Wow. Most quests on Mindvalley are pretty easy to understand and apply to your life, but Integral Theory was different for me and my husband. You need to bring your full attention to each class or you will not understand a thing he says and need to watch it over – at least, that was my experience. I’ve never listened to Ken Wilber before, but it’s obvious he has a lot of insight and wisdom floating around in his head, he just didn’t really teach us how to apply it to our lives. We were expecting more of a traditional quest on Mindvalley where they show you how to apply things to your life. Here’s my review of Integral Life as a first-time student of the integral theory and learning from Ken Wilber.
The Workbook Provided With Integral Life
All Mindvalley quests come with a workbook, but it’s not always necessary to refer to them to go along with the quest. In fact, often you can just bring a notebook and write down ideas and follow along with exercises in that.
Well, this time it is necessary to look at your workbook. It gives more guidance than Ken Wilber does on how to set up your own personal Integral Life map.
I was actually kind of pissed about this because my husband and I went all the way through the Integral Life quest without looking at the workbook. Furthermore, I normally do use the workbook as I go through a quest, which is extra annoying to me as I didn’t use it once during this quest.
Since we were in the first batch of students for Integral Life, we waited for a few weeks for a lot of the classes to open up to us and then watched as many classes as we could as quickly as we could. I took notes the first few days, but the classes were more about theory than anything, which simply meant listening and conceptualizing what he was saying.
During the middle of the last week, we were wondering when Ken Wilber was going to start explaining how to create your own framework for integral living, and once we did a quick check to see what classes were left, it became clear he wasn’t going to take us by the hand and walk us through setting up our own framework.
We thought maybe we were being set up to take another class with Ken Wilber through his site.
Then I looked into the workbook and saw on day 8 there was a life practice map that you could download to start creating your own integral life practice. You were supposed to take the ideas from the classes and plugin practices that you could use in your life into this Integral Life Practice template. And, in the workbook, there are suggestions on what practices you can choose.
In other words, we could have been creating this integral life practice the whole time by filling in the life practice map provided in the workbook.
I know that seeing the template daily and getting the suggestions on exercises to incorporate into your life would have helped as we listened to him talk about concepts with the mind, spirit, body, relationships, and work.
So, in short, don’t just watch the videos. You need to read the instructions for each day and use the workbook provided with the Integral Life quest.
That said, I think Mindvalley could have done a better job with the workbook. There are plenty of diagrams that Ken Wilber referred to through the Integral Life quest, and if those were in the workbook, we would be able to study them and refer to them. I don’t want to go back through each class to try to figure out where the diagrams are and then screenshot them. That doesn’t seem like something I should have to do.
Ken Wilber Uses Uncommon Words And Can Be Hard To Understand
I like Ken Wilber. I can tell he’s a nice guy who sees a broader reality than most people, but he can be hard to understand sometimes.
Actually, here’s the thing I found… he explains relatively hard concepts easily and relatively easy concepts difficultly.
For instance, I found myself understanding some big concepts quite easily while listening to him. For example, the ideas around how the past and present intertwine and grow with us were really enlightening for me.
I also turned to my husband after a few classes and said something like, “Couldn’t he just have said [insert really easy concept to understand here]?”
I guess he’s had decades of learning and fine-tuning what he knows, and so that’s how he explains it.
I Didn’t Get What I Thought I Was Going To Get From Integral Life
Integral Life is about 7 hours long in total, broken up into 35 days.
There was a lot of listening to him talk about different things from a variety of angles. For instance, when he talked about the body, he didn’t just talk about the physical body. He talked about the physical body and the subtle body and how they work together.
So, I came out of Integral Life with a lot of insights, but I have no idea how to apply much of what I learned into my life.
Going into the quest, I thought I was going to come out with a personal spiritual practice based around the integral theory. That’s what it promises on the sales page. But I didn’t. I do have a lot more awareness around religion and spirituality and the world has unfolded to the state it is today, and I am more empathic towards other people, but I’m not quite sure how to apply that to my life.
I feel like I’m not grasping something from the Integral Life. I guess I don’t feel like Integral Life was user-friendly for me.
For instance, when I look at the sales page, and the section on what you’ll learn, I can say that there is one thing that did happen for me.
I have more empathy for others. I can see the perspectives of others and how there is some truth in everyone’s perspective.
But, as far as the other 7 points, I’m not so sure.
- More spiritual awareness – I guess I do have a broader idea of religion and spirituality and how people approach those things.
- A higher state of consciousness – Nope. I can’t even think of when Ken Wilber helps us to access higher states of consciousness besides teaching us the levels of consciousness. He does talk about the levels of consciousness and gives you awareness into these areas (we did really enjoy this part of Integral Life and spent a good amount of time talking about it with each other), so I guess the awareness is what could help you move into higher states of consciousness.
- Decision-making improved – I think the idea of applying all four aspects of the quadrant Ken Wilber talks about applies to this, but I don’t have a full grasp on that yet, so I can’t say I could apply it to decision making.
- Self-healing – I know that Ken Wilber talked about emotional wounds we carry around, but besides being aware of them and tackling them, I don’t remember any big insights into how to approach healing.
- Career elevation – I guess he talked about the big areas of being happy at work, so those insights could help you be happier at work or find a job that does make you happy. I don’t know how Integral Life recommended to be more productive and improve your performance, besides looking at all four quadrants when making decisions. But, again, I’m not totally grasping that so it does me no good.
- Well-rounded life – On the sales page they talk about embracing reality where all your needs are met. That just sounds like Lifebook or Level 10 Life to me. You look at all areas of your life and then structure your life in a way to have a well-rounded life. I was already doing that.
- Connection to the source. Nope. I don’t know how the integral life provided an unshakable connection to the universe and consciousness besides mentioning some common practices that are well-known with every self-help course or book.
I don’t know if I’m failing in accomplishing these promises because I simply listened to the theory and didn’t put it into practice or because I’m just not understanding things on a higher level. But, I do know that if I want to understand how to make the Integral Life practice work for me, I need to do the course again or, perhaps, take a course or two from Ken Wilber’s site, which is likely what I will do if I want to delve into this further. Right now, I don’t feel a need to go back and take 7 hours of the course again. It doesn’t appeal to me at all to do that.
I may dedicate 10-20 minutes per day digging into the Integral Life through Ken Wilber’s site or through articles and videos from people who found a lot of benefit from all this. Maybe I will have an aha moment where I realize just how valuable the Integral Life really is.
My husband says the Integral Life quest wasn’t really relatable. Ken Wilber talked a lot about different perspectives and various concepts relating to different areas of life, but he didn’t really show you how to apply it to your life. My husband also says that Ken Wilber could have walked through the life practice with us and it would have helped greatly. In short, his review of Integral Life is that it was very vague in the application and more difficult than it needed to be.
What Integral Life Was All About To Me
I think I made the Integral Life out to be a bigger experience than it ended up being. I thought it was going to help me create a super map to the life of my dreams that goes beyond anything I’ve learned before. But, it was a little tamer than that.
Looking at the example integral life practice provided in the workbook, as well as suggestions on how to fill it in, it just looks like Lifebook or Level 10 Life to me. Except instead of just looking at all areas of your life, you are looking from 4 different perspectives.
For me, right now, that’s the main point of Integral Life. You learn that there are different perspectives to approach all areas of life.
Maybe if I hadn’t taken Lifebook or done Level 10 Life or done a lot of the personal development that I’ve already done, this quest would have been more life-changing for me.
So What Are My Tips For Taking Integral Life?
If you decide to sign up with the quest from Mindvalley, I highly suggest you get your workbook ready, take notes, and work through the exercises where they provide more structure and insight into what to do. You may need to research things to understand them better.
I also highly recommend you work with the community as you take the Integral Life. We didn’t do that for this quest. I only started looking around the community after we finished the quest. A lot of people were having big insights and some of those insights helped me understand the Integral Life practice a little more, but again, it just seems like Lifebook or the Level 10 Life where you are taking a look at your life from every angle and trying to improve it. But, again, in Integral Life, you also learn how to look at life from the 4 different viewpoints talked about.
Maybe by doing all those things you will have more understanding of how to apply the Integral Life to your life than I did the first go-around. Maybe it will be more powerful for you than it was for me.
I didn’t take the masterclass for this quest, and maybe I should have. It may have helped me adjust my expectations.
I honestly was just really excited (and almost convinced) that this quest was going to impact my life in some huge way that it’s never been impacted before. But that didn’t happen.
If you have any insights into the Integral Life practice, please share it in the comments below.