ABOUT THE IPP INSTITUTE
Who we are
“John Kesler has created the richest matrix that covers development through the whole spectrum of consciousness from birth through personal individuation into the heart of Big Mind. Kesler provides exquisite detail within an elegant and comprehensive structure. His polarity map illuminates the still points between polar opposites at 20 or so junctures along the way. By clarifying just what the fundamental tensions are, he has deepened our understanding of human development and experience in a profound way.”
— SUSANNE COOK-GREUTER
An Overview of IPP
John Kesler has developed an awareness and life practice named integral polarity practice (IPP). It is also applicable to enhancing interrelated individual and collective healing, integration, and transformation, whether the collective is a family, an organization, or a community.
IPP initially grew out of the big mind process, in which John was one of the first to be certified as a large group facilitator by Zen master Genpo Roshi, the founder of the process. The big mind process enables a person to access non-dual awareness or “big mind” and other transcendent states of awareness through an application of voice dialogue, a Jungian therapeutic technique.
John informed the big mind process with developmental and other integral perspectives and other aspects drawn from other spiritual traditions, particularly his own Mormon tradition. Ultimately, by John inhabiting a new world space influenced by all of the above, IPP essentially flowed out of him and has been continually refined by John in the context of working with others and his own practice for almost two decades.
There is no claim that IPP is an exclusive path, but rather IPP provides a rich practice that can complement any approach to life or spiritual practice. IPP reflects an understanding of human psychology and eastern and western perspectives, which appears to be unique. As Ken Wilber, the leading philosopher who has perhaps the most comprehensive grasp of the traditions of both East and West, has commented:
IPP is aligned with the Stages model developed by Dr. O’Fallon through the full range of human development.
Particularly distinctive to IPP is uncovering five themes that pervade many aspects and dimensions of life experience. The five themes can be summarized as three core themes: “concrete,” “flowing,” and “still,” framed by the “ground,” out of which the three themes emerge and their “integrated expression.” By harmonizing these themes in multiple dimensions of one’s experience, a centered aesthetic dimension to one’s life is enhanced.
A Summary theme of IPP, and what John feels is the most significant aspect of IPP, is that all dimensions of our beings – and all beings – are sacred. An IPP practice is continually exploring how to more fully recognize and fulfill our universal sacred nature in the context of the utter uniqueness of each of us in multiple aspects of our beings through settling into our Still Divine Center (Virtues of Being), enhancing our Qualities of Divine Nature (Virtues of Becoming), and embracing Qualities of Divine Expression (Virtues of Doing).
Origins of IPP
During the 1990’s John was one of the first four individuals certified by Genpo Roshi, then head of the largest Zen lineage headquartered outside of Japan, to share his newly developed “Big Mind” process. “Big Mind” utilizes the voice dialogue technique to enable individuals to access and speak from various aspects of themselves, including transcendent voices. Due to John’s integral background was interested in what “voices” showed up relating to each emergent stage of human development. He spent several years facilitating a small group of people exploring this territory.
Over time, it became clear that its polar opposite wanted to do the same when a particularly prominent voice spoke up. Through meticulous practice, both individual and group, John began to understand how polar voices might relate to one another in the context of increasing maturity. In this process, John intuited that a “still point” voice that represented the aware essence of the entire polar field of polarity could be accessed. A distinct Integral Polarity Practice (IPP) began to emerge. John’s own sensibilities–including integral theory, Mormonism, and broad exposure to other spiritual and meditative traditions–undoubtedly influenced this emerging framework and practice.
Over the years, fine-tuning of the developmental stage aspects of IPP was deeply influenced first by Susanne Cook-Greuter, Ph.D. and her mentoring and later by Terri O’Fallon, Ph.D., particularly in her context development of the STAGES model of human development. John interfaced extensively over the years with Dr. O’Fallon and her colleagues, co-engaged in research relating to higher stages of development, and became certified in scoring and debriefing personal development using the STAGES Theory model.
FOUNDER / CREATOR
John Kesler lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He practices and shares integral polarity practice, meditation, and life practice developed by him, grounded in mindfulness which works with polarities throughout the spectrum of one’s being and the breadth of one’s life, relationships, organizations, and societal involvement. He is a social activist and is co-founder and chair of a non-profit initiative called YOUnify (www.younify.org), which supports people in learning how to bridge their differences and collectively progress on the pressing issues of our time in service human and ecological thriving, locally, nationally, and globally. John does consulting, teaching, and writing primarily in the areas mentioned above in deeply interpenetrating ways. John is also a practicing attorney.
Thomas McConkie is trained as a developmental researcher, facilitator, and mindfulness and IPP teacher. He hosts the Lower Lights Sangha in Salt Lake City, Utah, to create a generative environment where seekers of diverse faith orientations can discover new depths and heights in their evolving personhood. Thomas is the sole senior teacher of IPP other than John, and they collaborate on many IPP offerings. Note the descriptions on the home page of two IPP-related offerings led by Thomas: Spectra and Mindfulness+.