A Life Of

Learning, Relating and Gratitude

With Linesh Sheth

 

About Ken Wilber


It was through the magazine called Enlightenment Next that i came across the writings and interviews of Ken Wilber. Ken Wilber was a good friend of Andrew Cohen.

His writings were very convincing, his perspective very different and his spirituality had distinctions from contemporary philosophers. I was attracted by his writings although i never happened to meet him in person. Yet through his integral theory that connected interior with exterior and individual with collective, I began to come out of my trap of personal experiences as the reference point of understanding life.

Through integration of writings in several of his books i read, my awareness of the formless within me became distinct. The phenomenal world, the world of ordinary transactions for personal profit or loss, began to be well understood. I could then accept the world with tolerance, rather than getting angry with it.

The glimpse of being one with the All appear to be within my possibilities of experiences. I could then experience the sequence of moving from matter to body, body to mind, mind to soul and soul to spirit with greater consciousness.

Mainly i understood from Wilber that Cosmos is the physical universe where as Kosmos is that which unfolds through matter, life, mind and spirit. Knowing Ken Wilber added depth to my understanding and experience of spirituality.

Quotes of Ken Wilber

  • Unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life are not signs of mental illness, but of growing intelligence.

  • Da Free John's phrase kept running through my mind: "Practice the wound of love... practice the wound of love." Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and open; real love will take you far beyond yourself; and therefore real love will devastate you. I kept thinking, if love does not shatter you, you do not know love...

  • The point is to unify the opposites, both positive and negative, by discovering a ground which transcends and encompasses both.

  • You cannot have exterior development without interior development to hold it in place.

  • Be the most ethical, the most responsible, the most authentic you can be with every breath you take, because you are cutting a path into tomorrow that others will follow.

  • "Integrative" simply means that this approach attempts to include as many important truths from as many disciplines as possible-from East as well as the West, from premodern and modern and postmodern, from the hard sciences of physics to the tender sciences of spirituality.

  • As Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin knew, the future of humankind is God-consciousness.

  • I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.

  • Real love will take you far beyond yourself and therefore real love will devastate you.

  • The truth will not necessarily set you free, but truthfulness will.

  • The mystics ask you to take nothing on mere belief. Rather, they give you a set of experiments to test in your own awareness and experience. The laboratory is your own mind, the experiment is meditation.

  • Evolution does not isolate us from the rest of the Kosmos, it unites us with the rest of the Kosmos: the same currents that produced birds from dust and poetry from rocks produce egos from ids and sages from egos.

  • THE ULTIMATE METAPHYSICAL SECRET, if we dare state it so simply, is that there are no boundaries in the universe. Boundaries are illusions, products not of reality but of the way we map and edit reality. And while it is fine to map out the territory, it is fatal to confuse the two.

  • I rise to taste the dawn, and find that love alone will shine today.

  • I don't believe that any human mind is capable of 100 percent error... Nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time.

  • Boundary lines, of any type, are never found in the real world itself, but only in the imagination of the mapmakers.

  • You can indeed be aware of your body, but you can also be aware of your mind - you can right now notice all the thoughts and ideas and images floating in front of the mind's inward eye. You can, in other words, experience your mind, be aware of your mind. And it's very important to experience your mind directly, cleanly, intensely, because only by bringing awareness to the mind can you begin to transcend the mind and be free of its limitations.

  • Conscious business.. business that is conscious of inner and outer worlds.. would therefore be business that takes into account body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature. Put differently, conscious business would be mindful of the way that the spectrum of consciousness operates in the Big Three worlds of self and culture and nature.

  • If the majority of the "spiritual market" is drawn to prerational magic and myth, how do you reach the small group who are involved in genuine, laborious, demanding, trans-rational spiritual practice? This is very difficult, because both markets are referred to as "spiritual," but these two camps really don't get along very well-one is mostly translative, the other is mostly trans formative, and they generally disapprove of each other-so how do you put them into one magazine without alienating them both?

  • A full-spectrum approach to human consciousness and behavior means that men and women have available to them a spectrum of knowing -a spectrum that includes, at the very least, the eye of flesh, the eye of mind, and the eye of spirit.

  • Further, if Spirit has any meaning at all, then it must be eternal, or without beginning or end. If Spirit had a beginning in time, then it would be strictly temporal, it would not be timeless and eternal. And this means, as regards your own awareness, that you cannot become enlightened. You cannot attain enlightenment. If you could attain enlightenment, then that state would have a beginning in time, and so it would not be true enlightenment.

  • That all opposites such as mass and energy, subject and object, life and death are so much each other that they are perfectly inseparable, still strikes most of us as hard to believe. But this is only because we accept as real the boundary line between the opposites. It is, recall, the boundaries themselves which create the seeming existence of separate opposites. To put it plainly, to say that "ultimate reality is a unity of opposites" is actually to say that in ultimate reality there are no boundaries. Anywhere.

  • When it comes to spiritual teachers, there are those safe, gentle, consoling, soothing, caring; and there are the outlaws, the living terrors, the Rude Boys and Nasty Girls of God realization, the men and women who are in your face, disturbing you terrifying you, until you radically awaken to who and what you really are.

  • The great and rare mystics of the past . . . were, in fact, ahead of their time, and are still ahead of ours. In other words, they most definitely are not figures of the past. They are figures of the future.

 

Ken Wilber's
Important distinction between
Translative and Transformative teachings

TRANSLATION VS. TRANSFORMATION

In a series of books (e.g., A Sociable God, Up from Eden, and The Eye of Spirit), Ken Wilber has tried to show that religion itself has always performed two very important, but very different, functions:

  • 1: One, it acts as a way of creating meaning for the separate self: it offers myths and stories and tales and narratives and rituals and revivals that, taken together, help the separate self make sense of, and endure, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. This function of religion does not usually or necessarily change the level of consciousness in a person; it does not deliver radical transformation. Nor does it deliver a shattering liberation from the separate self altogether. Rather, it consoles the self, fortifies the self, defends the self, promotes the self. As long as the separate self believes the myths, performs the rituals, mouths the prayers, or embraces the dogma, then the self, it is fervently believed, will be "saved" - either now in the glory of being God-saved or Goddess-favored, or in an afterlife that insures eternal wonderment.

  • 2: Two, religion has also served - in a usually very, very small minority - the function of radical transformation and liberation. This function of religion does not fortify the separate self, but utterly shatters it - not consolation but devastation, not entrenchment but emptiness, not complacency but explosion, not comfort but revolution - in short, not a conventional bolstering of consciousness but a radical transmutation and transformation at the deepest seat of consciousness itself.

There are several different ways that we can state these two important functions of religion. The first function-that of creating meaning for the self-is a type of horizontal movement; the second function-that of transcending the self-is a type of vertical movement (higher or deeper, depending on your metaphor). The first I have named "translation," the second, "transformation."

With translation, the self is simply given a new way to think or feel about reality. The self is given a new belief-perhaps holistic instead of atomistic, perhaps forgiveness instead of blame, perhaps relational instead of analytic. The self then learns to translate its world and its being in the terms of this new belief or new language or new paradigm, and this new and enchanting translation acts, at least temporarily, to alleviate or diminish the terror inherent in the heart of the separate self.

But with transformation, the very process of translation itself is challenged, witnessed, undermined and eventually dismantled. With typical translation, the self (or subject) is given a new way to think about the world (or objects); but with radical transformation, the self itself is inquired into, looked into, grabbed by its throat and literally throttled to death.

Put it one last way: with horizontal translation-which is by far the most prevalent, widespread and widely shared function of religion-the self is, at least temporarily, made happy in its grasping, made content in its enslavement, made complacent in the face of the screaming terror that is in fact its innermost condition. With translation, the self goes sleepy into the world, stumbles numbed and nearsighted into the nightmare of samsara, is given a map laced with morphine with which to face the world. And this, indeed, is the common condition of a religious humanity, precisely the condition that the radical or transformative spiritual realizers have come to challenge and to finally undo.

For authentic transformation is not a matter of belief but of the death of the believer; not a matter of translating the world but of transforming the world; not a matter of finding solace but of finding infinity on the other side of death. The self is not made content; the self is made toast.

Now, although I have obviously been favoring transformation and belittling translation, the fact is that, on the whole, both of these functions are incredibly important and altogether indispensable.

Individuals are not, for the most part, born enlightened. They are born in a world of sin and suffering, hope and fear, desire and despair. They are born as a self ready and eager to contract; a self rife with hunger, thirst, tears and terror. And they begin, quite early on, to learn various ways to translate their world, to make sense of it, to give meaning to it, and to defend themselves against the terror and the torture never lurking far beneath the happy surface of the separate self.

And as much as we, as you and I, might wish to transcend mere translation and find an authentic transformation, nonetheless translation itself is an absolutely necessary and crucial function for the greater part of our lives. Those who cannot translate adequately, with a fair amount of integrity and accuracy, fall quickly into severe neurosis or even psychosis: the world ceases to make sense-the boundaries between the self and the world are not transcended but instead begin to crumble. This is not breakthrough but breakdown; not transcendence, but disaster.

But at some point in our maturation process, translation itself, no matter how adequate or confident, simply ceases to console. No new beliefs, no new paradigm, no new myths, no new ideas, will staunch the encroaching anguish. Not a new belief for the self, but the transcendence of the self altogether, is the only path that avails.

Still, the number of individuals who are ready for such a path is, always has been, and likely always will be, a very small minority. For most people, any sort of religious belief will fall instead into the category of consolation: it will be a new horizontal translation that fashions some sort of meaning in the midst of the monstrous world. And religion has always served, for the most part, this first function, and served it well.

I therefore also use the word "legitimacy" to describe this first function (the horizontal translation and creation of meaning for the separate self). And much of religion's important service is to provide legitimacy to the self-legitimacy to its beliefs, its paradigms, its worldviews and its way in the world. This function of religion to provide a legitimacy for the self and its beliefs - no matter how temporary, relative, nontransformative, or illusory - has nonetheless been the single greatest and most important function of the world's religious traditions. The capacity of a religion to provide horizontal meaning, legitimacy and sanction for the self and its beliefs-that function of religion has historically been the single greatest "social glue" that any culture has.

And one does not tamper easily, or lightly, with the basic glue that holds societies together. Because more often than not, when that glue dissolves-when that translation dissolves-the result, as we were saying, is not breakthrough but breakdown, not liberation but social chaos. (We will return to this crucial point in a moment.)

Where translative religion offers legitimacy, transformative religion offers authenticity. For those few individuals who are ready-that is, sick with the suffering of the separate self, and no longer able to embrace the legitimate worldview - a transformative opening to true authenticity, true enlightenment, true liberation, calls more and more insistently. And, depending upon your capacity for suffering, you will sooner or later answer the call of authenticity, of transformation, of liberation on the lost horizon of infinity.

Transformative spirituality does not seek to bolster or legitimate any present world-view at all, but rather to provide true authenticity by shattering what the world takes as legitimate.

Legitimate consciousness is sanctioned by the consensus, adopted by the herd mentality, embraced by the culture and the counterculture both, promoted by the separate self as the way to make sense of this world.

But authentic consciousness quickly shakes all of that off its back, and settles instead into a glance that sees only a radiant infinity in the heart of all souls and breathes into its lungs only the atmosphere of an eternity too simple to believe.

Transformative spirituality, authentic spirituality, is therefore revolutionary. It does not legitimate the world, it breaks the world; it does not console the world, it shatters it. And it does not render the self content, it renders it undone.

And those facts lead to several conclusions.

Ref by Ken Wilber from "ONE TASTE"