Integral View


When awareness is identified with the processes of the small self – the sensations, emotions, thoughts – it functions in a dualistic way.

It perceives a separation between inner and outer, me and you/it/they, and typically a separation between the ends of all/most other polarities as well. It sees distinctions, but not the fluid seamless whole. The world is fragmented.

Since awareness identifies exclusively with the processes of the small self, it also tends to get caught up in these processes. It gets caught up in the conditioned patterns of sensations, attractions, aversions, thoughts, ideologies.

The dualistic perception has many consequences:

  • Fragmentation
    Seeing the ends of the polarities but not the polarities themselves. Perceiving the parts, not the larger whole.

  • Blind attachments
    Blind attachment to aversions and attractions (blind in the sense of not self-aware, at least not to the point where there is a release).

  • Ideologies
    Thought patterns and ideologies that support these patterns of attachment and aversions. Thought and emotional patterns tend to self-organize to mutually support each other and function as one system. I have an aversion to noisy people, and justify my aversion by adding an analysis (they lack awareness) and a value judgment (so they are inferior).

This description is of course somewhat amplified and a caricature, but also seems to reflects some of the main patterns.

In this dualistic view, it is difficult to have a truly integral view as well. The tendency is too strong to identify with something and disidentify with something else. To engage and fuel some patterns of attraction/aversion, and push others away. In this view, we tend to perceive the world in terms of good and bad, right and wrong. I am right, you are wrong.

There are gradients of this pattern, visible among individuals and within each of us. Some tend to have a strong black and white, either/or, perception of the world. Others have a more nuanced perception. And each of us have a stronger either/or perception related to some areas of life, and a more nuanced perception related to other areas.

In either case, as long as awareness is identified with the processes of the small self, the basic tendency is one of dualistic perceptions.


When awareness awakens to itself as distinct from its content – the processes of the small self – it also begins to perceive the world in a more transdual way. Awareness is distinct from, although not separate from, the fluid sensations, emotions and thoughts of the small self.

It perceives itself as that in which experiences of the inner processes unfold, but not exclusively as these experiences. Awareness perceives itself as luminous space within which the experiences of the inner/outer phenomena unfold. It has more of a birds-eye view, more perspective. It can allow itself to not get caught up in all the habitual processes of the small self. It has more conscious choice in how to relate to inner/outer situations.

From this more inclusive and expanded view, it can also see that all inner/outer phenomena are part of a seamless fluid whole. There is a distinction between inner and outer phenomena, and among inner and outer phenomena, but no separation.

In this more transdual view, an more integral view is also possible (maybe inevitable?). We are less attached to any particular phenomena, and can more easily see the value in each one. We begin to explore how each one is useful in some inner/outer situations, and less useful in others.

This view can mature into an appreciation of the inner/outer world as God manifesting and exploring itself, in always new ways. Everything is perfect as it is, and there is always room for improvement. It becomes even easier to have a more integral view of the world.

Spiral Dynamics

In Spiral Dynamics, they talk about first tier and second tier memes (or levels). When we operate from first tier memes, we perceive the world in terms of right/wrong, good/bad. I am right, you are wrong. In the second tier, we take a more integral approach to the world. We appreciate the value in and function of the other views, and see how they are an intrinsic part of the human experience and collective and individual maturation.

It seems that awareness awakening to itself as distinct from its content, it perceives the world in a more integral way – reflected in the second tier memes.

And as this experience deepens, its expressions in the world moves along the second tier levels. The view becomes wider and more inclusive.

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