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Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Depth and Its Value | Spiral Dynamics | Integral

All perspectives have equal validity, but they lack equal *value*, as they manifest different and varying levels of depth. #integral

I wrote the above line on facebook yesterday. Comments ensued:

@chris kosley said:

"Isn't value only assignable relative to a particular goal? Why should deep be inherently more valuable than shallow?"

To which I responded:

Thanks for asking the question. Good stuff.

What you say about value relative to a goal is true in other contexts [say, if I were talking about a skill or a thing; an object. But that is not what I was talking about.

I was talking about the inherent value in perspectives.

Why should deep be inherently more valuable than shallow? The simple answer is because it contains more. 

It requires more to demonstrate depth than it does to be shallow. It requires a larger embrace of the Kosmos. For instance, compassion is more valuable than anger because it requires a greater depth of development to demonstrate compassion than it does to simply get angry.

Therefore there *is* an inherent value that is greater.

Green [SD6] in Spiral Dynamics will not see this: they believe in flatland; all perspectives have equal value and it is all about cultural constructs and no culture is any "better" than any other culture. Of course they fail to realize that this perspective itself is a very high/deep level of development and stages below it do not share the sentiment.

Yellow realizes the folly in this, and its inherent falseness; Yellow [SD7] once again is fine with holarchies [stops judging them as bad or claiming they do not exist] as they are naturally occurring all around us.

And that is one of the charachteristics that truly distinguishes 1st Tier consciousness from 2nd Tier in the model. In other words, what distinguishes Integral.

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Precision Practitioners | What Distinguishes a True Master

Often people ask me what separates a “Practitioner” from a “Master Practitioner”. Or what separates a “good” practitioner, from a “great” practitioner from an “extraordinary” practitioner. It is a good question, and one deserving of answers.

From a technical standpoint as well as a practical standpoint, there are several criteria that filter these levels, and the piece of paper upon which their certification is printed is usually not one of them.

The simple answer first ::: what separates a Practitioner from a Master Practitioner?

From a technical standpoint, a "practitioner" is effective at the lower logical levels; they can assist a client in changing behaviors, be they addictive behaviors, habits, or context or situational reactions.  They can also assist a client in changing or expanding their skills and capabilities. Whether it be to speak more effectively, or creating accelerated learning strategies, or modeling some physical, athletic, or communication based set of “skills” or capabilities or capacities.

They are likely still working to integrate their work themselves–still learning to walk their talk, but they are effective at working “on” a client. They can often point to how “others who are effective at XYZ do it” as a model.

The "Master Practitioner" can affect those levels as well as the higher or deeper logical levels. They can assist a client in altering or changing their beliefs about themselves–or about others or about the world–allowing the client to expand into previously “impossible” possibilities in relationships, or in what they can achieve. Still higher or deeper, they can assist the client in altering the very way they relate to themselves. The “kind of person” they are. Their identity and their egoic structures. And at the deepest or highest level, a Master Practitioner can facilitate change at the very level of Spirit. A profound, connected, spiritual shift that ripples out or cascades down to the rest.

They are walking their talk fully. There are no aspects of their life that are out of alignment with their espoused principles and approaches–unless quite briefly, before they right themselves again–they are the relationship coach who has an extraordinary relationship and communicates in the way they recommend, the financial coach that uses their own systems, and is affluent etc., etc. They can often point to how “they do it themselves” as a model. They are effective and come from a place of working "with" a client.

And you could say a practitioner is a “good” practitioner and a Master Practitioner is a “great” practitioner.

However, I would assert that what makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is several additional elements [at a minimum] transcending yet also including and encompassing the above :::

  1. Been trained in multiple, seemingly disparate approaches [a combination of Eastern and Western approaches at least]; my rule for practitioners who work with me as a client is at least 3 disciplines or “perspectives” to their training path
  2. Being dynamic with the client [they may have a loose framework, but it is fleshed out quite dynamically by the human being in front of them, who is a variable in the equation, to say the least]
  3. They know where they are headed, often multiple sessions in advance, and have an eye not only on where they’ve been, and where they are going, but also do a bit of dynamic triage at the beginning of the session and are unattached to the “plan” yet still committed to the path.
  4. They have no interest in ego-driven “authority” over a client and elegantly avoid any tension-filled conflict or power struggles as they are not “in the way” of being an instrument for the client and their outcomes
  5. Additionally, they have some understanding of the verticality [stages/waves/levels] in multiple "lines" of development and it is well integrated into their offering and work

However, there is one more component I consider critical in addition to all of the above that is an aspect of an extraordinary practitioner. Someone who is a true master and it is this :::

They understand that their client and the client’s evolution is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

First, you build out the foundation–the corners and then the outer border. And then you find the appropriate pieces to begin to build in toward the depths of the center. If you attempt to push a piece into the corner that does not belong there, you will break a piece or “blow it out”. Similarly, if you drop a piece in the middle with nothing to connect it to, it is just confusing. No place for it to fit. No place for it to be anchored or connected to, and so it is discarded. Forgotten. Perhaps even lost.

And if that is the case, no one is served.

What truly makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is the ability to discern what the client needs, what they have already integrated, which piece they can handle next, and which piece they will need even beyond that, and to elegantly give them that next piece with wisdom, precision, and with an eye on the ultimate evolutionary expanse for the client and their mental, emotional, and egoic structures.

It takes years and hundreds of clients to be able to develop not only the insight and lack of attachment, but the timing and precision to be an agent in service of the client in this way. And when you find them, they are worth their weight in gold, to be sure.

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The Myth of Transcendence and Other Evolutionary Geek-ness



Stages of Evolution. Waves of unfolding. The spiral.

You are familiar with the holonic stages ::: from pre-personal to personal to trans-personal; from body/physical to mind/mental/intellectual to Spiritual; from ego-centric to ethno-centric/Nationalistic to World-centric/global. From pre-rational to rational to trans-rational.


From vengeance to justice to Grace.

From your emotions running you to having choice around your emotional reactions to achieving a place of actual freedom; from crawling to walking to running.

Stages of ever increasing inclusiveness. Stages of ever-increasing whole-ness. Levels of ever-increasing expansiveness.

Now, in the first paragraph, replace "to" with "transcending, and then including". You see, these are ever expanding holonic spheres. And part of the healthy spiral or waves, if they are to be healthy and not hobbled by pathology, is not "transcend, and then deny" it is "transcend and include".

Part of the Integral, or in Spiral Dynamics [henceforth "SD"] Yellow, or second tier, SD7, SDi, is being able to call upon the entire first tier, as need be. As the context calls for it. To have the behavioral and situational flexibility to realize which memetic code you are dealing with and address it at its level, and if it serves, to give it the egoic and emotional "food" to go the next stage.

You may be asking ::: So f***ing what, Jason?!

There is this myth that you are not supposed to be angry. Or have "lower chakra" drives [sex, for example] or that you are somehow immune to emotional injury. The truth is that this is...well, myth. What is true is that you are more free from identification with any of those things. You are free to choose. You notice your sensations to be sure. They pass through quickly. Or as I like to say ::: it hurts more, but you care less.

But what a whole class of developmental organizations and schools of thought have implied is that you should not feel these things--and thereby causing people to become disembodied. They are walking heads. Their body is just a vehicle to get them to meetings. They are over weight. They perhaps even have addictions. They do not admit their emotional aspects that are "negative" and they are attempting to "just" be Spiritual [skipping the material/rational/Just/monetary]; they are attempting to skip stages.

This is impossible without significant pathology developing.

Just try and have an infant run before they can walk. See how far they get. The bump on their head is a great metaphor for the pathology created. Skipping rungs on the ladder of the development of their consciousness. It amuses me. People attempting to transcend to the spiritual "plane" before they've even figured out how to move the furniture around on the material plane.

And it saddens me, because they are not fully alive. To be fully alive, our chakras [for lack of a better label] should be firing all at once. ALL fully open and alive. All flowing with the energy of Spirit. Life force.

AND, at some level/stage, you have enough choice to be responsible with those energetic flows and not get them on other people, in an irresponsible way.

However, what is means to you [especially at SD7 or beyond] is that you are able to call upon whatever is required. Outcome. Context. Efficacy. If what is required is love and Grace [trans-rational] then you call upon those capacities you have developed; if justice is required you call upon the levers of justice/courts/legislation [and a lawyer/practitioner if need be]; if brute force is put upon you, then perhaps equal or greater force is what is required--and if need be, you call upon those capacities.

So think we should not consider those as options when "higher" solutions are ineffective is at least naive. 

It is a bill of goods sold to us by people attempting to sell one-step transformation. One-step enlightenment. One weekend "breakthroughs" to X, Y, or Z. Well intended people attempting to change your life setting you up, quite unknowingly, to compare yourself to some imagined ideal. One-step. Only people who have practiced, meditated, or whatever for years get to say that "trying to be enlightened is like trying to get a left foot". You already have it. Right. After 20 years of daily practice they tell you it is one step.

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