Polarity Wisdom: The Mechanics of Integral Thinking

Beena SharmaCognitive, Editor's Picks, Free, Integrative Metatheory, Media type, Perspectives, Polarity Wisdom, Video

“Almost any dysfunctionality can be traced to some polarity being mismanaged, or some pole being neglected.”Beena Sharma
INTEGRATING  POLARITIES  is Beena Sharma's revolutionary new training program, designed to teach you the higher-order thinking common to individuals at the integral stage of development. By learning and practicing the cognitive processes that come naturally to integral thinkers, this training can accelerate your own development toward integral stages of being and doing.
This training available to all supporting members of Integral Life for only $50

(limited time discount from $345)

Polarity thinking can change the world. Our aspiration is to help the global Integral community, and each of us as members of it, to learn polarity thinking and to take this skillful wisdom with you wherever you go. Our goal is to see at least 2000 people enrolled into this training, so that we as a community can begin to put a real dent in the polarization problem — beginning with ourselves and our own integral community, and then expanding outward through our various networks and spheres of influence.

The full value of this training is $345, and we are offering non-members an introductory price of $145. But if you are a supporting member of Integral Life, you can get it for fifty bucks.

So claim your place in this emerging wave of integral consciousness and help us meet our goal of 2000 member signups by enrolling in Integrating Polarities right now!

Introductory offer expires on October 2nd.

In this premiere episode of our new monthly Polarity Wisdom show, Beena introduces the Integrating Polarities training, taking an in-depth look at the following:

  • Beena’s inspiration for this training program.
  • How this program helps teach integral thinking, much like we can teach “critical thinking” or “creative thinking”.
  • How the Integrating Polarities method can help accelerate our growth into integral stages of thinking and being.
  • How managing polarities can deepen our enjoyment and enactment of the integral model itself.
  • Why Ken Wilber says we either learn how to manage polarities in order to reduce polarization in the world, or we are heading for war.

EXCLUSIVE MEMBER DISCOUNT: Supporting members of Integral Life can enroll in the Integrating Polarities training for just $50. Enroll now or see below for more details.

INTEGRATING  POLARITIES  is a revolutionary new training program by Beena Sharma, designed to teach you the higher-order thinking common to leading-edge individuals at the integral stage of development.

Hello, my name is Beena Sharma, and I am very excited to introduce my new training course, Integrating Polarities. I have devoted my life and career to exploring the interior dynamics of adult stage development based on ego-development theory. I have a deep understanding of the identifications associated with each stage, and it is from this deep appreciation that I have created the Integrating Polarities training.

This training is designed to model the higher-order thinking associated with integral stages of psychological maturity, offering you a step-by-step process to help you learn these thinking skills and apply them to your life, your relationships, and your work in the world.


INTEGRATING  POLARITIES  will teach you more integral ways of thinking, and help accelerate your development toward more integral ways of being.

Just as we teach 'critical thinking' to help people enter the rational stage of development, and we teach 'creative thinking' to help people grow into the pluralistic stage, this training represents the next step in this unfolding, designed to help people grow into integral stages of maturity.

This isn’t just another way to use and apply the integral map. It’s a way to learn the type of thinking that produces things like 'integral maps' in the first place.

Accelerate your development toward integral stages of thinking, being, and doing by learning the cognitive processes that come naturally to integral thinkers.


Polarities describe the tensions and competing forces inside any occasion — inside vs. outside, interior vs. exterior, individual vs. collective, transcendence vs. inclusion, and on into every realm of the universe (conservative vs. progressive, masculine vs. feminine, individual freedoms vs. collective responsibilities, globalization vs. nationalism, etc.)

Notice that in the middle of each of these poles is the word “versus”. Because that is exactly what they feel like when these polarities remain unintegrated — they are in opposition, they contradict each other, they create friction with each other. And we can feel the burning heat of that friction in our own lives, in our communities, and in the world around us.

When we have a process to identify and integrate these polarities within our own hearts and minds, and in relationship with others, the tensions and conflicts begin to feel more manageable. We can harmonize these tensions and step into more adequate ways of seeing and being, individually and collectively. We begin to understand that neither pole is inherently “positive” or “negative”, but rather that they can both produce positive or negative qualities depending on whether they are in healthy relationship with each other, or dissociated from each other.

In other words, INTEGRATING  POLARITIES  is designed to help you supplement this “either/or” mentality with a flexible “both/and” mentality that is capable of bringing vastly different and divergent views together into a more complete vision of health and wholeness. And perhaps more importantly, it helps you to take the next step — to focus upon skillful and strategic actions that can help alleviate suffering and produce a more beneficial outcome.

"Working with polarities and coming into an appreciation of the paradoxes of our integral evolution is a process that unfolds over time. This course will give the basics - it will reveal to you how polarities work, what the underlying dynamics are, how to use a tool to explore a polarity.

It is easy to walk away feeling “I’ve got it!” and not actually use it. You are invited to practice intentionally so that you become familiar with the phenomenon as it lives in you, as it manifests in your relationships with other, and as it is expressed in day to day situations you encounter. Once you are anchored in your own experiences and your interpretation of those experiences from a polarity perspective, more depth, clarity and appreciation arise - this will support you in your path to mastery. Please do take seriously these three words: practice, practice, practice!!

Practice doesn’t mean a thing you set aside time to ‘do’. Practice means connecting to your experience and observing how you think about the experience, how you attach to one aspect of it, how you reject or judge some part of your experience, how you begin to develop an appreciation for the wisdom embedded in that which you might have learned to disown."

—Beena Sharma


In this training you will learn to…

  • Recognize the fundamental polarities at play beneath the surface of any given conflict.
  • Uncover your own hidden biases, shadows, and assumptions that have prevented you from integrating both sides of a given polarity.
  • Trace the dynamic patterns and relationships that exist between poles that appear to be in opposition.
  • Transform the conflicts and tensions inherent to unintegrated polarities into an ongoing source of harmony, inclusion, and deeper understanding.
  • Expand your consciousness to embrace more complexity, more curiosity, and more humility, and becoming more empathetic to others’ perspectives.
  • Help liberate others from the pains and conflicts of polarized thinking, and become a genuine conduit for greater love, insight, and appreciation.

"These are the mechanics of integral thinking."

Ken Wilber



Whether we are talking about politics, culture, or economics, it’s no secret that our world is more polarized today than any other time in recent history. We can see it in the world, we can feel it in our relationships and communities, and we often struggle with it in our own hearts and minds. This increasing polarization is beginning to overwhelm and paralyze our governing institutions, and tearing at the very fabric of civilization itself.

There is only one solution to polarization. And that is to learn how to skillfully manage and integrate the fundamental polarities that are driving so many of these deeply entrenched conflicts, both within ourselves and in the world around us. As integral philosopher Ken Wilber puts it, it’s either that... or it’s war. There just aren’t a whole lot of other options.

Which is precisely why we are so excited for Beena’s new INTEGRATING  POLARITIES  training — a program that is designed to help us meet the most significant challenges of our time, and to help free our minds and hearts from the violence of limited and partial thinking.

"Love Is a Riot" by Android Jones

"Love Is a Riot"

A Note for Integral Geeks

As many of you know, the integral model itself has arisen from a few fundamental polarities: interior and exterior, individual and collective, part and whole, emptiness and form, etc. All holons possess certain drives that are aligned with each of these poles — and both individual and social holons are the most healthy and resilient when these polarities are being properly integrated and managed.

Which is why this training helps enhance your own integral thinking. It helps deepen your understanding of the integral vision and the underlying polarities that drive meaning-making itself, and allows you to enact the model in much more dynamic ways. It takes the integral model and makes it dance, helping us move from the integral map to the living territory of embodied wisdom, skillful communication, and enlightened action.

It’s easy to say something like “everyone is right”. But genuine enfoldment — understanding which truths are more or less partial, and how to piece all of these partial views into a more complete and comprehensive view — is much more difficult.

If we're not consciously and skillfully managing polarities, we're leaving something important out. And if we are privileging one pole, one value, one element of an interdependent pair, how integral are we?


Polarity thinking can change the world. Our aspiration is to help the global Integral community, and each of us as members of it, to learn polarity thinking and to take this skillful wisdom with you wherever you go — into your lives, your relationships and communities, and your work in the world.


We want to see at least 2,000 people enrolled into this training, so that we as a community can begin to put a real dent in the polarization problem — beginning with ourselves and our own integral community, and then expanding outward through our various networks and spheres of influence.

Which is why we are making this training available to all supporting members of Integral Life for just $50. This is an exclusive discount, and not available anywhere else.


This is a total no-brainer. Actually, it's a grow-brainer.

If you are a supporting member of Integral Life, you really need to do this training. Not only will these skills enhance your life and your world, it will also enhance your experience and enjoyment of the Integral Life website itself.

The full value of the course is $345, and is currently being made available to non-members for $145 over the next two weeks. Which means that, if you have an Integral Life membership, we are basically giving this away.

This training is too important to the integral community and to the world at large to keep it locked behind an imposing paywall. These are the skills that can transform the world, which is why we wanted to make it as easy as possible for our members to benefit from Beena’s teaching.

So claim your place in this emerging wave of integral consciousness and help us meet our goal of 2,000 member signups by enrolling in Integrating Polarities right now!

Introductory offer expires on October 2nd.

*Not a member? Click here to become a supporting member, and then return to this page to receive your exclusive member discount.


Whether you are a leader, a coach, a professional, a parent, or just someone who is deeply interested in your own personal development, this program is for you. The skills you will learn can be applied to virtually any situation, and will help you navigate the most confusing and emotionally-charged territories of your lives.

Enrich your inner world — This training is invaluable for anyone who is engaged in deep integral practice, as it helps you more easily recognize your own hidden biases, assumptions, and shadows, and to engage the aspects of your life that are being unmet and undernourished and creating suffering for you.

Accelerate your development — No matter where you are in your own developmental path, the Integrating Polarities training will provide you with an immeasurable source of rocket fuel for your continued growth and development.

Revitalize your communities — This training will greatly enrich your relationships, culture, and community by giving you a way to get to the underlying polarities at the very core of the conflict, deescalate the conflict, increase your overall empathy and curiosity, and create a more appreciative collective.

What You'll Receive
  • Lifetime access to 28 exclusive teachings from Beena Sharma
  • Lifetime access to 6 bonus teachings from Barry Johnson 
  • Lifetime access to the monthly Polarity Wisdom webinar with Beena Sharma
  • Built-in journaling app for notes and personal reflections

Meet Your Instructor, Beena Sharma


Beena Sharma is Founder and President of Vertical Development Academy. Beena is an International Consultant committed to embedding developmental theory and Integral approaches in human and system development. Partnering with Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter since 2004, Beena leads the certification process equipping coaches to deliver finely-tuned, stage-tailored coaching for integrated vertical development. Beena brings with her significant experience in applying vertical development theory, and facilitating leadership and organizational learning and development, including designing and anchoring complex large scale change efforts. VeDA hosts a network of certified scorers of the Maturity Assessment Profile (MAP) and certified maturity coaches to serve individuals and organizations invested in developmentally informed growth.

Beena Sharma deeply versed with Polarity Thinking and its applications. Beena has been working with Dr. Barry Johnson over the past eighteen years in learning, teaching, applying and embodying Polarity Wisdom™, which integrates Polarity Thinking and Vertical Development. The polarity lens is a high-leverage tool that Beena integrates with ego development theory particularly in service of catalyzing the move from conventional to post-conventional levels of development.

Beena is trained in multiple change technologies, all of which she integrates in her work and service as called forth by the needs of her client and context.

Beena lives in Woodside with Sanjay Iyer, her husband. Between Beena and Sanjay, they have 4 young adults who parent their 4 grand-generation children between the delightful ages of 1 and 6 years. And, they enjoy the blessing and privilege of holding many beloveds in their consciously chosen family.

Guest Instructor, Barry Johnson


In 1975, Barry created the first Polarity Map® and set of principles.

Barry has worked with: Business and Industry – Amoco, GM, Intel of Ireland, Cargill, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Natura of Brazil, SASOL of South Africa; Government – International Atomic Energy Agency, US Department of Defense, UK National Health Service, Provincial Government of Alberta, Northwest Department of Health and National Treasury Republic of South Africa, Charleston Police Department and City of Charleston. Education – Notre Dame, Learning Innovations Lab (LILA) at Harvard, University of Cape Town in South Africa; Not-for-profit – Bread for the World, EcoSocial in Brazil, Southridge Shelter in Ontario.

He is an avid outdoorsman and intrepid traveler, and brings head and heart together in his teaching and consulting. Barry and his wife, Dana, have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.

Program Lessons
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This training available to all supporting members of Integral Life for just $50. This is an exclusive discount, and not available anywhere else.

When we create a new course, we invest tens of thousands of dollars or more to create it, and sometimes we earn a profit and sometimes we don’t. And yet we continue to create courses, because we want to build a library of the most important instruction, from the most talented teachers the Integral Life community has to offer.

We want to be financially sustainable, but we also insist on serving our mission to spread integral consciousness. This course is fairly priced at $345 and the instruction it contains commands much higher prices in the open market. However, we are always looking for ways to lower the barriers to access — especially for our members, who support the very mission that allows us to create this content to begin with.

So if you are a Supporting Member of Integral Life, we’re discounting this course to just $50.

We believe we can cover our costs on the course if enough members invest in it, and we’ll be doing the world a great service by helping people to understand the power of polarities in a highly-polarized time. It’s our way of saying thank you for your support.

*Not a member? Click here to become a supporting member, and then return to this page to receive your exclusive member discount.


Enroll Now!




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Beena Sharma

About Beena Sharma

Beena Sharma is President of the Vertical Development Academy, and an international consultant committed to serving leaders and organizations in their growth endeavors. . Beena is a Certified MAP Scorer, Certified Leadership Maturity Coach and certifying Master Coach. Beena is a lead facilitator of the VeDA Coach Certification Program and consults with organizations interested in implementing vertical development. Beena is trained in Polarity Thinking at the Mastery level and integrates that expertise in her coaching and consulting practice.

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.