Integral Health and Wellness – 1 – What is Integral Theory and AQAL?
I’m starting off a series of explorations of some of the elements Susan and I shall be exploring in our up-coming retreat in Greece.
I was introduced to the work of Ken Wilber by my martial arts teacher and first read a Theory of Everything in 2008. When first introduced to Integral theory and AQAL I realized this was an excellent tool for formulating a new paradigm for herbal medicine that was a synthesis of all the influences East and West, modern and traditional, etc…A tool which had the ability to make clear the weaknesses, deficiencies and blind-spots as well as the strengths’, wisdom and insights of many different modalities for medicine and healing along with the world-view’s they are embedded in (founded on). Instead of re-inventing the wheel yet another time I will refer you to a few articles introducing Integral Theory.
What do I mean by the word “integral?” In A Theory of Everything” Wilber defines integral as follows:
“Integral: the word means to integrate, to bring together, to join, to link, to embrace. Not just in the sense of uniformity, and not in the sense of ironing out all the differences, colors, zigs and zags of a rainbow-hued humanity, but in the sense of unity-in-diversity, shared commonalities along with our wonderful differences…”
Clearly the word integral can be used to describe many approaches to health and wellness. Some approaches are more comprehensive and inclusive than others. On the other hand “Integral Theory” refers to the work of Ken Wilber and other theorists. Integral Theory describes 5 elements which are essential for a comprehensive and “integral” understanding of any topic. These 5-elements are referred to in abbreviated form as AQAL (All Quadrants, all Levels, all Lines, all States, and all Types) and they play an essential role in my approach to herbal medicine, stress-management, and wilderness therapy.
We shall be exploring further aspects of Integral Theory as it applies to health and wellness shortly…