Given the recent posts on the art of living, I offer this preview of the book on ILP by Wilber, Patten, Leonard and Morelli, which is the first 2 chapters. The four core modules are body, mind, spirit and shadow, the idea being to pick at least one practice from each in designing your individual program. The spirit module includes meditation, prayer and integral inquiry (20), among others, with inquiry being a "gold star" practice. It is explained more fully starting on p. 243, not part of the preview. This Google book preview however shows that section.
What they mean by inquiry is "an advanced 1st person practice designed to...rest in formless or pure awareness" (243). There are 2 aspects to it, absolute and relative. The former is the meditative practice and the latter advises understanding and dissolving obstructions to the absolute, which can include the shadow process and the AQAL model itself. There are four stages to the inquiry, the last being that when one has attained proficiency in the 3 prior stages of the meditative practice one can then bring that awareness into any activity.
So a few questions arise. The initial stages of the absolute practice is basically about sitting and unwinding. The mid-stages then include relative deconstructive and dissolving practice to get one back to absolute pure awareness. The last stage is that pure awareness then permeates every other practice, the union of absolute and relative. So in the last stage one can maintain pure awareness in the activity of philosophical or intellectual activity. How would one discern then when one is so doing instead of just engaging in mental obstruction or contraction? As Loy said:
"The point isn’t to have some pure mind, untainted by thought, like a blue, completely empty sky with no clouds. After a while that gets a little boring! Rather, one should be able to engage or play with the thought processes that arise in a creative, non-attached, nondualistic way. To put it in another way, the idea isn’t to get rid of all language, it’s to be free within language, so that one is non-attached to any particular kind of conceptual system, realizing that there are many possible ways of thinking and expressing oneself."
Regarding using deconstructive methods to get one back to a state not attached to any particular conceptual system, recall this post quoting Loy.
"Derrida is not interested in defending any philosophical position of his own but instead is concerned with showing the limits of language and the difficulties we fall into when we overstep them.... Derrida's term to describe the relativity and 'indeterminability' of meaning is différance, and the way différance functions in his philosophy can be compared to how Nagarjuna uses shunyata, or emptiness. Derrida emphasizes that différance does not refer to some specific thing. It is merely a conceptual tool useful for describing how conceptual meaning is never quite settled, but always 'deferred.'"
And hence its practice returns us to emptiness. This is in fact the goal of the practice. Derrida doesn't, as far as I know, start with trying to settle into a pure state of presence, largely due to his critique of the metaphysics of (absolute) presence. Hence there is no pure present awareness, given its inherent infection with the relative. Still, his practice of differance can lead one to an open, non-attached state of awareness.* I know it often does that for me, a state I recognize from years of meditative-martial training.** And a state that is informing this very post. Granted it isn't the same as what eastern meditators do but perhaps a homemorphic equivalence?*** And certainly one with less metaphysical baggage than ILP. At least according to my de/re.
* One of course that is immanent to the core, even its virtual emptiness.
** Another story for another day.
*** The other story in the 2nd footnote indeed finds such equivalence, given my experience in a Chinese martial art originated by Bodhidharma, who brought Buddhist meditation to China along with martial training.