Integral Alchemy is a project of cultivating naturalness. While traditional teachings (mainly Taoist) build the basis for this, the aim is to use an integral framework to transmit and elaborate on the practical, theoretical and philosophical elements involved in it.
Our wish and idea is to move beyond dogmatic and obscure recipes for enlightenment, and instead look at the essences of the practices from an informed and non-magical thinking perspective in order to use and adapt them to bring them closer to us. We believe that many of the ancient traditions had incredible insights into the human condition and the practices derived from them are valuable for all humans. Research into the wisdom traditions can reveal that all of these traditions map out the same territory – the human existence – simply in different terms and symbols. This more distilled understanding of what wisdom traditions are about can help us access them, accept them and practice them without feeling like we are drifting into irrational, magical fantasies.
The various states of consciousness that wisdom traditions describe form the range of our possible modes of experience and thus also the spectrum of influences upon us. We generally tend to understand the power of the mind on our being, but the normal-mind we experience during our waking state is only one of the many states that, as humans, we have access to. More subtle “minds” exist within us and are in a sense constantly influenced and influencing – without our awareness. To truly harness our full potential as humans, we need to grow our awareness of these subtle realms through direct experience and training. This is done through practices such as Qigong and Meditation.
Integral Alchemy puts a high emphasis on personal cultivation that can lead to transformations – transforming internal led into gold, furthering our (cognitive, spiritual, moral, somatic, and social …) development. Development is seen as a holistic “transcend-and-include” motion in which each previous stage of growth is included into the next and thus has its place and importance. The logical conclusion from this is that each stage of development is more inclusive and offers a larger perspective and a larger sphere of love and care that an individual is capable of extending. This means that with higher developmental stages higher forms of organization in relationships, society and business are possible, allowing solutions for global-socio-ecological problems to become feasible, as well as making deeper personal relationships more common. But what makes growth possible? Developmental psychology, neuroscience and spiritual teachings all give us different answers. The key is not in trying to find which one is true, but in realizing the truth in each, and integrating these understandings to arrive at something that we can work with.
Rather than a recipe, Integral Alchemy is an intention to embrace and explore what we are and what we could be. It’s reaching for our highest principles, our truest selves and co-creating a magnificent future. However, being better, smarter, more loving, healthier, more in harmony with everything else becomes a matter not of striving, but of cultivating the self to the point where all these emerge spontaneously in accord with the Way of the Kosmos, promoting harmony and balance. The principle of uncontrived emergence rather than seeking, striving and forcing transformation upon ourselves and the world is an important point. Harmony cannot be created forcefully but is an emergent phenomenon when all elements involved become permeable to each other.