Integral Meditation - How do you do it?


#1

(first draft, ill review spelling and form)

I’ve been recently trying to apply integral theory in 1st person, directly to my own meditative practice and found it incredibly beneficial.
Some of these techniques have been very useful and I honestly do not know wether these are very established practices or not.
Many are probably existing practices that the integral model simply allows to “place” in an orderly way.
I am working on a system of categorisation of practices and I’d be happy to chat about it with anyone who wants to help out :slight_smile:

I would in general love to know how others are applying the model so to make the map as complete as possible.

My experiments:

  • States: I generally start from separating phisical, Subtle and Causal in my present awareness.

I start from personal and external sensory awareness to root the phisical / waking state.
I then proceede to recognize that whole “area” of things that are independent from the physical body under the general category of subtle. To make things easy I sometimes try to experience the subtle body non rationally, as an “energy field” so not to need to rbeak it down in too many parts. (Eckhart Tolle would probably call it the painbody)

The causal body can be either recognised as
anything which Neither subtle not Physical,
or by rooting a sense of single individual I Am ness.

I notice, that in particular the process of rooting I Am ness produces an almost immediate reduction in thought. (Even my wife who doesnt practice, notices that in the span of 30 seconds she felt that her mind was cleared a lot) The attention places on the phisical body (internal and external) also contributes as thoughts become less able to “move” attention out of the physycal now.
This also contributes in reducing the perceived “weight” of thoughts whose immaterial nature is thus shown.

Trying to conscious separate anything which belongs to the subtle of physycal body was something that also worked quite well in others, especially using sensory perception as something to compare internal manifestations, to understand their subtle non phisical nature.

An opposite exercise can also be to “merge” all three states into a single unified experience.

  • Quadrants:

I start again by I, and procede to separate the physical body in internal (my own body) and external (everything else coming from sensory perceptions).
Within my own “internal” self, (the “I”) i try to recognize which aspects are individual and which are collective.
I find that sometime the mere process of recognizing which thoughts are my own and which and inherited from collective consciousness helps a lot in re-assessing the weight attached to them.

I also sometimes try to place empty I amness (identifies as a single I at the center of the being, an I of which there cannot be two off) against each quadrant.
When placing I amness agains the WE space, a lot of its weight is dissipated and with it the identification witht he relationship with it.
Rooting I am ness is also important as some personality types may have a sense of individual I am ness that gets completely “over run” by collective consciousness.

Another thing I do is look at how many of my thoughts or the thoughts of the collective consciousness are actually shaped by the rules, laws and obligations of the LR quadrant. This was a great insight and was helpful in recognising how most of the actions we may be avverse to on the part of others, often are still rooted in cultural norms that derive from the LR quadrant and survival.

  • Deepening the Top Left Quadrant:
    a) I look at the map that shows different aspects of internal consciousness and try to experience them one by one. Sensations, emotions, desires, moral thoughts, logical thoughts and so on.

b) Another way to deepen the TL quadrant is to embody each I am ness as in the Big mind technique. I observe how each thought stream or manifestation in the self is linked to an identity, which I try to experience with my entire body.
Adding an effort to Express such emobodyment, helps both make it clear and make it “show up”. I again procede to witness through the lense of I amness to dissipate such identifications.

In re-owning identifications I try to be mindfull of:
Unconscious selves (previously inexpressed), that can easily rise of one calls for an emotion to express onto a target. This allows an identity to reveal itself that was previously not “solid” enough to be made an object

“Conscious” self: thisis the trickiest one as it is the one we most generally take for granted (ken Would say the one we are addicted to because it wasn’t made an object yet). I therefore witness the very self that is expressing with my current action of practicing or anything selse.

“Emergent” self: I again try to “express the self” but this time trying to bring all I amnesses as one, acting consciously all actions within myself and embodying a state of joy and presence. I find that this last exercise is really interesting as it reveals how often many of our behaviours are truly driven by an “higher self” we are not yet fully identified with.

“Shadow” self: while I believe that already embodying phisical sensation and a sense of expressing emotion can be very useful in raising shadow in 1st person, the classic 321 process can be useful.

  • Comparing logics:
    One thing I sometimes do is “run tests” where I compare the logical validity of my individual rationality against that of collective consciousness.
    This helps recognize how the individual consciousness is most often more rational, since it posesses both the informaiton fo collective consciousness and that of the individuated self. This helped me a lot recognize my own intuition and give weight to my own position.

Another “trick” is to compare the logic of different “sub-personalities”. As in the big mind process we can embody each individual self identity, we can also compare them to one another and understand which ones to place “on top” in terms of logical validity. this does not “eliminate the ones below” but honors better the hierarkical unfolding of the self.

  • Bottom left quadrant:
    For this quadrant I try to immagine people at different stages (or simply look at my facebook feed and witnes all my sense of allergy towards them. I found that this simple exercise allowed for much of the principles of “integral compassion” to manifest spontaneously.

  • Top Right Quadrant: Expanding the identifications
    One exercise that i found to be very interesting is to extend the Big Mind exercise outside of the confinements of the TL quadrant.
    I for exampe try to go into increasingly “large” or “small” categories and try to find a sense of identification in them. For example I would try to extend a sense of one ness to anyone belonging to such categories:

Form (alive and not), Life, Animal, Mammal, Human, Italian, Male, me.
It was surprising to not how easy it is to switch from one sense of “belonging” to another.

  • Bottom Right Quadrant:
    I believe the bottom right quadrant lives inside our head just as much as in the world.
    It is not necessarily composed of our thoeretical thoughts and knowledge of our present social economical system but of something deeper: the LAWS that govern our action.
    By laws I mean those logical assumptions that are alwais taken for granted and rarely made an object, specifically because while internal, we still regard them as “objective”.
    Example: from I must respond my emails, to I must pay taxes or answer the phone.
    I think this is a potential massive area of exploration as it shows an area of our identity that is rarely questioned.

I play with he Bottom Right quadrant by

  • witnessing how these “rules” manifest in my consciousness as thoughts, drives and ego,

  • looking at identities associated to it, in particular social “roles” help spot a lot of biases

  • immagining a society that runs on completely different rules (example: a society of total abundance where all is done voluntarily). This helps again in shaking the present identification with he norma and obbligations of the LR quadrant we live in.

  • Types:
    In Types I mainly experimented with gender related types.
    I therefore try to observe my own sense of masculinity, as it is and in different versions.
    This was quite powerful as it showed how changing the “type” of masculine identity in relation to thoughts and images that arise, provided almost instantly the mind for an opportunity of re-processing. Many of the things that before would cause stress are momentarily less stressful for example.
    I would like to do more experimentation on this, but my general take is that in doing literally any practice, being aware not just of our body, but of our type (ex, male female) can bring profound and quick insight as those categories are anyways already implicitly being used below our counscious attention.

This may be one of the most logically important parts because our Type related identities are the one that are present at each level. This means that any re-programming of type related identity, will impact all correlated mental structures offering perhaps one of the most effective starting points for persona inquiry.


Additional
I start generally practice by entering in a state of “cardiac coherence” which i supposed to be an objective identifyer of the mind having entered into a state of greater balance and capacity to “digest” information. The reason i preface with this is because its a form of meditation that most can do in a few minutes, with a clearly observable correlate (I use this tool for checking https://www.heartmath.com/emwave/)

For most techniques I try to use in the “background” Conscious Connected Breathing.
Similarly to Holotropic breathing I:

  • Open initially breathing to stretch it as much as possible
  • Let control over the “exhale” (I believe this may be something particularly needed among westerners who may have a greater deal of tensions correlated to expression)
  • Maintain present attention through the whole cycle of breathing, without any pause between inhale and exhale. This may speak to the previous point as well as a way to “raise” energy wether you intend it phisically or from a subtle body point of view.
    Intense version of this breathing such as holotropic breathing or rebirthing can produce strong non ordinary states of consciousness and abreatic experiences that are very beneficial.

The process of conscious continuous attention helps a lot in maintaining attention through the above mentioned practices where I otherwise notice that I place momentary bits of attention getting lost subtly multiple times even through a single breath.