Integral Life Practice Starter Guide
Integral Life Practice is a comprehensive but astonishingly simple approach to well-being, awareness, and transformation. Rather than focus on merely one aspect of the self, ILP brings a whole and balanced approach to realizing the full spectrum of your being, providing you with the very best and most effective practices to help you Wake Up, Grow Up, Clean Up, and Show Up in your life, your relationships, and your work in the world.
INTEGRAL — comprehensive, balanced, inclusive.
LIFE — the whole enchilada of love, consciousness, the body, relationships, work, emotions, and the mystery of existence.
PRACTICE — something we do, usually to improve ourselves in some way — to make ourselves happier, stronger, smarter, more capable of loving and helping others. We practice in order to fulfill the potential of who we really are.
Thus, Integral Life Practice is a whole and balanced approach to practicing for life — our individual lives, the lives of others, even the life of the planet.
ILP contains specific practices within a framework that holds them together. The practices and the framework are equally important. The practices ensure that you’re actually doing something, not just thinking about it. The framework makes sense of what you’re doing, giving everything a place.
We’ve designed ILP to be as easy and flexible as possible. We know how busy most people’s lives are, and how important it is to work with your busy schedule. But we’ve also included as much as possible, so you can go as deep as you wish. An ILP can take as little as 5 minutes a day—or it can expand up to many hours. It’s up to you.
Featuring Daily Live Practice Sessions
Integral Life offers live, daily, guided ILP Practice Sessions with dozens of deeply-experienced Practice Leaders from all over the world, which you can experience from the privacy of your own living room.
We also offer dozens of self-directed practices, featuring some of the most skillful teachers, leaders, and artists on the planet.
There are many ways of defining “spirituality” and what “spiritual practice” means. Some people refer to spirituality as a special state of consciousness, some as a level of development, and some as its own developmental line. Others consider spirituality to be an attitude—one of love and tolerance, for example. And many feel that spirituality relates to an ultimate concern, or to an Ultimate Being or Condition.
Integral Spirituality includes all of the above definitions, and lets you determine how you most feel called to embody your spiritual nature at any given time. That said, the Integral Framework recognizes at least three basic perspectives through which we can experience Spirit: as 1st-person, 2nd-person, and 3rd-person. Integral Spiritual Practice attempts to include all three perspectives, regarding them as simply three dimensions of the Divine. And we have a number of spirit practices to help you awaken to all three.
How does all of this fit together? This is where the Mind or Framework module comes in. To know, love, and serve our complex world, we must be able to see it from many perspectives. Expanding to a more comprehensive worldview or framework does exactly this. This is made immensely easier if we have a solid theoretical map, and we believe the Integral Framework is the current state-of-the-art. Thus, we recommend you learn Integral and develop the ability to skillfully apply it to any and all situations.
But the Growing Up module does not only involve an intellectual study of Integral. It is more significantly expressed when AQAL is effectively utilized as a means of integrating all kinds of knowledge. Then, you’ll develop a feel for the many perspectives that enable us to engage and comprehend our multidimensional world.
Shadow module practices help integrate unconscious thoughts and emotions into conscious awareness. They clean up the basement of the mind: those parts that you’ve disowned, buried, or projected onto others. Often, these are unpleasant aspects of yourself you’ve deemed unacceptable or unlovable. Sometimes, however, they’re your best parts you don’t feel worthy of or willing to own. Both your lower and your higher self can be hiding in your shadow. Shadow work helps you befriend them both, so you can be more healthy and whole, and have more free energy for development.View upcoming Cleaning Up practices
If the first three pillars of Integral Life Practice are focusing on our own interior growth and development, then Showing Up is allowing the fruits of your practice to spill over into the rest of your life, your relationships, and your work in the world. This is where we focus on integral flourishing, bringing more of ourselves online in whatever domain we find ourselves in — parenting, leadership, creativity, our health, our wealth, etc.View upcoming Showing Up practices
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We hope you enjoy learning and practicing ILP. This is a special time in human evolution, when so many have the opportunity to work on themselves—to make their lives better, for their own sake and for the world. We hope this technology serves you toward that noble end. We hope you practice diligently, with love, and with humor. May you find growth, well-being, and new awareness through your Integral Life Practice.
Design Your Practice in 5 Easy Steps
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.
Upcoming Practice Sessions
Wake Up: Experience Ultimate Reality
Waking Up is the dimension of your ILP designed to give you a deeper, more direct experience of reality. These practices help you move beyond the limitations of your small sense of self and begin to realize a deeper, more fundamental oneness inside you. Often called a path of liberation and enlightenment, Waking Up frees your mind and emotions from the illusion of alienation, from the grip of your fears, and from the chattering of your thoughts.
Grow Up: Grow In Psychological Maturity
Growing Up is the dimension of your ILP designed to help you grow into your fullest potential of psychological complexity as you mature through the ten stages of adult vertical development. These practices can help you grow into and beyond the 8th, “integral” stage of psychological development where you’ll begin to make sense of everything around you. As you train your mind to think integrally, you’ll become capable of seeing, understanding and navigating reality in among the most comprehensive ways possible at the present time.
Сlean Up: Heal Your Wounds
Cleaning Up is the dimension of your ILP designed to free you from the hurt, anger, and limitations of your past experiences and wounds, and keep your heart free of the resentments and regrets that build up daily within us. Among the most powerful practices there are, Cleaning Up practices help you clarify who you are after your blindspots no longer have control over you, truly liberating your power and potential both personally and professionally.
Show Up: Unleash Your Vision, Vitality, and Power
Showing Up is the dimension of your ILP designed to help you show up throughout your life and career with your fullest potential. These practices help you understand your unique strengths and styles, your personal calling, tap your capabilities, and make the contribution only you can make.