In April 2016, Ken Wilber released his new book Integral Meditation, which relates how mindfulness practice needs to be applied developmentally through the various levels he uses. In the audio webinar of this book aired first on April 7th, Wilber claims that these levels have never been revealed before. Well, actually, they have! As this blog shows, they were talked about over 80 years ago through the Ageless Wisdom tradition. This blog shows how Wilber’s new book aligns with these teachings and shows again, where he still needs to catch up.
In a bold statement, Ken Wilber declares in his April 7th Webinar, that there isn’t just one form of one size fits all mindfulness, there are up to seven or eight different experiences of mindfulness. And, by acknowledging how there are different levels, we see mindfulness meditation changes in very dramatic ways. In a very excited tone he then goes on to declare that not a single meditation system anywhere in the world has any record of his groundbreaking development work. Unfortunately for Wilber’s excited attitude, that is very far from true. Not only has the Ageless Wisdom teachings had these levels in place for a long time (and much more beyond the eight Wilber is now professing), they have taught different modes of meditation for the various levels and even what may be considered “lines” in Wilber’s system, for a very, very long time as well.
Actually, I must have been telepathic to the fact that this book was coming out because a few weeks before it’s release, I started a post called Cyclic Meditation, which was my beginning attempt to show how the meditation practices emphasized in the Ageless Wisdom traditions talk about a vastly different kind of meditation other than mindfulness meditation to help you shift levels. Those familiar with the Ageless Wisdom teachings will understand immediately what I mean when I use the word “alignment” in regards to meditation practice. They know that the meditation practices we use are very technical and designed to help you align with levels higher than your own so you can come into sync with the higher levels and thereby shift.
In that same post, I was also saying how mindfulness meditation is not very useful if all you are doing is rehashing the same old contents of consciousness at the level you exist at. And, I was busy pointing out why though mindfulness has its place, only when you use meditation forms that help you align and shift levels, can you get the expansion of consciousness and movement into the new level you are looking for. I still intend to finish that post, so I won’t duplicate it here. (I am traveling to an Ageless Wisdom conference ironically on Initiation this coming week and may not get to finishing that post even until I return). Still, I couldn’t help but be amused at the major, but uninformed enthusiasm, of the Integral community to feel they have discovered something new, that actually is very old.
Doing my due diligence I also purchased Integral Meditation and before writing this post, I completed most of it. The book is primarily a further expose on the seven major levels already put forth by Integral and talked about on this blog. Wilber is now attempting to add in “White”, the new 8th level, which I eagerly looked forward to reading, and was seriously disappointed to discover that beyond saying that Turquoise is “the leading edge of today’s development and evolution,” and still more levels are on the way it had nothing still to say about what White may be about.All Wilber says is to expect indigo (para-mind), violet (meta-mind), ultraviolet (overmind) and white (supermind) to emerge in the future. (I have already been paralleling these with the Ageless Wisdom teachings in this blog for some time now. See the chart again below).
(Who knows maybe they will be inspired by people from the Integral community reading this blog and learning what the Ageless Wisdom teachings have been talking about for nearly a century before them. Will they credit the Ageless Wisdom teachings if they are drawing upon them, especially if they are trying to sell this all for a big profit now? I hope they are at least dignified enough to do so).
Also, after he has pretty much nothing new to say about any of these emerging levels except that they are coming, he mainly goes on to say how cutting edge they all will be. For example, he says that those who are involved in these emerging levels are most likely at the “1/10 of 1%” and how they are “on the very edge of evolution itself, and your thoughts, feelings, and actions will actually be co-creating the future levels that humans will eventually be inhabiting on the whole.” And, from there the chapter on White mostly goes on and on about our place in history in regards to doing all of this.
So, literally, again we learn nothing much described in the Integral model beyond their Turquoise. which as I have been revealing for awhile now, is simply talking about the 1st Initiation levels and Group 8 and somewhat Group 9 in the Ageless Wisdom teachings. Later in his book Wilber goes into how we are meant to cultivate the Witness and Non-dual Unity Consciousness. Only now, he is associating these with what he calls Big Mind (Turiyatita), as opposed to Supermind, which is now higher than Big Mind or nondual nity consciousness. As I have been saying for awhile now, the Ageless Wisdom teachings regard the Witness and Observer experiences as pretty much analogous mostly to the 1st Initiation, where unity consciousness is first grasped. (Note: In the Ageless Wisdom teachings initiations are analogous with expansions of consciousness of which there are nine initiations, or expansions of consciousness, described in the teachings thus far). With the introduction of Supermind, Wilber seems to be understanding that there is much more than simply being aware of the nondual. He equates Supermind to a 3rd tier that has to do with structures of consciousness more than states of consciousness. What Wilber is now saying (sounds more and more like my post on Unity Consciousness in this blog), is that the highest states now have to include “emptiness (the pur Witnessing Self or Consciousness without an Object — ‘Absolute Subjectivity’) with all Form, or all possible witnessed objects (gross, subtle, and causal), to produce the highest state (unity consciousness) in the highest structure. (That highest condition would be 3rd tier Super-Integral or Supermind).”
Wilber is also saying that there is spiritual “Waking Up” in stages 4 – 5 (Amber/Orange in Integral, Groups 4/5/6 in the Ageless Wisdom teachings), and spiritual Growing Up in levels 6 – 8 (corresponding to Groups 7 – 9 in the Ageless Wisdom teachings, covering mainly our 1st Initiation), which is where we start to tread the spiritual path in the Ageless Wisdom teachings. However, we are also told in the Ageless Wisdom teachings that only when we get to the 3rd Initiation are we truly starting the spiritual path, which is ironically no longer about your individual spiritual growth and development at all, but group development, which despite all the talk about Supermind, group enlightenment (or group initiations) is something Integral seems to know nothing about. Maybe we could call that level Grown Up, and the entire notion even of being special pioneers creating all of this stuff (a notion that helps to sell books by the way), dies completely down, as true spiritual humility sets in once and for all. And, we might even see that humility allowing for finally being open to what long-standing spiritual and esoteric traditions have had to say on all of this for a very long time now. (But, that is my personal frustration again, which I addressed in the About page on this blog, of how since 2000, before Integral even emerged, I have been attempting to get the then Transpersonal community to open up more to what the Ageless Wisdom teachings for at least a century have had to offer the spiritual and psychological fields).
In conclusion, Integral Meditation has extremely little to say about meditation at all. It is mostly an expanded discussion of levels, which leaves me perhaps being motivated to finish the post I was writing before this one on Cyclic Meditation sooner, as it seems Integral is getting stuck and really needs some help.
Have comments, questions, suggestions? They will be posted so long as they are civil and expand the discussion.
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