The six core qualities are ways of describing levels of awareness that transcend yet include the life of any one individual. Because such awareness is not born into a human life span, it does not die to it. It is a component of awareness that transcends the life and death cycle of individuals. Because such awareness does not die as an individual “thing,” it knows no fear. When we become fearless we experience confidence. Because inclusive awareness embraces all things in a way that transcends both love and its opposites, fear and hate, it is compassionate. Because it is an intuitive knowingness that far transcends intelligence, it is wise. Because it transcends all preferences toward itself and others, it is accepting. Because it is harmonious, it is constantly in a state of complete inner peace. Because it transcends it is objective; it observes the drama of life as clear witness. Together, these qualities create a synergistic, mutually balancing, description of enlightenment.

The six core qualities have their origin in the round of breath. Abdominal inhalation brings awakening and the confidence of new life. Chest inhalation brings aliveness and compassionate service. The pause at the top of the breath brings the wisdom of balance. Chest exhalation is detached and accepting. Abdominal exhalation brings freedom and inner peace. The pause at the bottom of the breath brings clarity and witnessing.

Confidence

Confidence evolves, just like everything else. The confidence of a child is naive and foolish because it has not learned to be fearful. The confidence of an adult is generally bounded by fear. The confidence of maturity sees the fearful but is not defined by it. When we identify with self-aspects that score higher in confidence than we do we experience what it is like to be less fearful without being naive or blind. We become more confident.

Compassion

Compassion is not a social expectation of brotherly love. It is not the Golden Rule: treating others as we would be treated. It is more like the sun, which gives its light equally to the good and the bad. It does not care if it causes sunburn or death and it is not affected by the moods or wishes of humans. Its life, light, and energy transcend any preferences, cultural expectations, or human emotions. It possesses an objectivity that love does not. In fact, it possesses a degree of all five of the other qualities that love often does not. When we identify with self-aspects that score higher in compassion than we do we experience what it is like to be less self-centered without giving up who and what we are.

Wisdom

We all know people who are intelligent but who are not wise. Wisdom is the ability to be in the right place at the right time in order to say and do that which awakens innate potentials within others and ourselves. Wisdom balances and integrates opposites; it is not afraid of conflict because it knows how to transcend and include all voices and perspectives. When we identify with self-aspects that score higher in compassion than we do we experience a clear knowingness that aligns us with our inner compass. The result is that we are much less likely to bend with the preferences of others or the whims of culture and passing circumstances.

Acceptance

Acceptance is not lack of judgment or discrimination; instead it is the ability to not make about us what other people say or do. It is the transcendence of personalization. We no longer need to forgive others or ourselves because it never was about us in the first place. Such radical acceptance does not condone misbehavior or reduce everything to moral relativism; instead, it says that consequences for being out of balance have nothing to do with acceptance. When we become self-aspects that score higher in acceptance than we do we move out of the persecutor role in the Drama Triangle. We become less self-critical, less worried, and less perfectionistic.

Inner Peace

Real inner peace is far from passive. The clear blue sky looks peaceful; we do not see the powerful wind currents that surge through it, yet do not disturb its tranquility and equanimity. This is an inner peace that is enriched by the fullness of confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, and witnessing. It is alive and capable. When we become self-aspects that score higher than we do in inner peace we let go of stress. We feel safe and supported by a sense of inner harmony, regardless of the insanity that may be occurring in the world around us.

Witnessing

Witnessing is the ability to stand back and watch the drama of your life go by. This means watching the drama of your feelings and your thoughts, not only when you are alone, but when you are with others, not only when you are awake but when you are asleep and dreaming. Witnessing is not world-negating; it is more like a hawk witnessing the life of the planet below while feeling the air beneath its wings. Such witnessing is very alive, alert, engaged, and focused. There is nothing detached about it at all; there is clarity, purpose and great freedom. When we become self-aspects that score higher than we do in witnessing we let go of drama, old scripts, and sleepwalking our way through life.

A goal of Integral Deep Listening is to develop these six qualities together. This is because they are synergistic – they support each other, just as each one is best understood as the fulfillment of the other five. The evolution of these six core qualities within our life is a functional definition of enlightenment. We wake up as they evolve.

The six core qualities have their origin in the round of breath. Abdominal inhalation brings awakening and the confidence of new life. Chest inhalation brings aliveness and compassionate service. The pause at the top of the breath brings the wisdom of balance. Chest exhalation is detached and accepting. Abdominal exhalation brings freedom and inner peace. The pause at the bottom of the breath brings clarity and witnessing.

Confidence

Confidence evolves, just like everything else. The confidence of a child is naive and foolish because it has not learned to be fearful. The confidence of an adult is generally bounded by fear. The confidence of maturity sees the fearful but is not defined by it. When we identify with self-aspects that score higher in confidence than we do we experience what it is like to be less fearful without being naive or blind. We become more confident.

Compassion

Compassion is not a social expectation of brotherly love. It is not the Golden Rule: treating others as we would be treated. It is more like the sun, which gives its light equally to the good and the bad. It does not care if it causes sunburn or death and it is not affected by the moods or wishes of humans. Its life, light, and energy transcend any preferences, cultural expectations, or human emotions. It possesses an objectivity that love does not. In fact, it possesses a degree of all five of the other qualities that love often does not. When we identify with self-aspects that score higher in compassion than we do we experience what it is like to be less self-centered without giving up who and what we are.

Wisdom

We all know people who are intelligent but who are not wise. Wisdom is the ability to be in the right place at the right time in order to say and do that which awakens innate potentials within others and ourselves. Wisdom balances and integrates opposites; it is not afraid of conflict because it knows how to transcend and include all voices and perspectives. When we identify with self-aspects that score higher in compassion than we do we experience a clear knowingness that aligns us with our inner compass. The result is that we are much less likely to bend with the preferences of others or the whims of culture and passing circumstances.

Acceptance

Acceptance is not lack of judgment or discrimination; instead it is the ability to not make about us what other people say or do. It is the transcendence of personalization. We no longer need to forgive others or ourselves because it never was about us in the first place. Such radical acceptance does not condone misbehavior or reduce everything to moral relativism; instead, it says that consequences for being out of balance have nothing to do with acceptance. When we become self-aspects that score higher in acceptance than we do we move out of the persecutor role in the Drama Triangle. We become less self-critical, less worried, and less perfectionistic.

Inner Peace

Real inner peace is far from passive. The clear blue sky looks peaceful; we do not see the powerful wind currents that surge through it, yet do not disturb its tranquility and equanimity. This is an inner peace that is enriched by the fullness of confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, and witnessing. It is alive and capable. When we become self-aspects that score higher than we do in inner peace we let go of stress. We feel safe and supported by a sense of inner harmony, regardless of the insanity that may be occurring in the world around us.

Witnessing

Witnessing is the ability to stand back and watch the drama of your life go by. This means watching the drama of your feelings and your thoughts, not only when you are alone, but when you are with others, not only when you are awake but when you are asleep and dreaming. Witnessing is not world-negating; it is more like a hawk witnessing the life of the planet below while feeling the air beneath its wings. Such witnessing is very alive, alert, engaged, and focused. There is nothing detached about it at all; there is clarity, purpose and great freedom. When we become self-aspects that score higher than we do in witnessing we let go of drama, old scripts, and sleepwalking our way through life.

A goal of Integral Deep Listening is to develop these six qualities together. This is because they are synergistic – they support each other, just as each one is best understood as the fulfillment of the other five. The evolution of these six core qualities within our life is a functional definition of enlightenment. We wake up as they evolve.

The six core qualities have their origin in the round of breath. Abdominal inhalation brings awakening and the confidence of new life. Chest inhalation brings aliveness and compassionate service. The pause at the top of the breath brings the wisdom of balance. Chest exhalation is detached and accepting. Abdominal exhalation brings freedom and inner peace. The pause at the bottom of the breath brings clarity and witnessing.