A Series of Talks between Michael Laitman and Psychologist Anatoly Ulianov
Talk No. 9
December 15, 2012
Through the Glasses of Integral Vision
Question: In the method of integral upbringing, special attention is paid to the correlation between the mind and feelings. In the corporeal world of egoism and alienation, desires and thoughts are hidden deep inside a person and are often inaccessible by his consciousness. Usually, as a rule this generates negative feelings: anger, irritation, and hurt. What is the right way to connect feelings so they would not hinder communication between people?
Answer: The method of integral education, first and foremost, takes into account the fact that feelings and desires are primary.
We do not know where they come from and how they appear in us. All the qualities of our mind and thoughts are intended for realizing these feelings and fulfilling ourselves.
Our basic desire is the desire to enjoy. Who, what and how are the consequences. Enjoy! And this is why our entire mind only develops to the extent of our desires and only to serve them. Big desires develop a big mind in a person. Egoism, which grows from generation to generation and over the course of a person’s life, develops his mind.
If we take an animal, its development practically ends a couple of weeks after its birth. It already has all its given instincts, and it adapts to the environment. This is why animals never make mistakes. They know how to behave, how to save themselves, and how to interact with the environment. Their mind and feelings are instinctively in balance. In this case too, desire is primary and the mind secondary. An animal understands what it is able to realize in its desires and what it is not, and this correspondingly limits its mind.
But a person has a big problem here. The thing is that when his egoism develops, it gives him desires he is not able to realize. This is why he shuts away, isolates himself, becomes more brutal, competitive, etc.
If his desires were to be correlated with all the other desires (his and the environment) so that they would harmoniously complement each other, there would be no conflicts, and his mind would expand infinitely.
Since integral society is a society of absolute inclusion of everyone in everyone, this means that a person acquires the desires of the entire community. He understands what matters to the society, and accordingly, his mind stops being personal and becomes integral, and he reasons with it. It is like putting on glasses of integral vision of the world, and he understands that he and the world are one whole; what is good for me and what is good for the world are the same thing.
There is naturally no contradiction in this harmonious correlation between him and the world. He can simply open up without any fear; he understands, sees, and feels everything in accordance with this, and actively participates in every action, in everything. Absolutely all his reasons to be unhappy or compete with others disappear.
So we need to bring a person to this state without limiting his desires, thoughts, and mind, and we need to act in a completely different way from the beginning to give him the explanation that he is included in everyone else and that a certain common desire is being created.
This collectivity of all the desires is that new thing that we are creating. We are creating the system of “Adam” our common desire and our common mind in accordance with it. Something integral appears above us, and we exist in it.
This way we do not pay any attention to the person at all, but only at his aim, his inclusion in this collectivity, the next degree of our development. We do not limit him; he does not feel that he is under certain pressure. He does not have anything to hide. He practically remains as is, but his entire development is directed towards integration.
The harmony between feelings and the mind develops as he begins to feel greater and greater interconnection between himself and the others, with what the current world dictates to us but we are not yet ready for.
Integral education intends to direct man towards beginning to feel “we,” the collective humanity, and act based on it. Only then he will feel like his state is free. This is exactly where his freedom of will and freedom of behavior will manifest, but only once he includes himself in it.
But if he comes out of this state again, he once again falls into his small egoism, and the same problems start all over. In this way nature helps us by showing us that rest can only be found in integration, and in isolation a private prison and absence of freedom.
Freedom within the Narrow Framework of Family Life
Question: A woman once said that her freedom is limited by certain obligations for her children, family, husband, household, etc. She feels most free within these obligations. But if all of this were to be taken away, her feeling of freedom would disappear.
Answer: This is true. When a person lacks strict boundaries, it is hard for him to determine where freedom is, and he simply feels lost, because absolute freedom appears to him to be an absolute lack of freedom.
Freedom, like any other feeling, is defined between the negative and the positive in it. Therefore, within certain boundaries and the opportunity to remain, act, and comfortably exist within them, which means managing them, performing any obligations and enjoying achieving them, this is perceived as freedom.
But the thing is that when we become integral in our society against our will, according to the plan of nature, we are unable to feel capable of creating the right framework because it is being violated all the time; on one hand, we become more interconnected with others, and on the other hand, we do not feel like we can do something on our own within our own framework because we depend on a huge quantity of external factors.
This is why the only way to surpass our boundaries is by entering the integral system, which gives the feeling of freedom.
Nature inevitably pushes us towards feeling “cornered” into a state of need, in a constant struggle for survival within our own framework, everywhere: in our families, at work, at home, on the street, anywhere at all.
It is here that we need to show people that freedom is only acquired by correctly interacting with others: globally and harmoniously.
A person, especially a woman, cares only for her boundaries, her comfort within these small boundaries on the animal, egoistic level of existence. When she has a home, a family, children, responsibilities, and she is able, capable, and equipped to provide for the wellbeing of her entire small household; then of course, she can have a complete feeling of confidence, freedom, and realization.
It is not as simple with a modern person, even a modern woman. She aspires to get into business and realize herself. But still, the determinant, basic orientation of the female character is directed towards the family, and for things to be right in it.
However we see that families are broken. The latest statistics are just menacing! The number of divorced and single parent families is greater than 50%!
Here we observe a tendency to push a person out of his little family circle where he feels comfortable leaning on his relatives, where it is enough for him that he could only care for his household and getting whatever the household needs. Despite his mind, man is being pushed towards something greater against his will.
We are tied up with everyone else. Our inner wellbeing depends on the entire world. Thus integral upbringing is simply necessary here to compensate for insecurity, fears, and absence of freedom.
As we rise to the next level, we specifically acquire freedom, despite our current egoistic beginning.
When I connect with others, I acquire something in common with them, common desires and common understanding that when we decide everything together, by interacting with each other, and in no other way—that is when I feel free.
My freedom depends on me. It does not depend on others, because everyone else in the integral group begins to appear absolutely corrected to me. They are already integral in the state of mutual guarantee, connection, and I alone am only beginning to feel where I still need to add and adjust myself. And in general every person feels this way in relation to others.
A person acquires a completely new need to constantly strive towards a proper relationship with all the people.
This is a whole new level. It is still egoistic, but at the same time it is a different and desirable level where I feel that I lack fuller integration. It is in it, after breaking into it, performing a psychological turn around inside of me like by pulling a trigger, and by changing to the opposite, I suddenly actually acquire freedom.
It is like when an embryo is born from a mother’s womb, it turns head down and seems to lose everything it had, after which it appears in a new world; we need to turn upside down, begin to understand the world in another way, and then we will be born in the new integral world.
A Spiritual Turn
Question: An embryo in a mother’s womb turns as a result of the activation of physiological instincts. But how does a psychological change happen? How does this mechanism work?
Answer: First of all, when an embryo is being born, there is pressure from both the mother’s side (the pushing forces, the so-called labor pains) and the side of the embryo. It also helps this process in a certain way and advances.
Birth is a very serious complicated process, I would even say that it is somewhat tragic and threatening to both the mother and the child. Likewise, there must be some very serious pushing forces in our case, and nature has taken care of it by pushing us with different crises: family, identity, social, economic, ecological, and so on—through everything we do, that is, everything that makes up our womb.
In our current world, everything is gradually being set against us. These are the pushing forces—birthing contractions.
They are not yet as strong as they could be, but their culmination is near. We observe this in all the crises, and now on the development of the last economic crisis, which is literally threatening our lives. So, on one hand, we are already approaching the final stage, we are close to being born.
On the other hand, we do not feel comfortable inside in our current state. We plunge into drugs, depression, and different problems. We do not feel calm or comfortable on the inside. It is not just the world around us that is like that, but we are not able to find peace within. Nothing would change even if the world simply became indifferent for a moment: There are many conflicts and pressures inside us, which we want to escape but are unable to.
If we integrate and gather these inner conflicts and pressures into one single force between us, we will then add our own efforts to the maternal pushes, and of course will be born on a new level, that of “Man” or “Adam.” All this can be alleviated without “midwives” and “obstetricians,” but by using the helpful powers of society: social opinion, social influence, and pressure.
This happens when together we gather into this one unified image that has to be born, while on the outside our society works on integrating, connecting, discussing, explaining, and identifying all these forces around us. Then a person begins to understand this process inside him. This also pertains to upbringing, when we discuss our actions, history, purpose, and the purpose of all the conflicts; when we examine not just their cause, but their meaning: to bring us to a state where we all are like a single embryo in one mother-nature, which is pushing us outside of it onto the next level. Nature wishes to birth this embryo, and it needs to help nature to do this.
Helping nature is fundamental for us. Nature divides our birth either into a tragic or into a good and easy birth, which is called coming out with the maternal waters. What are “waters?” The water is an alleviating action. When we willingly aspire to this, we can easily cross the “Rubicon”—a natural, spiritual, and a psychological change.
Question: Does a person make his contribution to the spiritual birth process, like in the case of an embryo, by actively participating in the group of integral education?
Answer: Of course it has to be a group because the group represents the embryo! One person is not an embryo (he cannot be born); an embryo is specifically an integral connection between people when we prepare them for birth.
First small groups form, then bigger ones, then many groups appear. When they begin to understand each other, they become like one person in a group, and in relation to other groups every group also represents a single individual. This way they come together: like cells into organs and organs into a single body.
The Drama of Transitional States
Question: There is a theory in psychology that examines a child’s psychological state at all stages of birth. The first stage is fairly comfortable. The second and third stages are when the unborn child experiences pressure, a chemical attack, which stimulates his birth, and the last stage is the most pleasant; it takes place after his birth. The two intermediate states are horrifying. In one case, it is the hopelessness of the situation. In the second case, it is quiet dramatic work between good and evil. Right now, is the entire humanity essentially entering these two stages?
Answer: But we do not have to go through these stages in such a dramatic way. This absolutely is not necessary.
Of course, if we go under the influence of nature, which is the path of evil, since nature only evolves us through obligating forces without softening them, then of course, we will not easily undergo being born into the new world. This way is with lack of understanding, alienation, absolute helplessness, and loss of any orientation! You are cornered, are not able to breathe or turn around, you do not know where to go and how to do it because any move you make causes even greater suffering: internal, external, and social.
Today the crisis in Europe is an example: No matter in which direction a move is made, it only gets worse. Maybe it is better to not do anything? It is even scarier to not do anything. So where are we heading?
It is very interesting to observe the process of the crisis. I think that many will be describing it in the future. It is not yet completed; we still have a long way to go to end it. It will end precisely with our spiritual birth.
The world crisis will only get worse, even if sometimes we observe periods of calm, like between birthing contractions; we know that they gradually become more frequent.
So, if a period of relative calm comes along, people will no longer scream: “That is it. It is over,” like they did last time.
I published many articles then, saying that the crisis will soon resume, but no one paid attention. Now people have learned through blows that everything returns.
We will not understand it until we feel that we are in a constant trap, and that a break is given to us only to figure out how to act and start striving on our own towards the exit through the birth canal (which keeps getting narrower around us, pushing us towards a greater integration). When we first feel this need emotionally through suffering or through social opinion instead of suffering, then we will understand that only our greater integration, concentrating everyone into a single whole, will help us complete this birth with understanding.
The main thing is realization. After all, a person can go through any problems and he even creates them for himself on purpose to attain a desired result.
If we continue to resist, without the understanding of where it is all taking us, then nature will push us through suffering. But we not only resist, but we also make negative movements, like today inEurope, again they want to separate, but there is no way back.
Comment: People who took the drug LSD seem to have experienced all the stages of birth, which have been genetically retained in their subconscious. When a person ends up in the second or third stage under the influence of hallucinogens, it usually ends with a suicide. Now, once you have explained the monstrous states we are headed toward, it became clear to me that such pressure and helplessness will become so unbearable that people jump out the windows and commit suicide.
Answer: These are horrible states, horrible wars, suffering, and extermination, when death seems to liberate, but it can’t be found! So a person must experience enormous suffering.
This is not about death; this suffering must accumulate to make us realize the need to ascend.
Tears of Joy
Question: When we speak about feelings, we immediately imagine an emotional person, open to everyone. On one hand, this can be stimulated. On the other, it is possible to switch a person’s focus so that he or she won’t become too emotional. What should be the optimal degree of emotionality in groups of integral education? Is there a place for tears?
Answer: Of course! We see how grown men cry under the influence of the group—a person suddenly has such feelings that he is not able to control himself. And he doesn’t really feel any particular need to do so.
Of course, there are certain restricting factors. But in general, they really lead to tears, tears of joy and liberation, to various expressions of positive energy. This is natural. Of course, this is a very emotional process.
After all, emotions are our essence. And the mind is only intended either for suppressing them, as we do it in life, or on the contrary, for using them for our benefit, which is what we are trying to achieve in integral upbringing.
Life in an Exalted State
Question: When people spend several hours a day in an integral education group, is there a place for music and songs? I know that there is a lot of music, joy, and sublime states in your center.
Answer: We are constantly trying to be in an exalted state, not playing it, but actually examining it on ourselves. First of all, this helps us feel how realistically this is connected with nature and that this is the goal of our development, the goal of nature.
When done differently, when we create this artificially, then it carries no value at all! On the contrary, it only brings harm!
A proper and good union of people, when no one is suppressed and everyone tries to work for the community, produces a lot of positive energy, and a person does not want to leave this state.
He suddenly discovers that this state is not boring, not difficult, and it is possible to always be in it. He falls asleep and awakens with it. He begins to feel that this state contains absolutely all the opportunities for self-realization for him with society and with this new level he is attaining.
He begins to see that in comparison to the previous state, this one is much wider and more exalted; it simply unravels the entire possibility of harmony before him. It is like when a musician hears something off-tune in comparison to a well played Beethoven or Mozart composition.
This is the way a person perceives the difference between his past private life and the harmony he reveals. He cannot go there. At first this often makes him tired because he still needs to make emotional inner effort, but then some time goes by and he can no longer be without it.
And then it becomes his life, a necessity. He reveals that all of nature also exists in this harmony and nothing else exists!
He begins to understand that the past level of his existence only consisted of caring for his physical body in other words this was an animal level of existence. He agrees and understands it. And the “human” level is the collective image that we are building here.
Group Is Power
Question: During the process of integral interaction, a person should feel tension between his egoism and the work on rising into the collective “we.” From my experience in psychotherapy, I know that sometimes people are not able to handle this tension, they slam the door and run away, while those who manage to handle it advance. How important is patience in this process?
Answer: What is needed here is the support of the environment that has to give a person the understanding that there is no other solution—this journey can be completed. And encountering resistance means that he is not connected with the environment that would support him and turn his efforts into an easy existence, giving him the feeling that there is nothing to fear and everything is very simple and easy when you do it collectively in a group. But when you try to do it on your own, it gives rise to the forces that expel you. In nature everything is directed towards unity.
Evidently, in your psychotherapy practice you lack the element of group support, the influence of the group on a person. We know that even weight loss groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, Drug Addicts Anonymous, and other groups are powerful.
What Determines the Group’s Charter?
Question: Certain models of behavior need to be discussed in every organization, the things that are permitted and the things that are not allowed. Some organizations call it a charter. What should the charter in the groups of integral learning consist of? What should its essence be?
Answer: First of all, what binds us is the image of our future state; it is what we strive toward. This image needs to be well promoted to the entire group and each one of us on such a level and such strength that everyone would really develop the desire and strength to achieve it. We constantly must think about elevating this goal so that it would be many times more important than anything else that could appear in us, any other egoistic goals and directions.
A person must receive constant support from the group and his family. This is essential. When someone in a person’s family is against his studying, it causes enormous problems; we see that he often fails because the influence of the family is enormous.
In our times, we understand that a person is essentially lonely. Nature did this on purpose to make his journey toward integration easier. A person does not submit to some family, clan, or village regulations; we are all seemingly “suspended” and this makes it easier to realize all this.
So, we need to make sure the group accompanies the person every hour of his life, not only when he is physically present in it. Today, this is very easy to achieve through media and communication tools.
Moreover, every person has an MP3 player. He can record lessons, discussions, songs, and plays. When he comes home, his computer has the same and additional information from lessons and group meetings. He must work with it and be in constant contact with it. We need to make films, video clips, and so on.
All of this is an enormous amount of information that must go through him and gradually brainwash his so-called brain (you cannot call it anything else), and he willingly agrees with it. We do not hide what we are doing: We are reprogramming him.
Regarding a charter, the main things are those that benefit the society. However, those things that are necessary for the existence of every one of us come first. In other words, feed the “beast,” and then do whatever you want with yourself.
The basics that determine our life are food, shelter, family, and sex. These are followed by the social desires wealth, fame, power, and knowledge that are egoistic additions to life’s necessities.
We need to transfer them to a new dimension: Wealth is the fulfillment you will receive in the group. Fame and power are the universal approval you will receive from the group for being in it; you feel that you are a necessary element of the entire integral system they depend on. Knowledge is the natural knowledge of all of nature, the entire process we experience.
So, the charter needs to clearly contain the explanation of this layout of a person’s inner values that are necessary for his existence, both as an animal and a social element. First, we make sure a person does not worry about his corporeal existence. It must be guaranteed to him at a reasonable level.
Question: Does a person need to live according to the laws of the charter, starting with the very first days, or can this appear after several months, once he is ready?
Answer: This appears after some time, once people are ready and able to realize the need for this format of existence. Relationships in the group must always be friendly and cheerful. You must show the others that the goal is important to you.
We understand that every one of us happens to experience descents and ascents, different states. However, at the same time, we must introduce only positive influences within the group. The negative influence will disappear on its own under the influence of the positive potential that we accumulate in the group to the point of attaining the state of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Rising Above Your “Animal”
Question: What actions are not permitted in and will not be tolerated by an integral learning group? For example, in a psychotherapy group, physical violence is forbidden. Are there any such limitations in a group of integral upbringing?
Answer: I have not encountered any, so I do not think there are any. I assume that expressions of negative energy are possible, but possibly in a clouded form.
I think that everyone will forgive them, and even the victims will be forgiving if the given behavior leads to the realization of evil and further correction. This happens between people.
We begin with a very low level, the egoism, habits and philosophies acquired from our past society. Everything there is in it and is still subject to correction. There is nothing that can be done here.
That is not a reason to expel a person from a group. I think the group will understand if there is an objective reason. Sometimes, people fall back into drugs, alcoholism, and so forth.
The only thing we try to do is to make sure that there are equal relationships in the group. In other words, there needs to be the least possible “animal” relationships because we primarily want to elevate the group spiritually. There needs to be the least possibility of sexual relationships, especially accidental ones. It is, of course, all right when people find each other, like each other, and really intend to connect, but this also introduces a certain amount of dissonance.
At first, I would create groups for men and women together, and then I would separate them for some time because the method of unity is still different for men and women. Then, once they are able to rise above them, they no longer see the gender, but they see something common instead. This is not at all a simple level. Imagine: A person needs to rise above his nature, his natural instincts, his sexual drive, his very basic foundation.
However, once he rises, these boundaries literally can disappear. I say “can” because I have not yet observed it. I think that, in the end, it can be a mixed group once again going forward.
Welcome to A Group for Beginners
Question: There are closed and open groups. A closed group is where new members are not allowed, and naturally the group is against people leaving it. And people are absolutely free to join and leave open groups. What are the elements of a program of integral learning: is it a closed, open, or a mixed program?
Answer: Our practice in regards to this is very interesting. Our groups are constant. But when they go hand-in-hand, they can mix and there is absolutely no difference felt between them. When we have common events, our group, connected together, speaks the same, thinks identically, and there is absolutely no difference between them, everyone understands each other.
Every group advances independently without mixing with other groups but unites with others from time to time during our conventions and our other large events. New people are basically not allowed in the group. This introduces a very strong imbalance. A group needs to advance on its own, everything needs to be in harmony in it, and when new people come, they need to be formed into a new group.
You and I Are Of the Same Blood
Question: We have discussed that when we form groups of integral learning, we need to pay attention to preliminary testing and conversations, to assign people with similar qualities (such as age and gender) to certain groups. What other qualities are we talking about?
Answer: I do not think that education, mentality, age, or literacy matter very much. The interesting thing is that everything becomes eliminated in groups of integral education. For this reason, when we speak about uniting all our qualities into one common quality of bestowal, love, mutual guarantee, and so forth, everyone feels antagonistic about it. So it does not matter if someone is more or less educated or has certain mentality. They are just external expressions that are not observed here.
I can only say one thing: When we study together with groups from around the world, connecting and exploring the common method for many years, we observe the kind of unity where there is no difference between people who physically are in the same classroom, in a group with me, or people whom I only see once a year.
By the way, every year I visit our main groups inRussia, North America, South America, andEurope. I do not see a difference between them because we study a single method, and all the groups develop parallel to one another. When we have conventions attended by our friends from all the continents, five to eight thousand people gather in one place, and we do not perceive any differences between us.
Of course, the language barrier still gets in the way since we are still inBabylonthat is not yet corrected, but we’re almost there. Once it becomes corrected, a state of absolute and real homogeneity will appear.
Everyone will be Able to Apply Himself
Question: In addition to integral learning, will there be people who have lost their jobs going through professional training to acquire new professions?
Answer: The courses of integral upbringing are the place for acquiring the profession of a teacher, an educator, or an instructor. There are a number of opportunities here, depending on a person’s skills.
There are people who work at the site, in a group, and as leaders of discussions and games. There are people who teach different subjects. All this can be taught because we add a little science, technology, culture, and psychology to integral education. Basically, a person can become an expert very quickly.
A person can become a first-class teacher in one and a half years or, at most, in two years. For the preparation of different types of teaching assistants and instructor aides, it would take even less time. Everything depends on the person. Moreover, there is work for different people with different skills and inclinations.
Our first objective is to turn our students into teachers, educators, and instructors for women, men, children, the elderly, and so forth, who speak in different native languages since we are still divided by language. There is nothing we can do about that.
There is a huge scope of activities and there is a huge demand for people. Even if there were ten times more people right now, there would be a place for everyone to apply themselves. In any case, these people will come to us from among the unemployed. When they find a new way to apply themselves, and, at the same time, they are satisfied by a normal, comfortable and regular existence, then you simply fill their lives with meaning, while curing society.
Encouragement that Gives Energy
Question: We have discussed how important it is to introduce integral signs of distinction and awards.
Answer: We must take encouragement into consideration, but not corporeal encouragement. The encouragement should be various signs of distinction, incentives, certificates, diplomas, or anything that gives people the desire to continue to ascend and attain the goal.
This also marks a certain degree that he has completed. It is actually very difficult to define yourself in relation to others in an integral movement because a person is constantly doing inner work in correcting himself and including himself into a single organism.
It is a very good when society encourages you. When the encouragement comes from your spouse or your children, the person feels enormous strength from being respected and valued by his relatives.
Question: What do you mean when you say “non-corporeal” encouragement?
Answer: I refer to non-corporeal rewards, not money, but signs of distinction. There can be no other kind of encouragement here. For example, an instructor who completes a course well will receive a badge and a certain rank, perhaps even epaulets or something similar.
Question: You said epaulets, and I thought of the army. People invest so much effort for stripes that are meaningless. Can we introduce the same?
Answer: Yes, absolutely, any incentives. The goal is what matters. When a person strives toward a goal, even if it is for stripes, he does not care about the stripes once he achieves the goal because the goal is what matters to him. However, right now, we need to encourage people like little children because we need them to attain the goal.
Question: Can it also be a roll of honor as under the Soviet rule?
Answer: Of course. By the way, the Soviet system had a very correct disposition, just an incorrect realization. This is why everything failed. If everything had been based on education, real and true education, instead of repression when people were forced to unite, driven into Kolkhozes and places like it, then they might have had succeeded even back then. Now, it is a necessity; back then, it was just an opportunity.
Question: So, all that had a purpose?
Answer: Absolutely. People had a goal. First of all, there was a certain equality. There was a common culture. There were certain false ideals, but still ideals. People were brought up in a completely different way. Despite all the deformity and ugliness of the way things were imposed on people, the actual theory was integral and correct.