Tuesday, May 25, 2021

What Makes a Media Work Integral?

This was a special event for all past and present transformative media shaman course participants, along with members of the wider Integral community. In this session, we explored the big question that everyone has been asking us over the years..."What makes a moving image work Integral?" 

Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of the Integral Cinema Project, started us off with a deep dive into the basic patterns his years of research have revealed and then we opened it up for a deep community exploration of the topic. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Media Yoga - Media Shaman Studio

Research shows that the human brain processes moving-image-based media the same way it processes dreams and the human imagination. When we are deeply immersed in moving images our bodies react as though we are having a lived experience, which gives it the power to deeply affect us individually and collectively.

Renowned French philosopher, sociologist and complex thought pioneer Edgar Morin spoke to the transformative power of media: 

By means of the [cinematic] machine, in their own likeness, our dreams are projected and objectified. They are industrially fabricated, collectively shared. They come back upon our waking life to mold it, to teach us how to live or not to live. We reabsorb them, socialized, useful, or else they lose themselves in us, we lose ourselves in them. There they are stored ectoplasms, astral bodies that feed off our persons and feed us, archives of soul. (The Cinema, or the Imaginary Man)

In essence, moving image media are collective dreams that have a profound impact on how we view ourselves, each other and the world around us. 

As media consumers, every media work we consume is food for our psyches and our souls. Like the food we eat, our media diet has a profound effect on all aspects of our lives. Conscious media creators, too, must therefore be awake to the power of the keys they hold, as well as the responsibility to use it wisely.

Which brings up the question: How do we use this powerful and pervasive aspect of our lives in a healthy and transformative way?

Through many years of research and experimentation, along with actual clinical studies, we have developed an approach to harness the power of media for healthy and transformative purposes using the viewing and creation of moving image media as a form of Media Yoga. While Tibetan Dream Yoga uses individual dreams as yogic practice, this approach uses the collective dreaming of the moving image as a transformative practice that helps us to be able to discern how media is affecting us, what type of media we want to consume and include in our media diet as well as giving us practices to use that diet as a path to help us evolve into higher, deeper and more expansive ways of being and becoming. 

For this month’s Media Shaman Studio we will explore this form of yoga and give you some simple practices you can employ to use media in a healthy and transformative way as a consumer and as a creator.

Be sure to join us for our live discussion on 
Wednesday May 19th at 12pm PT.


Media Shaman Studio is a monthly in-depth public lecture and discussion series on the relationship between consciousness and media with host and facilitator, Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D and Jonathan Steigman. This series is offered for free and is open to all members of the Conscious Good Creators Network, the general public, and participants in our Media Shaman courses.



Thursday, April 1, 2021

How Consciousness is Embedded in Media

Research shows that when we communicate with each other through any form of media our own consciousness is embedded in that work. In fact, anything we humans create resonates with the consciousness we used to create it.

The Internet, for instance, is a Pluralistic, or postmodern technology that reverberates with the Pluralistic structure of consciousness and the postmodern worldview of multiple relative perspectives. The smartphone, by contrast, is an Integral, or metamodern technology, and as such it integrates multiple forms, functions and dimensions into a single integrated experience. As we use these technologies they affect our brains by laying down new neural pathways which change the way we think and perceive of ourselves, each other and the world around us.

The same is true for the types of media we consume. Media works can be embedded with premodern, modern, postmodern, metamodern and even transmodern structures of consciousness, and these embedded structures in turn affect our own consciousness.

For conscious media consumers and creators, it is thus very important for us to understand how these different structures of consciousness are embedded in media and how they affect us. As conscious media consumers we can then choose the types of media we wish to consume. Equally important, as conscious media creators we must understand our own consciousness and how it affects our work.

To create powerful transformative media, we have to learn how to elevate our own consciousness and that of our work.

For this month’s Media Shaman Studio we will explore these structures of consciousness and how we can use them as conscious media creators and consumers to help elevate and enlighten ourselves, each other and the world.

Be sure to join us for our live discussion on Wednesday April 21st at 12pm PT.



Media Shaman Studio is a monthly in-depth public lecture and discussion series on the relationship between consciousness and media with host and facilitator, Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D and Jonathan Steigman. This series is offered for free and is open to all members of the Conscious Good Creators Network, the general public, and participants in our Media Shaman courses.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Collateral Beauty: Shadow Work with an Overlooked Gem

Virtual Discussion Date: Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 at 12 p.m. PT 

Using media to work with psychological wounds and the Shadow -- to examine all that we have repressed or denied that still lives in the dark parts of our deep unconscious -- can be a powerful transformative experience for all involved.

This month we will be exploring the integrally-informed hidden gem film Collateral Beauty (2016). In the film an advertising executive (Will Smith) crippled by the death of his young daughter pens letters to Love, Death and Time. His loss propels him on a journey of deep shadow work and ultimately not just healing, but profound evolutionary growth and development.

Though not without flaws, Collateral Beauty is a wondrous (and occasionally very funny) work that can touch the hearts and souls of anyone scarred by deep grief. It does something I have never seen a film do: it captures that moment in the midst of a great loss where one can awaken to the beauty of all existence, almost as though that walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death lets us experience the essence of what it means to be alive.

The film imparts an important lesson in working with Shadow material. The key to Shadow work, with or without the use of media as a vehicle of expression, is to find the lesson, the gift that each of our wounds and shadows have to offer us. Through this process our shadows become our teachers and allies as we learn the lessons we need to learn.

Be sure to JOIN US for our live discussion on Wednesday March 17th at 12pm PT.


Media Shaman Studio is a monthly in-depth public lecture and discussion series on the relationship between consciousness and media with host and facilitator, Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D and Jonathan Steigman. This series is offered for FREE and is open to all members of the Conscious Good Creators Network, the general public, and participants in our Media Shaman courses.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

IMDb Integral Movie and TV List 2020 Updates

The following are all the movies and television and streaming series that were tested and added to the Integral Movie and TV List on IMDb in 2020 (listed chronologically by release date):

It's a Wonderful Life (1947) - This Frank Capra Christmas classic is also an early stage integral work that maps how the main character George Bailey (James Stewart) evolves from egocentric to Kosmocentric circles of care and concern in a way that shows us how we can evolve through various stages while also holding onto earlier stage drives and projections. In George's case he holds onto his childhood egoic dream of being a world explorer and doing great and big things, all the while not realizing that he was already doing great and big things as he developed throughout his life. A beautiful journey that teaches us that it is often the little things we do in life that end up having the biggest impact in the long run.  The film is also told directly from the Kosmocentric witness perspective from the angels watching over him beyond the dimension of the world of form.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - The quintessential Santa Claus movie of all time, this Christmas classic is perhaps the most magical Santa movie ever and yet it shows no magic directly. The miracles that Santa brings are miracles of consciousness. He is operating at a higher more integral level than everyone else and is able to see how they are trapped in their worldviews and constructs and he gently awakens them to higher dimensions of being and becoming. He is also very human in many ways, sometimes losing his faith that he can save Christmas, which only adds great depth to the wonderful performance by Edmund Gwenn. At the end we get a hint that this man may indeed be Santa Claus, but we are left with only a sense of standing at the edge of a great Kosmic mystery.   

Rashomon (1950) - Profound cinematic masterpiece that puts the viewer in the integral witnessing state of being as the film deconstructs relativism and deconstructionism itself, making the pluralistic structure an object of our awareness and thus helping us to transcend it.

8 1/2 (1963) - Master Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical cinematic masterpiece is actually a deep integrally-informed exploration of the artists struggle to tap into and be a channel for the creative force of the universe. Fellini's main character is a famous filmmaker who is in preproduction of  a film while being unable to access that creative force. His dreams help him seek for it in the past, in waking life the dreams bleed through and take him on a surreal creative journey to gaining that Kosmocentric witness perspective that feeds the artist's soul. 

Local Hero (1983) - A magical little integrally-informed off-beat comedy that gradually has us feeling that everything we are seeing in this cinematic reality is at the edge of a vast conscious mystery, giving us a gentle and subtle taste of the Kosmocentric realities beyond the veil of what is known. This veil includes the separation between the manmade world we live in and the natural world we are cut off from as well as the great mystery beyond the stars.  Amidst all this, our main character evolves from egocentric to the early beginnings of  Kosmocentric circles of care and concern in an almost imperceptible way. Everything here is just below and beyond the surface, just beyond our grasp.

Field of Dreams (1989) - This magical film classic explores the healing of shadow material for individuals at various stages of development as they come in contact with the transcendent reality of the Field of Dreams itself. Through this journey we are taken to the edge of what can be known and hints at what is beyond, giving us a taste of the Kosmocentric Integral Witness.

I.Q. (1994) - A sweet little integrally informed romantic comedy that explores Einstein's famous idea that God does not play dice with the universe and applies it to love. The characters and the story subtly  dance  between our reality and hints of that greater force behind it. This wondrous lightness around such deep and heavy concepts produces a beautiful and sweet and silly Kosmo-centric journey.

50 First Dates (2004) - An evolutionary time-loop Kosmic love story where the narrative actually takes us through different circles of care and concern as the main character evolves through them. So we first start with the world as it evolves around him and his ego...then to a connection with another person, his love interest...who is stuck in her own personal 24 hour time-loop…then to her family...then to the greater community (the others at the brain institute) and finally the world at the end when he takes everyone with him as he does research for the planet and humanity itself. Pretty simple and fun movie that is at its heart essentially integral.

Eli Stone (2008): A funny, profound, deep and light integrally-informed series explores the neurological boundaries between brain and consciousness, between spirit and science, and between madness and mysticism. Eli Stone is also a hybrid genre work that beautifully integrates comedy, drama, and musical forms into a wondrously mystical legal procedural show. In the end this magical yet grounded work climaxes with a deep visceral existential experience of transcending the age old question between fate and free will by revealing a beautiful synergy between them.

Atlanta (2016) - An Integrally-informed series that finds hilarity in the absurd while unpacking the core traumas of being black in America. Creator & star Donald Glover (whose alter-ego Childish Gambino scored with the breakout hit This is America) plays Earn, a young Princeton dropout from a low-income neighborhood who begins to manage his cousin, a locally-famous rapper on the verge of breaking big. Atlanta unpacks how race intersects with every domain of society -- from the personal and interpersonal to the social and systemic -- and does so with a metamodern tone of plangent, loopy surreality.

Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (2017) - Fun off-beat comedy TV series with the main character Keven kicking and screaming his way through an integrally-informed transcendent education process. This process forces him to evolve through multiple stages of development on his way to fulfilling his destiny of saving the world…maybe… 

WeRiseUP (2019) - Well-made conscious documentary seeks to empower us to rise to the great challenges we face as a species and meet this moment in history with deep passion. WeRiseUP goes deeper and more expansive than normal works in this genre by anchoring it in an integral framework.

Messiah (2020) - This complex and layered integrally-informed Netflix series unpacks the interrelationship of religion, consciousness, culture and society. This brilliant series seems to be consciously designed to bring more expansive awareness to viewers cross-culturally.

Star Trek: Picard (2020) - The sixth spin-off streaming series in the integrally-informed Star Trek universe is a sequel to the popular Next Generation series and feature films that finds an aging Captain Picard coming out of retirement for one last grand adventure that seeks to complete haunting unanswered questions and story arcs from the Next Generation storyworld. 

Homemade (2020) - This Netflix short film series stitches together a bunch of shorts made by a crop of talented international filmmakers making films in and about quarantine. Together these shorts create a mosaic experience of the pandemic across the globe that gives us a sense of a bigger picture just beyond our reach. Truly beautiful, profound and deeply resonant and inspiring...and operating at the frothy edge of a new form of integrally-informed conscious media.

Palm Springs (2020) - An integrally-informed "Groundhog Day" evolutionary time-loop romantic comedy with two…or even three…or more…characters caught in a time-loop that is helping them all heal and evolve.

Tenet (2020) - Christopher Nolan's mind-bending time-twisting groundbreaking integral temporal cinematic work. Part spy movie, time-travel thriller where the future is at war with the present. Bullets going backwards and forward, people die in one time and come back to life in another, people in the past die in the future while people from the future die in the past. A truly wild temporal ride with the protagonist evolving through all the stages of development both in time and all at once. This film also has perhaps the cinema's first temporal war battle scene and becomes a visceral cinematic training in temporal field awareness.

Soul (2020) - A deeply moving, uplifting and transformative Pixar journey into the nature of human existence and the human soul. The main character evolves from an egocentric lost soul unable to see his relationships and the world around him beyond how they either help or hinder the fulfillment of his dreams of success to a Kosmocentric inspired soul, ultimately recognizing the depth and impact of his relationship with others and the world and the full transcendental beauty of all of existence itself. A journey deep into what it means to be human and what it means to be truly alive in all dimensions of sentient beingness.


The above movies and series have integrally-informed elements to varying degrees according to testing criteria developed during research on the application of Integral Theory to cinematic media theory and practice. According to this research, a cinematic work is deemed to be integral if elements of the integral stage of development are represented in the cinematic form, style, structure, content, and/or are embedded in the material as a presence or atmosphere. These representations of the elements of the integral stage of development can include:

  • The exploration and integration of multiple evolving dimensions and perspectives of lesser and greater depth and span;
  • The concretion of abstract and interior dimensions and perspectives, such as time and interiority, in the service of evolutionary growth and development;
  • An evolutionary story, event, and/or character progression that is given greater than or equal emphasis to conflict resolution, with progression developing vertically through at least three stages or levels of development;
  • The evolutionary impulse as a driving force or causality pattern;
  • The valuing of truth that is qualified by evolving perspectival fields;
  • And/or a Kosmo-centric circle of care and concern that suggests an awareness, integration, and embracing of all of existence. 

It should also be noted that the above works have been tested for having integral elements to ANY degree, which means some of these works have more of these elements than other works on the list. In addition, just because a cinematic work has integral elements does not automatically indicate its quality, though it will have elements of a more expansive worldview to some degree.

Friday, January 1, 2021

January 2021 Media Shaman Studio - Surfing the Inflection Point: U.S. Inauguration Edition!

Virtual Discussion Date: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 at 12 p.m. PT 

This January of 2021 finds us in the midst of a major inflection point as multiple polarized reality fields collide, which has brought us to a crisis point in this phase of the age of transformation. Between now and January 20, the date of the U.S. presidential inauguration, the liminal field within, between and around us will continue to expand and deepen, especially here in the United States but also reflected in many other countries around the world. Anything can happen in this moment of human history. The race between the old collapsing paradigms and systems of power and emerging new paradigms and systems has reached a critical point. 


For our Media Shaman Studio this month we will be holding a special session during the scheduled U.S. inauguration to help us individually and collectively work with this major inflection point in real time, using our Zoom meeting as a mini-mediasphere bubble inside the larger mediasphere, unpacking the events unfolding around us and the reactions to those events as they evolve.  

Be sure to join us for our live discussion on Wednesday January 20th at 12pm PT. 


Media Shaman Studio is a monthly in-depth public lecture and discussion series on the relationship between consciousness and media with host and facilitator, Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D and Jonathan Steigman. This series is offered for free and is open to all members of the Conscious Good Creators Network, the general public, and participants in our Media Shaman courses.