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ISC Editor's Weekly Blog

Wilber and Walsh on the Religion of Tomorrow

In his latest works, the yet-to-be published Overview and Superview, Ken Wilber makes a critically important distinction between structure-stages and state-stages of consciousness. The ancient East has given us extraordinary 1st-person accounts of the spiritual path; the modern West has provided a unique 3rd-person view on how human beings develop through a spectrum of increasingly wider and higher perspectives. This insight offers a groundbreaking look at what it might be to live a life of freedom (state-stages) and fullness (structure-stages) and perhaps, in Jesus’ footsteps, to become both fully human (structure-stages) and fully divine (state-stages).

Ironically, as Ken and ISC Teacher, Roger Walsh, discuss in this week’s featured audio, few people—and fewer collectives of people—have realized this insight, let alone embodied it. Roger speaks of his considerable experience in polyphasic cultures—that is, cultures that have an openness to experience across all natural states of consciousness: gross, subtle, causal, and nondual. But, with the emergence of the orange altitude or rational structure-stage, there is a not-so-subtle temptation to discard the idea of states of consciousness, and with it, the magnificent spiritual cartographies of centuries of practitioners. Of course, this is precisely one version of the pre-trans fallacy whereby, due to the perceived supremacy of reason, anything non-rational is assumed to be pre-rational. Such a move renders these cultures monophasic, privileging experience in the gross, waking state to such an extent that any other experience is simply ignored.

An integral approach, of course, values the contributions of premodernity, modernity, and postmodernity, and integrates them into a coherent position that honors their essential truths and jettisons their partialities. To monophasic cultures, the integral approach recommends an openness to the vast, documented experience of millions of practitioners throughout history, considered in their proper context. To the polyphasic cultures, the integral approach suggests both an awareness of the modern West’s insight that human beings move through stages of development and of the integral insight that any state of consciousness is necessarily experienced, unpacked, and interpreted from this stage. The result: the higher that stage, the greater the fidelity to the original message….

Indeed, this union is precisely what Ken wrote about in The Marriage of Sense of Soul: Integrating Science and Religion. The possibility is compelling: with an understanding of states, stages, and shadow, the spiritual journey—which, throughout history, has been more or less hit-and-miss—can be navigated in a much more conscious and deliberate manner, with an awareness of both where the path ahead lies and what sorts of obstacles to watch for along the way. Perhaps the sun has not yet risen on our journey, but in the day’s first light, we can see things as never before. As Ken writes in the introduction to Integral Spirituality, "It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new man, it’s a new woman. The new human is integral, and so is the spirituality."

Mouth to Mouth (video)
Father Thomas describes the relationship that we enter into with God in prayer, which is described, in the Old Testament, as "face to face" or "mouth to mouth."  This clip is taken from the Autumn 2006 Integral Contemplative Christianity seminar.

Published Friday, March 07, 2008 10:59 PM by rollie


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