Tag: Integral Life Practice
During my research into the application of Integral Theory for cinematic media theory and practice I have been developing and experimenting with potential integrally-informed viewing practices. One practice that appears to be significantly effective for establishing an integrally-informed viewing set and setting is to do a quick check-in of dimension-perspectives while sitting in the theater, or any in any viewing space, waiting for the cinematic work to start…
Integral Cinema Set and Setting Viewing Practice:
- With eyes open or closed and sitting in a comfortable position, bring your awareness to your I-space or your inner-beingness or self-ness, feeling what it feels like to be an “I”;
- Then try to sense the WE-space between yourself and the other audience members (or if alone, you can imagine others who have or who are currently viewing the same cinematic work);
- Then bring your awareness to the IT-space or the physical reality around you, the chair or other surface you are sitting in, the floor beneath your feet, the screen in front of you, etc.;
- Then try to sense the ITS-space or the environment around you, the atmosphere of the theater or room as a whole, the air in the space, the auditory resonance of the space, etc.
- Next, bring your awareness to your physical body;
- Then try to sense your energy body, the subtle energetic field within and around you;
- Then bring your awareness to your emotional body, the subtle emotional field radiating within you;
- Then your mental body, the causal field that contains your thoughts and mental images;
- Then your witness body, imagining the ability to witness yourself from the outside of your physical, energetic, emotional and mental beingness;
- Finally try to get a sense of non-dual beingness, that part of you that is part of all that is.
With practice this process can be performed within a couple of minutes and has the potential to help you enter an inner-viewing-space that is open, lucid and aware of multiple domains.
*This practice is adapted from Integral Life Practice.
As an artist of many different mediums (film, drawing, text, photography) I can honestly say that on one level it feels like a miracle when a viewer understands my work in the way that I intended it. And there is often another miracle, when the viewer sees something in my work that I did not consciously intend, but when they speak their truth it rings true for me as well.
I have studied the language of my mediums and how each of their material elements communicate differently across cultures and societies; I have studied the psychology of how individuals perceive and view art; I have studied symbols, metaphors, and archetypes across cultures; and I have studied how different states and stages of development in the viewer and the work communicate with each other. I believe all of these are factors in how the artist communicates to the viewer.
Yet, there is also something else involved here; something I learned in the form of both direct experience and teachings from some of the masters of art I have studied with over the years…this something else is that the more a creative work comes from a deeply personal meaningful place in the artist, the more universal its meaning becomes. This is the great paradox of art and meaning; the more personal the work the more universal and the less personal the work the less universal. Actor and playwright Sam Sheppard said it beautifully when he spoke to my class at the AFI many years ago. He said that if an artist starts with a deeply human truth, one from their own experience or one from the life of another, then the work becomes universal because what is true for one human heart resonates with all other human hearts.
As a practitioner of art as an integral spiritual practice, I also see myself as a creative channel for the Divine. When I align myself with the Creative Source as the Divine Suchness, Thou and I AM, the Source speaks through me into the work and out to the viewer. From this perspective, in addition to my own personal meaning being expressed in and through the work, I believe there is a higher meaning being channeled through me and the work that I most often am not even conscious of. Sometimes I discover this meaning when a viewer shares what they received from the work; other times, years later, I discover this hidden meaning when viewing my work from a different place in my own life journey. In the end, each individual views the work from where they are at on their live journey and when a work of art is a channeled work; I believe it has the capacity to become a kind of magic mirror in which the viewer receives the message that is perfect for them at that particular moment on their life path.
From an Integral perspective, I would say that meaning in art is tetra-resonant, in that a work of art can have subjective, material, cultural, and/or social resonance. This resonance channels meaning between the work of art and the viewer, and one can gauge the general message of the art work through any and all of these resonance channels/dimensions. The more this meaning is rooted in a deep truth in any and all of these dimensions, the more universal the message becomes.
In the end, as an artist I never know for sure beforehand if my intended meaning will translate to others; I can only strive to speak the truth as I perceive and feel it and attempt to communicate it through as many resonance channels and dimensions as possible. I have found that I feel that I have communicated with the audience if I have touched them somehow, and I have come to feel that the reception of my intended meaning is not as important as the reception of the meaning that arises through the wondrous and miraculous process of channeling the creative force…
*Image: Enlightenment by Diana Calvario (dicalva)
My first inkling of an integral life came upon me when I was sitting at the bedside of my dying mother in the spring of 1993. Alzheimer’s and a severe stroke had taken their toll upon her and she could no longer see, speak, or move her body, except for small motions of her hands, head, and feet. As I sat by her side with various members of my family for several days, I had a profound mystical experience. All my years of studying many different spiritual traditions, mysteriously and automatically coalesced into a multi-tradition integrative practice of prayer, meditation, and presence that appeared to assist my mother and my whole family through the dying and grieving process, while also transforming my own heart and mind.
After this profoundly sorrowful and grace-filled experience, I began to see how each spiritual tradition I had studied had its own unique gifts and perspectives, which when put together created a more complete picture of my self, the world, and the Divine. This gave me my first real glimpse of what it means to live an Integral Life; a life that strives to engage in a wondrous evolutionary journey of ever-expanding and integrating fields of awareness, revealing higher, deeper and more expansive visions of self, others, and the world.
Integral Theory has a great practice to help open our perceptions of Source. It is called the The Three Faces of Spirit and can be found at: