Integrating Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul

This article includes excerpts from Living an Extraordinary Life by Christina Grote and Pamela Kramer. Find more information in the book.

The word integral comes from the same root as integrate—to unify, to merge, to join. As multidimensional beings, humans need an integral approach to address the many different aspects of our existence. We see body, mind, heart, and soul as distinct doorways or windows into our experience as whole beings. These doorways are distinguishable but not really separate; they are interwoven.

Through carefully chosen practices, ITP addresses and integrates each aspect of our many-sided nature. A lot of it is common sense. Most of us can see the value of exercise, eating a healthy diet, having compassion and care for ourselves and others, continuing to learn and grow intellectually, and attending to the deepest core of our being— our spiritual needs. We know these things are good for us. If we have time and energy, we may engage with one or another. But we rarely think to attend to them all or recognize them all as essential parts of a balanced life. We may focus mainly on working out, or on eating well, or having a strong meditation practice, or enjoying fulfilling relationships. Each of these can be transformative. But have you thought about what could happen if you paid attention to and nurtured all of these? A truly integral practice is the surest path for exploration and realization of our fullest potentials. And the focus on each dimension feeds and amplifies the others.

You can become aware of your integral nature at any moment. For example, let’s say you are having a conversation with someone. You are in your body, you are breathing, your heart is beating, you are using your vocal cords to speak. Your muscles, connective tissue, and skeletal structure hold you in position. Your senses capture both obvious and subtle cues. Your mind is active as you consider what is being expressed. Your heart is engaged as you listen and perhaps you may empathize with what the other person is feeling. If you expand your attention beyond the specifics of the situation, tuning in to the presence beneath the words, you may become aware of deeper dimensions as you interact with another, such as your soul, or your essential Self, always present and learning on the journey. The more aware you become of this whole-being engagement in the present moment, the more alive you will experience yourself to be. And in this enlivened, integrated state, you can make the most of “the life we are given.” Living this way, you may to be able to feel more deeply connected to others, to the earth, and to the universe where we live.