Which Is It?

Which Is It? July 2, 2012

Why is it that religion is such a complex, confusing and polarizing force in the world? How could something that, on the one hand, teaches so much love and life be, on the other hand, the cause of so much destruction?

Integral Vision pp.. 105-108

This quote begins the Spiritual but Not Religious section of the first book to buy if you are interested in exploring Integral Theory. I use the quote to introduce the next aspect of the Integral Framework, levels of development because understanding levels helps answer this critical question. So much has been written of late on this topic. From the NY Time’s best sellers to Newsweek Magazine, our religious traditions are being maligned. One day’s glance at the newspaper confirms the authors’ focus on the polarizing force religion both here in the US and all around the world.

I want to scream each time I see a new book or an magazine article . . .  IT’S NOT THE RELIGION, IT’S THE STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIVIDUALS WITHIN THE TRADITION! Once again, it’s the perspective that needs to be understood. But I get ahead of myself.

When I introduced quadrants, the first aspect of the integral framework, I told the story of Wilber’s discovery that the numerous lines of development researched over the years could be divided into four quadrants. In other words, researchers were exploring all four areas that comprise our experience. One of the great benefits of Wilber’s capacity to synthesize is the way in which he compared the key elements of the various lines. Today the major lines of development . . . moral, cognitive, emotional, spiritual, ego, values, worldview, needs, somatic . . . can be compared to each other because of Wilber’s synthesizing genius. He capped off his exploration by using the colors of the rainbow as markers so that each developmental line can be compared. In addition each color or altitude has a brief description. This description gives a center of gravity. While  individuals don’t develop lockstep up each developmental line, our center of gravity is the place on the spiral of development where one generally resides.

In my second post I listed five common ways the term spiritual is used. I described one way in previous posts. In this next usage, spiritual is used to describe someone whose level of development is high. In this case the one who is spiritual has a more developed “center of gravity.” This leads us to the conclusion that people, whose center of gravity is lower, may not interpret well or follow the wisdom of their religious tradition. And therein lies the problem. One whose center of gravity emphasizes power, aggression and draw their circle of care around only those who believe as they do are naturally going to interpret their sacred texts differently than one whose center of gravity is marked by the capacity to see multiple ways of reality and whose circle of care embraces all people and the environment. More on this in my next post, but for now, listening for my screaming!



























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