Terry's Blog

The Good Medicine of Grieving and Giving Thanks

This year at Thanksgiving, many of us are in shock, still grieving what might be a horrific collective tragedy — both the presidential election, and what is about to unfold in the Trump era.

So I am writing this for those folks who are grieving, at a time normally dedicated to giving thanks, to both resonate with that grief and to suggest that in facing daunting new responsibilities as engaged activists, we may evolve to a whole new level of integrity, realizing that this is an important test in the school of life.

For me, this paradox of grieving and thanks seems appropriate to the season. Like JFK, both my father, and my spiritual teacher died during the Thanksgiving season. It has always been a holiday full of both sadness and joy, a time for gathering with loved ones in both grief and gratitude.

First, the grief
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The Evolutionary Case for Hillary

Four years ago, I launched "Integral Obama", pointing out "If there’s one thing that’s become painfully clear over the last 12 years, I think it’s this: it’s incredibly difficult to accomplish constructive change as a President, but it’s terribly easy to make disastrous mistakes."

This year you can join me and many other evolutionary leaders in declaring transpartisan support for Hillary Clinton here.

Clearly, integral evolutionaries aren't satisfied with the reductive "left-vs-right" of two party politics. And yet a dimension of practice is civic engagement. This is why I feel it’s important to voice my support for Hillary Clinton — loudly — something that has proven difficult for many.
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On Marc Gafni

On the 7th anniversary of the final transition of Adi Da Samraj

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of the final transition of Adi Da Samraj, my root-Guru, to whose Radiant Awakened Consciousness I conformed myself, as much as I could, 24/7, for fifteen years, from the age of 22 to when I was 37. What was at the Heart of that revelation, I still resonate with. I will always resonate. What I encountered is not something anyone would or could willingly "leave". I witnessed a miracle—a miracle that exceeds anything I can describe in words. Read more »

Beyond the Bypass of the Soul

I recently got back from Boulder, Colorado where I co-facilitated The Integral Living Room, a 5-day event with Diane Hamilton, Jeff Salzman, and our special guest Ken Wilber. This year’s event was A Trans-Rational Soul Initiation, and it was attended by almost 100 people.

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Part 3 of The Marriage of Science & Spirit: Negotiating the Great Pre-Nup— Zooming Out on Talking Back to Sam Harris

Wishing you a blessed winter solstice time — this is the ancient time for hunkering down, reflecting, and celebrating everything that survives the tight squeeze of “the dying of the light.” But of course, we now celebrate it as members of a global community that includes dear friends in the Southern Hemisphere for whom this is the summer solstice, so it’s a different kind of time now, one in which all our cycles must be seen in a bigger context.
 

The Marriage of Science & Spirit: Negotiating the Great Pre-Nup, Part 2: Why Sam Harris’s "Waking Up" Matters

In Part I of this series of blog posts, “The Marriage of Science & Spirit: Negotiating the Great Pre-Nup”, I pointed out that there's a dawning awareness that the coming together of rationality with spirituality, the "marriage of science and spirit" is THE big shift happening now in terms of cultural evolution—an event on the scale of the Reformation or the Enlightenment. It is the most significant intellectual and cultural event of our time and it will reshape the future of human affairs. Read more »

The Marriage of Science & Spirit: Negotiating the Great Pre-Nup, Part 1

During the last couple of weeks my inbox has been filled with eloquent emails from Deepak Chopra, Duane Elgin, Sam Harris, James O’Dea, Bruce Sanguin, Michael Dowd, Elisabet Sathouris, and many others — all about the nature of authentic “rational” or “scientific” spirituality. And I have been talking about some of these same issues with Ken Wilber, Andrew Harvey, Craig Hamilton, Duane Elgin and Rick Hanson. Hundreds of smaller conversations are ebbing and flowing — and to a certain degree, they’re all about a single, big topic.

Under the surface of things, and completely invisible to most observers, a great indirect “negotiation” is taking place — one with enormous implications for the future course of human culture.
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Courage & Generosity — and Happy Holy Days

Dear friends,

As the year has drawn toward a close, I've been navigating a deep "inward arc", a journey of increasing intimacy with my soul — a process of ever-deepening trust of life, of myself, and of emergence.  

Amidst that, two words stand out for me now:  Courage and Generosity Read more »

Is “Spirituality” Subtly Armoring Your Heart?

Over the years in my work as a teacher and practitioner, I’ve noticed that, oddly enough, personal growth and spirituality often cut both ways. Sometimes as we become more open on the levels at which we’re conscious, we can become more defended, or “armored” at the very core.

There are several ways this can happen. One is this:

The armor of insight.

Spiritual understanding is a two-edged sword.

Clearly, it’s crucially important. Spirituality is intangible and paradoxical. It’s simultaneously the domain of the deepest human meaning, inspiration and wisdom, andfull of confused ideas, wishful and magical thinking, unhealthy covert power dynamics, even abuse, and many other forms of delusion.  
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You don’t need to "believe" in God

You don’t need to “believe” in God. It isn’t even appropriate, really. When you think about it, it’s a little like “believing in” beauty, isn’t it? Belief is beside the point!

If you can see that you do not exist by your own creature power, and if you can begin to consider the alignment of your life with the unspeakable Source and Condition that is truly responsible for and ultimately identical to your very existence, then you can open to the Mystery at the heart of reality as your universal “Beloved”.

On that basis, it follows naturally to engage the spiritual practice of communion with that graceful Mystery, or God.

To Practice Communion Without Belief
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The Spiritual Practice of Conflict and the World Crisis: Diane Musho Hamilton joins Terry on Beyond Awakening

On Tuesday, August 13th, I was joined by master conflict mediator & long-time, dear friend, Diane Musho Hamilton for “What Makes Everything Workable? Exploring the Edge of Human Conflict, Communication and Connection.” Together we took a fresh perspective on conflict at all levels, from personal crisis to the global “mega-crisis.”

We launched our dialog with a summary of Diane’s soon-to-be-released book (her first!) Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution. The title is from a quote from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one her teachers, that “whatever arises in the confused mind is regarded as the path, and everything is workable”. So nothing is unworkable, or outside the realm of practice, including conflict. Read more »

Lighthearted Sobriety in Our Interesting Times

It’s worth contemplating the paradox of our immense good fortune—to have been born, in the words of the Chinese curse, “in interesting times”.

On one hand, we are the luckiest and wealthiest people who have ever lived—enjoying unprecedented wealth and ease, with plentiful delicious food, amazing art and technology, and choices—including almost unlimited information and personal mobility. What’s more, we’re awakening together into the radiant joy of free awareness, in the midst of an unprecedented spiritual renaissance! Read more »

Are you in a cult?

Are you in a cult?

Here’s the short answer: “You bet.” And, worse, it’s most likely an invisible cult!

Okay, you’re probably not a member of “a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre by the larger society”.

But you’re almost certainly a member in good standing of the Public Cult of the World, whose beliefs and practices are bizarre and abnormal by any objective healthy standard. After all, as the Dalai Lama has pointed out, in the Cult of the World you:

“…sacrifice your health in order to make money. Then you sacrifice money to recuperate your health. Then you are so anxious about the future that you don’t enjoy the present: the result being that you do not live in the present or the future; you live as if you are never going to die, and then you die having never really lived.” Read more »

"After it's too late" — the Bodhidharma Strategy Revisited

Did you know that, paradoxically, a secret key to sustainable optimism is the practice of imagining, and finding acceptance for, worst-case scenarios? This blog post is about how calmly considering terrible disasters can expand your sense of hope and empower more effective activism.

A couple of years ago, in a key blog post "Evolutionary Activism- A Bodhidharma Strategy", I pointed out that an important kind of effective activism is NOT about creating reform "before it's too late". Equally (or even more) important is positioning ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities that only appear "after it's too late"!

I was pointing to how critical windows of opportunity for more fundamental systems redesign are created by disasters and calamities.      Read more »

The Integral Obama Story, So Far

Welcome! Though the 2012 election is over, the work we set out to do with Integral Obama goes on. Please read this overview to learn more about the project. You may even want to become involved.

The Idea

In late 2011, Terry Patten created a grassroots fundraising page on the Obama-Biden website, under the title, “Integral Evolutionaries for Obama.” The stated purpose of this initiative was to invite transpartisans, integralists, evolutionaries, and spiritual practitioners to pool their donations to help re-elect President Obama, and then to join together to speak with a more influential voice to bring smart integral policy proposals to the next Administration. The intention was that the Administration be in dialogue not only with partial, special-interest perspectives but also with perspectives that are explicitly holistic, trans-partisan, integral, and spiritually informed.

Phase One Read more »

Why Should Integralists Vote for Obama?

Originally published September 7th, 2012 on Integral LIfe

Jeff Salzman and I recently discussed the Integral Obama initiative from a trans-partisan perspective on the Daily Evolver. You can access the full dialog here:

The Integral Case for President Obama

Originally posted on Integral Life, September 7, 2012

'Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.'

 — Plato

First Things First

It goes without saying that I speak here for myself, and not for Integral Life or the “integral movement” as a whole. But at the same time, I’m making a call for our movement—for YOU—to take action in specific ways, and I recognize that this may be objectionable to some who disagree with my views. I fully respect that (as you’ll see below), and I’m also grateful to Integral Life for be willing to hold the space for a truly meaningful and timely dialog to take shape around a set of political issues—and an election—that will affect us all as global citizens. As integral practitioners, I believe we are called to engage and debate and even take sides—even as we practice a meta-level integral embrace—and so I welcome a vigorous, co-creative, and respectful exchange. But at the same time, I hope to call you to action—one way or the other—and so I also urge you not to let this exchange stop at the level of theory or perspectives, but to actually get engaged!

Like you, most likely, mainstream American political discourse doesn’t speak to my sensibilities—and I’m fervently committed to raising the level of our public dialog.  That’s precisely why, even though I'd rather engage a trans-partisan politics, I recognize that the path to evolving consciousness and culture today is by leaning in as a "partisan”.

I’ve created IntegralObama.com to offer integral evolutionaries an opportunity to support the re-election of President Obama by speaking with a single voice. Why Obama, again? And why should we, as “integral evolutionaries,” pool our support? Read more »

Integral ShamWow! or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love (or at least Tolerate) the Hype [VIDEO]

Written by myself and Marco Morelli
Originally posted on Integral Revolution, April 13, 2012.

We’ve long been considering the role of marketing in the integral movement. The images, stories, values, and ideologies communicated by marketing are ubiquitous and affect us on multiple levels — some of which we’re not even aware of. As postmoderns, we’ve learned to be skeptical of all marketing and marketers. We’re reflexively suspicious, and guarded. Yet at the same time, we delight in some forms of over-the-top advertising, like Super Bowl commercials. We admire cultural wizards like Steve Jobs and the mystique he created around his products — even though we know that behind the scenes, for instance in his interpersonal brutality, and in the working conditions in the factories of some Apple suppliers, things have not always been so shiny and cool. Read more »

Occupy Integral

Posted in:

Written by myself and Marco Morelli
Originally posted on Beams & Struts, February 20, 2012.

We post this manifesto in what feels like a moment of calm before the storm. It is March 2012, just a few weeks into a year rich with social, political, and spiritual significance. In the US, of course, it's an election year, with all the media-induced madness this will spawn. According to the Chinese calendar, it's the Year of the Dragon, a symbol of dynamism and power. In the ancient Mayan calendar... well, we know about that.

The sense of calm is perhaps due to it being winter in the Northern hemisphere. But more so, it seems to be the quiescence or exhaustion following a complicated year. From revolutions in the Middle East to the Occupy protests in the US and globally, there is an upheaval brewing... and spilling over. Read more »