Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Experiencer

Bear with me here- I know short and sweet works best, but some things need to be expanded upon in reaching an understanding.

My friend Julie, at Musings of a 24 Y.O. Idealist, “nudged” by a conversation at Andrew’s backstreetpetshop recently wrote pensively on the subject of ‘reading vs. experience’ which is worth a review of both blogs and all comments regarding. I believe most who commented were in agreement; the middle way of reading and digesting spiritual materials for learning and growth has merit but one must then experience as directly possible for one’s self the level of truth conveyed…to see it in action.

OK- cutting it short here, I’m already bored and I’m the one doing the writing.

Ken Wilber is coming out with his new book, “Integral Spirituality” late this year and there is a brillant feature in this month’s What Is Enlightenment Magazine well worth picking up if you’re a fan of Wilber (even if you’re not, what Wilber has constructed with his Integral Philosophy of “I, We, It and Its” and “AQAL” or ‘all quadrants, all levels’ is nothing less than mind blowing and as Andrew Cohen says in the WIE article, Ken's integral theory will probably will be taught as a standard in high school one day in the future).

For those familiar with Wilber who can grasp the ‘mostly complex’ significance of his embrace of AQAL in his construct of an integral philosophy you’ll be interested to know he has now added eight ‘zones’ or perspectives to his four quadrants (damn it! How much can we be expected to keep up with)!

My dear Soul- friend, Trevor at The Sound of Diesel Musing first introduced me to Ken Wilber a year ago and since then I have labored, loved, despised, laughed, contemplated, dismissed, and eagerly returned again and again to Ken’s works and ideas for inspiration. It also seems that his name is popping up more and more with President Clinton even singing his praises at a recent speech.

The Point of all this rambling: I think Wilber’s integral philosophy is very important and his broad- embrace of spiritual diversity inspiring…enough so that his philosophy warrants investigation of the most attentive kind- and that means reading further, exploring further ideas before experiencing. Even Ken says that any model of integral philosophy must be ‘user friendly’ and it’s true: nothing amounts to anything if you can’t understand it (and Ken’s philosophy takes some reading and re- reading- but it’s possible to grasp: more than that- if I can, anyone can!) and put it into practice.

More later…now I am REALLY, REALLY bored!

Thanks Julie, Andrew and Trev for your inspiration…and to Meredith, at Graceful Presence for the constant reminder that Clear Mind is behind all.

12 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

Isaiah,

You're welcome. (Or did you just thank me for the inspiration to compose a post you described as boring? Wait a minute...)

Ken is the writer/thinker/whatever who really turned me on to this whole realm of the spiritual a couple years ago, and I am profoundly grateful for that. More and more, though, I find myself swimming out on my own rather than using his works as a life preserver. I hope that's exactly as he would want it. (Some of the Wilber-worship you see going on makes me wonder, but I hope for the best...)

I will certainly pick up Integral Spirituality when it comes out, but I think a while ago I would have read it without questioning and expected it, with a title and author like that, to contain the secret to life and the universe. Now I hold the very idea of it more lightly, which is good.

Thanks for the boring post.

8:33 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Andrew,

Yes, I believe Ken does want us to "swim out on our own" but keep this in mind- now that you know about AQAL and I,WE, IT & ITS- it does make perfect sense, as a grounding, for observing the whole process of swimming out. I don't believe he would want anyone to use his work as a life preserver- yes; question, question, question...

..my point is, "How can we grow into new concepts without a guide (guru, reading, exploration)?

There is a time and a place for everything. I am as guilty as anyone for keeping my head in books and ideas- not experiencing as much as I should.

Ken, in his new book, calls for us to ask: "what is next? As we evolve, or not, so does our idea of 'God'."

9:02 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Least one suppose I’m placing Wilber on a pedestal here…

Integral is just one of many, many ways of observing and making sense-Wilber, just one of many integral theorists elaborating on consciousness.

No doubt Ken carries a large ego around with him- his spite of critics of his work makes one ask what level is Ken actually on?

Wilber has been less than cordial, often using some pretty adolescent language in response to criticism.

My point, again- discover and experience for yourself. It just so happens I discovered Wilber through reading…and let me say again, it’s some complex material we’re asked chew upon and attempt to swallow.

AQAL and I, It, We, Its…. Can open a way up to observe how one comprehends- and that is all.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Yeah, the thing about AQAL is how absolutely elegant it is. Much, much, much more so than any other theory I've found.

I think that growth into new concepts is one of the best uses a guide has--to help us make sense of experience. For me, anyway, the trouble is actually letting go of the guide; I sometimes doubt my ability to experience the territory, and so it's "safe" to sit and pore over the map. Of course, thanks to Wilber (in my case), I can recognize this for what it is, and from there hopefully transcend and include it...

I completely agree with you about Wilber's ego. And the thing is, I don't have any problem with adolescent language per se (note the presence of dried turds in the post to which you linked!), but it does raise some red flags to find someone using adolescent language but trying to pass it off as "second-tier". I mean, get it off your chest if you need to, and have fun while you're at it, but just accept it for what it is!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

The beauty of all of this work is the re-turning that it has us do... a re-turn to this moment of experience of divine presenece.

I enjoy Ken Wilber, too; I love him because in listening to the ideas, many of which seem overly complicated, I make this simple return out from under all the complication, a return to the presence that is right here, that does not need a brilliant mind to comprehend. Yet he also is able to articulate the wholeness here, he is pointing to the moon with many concepts, some of which help deepen my understanding.

I had touble with this line: " his philosophy warrants investigation of the most attentive kind- and that means reading further, exploring further ideas before experiencing." Say more about this...

With this dialogue, I am far from bored. You simply open doors, and look what comes in!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

Thanks, Tommy--- I too, am looking forward to checking out what he has to say in this next book...

9:44 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

" his philosophy warrants investigation of the most attentive kind- and that means reading further, exploring further ideas before experiencing."

I guess what I'm trying to say here is any new concept, such as AQAL, levels, stages, states of being which Wilber points to have to be brought into our awareness in order for us to investigate further.

Really, Joseph Campbell touched on integral philosophy with his body of work- my eyes were opened by Campbell more so than Wilber...but it took thourough understanding of what he, Campbell, was saying for me to understand and open up into experience.

9:54 AM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

Quiz: describe Wilber's paradigm in a sentence.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

Haha, good question Julie. Here's my one-sentence summary:

"Just as atoms make up molucules make up cells that make up organisms, so the whole universe is encompassing layers of depth."

What this does is allow you to see EVERYTHING: every type of person, every viewpoint, every action, every everything as necessary to the WHOLE and therefore, everything is RIGHT just as it is!

:)

9:15 AM  
Blogger isaiah said...

Great answer Trev-

One sentence huh! Tough- but I see where it's necessary:

"Transcend and include; everything is perfect and necessary as it is."

9:58 AM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

In a word -

Fractal.

Yes? No?

Besides, now I know the premise of the book and can indefinitely put off reading it. ;-)

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch the secret visually. What can not e perceived even by mind, how can that be captured in a book. Let Ken continue..like many others. Meanwhile see a fil called Banaras, a mystic love story and find the truth.
Visit the writer's blog.
www.anarasthemovie.blogspot.com
Peace!

11:12 AM  

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