The purpose of this site is to bridge the writings of Ken Wilber and the Integral movement with the writings that come from the Ageless Wisdom tradition, specifically along the lines of Alice Bailey and Lucille Cedercrans (though others may be included).
In 1984, I (Lisa) became aware of the Ageless Wisdom teachings as put forth by first Lucille Cedercrans and then Alice Bailey. Since then I have spent a majority of my life seeking to understand them. In the 1990’s I received an MSE in Esoteric Psychology and a PhDE in Esoteric Philosophy. (I already had a Master’s in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling and a background in mainstream psychology before getting into the Ageless Wisdom teachings).
In 1989, I read my first book by Ken Wilber (Spectrum of Consciousness) and since then have read almost every book he has written. Between 2000 and 2005, I went on to receive degrees in Transpersonal Psychology including an M.S. in Transpersonal Psychology. And, I completed all but the very tail end of my Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology where literally a few months before ending it, I went broke during a divorce and was no longer able to pay the high price of finishing.
To get these degrees I went to ITP, or the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now known as Sophia) primarily because I thought they would be open to the Alice Bailey teachings (at least in a minimal way). I also chose ITP over Pacifica because I thought ITP would be much more open to the writings of Ken Wilber, whose books I was already reading. While completing my Master’s at ITP I found the openness to the Ageless Wisdom teachings was limited at best. After submitting my Masters Thesis I experienced a clash of views with some of the faculty. My Thesis proposed that there was more than one enlightenment and that their version of “unity consciousness” was not the last step in spiritual evolution. I cited many references from Alice Bailey using her ideas of initiations as a series of enlightenments to back my claims. I also tried to argue that Ken Wilber (someone I still greatly respect) could benefit from some of what the Ageless Wisdom teachings had to offer. People at my university, to say the least, were not too keen on this.
In fact because of my “radical views” I almost did not get to pass my Master’s degree. The head of ITP intervened and I made it through. Ironically, years later books like After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and Halfway up the Mountain emerged beginning to argue the same points I had asserted in my Master’s thesis within the Transpersonal Psychology world.
While getting my education at ITP the Integral movement was starting to emerge and some of my professors from ITP even became part of Integral. Because I still loved what Ken Wilber had to say, I became a member of the Integral online community early on and deepened my understanding of Wilber’s evolving model into AQAL by keeping abreast of his other books and especially his audio/video teachings on this topic (of which I have listened to and watched extensively).
Still, though I have dedicated a lot of time to understanding Integral so I could place it within the context of my own experiences and understanding, for decades now I have felt hugely frustrated with the Integral model. Having been exposed so young to the Ageless Wisdom teachings, I felt curiously confused as to why there were so many road blocks in the Transpersonal and Integral disciplines about being open to the Alice Bailey works. Maybe it is the whole “channeled by DK and Masters” bit associated with Alice Bailey’s writings. This is unfortunate especially since the forward to every Bailey book states that the author has no interest in them being seen as teachings from some Master. Instead, those who read the books are encouraged to understand and apply what the books say without considering where they may have come from. And, if the model for spiritual evolution and ideas shared have validity in your life experience, accept them. If not, reject them. That is the only way to prove whether they are valid or not. In short, we need to stay away from the glamour of them being written in some special way and just read them on their own terms. From my own experience I can say this is an invaluable approach. This is also the main reason throughout the blog I refer to the Alice Bailey teachings, and not D.K. as the source. I feel doing so moves us away from the possible medium into the message itself.
As this blog reveals there is also something interesting going on between Integral and the Ageless Wisdom teachings, and that is how very similar they are. Why is this? Have Integral writers and researchers actually borrowed from what the Ageless Wisdom teachings have had to say without giving them credit? After all, they have been around for over 100 years now. If so, maybe the failure to credit the Ageless Wisdom teachings is partially due to the fact that the ideas from Alice Bailey come from a “channeled source” making them too threatening to mention in academic circles. Or, is something even more mysterious occurring, where two different approaches are coming up with the same conclusions because these conclusions are based in observable timeless truths about spiritual evolution?
On the flip side, along with being frustrated at times with Integral’s failure to look more carefully at the Ageless Wisdom teachings, I have also felt frustrated with the Ageless Wisdom teachings for failing to take the responsibility to integrate more into the mainstream. Despite my bias towards the Ageless Wisdom teachings, I keep delving back into Integral time and again, because they have had better luck with academia. I myself was immersed in mainstream academia as I worked to become a Marriage, Family, Child Counselor. I valued my six years of mainstream academic training. It taught me to be discerning and to value the need for actual research. That is something I found in Integral more than I found in my early years in Ageless Wisdom circles. And, when I went through a series of “spiritual emergence/emergencies” (to quote Stansilov Grof’s terms), I got the help I needed in the Transpersonal and Integral circles, more than I did in the Ageless Wisdom circles. Why? Because the emphasis again was on actually seeing how the ideas and theories worked out when dealing with actual situations and people.
That was awhile ago (the 1980’s). Fast forward and sadly, I still find a gap between these two approaches. Integral, I believe still could benefit a great deal in the development of its model by seeing what the Ageless Wisdom teachings have to say about spiritual evolution. And, the Ageless Wisdom teachings could benefit from the more academic and research oriented approach of Integral. Together they offer each other a lot in my opinion. That is why I started this blog. I hope you enjoy it and participate in dialogue.
Peace – Love – Light,