General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Is it possible to "integrate" yourself?

Asked by wundayatta (58727points) June 14th, 2011
5 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

On this question (Can people have secret agendas hidden from themselves?”) Coloma said, “Yep, integration and self awareness is the goal for happy and healthy living and relating.”

LostInParadise replied, “The premise of the question is that there is a single self. The evidence from neuroscience is that the brain is divided into a multitude of individual regions and the sense of self is kind of grand illusion. I have heard a theory that says that any time we feel conflicted about someting, it is in essence one part of the brain working against another.”

Is it possible to get the brain to work in concert, or is it necessary for healthy living that it maintain separate parts so as to give us alternative points of view so we can have a better chance of making a good decision? Could working against yourself—if your brain is equally divided between two alternatives—actually be helpful?

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Coloma's avatar

In my experience ‘integration’ is really just a fancy psychology term for burning through neuroses.
Reconciling the different, conflictual ‘parts’ of ones psyche.
For some it is a natural and metered byproduct of maturity, for others, perhaps, years of therapy to help untangle inner conflicts.
For me, personally, it was more of a spontaneous healing, hard to explain, but tangible and felt deeply during a period of great transistion for me some years ago.

It is about the reconciling of polarities, and, often rigid mind structures/roles people get stuck in.
Dependent/independent, strong/weak, fear/courage, growth/stagnation, yin/yang….on & on.

It is about becoming ‘whole’ in the sense of no longer being psychologically/emotionally dependent on anything outside yourself for happiness, validation.

It is not an action, something that can be ‘forced’, it either happens or it does not.

The best way I can describe ‘it’ is a coming home to self, which, when attained allows a deep and abiding inner peace and trust to arise.

The ’ peace that surpasseth all understanding.’

thorninmud's avatar

LostInParadise is quite right about the multiplicity of motives and “special interests” in the brain; I don’t understand integration to be a state where suddenly all of that mental diversity is replaced by a single voice. This multiplicity is not, in itself, pathological.

Things get problematic when we identify with some of these inner processes to the exclusion of others. Typically, there are some aspects of the mind’s functioning that we fully own, that feel like “me”, and others that we never fully recognize. These get relegated to the “shadow”, where they can work at cross-purposes to our conscious will, or end up as projections that color our perceptions of others.

To make an analogy to the body, people vary in how they identify with different parts of the body. If you ask people of different cultures where they think the center of their being is, you may get different responses. Westerners will tend to point to their head, other cultures will point to the heart, or the “hara” just below the navel. Other parts feel more remote and less essential—less “me”. Some people have a more integrated sense of body, one that more equally encompasses all of its elements. Others are so disintegrated that they can’t even recognize a particular limb as belonging to them.

So it goes with the mind. An integrated mind is one that is capable of embracing all of its aspects, not saying “this is me, but no, no, not that”. Integration is the process of fearlessly bringing the light of day into all of the corners of the mind and embracing what lurks there. They’re less destructive when they’re acknowledged like that. This all-inclusive mind is “integrated” in the sense that it hasn’t orphaned some aspects while embracing others.

There is indeed a harmonious whole, but that whole doesn’t exist at the exclusion of discord and multiplicity. It includes the discord and multiplicity.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, well said.

RubyB's avatar

No, what you described as “working against yourself… your brain equally divided between two alternatives”, is called cognitive dissonance. Integrating yourself can come only after deprogramming yourself from the imposed truths and values you’ve accepted without thought or question.

Coloma's avatar


Right, first you awaken, then you unlearn, deprogram.
Those can occur separately, some burning through egoic neurosis happens spontaneously for many.

I always say learning is easy, it is unlearning that takes effort. ;-)

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