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April 23, 2022

Integral Spirituality: Everything You Need to Know


Integral Spirituality contains charts of more than 100 different developmental systems, which can be found, and what is really amazing about them is that you can see something similar to these same six to eight major stages in the vast majority of them. There are many different multiple intelligences or developmental lines that exist, and they all grow and advance through a series of fundamentally comparable developmental stages that are common to all humans.

These are some of the most fundamental components of the human psyche. When we return to the first type of spiritual engagement, the narrative belief system, we discover that this type of religion places a strong emphasis on spiritual intelligence as a means of guiding people through the process of growing up. However, the most popular of these religions do not rank particularly high in terms of their contributions to society.

Spiritual intelligence is defined as our ability to think about, picture, view, or conceive of ultimate reality in our thoughts, pictures, views, or conceptions. Scholars such as Paul Tillich and James Fowler refer to it as our ‘ultimate concern,’ or how we perceive and relate to it. Are you ready to unlock the integral life practice that has such a tremendous influence on your life?

We’ve got you covered! In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • Integral Spirituality in the Modern and Postmodern World
  • Religion in the Modern World and the World’s Religions
  • Spiritual Development of Integral Framework
  • Spiritual Traditions in a highly acclaimed integral approach

What is Integral Spirituality Development for you?

This religion, a belief system in spiritual development, can be contrasted with the second major style of spirituality, waking up. This entails direct spiritual experience that leads to immediate illumination, awakening, or change. Despite their close association, these are definitely two distinct forms of spirituality and this leads to many crucial implications.

This means that practically all major religions’ narratives can go beyond the magical or legendary stage. Archaic, magic, mythic, rational, pluralistic, integral, super integral. There is an archaic, a magical, a mythic, a rational approach to ultimate reality. Most major faiths today are stuck in magic and myth. But they don’t have to be stuck there.

There are multiple greater levels of spiritual intelligence open to them, and there are individuals at these higher levels in every major faith. In truth, actual studies like James Fowler’s monumental study of stages of Christian belief plainly reveal that there are persons at every level of spiritual intelligence.

Other research has reached similar outcomes for religions such as Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. The evidence for these developmental phases is overwhelming. They include Amazonian jungle tribes, Australian aborigines, Mexican workers, and folks from India. No noteworthy exceptions have been observed yet.

Levels of the Integral Spirituality Development

The majority of people, at least in the Western world, consider religion to be a narrative belief framework. Their perception of it is almost exclusively confined to its magical and mythic levels or stages, which is consistent with the fact that orthodox religion has stayed mostly unchanged for the majority of its history. Christianity will be used as an example to illustrate each of these stages as a religion in the modern world.

Again, there are published examples of these same fundamental underlying structure stages in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other faiths, while the surface elements of those religions have been altered to fit their respective cultures. Look at the stages of development as they emerge in the spiritual line or spiritual intelligence as it is expressed in the Christian tradition which has such a tremendous influence in the modern and postmodern world.

The Magical Level of Integral Spirituality

Magic Christianity is Christianity at its most basic stage or level, which is beyond archaic and which only a small number of adults possess. When you believe in magic, you believe that your unique self has the ability to magically transform reality simply by thinking about it or executing simple rituals. The distinction between the self and the environment is not yet evident.

As a result, an image of an object and the actual object are frequently confused and fused together. Manipulating the picture is the same as manipulating the item. Voodoo is a magical religion that has been around for a long time. Create a doll that is a representation of a real person. When you poke a pin into the doll, the actual person is magically injured.

In other circumstances, you can perform a rain dance, and nature will be magically pushed to rain as if you were the one who triggered it. Walking on water, resurrecting the dead, changing water into wine, curing sicknesses, and other supernatural occurrences are common in Christian beliefs, including healing.

It is important to note that we are not referring to true paranormal phenomena or siddhis, which are extremely rare yet can occur in some situations. We’re talking about the developmental stage known as narcissistic word magic, which is the first step of magical development. When this happens, it means that there isn’t enough differentiation between the symbol representing a thing and the object itself. Because of this, manipulating the symbol is equivalent to manipulating the real thing.

Mythic Literal Level of Integral Spirituality

James Fowler calls the next higher developmental stage, mythic Christianity, mythic literal. It believes the bible is literally and historically true, and that it is God’s absolute and unerring message. So Jesus was a biological virgin. Elijah did really ride into heaven in his chariot while alive. Earth was truly created in six days. Lazarus was truly resurrected. So on. Doubt is a deadly sin that might place you in hell.


The legendary identity expands from egocentric to ethnocentric. Egocentric means being self-centered and only concerned with oneself. One’s main concern is one’s own organism. Self-protective or self-expanding magic is favored by the egotistical But egocentrics can’t see the world from another’s perspective or walk a mile in their boots.

It cannot, as developmentalists say, play the other. The egocentric child will cover his head behind a pillow, thinking that nobody can see him. It thinks everyone understands its mumblings. But as one’s self boundary grows and extends, one’s identity shifts from self to the group. ‘Me’ becomes ‘us,’ as the egocentric shift occurs.

Ethnocentrism believes in the predominance of one’s own race, color, sex, or belief. It has a strong ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. Infidels, unbelievers, and non-believers who worship the wrong god or erroneous style of integral spirituality are referred to as ‘them’.

Rational Modern and Post-Modern World of Integral Spirituality

The next major level’s name is reasonable. Do not be misled by the phrase! It’s not dry, logical, or mathematical. It simply means the ability to perceive things from a bigger perspective— extending love, compassion, and perspectives. The egocentric first stage can only view the self. Ethnocentric extends its perspectives. It can view things from another’s perspective and walk a mile in their shoes, but only within one’s own ethnic group, race, nationality, religion, etc.

The level of rationality or reason can be viewed from afar. It can imagine all humanity’s perspectives. For this reason, it seeks to treat all individuals equally regardless of ethnicity or religion. A big part of the Western enlightenment believed in the ‘universal rights of man and soon woman.’ That is, all human rights, not just Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, or Hindu rights. This wasn’t an ethnocentric vision; it was a global one because all humans deserved the same basic rights.

The Postmodern World of Integral Spirituality

The pluralistic or postmodern level can take a fourth-person perspective, while the rational or modern level can take a third. This implies it may consider third-party opinions, including science, and draw conclusions. For example, strictly universal truths, as claimed by science, are overly rigid or exclusive of other truths.

Each culture has its own truths, and we must be cautious in judging who has the true or superior view. In truth, there is no one valid view for most variations of this postmodern pluralistic level. Rather, every viewpoint is relative or pluralistic, based on a variety of elements and settings, thus what is true for one culture may not be true for another.

Both can be correct, even if they differ. We must tread carefully while reaching this postmodern level because it tends to overstate its results. Many social commentators have recently highlighted this. Postmodern pluralism does acts it says cannot or should not do. Postmodernism, for example, contends that all knowledge, from science to poetry, is socially generated and interpreted, not universal.

Postmodernism believes this applies to all civilizations, everywhere, at all times. That is, it claims universal truth, while there are no universal truths. There is no superior opinion, yet it feels its views are superior to all others. Postmodernists must be wary of self-contradiction.

The Levels of Developmental and psychodynamic psychology in Integral Spirituality

Integral Theory is founded on Ken Wilber’s AQAL (pronounced “ah-qwul”). It proposes that all human knowledge and experience may be organized into a four-quadrant grid, with the axes of “interior-exterior” and “individual-collective” running through it. In Wilber’s opinion, it is one of the most complete views of reality, serving as a metatheory that aims to explain how academic fields, as well as every type of knowledge and experience, fit together logically.

It is based on four fundamental concepts and one rest category: four quadrants, several levels and pathways of growth, several states of awareness, and “types,” which are themes that do not fit into the four fundamental concepts. AQAL is divided into four categories: The phases of development range from pre-personal to personal to transpersonal, and are denoted by the term “levels.”

“Lines” refer to development lines, which are the numerous domains of development that may progress in a haphazard manner, with several stages of development in existence at different domains. “States” are states of consciousness; according to Wilber, people might have a terminal experience that corresponds to a higher developmental stage in their lives.

For phenomena that don’t fit into the previous four ideas, there is a fifth category called “Types.” Wilber believes that a complete description of the universe must include each of these five categories in order for it to be considered complete. According to Wilber, only such a representation can be truly referred to as “integral.”

In the article “Excerpt C: The Ways We Are in This Together,” Wilber refers to AQAL as “one suggested architecture of the Kosmos,” which he explains as “one suggested architecture of the Kosmos.” At the summit of the model is formless awareness, which is equated with a variety of “ultimates” from a variety of eastern traditions.

This formless awareness transcends the phenomenal world, which is ultimately just an appearance of some transcendental reality. In Wilber’s view, the AQAL categories—quadrants; lines; levels; states; and types—describe the relative reality of Buddhism’s teaching of the two truths, which is described as follows:


#1: Holons

Wilber’s model is composed of separate building blocks known as holons. Wilber adapted the concept of holons from Arthur Koestler’s description of the vast chain of being, which was a medieval explanation of levels of being at the time of the invention. The term “holon” refers to the fact that everything and concept is both an independent entity and a hierarchical component of a bigger whole.

For example, a cell in an organism is both a complete unit in and of itself and, at the same time, a component of another complete unit called the organism. The same is true for letters, which are both independent entities and integral parts of a word, which is then part of a sentence, which is part of a paragraph, which is a portion of a page, and so on.

Everything from quarks to matter to energy to ideas can be viewed in this way, regardless of their physical properties. Despite this, the relationship between individuals and society is not the same as the relationship between cells and organisms, because individual holons can be members of social holons but cannot be members of social holons.

Wilber lists twenty key qualities, referred to as “tenets,” that characterize all holons in his book Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution. For example, they must be able to preserve their “wholeness” while still maintaining their “part-ness”; a holon that is unable to maintain its wholeness will cease to exist and will disintegrate into its constituent parts, as described above.

Holons, like Russian dolls, produce natural “holarchies,” in which a whole is a part of another whole, which is a part of another whole, which is a part of another whole, and so on.

#2: Quadrants

There are two ways to observe each holon: from within (subjective, inner perspective) and from without (objective, exterior perspective). Each of the four approaches has merit. The subjective emotional suffering of a victim of a disaster is one perspective; the sociological statistics on such tragedies are another. According to Wilber, all are required for true understanding. Wilber utilizes this grid to organize numerous philosophies and scholars, such as:

  1. Freudian psychoanalysis (upper-left quadrant) evaluates people’s subjective experiences and concentrates on “I”.
  2. Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics aims to interpret a society’s collective consciousness or a plurality of people, and concentrates on “We.”
  3. The outside individual perspective (upper-right) includes B. F. Skinner’s behaviorism, which sees the subject’s interior experience, decision-making, or volition as a black box, and which emphasizes the subject as a specimen to investigate, or “It”.
  4. The exterior plural perspective (lower-right) looks at a society (a group of people) as a functional entity from the outside, e.g.

According to Wilber, all four perspectives offer complementary, rather than contradictory, perspectives. All are possible and required for a thorough account of human existence. Each, according to Wilber, merely presents a limited vision of reality.

Western culture has a pathological reliance on the external or objective worldview, says Wilber. They tend to dismiss or minimize the left (subjectivity, subjective experience, sentiments, values) as unproven or meaningless. Wilber cites this as a primary cause of society’s ills and calls the consequence “flatland”.

Final Word:

Integral Spirituality can be compared with the second major spirituality approach, awakening. This comprises direct spiritual encounters that lead to immediate enlightenment, awakening, or transformation.

Do you think this is the right religion for you? What do you think of it?

Let us know through the comments down below!

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