Growing Up: A Guided Tour

Ken WilberAesthetic, Cognitive, Editor's Picks, Integrative Metatheory, Intrapersonal, Perspectives, The Ken Show, Values, Video, What is human development?, Worldviews 6 Comments

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n this episode of The Ken Show we explore one of the most central elements of integral metatheory: growing up through multiple stages of developmental maturity. Watch as Ken and Corey offer a guided tour through each of the major stages on the Path of Growing Up — an exploration of your own greatest, deepest potentials — and offer some simple practices to help you actualize those potentials.

In a certain way, these stages of development are a bit difficult to talk about, because all of the other major elements of integral metatheory — quadrants, states, and even types — can be experienced phenomenologically right now in our own first-person awareness. But stages of development are a bit different — they aren’t something we can experience in our mind, because they are the shape of our mind. The aren’t something we can see right now, because they aren’t what we see, they are how we see.

But while altitude is more difficult to evoke in our own first-person experience, it’s perhaps the element of integral theory that lights people up the most, and makes the most immediate sense to them.

Practices For Growing Up

There is a question that we are often asked, which is “what are the best practices for growing up”. And it’s such a difficult question to answer, precisely because growth and development is such a complex process, and our developmental lines are often so tangled up with each other, that in order to answer that question we would almost need to suggest a different practice for every line at every stage. Which is kind of what we are trying to do on the Integral Life Practice page of our site, helping people find a more comprehensive approach to their own growth and development by cross-training in several dimensions of their lives simultaneously.

But it’s hard to think of practices that work across all of these many different ways we grow. However, there are at least four that we often recommend to people:

Meditation (Waking Up), because it makes it easier to make subject into object, and can help grease your developmental gears.

Therapy and Shadow Work (Cleaning Up), because it helps prevent our shadows from sabotaging our growth, and because it’s much easier to navigate in a clean and well-kept environment, and our minds are no different.

And one that I would personally like to suggest — find your carpet burn. That has been invaluable for me. I made a decision a long time ago to surround myself with people who are more developed, more wise, and more skillful than myself. (You’d think I’d be further along, considering I’ve been here 15 years.) But simply being around people who are more evolved than you exerts a natural sort of developmental telos upon you, as you unconsciously take their perspectives, emulate their behavior, internalize their influence, and hold yourself accountable to their higher, deeper values. 

So seek out people who embody the qualities you wish to posses in yourself, let yourself get dragged through the dirt, allow yourself to really feel the burn created by all that friction.

And, of course, study integral. Listen to shows like this. Subscribe to our free podcast to stay current, or better yet, become a member to unlock our full treasure trove of practices, discussions, and presentations, all designed to help you wake up, grow up, clean up, and show up. Read Ken’s books, read the books he includes in his references. Enroll in Ken’s Full Spectrum Mindfulness course, which is possibly the most comprehensive approach to “Growing Up” that we’ve ever had.

This isn’t at all self-promotional. Well maybe it is, but only a little bit. This material really does have a powerful psychoactive effect upon us as we begin to internalize the map and find our own inner compass.

The way you think about these stages will change and mature as you yourself mature through these stages. There are more and less skillful ways to use integral language and apply integral thinking in your life and in the world around you — and by regularly engaging the practices, perspectives, and training programs offered here at Integral Life, your ability to tell the difference will improve over time.

Studying the integral framework offers ways of interpreting and enacting reality that you will find yourself growing into for years and decades to come. It is a translation that itself helps catalyze and navigate our ongoing transformation.

Written by Corey W. deVos

Music by Stuart Davis

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Ken Wilber

About Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is editor and producer of Integral Life. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.