Join me for a 5-day retreat where we meet in a deep and authentic relational space, to experience a genuinely integral mode of being. Reaching it through later stages realizations, higher state openings, and early-stage releases, while finding the answers that we need to move on in our lives and realize our integral potential.
We all have parts where we are stuck and deep down we know that it should be worked through until we get a full release, breakthrough, and peace. This is how healing leads to opening.
We also all have the potential for higher stages and states waiting to be realized and experienced. The more we open up for them, the more the unresolved parts will come up too. This is how opening leads to healing.
I am Bence Gánti integral psychologist, and clinical psychologist from Hungary, with a dual Hungarian-American citizenship, having been lived also in the San Francisco bay Area in California for 7 years. Being deeply immersed in the integral approach in theory and practice, I have been teaching people and facilitate their transformation for 25 years. I have been running integral retreats for 9 years, over 30 long retreats so far in Hungary and Integral Workshops in different countries of Europe, in the USA, Latin-America and Africa. I have developed an integrated multimodal metodology, called Integral Flow Experience that work best in this 6-day format.
As a trained psychologist the professional framework that I use is the Wilberian integral approach. It means the understanding of the earlier middle and late stages of personal development, connecting them, and navigating through them for a fully embodied integral path and realization.
People report, that when they spend time with me in the retreats and one on one sessions they often experience transformation. Int his retreat we will spend time together in a safe and skillful relational space in which you will understand yourself more clearly, and relate to fellow integralist from around the world authentically.
The retreat is mostly experiential. It has talking circles, movement, contact flow, music, psychodrama and somatic expressions. Plenty of break times, outdoor activities and meditation.
My chosen orientation has been Wilber’s integral psychology since 1996. My formal trainings include a psychology degree (MA) in 1999, and clinical psychology (post-gradual) and integral hypnotherapy in 2008. I also learned other methods and healing modalities in the last 26 years, which today blend into an integrated flow and personal style. These include humanistic and transpersonal psychotherapy, clear communication, Gestalt, NLP based hypnotherapy, breath work, altered states guidance (trance-sitter), psychodrama, constellations work, field-awareness, bodywork and somatic psychotherapy, movement medicine, shamanic work, psychic sensitivity, and vipassana meditation. As a former musician I also include at times singing, guitar playing, and drumming.
No prior experience or expertise in integral theory is needed to participate. An openness for experiential personal growth is enough, and a willingness to participate. We don’t intellectualize much during the retreat, but as much as people are interested we can add some amount of understanding, connecting our experiences with integral psychology.
On the retreat we do playful, enjoyable, and relatively simple exercises in a progressively deepening fashion that will invite any necessary inner process to come. Everything will happen in its own natural rhythm. The integral space allows many individual paths to unfold while at the same time they are holarchicly synchronized and the collective field of consequences can also play its role in the process.
The 6-day retreat can be visited with full time participation only.
FINANCIAL HELP IF YOU REALLY NEED IT AND WANT TO COME
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Opening refers to experiencing both the later stages of development and also the higher states of consciousness. Healing refers to inner work done often on our earlier stage parts of the self. We all have those. Once we go there, they turn out to be actually the doors and to some extent the prerequisites of higher opening. In fact, after some point, we can’t avoid deep work for a full higher opening as our trauma and stuckness holds the full energy and power that we seek outside. Once integrating it from within we become full. This realization makes the difference between being green and between transcending to the integral stage of development called teal or yellow, including also the healthy green part and also that of the earlier stages.
Traditionally healing and opening are separated, calling them psychotherapy and spirituality. But one turns into the other, therefore this separation is outdated and we need a new integral approach. In this, we have the holistic totality, and full integrity of the psyche, which makes it also a new form of spirituality. One with less idealization and role-playing, and more authenticity, and humanness.
The developmental stages (also called levels of development), and the states of consciousness, have been long described both in psychology and in spiritual traditions. Ken Wilber the founder of integral theory did put them together, thus we have a unified developmental stage model. For me as a psychotherapist, spiritual practitioner, and facilitator of people’s transformation since the 90-is, it is not merely an intellectual theory but a valid and well-functioning path for individual and group work, for inner growth and healing, and even for transformative education (Integral Academy), and conferencing (like IEC). You can learn more about the stages here.
We are not yet there in our evolution, where everybody is real and authentic all the time, guided by a spiritual flow. Instead of this we subconsciously agreed collectively, that when we are together, we stay in our role self and rational mind, and spend the majority of our time there, discussing important issues and executing our tasks and duties. This is so even if we are seekers, finders, spiritual or integral people who theoretically would be on higher stages. Those can be experienced and we can spend time there, to open up, heal, and wire higher consciousness in our brains. This doesn’t happen automatically and is very restricted in our daily life. For this, we need to dedicate some time and have a well-facilitated space. This is why we go to this retreat.
In integral terms, we spend most of our days in a mixture of amber, orange, and to some extent green ego-states and relational spaces.
In this mode, we are in a structured day mode, defined by our time frames and daily programs. Our inner sense is framed by our calendar appointments and to-do list elements, and agreements with others. This inner structure of agreements, time frames, and todos create our roles, which gives stability, order, and meaning to our daily life. On its good side, besides stability, order, and meaning our psyche and life feels in control, things are manageable and emotionally comfortable, and we are having a well-functioning, meaningful day. When the amber mind-state gets too much and tense, we push ourselves and others, or it gets boring and we would rather do something else, so there is a sense of “I must, but I don’t want”. The deep shadow of amber is when it feels that we are hopelessly imprisoned in our meaningless jobs, todos, commitments, or even relationships, and we endlessly repeat boring schemes, while our spirit has long left the scene. For a healthy amber in an integral system, we need the necessary amount of roles, agreements, and structures, but nothing more, we avoid boredom and keep our activities, our psyche, and relationships alive and spirited.
In this mode, most of the day we think, running talks in our mind on both problem solving around our daily issues, and both relationships, trying to explain and understand the others and ourselves. We want an explanation for everything, so we seek it and actively construct it. This rational mind mode keeps us in a relationally independent, and also separated state with a disconnected, closed heart space. We are open to hearing perspectives, but never fully trust others, rather try to figure it out ourselves. Hypothetic thinking, and being cautious and critical are keys to this mentally most active ego state. We take refuge in doubt, which keeps us separate, independent, and seemingly free. We are self-authorizing ourselves to be the final authority in front of ourselves to tell what is true. This is the ideal normal in the modern Western world. In an integral mind, we need a healthy amount of understanding of ourselves and others, through personal, independent meaning-making, and we also need to learn how to open our hearts, listen in there, lower our headiness, and give up intellectualization and connect emotionally. These are some of the green qualities of the next stage.
The green stage mind state is when we have a to-the-core, real presence, engaging in authentic sharings, and deep connectedness. In these moments we are kinder to each other and connect from the felt sense of open and warm heart space, giving each other deep holding, and accepting who we are, as we are. This pleasant and liberating experience feels very satisfying, we find, that this is what we have missed so much and that this is nearly unaccessible in normal (amber-orange) life. People could do it, but they don’t. Usually, to do this we need some personal growth training practice. Though it is easy, it doesn’t come from itself. In the integral community they often mix up green cognition, which is multiple perspective-taking, but that is just the mind, not the personality yet. To really be green, you need to relate accordingly. Some keys are the mutual and honest sharing of our interiors and listening to each other while being fully there. We put aside orange reflective thinking, and its relational reflexes in communication: no reflecting, no interpreting, no trying to help, no suggestions on what to do and how to solve it. This ego-state is rare in real life, even if evolutionaries like to believe that we are often there, they aren’t, just in the mind. Thus it can slip into a shadow form, where we develop an unnoticed spiritual persona, a rule-role self that expresses the hip green features. It looks caring and authentic, but it carries tension, a repressed dissatisfaction or anger towards the rational mind, and inauthenticity of the world and the others. For healthy green and deep green spaces to manifest we need such practice, space, and time and an integral stage personality can not be imagined without a functioning healthy deep green practice and capacity.
The late Level-6 stage, also called Teal is actually the integral stage of development. It is an exciting phase as there are different descriptions referring to it and each are a bit different, not mutually exclusive but mutually informing, talking about the same altitude of adult development. As if we were seeing a crystal from different angles. There are descriptions from Ken Wilber; Susanne Cook-Greuter as the post-conventional Autonomous Stage of adult development; Frederic Laloux has a whole new subset of info on it; and Spiral Dynamics also offers distinct features, calling it the Yellow Stage. If we put these info together we have a pretty deep understanding of the Integral Stage and a good roadmap. I give a few keywords of it.
The integral stage is a systemic and holistic stage when the person can hold and integrate differing views and perspectives. While green allows, welcomes and holds differing perspectives in the circle, making sure all are included, integral stage integrates them into a holistic, integrative, autonomous, new system. It understands and accepts previous stages and can handle them, while green can not really handle red, amber and orange. Integral can weave them into a system-flow. It resolves the paradox of being in flow or being structured and does both at the same time. Maintains a systemic structure, it is organised and it also changes it and navigates it from the collective flow instead of the “no matter what” fixed systems of amber / blue. The integral stage is well organised, has leadership, but the ego is gone from this leadership. Leading and organising becomes functional, to do what needs to be done and organised for a higher collective good, and for the harmony of the field. And here comes in the felt sense of evolutionary purpose. It means that the integral stage is driven to act for a higher collective, the higher good of people and the balance of the collective field. Organisation is sensitive to this collective, and it has a principle of self-organising. The art of integral is knowing when to self organise and when not, and to what extent. There is a lot of chaos around the term self-organsing. In the name of self organising people can go shadow green: asserting that everyone does whatever they feel from the moment, and nobody tell anyone what to do because it is egoistic, is a green shadow reloaded under a teal banner. The integral personality can navigate green, orange, amber and red modes of functionings (stages) while maintaining a green relational warm heartedness, good intention and a teal field-senstive intelligence. It has to do with using the depth of the heart, navigating from there, and as we all closed our hearts it is exactly therapy that will open and cleanse the depth of it, that is why getting transformed to a mature integral stage we need serious inner work.
There is a light take on the integral stage and teal, that I see often in the international integral world. It maintains that by thinking and widening our perspective you can simply become integral. That would be just the cognitive line, but even if Wilber believes that the cognitive line is relatively independent, I believe – by experience with working on myself and people -, that even the cognitive line is coloured by the stage of the personality. So there is a deeper take on the integral stage, that I believe in, which maintains that you need to have inner work and personality transformation to get there, and even to really think cognitively in that way. It is a stage of personal maturity that comes from deep and honest self reflection, inner work, working through staff, opening healthy green and stabilising there, healing the deeper and hidden wounds of the heart, making our relational habits and games conscious and diminish them. It is also reintegrating earlier parts of the self, especially red and magenta (purple). Such a process needs time. What I see is that what is called Teal today is often green in a new, trendy coating. And there are other people who really embody the integral stage personality functioning.
Both Wilber and Spiral Dynamics describes an intermittent stage between teal / yellow and the transpersonal stages (wilber 7-10 or Indigo to Clear Light and SD Coral). Since in real lifeI see that Turquoise doesn’t appear as a distinct, separate stage, but as a set of characteristic that are present at teal / yellow, I usually discuss them as one integral stage. For me integral stage is a combination of teal/yellow stage + turquoise stage characteristics, in one. What Turquoise adds is what I call field awareness, being woken up to and aware of that there is an invisible underling field connecting and managing it all. This is actually a level-7, indigo, psychic capacity, so for me it is not so much a separate “Turquoise” stage, but a blend of teal/yellow and the psychic stage.
In turquoise Wilber is emphasizing the emergent nature of the integral stage, that is, the person is experiencing the here-and-now, ever emergent nature of reality and navigates accordingly. The world is alive and evolving, emerging, all in a constant flew and flow. Spiral Dynamics expresses it that the world is experienced here as a single, dynamic organism with a collective mind. There is a certain degree of awakedness, a unity with the world, as one would be an awakened part of the global unified field of the many and this shifts the felt sense on who I am from a separated striving ego to a melted, serving self of the field. Spiral Dynamics also refers to Graves and Maslow who said that people at this stage often experience trust and respect towards the cosmos, and experience awe, reverence, gratitude, unity and simplicity. They feel the spiritual interconnectedness of it all, and that is is all invisibly coordinated. This – what I call – field awarenss let’s the leader give space for things to unfold, action in inaction, the wu wei principle. The wu wei means “no-action” and refers to a spiritual presence of the person when he sees how the natural course of the universe unfolds, and with a presence of a relaxed and empty mind holds space for it to happen and doen’t act, doesn’t intefere. Only when things derail rom the natural course he steps in and acts so that he liberates teh moment for things to unfold again in their natural fashion. This is how I see also a trained mature integral facilitator be in action, though I consider this wu wei capacity a level 7 psychic capacity rather then a separate Turquoise stage.
What comes after Turquoise are spiritual or transpersonal stages. They can be viewed in two modes. One is the earlier Wilber model where we list them on top of the previous personality stages. The other is the Wilber-Combs lattice, where we list them perpendicular. The some integral people think only the latter is valid, actually both can be true, expressing different angles of the reality. I talked about it with Ken Wilber in personal communications and he also maintains this.
Level 7 Psychic, also called Indigo in later-Wilber works, are the early transpersonal experiences, where you experience precise intuition, true telepathy, synchronicities, energetic sensing, field awareness and other similar phenomena. Things happen not by chance, as if an invisible force, intelligence (traditionally called God or spiritual helpers) would manage worldly events around you at least at times. You don’t see or hear them, but you see that things happen not by chance, and you feel that there is more than the physical universe even if you can’t explain it yet. You become “spiritual but not religious” another phrase that integral is often using. This stage deepens and reframes your world view and even relational phenomena start to seem being different. It is also called Nature Mysticism. At this stage the thinking mind can be transcended and one can become with the surrounding world.
Level 8 Subtle, also called Violet in later-Wilber works, is when one actually sees, hears, experiences the invisible world. May it be a near death experience seeing the white light, other dimensions, angels or spiritual light beings helping the person, or a person, or the shaman hearing or seeing his or her spirit helpers. Seeing the ultimate divine white light that is love that holds together the whole universe, or hearing the all-underling Om sound are all level 8 subtle experiences, among others. These experiences are more subtle than the 5 senses and the mind (our thoughts, mental images and emotions) hence it is called “Subtle”, and since people experience spiritual lights, beings, forms, it is also called Deity Mysticism.
Level 9 Causal, also called Ultra-Violet in later-Wilber works, is an experience of traditionally called enlightenment. It is when consciousness returns to itself in an ultimate awakening experience, beyond all forms and phenomena. One realizes God-conscsiousness his or her true and original Self, the spiritual core of all creations. It is called Nirvana in Buddhism, Mystical Union in Christian mysticism, Samadhi in yoga and Hinduism, Satori in Zen, and it has other names in other spiritual traditions across the world. During this experience we are one with the Absolute but we don’t hear, see the external world so it is called Formless Mystic state. After we come back to the ordinary world, called Samsara. We see and hear things around us again but we lose the awakened God experience. So there is a duality here, we are either in enlightened mode, experiencing Nirvana, or we are back in normal, experiencing Samsara.
Level 10 Non-Dual, also called Clear Light in later-Wilber works, is a realisation when the Nirvana / Samasara split is transcended and we can experience at the same time the Absolute, the ultimate nature of our mind and at the same time being here in the world, in the ordinary life. Ken Wilber write beautifully and almost poetic about this experience in may of his books, for example in One Taste.
Opening down is a meaningful play with words. In integral we use the symbol of the ladder, where from the middle ranks we can move upwards or downwards. The middle stages, which represent the he usual, “normal” life are amber, orange and green, in numbers level 4th, 5th and early 6th stages. When we move upwards we get into more mature, self-conscious, emphatic, intuitive, and even spiritual stages. When we move down we experience emotions and ego states that are earlier, childhood phases. Lower doesn’t mean bad, it simply means earlier in evolution, and also in one’s own life phases. These are previous ranks on the ladder levels 3 › 2 › 1 or with the colour labels red › magenta › infrared (walking down from the middle). Taking the house as a metaphor, the 2nd floor is not worse than the 4th floor. Lower simply means spacial position, and not the value of a level. Also the 2nd floor was built earlier, and the 4th floor builds on it, without the second, the fourth floor couldn’t exist. The 4th floor transcends and includes the 2nd one and they are sandwiched on top of each other. Lower stages don’t mean inferior, it simply means more primordial, from an earlier stage of evolution, that also means more powerful, with stronger emotions and chatarsis when experiencing it! These are your parts inside that you were in your childhood and that you still are partly. Usually you suppress it, buried it, and built a wall around it to keep the adult self stable, without much inner disturbance. The often used notion of the “inner child” in pop psychology is quite narrow and typically refers to the positive aspect of stage 3, red. In integral we have a more precise and expert map. We have at least 3 distinct inner children, not one. Level 1 that is 0-1 years old, level 2 is 1-3 years old, and level 3 is 3-7 years old. These stages have different capacities, relational modes, cognitive functionings, needs, ego-states, defence mechanisms and experiences. Usually we can not access and experience these deeper layers of ourselves nor in normal life nor in talking therapies. To experience it, to open it up (to open down to them), and to get relief, healing and personal growth in them we need imaginary work, group work, altered state work, nonverbal work, movements and somatic expressive work. It worth all the effort, because all of us have issues there (even if we think we don’t), and it adds greatly to our awakening. The more we work there the more real, present, and authentic we become. Actually without this work we can not be fully real, present, authentic and evolved. This is the core of the integral approach, that what makes one real, present and authentic is not just reaching higher stages, but also including the eaAbotrlier stages to make us whole.
Walking backward from the middle of the ladder to the lower part of it: Level 3 Red, Level 2 Magenta, Level 1 Infrared, Level 0 Perinatal.
This is our emotional self that is usually disowned, suppressed, and kept in shadow as we keep it all together from the amber, orange, and green stages. But it is there, and as the matter of fact, the more we know, experience, express, and own it through inner work, the more the missing link and self-understanding is found and the more we regain or power. We become more whole, not more egoic, though we usually fear the latter. For an integral stage (teal/yellow) we need to integrate our red self. The keyword here is psychodynamics, the emotional love and power maneuvers that we learned to do unconsciously from age 3-7 when level-3 is manifested. Repeating patterns, un- or semi-conscious relational patterns, games and strategies, that will show up in relationships and in stressful circumstances. Bringing these to light, taking responsibility for them, and understanding them is part of red shadow work. The other part is releasing pent-up emotions, experiencing and expressing our pure emotions. This brings then emotional breakthroughs, catharsis, liberation, and lightening up. You put down your baggage and can breathe again. This is our tribal self in the sense of warrior and fighter tribes.
This is an even earlier stage of our relational-emotional life, the mother-child phase of our life between years 1 and 3. For all of us, this layer of the self is very important and hidden more deeply. This is where trust, attachment, boundaries, and holding develop and these factors in our adult life are operated from here. Also honoring, belonging, and loving belong here, this is our deeper tribal self, our indigenous soul.
Moving and coordinating our body, using our sense organs, coordinating the two and experiencing our bodies as separate from the environment is level 1. In deep relaxation or altered state both the body sense both the perception alter as these structures open up temporarily. Also some deepest memories, traumas and fixation can be found at times here. It can be accessed with bodywork and somatic exercises.
These are our memories and conditionings, at times fixations that come from either birth or the intrauterine prenatal phase before birth when we were fetus.
About human experiences and the stages in the real life
All these experiences described above are real. They are not made up by Wilber or anyone else, they are told, expressed, described, collected, studied, and categorised. What we do with Wilber and the integral model is to include these human experiences into a coherent unifying model, in which they all have their meaningful place. To this day this is the most comprehensive and inclusive model we know of.
In real life, let’s say today between 7 am and 10 pm you will go through many ego-states, or mind-states. You will have a rational, understanding orange moment; a conformist follow-the-rules amber moment; an emphatic honest green moment; and maybe a quick curse in the traffic, or a hidden power game with someone, your red moments. You will maybe feel how much your are loved by a close one, or lament on missing that in your life, having your magenta (purple) moment. No one is one stage. We are a distribution across stages. I like to use ego-state, mind-state, or mode (mode of functioning). Stages show up in us like that, a green ego-state, a red ego-state, or mind state or mode in which I am in for a few minutes.
What is experienced as healing is usually a level 0-3 process, most typically 2 and 3 and this is called traditionally psychotherapy. On the integral path, we do this when the time ripened for this but we do this in the service of higher opening and to move from green to teal / yellow and beyond.