Joanne Hunt and Laura Divine - Integral Coaching. Part 4: The Flavors of Presence
September 23, 2009 14:55

Integral Coaching. Part 4: The Flavors of Presence
Joanne Hunt, Laura Divine, and Ken Wilber
Written by CoreyWdeVos


In the final installment of Joanne, Laura, and Ken's dialogue, they discuss the last two components of the Integral Coaching method: states of consciousness and typologies.

Topics include:

Growing Up, Waking Up - Whereas stages of consciousness are about "growing up," states of consciousness are about waking up. These states describe a very wide range of experience, but can be loosely summarized as falling into four general categories: gross waking states, subtle dreaming states, causal deep dreamless states, and nondual states that take us beyond the dichotomies of this and that, inside and outside, "me" and "not me". These states tend to carry tremendous meaning for a person, and are available at any point in a person's growth and development—through it is important to note that our states of consciousness will always be interpreted from whatever stage of consciousness a person is at when he or she has the experience.

Cultivating Presence - Integral Coaching places much emphasis upon using each element of Integral theory as a way to both "look at" as well as to "look as"—which means that states of consciousness are not just used as a way to better understand the experience of the client, but are practiced by the coaches themselves as a way to cultivate and deepen their own process of waking up. From gross to subtle to causal to nondual, each of these states bring us successively closer to this present moment, and having a practice that takes us through these different states allows the coach to become even more available to the client than she would otherwise be able.

Types of Experience - Joanne, Laura, and Ken discuss the use of typologies in coaching, which offer a way to better understand some of the general patterns in a client's behaviors, relationships, and thoughts. Integral Coaching uses two typology systems in their work: the Enneagram (which describes nine distinct personality types) and the masculine/feminine polarity, offering the coach radical insight into the personality of the client. Although we tend to maintain the same typology throughout our lives and throughout our development, we can learn to better understand and gradually loosen ourselves from these patterns, and open our minds and our hearts to even more joy and fulfillment.



The world is changing. We see it every day: economic crises, energy crises, climate change, geo-political meltdown, war, genocide, disease—it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the pressures of modern living. As you are reading this, take a moment to pause, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let's feel into the anxieties of the present moment—what does the downside of the 21st century feel like?  Can you feel the undercurrent of fear and uncertainty that has so permeated our global culture?  Can you feel the collective anxiety, the silent dread, the smog of confusion that hangs over all of our lives?  Can you feel the weight of the world pressing on your skin, muffling your heart, and suffocating your breath?  And can you feel the yearning deep within to escape the claustrophobia of our chaotic lives?

There is a good chance that, wherever you are in your own growth, you can feel this collective anxiety right away.  In fact, you may even feel it all the time, if only as a sort of background radiation hidden behind all of your day-to-day experiences.  Even if we have the intellectual capacity to pierce through this veil of anxiety and see the rich abundance behind this and every moment, our hearts are not immune to the fears and anxieties of modern life.  The world has never been so heavy—and yet, as John F. Kennedy reminded us nearly fifty years ago:

Don’t pray for easy lives.  Pray to be stronger men. [And women.]”

And we are already becoming stronger.  Even as the world is becoming more complex, it is also becoming more whole. We have opportunities for change—on both a personal and a global scale—that have never before been possible. We are being called to greatness, compelled by the very same invisible forces that pull mind out of life, life out of matter, and light out of darkness.

Habitual creatures that we are, we struggle to escape our somnolent routines. We lie awake at night, staring into the black, mulling over the opportunities for change that tomorrow will bring.  We are haunted by our thoughts—frustrated by our careers, our families, our relationships, our habits, etc.—promising to ourselves every night that, no matter what happens, tomorrow will be different.  But how often do we awaken the next morning to the very same patterns of comfort and avoidance we vowed to break the night before? How often do we spend the following night the exact same way: lamenting our failures, cursing our addictions, and wondering why it is so hard to live up to our own expectations?

You see, change is a murky affair. It is dark, mysterious, sticky—and more often than not, quite painful. Especially when you feel like you are left to your own devises, thrashing helplessly in the dark waters of human potential.

But you are not alone—and you are anything but helpless.

We can rebuild humanity. We have the knowledge, the wisdom, and the technology to build the world's first truly integral society—which begins, of course, with ourselves. We have the most comprehensive map of reality currently available, one that makes sense of virtually all of our accumulated knowledge and wisdom throughout history—and one that has the very best chance of helping us navigate the dense complexity of 21st-century living.

But of course, a map is just a map. As Ken Wilber often says, it is one thing to look at a map of Bermuda, and another thing to actually go there and see it for yourself. The map is not the territory—you are the territory. Your life is the territory; your friends and family are the territory; your whole world is the territory—and it can be easy to get lost every now and again.

At Integral Life, we don't just provide the maps we need to make sense of reality, we offer the vehicles required to support and deepen our growth. A map without a vehicle simply will not do—chances are, we will never even leave our front door.  At the same time, a vehicle without a map can be equally disastrous, as we might very well drive off a cliff. But when taken together, we begin to discern a road that brings us beyond ourselves, winding through the modern and postmodern wilderness of our hearts, leading directly to a better, stronger, and infinitely more-fulfilled you.

Integral Coaching is one of the most powerful vehicles of transformation we have seen, a highly effective means of personal growth, self-discovery, and behavior modification. Joanne Hunt and Laura Divine stand together at the intersection of self-improvement and Integral thought, and their work represents a powerful synthesis of map, territory, and vehicle that can help us all find our way to a greater tomorrow.



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