In this episode, I take a look at the “ultimate questions” of religion and philosophy: Who are we? Where are we going? How does one live a meaningful life in a world that is marked by loss and death, but also goodness and beauty? 

Throughout history, humanity has come up with many different and often conflicting answers to these questions. Early humans perceived a spirit world where the ancestors were present and available. Traditional cultures posited a transcendent reality – Godhead or Nirvana – with death as an opportunity for liberation from evil and suffering. Modernity deconstructed religion and spirit but produced the insights of psychology, as well as countless therapies for personal growth.

The integral approach is to embrace them all and to be illuminated by multiple truths. In that spirit I created this episode by talking to four of my smartest integral colleagues about their views of the ultimate questions:

  • Dr. Keith Witt, integral psychotherapist for over 50 years, talks about the psychotherapeutic approach to trauma and grief.
  • Integral teacher and coach Nomali Perera shares the story of the death of her father and the metamorphosis of meaning it sparked in her.
  • Buddhist priest and integral teacher Diane Musho Hamilton offers guidance on the meditative approach of compassion and soothing presence.
  • And integral philosopher Steve McIntosh brings a theistic perspective, seeing death as a passage in one’s infinite cosmic journey of divine perfection.

I feel better – and a little bigger – having had these conversations. I hope they help you expand a bit as well!

– Jeff Salzman