John's blog

The Addiction Worm

The Worm's Waking
There is a worm addicted to eating grape leaves.
Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it Grace, whatever,
something wakes him, and he is no longer a worm.
He is the entire vineyard, and the orchard too,
the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that does not need to devour.

This poem by Rumi is so good that it doesn't need any comment, but that has never stopped me before! 

It became clear to me early on in the evolution and development of Integral Recovery that the agenda (Yes, I do have an agenda!) was not merely sobriety but waking up (and staying awake). And what I have found is that with the beautiful practices, technologies, and wisdom brought together under the aegis of Integral Recovery, this awakening is not only desirable but imminently possible.  Read more »

A Gift from Christmas

This Christmas, I found myself at home in Teasdale, Utah with a house (and guest house) full of mostly new faces, one of whom was detoxing off a heavy mix of drugs and alcohol.  Welcome to my world. A new Integral Recovery intensive was in its first week. I had to cancel my almost yearly Christmastime visit to my weird, wacky family, all of whom I love and who are delightful in their own ways but often a couple of levels apart on the good old dynamic Spiral, or whatever developmental map we are using this week. It makes for interesting conversations, both spoken and avoided. I have as yet to take the bait in the "Obama is the Anti-Christ" challenge.

Anyway, I was working in my office and my charges had gone on a hike to Lion's Head, a red rock wonderland about a mile and a half from my door. I was drowsy and decided to take a nap. When I awoke, I was in a deep funk.  Read more »

Integral Recovery and Shadow Work: The Recovery of Spirit

In the unfoldment of the work that is Integral Recovery, the Shadow and its releasing and transmutation have become ever more one of the chief cornerstones of the building. First, what is Shadow? It is that which is in the darkness, which either through conscious thought or unconsciously has been relegated to the realms of the unseen, unheard, and unknown. This unconscious material can be good stuff, bad stuff, or indifferent; pre-personal, personal, or transpersonal; individual or collective. This realm of darkness contains our greatest gifts and our greatest sins and curses, and unlocking the doors that bar these hidden aspects of ourselves is the key to our survival, transformation, and continued evolution. In and through the Shadow lie our unique selves, our true faces, and recovery of the Spirit. Diving into this realm seems completely counter-intuitive and contrary to all common sense.  Read more »

Shadow (Again!)

In a recent conversation with my friend Rabbi Marc Gafni, he said something to the effect that "shadow is the part of your life that you have not lived." And I thought to myself, "There goes Marc again, a Seven on the Enneagram, putting a happy spin on things."  Read more »

A Sense of Sin

It seems that lately in my practice (or perhaps it has always been so), as I approach the depths of my being, the inner light, God, what have you, I hit a thick layer of self-loathing, where my failures, imperfections, and neurotic conditioning-or to use the Christian language, my sinful nature or my sins-all become very apparent. As I approach the light of the rising inner sun, all the crap on my windshield becomes oh so very apparent. At that point, my prayer runs along the lines of "Oh, my God, forgive me!" Tears come to my eyes and I want to bury my head in shame. The clear light of God seems to call me to repentance for my blindness, lack of Love, on and on, and makes me cry out in my heart for forgiveness. If I don't run or shut down at this point, out of fear and self-loathing, all my crap, conditioning, sins, and ego begin to be transluced by the Light and I am healed, forgiven (always have been), and the Father and I are not two.  Read more »

Depression: My Disease

While most of my work and writing in the last few years has focused on chemical dependency and addiction, my personal struggle and life-threatening illness has been depression. When I say depression, I am not talking about a case of the blues or being bummed out for a bit, but mind-crushing, soul-crushing hell. A pit so deep, a place so dark, that death beckons like a lover and the promise of non-existence offers a final hope. My struggle for life went on for a decade. During this time, hope was lost and I felt useless to myself, God, and others. Though my deepest prayer and desire was to find a path of service, the end was approaching and I had no strength left to hold on.  Read more »

Confronting the Collective Shadow

I am nearing the end of my almost 4-week journey in Europe. As I write this, I am on a train from Berlin headed for Amsterdam, which will be the last leg of my trip before I fly back to the U.S. in four days. The time has been so rich in connections and learning that it will take a while for me to digest it all, but let me start with one of the main themes that emerged. 

The purpose of the trip was to teach and talk about Integral Recovery, with some extra time between talks and workshops to see if God had any other things in mind. As usual, She did. One of the first things that struck me was the amazing transformation of Germany and Europe since the end of the second WW, some 67 years ago. The transformation has been enormous - even since I was here as a soldier in the U.S. Army some 27 years ago. Europe is at peace, united and prosperous, and far ahead of us in the production of clean, renewable energy.  Read more »

Practice, Damn It! Practice!

I am writing from the train station in Berlin, nearing the halfway mark in my month long trip to Germany. It seems like I have been gone from Utah much longer than 2 weeks. I have felt lonely at times, but the depths of the experience have more than compensated for the occasional bouts of homesickness, for my wife, my community, the wonder of the Wayne County landscape, and the dog that I don’t have :( Be that as it may, maybe I can share some of the impressions and learnings that I am seeing and processing. 

 Read more »

The Buddha Didn’t Need no Stinkin’ Holosync®

I wanted to write a few words about the use of binaural brain entrainment technology (specifically Holosync® technology) for enhanced meditation, shadow work, and brain transformation. There seems to be some controversy, albeit small controversy, regarding its use. There’s the argument that goes something like this: Well, Buddha didn’t have Holosync®, which makes using Holosync® seem like cheating. There is also the idea that perhaps Holosync® is addictive. Or, there is the argument that if you use Holosync® to achieve very profound brainwave states, it’s not natural; you should be able to do it on your own.

To the first argument, I would say that the Buddha probably didn’t use 97% of the technologies that we use today. Okay.  Read more »

Sitting in the Fire

Here is a technique that I have been using for over three years in my personal work and also shared with clients and students and watched them use it with great success. I call it “Sitting in the Fire.” While I arrived at this technique semi-independently, I have found similar examples of this particular method blossoming all over the world and it is certainly echoed in ancient meditative and contemplative traditions. This makes me feel that I am in some way connected to a larger field of conscious emergence, and that feels pretty good.

I won’t get into a scholarly diatribe on the different versions of this technique, but will focus on the technique itself. (Okay, I’ll name a few: Buddhism, Contemplative Christianity, Christian Meyer, The Sedona Method, Ken Wilber, et al. I hope I didn’t miss anyone. Love you all.)

Let me give a simple, hypothetical example of how this works.  Read more »

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