We can optimize the impact of Integral City Work when we come from our direct experience and bring contemplative wisdom into the mainstream. Roger Walsh‘s Optimizing Guidelines (delivered at IEC), suggested that we transmit to others, our deepest inner experience and deepest contemplative wisdom we have learned from the Masters.

Students Learning from Master at Izhevsk Cathedral, Udmurtia, Russia

Students Learning from Master at Izhevsk Cathedral, Udmurtia, Russia

Three practices can support us in optimizing from direct experience and deep wisdom:

1. We can imbibe wisdom.

From where?  From whom? We must follow the energy of the wisdom that calls us, speaks to us, and even “marinates us” so that we are inspired to transmit it to others. Lev Gordon at ARGO (Association of City Development) in Izhevsk, Russia is a good example. He affirmed to me on my recent visit, that he responded well to our injunction “to follow the energy” because it allowed him and his team to access their highest callings and focus on thriving. That’s why ARGO set out to create, Urbanfest, as the first citizen-initiated conference on city development in Russia.

2. We can master the concepts and the language of the community we are trying to talk to.

Within the Integral City Community of Practise, Beth Sanders stands as an exemplar of Engaging the 4 Voices of the City. She has mastered the language of city planning through her education, her service to the profession (serving as Treasurer of Canadian Association of Planners, and Past-President of the Alberta Professional Planning Institute) and her ongoing community meshworking practise. As a result, her skills for going “where angels fear to tread” in public consultation meetings, build new bridges, confront old conflicts and open new options in cities all across Canada.

3. We can translate contemplative wisdom into concepts and languages that communities understand

Aha! Insights (aka BFO = Blinding Flash of the Obvious) are usually the most simple and obvious points when we hear others repeat back to us in their own words what we have said. An early example for Integral City came from Dr. Robin Wood, Founder of Thriveability Foundation, who was the first person to review Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Instead of simply citing the 12 intelligences, he summarized them into 5 easy groups: Contexting Intelligences, Individual Intelligences, Collective Intelligences, Strategic Intelligences and Evolutionary Intelligences. For me that was an Aha! and BFO all combined into one – because I felt understood AND now I had new, simpler language to talk to others about ideas that they can easily understand. Robin translated the contemplative integral wisdom behind Integral City into “business-speak”.  Beth translates it into “community-planner-speak”. Lev translates it into “citizen-speak”.


… deep bows to Roger Walsh,who is a Master of living his injunctions to learn from the Masters and translate meaning to others out of deep personal experience.