Coquelicot Gilland

Coquelicot's work has evolved through her more than 20 years of experience of being a minister with the Association & Integration of the Whole Person (AIWP). To every session, Coquelicot brings her intuition and vast knowledge base. Then she gets out of the way to let something else arise; she makes room for a larger knowledge, and invites grace to enter. Coquelicot has a capacity for deep listening, listening beyond the limits of her personality and academic learning. By dropping and melting into something much larger than herself, she becomes simultaneously a student and a teacher, a facilitator and a catalyst. From there, she supports people to free themselves from the internal obstacles that block their innate ability to access this source directly.

How Language Shapes Reality

by Susanne Cookgreuter

What a beautifully narrated and inspiring message Corey gives of the integral movement. Believing that we do now have access to all that the human spirit has created since the dawn of history, however, is overlooking some crucial facts about human meaning making that I would like to address here in a longer reponse. I recently offered a similar note of caution in a speech for the integral forum in Germany.

There is an abundance of vital human experience and wisdom out in the world we are not privy to because we do not have access to the reality conceptions formed in all other speech communities. This is especially so for wisdom accumulated over centuries of oral transmission in remote areas of the world. W. Davis, in The wayfinders: Why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world brought this humbling insight recently again to my attention. Why my interest and concern? As a young linguist I used to do field research in on dying-out Italian dialects in the Swiss alpine Today we have enough evidence from linguistics, brain research and from semantics and anthropology–ethnology that both the language instinct (Pinker) and the language habit are aspects of our meaning making propensity.

To wit: Each culture and each speech community divides the original, unstructured continuum in sometimes similar and sometimes very different ways according to its specific traditions, beliefs, needs, and imagination as well as its context. Each group uses its particular language to induct new members into the particular reality view that it embodies. At the most basic level, each speech community transmits its accepted answers to our fundamental questions about life. It channels our attention to what is important and thus conceptualized and labeled and what is not important and thus outside its radar. Being able to use specific terms and to agree on their meaning creates a sense of belonging. It also subtly and not so subtly excludes those who do not know the special lingo. Integral concepts and jargon are no exception to this observation.

So let’s not forget: Almost everyone in this community is a speaker of one of the languages belonging to the Indo-European language family that originates in Sanskrit. According to Wikipedia estimates, more than 40% of the world’s people speak an Indo-European language from Hindi to Russian. Though not visible to most native English speakers, each language that is remote from the Indo-European branch may see very different realities from ours and articulate its conception of the world and of being a human being in sometimes powerfully different ways.

It is a fact, that English has become the lingua franka of the 21st century as it spreads and colonizes much of the international communication and commerce. Many of the chief advocates of the integral scene in the USA seem to be monolingual. Like fish in water they are not even aware of how the structure of English may itself influence their thinking and message. It would be a tragedy to assume that AQAL and integral evolutionary spirituality become the only answer to the human predicament and our innate striving for meaning.

As speakers of rare languages die out, and more and more people share information via English, a vast treasure of past human answers to: who we are, where we come from, where we are going, why we are here in the first place, and how we can survive our being in the world is permanently lost. What this loss of wisdom means for humanity seems at least as tragic as the loss of biodiversity.

By losing languages and cultures we also lose part of the legacy of the human spirit. I wonder to what degree the integral community is aware of these wider possibilities of our rich interpretive heritage. I wonder also what we lose by focusing merely on conceptions of reality originating from our Indo-European heritage.

As speakers of English, our thought is generally characterized by objectification, linearity, and a logico-deductive preference. That is, we rely on an analytical process of differentiation, and clear inside-outside or subject-object divisions. In addition, we tend to define the growth of the mind by its capacity to make ever finer distinctions and categorizing the information in ever more complex, and logically organized ways. English in particular is a language that reifies (makes into things) what are essentially processes.

How does this automatic analytical framing of reality show up in integral theory? The AQAL model separates human experience into four distinct quadrants. It’s true that the quadrants are said to co-arise and influence each other. Yet overall the model is teaching its components as separate entities. Also, the view of language just presented assumes that all named objects are human constructs, especially abstract ones. Thus, notions such as quadrants, types, and lines - even purpose, self and ego - are all invented concepts. They are essential for our survival and personal development in the Western mindset. It is fair to assume that “ego”, too, is an arbitrary and intangible concept although it seems necessary for us to communicate our experience to each other. To an aboriginal denizen of the Australian outback living along song lines in dream time, such a concept would have been utterly meaningless. But in our Western context, it serves a vital purpose.

Furthermore, the evolutionary perspective is touted as the only true way we should look at human existence and explain who we are and where we are headed. Although it is world-centric in its care, it is anthropo-centric in its overall message and in the role it assigns humans in the cosmic order. More than a mere conjecture, this view prides itself to be a comprehensive model of consciousness. It puts second-tier folks and spiritual evolutionaries at the center of action and salvation. It requires that we believe we have a major impact on what is happening in the future. Moreover, we are invited to see ourselves as co-creators with god of an emerging order of consciousness that will lead to a better and saner world.

Can you hear the potential for hubris in this framing of who we are and what our place in the universe is? What this view does not have is a perspective on its own, deep-seated cultural assumptions. E. O. Wilson (2004 Harvard Press) once said that “the evolutionary epic is probably one of the best myths of all”. Unlike evolutionary integralism, Wilson does have an explicit perspective on his own field of inquiry as a myth rather than the Truth.

I celebrate the integral movement. As a member, I have benefited from many of its discoveries. I feel blessed to have in our community a viable group of peers. As I have said elsewhere, I especially find AQAL a fantastic and comprehensive western model for exploring any topic in any field of inquiry at any level of granularity.

On the other hand, I invite us again and again to look at our own culturally-mediated and cherished view of reality as one viable view, but not the final view on spirit and what it means to be a significance seeking human being. I pray that we remain open to a more historical and global perspective on our field and remain aware of losses as well as its precious gains.
With a deep bow

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Coquelicot teaches didactically, experientially and by example. She brings to each session a lifetime's worth of tools, exercises and practices that I use at home to further my own development. Her genius combines intuition, sensing and a comprehensive knowledge of human emotional and biological development. What I've learned from her has not only given me a deeper understanding of my own patterns, dynamics and behaviors, it's also enhanced my understanding of others. I am a far more compassionate person thanks Coquelicot. In fact to the degree that I am a more evolved being in any regard, Coquelicot was instrumental in my transformation.

-L. M. Artist and wellness ally

"Dear God:

Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life. Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind. Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life, all of the 'am nots' that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough. Amen."
- Author unknown, The Knots Prayer

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