March 31st at 10 AM PT/ 7 PM CET

Spiritual Lessons and Opportunities that Ripen with Age 


Terry Patten is a renown spiritual teacher who has embraced the integral worldview fully. His approach enables us to include all aspects of BEING, all stages and all states of consciousness, and it is a genuine exploration of being human in this Universe.

He graciously agreed to be our guest for the closing episode of season 1 of our series Conscious Ageing to share his exxperience thoughts and attitude about ageing from a spiritual point of view.

Portrait of Terry Patten

STREAMED LIVE HERE on March 31st 2017

Spiritual Lessons and Opportunities that Ripen with Age with Terry Patten

00:00 Introductions and mechanics

03:00 Terry’s initial comments, his work after close work with Ken Wilber to “make Integral even more Integral” especially work with the Second Person, also social activism and Integral Soulwork in a we space.

05:30 Is anything missing from “classic” integral thought?  Well, not really, but some things can profit from expansion!  Much is partial but it’s also true!

06:30 – 7:00(temporary technical problems, echo and accidentally muted)

07:00 Another “partial” truth, the ageing population and what that means

08:30 What can older people do, spiritually or otherwise, do help the world: Gautama’s 3 messengers: sickness, old age and death!  The predicament in a youth-centered culture

09:30 Growing older eventually “deconstructs” you!  Leonard Cohen quote: I ache in the places that I used to play.

11:45  The positivity of growing older must include the darkness that is there also, but “on the other side.” The “illusion”, even in old age, that we ARE life itself.

14:00 The delusion that ensures we are ‘inauthentic’- the consensus trance – and awakening from it.

15.50 We get happier and happier the older we are and is not bound to physical conditions and circumstances.  But what about those who get grumpier?  Some don’t learn all the lessons of life, such as all conditions are temporary.
19:00 We are in the adolescence of our species, even if we are elders.  Do we have a special task? Yes, but the way we help humanity to grow …is by growing! Stay in the not-knowing.

21:00 Staying in connection, alternate living arrangements which facilitate contact.

24:00 Combatting Ageism!  The ageism we believe ourselves!

26:00 What we “boomers” brought to traditional/modern culture and what we lost. The opportunities that evolutionaries have.  Edging forward!

28:40 What this fragmented world needs: wholeness, healthiness, integrity

30:00 A rhapsodic view of what is possible…by ourselves evolving!

32:35 Two kinds of activism: one is to follow your heartbreak, the other is to follow your genius to new syntheses, the fourth sector, going around current institutions.

35:10 Activism is not just our projects but in a kind of presence and care and love. “There’s only so fast we can push this river.” There’s so much more than a binary choice

39:00 Terry offers a practice “live” of a wonderful transmission of second person spirituality

43:20 We take some time to stay in that transmission, the dead air joke,  what the Middle Ages meant by the denial of the Holy Spirit

45:30 The mystery of healing our scratches, where a good idea comes from, the inspiration for a good improvisation, etc.  we are grateful and hope the stream carries us onward. The innocence of true adulthood, our second childhood.
47:50 What we intended by calling our series “Conscious Ageing”, the great adventure! The importance of the aliveness of the questioning rather that what I already “know”.  How to keep that spirit flowing. The transmission continues.

52:00 Terry’s journey in 2016 paralleling Heidi’s: the repeating hero’s journeys. Now we need to do the hero’s journey collectively!
56:20 Terry’s new 7-week course comes from this perspective.  He describes it.  Go to for information. Now onward to the after-show video chat!


In the 60’s young people discovered a spirituality that was different from what their their parents had taught them. It was exciting and exotic adventure. Before that. we had “religion” and you believed in the dogmas or you didn’t. No real alternatives had existed. But it happened quite often that even strict atheists began to believe in God towards the end of their lives.

Today we can be spiritual without needing to “believe”. For many of us, spirituality, has become an internal journey of self discovery and contact with other realms of being. Certainly, some young people  begin a spiritual journey with various motives, but normally youth is not much concerned with wanting to know the deep existential truths.

Getting older changes the picture. We begin to become aware that life won’t go on forever and questions arise about death and afterlife. So the turn towards religion or spiritual teachings becomes a natural way of being in the world – the attempt to prepare for what will be coming next.


The experience of growing older makes naive spiritual idealism less and less tenable. As our bodies change and we see more and more of those we have known and loved passing away, the bittersweet nature of mortal existence becomes undeniable. Some people close off in resistance and become depressed or resentful, whereas others recognize the evergreen nature of the present moment, and deeply savor the holiness of brokenness.

I may come to “ache in places where I used to play” as Leonard Cohen so poignantly put it, and darkness may no longer be a stranger. But youthful illusions of immortality are blinding, and in the presence of darkness we can come to know the light far more intimately. Most importantly, we soften, and in softening, we become capable of the tenderness that is the essence of both human and divine love.

The elders have the sacred function to hold the suffering and the brokenness of the world. If we do this authentically, pain and loss do not necessarily diminish, but they can be seen as sacred, and authentic lightheartedness more and more often breaks through.


Terry is a leading voice in the emerging fields of integral evolutionary leadership and spirituality.

Terry is a member of Deepak Chopra’s Evolutionary Leadersgroup, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, and serves on the board of the Wellsprings Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and John F. Kennedy University.

He worked with Ken Wilber as part of a core team at Integral Institute to develop Integral Life Practice, which distills ancient and modern practices into an intelligent contemporary transformational lifestyle. Earlier, for 15 years, he undertook a life of intensive spiritual discipline in the monastic setting of Vision Mound Seminary. Upon leaving he founded the catalog company Tools For Exploration, which defined the field of consciousness technologies. Terry is also a social entrepreneur involved in supporting restorative redwood forestry. As an entrepreneur and consultant he has worked for twenty years to help leaders bring higher consciousness into practical actions that transform complex human systems. He is also a teacher, coach and consultant who travels widely, challenging and connecting leading-edge individuals and organizations worldwide.



Watch here the conversation after the show with Terry, Heidi and Mark, Mark E. Henrik and Majorie

0:00 Intro

0:50 Welcoming Mark Evans from Integral Saging and inquiry how people were able to join

1:42 About the time change confusion and the daylight saving time in America, areas where the time is not changed

4:50 Terry joined the room – chatting and invitation to join in on video and small pitch of Heidi

6:50 How is it that you “don’t show up” when on the stage

7:30 Henrik from Sweden joins and expresses appreciation

8:30 Older people don’t broadcast on a high level of cognition and transmission, normally – the question about his parents “what pushes his edge” – the cat crosses the screen.

10:35 Terry comments on the relationship children – parents and the opportunity to disarm the habit momentum

12:45 The “arrogance” in our way of meeting others. The need of the “don’t-know” spirit.

14:21 “You can’t live on a mono-diet of cognitive complexity” (Terry)

15:18 About the situation in Sweden – “Integral theory can exaggerate the headiness – and that is not a healthy thing” (Terry) “Finding a way beyond the myopia of your intelligence is part of the practice”

17:05 Henrik about the triggers. He wants his mother to be still hungry of life. Appreciating what Terry said, Terry’s evaluation that in this very moment Henrik gains a piece of wisdom.

19:38 Mark’s jokes and Heidi’s appreciation of Henrik’s presence in our shows as a younger person

20:05 Is there a difference between family and other circumstances? – Terry’ comment: people who know you are likely to think that they know you already. The ART of being surprised.

22:40 Bye bye to Terry

23:30 Mark talks about his relationship with his father and asks Henrik about his perspective

25:22 How does that feel? – Taking care for self by leaving the toxic situation.

26:42 Henriks perspective – withdrawal sometimes is about shame and guilt. What exactly is it what is triggering you?

28:10 welcoming Marjorie from North Carolina

29:20 What is your take away (from the main show)? Marjorie starts

30:15 Heidi’s take away: the transmission which I have felt the first time

31:00 Mark: the arrogance of being highly cognitive – and the predicament which we have stepped into politically (Hilary: the deplorables)

32:22 Henrik: the prayer and the spiritual connectedness and “don’t mistake wisdom for cognition” and “the river of life carries you forth”

34:53 Mark E.: reminding of the overestimation of the high cognition

35:25 Bye bye