What Is Integration?

What is Integration?

What’s Its Role in Personal Transformation?

Well, to start with… “integration” is, in my opinion, a kind of transformer of human life. Integration can simply be defined as the interweaving of differentiated parts. Applying that to us, for example, it could be the interweaving of our higher, essential (spiritual) qualities, our awareness of our somatic experience, and the psychological aspects of our existence.

It’s important to consider this. Bringing together key, vital elements of our lives, of our being, is part of our path to becoming a more whole, “integrated” individual. Interweaving the higher qualities of our essence, into our personality, for example, is one particularly valuable integration process to pursue. In addition, the integration process addresses all the functional triads of Enneagram training: our three energies, our three centers of intelligence, our three biological imperatives (subtypes), our three forms of emotional regulation/conflict resolution, and our lives with those in our lives.

The process of integration requires our working with the 5As — the Universal Growth Process — of Awareness, Acceptance, Appreciation, Action, and Adherence. In order to do this work, the work of integration, it’s important to become “grounded,” centered, and present. Then we need to focus on entering a state of open-heartedness, which better enables us to explore our somatic (bodily sensations) reactivity. Allow ourselves to sense into our limitations. What are you afraid of? Disappointed by? Upset with? Frustrated as a result of? Resistant to? What do any of these feel like, in the body?

This is the start of integration. The practice of feeling into “what’s really there.” Integration can be realized only when any of our more difficult experiences are acknowledged and “surfaced,” when our joy is allowed flow through us freely, when we integrate what’s really happening to us with what we’ll allow ourselves to feel in our being, without judgement and resistance.

Share with me your thoughts on “integration.”

What about your thoughts on somatic awareness and its role in personal transformation?

What experiences have you had where the psychological and spiritual sides of you came together?

Take a moment to consider truly peak experiences you’ve had, where your memory is vivid, your awareness was somatic, spiritual, and life-engaging.

An Example of a Peak Experience, One of My Own…
As I recall this, all of my senses come alive. At the age of 25, I was an intern on the hematology ward of the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had a young, married woman who was also 25 under my care. She had leukemia and little more could be done beyond providing her love and comfort. Her husband having come from Northern Michigan was in her room holding her as she lay in a metal hospital bed. They asked for a pass to go outdoors on the coming Sunday afternoon. I walked to the window and viewed the lovely Huron River and valley. The trees were painted with autumn, and the grassy area bathed in sunlight.

I couldn’t deny them their request, even though to do so I had to violate hospital rules. That evening when they returned, full of gratitude and holding each other, I felt a kind of bliss in my body, in my heart and in my soul. When he left that evening, she thanked me once again for allowing her to have such a beautiful, intimate, and as it turned out final time with her beloved husband. She passed away three days later. As an Enneagram Type 6 (my type unknown to me at the time), I somehow found the courage to violate hospital policy, take action from my heart, and grant her a pass.

In that moment, I was fully integrated. Aware of my own fear and trepidation, but equally feeling into my heart, I was able to override my “don’t get in trouble” reactivity and reach beyond safety and personal comfort. This was what I needed to do, and it was a calling from a much higher place.

I was in fact reprimanded and threatened with probation. But the gift I gave them that afternoon of their being together on a beautiful fall afternoon was what really mattered.

Would love to hear from you.


2 Responses to “What Is Integration?”

  1. Dear Dave,I remember talking to you in one enneagram meeting-perhaps the first international in California. I could sense that you were someone on the Path. Your sharing of that episode at 25 perhaps stands out as one of your “full”experiences.The way you describe it sounded to me that in some way that couple reflected who were you at the time so that when they left your life,you carried their togetherness as if they had passed their baton to you to carry and pass it on to us -as you do here!

    • Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I think we can all pass the baton when we are fully present and receptive. We just all need to learn to pause, be present, reflect, and respond from all three centers of intelligence.

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