By George A. Boyd ©2017
We can describe a nine-point scale of relative immersion in spirituality and material life, which we call the spiritual engagement scale. These nine points along this continuum highlight the primacy of either spirituality or material pursuits. These are shown below.
- He enters Nirvana, or Liberation, and experiences only God is real. He has no desire to do anything or become anything. He waits for God and others to provide for him.
- He spends his time floating, absorbed in spiritual experience, dissociated and detached from human life. He cannot commit to constructive action, or use volition effectively. He simply wants to be high and free. He relies on others to care for him. He can carry out the activities of daily life.
- Spiritual growth and development is the prime objective in his life, and that occupies every waking moment. He gives the minimum time to worldly activities and responsibilities. He does daily actions as duty with detachment, and primarily applies his will to spiritual objectives. He can discipline himself and set goals.
- He experiences conflict between his spiritual objectives and personal objectives. His personal responsibilities pull him away from spiritual development. He has a powerful yearning to make spiritual progress. He considers going on retreats or vacations to free up time for immersion in spirituality.
- He maintains a balance between spiritual and material goals. His spiritual practice is structured into his schedule, and he has regular work, relationship, and health routines. He can care for self and others, plus pursue his spiritual objectives.
- His material pursuits and family life are primary. He makes time for spiritual development and communion as an afterthought. He is completely immersed in his work and family life to the degree that meditation is difficult. He may make attempts to meditate and interiorize: he finds it challenging.
- His involvement in religion is ritualistic and social. He attends religious services regularly. He has little or no spiritual experience. He prays as clergy invites him. He may study the scriptures or read spiritual books, but has no burning drive for spiritual experience.
- He rejects spirituality as a regression into infantile mode of being, and is critical of religion and spirituality. He may adopt an atheistic posture. He judges only by what can be known through the senses and reason.
- He has no contact with his spirituality or a Power greater than the Self. He has no insight into his subjective life. He is completely externalized: his parents, peers, and the institutions of society condition him—they tell him how he should act, how he should believe, what values he should embrace, and what he should do with his life.
We encourage aspirants to reflect upon where they are currently functioning on this scale. They need to identify what is the optimal balance between material and spiritual pursuits.
In Integral meditation, we advocate that people routinize their daily activities so they can devote ample time to spiritual and personal development, while carrying out the activities of work and family life. We hold that people can consciously and intentionally participate in their spiritual life, while managing the responsibilities and duties of their daily lives, and working to achieve their personal dreams.