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Two Truths, One Taste

This week on Integral Spiritual Center....

Three Truths - Ken Wilber

Perspectives and the Shadow - Diane Hamilton

Three Truths

That Spirit—and our understanding of it—evolves is one of the most important insights of Integral theory.  Spiritual traditions long ago recognized two important truths:  the relative reality that we conventionally experience, and the absolute reality that spiritual practice points out to us.  A third truth was subsequently realized:  the relative and the absolute are—as Ken Wilber entitled his famous 1997 journal—of One Taste.

As Ken points out in this week’s featured audio, the old analogy of the rope and the snake is instructive here.  A rope is coiled in the corner of a dark room; to all who behold it, it appears a snake, constantly haunting their experience.  But for some, a light goes on (literally, enlightenment) and they see that what appeared as a snake is in truth, a rope, subsequently freeing them from the fear that had gripped them.  And at some point another light goes on, a deeper enlightenment:  both the rope and the snake are Brahman, Ground, unqualifiable Spirit, arising in the space that I AM.  And with that arising, and from that realization, comes the recognition of a solemn, awesome responsibility:  to come back, with boundless compassion, for all beings.

Why, as a Bodhisattva, would you want to embrace the world of form?  For two reasons, suggests Ken.  First, because you promised to!  This coming back is precisely the essence of the Bodhisattva vow, coming back endlessly from the freedom you have realized until all beings are free.

Second, in awakening beyond what Tibetans call Turiya, “the fourth state,” the texture of Turiyatita overflows, and compassion naturally arises, like waves coming from a fountain flowing over.  That compassion compels you—and in some sense, gives you no choice other than—to come back.  In the words of the great Sufi Master Hafiz,

Only that Illumined One who keeps seducing the formless into form had the charm to win my heart.

What does integral add to the Three Truths?  First, it helps us to see that the Upper-Left quadrant can actually be seen from the inside (zone-#1) and from the outside (zone-#2).  The great traditions mapped zone-#1 with extraordinary precision.  The modern West, taking a zone-#2 approach unknown to antiquity, helps us to understand that the world of form is much more correctly understood as a world of perspectives—a kaleidoscope of perspectives.  The perspective of every sentient being is unique—exquisitely so—informed by different worldviews, different self-senses, different values, different needs.  Simply put, in integral terms, as one gains altitude, one expands the ability to take perspectives.  With red and lower altitudes comes the capacity to take a 1st-person perspective; from amber, a 2nd-person perspective; and so on, until the emergence of a 6th-person perspective at turquoise, and a 7th-person perspective from the higher altitudes.

Philosophically, says Ken, Spirit is waking up and looking at itself, on the way to its own Supermind—and higher.  And Spirit perceives itself through none other than form.  The only pure perception is that of Emptiness itself; once the manifest realm arises, every subsequent perception happens through a sentient being—and therefore, through a perspective.

The Integral injunction is to wake up.  Wake up to your own Divinity, in the footsteps of the Masters of old.  And wake up to perspectives that infinitely deepen, until, in some sense, every subject has become object, and you are Absolute Subjectivity, and as you look out, you do so through God’s eyes.  Wake up to the infinite freedom of the deepest state, and to the infinite fullness of the highest stage.  And then, come back for all beings, keeping your promise, and honoring the compassion that arises in your overflowing.

Perspectives and the Shadow (video)

Diane Hamilton takes Ken Wilber's groundbreaking observations on perspectives and demonstrates how they relate to shadow.  Having faced our projection, talked to it, and become it (in 3-2-1 Shadow work), we can then make use of the energy behind it to transform ourselves and the world.

Published Monday, September 08, 2008 10:19 PM by rollie


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