Integration is one of those words that you hear a lot in spiritual and self-development circles. But what does it actually mean?
An experience can stimulate us on many levels, including physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual. It is very possible that this experience has brought some new information into our awareness and if we allow this information to fully penetrate our being it may well change our world view or way of being in the world.
For me, integration means;
Giving myself the space and time to absorb my experience.
To make sense of it.
To assimilate it.
It's all too easy to jump straight from one experience to another, to quickly return to our busy lives, roles and responsibilities. But if, following an experience, we busily move on to the next thing, we are in danger of skipping this vital step.
It is in the integration step where the potential for real growth, learning and transformation lies.
Integration doesn't need to happen immediately, although the law of diminishing returns would seem to apply. Spending the time when the experience is fresh will bring rich rewards.
An example of this is with dreams. If I have a dream and then I wake up and immediately set about my usual busy morning routine, very often the dream dissolves into the ether, we may remember snippets throughout the day, but do you remember these snippets the day after that?
I enjoy the practice of dream journalling, which is really just the a way of integrating my dreams. If I remember my dream on waking, I get up immediately and set about writing it up in my journal. Sometimes I write the storyline and work out my interpretation there and then; other times I just record the storyline and return to it later in the day to decode the message from my unconscious.
The important thing is, I took the time to bring attention to the experience, to record it while it was fresh in my mind and in so doing, assimilate it into my conscious awareness.
Integration with clients
In my tantra sessions there are times when the client is specifically invited to notice and reflect on their experience, both during massage structures and afterwards.
In other modalities, therapists and healers often recommend that you 'take it easy' and 'be gentle on yourself' after a session in the hope that you will take some time afterwards to integrate the work you have done together.
In transformational tantra massage, this is integrated into client sessions.
The amount of time needed will vary depending on what has happened during the session. If a lot of energy has been released or brought to the surface in a particular session I may recommend a longer period of integration. So a period of 10 mins anywhere up to an hour can be part of a session and this is why keeping the length of a session flexible can be beneficial.
In Tantra, as in Life,
There is as much value in the Doing as the Non-Doing.