This talk was originally presented by Max Warren at our June 16 Father’s Day service at Straub Park in St. Petersburg.
Whenever he hurts himself, my seven year old son comes running to my wife and I with a death grip on his injury. He won’t let her touch it and he won’t let me see it.
Sometimes, in life, we act the same way with our emotions. We know we are wounded, but we are afraid to let anyone see.
My sense is that we are all, to some degree, comfortable holding the wound but are unwilling or unable to release our grip on apathy. I believe that we can find a way to see ourselves (and our fathers) with a new perspective — a perspective that is provided by an integral framework.
The last post touched on the need to move on, and to embrace Religion 2.0, moving past the familiar, antiquated concepts of “that old time religion.” Integral theory holds a unique position that is unlike classic modernity or post-modernism. Without going into too much detail on the evolution of maps from modern to integral, here is a brief thumbnail sketch.
Modernism is sometimes defined as “a socially progressive trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve and reshape their environment with the aid of practical experimentation, scientific knowledge, or technology.” Modernist philosophy concerns itself with absolutes, meta-narratives and holding a monolithic view of spirituality, life, work, and relationships. Post-modernism was by and large a knee-jerk reaction to the ideology of modernism, which it essentially saw as a box. Post-modernist thinkers have questioned the certainties of absolutism, have declared that we’ve lost the meaning in the very words we speak, and that we must deconstruct this box. For the most part, post-modernists have blown up, torn down and ridiculed all that modernism brought to us as a global culture. In short, they view it as worthless. An integral lens appreciates the validity of all the perspectives along the way (including previous pre-conventional and mythic stages) and sees them as a holarchy that transcends and includes each previous level.
I want to share a quote from Richard Rohr’s book Adam’s Return that I think succinctly expresses what authentic, transcendent, integral spirituality looks like. Rohr states that “healthy religion always finds God in the present much more than in the past. The past is only to create a runway for us so we have some communal assurance that ours is a valid experience.”
This rich and ever-present approach to spirituality demonstrates the most validity by moving us past pet doctrines, divisive arguments and entrenched ignorance. If we look through this integral lens, we will find within all the the great wisdom traditions the “esoteric” core beneath the “exoteric” trappings. And by looking beyond the “letter of the law” that can, at times, serve only to isolate and kill, we may find the wellspring of a living Spirit — alive in every experience.