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 can each become change agents just by being integrous with who we are.”
Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2
- The wild knot as symbol for a human being or culture: we are threads of a relationship that don’t have a final terminus (00:53)
- The challenges of our time and the need for entangled deep listening (01:59)
- A leadership training program that includes ongoing contemplative inquiry & practice, and also looks at cultural, political, ecological & spiritual dynamics and new cosmologies (02:26)
- Hyperobjects: you can’t see climate change, economic collapse, or evolution from a local point of view—it demands collective vision to perceive and apprehend it (04:13)
- Bruce’s vision for leadership development and the Blue Sky Leaders program empower people to serve in the great issues of our time (06:13)
- The bodhisattva ideal is both empowering and self-canceling (10:07)
- The metaphor of light, salt, and leaven for anyone wanting to be a change agent and serve the flourishing of life (13:23)
- Krishnamurti’s idea of “living in learning” and a program that is “deliberately developmental” (16:42)
- What are the specific practices essential for cultivating leaders to navigate the crises that are unfolding? (22:00)
- We evolved to be optimally functional on a much smaller level—without proper grounding, facing world problems can cause existential crisis (26:13)
- Holding a loving center, living and learning together (28:28)
- Back to interreligious practice: how interfaith dialogues and encounters have typically been handled: exclusivist, inclusivist, pluralist (33:24)
- In making room for multiple paths of spiritual practice, there is a danger of moving into instrumentalism, thinking practices are mere recipes (36:31)
- The grit to do the practices and the humility of opening to grace (39:36)
- What are Bruce’s practices today? (40:21)
- Bruce’s TSK practice (attuning to time/space/knowledge) that leads him to deep integration (41:35)
- Nonfinality: how each awakening leads to yet another, sacred secularity (45:35)
- How did Bruce enter into his exquisite scholarship? Philosophy and academic work is just another way to dance on the subtle plane (49:41)
Resources & References – Part 2
- The wild knot in knot theory
- Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World*
- Blue Sky Leaders program, CA Institute of Integral Studies
- What’s the Future (WTF) and What Can We Do About It? Integral Conference, Sedona 2022
- Roy Bhaskar, English philosopher of science who initiated the philosophical movement of critical realism
- Robert Kegan, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization*
- A.H. Almaas, creator of The Diamond Approach
- Interview with Sean Kelly, Becoming Gaia (YouTube video), Becoming Gaia: On the Threshold of Planetary Initiation*
- James Bugental, On Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy (Interview on Psychotherapy.net)
- Time, Space & Knowledge (Nyingma Institute), Time, Space & Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality*
- Raimon Panikkar, Sacred Secularity
- Hameed Ali (A.H. Almaas) on the Deep Transformation podcast: Nonduality and Beyond: The Exhilarating Adventure of Discovering the Nature of Reality and How Awakenings Can Unfold Endlessly
- Michael Dowd, Thank God for Evolution*
- Henryk Skolimowski, The Participatory Mind: A New Theory of Knowledge and of the Universe*
- George Lakoff & Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By*
- Bruce Alderman, Generative (En)Closures, Bubbles and Magic Circles: A Chat about Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality and Religion–Bruce Alderman with Edward Berge and Layman Pascal
- Bruce Alderman, Associate Director, Blue Sky Leaders program, CA Institute of Integral Studies
- Bruce Alderman, Teacher in the Consciousness, Psychology, and Transformation Program at National University
- Bruce Alderman, co-host and producer, The Integral Stage YouTube channel
* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.
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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