The spectrum of embodied existence

Sitting quietly in deep contemplation is something I’ve been doing for decades regularly. Within the arc of the last “Dark Night of the Soul” that I journeyed through I had a reoccurring theme that arose. “Our Being is spread out over a spectrum that is a continuum from the depths of the unconscious to the pinnacle of sensory awareness.” That was before I dove into Ken’s work.

The intellectual and its thought dynamics attempts to understand this process through language and IMO this is not only difficult but impossible in its totality. Integral philosophy/meta theory has come closer than anything I’ve encountered so far.

This feed like all social media is difficult to convey the embodied energy of the depth of experiential knowledge yet I appreciate it! It’s rare that I’m able to have a “realtime interaction” with someone that is being informed by the gravity of Integral understanding but I can always dream… :heart:

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I appreciate you bringing this up, Brian! Yes, it’s difficult / impossible to convey the embodied energy of the depth of experiential knowledge in a written forum, but often also what is available to us?

However, I wonder IF we could be better at conveying this kind of energy (including it) also in the written form / on SoMe platforms? One way is of course art, and I don’t mean that we should be proficient artists ready for exhibtions at established art museums, but rather to allow the use of drawings, photography, clayworks, or whatever we might be called to express. And allow a “child like level” without judging, because the point here would be to express depths that would otherwise be difficult to do. And maybe not even “express” it but rather hint at it. As expressing it truly would be “impossible” or at least a limited aspect in the here and now?

Another way is to try and put into words what experiences like “our being is spread out over a spectrum that is a continuum from the depths of the unconscious to the pinnacle of sensory awareness” might look, taste, and feel like? For example right now when I am sitting in my small study, writing this. It’s eight o’clock in the morning in an apartment building in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the dead of winther, but still a month after equinox, and you can clearly feel the light is coming back, the sun is already trying to lift itself above the horizon, but still not getting there within the next half hour or so. For once, it’s relatively quiet here, and I can hear the silence as a sort of quivering tinkling in the energy. Which is ironic: that I can hear silence.

When I sit and listen to this tinkling sensation, I feel my energy expand and I am. I am then reminded that I have access “to everything”, the depths, the universe and everything in between. The next step might be to do it with another or others, like I do regularly when I for example practice inquiry. To explore the now with others, in silence, in words, in gestures, in art. Not to exhibit it (necessarily) but to learn to have experiential experience (?) of “Our Being as a continuum”, not only as me but also as us.

Not sure if this makes sense? Or of course, if this is remotely why you made this post! But this was what came to me just now…

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Thank you, Bettina(not sure if that is your actual name or user name) for your beautiful response! I completely agree with you and it feels like you’re basically conveying the general idea of what I was attempting to express. The Arts, I believe, can/does play an important role in expressing the deeper energies of existence through it’s many mediums and is a kind of “bonding agent” that subtly reminds us that we’re all interconnected.

This is an important point you bring up! The theme of innocence or “seeing the world through the eyes of a child” has been expressed throughout history in philosophy both Eastern and Western. There’s some ambiguity surrounding this but ultimately the “feeling” of unity with others and all of life is present within this sensibility. The cynic or realist views this as naive or immature but tends to miss the point of what it actually means to embrace “Not knowing.” In the Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu says “He who thinks he knows, knows not. He who knows he knows not, knows” and “The sage lives by what he feels and not what he sees.” That brings me to another important reality.

In the book “The Master and His Emissary” by Dr. Iian McGilchrist he presents the Hemisphere hypothesis which is backed by science and research about the brain hemispheres and the distinct capacities of Right and Left Hemispheres(I recommend everyone read it). The Left Hemishpere is all about Maps and Models and tends to see the world in black & white and isn’t able to perceive nuances, ambiguities, or even humor. It’s the Right Hemisphere that brings that capacity to the table of our awareness. It’s also established that children are “Right-brain dominate” in their early years until the Left hemisphere becomes more developed.

The point I’m trying to make here is that the conditioned mind that most adults have tends to find itself being dominated by the left hemisphere and cling to “Maps and Models” and never live in the moment which is, IMO, where the real territory of existence is unfolding. Even Ken has said that Integral theory is a Map/model not the territory. Considering the Plasticity of our brains it’s understandable that humans in the modern world with all of the Hyper-stimulation that bombards us can become the victims of what I call “a left hemisphere highjack” and have their awareness disregard or suppress the subtle signals of the right hemisphere which is the part of our brain that can perceive bigger pictures and deeper themes that arise. We can see this play out in every social media feed including this one. Obviously we need both hemispheres working together yet too much of one or the other isn’t in our best interests.

I enjoy the analogy of an ocean and its waves. The pinnacle of the waves are the point at which our thoughts and ideas are expressed in structured ways like language or artistic mediums yet the greater totality of the underlying energies of embodied experience are the depths of the greater ocean.


Hi again, and yes, my name is Bettina :slight_smile: I couldn’t choose my handle when I first came here years back, and if I can today, I don’t know how.

I thought the right/left brain model was a myth or a mental model not rooted in science?( - but years back, I also used this model to describe exactly what you’re saying. I used to explain that I was one of the few people having a balance between the two which made me different :slight_smile:

I also agree with the importance of being able to enter the space of Not Knowing and being “naive”. How many times have I heard people say, I can’t dance / sing / draw, etc. which creates a barrier for expressing ourselves fully. I long for a society where we sing, dance, draw, etc. together also in the offices and at social gatherings.

You didn’t comment on what I wrote about us being better at putting into words what we experience and feel? I think this creates presence and connectedness, when I fex. pause to explain where I sit physically (in my study, the dark and cold January evening outside now that the snow all melted over the weekend) and what I sense and feel while writing about certain topics, for example feeling awake and present and hopeful about sharing this. When we only speak from one quadrant, one type, one intelligence, the conversation becomes dry and not embodied?

PS - example of simple creativity I made some years back, explaining integral theory using infograhics:

And another example:


That is great advice! I often get over focused on an idea and forget to describe what it may look, taste, and feel like. Thank you! I’m going to work with this! Expanding the sense of mindfulness to embrace all of these capacities and just let them arise into the arena of awareness letting go of any preconceived ideas of where it should go or what I want it to be.

McGilchrist actually debunks the old brain hemisphere myths in his work which he expands on even more in the next book called “The Matter of Things.”

I like what you’ve expressed in “On the Path To Conscious Flocking.” Deep and thoughtful points expressed in simple ways! Thank you for the inspiration!


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Thanks, and I would love to hear about your experiments reg. describing what it tastes and feels like :slight_smile:

And thanks for the McGilchrist reference.

have a nice day! It’s almost over here, soon time for bed.

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