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Sally Kempton on Integral Naked - From Bohemian Rebel to Integral Swami

IN PodcastSally Kempton - Religion in the Modern World. Part 2. From Bohemian Rebel to Integral Swami..

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One of the most nuanced, courageous pioneers of Integral forms of spirituality shares her own story of leaving her place among the liberal feminist elite, spending three decades plumbing the depths of Siddha Yoga, and "coming back to the marketplace" with a more comprehensive, integral vision for the meaning of living a spiritual life….

What Sally and Ken discuss in this dialogue is nothing less than the very future of spirituality, what it might look like, and who is going to lead the way. Sally’s perspective on this topic is incredibly nuanced, based on a lifetime spent delving into the depths of what is problematic about religion and spirituality, what the fundamental core of Liberation is in each tradition, and what isn’t even addressed by most forms of spirituality—like psychological shadow work, which Enlightenment per se literally doesn’t touch.

Born to socially-conscious parents, Sally describes herself when she was a young woman as an "ultra-leftist bohemian rebel" with a powerful feminist bite—who then abandoned the progressive cultural elite of New York City to go to India and become a devotee of Swami Muktananda. This, shall we say, was a radical change. Not only was she embracing spirituality and religion (a Leftist no-no, being seen as "the opiate of the masses"), but she was also submitting herself to a male guru in a distinctly hierarchical society (unthinkably anti-feminist, certainly for her peers).

But this was not giving up, and this was not regression. This was an incredibly important step in Sally’s life, and a bold move towards integrating truths about human existence—not deconstructing and dividing them, as was (and is) so popular. Sally spent nearly three decades in the Siddha Yoga community as a highly-regarded senior teacher, under the traditional name bestowed on her by Swami Muktananda: Swami Durgananda. Then, in 2002, Sally saw clearly that she could no longer continue to deepen and evolve her teaching methods while remaining in an ashram setting. So, with the community’s blessing, she laid aside her monastic robes, and started teaching independently. She is currently working with a small community of students on developing a four-year curriculum based on the best of what Siddha Yoga has to offer, and informed and fleshed out by the Integral Model. Sally is a founding teacher at Integral Spiritual Center, and a true gift to anyone lucky enough to cross paths with this astonishingly wise, humble, and courageous spiritual pioneer. We invite you to listen in and enjoy….


"Back in the 60s and 70s, there was an anticipation that Realization would take care of everything—and when it didn’t, there was substantial disillusionment. But all that’s needed is an Integral Approach to spirituality, and we’re seeing that more and more…."

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