Transcend and Include
by Christine Enking
Years ago I read several books by Ken Wilbur, a modern-day philosopher of sorts. One of the main themes he asserted in his writing was the idea that, in our growth and development as humans, it is important for us to always remember where we came from. I think our job, while we are here on this planet, is to grow and develop in all life areas to our fullest potential. And in that process, it is inevitable that we will “leave others behind.” Meaning, we all follow our own path.
Human growth and development is a self-paced process, and no two people will follow the same path in the same time frame. We learn from our experiences. Our goal should be: “When we know better, we do better.” There is no best in this process, other than our personal best. Comparing ourselves to others in order to figure out who we are and where we are headed is an exercise in futility; it will come back to bite us.
Wilbur developed a process of growth and development called Integral Practice. He encourages all of us to self-assess each of our lines of development to determine our current stage of development. Examples of these lines include physical, emotional, mental, professional, social, religious/spiritual, moral, sexual, and relational. After a mega-analysis of the theories of development, he outlines the main themes and offers suggestions for how to grow and improve along each developmental line. The common thread through this process is that we all have the chance to improve our quality of life and become more authentic. Wilbur believes there is truth in these theories of development – but no absolutes. To focus on any specific theory as an absolute guide leading to human improvement, or to focus on some areas of development and not others, leaves us fragmented and compromised.
According to the dictionary definition, transcend means:
1. to rise above or go beyond; overpass; exceed: to transcend the limits of thought. 2. to outdo or exceed in excellence, elevation, extent, degree, etc.; surpass; excel.
This definition implies that there is no ultimate goal or final destination. Throughout our lives, we will strive to succeed, to do better, to improve. We will also have the opportunity to see authenticity instead of perfection as the destination. However, can we be authentic if we forget where we’ve come from and leave behind those who haven’t reached the point where we are in our development? Throughout my growth and development I have learned that the only way to keep what I have is to give it away.
We are relational beings, and without connection to others we would live an empty life. To include means that we share our growth and development with others and offer any support we can as they grow and develop. Never forget where you come from and never forget that someone was there to support you.
Transcendence and inclusion lead to living an authentic life.
Early in her career, Christine worked in the for-profit sector, primarily in positions related to accounting and business. After four years of work in a program with Mark Storry (her coauthor) and his partners from Partners Institute (Partners in Prevention), she decided to go back to school. She received her MSW and began her career in child protection, helping parents who were involved in the system learn to reduce the risk to their children. After 15 years, she moved on to work with a nonprofit organization that provided support and services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. In her own way, she continues to make a difference in the lives of children, one child at a time. Christine has an adult daughter. She is winding down her professional career and plans to become a full-time writer. Visit Christine’s website: AProtocolForGrace.com.