Notes From the Field: Third ILiA Collaborative: Leading from Goodness, Truth, and Beauty

David McCallum, S.J.

David McCallumThe third Integral Leadership in Action (ILiA) Collaborative, in partnership with Boulder Integral, took place from October 9-12th in Boulder, Colorado. Continuing to explore the line of inquiry first introduced in 2004 at the Integral Leadership Seminar, “What is Integral Leadership in Action?” ILiA 3’s inquiry was flavored by attention to three classic orienting values: Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.

First, here are a few words about my perspective and intention. As someone with an Integral way of knowing, but without a stake in the various institutions of the movement (e.g. Integral Institute, Integral Life, Boulder Integral, or EnlightenNext), I feel free to offer a perspective that is not overly aligned with any particular community. At the same time, my intention is to express just how impressive I found the way that these particular parts of the third ILiA conference came together to form a very satisfying and meaningful whole. As was the case at the first ever Integral Theory Conference at JFK University in August, 2008, these gatherings are bringing the wider Integral world into view, leaders drawn together by a kinship of consciousness and a desire for a community of practice. While the terms “Big Mind” and “Big Heart” seem to be rapidly establishing themselves in the lexicon of the Integral community, perhaps the contribution of ILiA 3 is the emerging notion of “Big Hand,” an integrally informed skillfulness of leadership in action, and a concerted focus on the 2nd person, or intersubjective dimension of discourse, relationship, and collaboration.

I attended the preconference session where Steve McIntosh offered sweeping perspective on the development of Integral consciousness in the context of the history of philosophy. I felt drawn in by the extraordinary setting for the event. Boulder Integral, a former Lutheran church, is a warm and inviting assortment of spaces from the large high ceilinged main hall to the meditation space, a cozy and intimate salon and a breakout lounge with leather couches. Why mention all this? Because context matters and this space clearly expresses a warm heart at the center of the heady Integral movement. The Boulder Integral staff, Jeff Salzman, Ross and Mary Hostetter, Nomali Perera, and Jason Lange, along with conference planners including Jennifer Blalock, Christine Brautigam, and Kim Harpham, conveyed the kind of easy going and generous hospitality that made people feel like this was their Integral home, no matter that we came from as far as Europe and Australia.

In broad strokes, ILiA 3 was more than a convening of several of the headline contributors to the Integral movement (Andrew Cohen, Elizabeth Debold, Clint Fuhs, Diane Hamilton, Steve McIntosh, Terry Patten, Jeff Salzman—to name a few), or a showcase of cutting edge practices that demonstrate contributions of Integral Theory in action. It was also an opportunity for integrally informed practitioners to join hearts and minds in exploring the “frothy edges” of our own development and the development of innovative, skillful means for leadership and organizational consultation, ot to mention enjoying a little fun with Stuart Davis’s earthy trickster performance on Saturday night.

From many of our perspectives (I did some lower left quadrant collaborative inquiry here), two of the most significant emergent edges were the increased degree to which we concentrated on the 2nd person space of intersubjectivity and service and the friendly, co-inquiring encounter between two key constituencies in the wider Integral movement: those introduced through the work of Ken Wilber and those initiated through their work with Andrew Cohen and the EnlightenNext community.

Regarding the attention to the 2nd person dimension of Integral practice, there seems to be an emerging consensus that while 1st person work in self-spiritual practice and 3rd person attention to theories and maps have been the focus of Integral inquiry, the place where Integral theory and practice is perhaps most tested and ultimately valued is in the 2nd person space of intimate, community, and professional relationships, communications, conflict management and collaboration. This theme surfaced in every event that I participated in, whether it was Terry Patten’s presentation of the evolving Integral Life Practice, Carter Phipps and Jeff Carreira’s workshop on Enlightened Communication or Diane Hamilton and Jeff Salzman’s open space exploration of our pressing themes and interests. Inspired by our focus on Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, there seemed to be a recognition that unless enlightened self development and powerful integrating maps can truly affect the sphere of relationships and lead to enlightened service in the world we may be pursuing partial goods. This emphasis on enlightened Integral practice led to the coining of the expression, “Big Hand,” after Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind and Big Heart.

In our roundup of the three days events, immediately following Andrew Cohen’s teaching on the latest developments in his community of enlightened inquiry, there was a powerful sense of two distinct sub groups within the Integral world having joined their hearts and minds for a truly collaborative inquiry. If I am not mistaken, while this inquiry includes some internal tensions between what is privileged or given priority (i.e. horizontal inclusivity/vertical evolution; theory/practice; a more fluid perspective on development/a tendency to emphasize the forward thrust of growth) there was nonetheless a transcending sense of gratitude for this collaboration and for the event as a whole.

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Fr. David McCallum, S.J. is a Jesuit (Roman Catholic) priest and educator. Born in Buffalo, NY, David grew up in Rochester, NY, and attended Le Moyne College prior to entering the Jesuit order in 1990. Over the course of his years of training and formation in preparation for ordination, he taught in primary and secondary schools, assisted in refugee relocation, and served as a chaplain to people with AIDS. David’s education for ordination included a MA in philosophy from Fordham University, and both an MDiv and a Licentiate degree in theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. His second theology degree involved Robert Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory as a lens for understanding the power of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola as a vehicle for spiritual maturation. Following ordination in 2001, he was the associate pastor of a large suburban parish in Oceanside, NY, and then worked on the staff of St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, NY prior to beginning full time doctoral studies in 2004. In 2008, David completed his doctorate in Adult Learning and Leadership at Columbia University, Teachers College on the implications of adult developmental maturation for leadership capacity. He has worked closely with Susann Cook Greuter and Bill Torbert, and is a practitioner of Developmenal Action Inquiry. In his academic and professional work, he explores the connections between adult learning and development, leadership formation, and spiritual maturation. Currently, he presents workshops and retreats, consults to organizational change processes, and facilitates leadership development workshops. In January of 2009, David will head to Australia to begin an eight month period of preparation for his final vows.