In 2006, Ken released the ground-breaking book Integral Spirituality, offering an unparalleled vision of spirituality that honors the truths of modernity and postmodernity—including the revolutions of science and culture--while incorporating the essential insights of the great pre-modern spiritual traditions. He shows how spirituality today combines the enlightenment of the East, which excels at cultivating higher states of consciousness, with the enlightenment of the West, which offers developmental and psychodynamic psychology. Both East and West contribute key components to a more integral spirituality, and by adopting a more integral view, the great religions can act as facilitators of human development: from magic to mythic to rational to pluralistic to integral—and to a global society that honors and includes all the stations of life along the way.
The following clips were recorded at a rare public signing for Integral Spirituality in November 2006.
What is the biggest cause of human suffering in history? Religion. What is the biggest cause of human liberation in history? Religion. This seeming paradox is almost instantly resolved once we begin to not only understand the different definitions of words like "religion" and "spirituality", but as we start moving toward an Integral Spirituality which makes room for all these very different meanings....
Ken describes the process of transformation through the many stages of development, whereby the subject of one stage becomes the object of the next. As meditation is the most effective method of transformation, he proceeds to lead the audience through a powerful pointing-out exercise, revealing the True Self that dwells behind all of our experiences.
Here Ken talks about the distinction between two very important concepts: vertical transformation and horizontal translation. For every major transformation we experience (such as from magic to mythic to rational to post-modern to integral), we must then translate the world according to the views from each of those levels. While it is certainly a good idea to deeply engage in transformative practices that help us move vertically through the stages of consciousness, at some point we also need to simply stop and live, to be happy and healthy at whatever level we find ourselves....
In this entertaining clip, Ken discusses the cultural phenomenon that is The Matrix, his friendship with writer/director/I-I board member Larry Wachowski, and the only thing that remains constant regardless of whether you took the red pill or the blue pill: your own already-enlightened mind.
Ken addresses some of the core confusion that exists in American Buddhism today, much of which has been infected by the various pathologies of postmodernism. Pluralism, left to its own devices, has diluted the Dharma in the West with its superficial understanding of concepts like interdependence, subjectivity, and relativity. Tragically, this rampant pluralism has also prevented authentic Buddhism from emerging in America, by denying altogether the universal truths that are revealed with Buddhist practice....
A fascinating glimpse into the dark side of meditation, Ken responds to a young woman having difficulty with her Integral Life Practice, regularly experiencing discomfort, anxiety, and even fear for her own sanity while meditating. Ken explains the "switch-points" between the major states of consciousness, each marked by its very own Dark Night: a complete death and rebirth of identity that can be absolutely horrifying to experience....
Surely one of the most urgent applications of the Integral vision is education reform—after all, is there a better or more complete map of a child's potential than the AQAL model? Where else could we find a more comprehensive index of all the things that can go wrong along the way to self-actualization? And yet, what hope do we really have enacting any sort of Integral school reform in America: a country hopelessly entrenched in premodern, modern, and postmodern culture wars, where many states are still attempting to ban the teaching of evolution?