Many people when looking to get involved with Integral Theory really don’t know where to start as the subject seems overly complex to many. As such when asked by others where to start I always say to begin with the Quadrants of AQAL.
A brief tour of you.
If we look at the diagram to the right of this post you will see an image of the quadrants and if you follow along with what I am about to explain to you not only will you gain a theoretical understanding of the quadrants but also you will be able to tap into each of the quadrants in your own real-time experience in your own awareness. When we look at the diagram we can see that at the top we have the words individual and at the bottom of the square we have the words collective.
Lets start with the individual section. Both of the top two quadrants refer to you (if we are looking at you from an integral perspective). You have an interior, as mentioned on the diagram, and an exterior, again as mentioned on the diagram. You know this to be true yes?
For example your interior aspects include your own thoughts, your intentions, your understandings, memories etc. Your exteriors you can objectively look at these include your physical body your brain your behaviour (which can be observed by another) etc etc. Your exterior can be viewed objectively, directly for example, where as your interiors can not. For me to understand your interiors you and I have to enter in to a dialogue, otherwise if I think I know what you are feeling then I am just mind reading or projecting my interior thoughts on to you.
These are the two quadrants that apply to all sentient beings as individual’s be it a horse, a dog, a dolphin, or a human being.
So right now take a moment to check in with your own interiors. What are you aware of in your thinking? How do you feel right now, what are your emotions? What or who is arising in your mind right now? Be aware that these interiors are in all the people who you know and meet every day. They are all thinking, feeling emoting.
Next check in with your exteriors, take a look at your face in the mirror. The physical or gross body is a truly astonishing vehicle. for example take a look now at just one square inch of skin on your arm. In that one square inch there are 4 yards of nerve fibers, 1300 nerve cells, 100 sweat glands, 3 million cells, and 3 yards of blood vessels! Stop and feel the “It” space the for a moment, do you have any discomfort in your physical body, an ache or maybe an itch? Notice how these arise in your “I” space your interiors and how they are different from each other.
As you go about your day today become aware of the two quadrants of you as an individual and tap in to these aspects of yourself as well as become aware of these aspects of in others that you meet. Tomorrow we will look at the two bottom quadrants and how they are part of you and others.