product an object of a higher subjectivity. This has been the great insight I have taken away so far from my reading.

When I read the rules of conduct for this community, I thought a lot about my 1st tier existence, and how I have lived my life. How I have thought, reacted to others, roared with pride and anger at the injustice I see in the world, as it affects all of us, and even roared due to my own miserable irritations. The many, many, many egoistic drives that have lead me to arrogant and harsh and unloving behaviour as I have hurt others. In the Religion of Tomorrow, Ken Wilber talks about how 60 - 70% of the world’s population are at amber. He also talks about how only 5% of the world’s population have reached, what he calls, “integral awareness.” It is safe to say that for myself I am not yet “integral,” but I hear, and have always heard, the clarion call of the universe to become such. I am most thankful for the work of this community as it provides a structure and a logical path of utmost wholeness to evolve. This is a great and beautiful gift to humanity. Although “integral” is ultimately a characteristic of the Universe and is as free as the air, the community established here and its great leaders has distilled its emergence into a path we can walk and understand.

This brings me back to my 1st tier existence and the rules of this community. Think about green pluralism. Every one is right and no position is superior to another. If I privilege one position over another’s, my own over yours for example, green takes major offence. Think orange, achievement and accomplishment drives. Think amber, hostility to other. Think red, aggression and power over others. The truth is, I am all of these with unfortunately shadow material due to my childhood in the red and amber structures.

I have lived my life being offended by and reacting to people that I deemed as “superior” to me. I always had to be the best, the smartest, the best looking, the most attractive. I have judged others I have deemed inferior to myself. My God, what a load of rubbish! I release this now to the group, because something has clicked. And I would like to think that perhaps I am awakening. And the journey is not easy. It’s Christ on the cross. A part of me is dying, but it’s liberating.

I think ego takes offence to the concept of superiority. Feeling inferior or controlled is not a nice feeling at all. Superiority/inferiority (the focal point of Alfred Adler’s psychotherapy) is the direct result of orange values. You are either a winner or a looser in life. And with orange, that is usually measured by financial wealth and social prestige. My ego has been severely impacted and conditioned by this social, intersubjective, lower left mindset. Green of course is a reaction against orange, but still very much egoistic.

I think it safe to say that we all carry the 1st tier inside of us, and rules such as these help us to learn how to control the ego (1st tier) so we can ultimately transcend and include it, so we can take “that monumental shift in meaning.”

That ego contraction described in point 2 is everything. Feel that. Work that. Strive to be and become my highest self. There is no superior or inferior. There is only position on the path, different Views and Vantage Points. What I love about Jesus is that in the Bible he is described as working with the most vulnerable and detested in the community of his day. Jesus, arguably an integral leader, went to the lower holons to lift them up. It was love, compassion and grace that motivated him, that and a sense of identity that embraced everything. He was all of us at once.

Reading these rules helped me see how I have to behave in the world, if I am to become the human I need to be in order to help the Kosmos. This is not about me. It is about us, our society, our economic system, all the incredible species, the Earth. Now, yesterday and tomorrow.

I am here to love my 1st tier self, but to also say good bye. To lovingly work that contraction, so something new can emerge. Reading these rules, in this context, helped me to realize what I am actually doing here.


Hi I am enjoying the community here. I have just onr minor feedback. The Remember Me function when logging in doesn’t work for me. One day I will not remember my password and have to do the whole reset routone. Is there something I need to do to enable that?