Question: During the course of integral education when we begin our practical work, it becomes clear that people don’t understand what it means to “rise above one’s self” or “to unite.” They ask to be shown how it’s done and where can they see an example of such behavior?”
Answer: It’s impossible to see. Maybe it’s possible to draw something abstract so that there’s something to strive towards, but nothing more. Through the training the group develops a common sensation. This is somewhat of an exit from one’s self, from one’s instincts. This exit from one’s self assumes a couple of stages.
One is to “enter” your conversation partner. This is a basic psychological training that is used widely for various purposes. I begin to sense, to study the other person because for some reason it’s something I need to do or it’s of interest to me. Or I may simply want to rise above myself and treat a person with kindness, like relatives treat one another.
However, even when I try to enter another person’s feelings and thoughts, then his heart and mind (his feeling and thoughts) become as though my own. Let’s say that I’m able to obtain closeness to him and his inner environment, but all that I’m doing in reality is substituting my “animal,” my own instincts and rules of conduct for someone else’s, but I don’t actually rise above our general animal level.
We have to imagine something totally different. The exit from one’s self should not be into another person. When I train to sense another person, these sensations shouldn’t ultimately be aimed at sensing all that is within the other person: his subconscious thoughts, instincts, and reflexes. I’m not interested in the “automatic mechanism” that operates within him. Rather I’m interested in each of the friends’ aspiration to ascend above themselves. I try to connect to their aspiration to ascend and reach the next level, which is the human level. I try to be together with them and each one of them tries to do the same in regards to others.
Through this we create a commonality. We create thoughts and desires that are detached from our animal qualities and are aimed at rising above our current level. We wish for our communication to consist of love, understanding, and to be above our world and our life so that each one of us would vanish in this new commonality, in this new picture of a single desire and single mind.
We have to imagine this and to constantly cultivate it in such a way that the sensation of our commonality appears as the heart and mind of the group. This will be of utmost importance to us and our “I” would vanish within this. My desire to ascend would hold the people around me and everything that pertains to my instincts, reflexes, and habits would fade away as something totally useless and nonexistent at the moment. I wouldn’t use them to the point where I would gradually get used to living in this new commonality that I’ve created above my own self.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” 2/29/12