This is part of a series of blogs reflecting on the program of Integral Europe Conference 2023,  whose theme was Planetary Awakening 2.0. This blog introduces a Keynote  from the conference – curated in an Action Research Format – summarizing What the speaker said, So What could we take as the meaning? and Now What are options for action.

What did Nomali Perera say about – Integral: Let’s Not Vanish Into Thin Air!?

Nomali is from the East – Sri Lanka.

n 90s the death of father …he was surgeon … from back ache symptom to  diagnosis of cancer from liver … he died in 5 months.

This great personal loss led to deep grieving, and through this process she gained spirituality.

In Sri Lanka in a local library where there were few books, Nomali found 2 books …one was by Ken Wilber:  One Taste.

In a meditation centre in Colombo Sri Lanka, Nomali googled Ken Wilber (and the Book One Taste)

From this one book, Nomali gained a shelf of Wilber books.

She then moved to Boulder Colorado so she could study at Naropa University.

She met Colin Bigelow (KW’s PA) and through Colin met KW. Soon after the group started first website of Integral Naked and started offering seminars.

Fast forward to today: This IEC2023 event has sold fewer tickets than the last ICE …like the Integral Sedona event who also sold fewer than expected tickets.

What is happening?

Nomali invites us to take a critical look …do we want a succession plan [for Integral Movement]?

Integral theory offers useful tools.

But Ken Wilber is a recluse … the only time he was relatively available [to wider audience] was from 1999 to 2006 – mostly in the Boulder-Denver area.

After that serious health issues forced Wilber into being a recluse again…ICU virtually rescued Ken from death at that time … we almost lost KW.

So we (Integral Institute?) decided to make organization less KW-centric….we looked for a CEO.

We realized that we had lost the rock star that attracted Integral institute.

Since then the organization has mutated, changed, shrunk.

Integral has even felt obsolete [as the VUCA world has challenged us all].

KW predicted all this including about the impact/responses of postmodernity … he pointed out the influence of the mean green  meme … and ~Meto#, political correctness, cxl culture +++

But who were the [integral] voices we heard responding to these challenges? …Jordan Peterson and the Dark Web.

The Integral movement was mute.

The Voices we are hearing are not Integral messages/messengers.

In age of likes shares, tweets, retweets, tik toks … it is hard to keep up.

We hear some critics/criticisms from startups.

But our original Integralists are dying – we see the deaths of many: like Father Thomas Keating, Don Beck, Terry Patten etc

Ken has also slowed down and is aging …. We are witnessing the aging of the Integral community…so we must take some stock.

How do we come together … for life giving and life ending?

Our responses to the world are not inclusive enough – that is a recurring mistake.

Who knows Rebel Wisdom…Daniel Schmactenburger? … the Metamoderns? [a few hands for each].

How can we commit to the beautiful message of Integral? Both in responses that centralise AND decentralise?

How can we celebrate with others?

How can we strengthen Integral community…breathe in out?

It is good to see younger faces in Europe  IEC 2023.

Nomali uses polarity management as Integral life practice.

Don’t get stuck …look at options through polarity lenses.

So what could this mean?

Nomali has identified the demographics of the early Integralists. The aging of the originators – especially Ken Wilber – rightfully asks us to consider if we have a “succession plan”?

Perhaps Nomali is seeing more Integral movement from American fulcrum and the visit to Europe reveals younger cohorts of Gen X, Y, Z?

As a movement Integral is not centralised. IMO (Marilyn Hamilton) the decentralised nature of Integral has great value. But Nomali asks: How can we build both on the centralised “loose structures” that exist (like the Integral Institute and Integral Hungary) as well as the many decentralised structures in emergence (like Indra Adnan’s Alternative UK/Planet 4 incubators,  Integral City, The Hague Centre, Living Cities.Earth, Integrales Forum, IFIS, Ubiquity U, etc)?

As a movement Integral does not easily integrate AQAL and often marginalizes significant expressions like Spiral Dynamics (who also lost its 2 Founders in the last few years).

Is it possible Integral gets stuck in the flatness of the AQAL model, forgetting its basis of consciousness and biological/social expression that give Integral vertical Aliveness? This is a message/worldview that Integral City Meshworks  and Living Cities.Earth have continuously emphasized from the beginning.

Others at the conference dove into the Shadows of Integral that Nomali points to (including Cindy Lou Golin’s Shadow Playbook). Throughout the IEC 2023 conference I heard ongoing reference to these shadows – including the marginalization of people of colour, women, global South/East, hierarchical power.

Is it possible that the Integral Movement is not equally distributed? That means the trajectory of waking, growing, opening, cleaning, showing up are at different stages around the world – and we need to be sensitive not to connect the dots with the assumption of one approach/strategy for all?

Now what can we do?

Here are 3 possible actions/responses we can take to ensure Integral: Does Not Vanish Into Thin Air!

  1. Go back to prior IEC2020 recommendations from Roger Walsh – how to translate and apply your work in an Integral Way.
  2. Consider that the Integral City GPS opens up the multiple intelligences of cities – including Meshworking so that we can align the differing stages to which our work/life worlds are connected to enable resonant, coherent, emergent strategies and developments (for succession and other issues/challenges).
  3. Translate the classic Integral Map into the 5 variations developed by Integral City Meshworks so you can gain insights into relationships, Micro-Meso-Macro Scales, organizational structures and spiritual/evolutionary impulses.