Inhabit: Your Democracy

Corey deVos Free, Inhabit, Perspectives, Politics, Video 9 Comments



n this very special episode of Inhabit, Ryan and I focus on one of the most essential elements of any Integral Life Practice — directly engaging your democratic systems and showing up to cast your vote.

Watch as Ryan and I discuss the following:

  • Why it’s never a good idea to base our electoral decisions on the current state of the culture wars
  • Why it’s important to differentiate “politics” from “governance”
  • Why it’s important to differentiate ordinary people on the left and the right from the social holons of Democratic and GOP political parties.
  • Can a person’s political views be used to assess their overall development?
  • Can a solidly integral person be a Trump supporter? (Spoiler: of course they can.)

I also offer an in-depth exploration of cynicism — how to recognize it in our own lives, and how we can escape its corrosive influence. We do this by drilling down to a more fundamental polarity — the “trust but verify” polarity, which shows how trust and assumptions of good-faith should be integrated with healthy skepticism and critical thinking. But when this polarity becomes disintegrated and balkanized, it inevitably takes us into the negative poles of naïveté and cynicism. The good news is, by understanding this core polarity we can wrap some healthy guardrails around our own enactment of political reality, and catch ourselves when we feel ourselves sliding toward one of these unhealthy poles.

Why is this important? “Corruption” and “cynicism” are related in many important ways. Many of us feel like our cynicism is a natural response to corruption — why should we trust a system that is so obviously rigged against us? However, the opposite is equally if not more true: it’s not so much that corruption results in cynicism, but rather cynicism creates a vacuum that gets immediately fillled with corruption.

Which makes “escaping cynicism” absolutely paramount right now, as it is one of the most significant obstacles preventing so many of us from fully inhabiting this democracy, making our voices heard, and choosing the deliberately-partial actions and decisions required to move the political pendulum where it needs to go, rather than waiting for the world to catch up with us before we are willing to participate.

Finally, I take a few moments to present my own “3-Point Plan to Save Democracy” — the three most critical systemic changes we need to make in the Lower-Right quadrant in order to restore healthy political enfoldment, de-escalate the culture wars, and rehabilitate our democracy. You don’t want to miss that.

We hope you enjoy this episode! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Written by Corey deVos
Music by Justin Miles and Stuart Davis

Previous  Episodes  of  Inhabit
Inhabit: Your Election

Inhabit: Your Election

Free Inhabit Perspectives Politics Video
Watch as Ryan and Corey reflect on the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, exploring its implications for the world...
Watch Now
Inhabit: Your Fear

Inhabit: Your Fear

Free Inhabit Lifestyle Perspectives Video
You don’t need to push away your fear, neither do you need to surrender to it. All you need to...
Watch Now
Inhabit: Your Shadow

Inhabit: Your Shadow

Free Inhabit Perspectives Psychology Video
Ryan and Corey explore ways to bring more embodiment to your shadow practice, allowing you you to recognize your shadow...
Watch Now
Inhabit: Your Ground

Inhabit: Your Ground

Free Inhabit Lifestyle Perspectives Video World Affairs
Watch as Ryan, Corey, and Marshall explore how Integral Practice allows us to more fully inhabit our ground by helping...
Watch Now
+View All


These chaotic times bring us in touch with what matters most, whispers of death and rebirth, as our global life conditions passionately usher us toward all of what could be, of what wants to emerge in your life.

Emerge is a new training program by Ryan Oelke, offering a thoughtful 3-phase process that will empower you to fully inhabit your experience, more deeply relate in real-time to life, and to formulate agile paths of response and action. With this embodied integral training, you will both be more passionately inspired from the core of your being and you will more successfully see the change, experiences, and results you and we long for and need in this moment and in the future.

Learn how Emerge can help you find traction for your transformation

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is the proverbial "man behind the curtain". He is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996.

Ryan Oelke

About Ryan Oelke

Ryan Oelke is a co-founder of Buddhist Geeks and founder of Awakening in Life. He has an MSEd in counseling psychology and is contemplative teacher of awakening, healing, and embodiment. He has 18 years experience in meditation, particularly in the Tibetan Buddhist and Dzogchen lineages, he is a Buddhist Geeks teacher, and is a certified teacher in Judith Blackstone’s Realization Process. Ryan teaches meditation and a way of living dedicated to revealing natural presence and awakening in each moment of our lives, regardless of how it appears to us. He lives in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC with his partner Alyssa and stepdaughter Fiona.

Notable Replies

  1. Mbohu says:

    As always: great! I do have to admit though, that it was funny as well as refreshing to see how passionate you are about these topics, Corey! I think Ryan got just a little short-changed in terms of air-time? :smile:
    Your comment about nationalism sparked some thoughts and I will create another separate topic, asking people to help me out on this, as I have real trouble with this topic–so hopefully I can have a similar epiphany as you. I agree about the draft, by the way, but believe there should be a non-violent and even non-gun related option offered. I know many people in my own birth country who had to go through a lot of trouble–including jail–because they could not agree to be trained in violence, before that country offered a non-violent option without having to go through a commission trying to discern if you were essentially willing to let your family die without defending it, so that you could choose the non-military service.

  2. Haha I think he may have too, and I think I even apologized to him afterward for being such a narcissist :slight_smile:

    And I hear you on the violence issue. And to be clear, I think it’s important to familiarize people with firearms in this country, so we can stop fetishizing them and/or pushing them into shadow. And my hope would be that after a single generation doing this sort of training, we see fewer allergies and addictions around violence, and therefore fewer people who would forcibly opt out of something like that. And the service itself would be entirely non-violent – it doesn’t need to be a military service, even if it has some martial aspects. But when it comes to this sort of gun training, maybe there needs to be a transition to help with the concerns you mention. To me, as long as we get 80% or so of young men and women to respect and operate a firearm, I think we’ll see a much healthier (and far less violent) culture as a result.

    And thank you for the comments!

  3. Mbohu says:

    I think that’s a great idea and recognizes the special role that firearms seem to play in this country. I haven’t really heard this suggested much before–but it also does seem to have some indications of working in other places–Switzerland comes to mind.

    Personally I also like the idea of requiring everyone to do some sort of service–independent of their station in society.

  4. I didn’t listen to this Inhabit episode, so my comments might reflect that. While I agree with a National Service of some kind, I don’t believe it needs to be militarized service and I’m with Mbohu on preferring a non-violent and non-gun-related option. I don’t think anyone should ever be required by law to operate a firearm, and if they are, then they should also be required to become medics and grief counselors and such. I do think there should be some basic requirements for people who choose to own guns, including training in their use where appropriate.

    While we are now and have been in the past a martial country, and will be for a long time in the future, once you take the option or possibility for a non-war-like and non-violent future off the table, we’re lost, I think. We have to imagine greater possibilities, such as peace and non-violence, and I would support those kind of efforts being a part of a National Service–training people in things such as negotiation skills, conflict resolution, mediation, anger management, etc. etc. (along with the military option for those who volunteer). My idea for National Service would allow for people to have some choice in the matter, maybe aligning service assignments with the different cabinet departments, e.g. energy, agriculture, state, treasury, etc. along with defense. I don’t think National Service and forced training/use of firearms to combat cultural violence should be combined; to me, they are totally separate issues.

  5. lol, I think I prefer Corey talking a bit more than me, he often has thoughtful presentations in mind to include, whereas I generally just flap my gums :wink:

    I really like Corey’s idea and also what you’re saying here about mandatory, national service time. Perhaps for me, one way to maintain the gun aspect but not require someone to have it be a focal point in their service: make everyone go through basic gun training, but past that they can have the option to serve in whatever we feels best towards national efforts and supports. Even aside from the gun issue, the needs of the nation are many, people’s dispositions are varied, and everyone would be served by having the options like what LaWanna mentions below, and also would probably lead to better civic awareness. Having basic gun training that is substantial would provide everyone with a more mature relationship to guns, and can be done in the spirit of “even if you don’t serve in a military or national guard position, you are prepared to do so in case the country needs it.” I suspect it would accomplish what Corey was…gunning for…here, but also accommodate those who feel more comfortable in non-violent roles, but also who simply have gifts in other ways that would very much carry the spirit of serving your country, but in healthy ways.

Continue the discussion at

4 more replies