Bruce Alderman (Part 1) – Integrating Spiritual Practices from Different Paths, Deepening Our Explorations of Reality, and Developing Leaders for a World at Risk

Bruce Alderman Spiritual Practices Leadership Development

Bruce Alderman, poet, mystic, and spiritual explorer, is also an integral scholar and pioneer of the emerging field of metatheory, looking at how to put our disparate fields of information—spiritual, psychological, philosophical, environmental, scientific—together and integrate them into a useful whole. Here Bruce tells the tale of how he was drawn into an experiential exploration of different worldviews, how he came to find the value in navigating different spiritual traditions, and how he discovered how to integrate mystical experiences, Asian spiritual teachings, and Western education, science, and psychology. Bruce’s unique understanding of interreligious relationships and their potential for meeting current challenges informs his call to the global community of spiritual practitioners to dialogue, critique, deeply listen, and reap the benefits of reflecting back to the other a view that takes them deeper in their understanding of their own position. Bruce also shares a brilliant vision of leadership training practices for developing the skills leaders will need to navigate the unfolding global crises of our time. This program will take form in the upcoming Blue Sky Leaders program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Bruce is beautifully eloquent on many levels, sharing insights on intensifying our intimate experience of Being, trusting our dialogue with Being to bear fruit, and finding coherence while holding multiple paths. Bruce describes his turn towards scholarship and academia as “dancing on the subtle plane,” and thinking as one spiritual practice among many—a practice of union. There are so many gems of wisdom here, relayed in Bruce’s gently humorous, humble, and erudite manner. Bruce also inspires on how each of us can become a change agent simply by being integrous with who we are. Recorded December 6, 2023.

We of the global community of spiritual practitioners owe it to each other to dialogue, critique, and deeply listen.

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 1

  • Introducing spiritual pioneer, polymath, and master of metatheory, Bruce Alderman (01:38)
  • How Bruce was drawn into an experiential exploration of different worldviews (04:06)
  • Bruce’s first mystical experiences (07:17)
  • Traveling in Asia, studying music & meditation, not wanting to have to choose one tradition to the exclusion of others (08:37)
  • How to integrate mystical desert experiences, Asian spiritual teachings, and Western education, science, psychology? (11:16)
  • Finding the value in navigating different spiritual traditions and coming face to face with the contradictions between them (14:45)
  • Practicing more than one path at once can cause anguish, incoherence, and also has distinct benefits, and how some traditions can hold the one and the many at the same time (19:55)
  • As A. H. Almaas also came to, the recognition of co-ultimacy of multiple ultimates (22:20)
  • Opening oneself to as much as one can: psyche and existence are self-awakening (23:56) 
  • Hungry for the stories and experiences of humankind and all of their engagements with Being (25:59)
  • The concept of generative enclosure: that consciousness is embedded in the environment and embodied in the body—our experience of the world is mediated by our own context (29:47)
  • Spiritual practice, focusing our enclosures, can invite an intensification of our own experience of being (31:32) 
  • Generative (en)closures, bubbles, and magic circles (33:29)
  • Language is an enactment of being (34:22)
  • Metaphysics tends to look at things with nouns, but what’s coming forward is prepositional modes of being/thinking, intercontextuality, and adverbial thinking—recognizing that being unfolds in different ways at different times (35:34)
  • With/in (with, in, and within) a holographic, nondual recognition, the world is in you and you are in the world, I am with you, you are in me, I am in you (37:46)
  • We of the global community of spiritual practitioners owe it to each other to dialogue, critique, and deeply listen (41:33)
  • There’s no one final point: we call the idea of an ultimate holon the ass holon (44:26)
  • Leadership: we can each become agents of transformation, healing, and insight by being integrous with who we are (46:25)
  • The Blue Sky Leaders program is designed around the question, How do we navigate the deep challenges of our time? (47:29) 
  • Different styles of leadership: emperor or servant-based (50:36)
  • Ryan Nakade’s platinum man model: making it a practice to be able to reflect back to the other a view that takes them deeper in their understanding of their own position (52:24)

Resources & References – Part 1

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Bruce Alderman Spiritual Practices Leadership Development

Bruce Alderman, M.A., is affiliate faculty in the JFK School of Psychology in the Consciousness, Psychology, and Transformation program at National University, and the Associate Director of the Blue Sky Leaders program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He received his master’s degree in Integral Psychology, with an emphasis on Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, from John F Kennedy University in 2005. Prior to working at NU and CIIS, Bruce taught and studied abroad in Asia for several years, including teaching courses on creative writing and inquiry at the Rajghat Besant School, a Krishnamurti school in Varanasi, India. He has published essays in the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice and Consciousness Journal, as well as in several anthologies on Integral philosophy and spirituality, and recently self-published a book of collected poetry.  For the past 4 years, he has produced and co-hosted The Integral Stage YouTube channel and podcast.

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

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