Reflections on an article by Ken Wilber

I stumbled across an column written by Ken Wilber entitled – what else – An Integral Spiritualityon Beliefnet.  In it he sets out”…. seven general items [or currents] that regularly recur in humanity’s attempts to know God…”  He adds that “….these similarities would seem to suggest, among other things, that there are spiritual patterns at work in the universe, at least as far as we can tell, and these spiritual patterns announce themselves with impressive regularity wherever human hearts and minds attempt to attune themselves to the cosmos in all its radiant dimensions.”   If this is so, does that mean that we humans are “hardwired” for spirituality?  Wilber would suggest yes and that the variety of expression of that spirituality are based on a number of factors, including but not limited to perspectives, such as first-person, second-person and third-person perspectives, and levels of consciousness and development. 
The “integral” spirituality that Wilber articulates would be one that “…claims to leave nothing essential out.  It would be a spirituality that in principle could be recognized and even practiced by believers in all the world’s religions without abandoning their own essentials.  If would be inclusive and comprehensive….”
If this integral spirituality is possible, would it not also include, in addition to the accepted practices of prayer, meditation, yoga, contemplation, modern psychological and psychotherapeutic measures?  Would it not “….transcend and include science”? 
So what are these seven general currents or similarities that recur in almost all great wisdom traditions?  As Wilber states in his column, “this is not the last word on the topic, but the first word, a simple list of suggestions to get the conversation going.  Most of the great wisdom traditions agree that:
1.  Spirit, by whatever name, exists.
2.  Spirit, although existing “out there,” is found “in here,” or revealed within to the open heart and mind.
3.  Most of us don’t realize this Spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation, or duality – that is, we are living in a fallen, illusory, or fragmented state.
4. There is a way out of this fallen state (of sin or illusion or disharmony); there is a Path to our liberation [or wholeness].
5.  If we follow this Path to its conclusion, the result is a Rebirth or Enlightenment, a direct experience of Spirit within and without, a Supreme Liberation, which
6.  marks the end of sin and suffering, and
7.  manifests in social action of mercy and compassion on behalf of all sentient beings.”

If these 7 patterns or currents make sense, we might just have a starting point for dialogue.  We could debate the details without calling into questions the foundation of our various “traditions.”  I believe he’s on to something!

More on this in later postings!

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