Integral Spirituality


I am reading The Future of Spirituality, why it must be integral and really enjoying how Ken Wilber brings together pre-modern, modern, and post-modern into an integral view of spirituality. From what I understand: 

  • pre-modern – Mythical explanations of absolute truth
  • modern – Experiential explanations of truth and refining through relative truth 
  • post-modern – discarding absolute truth, which in itself is stating an absolute truth

“I am-ness” – profound core truth of identity. He connects the more advanced stages of development from the ancient traditions to more modern theories like Piaget. They all describe an enlightened state of one-ness and immersion. The witness dissolves into everything witnessed. You no longer feel the rain, you are the rain. 

The experiential practices of Buddhism blend the pre-modern with the modern to validate the stages via experimentation (mostly on yourself). That is why I like these practices, you can feel the development and test different practices, gaining more and more insight into one-ness. The meditative states, developed pre-modern, predicated the most recent research into Flow.

Decades we researched how human development works. There are these two different types of components of mind:

  • Structural – archaic, magic, plural, mythic, magic, integral (the ways we grow up)
  • States – gross, subtle, causal, pure witnessing, non-dual.  (the ways we wake up)

Both are part of evolution and Integral contains both. You can be a Zen master and still be a mythic level – that is a problematic. Structures grow and become world-centric eventually. Without understanding the stage of development you are at, you will be interpreting your meditative sages with whatever structure you are still in. You don’t see them in meditation. They are third-person deductions that western researchers that make when studying human growth and development. While stages in meditation are personal experiences of growth and development. 

The structure stages were created by the evolution of the mind, from primal survival (limbic) to communal/tribal (grow together), to global/integrated (more one-ness but still dual). Society can be in a certain stage just as an individual is. 

I am going to need to listen to this book (a series of interviews) a couple times to really understand the more advanced concepts. So far it is great! What I took away so far is that you can be in an enlightened “state” while still being in a magic “stage”. You may have glimpsed one-ness, emptiness while at the same time explaining the world through magic or myth. There is a great discussion about why achieving enlightenment does not automatically make you kind, ethical, or moral. The yoga teacher that abuses their students, the enlightened meditation teacher that lacks emotional intelligence. You have to grow up and wake up in Integral Spirituality. 

“That which is form is not other than emptiness. That which is emptiness is not other than form” 


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