John's blog

More Notes from the Inner Front

I looked for myself and found only God. I looked for God and found only myself.

-One of my favorite Sufi sayings  Read more »

Home for the Holidays: How Deep is Your Love?

Ken Wilber has said in talks that if you want to check the depth of your spiritual realization, go home for the holidays and see how you do. This always evokes nervous laughter from the audience, and I know from my own experience, that it is quite easy to feel at Second Tier during an Integral workshop in the presence of great teachers and other like-minded aspirants. Nothing to it. On the other hand, go home for a week (in my case it was 10 days) and see how you fare.

First of all, let me say that I adore my family, and that I got off the plane with an heroic intention of practicing loving kindness, and avoiding conversations about politics. Much to the credit of my parents, they realized this also, and we experienced only a few slips, from which we quickly recovered.

One thing I have learned is that, at least for me, there is no excuse for not practicing.  Read more »

Surfaces and Depths

One of the main insights of the great mystics, and one of the essential truths of Integral Recovery is that all suffering comes from identification with surfaces. This is not a dogma that one has to believe or buy, based on what I or anyone else is saying, this is an experiential given that one will discover as one practices and plunges again and again into the depths of one’s own being in daily contemplative and meditative practice. And yes, again, daily contemplative interior practice is an essential part of Integral Recovery practice. Someone recently defined practice as “cultivation through repetition.” This is the best short definition I think I’ve heard. What are we cultivating?  Read more »

Through the Dark Woods and Into the Light

I am working on the last few chunks of the book I am writing on Integral Recovery, and this weekend I wrote a brief bit called the “The Integral Recovery Relapse Prevention Kit.” In this piece, I wrote about the traditional AA wisdom of quickly removing yourself from the scene that is triggering the cravings, calling your sponsor, and getting to a meeting. This is good advice. But in the spirit of the Integral approach, we include this time-tested interventionand a lot more.

   Read more »

News From the Inner Front


I woke up a bit late this morning and noticed that I was feeling reluctant to do my hour’s meditation. I was feeling antsy and was tempted to make some excuse that perhaps I shouldn’t do it today. Actually, there was never a question as to whether I would meditate or not, because that is just what I do at this point; come rain, sunshine or blizzard, I do meditate. For me, practice has gone beyond a discipline and it is just what I do as an expression of my being. But today I noticed my reluctance. (I do Holosync™ binaural meditation, by the way; I am three years and two months into the process.)

For me, reluctance is always a sure sign that there is something that wants to emerge, something that I need to look at.  Read more »

The Transformational Event

Traditionally, in AA terminology, the transformational event that leads to the willingness to do the work necessary to begin the journey of recovery is called “hitting bottom.” This is when the shame, failure, and suffering caused by using drugs are simply no longer an option, no longer acceptable to the addict. The precipitating transformational motivators often come in the form of lost jobs, changed locks, criminal charges, and jail time. Bill Wilson described this as utter deflation and demoralization, which were the precipitating factors that lead to his own spiritual awakening, and eventually to the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

In many cases, if not most of the time, the motivators are of an external nature: intervention by family and friends, the law, or the boss simply leaves the suffering addict no wiggle room, and this leads to surrender and acceptance. “Okay.  Read more »

Towards a More Integral Christianity

jesusAbout three weeks ago, I attended a workshop on Integral Christianity at the Boulder Center for Integral Living in Boulder, Colorado. This center is housed in a former church building (with a storied past), and is the brain child of Jeff Salzman, who is an extraordinary Integral teacher in his own right (see video clips in the archives).

I attended the five-day workshop with no real expectations, but with a definite agenda of sorts. As my practice has deepened over the past few years, and as I have relaxed and looked into the vastness of my interiors, that Jesus fellow has come up as a presence, as a strange attractor. And I DO have a history.  Read more »

On Seeing Eckhart Tolle in Seattle

Eckhart Tolle 2Over the weekend I flew to Seattle with my wife Pam to see Eckhart Tolle. I felt a lot of consternation about the time, effort and expense of the visit, but we stay with Pam’s sister and husband and their two wonderful little kids when we are in town, and that’s always great, and besides Seattle rocks. But all this to see Eckhart Tolle?  Read more »

An Integral Casa Blanca

I was in Boulder, Colorado, two weeks ago. I was there on Integral Recovery business and had the opportunity to meet with Robb Smith, David Riordan, Marco Morelli, and Jeff Salzman. All of these folks are extraordinary individuals in their own right, and are part of the present arising of this Integral wave. Someday they will be part of the history of this luminescent birthing of Integral consciousness.

All births are messy and bloody and chaotic—that is the nature of evolution, creativity, and new beginnings. I spoke with one delightful woman, Nomali Perera, who was a veteran of the creation of the Integral Institute from it's earliest formulations. I told her how grateful I was for the work that she and the others had done at Integral Naked and Integral Spiritual Center.  Read more »

San Damiano: More Learnings from Assisi

I am home again, and still in the process of metabolizing and assimilating our sojourn to Europe. Again I am brought back to Assisi… During our stay there (Pam and me), I took a walk to visit the ancient church San Damiano (a church so old it was falling down in Francis’ time) that Francis/Francesco had rebuilt with his own hands.

San Damiano’s Chapel where I meditatedThe story goes that Francesco was praying before the altar of the then-falling-down San Damiano. As Francesco looked at the crucifix before the altar, it seemed to speak to him and said something to the effect of, “Francesco, my Church is falling down. It needs to be rebuilt.” Francesco, at first taking this message literally, immediately set out with great passion to rebuild San Damiano.  Read more »

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