Integral Transformative Practice was founded in 1992 as a long-term program for realizing the potential of body, mind, heart and soul. The founders, George Leonard and Michael Murphy, were also determined that the practice would be appropriate for people with busy lives.
The years since 1992 have shown that ITP is measurably effective in producing positive change without excessive time demands on its participants. Nevertheless, we sometimes are asked if the practice would “still be ITP” if certain parts were left out or changed.
The ITP Commitments are listed on pages 42 and 43 of The Life We Are Given. In brief, they are: personal responsibility, a sense of community, doing the ITP Kata, conscious eating, strength and endurance exercises, intellectual development, “staying current” with others and making ITP-type affirmations.
The ITP Kata is almost certain to create deep-down, positive change in those who practice it sincerely on a regular basis. Which creates a strange dilemma. There comes a time, often after some three to six months of doing the ITP Kata regularly, when one or more group members approach their group leader with the suggestion that they have done the ITP Kata long enough and now they should replace it with something “new and different.” An analysis of this phenomenon reveals that, in almost every case, these people themselves are on the verge of some significant change in their own lives.
Why then, should they resist it? The answer is explained by the term “homeostasis.” That is, the tendency of every self-regulating organism—from a bacterium to a human individual to a family, a group, a whole culture—to resist any important change, whether that change be for the ill or for the good.
The continuing pursuit of the “new and different” in a long-term practice means that whenever you keep putting in new practices, you will probably remain just the same. On the other hand, staying with a profound practice over the long term offers you the opportunity of significant, deep-down change in your own body and being.
Also especially important are the ITP Affirmations (see Chapters 4 and 5 in The Life We Are Given) which provide a means of focusing your intentionality on the changes that you really want to make and checking out how well you did after six months to a year. If you stay aware and interested during the process, you might well discover aspects of the practice that are, for all intents and purposes, forever new.
We stress the ITP Kata and ITP Affirmations, not only because they are especially important but also because they have proven to be the most vulnerable to the “new and different” fallacy. Still, all the elements of Integral Transformative Practice are essential for an ITP group. They will lead participants to significant change and unexpected originality, and play a key role in individual and group transformation.