Posts Tagged ‘religion’

As I write this, cities in many countries are being torn apart because the followers of conventional religious practice are at war with one another. Islam versus Judaism in Palestine. Sunni versus Shia in Iraq. Hinduism versus Christianity in India. Atheism versus Buddhism in China.

These stories grab the headlines, because in most cities of the world, conventional religions – from all faith systems – keep alive a storyline that those who follow its dogma are saved and those who do not are damnable. In this way the clash of religions and cultures is kept alive and inflamed. The practice of conventional religions offers faith in the one right way, but no hope for a way that embraces the essential life-giving teachings that lie at the core of each religion.

Symbols of World Religions

Symbols of World Religions


Dr. Roger Walsh, at IEC drew a picture of religion with a large enough circle of compassion that it transcended and included the best of conventional and post-conventional religions, to create religion that is transconventional.

Transconventional religion does not perpetuate the old story but instead offers what Walsh called a “psycho-technology”.  This psycho-spiritual technology transforms the mind and consciousness using the methodologies developed by the saints and sages who created the fundamentals of religious practices everywhere.

At the heart of these technologies are contemplative practices that are expressions of a mature religion that can effectively mature those who practice its disciplines and precepts.

Psycho-technologies like these, tame, transform and transcend practitioners in ways that impact the community psychologically, biologically, culturally and socially (in other words, with  an integral intelligence). These transconventional practices liberate practitioners from being “reactors” in the old stories ( that depend on religious hierarchies who command the one right way through power and dogmas) and release them into direct intuitive wisdom.

Cities using an integral framework to understand and embrace its multitude of religions and cultures and create conditions and habitats that attract and promote transconventional religion(s). Examples like the Parliament of World Religions, the Dalai Lama’s Mind and Life Institute and even the democratic practice of separating church and state, show us how powerful transconventional religious practice can impact the quality of life for all citizens. The simplest form of teaching children contemplation, meditation or mindfulness can sow the seeds of tolerance, acceptance of differences and the basis for “essential spiritual practice”.

In his book Essential Spirituality, Walsh sets out 7 essential spiritual practices that can optimize integral impact:

1. Transform our motivation. By shifting what motivates us from egocentric concerns to ethnocentric, then worldcentric to kosmocentric we expand our circles of compassion.

2. Live ethically. Our practices must be filled with the integrity that respects that our practices must not prevent others’ practices must and none must harm the other.

3. Develop concentration. Being able to focus our attention with intention enables us to mature from one stage to the next, progressively growing our capacity.

4. Develop emotional maturity. The studies of EQ (emotional intelligence) over the last 20 years has revealed that it lies at the heart of a spectrum of intelligences that starts with PQ (physical intelligence), leads to IQ (intellectual intelligence) and flowers into SQ (spiritual intelligence).

5. Refine awareness. Waking up to the world around us through all our senses brings us more fully alive and more fully appreciative of Life itself.

6. Seek Wisdom. All religious belief systems hold universal wisdom in their precepts. Understanding that the Wisdom continuously unfolds and teaches us at a deeper level, is the challenge that transconventional religion can help us meet.

7. Be of Service. The Buddhist Bodhisattva vow proposes that the highest path of enlightenment is to be of service to everyone, so all may become enlightened. The vow of service in the Integral City is embedded in the Master Code. Take Care of Self. Take Care of Others. Take Care of this Place.

As Walsh, underlined at IEC in Budapest, we can help our troubled cities (and the world) by making choices that foster transconventional psycho-technologies (aka religions that serve the vitality of life everywhere ).






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Integral City how do I capture your spirit? Map 5 gives us a glimpse into the spiritual energy of love, that is ever-present in the Human Hive, as we live on the edge of evolution.

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Where is it possible to sense the spirit of a city? Is it in the quiet of a chapel, or the chanting on a prayer mat? Is it from a vista that discloses the miracle of light and form that is the city at night? Is it while doing good deeds in the service of those in need? Or is it in the tumult and din of a play-off game for our favourite sport?

Of course, spirit is expressed in all of these ways because spirituality is a universal life force that cycles through existence as an involutionary and evolutionary impulse (Wilber, 1995). The first stage of the cycle, called involution, originates at the non-dual “source” that lies at the centre of existence where it descends from the invisible to the visible; from the immanent to that which is presenced; from the unmanifest source to manifest “re-sources”. The second stage of the cycle, called evolution, attracts all creation back to source so that it ascends from the manifest to the source; from the visible to the invisible; from gross physical bodies to subtle and causal energy fields to non-dual source. Spirituality is not outside of city creation but embedded in it as the source, flowing through it as energetic fields and manifest in its emergent re-sources (Hamilton, 2012).

James Lovelock has called humans Gaia’s Reflective Organ. I take his insight one step further and suggest that cities are the actual organs and individuals are cells within it.

As Reflective Organs we may know spirituality (or God) in all four quadrants of our integral reality (reflected in Integral City Map 1) as: spiritual experience (UL) ; action flow state (UR); collective ecstasy or ethos (LL); and collective creation (LR). Spirituality is also an UL and LL intelligence (or line) that is capable of growing from ego to ethno to world to kosmic levels of development for individuals and cultures. As well (paradoxically), it is the Absolute source of stillness at the centre of existence (Map 1) and the Relative evolutionary impulse that drives all city manifestation (Maps 2, 3, 4).

The city as spiritual container holds not only the spiritual lives of citizens at three scales (Self, Culture and Nature), but also the artefacts of spiritual expression including all the systems, structures and infrastructures within the LR built city. Ironically, although we tend to point at the physical cathedrals, mosques and synagogues as centres of spiritual life, in fact these are mere expressions of the mystical “soul” of the city in all its built form and business.  But it is this very busy-ness that incites people to seek the Space, Place and Grace in a spiritual refuge where coherence can emerge from the over-stimulation of the senses, and spiritual reconnection can occur.

As the city matures through the exchange of energy between spiritual Source and Re-Source a spiritual energy Field emerges. Evidence about spiritual behaviors, attitudes, shared practices and systems, suggest that a field effect is emerging in the city (McTaggart, 2001; Sheldrake, 1988). The field probably arises because the city as container causes the multiplicity of chaotic exchanges (Map 3) within and across holons and social holons to converge into patterns that sustain. A kind of “spiritual groove” becomes carved in the energetic field, that through repetition reinforces itself.

Finally, when we admit all three faces of God (expressed as the Master Code) as the essence of spirit in the city, we make room for an ever evolving field of spirituality.

The perennial values that all spiritual wisdoms share appear to contribute to the human hive as a Reflective Organ. Spiritual guides see Beauty, Goodness and Truth as core values that imbue spiritual life at all expressions of Self, Culture and Nature (DeKay, 2011, p. xxvii; McIntosh, 2007, p. 300; Wilber, 2007, p. 70).

Within an integral frame these values co-arise and their interior and exterior modes seem to cross-connect and rotate or even interchange as they stimulate multiple routes to the emergence of Grace, Place and Space. In tracing the cycle of spirituality in the human hive, we come to a final spirituality map that reveals Grace, Place and Space as outcomes from the dynamic interconnections of Beauty, Goodness and Truth. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the integration of these core spiritual values is apprehended as the meta-value of Love in all the horizontal and vertical zones of the Integral City (as illustrated in Map 5)?

The Source Zone of city spirituality exists as the Absolute, ever-present non-dual infinite ground of spiritual abundance. Here the core value of Beauty may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Appreciation and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Expression. This results in the spiritual outcome of Grace.

The Field Zone of city spirituality arises through the subtle and causal memory patterns created by evolutionary spiritual practise. Here the core value of Goodness may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Stillness and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Service. This results in the spiritual outcome of Place.

At the Resource Zone of city spirituality emerges the relative manifest qualities of the evolutionary container of the human hive. Here the core value of Truth may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Learning and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Teaching and Construction. This results in the spiritual outcome of Space.

Integral City how do I not just capture your spirit – but embrace it?? Map 5 suggests Love is the spiritual pulse through which Gaia’s Reflective Organ makes:

Grace – In Taking Care of Yourself.
Place – In Taking Care of Each Other.
Space – In Taking Care of This City.


DeKay, M. (2011). Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives. London, UK: Earthscan.
Esbjörn-Hargens, S., & Zimmerman, M. (2009). Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Hamilton, M. (2011). Integral Spirituality in the Human Hive: A Primer Trialog. Retrieved from http://www.integralcity.com/wiki.html
Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia As Seen Through the Atmosphere, Atmospheric Environment, (Vol. vol. 6, p. 579).
Lovelock, J. (2009). The Vanishing Face of Gaia. New York: Harmony Books.
McIntosh, S. (2007). Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: How the Integral Worldview is Transforming Politics, Culture and Spirituality. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House.
McTaggart, L. (2001). The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe. New York: Harper Perennial.
McTaggart, L. (2011). The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us. New York: Free Press.
Sheldrake, R. (1988). The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (1995 ed.). Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press.
Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, Ecology and Spirituality: the spirit of evolution. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Wilber, K. (2001). Marriage of Sense and Soul. New York: Random House.
Wilber, K. (2006). Integral Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Wilber, K. (2007). The Integral Vision. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.

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