Announcing the Online Exhibition of "The Pond" on the Integral Life Art Gallery

This month Integral Life Art Gallery offers their first presentation of video art. The first gallery in this medium is from Mark Allan Kaplan, the pre-eminent theorist and practitioner of integral cinema, who has produced on Integral Life a remarkable series of articles titled “Integral Cinema Studio.” For the gallery this month he offers us a work of Integral video art — this designation not simply about the kinds of technological device used (here a mini-DV camera) but also about the work’s tacit referencing of modes of display that are not centered in movie theatres, as well as its length (5 minutes) and contemplative-meditative mode of artistic expression. The piece is titled THE POND and dates from 2002.

Kaplan’s video draws knowingly on the sundry lineages of moving images (mass media cinema, experimental film, artistic-exhibition), essayed into affecting in the viewer a series of shifts in consciousness. As the artist reports, he entered into meditative states in both the shooting and the editing of the video. In its gorgeous poetically integrative form, many of the frames approaching the beauty of standalone photographic art, as well as the modes of consciousness it evokes, we are privy to a shining instance of integral video art.

In the artist's own words:

As a cinematic/video artist I see myself as a creative inquirer, exploring the potentials of the medium to effect growth and transformation, and attempting to push the medium’s own evolutionary boundaries. My recent video work has focused on explorations of the potential effects that a video artist’s consciousness can have on a video art work; the potential capacity of the medium to communicate that consciousness; and the capacity of the medium to capture and express individual and collective sentient presence, human and other species, along with objective and atmospheric presence or the felt-sense of being in the presence of certain physical objects and within various physical environments.

In THE POND I used Integral transformative practices before, during, and after all aspects of the creative process, exploring if and how an Integrally-informed state of creation consciousness would affect the creative process and work. During the filming of THE POND this Integrally-informed state appeared to give me the ability to alternately and simultaneously hold the awareness of the individual and collective sentient presence of the koi fish swimming in the pond and the physical and environmental realities of the pond itself. This Integrally-informed creation state also seemed to give me the capacity to transcend and include my awareness of my own body, consciousness and the creative technology and become an Integrally-informed mirror for these multiple dimension-perspectives. As I continued using this creation state through the post-production process I felt a force within my own being and within the material itself guiding me toward my goal of attempting to translate and share this deep and transformative Integrally-informed lived-experience of THE POND.

Mark Allan Kaplan

Mobile Art: Reflections on Making Art on Mobile Devices

Drawing on paper has a tactile feel to it. Drawing on a mobile device like a large smartphone or tablet is tactile as well but in a completely different way for me. 

When I draw on paper I have a feeling of connection to the objective physical world and a sense of being able to alter or augment it on an abstract or existential level by channeling an inner creative force through my physical form and onto another physical form...

When I draw on a mobile device I also have the sense that I am drawing onto a physical form but instead of feeling as though I am altering or augmenting the physical world, I have the sense that my work is heading into the ether or being transmitted onto some other plane of existence, as though the device is like an etch-a-sketch-like window to another dimension. The ability to share my images instantly to various social networks adds to this sensation of creating in a realm beyond form. 

Edgar Morin on the Cinema's Effects on the Individual and Collective

The complex connection and communication between creator, cinematic work, viewer, and world is deeply explored by Edgar Morin, whose complexity approach to the cinematic medium holds the potential for offering us a way to more fully analyze and understand this complex interconnectedness.

"By means of the cinema, 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." - Edgar Morin (in The Cinema, or the Imaginary in Man)

Evolutionary Guidance

In evolutionary or integral psychology and spirituality, the evolution of consciousness is a key element. Taping into and consciously working with the evolutionary process is also a key element, and an essential way of tapping into the evolutionary process is by attempting to connect with the guiding force of evolution itself.

Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen call this force the “evolutionary impulse:”
“The evolutionary impulse is the consciously experienced choice-in-action to take form and become the whole universe. It is the energy and intelligence that burst out of nothing, the driving impetus behind the evolutionary process, from the big bang to the emerging edge of the future. And that impulse is active right now, throughout the life process, and at every level of your own human experience. In fact, that life-pulsation is the most important part of who and what we are. When you locate that impulse in the depths of your own self, you will become aware that it is inherently free and explosive in its freedom. It is dynamic and completely unrestrained in its nature. While Being feels like eternal peace, Becoming feels completely different. The evolutionary impulse is felt as a sense of tremendous urgency, an ecstatic urgency. At the level of consciousness, it is experienced as a sense that something unthinkably important must occur NOW” (Andrew Cohen, Evolutionary Enlightenment).
Jean Gebser called this guiding force the “inner commission” and saw it as pointed to a greater force or intelligence at work within our lives:
“How do we live? Whichever way we may live, we need to remember that we are also lived by an authority or a power for which there are many names. And, above all, we must remember one thing, namely that whichever way we live, we follow, whether we know it or not, an inner commission that points beyond ourselves” (Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin).
When we explore the teachings of the various spiritual traditions and the personal anecdotes of those who have attempted to seek, receive and follow guidance from a perceived Divine Source, we discover that at the heart of the guidance experience is that the guidance always appears to be guiding us toward a higher stage of evolutionary development. Each tradition has their practices for seeking, for receiving, and for following, from purification practices that attempt to help us remove the obstacles in our personality and consciousness that keep us from accessing and receiving the guidance of the “evolutionary impulse” to mindfulness/awareness practices to help us be fully open and present to receive to discernment practices to help us understand, clarify, validate, and act on the guidance received. This evolutionary guidance appears to be communicated through many different forms, including 1st Person inner promptings, like hearing an inner voice or getting a “gut feeling;” 2nd Person messages from a higher “Thou” or outer “others,” like receiving a message through the presence of a Divine other or having something that someone else says resonate into a deeper and higher meaning; and 3rd Person lessons from external events and circumstances.

One of the simplest and most universal ways of connecting with Divine or evolutionary guidance is attempting to be in the present moment and holding all that is happening as the guidance you need in that moment…
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment” (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth). 

VOICE IN EXILE Classic Film on Stuttering now available on DVD, VOD and Digital Download at Amazon

VOICE IN EXILE – The Powerful Award-Winning Classic Narrative Film Capturing the Experience of Stuttering – Is now available on DVD, Video On Demand, and Digital Download from at: 

“VOICE IN EXILE is the first film on stuttering that tells the story from the inside with all the intensity and power of a real life experience...this is one hell of a film!” – John Harrison, The National Stuttering Association 

“VOICE IN EXILE is among the most notable socio-dramas on the subject of people with physical challenges.” - Geoff Alexander, Academic Film Archive of North America

 “VOICE IN EXILE is a remarkable little film!” – Mitchell Fink, Los Angeles Herald Examiner 

About the Film: 

VOICE IN EXILE is an internationally acclaimed award-winning dramatic and archetypal film journey into the mind and emotions of Alan Woodward, a seventeen-year old stutterer, exploring the inner and outer trials, tribulations and fears that stutterer’s often endure. Because of Alan's stuttering, communicating the simplest idea is often impossible. Everywhere Alan goes he faces impatient people who do not understand his severe speech problem. At school, Alan faces snickers and stares that wound him. At night, the horrors of Alan's days invade his dreams, leaving him no peace in sleep. At home, Alan faces loving parents who share his frustration; yet, they are confused and often misguided in their efforts to help him overcome his stuttering. It is Alan's grandfather, a recently retired college professor, who seems to be the only one able to communicate with and help Alan embark on a journey of transformation that ultimately leads to the release of his imprisoned inner voice.

 The writer/director of this powerful cinematic work, Mark Allan Kaplan, is himself a stutterer and this film is the culmination of Mark's deep personal quest to express the inner life of the stutterer through film. This quest for expression began with the writing of the script, during which Mark delved deeply into his own experiences and emotions as a stutter and tried to translate them into a dramatic story. The script was further developed with the additional input from interviews with other stutterers, while Mark worked with his committed cinematography, sound, and production design teams to translate the experiential reality of the stutterer into a visceral audiovisual language. Then Mark worked with the actor playing Alan, Ben Bottoms, on both the physical aspects of stuttering and the emotional underpinnings.

 As a result of this passionate personal and collective effort, VOICE IN EXILE is a remarkably gripping film that touches viewers on many levels. On one level, it is about a young man's quest to conquer his stuttering. On another level, it is about the inner struggle of all those faced with physical and psychological challenges. On a broader and deeper level, the film speaks to all of us as it addresses a universal theme - the struggle to overcome one's legitimate and unfounded fears...fears that inhibit us, often with disastrous results. A Film By Mark Allan Kaplan Starring Ben Bottoms, Jesse Ehrlich, Richard Sarradet, and Sarah Simmons Produced at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies

 For more on VOICE IN EXILE visit

"A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah" Now on Amazon

"A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah" Now available for purchase on at:

A MYSTICAL PASSOVER: A TRANSFORMATIONAL PASSOVER HAGGADAH offers a powerful trans-denominational psycho-spiritual approach to the Passover experience that includes individual and group psycho-spiritual exercises to help transform the holiday into a deeply mystical and magical experience for young and old alike.

New Edition of "A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah" Now Available

A brand new 3rd Edition of my integrally-informed trans-denominational Passover Haggadah is now available in paperback for purchase online at:

A MYSTICAL PASSOVER: A TRANSFORMATIONAL PASSOVER HAGGADAH offers a powerful trans-denominational psycho-spiritual approach to the Passover experience that includes individual and group psycho-spiritual exercises to help transform the holiday into a deeply mystical and magical experience for young and old alike.

From the Introduction:

This Passover (Pesach) Haggadah represents a process of spiritual exegesis that I have employed as a vehicle for deepening and healing my relationship with Judaism, my religion of origin. This process consisted of a radical interpretation of the Passover rituals and prayers into a language and process that resonated with my own heart while also attempting to honor the heart of Judaism itself. Through this technique I have endeavored to heal old wounds and purge myself of the obstacles between the Divine and myself.

There are three basic levels of text interpretation in the Jewish tradition: Literal-Biblical, Theoretical-Talmudic, and Mystical-Kabbalistic (Fishbane, 1998; Kenton, 1980). Literal-Biblical text interpretation includes the historical, biblical and narrative levels of the material. Theoretical-Talmudic text interpretation consists of the extrapolation of the philosophical, ethical, moral and religious doctrines, laws and teachings that are woven into the fabric of the written material. Mystical-Kabbalistic text interpretation seeks to unearth the hidden and concealed metaphysical teachings buried in the text.

On the literal level of interpretation, Passover is a ritualistic retelling of the story of a historical biblical event, the Israelites’ exodus from bondage in Egypt. On the theoretical level, the story and rituals of Passover have many philosophical, ethical, moral and religious lessons to teach us about human behavior and the human endeavor to live according to the teachings of the religion of Judaism. Traditionally, the rituals of Passover, including the Passover Seder, tend to focus on these two levels of interpretation and understanding. In the Jewish mystical tradition, Passover can also be seen as a powerful vehicle for personal and communal psycho-spiritual development. From the Mystical-Kabbalistic perspective, the Passover story of a people being freed from the bondage of slavery is transformed into a road map for how an individual can be freed from the bondage of limited consciousness (Kenton, 1980); the land of Egypt becomes the realm of narrowness of body and mind, and Moses becomes the Higher Self being called upon by the Divine to free all the different voices of the psyche (the children of Israel, THE AWAKENING SELF) from the bondage of the ego (Pharaoh).

This mystical level of interpretation became my pathway through the metaphysical gates of these ancient and sacred rites of inner and outer freedom, and my attempt to integrate all three of these levels of interpretation, along with the interpretative constructs of the various denominations of the Judaic tradition, has lead me to the discovery of this powerful transformative psycho-spiritual Passover experience.

About the Author:

MARK ALLAN KAPLAN, PHD is a psycho-spiritual researcher, counselor, educator, and author focusing on integral, transpersonal, and transformative approaches to spiritual life and practice. His writings include "Prayers for the Awakening Self" and "The Experience of Divine Guidance," and he is the founder of the Integral Judaism Project, a trans-denominational research initiative exploring integral and transformative approaches to Judaic theory and practice.

Integral Cinema Studio Translated into Russian Online

Aypraktik, a Russian integrally-informed initiative, has begun to translate and post online Russian translations of the Integral Cinema Studio article series, originally published by Integral Life.

The first translated article can be found at:

Translations by Polina Dushatskaya with editing by Eugene Pustoshkin and technical support by Dmitry Baranov.

Original English articles available at Integral Life.

"Voice in Exile" DVD Release - Now Available at

The DVD of "Voice in Exile," my dramatic AFI film about a young stutterer, is now available for purchase from Amazon at:

About the Film and the Process of Creating it...

Voice in Exile is a dramatic transformative film journey into the mind and emotions of Alan Woodward, a seventeen year old stutterer. Seeing the world, both imagined and real, through Alan's eyes, we share the nightmare that haunts him and his family as he struggles to not let his stuttering stop him from living.

My goal as a filmmaker was to capture the inner and outer world of the stutterer through dramatic, symbolic, archetypal, and audiovisual expression. This was a deeply personal journey for me since I have been a stutterer for most of my life.

The process began with the writing of the script. During the scriptwriting phase I delved into my own experiences and emotions as a stutter and tried to translate them into a dramatic story. I also interviewed other stutterers for additional research. The script was further developed while I worked with my cinematographer and production designer to translate the experiential reality of the stutterer into a visceral audiovisual language.

An audiovisual score was created for the film to explore the use of the expressive elements of space, shape, line, light, color, tone, rhythm, movement, orientation, time, contrast/affinity, sign, symbol and archetype in the capturing of the emotional and perceptual states of an individual who stutters. This score was developed from the my own personal story and experiences, along with the stories and experiences of other stutterer's. The screenplay and storyboards were created concurrently with the visual score, enabling the integration of the visual design throughout the piece. The visual score included divisions for subjective and objective perceptions of waking reality (SPR/OPR); subjective dream states (SDS); and subjective developmental transitions (SDT).

Throughout this process and the rest of preproduction, production, and postproduction, a profound inner battle waged within me. Part of me desired to share these inner experiences with others, while another part of me was terrified of revealing this deeply personal emotional reality.

This personally transformative filmmaking experience also appeared to have a transformative effect on viewers of the film as well. A majority of stutterer's reported feeling as though the film captured their inner lives. This produced emotional release, a reduction in feelings of isolation, and an increase in self-esteem in numerous cases. There was one reported case of the film averting an individual’s attempt at suicide. Families of stutterer's who viewed the material reported an increase in understanding and empathy for the family member who stuttered. Non-stutterer's reported an increase in understanding about stuttering and empathy for people who stutter.

"Voice in Exile" also won numerous awards including the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Silver Medal at the Chicago International Film Festival, and was aired on Cinemax/HBO and A&E Cable Networks.

More Information About "Voice in Exile" is available at