True Patriotism and the Integral Way

On the 4th of July this year, I was thinking about patriotism. We were considering having a 4th of July sale on iAwake Technologies’ products and the slogan, “Be a good patriot this July 4th. Develop your brain.” came to mind. I liked it―a bit humorous, but pretty serious at the same time.

What is a patriot? A patriot is somebody who loves their country. Some people have fatherlands, and in the United States, we refer to this country  as our “motherland.” (So, we should be “matriots,” actually, not patriots.) But the whole word “patriot” has come under a black cloud over the last several decades, because of the way that it’s been used and exploited. For example, if you don’t buy into the Fox News, right wing paradigm, you’re not a real American and you’re not a patriot. Some of us shrink from the word, thinking, “Patriotism is just another militaristic, imperialistic ism that is not cool.” But really, patriotism just means you love your country.

Statue of Liberty

I really love my country. I love America. I love the myriad gifts that America has brought into the world, and it pains me when we don’t live up to our full potential, or promise. It hurts me when we do wrong and don’t take care of business as we should, just like it hurts me when I personally don’t, or when my children don’t. We have such amazing potential to be so much more than we ever dreamed, and not just through dumb luck―we’re actually beginning to understand how we can achieve our full potential.

The way for us to show up in the world, in the strongest, and most beautiful, creative, compassionate, brilliant, and wise way that we can, is through practice: evolutionary, integral practice that exercises all the basic, essential, self-related capacities or lines. We have identified those aspects of ourselves that we need to develop on an ongoing, daily basis.

First, we need a strong body, so we need strenuous physical exercise. We need to push our bodies beyond our comfort zone into the reorganizing, rebuilding zone. We need to learn how to balance strength training, cardio, and yoga, using all of these capacities to make our bodies more supple, strong, cool, and sexy, capable of handling more stress, and capable of doing all the things we need to do.

Then we have to work our cognitive abilities to understand more―whether it’s reading Ken Wilber and the great philosophers, and all the wonderful teachers that are showing up these days, like Robert Augustus Masters, or perhaps it’s about learning how to use a new computer program that will help us reach out to the world and do the work that we have to do by being hooked up to the world wide web. At this point, we’re all connected through the internet and learning how to use these tools compassionately, skillfully, and effectively, might be a part of the cognitive growth that we need to work on.

We need to do our emotional work, which means processing, being with, transforming, transmuting, and releasing all our wounds from the past. We do this in relation to our own individual paths as well as our collective path. Spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl, has done a lot of work in Germany with the collective shadow from the Nazi period, and we in America have our own shadows of course, like slavery, how we treated the native peoples, and how we treat the Earth sometimes. We all have our individual as well as our national shadows. At some level, there is only one shadow, and there is only one “I.” That’s what the great mystics have taught us―that all of the individual “I”s are just expressions of the big “I.”

One way of understanding this is to hold your hand up and cover your hand, so all you see is the fingers and the thumb. Now they look like individual things, but, if you go deeper, you see that they are all part of the same appendage. This is similar to the way we are―we’re all part of one another. We are Mother Teresa. We are Adolf Hitler. We are the Beatles. We are the greats, the awfuls, and everything in between.

If we don’t do the emotional work, the shadow work, the bringing forward of our hurts and wounds, absolutely allowing them to show up, be present, and express themselves, they turn into pathologies. They turn into unconscious conditioning, so that we’re walking around in zombie-like, robotic ways, thinking that we’re making free choices about things when we’re really not.

The next capacity that we develop doing our integral work is the spiritual capacity. This involves addressing the ultimate questions―and the answers to the ultimate questions―like, Is there a God? Does this consciousness that we embody survive after the demise of the body? Is the universe friendly? Is the universe intelligent? Is the universe compassionate, or is it just a random, really interesting, jiggling about of different chemicals that eventually results in the phenomena of consciousness. Is consciousness foundational to the whole thing?

The mystics have always said consciousness is foundational and that everything arises out of consciousness. The materialists say, no, it is matter that simply appeared and then swirled around in very interesting ways, to eventually, after much  jiggling and evolving, produce consciousness. I think a lot of cutting edge scientists, quantum science, and the science of consciousness itself are beginning to come more in line with the mystic story that everything arises from pure awareness, pure consciousness, the creative void, God, spirit, however you want to say that. You can language it in the mythic language of the great spiritual traditions, or you can language it in whatever language you like, but I think we’re all talking about the same thing.

As we deepen our own individual practice, I think we will find that consciousness is foundational. When we tap into that which is beyond the objects of consciousness, beyond our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies, our feelings, our beliefs, our loves, and our hatreds, that pure, deep part of us that is pure spaciousness, pure awareness, pure love, pure light, pure creative beauty, we actually begin to get enlightened, or we lighten up, and we become healthier and happier. Then the whole ego thing begins to function at a better level, with more joy, more aliveness, more compassion, and more being deeply human. When we tap into where we come from, moment to moment, the ego structure itself gives us a whole new reference point on how to live and how to act in the world. This new reference comes from an inner well-spring of wisdom and beauty that is the same inside as out. There is only one, and it is perfect and beautiful in a very mysterious way, no matter how awful things might seem in the relative world.

The ultimate questions―also who we are and what is our essential self―need to be answered not just in our religious, philosophical, cognitive, and intellectual understanding, but in a deep, embodied sense of awakening, which requires that we work and work hard. The good news is that there are new tools and new forms arising that are coming together with traditional and ancient forms to put us on the fast track to finding our true selves and showing up with greater purpose and meaning, happiness and effectiveness, in the world as we find it today.

So, if you’re going to be a good “matriot,” and love your country with a nurturing, compassionate mother love, you need to show up, get through your own issues, and turn them into wisdom and compassion for the whole. When you want to be a good patriot, love your country with a strong, masculine, defensive, get-it-done approach and protect the weak and the downtrodden. To be a good father, a good husband, a good patriot, same prescription: you need to do your work. If you love your country, then live like it. If you love your country, do your work on yourself. Work on these capacities, body, mind, emotions, and spirituality. This is not a narcissistic turning in, but a deeply profound turning inward in order to take responsibility, to wake up, to grow, and to become what you can be as an individual and as a part of this great unitive, evolutionary unfolding that we find ourselves in.


Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on July 4, 2012.

Join our weekly calls!

To receive information on how to join the weekly iAwake coaching calls that John leads, sign up for the free meditation download and you’ll be put on the email list. You can also access the phone-in information on our Teleseminar page. 


John DupuyJohn Dupuy is the CEO of iAwake Technologies and the founder of Integral Recovery, a holistic addiction treatment approach inspired by Ken Wilber’s Integral Model. He is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to Alcoholism and Addiction, recently published by SUNY Press. As a pioneer in the use of brainwave entrainment in therapy and personal development, John has dedicated his life to helping others deepen their spiritual practice and transform their lives.


Leave your comments below

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.