An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

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Zakariyya IshaqZakariyya Ishaq is a writer who has just completed his first book on the subject of spiritual cosmology. An original new theory he feels can rival any: THE ELLIPSE: THE FALL AND RISE OF THE HUMAN SOUL: SECRETS OF THE COSMOS. In addition to being a writer he is a musician, computer professional, and community activist. He is a Graduate of Devry University in Digital Electronic Technology. Ishaq has been a mystical seeker of enlightenment for 30 years, a member of 3 Sufi Orders: and has studied formally and informally Buddhism, Vedanta Cosmology, Cabala, Taoism, Sufism, Integral Philosophy, and various other mystic esoteric and exoteric schools of thought.

The Path of
Integral Spirituality

Zakariyya Ishaq

The book Integral Spirituality by Ken Wilber does not convey the spirit or letter of genuine Integral Spirituality. His thesis is clouded by his AQAL theory that has little to do with the fundamental premise of Integral Spirituality or metaphysics.

Although his theory may have value in the realm of experimental psychology and philosophy, it is too underdeveloped for him to arrogate in his premise an association of his theories with Integral Spirituality. For Integral Spirituality stands on its own as an existential phenomenon that has nothing to do with, and that transcends, linear ideas of the structure of reality. Structure is at the mercy of phenomena. Integral Spirituality therefore has to do with not structure, but phenomena itself, and how it guides structure into spirit.

Structure defines the parameters of the physical, whereas spirit defines the manifestation of what in Wilberian thought may be defined as the upper left quadrant, and the quality of its experience. I believe genuine Integral Spirituality is concerned with that narrow focus.

In the context of Wilberís attempt to juxtapose AQAL with spirituality it makes sense for him to attempt to quantify structure with qualities within the framework of his theories, but reality doesnít cater to the whims of theories, it only serves itself. Therefore the linear values his AQAL system places on the individual quadrants are without reality. In other words they cancel each other out because there is no understanding in his system of the values of the quadrants, quantitatively, or qualitatively. Particularly as regards experience in time, where the values of the quadrants can be variable according to experience.

When we come to an understanding genuine Integral Spirituality, we must first understand the meaning of spirituality within the context of the human condition, and experience. For the human condition and experience is a dynamic phenomenon, that requires visionary awareness that understands the human condition in the context of not only spirituality per se, but his mis-development in relationship to time and place, as well as spirit.

Wilberian thought and its marriage with Spiral Dynamics attempts to cover this gap in his theory, but doesnít hold up because spiral dynamics has nil understanding of the above formula. It is blind in terms of the human condition as relates to time and place. As for spirit, it only understands man as a psychological being who is but a slave of evolution - not as a spiritual dynamic being.

What this says about spirit in itís relationship to time and place, is that it is analogous to the Einstein theory of the bending of light, a nuance of reality that most postmodern thinkers reject as relating to spirit. Wilber falls into the same psychological trap as these postmodernists who demand all, though they donít accept the fact that they may not be in a position to understand the very thing they demand to know!

Spirit is the manifestation of the intelligence that creates, guides, maintains and completes any cycle of being, and never wavers from reality [Dharma]. The human condition is always, and will always be a manifestation of truth because it is ruled by spirit that follows unalterable laws of the cosmos. That is the meaning of the Sufi adept Mansur Hallaj, when he uttered in a state of ecstasy I am truth.

As relating to the human in terms of time and place, we have to consider the fact of his mis-development, something the postmodernists have rejected. Not to digress here, but this rejection of this reality by postmodernists may have led to many of the non human ideas of certain well known political and philosophical perversions that have plagued humanity. Spirit in this regard is the intelligence and conscience of that which informs the self of its waywardness.

The word Integral as relates to spirituality is where Wilber has really gone astray, even more than his incomplete postmodern ideas on spirituality.

Here the word itself as he applies it is probably literally a misnomer. Integral implies, that which is important to completeness. But here the idea of AQAL as a theory of the complete human has nothing to do with spirituality in the context of the human condition. It again is a theory of structure having nothing to do with the human Integral problem in time and place as regards to spirit.

In fact Wilberís Integral theory may have more to do with holism than what is exactly integral. This may be a problem with his own incomplete spirit trying to, as I have suggested before, carve puzzle pieces up to fit where they donít fit, only because the undeveloped self hasnít yet perceived the right pieces for the puzzle.

Integral indeed does imply what is essential to something in development, but that must include knowledge of the human in time and place. The essential parts of the human are all at certain levels of development at any given time. Wisdom is in determining what a particular individual needs at a particular time and place in the development cycle, not relative to holism, as Wilberís Integral Spirituality implies, but what is Integral according to the individuals dynamic development. Wilber understands this himself when he rightly divorces AQAL from the practical reality of methodology in his ILP.

So we have Integral as an element that determines what a person needs at any given time in their conditional development. Holism is inherent in any genuine spiritual philosophy therefore it is not pertinent to reinvent anything along those lines and label it Integral, as a substitute for the real meaning of Integral.

Integral implies what one requires then and now. They may need [psychotherapy] at one point, and later [meditation] at another time. They donít require these things based on a theoretical model of anything, but on the reality of how their soul or self is configured at any given time.

Aurobindoís Integral Yoga is about [or it was about, him] offering to his students various aspects of existing yogic paths that his students required according to the above formula. He didnít erect any arbitrary group of theories as any idea of universal [end and be all] of spiritual Integral Theory.

So we can conclude that Integral has to do with the needs of the soul at any given time in its reality - or what is best conducive to its development. Spirituality is the realm of dynamic phenomena that through Dharma [cosmic law] we can manipulate our souls by practicing methodologies that will retune our self with the calm of the cosmos.

This idea of Integral Spirituality transcends completely all particular philosophies of religion, and has no association with any dogma, theory or creed, within science or religion. Integral Spirituality is a reality without form, name, and within its essence is a subtle path of guidance to completion.

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