Do you have one integral informed friend in your neighborhood?

I have heard it before, on podcasts from Jeff for instance and experienced it myself a couple of times.
You can´t just go out there and give anyone of your friends a Ken Wilber book, any Ken Wilber book, explain what you got out of it, how it changed your life or any other positive affects it had, without a certain or even dramatic, let´s say not so positive feedback. Allergy to growth hierachies somehow is almost always part of the feedback, I guess that already says something about my friends.

So over 15 years, that is about the time I discoverd integral theory, I was not able to “convert”, maybe I better say steer some interest in that topic in any of my friends.
I have to admit, after a couple of pretty difficult conversations, I have reduced those efforts.
Just recently I am sharing a book club with a friend. (well one person suggest a book and the other one has to read it and we discuss it) that worked very well for several books until I suggested “Boomerities” thinking maybe fiction would be more interesting.

Well, the feedback yesterday was, this Wilber guy, I just can´t follow the jumps in the story let alone all that theory involved, I did not read one paragraph in the last 2 weeks…

Basically that leaves me with these questions:
Did you find a way to prepare people/friends enough to find their way into the integral field.
Were you able to “convert” (evolve) a single one of your friends?

I have to admit I live in the countryside of Austria - this might not be the perfect place to look for integrally informed humans.

looking forward to some hints or somebody from my neighborhood :slight_smile:



I have never found it possible to discuss Integral and I live in a very progressive urban area. But, recently I have started to develop a teen program based on Integral and now I am getting people interested. I think once they see the application it’s different. I go straight to solving problems and it’s crazy how different the interest is. I can start to talk all sorts of things; states, development, things that I couldn’t have gotten 2 sentences out before I was shut down and now I have such a captive audience it’s freaking me out! I stop myself because I am not sure how to read the engaged silence; are they secretly planning a witch burning or are they opening up to something new:)


This rings so true for me. During the first several years after finding Integral in the early 2000’s, I got known at the coffee shop where I hung out as “the Wilber” guy. For various reasons (new job, new hobbies, etc) I stepped back from being so engrossed in the theoretical books.

In retrospect, I also think my strong Amber rural Midwest upbringing made it come across as fanatical or as an “integral fundamentalist.”

I still don’t know anyone else who has digested it. Similar to you, I have found success to use Integral to inform decisions at work - and that success gives me a chance to explain my decision process.

Thank you for posting - It definitely can get lonely out here :slight_smile:


I think I have discovered ways to tell people about my own integral experience by showing how it helped me with my life. I just tell my own experience and people see my enthusiasm towards integral theory and they just wonder about it but usually that’s it. I want to share more. I live in Istanbul, Turkey which might seem challenging but integral theory has room for all stages. I have few people understand but usually they see me as a Wilber fan, as a person who quotes or refers to integral theory frequently, rather than reading and seeing it for themselves. This makes me feel sharing less from time to time.
I think I can relate to this heading, I can understand… Thank you for posting…


I’ve tried many times to talk about Integral theory and Ken’s work with a variety of people with little success. I have a group of friends that are educated, liberal people and some have light-heartedly joked about “quadrants” or “AQAL” etc. At first I felt a little hurt but now I just don’t approach it often. I’m the “philosopher” in the group and they’re mostly scientists; chemistry, physics,etc. I think they lovingly dismiss my attempts as “naive” or “misguided” since some are interpreting reality from a “scientific positivism” angle. I think I only have one close friend on planet earth that I can freely discuss Integral theory with. Ken’s right about it getting lonely out here. Definitely in the minority! Despite that I won’t stop trying to bridge the gaps between people’s “structure-stages” as far as being able to coexist with with red, amber, orange, green… etc!


I think one effective way to introduce friends (and others, as well) to integral wisdom is, as Michelle said in her post, to simply apply it in a problem-solving situation with your friend(s). This means having a strong enough grasp of the material that you can initially forego the thing we all love to do: quote Wilber. It also means prioritizing helping another human being over sharing one’s own enthusiasm for the integral model and one’s desire to convert or evolve another, or have another see and embrace things the same way we do.

While this will not erase lonely feelings, it does provide a sense of satisfaction and deepens one’s own appreciation for integral thinking and thought, to see that it indeed did and does help others. Help them enough in this way, and at least some of them will become more curious.

A good example of this, I think, is in the category “Town Square” under the topic “How does one move up the Spiral?” It’s the 7th post down, by HawaiianRyan.


I simply don’t suggest one his books for others to read. But, I do talk a lot about him, dropping pieces of information and telling what I know about his life.
Let’ face it, he is a difficult read.

There is a book by Paul Smith, INTEGRAL CHRISTIANITY: THE SPIRIT’S CALL TO ACTION that is readable. He has taken Ken’s philosophy and adapted it to his understanding. It helped me to get a better grip on the stages etc.
North Carolina USA


Thanks for that piece of info, I am checking out this book right now. I had a pretty rough upbringing when it comes to Christianity, but over the years found my way back to have a positive approach.

Can you imagine reading or in my case hearing the religion of tomorrow, when English is your second language only. I was still fascinated by it most of the time.



I’m seconding @LaWanna 's recommendation to give @HawaiianRyan 's post a look. It describes the same process I tried to relay in a different topic (a process which has been quite helpful for me in assisting ~4 close people in my life in understanding a lot of what I’m saying when I use aspects of integral theory to explain my perspective. They aren’t “converts” in the sense of doing a lot of independent study, but they are better able to understand and validate my perspective and are continuing each of their personal evolutionary journeys.) but HawaiianRyan’s is a much clearer and more helpful example than my attempt.

My success in helping my loved ones isn’t something that happened with one exchange. It’s multiple exchanges over several years, and required a fair bit of trust from both sides. I’ve known each of the 4 persons for more than 10 years. I should add that one of them has joined this community forum and does a fair bit of lurking. So it’s not impossible!


Hi Coda, how’s it going? Chat, chat.

I read two of your posts that also applied bits of integral thought to a problem-solving situation; I thought they were great. While this is a community forum, with all conversations open to anyone, sometimes certain conversations between just two people feel, to me, quite intimate, and I’m reluctant to “get involved,” even to reference those conversations in another post. Comprende? Maybe I need to get over that.

To your lurking friend, welcome!


Hi there,
Lonely yes… no converts … I am not a good sales person. I did find a fellow interested person by chance on a festival after asking my closer sangha for people who would read TROT with me for the second time and apply it to our lives.
As a dyad we have been meeting online for almost every 2 weeks for more than a year now, going for another round proves more difficult… Focussing on the topic of third tier lately… And we include our addictions and allergies we notice in daily live. It was an unlikely combination but it works.

I love the idea of starting a group and applying it without much ado… What is appealing and works might be that people can taste the practicality of integral in first person instead of relating to a book or another in second person…ado and ‘explaining’…the cognitive only appears to work for few people out there. The contemplative life style is not rampant in (my area of) the Netherlands…

I have an idea!

How about we dear community members welcome one another into our into our homes and we talk about integral stuff. While we spend time together we can hang, read, drink coffee, cook, meditate, workout and solve worlds problems!

I do love the salon and cafe lifestyle.

Ps if you have any issues you want us to brainstorm about that sounds even more exciting!

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