Integral Life Path Counseling
Integral Life Path Counseling is an holistic, all-inclusive approach to embodied self-realization. As an ILP guide my job is to create a space of exquisite presence, attention and guidance that supports you in consciously engaging your life path as a dynamic revelation of pure potentiality.
Integral means that our exploration is inclusive of all aspects of who you are - what is in form and what is formless. Our inquiry includes your somatic experience, thoughts, emotions, beliefs and convictions as well as your relationship to yourself, your body, your family and your community. It also includes attuning to the innately mysterious presence of your essential nature.
There are four quadrants of awareness that encompass the ILP approach. These quadrants are not linear but arise spontaneously during the course of each person’s process. The first two relate to the subjective aspects of your inner life and the process of waking up. The second two address the objective aspects of your outer life and the process of growing up.
The Four Quadrants of ILP Counseling:
1. Personal Inquiry/Self-awareness - Learning to inquire into what’s arising in your own direct experience is a skill that deepens and develops with practice. It leads to an embodied trust in one's capacity to know what’s true and what’s conditioned; and to access the inner wisdom that can facilitate understanding and skillful action. Inquiry is not an intellectual process; it’s a subtle sensing process that brings awake awareness to the consciousness that is present in your body, emotions, thoughts and intuitive insight. Here you develop your awareness of and access to true inner guidance.
2. Dialectic Inquiry/Universal-Awareness - This form of inquiry takes place in discussions between you and me. As your guide I may share information and insights or offer metaphors that bring to light new ways of looking at your experiences, self-images, relationships with others and your world view. As we engage in this exploration together through these powerful conversations and the shared intimacy of presence, support for what brings meaning to you and modeling of conscious relationship evolves.
3. Personal Will/Self-Mastery - In order for our life path to come alive and flow with more ease and possibility new understanding and insights must become integrated into our lives and relationships. Here you explore action steps that feel achievable and sustainable based on what you have come to understand through your inquiry and discussions. You make the commitment to stretch out of your comfort zone and consciously work on developing new skills and latent capacities that expand your experience of self and what’s possible. You will discover which capacities are achievable and which are not, leading to realistic goals and more confidence in your abilities. Moving beyond “either/or” and into “both/and”, you will replace old concepts of success and failure, right and wrong, good and bad with the awareness that everything is an experiment that informs your understanding of who you are and what comes next. Personal Will is strengthened as you unhook from your “ordinary way of being” by consciously walking into a “new way of being.”
4. The Greater Will/Presence in the World - As you come to gain more clarity about the truth of who you are and what is wanting to come to life through you, how you fit and function within the various systems in your life naturally comes into view. You look at the roles that you play and how your environment is affecting your life as well as how it is being affected by you. The concept of “as within/so without” becomes your focus of exploration and action. Looking at whether your current roles in relationship, family, work, community, etc are in alignment with the level of development that you are at now lends itself to concrete changes on a global level. We look at what will support you in making the concrete changes that you feel are necessary to live in the world with more freedom and authenticity.
About the Process
Integral Life Path Counseling is never about getting from here to there. It is about living more consciously and fully in the present moment.
Our True Nature is simultaneously both interdependent and autonomous. It exists in a fluid state of wholeness. The nature of our ego/personality is one of reactivity and defense against its innate sense of deficiency. Because it forms out of the loss of contact with our Essence it constructs a reality that is always looking outside of itself for happiness and fulfillment. We gradually go to sleep on our own actual experience by retreating into a mental reality of concepts, beliefs and self-images that are repetitive and self-supporting. Through the Work, the ego gradually shifts from a position of dominance to a position of service to the Truth.
Deep transformation takes commitment and consistency. In my experience the momentum and energy required to just stay awake to the process, for most people, requires meeting at least once per month. Deeper work generally requires more regularity with a guide who knows the terrain and can help you navigate the pitfalls and blind spots that lead to the inertia of unconscious habits and tendencies.
Making the most of your work
The human potential movement, the coaching industry and many spiritual schools have all too often created a climate of “not there yet” thinking. Understanding that future change is the natural unfolding of your present Self is key to living a life that is motivated by loving-kindness, generosity and curiosity. The “current you” is the ground from which self-realization arises and self-actualization occurs. Leaning into the gap between who and what you are experiencing in your life now and your aspirations and dreams for the future puts you in touch with the mystery that is actualizing what is already potentiated within you. There is nothing broken - nothing to fix. Meeting yourself and your process with light-heartedness and curiosity, courage, steadfastness, compassion and spaciousness is all that is needed to enter the Work.
In addition to the ILP counseling sessions a regular spiritual practice can be invaluable. Instruction in meditation and body-sensing may be included in your sessions. You will also be invited to periodic weekend or week-long retreats and workshops that support other aspects of your development.
ILP Counseling is not a substitute for psychotherapy or traditional clinical mental health counseling. It is an holistic approach to self-realization that can complement and move beyond what is experienced in traditional forms of psychological work.