Heart, Mind, Body and Spirit

This is an excerpt from the Worldview dimension of Gaia Education’s Design for Sustainability curriculum.

Gaia Education
4 min readApr 6, 2020

The transformation of consciousness depends on the successful integration of all aspects of our being. The Romans used to say “mens sana en corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body). In a similar way, we need to not only ensure our physical and mental health and wellbeing but also our emotional and spiritual wellbeing in order to create conditions in which we can thrive and support the process of awakening. This section will look at different ways of creating these ideal conditions for awakening by aiming to integrate our heart, our mind, our body and our spirit.

The theory of multiple intelligences was proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 as a model of intelligence that differentiates intelligence into various specific modalities, rather than seeing it as dominated by a single general ability.

Integral theory suggests that the transformation or development of human consciousness does not necessarily happen in a uniform way. That is to say that all aspects of our personality and our life develop at the same rate or to the same degree. Many people brought up in a Western education system with a strong focus on schooling cognitive intelligence find it easier to “think” their way into higher states of consciousness and even reach peak experiences in that way, but this does not mean that in their daily life and through their daily actions they actually express themselves in congruence with the higher states of consciousness they have “thought” themselves into. Wilber refers to different ‘lines of development’ and distinguishes different types of intelligence associated with these different lines. Here is a list of the types of intelligence we need to develop and integrate in the process of personal growth and the transformation of consciousness:

  • Cognitive intelligence
  • Interpersonal intelligence
  • Psychosexual intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Moral/Values/Ethical intelligence
  • Kinesthetic/Physical intelligence
  • Aesthetic/Artistic intelligence
  • Spiritual intelligence
  • Empathic/Compassion intelligence

In Psychographs as map, matrix and mirror, Vipassana Esbjörn-Hargens explains how these different lines of development can be mapped. “The integral psychograph is based on the notion that human beings have multiple distinct interior capacities (e.g., cognitive, interpersonal, moral, spiritual, emotional) and that each of these capacities develops at various rates.” She gives the example that “a person could be average or mid-range in her interpersonal development, highly advanced spiritually, while quite low in her somatic development” and explains that the “integral psychograph attempts to capture these distinct levels of development across various dimensions or lines of development in a person” (V. Esbjörn-Hargens, 2011). Aside is an example of a simplified psychograph from the website of the integral coach Moses Silbiger.

Example of psychograph. More on the difference between states and stages or levels of consciousness

In the next section, we will look at Integral Life Practice (ILP) as a way of developing these different aspects of our being and integrating heart, head, mind and spirit. We will be introduced to the meridian and the chakra systems as ancient medical and whole person development maps that compliment Western medical science. Hildur Jackson will offer a series of personal suggestions of spiritual practices that help personal development and the transformation of consciousness.


This is an excerpt from the Worldview dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability. You can learn more about how the work is viewed from a Gaian perspective in our online course where we will cover more topics, including Holistic Worldviews, Reconnecting with Nature, Transformation of Consciousness, and more.

The course will start on 1 June 2020. You can find out more about this course here. You are able to book your space with a 20% Early Bird discount if you register by 20 April 2020 (Discount code: WVGE20GAIA).

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Gaia Education is a leading-edge provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.



Gaia Education

Leading provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.