We must all integrate our lessons, discoveries, and insights sooner or later. If we don’t, they merely remain mental or cerebral.
Don’t get me wrong: having amazing and cosmic epiphanies is an orgasmic experience. But these realizations will amount to nothing if you don’t integrate what you’ve learned.
My goal is to help you understand a little better what spiritual integration means (and how to experience it) in this article.
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What is Spiritual Integration?
In the context of the spiritual journey, spiritual integration is about living the discoveries and gifts you’ve attained, rather than just thinking about them. It’s easy to be philosophical and think deep thoughts, but to embody what you’ve realized is a whole other matter. Therefore, in essence, spiritual integration is a movement from the head to the heart and from conceptual to practical. It is self-actualization. Instead of just talking, reading, and hearing about a certain topic, you become it and unify it with your daily life.
Psychotherapist Robert A. Johnson defines integration in another way:
To integrate a mental state is to successfully ‘absorb’ it, meaning, you can now move on to other matters without suffering the energy drain that comes from ‘unfinished business’.
In this sense, integration helps us to mentally “complete” our discoveries so that they’re no longer a source of fixation. This is yet another benefit of integration: it clears space in our minds, allowing new, and deeper discoveries to emerge.
Examples of Spiritual Integration
To help illustrate spiritual integration more deeply, here are some examples:
- Integrating your humanity with your divinity (actively embracing both sides of yourself, the sacred wild)
- Integrating your masculine and feminine side (the yin and yang or anima and animus together)
- Integrating your mental understanding of compassion with a lived experience of compassion
- Integrating your desire to let go with actually practicing letting go
- Integrating your meditation practice with an embodied meditative approach to life
The above examples are by no means exhaustive. But I hope you get the picture! (And if you think I’ve missed any, feel free to share your own examples of spiritual integration in the comments section below this article.)
5 Simple Spiritual Integration Techniques
‘Spiritual integration’ can sound intimidating or complex. But it doesn’t have to be. Trusting that Life will guide us in the right direction, we’ll naturally integrate our discoveries anyway with time. Remember, there’s no rush!
But if you’re wanting to take a proactive approach, here are some simple spiritual integration techniques you might like to explore:
1. Commit to a symbolic action daily
There’s a reason why rituals are ancient and timeless spiritual practices: they help us to integrate the deepest desires of the heart and soul. Saying a symbolic mantra, for instance, can open us up to wisdom. Meditating on a symbol (e.g., a yantra) can awaken us to new possibilities. Lighting a candle and prostrating ourselves can aid in the development of humility. There are so many symbolic actions out there which might include, for example:
- A sound
- An image
- An object
- A movement
- An activity
Reflect on what symbolic action might best suit you and the lesson you’re trying to integrate. Remember, you don’t need to be too ostentatious or elaborate, simplicity is often the best approach.
2. Journaling and contemplation
One of my favorite practices, journaling and contemplation help to integrate our discoveries and lessons through the simple act of writing. When done mindfully (aka. not rushed), writing helps us to enter a ‘no-mind’ or ‘flow state’ where deep states of realization can occur.
We begin by contemplating our discoveries and then record all that we’ve learned, including our feelings and emotional states. By engaging both the right (creative/non-verbal) and left (logical/verbal) side of the brain, integration can more easily occur. In other words, journaling can often lead to a unification of the mind and heart.
But a word of warning: there’s a difference between contemplative journaling and emotionally-venting journaling. Both practices are valid, but purging all your emotions on paper won’t as easily lead to spiritual integration as quiet and contemplative journaling (which is a form of Lectio Divina). So ensure that you’re in a neutral or thoughtful frame of mind beforehand.
Learn more about how to journal.
3. Zen and the art of purging clutter
Spiritual integration often demands that we remove, let go of, and purge that which is no longer aligned with our needs. By actively making space, we allow ourselves to live more purposefully and soulfully. Mind you, clutter is not just physical – it is also emotional, mental, and even metaphysical. Examples of clutter can include:
- Commitments that are unnecessary and/or time-consuming
- Relationships or connections that are misaligned or unhealthy
- Habits that are destructive or pointless
- Interests or philosophies that no longer support our growth/well-being
- Physical objects or possessions that are not needed anymore
I’m sure I’ve missed out something, but you get the picture!
Making space is an act of commitment to our discovery/realization, allowing it to take root deeper in our lives and integrate more fully.
4. Meditative visualization
Of course, if you really feel called to do so, you can enter a meditative state and visualize the process of spiritual integration. Doing so can potentially help you accelerate deeper embodiment. (But keep in mind that if your visualization isn’t aligned with the Tao, or the current movement of life/energy, it won’t be effective.)
To ensure that your meditative visualization is effective, ensure that you’re in a grounded and calm state. There’s no need to rush or force growth. But if you genuinely feel at a core level that you need an extra ‘push,’ this is a wonderful technique for you.
Some simple examples of visualization to facilitate your spiritual integration are the following:
- Visualize all multi-colored ‘pieces’ of your inner being coming together and forming a rainbow-colored circle (which represents integration/wholeness/oneness)
- Visualize, on your in-breath, the white light of clarity filling your body, and on the out-breath, the grey light of ignorance being dispelled from your body
- Press a hand to your forehead and visualize all your understanding being absorbed or sucked into your hand. Then bring that same hand down to your chest, pressing it against your heart – visualize all this understanding dissolving back into your heart.
You can also create your own visualizations, crafting any that intuitively resonate with you. Feel free to get creative or search the internet if you need more inspiration.
5. Create a piece of art
You don’t need to be an artist to create a piece of art. Art is an expression from the soul – and for this purpose, it doesn’t matter if it’s aesthetically pleasing or not.
Creation, which is ruled by the element of fire (which is responsible for transformation), is a powerful way of integrating your spiritual lessons, gifts, and insights.
By invoking this primal life force energy and channeling it in the direction you wish, you are engaging in a proactive practice of integration. Not only will your mind be engaged, but so will your heart and your senses. Creation is one of the few practices out there that incorporates every aspect of your being, and thus, it is a wonderful spiritual integration technique.
When creating your piece of art, ensure that you first have a strong intention in mind. Without a clear purpose for your art, it won’t be beneficial or effective. Some examples of strong intentions include creating art that helps you to experience inner peace, creating art that aids you in forgiving, creating art that empowers you to live more purposefully, and so on.
What art materials should you use? That’s totally up to you. Tune into what you resonate with or simply like – that might be doing something as ‘juvenile’ as a finger painting or as elaborate as a sculpture. It’s your choice!
Integration is a crucial part of the spiritual awakening journey and embodying your True Nature. But remember that it doesn’t need to be artificially triggered or forced. You can’t ‘achieve’ it – keep in mind that it is a natural and organic movement of Life itself. However, sometimes we are called to actively participate in our spiritual integration process. And I hope this article has helped you to do just that!
Do you have anything to share about the topic of integration that you think others should know? Feel free to share in the comments below!