If you can just appreciate each thing, one by one, then you will have pure gratitude - Suzuki Roshi -

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What's happened to The Renaissance Man?

When young I often envisioned myself leading the life of a Renaissance Man. One who among other things:
  • Read often, not just what I enjoyed but also what would expand my knowledge and lead to wisdom.
  • Had knowledge of science, art, politics and ethics.
  • Considered myself as never knowing enough.
  • Considered myself as having only one point of view among many.
  • Included the physical arts among the arts.
  • Knew more than one language.
Flash forward, what's happened? Well, this ideal is now titled The Integral Person and has a low value in Amerika, outside of academia where more illusion due to belief in specialization exists than wisdom. And being a responsible adult I now have goals in these categories. LOL.

My wisdom to date? I believe that two most important qualities of the Integral Person are to laugh at oneself and to love others. This opens the door through which all practices lead to wisdom.

What's the biggest obstacle to becoming Integral Persons? For middle-class Amerikans it is our jobs. Whether due to greed or to pride or misplaced commitments we give too much time and energy to our work; leaving too little time and energy for other practices. STOP IT so you can begin other practices. Just pick one, or a new one, steal the time and energy from your job and start practicing.

Let me offer two resources for aspiring Integral Persons:
1. Ken Wilbur's Integral Naked site at www.integralnaked.org
2. Jack Ricchiuto's new book, Conscious Becoming available at www.DesigningLife.com

And one inspiration. I have a friend in his mid-fifties who in the past five years has learned a new language, fallen in love with the Earth, begun creating his life in a sustainable way, learned photography, bought a new bike, started an on-line column, entered a new love relationship, and created a sustainable living affinity group with the coolest name created in Cleveland this year (way cooler than Cleveland+) among similar practices. If you know him you are inspired to expand your practices.

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