Stepping on the spiral pathway

Jonathan Dover

I started using integral theory about 13 years ago after experiencing a transformative life change that really shifted how I saw the world around me.

I had spent the early part of my career in a busy retail management and buying environment, based in Birmingham City Centre. I began to question the meaning my lifestyle was providing and a friend suggested I take a holiday at the transformational learning centre of The Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, which proved life changing. After a relatively brief immersion in this community and their small farming unit, a much improved version of myself somehow appeared. I had absolutely no understanding about how this had actually happened but knew I wanted to find out.

Upon leaving Findhorn, I decided to retrain, achieving a distinction at Master’s level in Sustainable Development Advocacy. Wanting to try and find out what had happened to me internally, I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between disease and transformation of human consciousness and was introduced to the work of Ken Wilber and integral theory for the first time by my Professor and her partner. I found the theory so powerful to answer deep questions I had about my journey so far and I committed to learning more.

Following my masters, I went on to hold a central role in the initial development of care farming in the UK, setting up farm based social enterprises to provide support to various groups of vulnerable people – from those suffering from alcohol, drug or mental health problems right through to those excluded from school and people with learning disabilities. I provided business planning and marketing advice to the start-up care farms and raised over £600k for a new organisation to provide strategic support and networking.

Providing the go-between between social services and the farming community and with over 40 social enterprises in active development, the intensity of my life conditions caused another and much broader integral worldview to be viscerally activated within me. Recognising how crucial integral theory and spiral dynamics had been in supporting my own growth, I then moved into education and coaching to deliver this in practical and helpful ways for other people and organisations. This has led me to be one of the recommended consultants of the Holistic Centers Network.

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