Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Vol. 9 No. 3 Sep 2013


Bahman Shiraz

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The Founding Mission of CIIS as an Education for the Whole Person

Joseph L. Subbiondo

Abstract: This article discusses the introduction of meditation practice into higher education as part of an integral approach to education. A number of current authors are cited emphasizing the importance and relevance of mindfulness mediation in daily life. In addition, California Institute of Integral Studies founder Haridas Chaudhuri’s philosophy of meditation and its connection to action are explored.

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The Quest for Integral Ecology

Sam Mickey, Adam Robbert, Laura Reddick

Abstract: Integral ecology is an emerging paradigm in ecological theory and practice, with multiple and varied integral approaches to ecology having been proposed in recent decades. A common aim of integral ecologies is to cross boundaries between disciplines (humanities, social sciences, and biophysical sciences) in efforts to develop comprehensive understandings of and responses to the intertwining of nature, culture, and consciousness in ecological issues. This article presents an exploration of the different approaches that have been taken in articulating an integral ecology. Along with a historical overview of the notion of integral ecology, we present an exposition of some of the philosophical and religious visions that are shared by the diversity of integral ecologies.

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Toward an Integral Ecopsychology: In Service of Earth, Psyche, and Spirit

Adrian Villasenor-Galarza

Abstract: In this paper, I advance a proposal for an integral ecopsychology, defining it as the study of the multileveled connection between humans and Earth. The initial section expounds the critical moment we as a species find ourselves at and, touching on different ecological schools, focuses on ecopsychology as a less divisive lens from which to assess our planetary moment. In the next section, I explore three avenues in which the project of ecopsychology enters into dialogue with spiritual and religious wisdom, thus expanding the project’s scope while spelling out the particular lineage of integral philosophy followed. The next section addresses the value of integral ecopsychology in facing the ecological crisis, highlighting the importance of seeing such a crisis as a crisis of human consciousness. At the level of consciousness, religious and spiritual wisdom have much to offer, in particular the anthropocosmic or “cosmic human” perspective introduced in the next section. The relevance of the anthropocosmic perspective to cultivate ecologically sound behaviors and ecopsychological health is explored and presented as a main means to bringing ecopsychology in direct contact with religious and spiritual teachings. This contact is necessary for the study of the multileveled connection between humans and Earth. Finally, I propose an expanded definition of integral ecopsychology while offering three tenets deemed essential for its advancement.

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Integral Ecofeminism: An Introduction

Chandra Alexandre

Abstract: This article offers an introduction to integral ecofeminism as a spiritually-grounded philosophy and movement seeking to catalyze, transform and nurture the rising tension of the entire planet. It articulates integral ecofeminism as an un-pathologizing force toward healing, as the offering of a possibility for creating and sustaining the emergent growth of individuals, institutions and our world systems toward awareness. Doing so, it embraces sacred and secular, rational and emotional, vibrant and still, in its conception of reality; and with this, it is a way of looking at the world whole, seeking to acknowledge the wisdom of creation in its multiplicity, specificity, and completely profound manifestation.

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Loving Water: In Service of a New Water Ethic

Elizabeth McAnally

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that a new water ethic is needed in light of the global water crisis, an ethic that responds to contemporary water issues as it draws from the values embedded within the rich religious and spiritual traditions of the world. This paper explores how a new water ethic could gain much from the Hindu concept seva (loving service) that arises from the traditions of bhakti yoga (loving devotion) and karma yoga (altruistic service). Drawing from David Haberman’s work with the Yamuna River of Northern India, I investigate how the concept of seva has been recently used in the context of environmental activism that promotes restoration efforts of the Yamuna River, a river worshiped by many as a goddess of love.

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An Integral Perspective on Current Economic Challenges: Making Sense of Market Crashes

Pravir Malik

Abstract: Market crises are interpreted in much the same way. Hence action is also always of a similar type, regardless of the market crisis that may have occurred. It is a similar set of tools that are applied to all crises, and usually this has to do with managing the money supply, interest rates, and slapping on austerity measures. But this is a myopic view. Crises are never the same. Presented here is a holistic model that draws inspiration form the journey a seed makes in becoming a flower in more fully understanding the nature of the crisis we may be facing. Action will be different depending on what phase in the journey the economy is assessed at being. In this paper we look at market crises scanning four decades, from the Bear Market of the early 1970s to recent European Union Sovereign Debt Crises.

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The Path of Initiation: The Integration of Psychological and Spiritual Development in Western Esoteric Thought

Gary Raucher

Abstract: This paper examines, from an emic stance, a strand of Western esoteric wisdom that offers a particular perspective on psycho-spiritual development in relation to spiritual emergence, the mutually interdependent evolution of consciousness and substance, and the functional role of human incarnation within our planetary life. The writings of Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949) and Lucille Cedercrans (1921-1984) serve as significant reference points in this effort. These teachings hold an integral view of human development in which a person’s awareness and self-identification progress from polarization in physical matter and sensation through progressively subtler gradients of emotional and mental experience, culminating in “The Path of Initiation,” a phase of psychological and spiritual expansions into deepening levels of transcendent, supramental consciousness and functioning. The esoteric teachings described here portray this path descriptively rather than prescriptively, and have significant parallels to Sri Aurobindo’s Integral vision. Both consider human life in form to be a vital and necessary phase within the larger cosmic evolution of consciousness and matter, and both are frameworks that expansively embrace the significance of the Divine as both immanent and transcendent presence. The important issue of epistemological methodology and the testing of esoteric assertions is also considered.

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A New Creation on Earth: Death and Transformation in the Yoga of Mother Mirra Alfassa

Stephen Lerner Julich

Abstract: This paper acts as a précis of the author’s dissertation in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. The dissertation, entitled Death and Transformation in the Yoga of Mirra Alfassa (1878-1973), Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram: A Jungian Hermeneutic, is a cross-cultural exploration and analysis of symbols of death and transformation found in Mother’s conversations and writings, undertaken as a Jungian amplification. Focused mainly on her discussions of the psychic being and death, it is argued that the Mother remained rooted in her original Western Occult training, and can best be understood if this training, under the guidance of Western Kabbalist and Hermeticist Max Théon, is seen, not as of merely passing interest, but as integral to her development.

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Traditional Roots of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga

Debashish Banerji

Abstract: Sri Aurobindo’s teachings on Integral Yoga are couched in a universal and impersonal language, and could be considered an early input to contemporary transpersonal psychology. Yet, while he was writing his principal works in English, he was also keeping a diary of his experiences and understandings in a personal patois that hybridized English and Sanskrit. A hermeneutic perusal of this text, The Record of Yoga, published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, uncovers the semiotics of Indian yoga traditions, showing how Sri Aurobindo utilizes and furthers their discourse, and where he introduces new elements which may be considered “modern.” This essay takes a psycho-biographical approach to the life of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), tracing his encounters with texts and situated traditions of Indian yoga from the period of his return to India from England (1893) till his settlement in Pondicherry (1910), to excavate the traditional roots and modern ruptures of his own yoga practice, which goes to inform his non-sectarian yoga teachings.

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The Metaphysical Instincts & Spiritual Bypassing in Integral Psychology

Bahman A.K. Shirazi

Abstract: Instincts are innate, unconscious means by which Nature operates in all forms of life including animals and human beings. In humans however, with progressive evolution of consciousness, instincts become increasingly conscious and regulated by egoic functions. Biological instincts associated with the lower-unconscious such as survival, aggressive, and reproductive instincts are well known in general psychology. The higher-unconscious, which is unique to human beings, may be said to have its own instinctual processes referred to here as the ‘metaphysical instincts’. In traditional spiritual practices awakening the metaphysical instincts has often been done at the expense of suppressing the biological instincts—a process referred to as spiritual bypassing. This essay discusses how the metaphysical instincts initially expressed as the religious impulse with associated beliefs and behaviors may be transformed and made fully conscious, and integrated with the biological instincts in integral yoga and psychology in order to achieve wholeness of personality.

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