Design Your Practice
Integral Life Practice is based on several crucial and unique principles. It’s modular, scalable, customizable, concentrated, distilled, and based on the cross-training principle. All of which is to say, ILP is quintessentially Integral.
The modular aspect of ILP means establishing your ILP requires at least one practice from each of the Four Core Modules: Body, Mind, Spirit, and Shadow. A “module” simply represents a general area of practice—but it’s up to you what specific practices you choose in that area. In time you may want to take up additional practices within the core modules. You might also consider practices from auxiliary modules such as Sex, Work, Relationships, Ethics, etc. You may find that you already have practices in some areas. If so, adding them to your ILP can be as easy as situating them within an Integral framework. We’ll walk you through this process shortly.
The scalable nature of ILP means time need not be an issue. You can engage your practice for as much or as little time as you have available—from a short practice to a session that lasts for an hour or longer. Being busy with life shouldn’t stop you from having a life practice.
All of the information and tools presented in this overview come from the collective experience of ILP practitioners. As you begin your ILP, you’ll have your own experiences and insights, which we invite you to draw upon as you design your own personal practice. This ILP design process will help you get started, regardless of how many modules you choose to engage and how much time you have available.
Now let’s look more closely at these 5 steps for designing your ILP.
Evolving Your ILP Over Time
As your ILP evolves, you will likely find the need to let some old practices go, and take on new ones. It takes courage to adopt new practices. A new practice is always a mystery. “Will I like it?” “Will it work?” “Will I look funny doing it?” When committing to a new practice, try it for at least two weeks. At the end of that time, revisit your ILP Blueprint. Check in and reflect upon how your ILP is going. Have you moved closer towards your ILP vision and goals? How well did you fulfill your practice commitments?
Next make any needed adjustments. Engaging in a new practice often incites resistance. After all, as we grow we push the edge of our comfort zone. This can challenge the part of us that tries to maintain the status quo. It’s normal and natural to feel emotional resistance. Simply acknowledge your reactions and continue to practice. These are often the most fruitful times for growth. If resistance continues to be a problem, ask an ILP friend or mentor for their perspective. It may be that the practice truly isn’t right for you. Listen to your friends, mentors, or teachers, and then use your own best judgment to decide.
And finally, remember more is not necessarily better. Integral is based on what’s essential—it’s not meant to be totalistic. Be sure to have at least one practice from each of the Four Core Modules, and of course add more if you wish.
Also note that we publish brand new practices every week. While we caution you to avoid committing to too many practices and risk overwhelming your regular routine, you might nonetheless want to give these weekly practices a try. You could perhaps include a “wildcard day” in your ongoing regimen, allowing you to broaden your horizons a bit more, experiment with new practices, and keep your ILP integrally informed as you design the practice that’s right for you.
There’s an old story told in practice circles. The great golfer Ben Hogan was asked by a journalist what made him so good at the game. Hogan answered, “I’m just lucky, I guess.” “But you’re well known for practicing all the time!” the reporter said. To which Ben replied, “Well, the more you practice, the luckier you get!”
This certainly applies to Integral Life Practice. It’s not that practice causes enlightenment or greater awareness or a more fulfilled life. But it does make you just a little bit luckier, if only by bringing your being into greater harmony with the universe, God, or grace. While there is certainly a results-oriented side to ILP, which is perfectly legitimate, there is also a sense in which we practice… just to practice—for no other reason than because it feels like the right thing to do. And this just so happens to make us luckier in terms of results.
It’s in this spirit that we wish you good luck! And we hope that your ILP brings much love, joy, and fulfillment to your life.