How is the Integral Being approach different to other approaches??
We offer you tools that help you find how to ask the right questions and how to find your own answers. What everybody else seems to be doing is providing you with preconceived answers, according to their therapeutic and/or spiritual models. Sometimes these models will fit an individual’s transformational needs at that time and sometimes these models won’t assist an individual’s transformation... Our focus is in creating a foundation where you can experience an alignment of mind, emotions, body and soul, and from that alignment you can look at your life from many perspectives and start redefining your priorities for yourself. Our experience, and that of past participants of our groups, suggest personal change and transformation is much deeper when learning occurs from the ‘inside-out’ rather than ‘outside-in’. In other words, you discover what is true for you as a result of directly experiencing what is valid for you during the workshop. Your external behaviour will then be according to what is true for you inside. This approach to learning and personal transformation is very different to being told ‘the best way’ or the ‘best practice’ method of doing something and then being expected to behave according to that method. In some contexts, of course, these and other ‘modelling’ strategies are certainly useful and do have a place in learning.. We offer you an understanding that involves simultaneously your intellect, your heart and your being and we give you methods that dynamically evolve and can be continuously redesigned to fit your transformation. We approach “change” as the very core of existence and address the basic automatic mechanisms that, by creating both fear and resistance, block personal growth and fulfilment. We don’t stop, however, at how you function and what you want. We also address the very fundamental question of identity: who you are. Perhaps the most unique part of our work is then that we offer retreats where you can have a direct experience of your self. A self that is beyond some of your previous concepts and ideas and beyond previous conceptions and ideas that you may have had about your personality, your conditioning and your past.
How is the design of the workshops different to other workshops??
The design of our programs includes necessary background information to provide a foundation for learning and to assist intellectual understanding. We deliberately design the format of our workshops, however, to be predominately experiential. Our workshops offer you experiential situations where you can discover and bring to conscious awareness, those parts of your functioning which operate mechanically and unconsciously. This allows the freedom and the psychological space for you to know directly, in an immediate way, who you are and why you currently function the way you do. Insights are both anchored and integrated in your body/mind through movement exercises, a range of meditation techniques and processes involving inquiry, visualization and communication techniques. Our program design allows you to discover and acknowledge: • more of who you are • obsolete conditioning that you can allow to dissolve over time, • your real potential together with specific, concrete ways to actualise your potential. In all of our seminars we simultaneously address the human need for material, emotional, psychological and spiritual development.
What gaps in awareness, self-knowledge, personal growth do these workshops fulfil, particularly for people who have done a lot of personal growth and development groups? ?
The first gap is that, regardless of how many groups you have done and how much you have grown and how successful you are, if you have not dealt with your inner judge (superego), these gains will never fulfil you enough for you to gain a sense of intrinsic self worth and inner value. You will still live in an internal state of conflict and dissatisfaction which will manifest as anxiety, stress and pressure and the need to find your value through external things. Your experience of yourself and your life will be limited, to a greater or lesser degree, by your judgements and prejudices. So the awareness of how you relate with your superego and how your superego (inner judge) sabotages your potential, is essential to growth. For this reason, the Superego workshops are regarded as fundamental to all personal growth processes and are considered foundational to our other workshops at the Integral Being Institute. The second gap, is the understanding that one of the basic reasons for human suffering is the separation between the material world and the spiritual world, and personal evolution versus collective evolution. We address these issues of separation in our programs by recognizing your uniqueness in relation to the universal dimensions of ‘Being.’ This is the domain of ‘Essence’ work. Essence, as originally articulated by A.H. Almaas, is concerned with assisting people to consciously develop fundamental qualities such as Will, Strength, Peace, Self-value, Compassion, Joy, Intelligence. By bringing awareness to issues in your life that create disharmony and result in contraction of your self, we help you understand your special qualities and resources and facilitate the resolution of these issues. A person may have done some well facilitated personal growth groups and have let go of a lot of psychological baggage in counselling. Our experience is that firstly, some people will possibly need previous work to be ready to approach and go beyond core blocks, while others can go directly to core issues without such preparation. The gaps that will be filled, depend on the direction, depth and outcomes of previous personal growth experiences that someone has had. Our groups are designed to assist you to find your way around the maze called the personality and meet your ‘true nature’. It will then be much easier for you to recognize that you are much more than what you think you are and that it is OK to be who you are. .
How do you assist people to integrate their workshop experiences into their personal life, work-life and spiritual life? ?
During our workshops people often experience a lot of insights regarding what they are doing, why they are motivated to behave the way they do, new ways of doing what has been automatic in the past and where they can apply their new perceptions and sense of self. For some people, how these new perceptions are integrated in a workplace for example, can be a process that may take some time, some timing and increased awareness in that context. A person that has lacked assertiveness in the workplace in the past may be feeling more empowered as a result of a workshop. How this greater sense of self and ability to act is best utilised, (with elegance rather than abruptness), may involve a series of successive steps and some ‘pacing’ of particular situations, particularly with superiors and in meetings. In all of our workshops, there are many opportunities to ask questions and share insights, concerns and queries with the group. Group work formats also have the advantage of being able to learn from the experience of other group members that are ‘further down the track’. Specific guidelines to assist integration are given at the end of the workshop process. In addition, we offer the possibility of ongoing work in small groups and individually through personal sessions with our trainers. We can also assist individuals to design a personal growth program, to both deepen and extend processes experienced in the workshop.
Do participants in your groups need to have done personal counselling or need to have a lot of prior workshop experience? ?
No, they don’t. Anyone can participate to most of our groups. However, some of the intensives will demand a strong commitment to complete the process. Where appropriate, participants may be requested to have an interview to assess if that workshop process is the right one at that specific stage of their life and if there are any obstacles to a full commitment.
How would you differentiate your approach and your workshops from other transformational approaches and workshops? ?
Firstly, our techniques, methods of inquiry and philosophical foundations are based on ancient traditions, schools of thought, disciplines and mysticism. Our objective is to bring this body of knowledge to life in contemporary style workshops that are palatable to contemporary people. We do this in a way that preserves the wisdom and transformational value of the teachings without the need to study esoteric texts or isolate yourself in a monastery. Secondly, this wisdom is combined with the modern psychological approaches of depth psychology, object relations theory, Chaos theory and some concepts from Spiral Dynamics. Other teachings from Spiritual Psychology approaches such as ‘Diamond Logos’ are also taught by the Integral Being Institute. Our experience suggests the combination of these approaches provides a strong foundation for profound and lasting personal transformation and change. Our emphasis is to work with the foundations or the ‘roots’ of the psyche where all of dysfunctional patterns reside. When the roots of a tree are healthy, the branches and leaves will have optimal growth. At different times in our lives, a range of programs may be helpful, and may take you to where you want to go. Many roads lead to Rome and throughout the lifecycle we have the choice to change roads in order to find the best way to get there at any particular time. Our experience with some workshops is that they have high levels of ‘face validity’ in terms of their transformational power. In other words, on the surface their outcomes seem to be congruent with their objectives and participants certainly feel better at their completion. However, these workshops often fail participants to a greater or lesser degree, because 1) The transformation is not at the root of the pattern in the psyche and is therefore not complete 2) Changes that feel concrete in the workshop cannot be either sustained generally or transferred into behavioural action in specific contexts, such as in work or in a relationship. 3) The workshop increases awareness without the necessary personal empowerment, strength and will to act on the awareness. 4) The workshops are based on too many derivations or ‘watered down’ versions of the original work. When this is the case, a lot of the insights, power and jewels of the original work can be lost.
Do Senior Executives have a lot of difficulty transferring their experiences with martial arts principles of Leadership and Aikido swords to directing and leading companies? ?
For many executives, the principles and practices inherent in internal and external forms of martial arts are different to the principles they employ in their personal and professional lives. This provides an opportunity to provide insights regarding how they operate while in Management without negative filters, patterns and associations that sometimes dilute the effectiveness of management education. Using the swords and other active exercises provide facilitators’ with a perfect opportunity to go directly to the heart of how a person manages his or herself and others’ without the associated defences and ‘stories’ that many executives attribute their performances to. The majority of executives in our workshops feel the parallels between what they are doing in a sword exercise, for example, and what they do in the office or the boardroom. To deepen the integration of the experience on a cognitive and an intellectual level, the group will discuss their findings in different formats. The Aikido sword and other martial arts exercises commonly stimulate discussion of the following themes: • What proportion of my working life involves me being on the offensive and what proportion am I on the defensive? • How well do I protect myself? • What habits do I commonly rely on? • What patterns of movement (patterns of work) are habitual? • Where are my blind-spots? • What do I commonly get sidetracked or distracted by? • How do I react when I am overwhelmed? • What overwhelms me – Speed? Physical size of opponent? Noise? Self judgements? (Status and rank in organization) • Who is my greatest opponent? (Myself/ colleagues/competing companies) • How well can I change direction? • How resilient am I? • How present and aware can I be? In what situations do I frequently lose my sense of self and my presence? • Who is holding the sword? (Who is managing?) People remember the exercises and the associated lessons they learn because they are an integral part of the exercise. When you perform in an exercise, you learn by experience. In terms of learning, these experiences are designed to invoke ‘natural intelligence’ so that managers recognise, understand and integrate principles into their leadership style with relative ease in a short period of time. Many workshop participants recognise how empowering the principles we teach are. Many managers, particularly those looking to develop a competitive advantage in their personal performance, also recognise that further mastery of the skills we teach will require further practice with ongoing enthusiasm and commitment.

"Every program and retreat I have done with the Integral Being Institute has been an incredible adventure, full of profound growth and learning."

- Lisa Gaines
Development Pathway Manager

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