Inhabit: Your Spiritual Life

Ryan Oelke Existential, Free, How can I awaken to spiritual wisdom?, Inhabit, Lifestyle, Perspectives, Spiritual, Spirituality, Video, Volitional 10 Comments




eed help shifting gears from mental map-making to actually inhabiting the spiritual territory? Watch as Ryan Oelke and Corey deVos explore what it means to truly inhabit and integrate our contemplative practice and our moment-to-moment experience of life.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this for yourself — you are sitting on a meditation cushion, eyes closed, and you ask yourself, “am I meditating right now? Or am I only thinking about meditation?” This conversation helps bring bit more discernment around questions like these, as Ryan leads us in a practice to help us to shift from a predominantly mental or imaginal enactment of spirituality to an authentically lived spirituality that can respond to the various pains and pressures of existence with greater presence, empathy, and skillful action.

Corey also shares how his daughter’s medical journey helped to fundamentally transform his own spiritual life, stripping away so many of the ornaments and embellishments of the “spiritual mind” and leaving him with a deeper and more intimate sense of what really matters.

If you are also struggling to bring more embodiment, more grace, and more discernment to your own spiritual life, you don’t want to miss this wonderful conversation between Ryan Oelke and Corey deVos.

Written by Corey deVos
Music by Justin Miles and Stuart Davis

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Previous  Episodes  of  Inhabit
Inhabit: Your Bardo

Inhabit: Your Bardo

Cognitive Creative Existential Free Inhabit Space-time Spiritual Spirituality Video
Ryan and Corey explore the idea that every moment is a bardo, a transition from one state of being to...
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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 fully 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.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos 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. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.

Notable Replies

  1. My question would be with this drive to reach Integral’s tipping point at 10% and with Ken’s estimation right now that the world is driving towards an orange/green state structure but still having a gross/egoic state center, does integral also have an allergy (if that is the right use of the word) to a subtle-state center. And in your guys opinion what would the differences between someone at an integral structure center of gravity but one with a gross/egoic state center compared to someone at a subtle/soul state center. Ken also talks about developing a soul culture. What would that look like to you guys? Thanks

  2. I think this is a really great question, and there are probably a lot of different ways we could try to answer it. Personally, from my own layman’s perspective, it seems to me that much of this has to do with how one’s state CoG relates to the rest of the major elements and polarities of the self system:

    • At what structural altitude is the state CoG being enacted? How do those structural views and values influence or limit the ways that state CoG is being expressed?

    • Is the subtle CoG integrated with gross states in a healthy way? Or is it dissociated from the gross realm? It seems to be that it would need to be adequately integrated with the gross, otherwise it’s not stable state-realization as much as it is flitting and fleeting state-chasing.

    • Is the emphasis being placed upon the subtle as an ongoing source and crucible for transformation, or is it being used as a way to better translate the separate self and it’s place in the universe?

    • Are the state realizations being used to edify the self, or the Self?

    • Is there some sort of healthy “linkage” between the UL phenomenology of these states, the UL structures containing those states, and the various expressions and artifacts of consciousness in all other quadrants?

    So I wouldn’t say Integral has any kind of allergy to a subtle-state CoG per se, but rather it has some fairly important cautions around how we discern and enact our own CoG, how confusing the subtle realm itself can be, and how well integrated our state attainment is with the rest of the self-system. And because the “imaginal” realm of spirituality is itself a particular manifestation of subtle consciousness, I see some potential traps here that can prevent people from truly and fully stabilizing these states, allowing many folks to be seduced by their own drive to generate meaning for themselves, and therefore confusing state-seeking for stable state-realization, which can keep some folks locked in their own phenomenological experience. Which strikes me as a particularly troublesome shadow that can develop at these intersections of conscious development. If we can avoid these kinds of shadows, then I think something like a “soul culture” is totally possible. But we need guard rails, I think, so we don’t fall off the mountain completely.

    It’s by no means a comprehensive answer, but hopefully enough to keep the conversation moving. Thanks for the question, and let me know what you think about the above!

  3. Thanks Corey. There’s a lot to process there. Some of the main points I pulled out of your response initially are: 1) yes hopefully subtle would be integrated with gross. 2) great key word: state realization. And also: state chasing. You mention it possibly being a shadow. Very good points and big ideas there. I’m trying to think/envision what state chasing would look like and when it would be a “bad” thing. I think drug addiction can be like that. Chasing getting high.
    Is being stable in a state “state realization”? Or just aware of what state you are in?
    I always assumed Integralists would come with a subtle state center of gravity. Percentage wise I wonder what it would be if you split up Integralists. I think Ken mentioned that he thought 85 percent of Integralists don’t walk the talk (hoping I’m pulling that correctly). I wonder if the divide is the state CoG.

Continue the discussion at



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    Oh wow. You guys blew me away with this episode. So grateful for what you are doing with this show and others on Integral Live. Love and blessings to you, Corey and Ryan.

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    Hi guys,

    Really enjoyed the broadcast, some very heartfelt exchanges and ideas explored.

    One topic i feel might be of interest to explore is that of being single by choice. It still seems to be almost taboo to choose not to be in a relationship these days and yet many people end up in relationships because of fear of being alone. Both paths, being alone and being in relationship offer huge potential for spiritual growth but in possibly vey different ways, each worthy of exploration. Just a thought! maybe could be a good topic to explore….

    Thanks again,
    Warm regards

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    Thanks for this series of talks guys. I’ve got a reminder in my calendar now to make sure I tune in. I really appreciated what Corey was saying about the intimacy of his spiritual experience and how he feels uncomfortable talking about objectifying it through talking about it. I completely get this and have noticed my own gradual shift from talking *about* to living *from* – and that must surely be where the spiritual path takes us – the path that is the goal? “The Tao that can be spoken is not the Tao” – and yet of course we have to talk ‘about’ or there could be no sharing, no community, no teaching. I guess we could say that we inhabit paradox? Loved the Zen story too 🙂

    Thanks so much guys.


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    Thanks so much for this conversation. I’ve been feeling alone and seeing a bunch of thoughts saying I’m wrong about being awake and it can’t be just this because I’m still suffering. Yet Corey’s story validates my own experience. So I’ll keep talking about awakening from being awake. I do love Nisargadatta’s saying “When I remember I’m nothing, that is wisdom. When I remember I am everything, that is love. And between these to poles my life flows”. Many Blessings.

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    Thank you Corey and Ryan, it was very insightful and transforming for me, and I looking forward to next session
    cheers Ari

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    The zen master wept uncontrollably at the death of his child. A student said “Forgive me master but you weep as you taught us for an illusion.” The zen master said”Yes, and a child is the most beautiful illusion of all”

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