INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
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QUOTATIONS FROM
THE WORK OF KEN WILBER



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Meditation Notes from the Writings of Ken Wilber



  1. In other words, all of my books are lies. They are simply maps of a territory, shadows of a reality, gray symbols dragging their bellies across the dead page, suffocated signs full of muffled sound and faded glory, signifying absolutely nothing. And it is the nothing, the Mystery, the Emptiness alone that needs to be realized: not known but felt, not thought but breathed, not an object but an atmosphere, not a lesson but a life.
    -- Foreword, Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion
  2. We babyboomers have to be on guard against the belief that we're the only ones who ever got it right. the truth is that were just another group of nutcases.
    -- Utne Reader June-August 1998
  3. "Growth is hard, regression is easy"
    -- One Taste, p.5
  4. "In the stillness of the night, the Goddess whispers. In the brightness of the day, dear God roars. Life pulses, mind imagines, emotions wave, thoughts wander. What are all these but the endless movements of One Taste, forever at play with its own gestures, whispering quietly to all who would listen: is this not yourself? When the thunder roars, do you not hear your Self? When the lightning cracks, do you not see your Self? When clouds float quietly across the sky, is this not your own limitless Being, waving back at you?"
    -- One Taste, page 279
  5. "Nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time."
  6. "I have one major rule: everybody is right. More specifically, everybody -- including me -- has some important pieces of the truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace."
    -- Collected Works of Ken Wilber , vol. VIII, Introduction, p. 49
  7. "On my tombstone, I really hope that someday they will write: He was true but partial..."
    -- Collected Works of Ken Wilber , vol. VIII, Introduction, p. 49
  8. "In order to understand how the new holographic paradigm fits into the overall scheme of things, it is necessary to have an overall scheme of things to begin with".
    -- Eye to Eye , p. 126
  9. "We are nowhere near the Millennium. In fact, at this point in history, the most radical, pervasive, and earth-shaking transformation would occur simply if everybody truly evolved to a mature, rational, and responsible ego, capable of freely participating in the open exchange of mutual self-esteem. There is the "edge of history". There would be a real New Age."
    -- Up from Eden , p. 328
  10. "And so, please practice! Please let that be your guide. And I believe that you will find, if your practice matures, that Spirit will reach down and bless your every word and deed, and you will be taken quite beyond yourself, and the Divine will blaze with the light of a thousand suns, and glories upon glories will be given unto you, and you will in every way be home. And then, despite all your excuses and all your objections, you will find the obligation to communicate your vision. And precisely because of that, you and I will find each other. And that will be the real return of Spirit to itself."
    -- Bodhisattvas will have to turn to politics, Interview with Frank Visser, 1995
  11. "The modern West is actually an intense combination of good news, bad news. The self or subject of rationality was deeper than the subject or self of mythology (...) However -- solely because of the collapse of the Kosmos -- the object of rationality (which was confined to sensorimotor flatland) was much less deep than the object of mythology (which was the Divine order, however crudely or anthropomorphically depicted). Thus, a much deeper subject confined its attention to a much shallower object. And there, in a nutshell, the combination of dignity and disaster that is the paradox of modernity: a deeper subject in a shallower world."
    -- The Marriage of Sense and Soul , p. 206
  12. "At every single moment, there is a spontaneous awareness of whatever happens to be present and that simple, spontaneous, effortless awareness is ever-present Spirit itself. Even if you think you don't see it, that very awareness is it. And thus, the ultimate state of consciousness -- intrinsic Spirit itself -- is not hard to reach but impossible to avoid."
    -- The Eye of Spirit , p.
  13. "Is this not obvious? Aren't you already aware of existing? Don't you already feel the simple Feeling of Being? Don't you already possess this immediate gateway to ultimate Spirit, which is nothing other than the simple Feeling of Being? You have this simple Feeling of Being now, don't you? And you have it now, don't you? And now, yes?...
    You feel the simple Feeling of Being? Who is not already Enlightened?"
    -- One Taste , p. 302
  14. "Auschwitz is not the product of rationality. Auschwitz is the result of the many products of rationality being used in irrational ways. Auschwitz is rationality hijacked by tribalism."
    -- The Eye of Spirit , p. 75
  15. "Physics is the most fundamental, and least significant, of the sciences."
    -- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , p.93
  16. "The great and rare mystics of the past (from Buddha to Christ, from al-Hallaj to Lady Tsogyal, from Hui-neng to Hildegard) were, in fact, ahead of their time, and are still ahead of ours. In other words, they are not figures of the past. They are figures of the future."
    -- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , p. 253
  17. "So the call of the Nondual traditions is: Abide as Emptiness, embrace all Form. The liberation is in the Emptiness, never in the Form, but Emptiness embraces all forms as a mirror all its objects. So the Forms continue to arise, and, as the sound of one hand clapping, you are all those Forms. You are the display. You and the universe are One Taste. Your Original Face is the purest Emptiness, and therefore every time you look in the mirror, you see only the entire Kosmos.'
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 240
  18. "Flatland accepts no interior domain whatsoever, and reintroducing Spirit is the least of our worries.
    'Thus our task is not specifically to reintroduce spirituality and somehow attempt to show that modern science is becoming compatible with God. That approach, which is taken by most of the integrative attempts, does not go nearly deep enough in diagnosing the disease, and thus, in my opinion, never really addresses the crucial issues.
    'Rather, it is the rehabilitation of the interior in general that opens the possibility of reconciling science and religion.'
    -- The Marriage of Sense and Soul , p. 142.
  19. "Evolution does not isolate us from the rest of the Kosmos, it unites us with the rest of the Kosmos: the same currents that produced birds from dust and poetry from rocks produce egos from ids and sages from egos."
    -- Integral Psychology , p. 192
  20. "Ecological wisdom does not consist in understanding how to live in accord with nature; it consists in understanding how to get humans to agree on how to live in accord with nature".
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p.268
  21. "Whenever we moderns pause for a moment, and enter the silence, and listen very carefully, the glimmer of our deepest nature begins to shine forth, and we are introduced to the mysteries of the deep, the call of the within, the infinite radiance of a splendor that time and space forgot - we are introduced to the all-pervading Spiritual domain that the growing tip of our honored ancestors were the first to discover. And they were good enough to leave us a general map to that infinite domain, a map called the Great Nest of Being, a map of our own interiors, an archeology of our own Spirit."
    -- Integral Psychology , p. 190
  22. PATHWAYS: . . . Why does God incarnate?
    KW: . . . "It's no fun having dinner alone."
  23. "The aim of a complete course of development is to divest the basic structures of any sense of exclusive self, and thus free the basic needs from their contamination by the needs of the separate self sense. When the basic structures are freed from the immortality projects of the separate self, they are free to return to their natural functional relationships .... when hungry, we eat; when tired, we sleep. The self has been returned to the Self, all self-needs have been met and discarded; and the basic needs alone remain."
    -- Integral Psychology , p. 253
  24. "Most sexual intercourse in the animal kingdom occurs in a matter of seconds. During intercourse, both parties are open to being preyed upon or devoured. Bring new meaning to "dinner and sex," because you are the dinner. So it's slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am. None of this sharing feelings, and emoting, and cuddling - and that about sums up men. Mr. Sensitive - the man, the rythm the weenie - is a very, very recent invention, and it takes men a bit of getting used to, we might say."
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 5
  25. "Neither sensory empiricism, nor pure reason, nor practical reason, nor any combination thereof can see into the realm of Spirit. In the smoking ruins left by Kant, the only possible conclusion is that all future metaphysics and authentic spirituality must offer direct experiential evidence."
    -- The Marriage of Sense and Soul , p. 174
  26. "The great and secret message of the experiential mystics the world over is that, with the eye of contemplation, Spirit can be seen. With the eye of contemplation, the great Within radiantly unfolds. And in all cases, the eye with which you see God is the same eye with which God sees you: the eye of contemplation."
    --- Marriage of Sense and Soul , p. 174
  27. "Transcendence restores humor. Spirit restores humor. Suddenly, smiling returns. Too many representatives of too many movements - even many very good movements, such as feminism, environmentalism, meditation, spiritual studies - seem to lack humor altogether. In other words, they lack lightness, they lack a distance from themselves, a distance from the ego and its grim game of forcing others to conform to its contours."
    --- One Taste : Dec 7
  28. "Great art suspends the reverted eye, the lamented past, the anticipated future; we enter it with the timeless present; we are with God today, perfect in our manner and mode, open to the riches and the glories of a realm that time forgot, but that great art reminds us of: not by it's content, but by what it does in us: suspends the desire to be elsewhere."
    -- The Eye of Spirit , p. 135-136
  29. "So you Pursue this inquiry, Who am I? Who or what is this Seer that cannot itself be seen? You simply 'push back' into your awareness, and you dis-identify with any and every object you see or can see."
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 221
  30. "The more adequately [i.e.AQAL] I can interpret the intuition of Spirit, the more that Spirit can speak to me, the more the channels of communication are open, leading from communication to communion to union to identity."
    -- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , revised edition, CW 6 p. 523
  31. "And yet clearly the waking state is not permanent. It comes and goes every twenty four hours. And yet, according to the great sages, there is something in us that is "always conscious" that is literally conscious or aware at all times through all states, waking, dreaming, sleeping. And that "ever present awareness is Spirit in us". That underlying current of constant consciousness (or non-dual awareness) is a direct and unbroken ray of pure Spirit itself. It is our connection with the Goddess, our pipeline straight to God."
    -- One Taste p. 64
  32. "That all-pervading Beauty is not an exercise in creative imagination. It is the actual structure of the universe. That all-pervading Beauty is in truth the very nature of the Kosmos right now. It is not something you have to imagine, because it is the actual structure of perception in all domains. If you remain in the eye of Spirit, every object is an object of radiant Beauty. If the doors of perception are cleansed, the entire Kosmos is your lost and found Beloved, the Original Face of primordial Beauty, forever,and forever, and endlessly forever."
    -- The Eye of Spirit , p. 138
  33. "But, we ask, what will happen to our drive for progress if we see all opposites are one? Well, with any luck, it will stop--and with it that peculiar discontent that thrives on the illusion that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But we should be clear about this. I do not mean that we will cease making advancements of a sort in medicine, agriculture, and technology. We will only cease to harbor the illusion that happiness depends on it. For when we see through the illusions of our boundaries, we will see, here and now, the universe as Adam saw it before the Fall: an organic unity, a harmony of opposites, a melody of positive and negative, delight with the play of our vibratory existence. When the opposites are realized to be one, discord melts into concord, battles become dances, and old enemies become lovers. We are then in a position to make friends with all of our universe, and not just one half of it."
    -- No Boundary , p. 29
  34. "Because, you see, the alarming fact is that any realization of depth carries a terrible burden: Those who are allowed to see are simultaneously saddled with the obligation to communicate that vision in no uncertain terms: that is the bargain."
    Collected Works of Ken Wilber , Vol. VIII, One Taste, p. 311
  35. "Real compassion kicks butt and takes names. If you are not ready for this fire, then find a New Age, sweetness- and-light, perpetually smiling teacher. . . . Buty stay away from those who practice real compassion because they will fry your ass, my friend."
    -- One Taste, May 25
  36. "...Big Bang which was really the roaring laughter of God voluntarily getting lost for the millionth time."
    -- Up From Eden , p. 328

  37. "Manifestation is not a sin; getting lost in manifestation is. We think that ego and nature are the only realities in the entire Kosmos, and there is our sin and our suffering."
    -- One Taste , p. 81
  38. 'just shut the fuck up and look!'
    -- Speaking of Everything , CD
  39. "You triumph over death, not by living forever, but by living timelessly, by being present to the Present. You are not going to defeat death by identifying with the ego in the stream of time and then trying to make that ego go on forever in that temporal stream. You defeat death by finding that part of your own present awareness that never enters the stream of time in the first place and thus is truly Unborn and Undying."
    -- 1999 introduction to " Grace and Grit "
  40. "There is more spirituality in reason's denial of God than there is in myth's affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth... even an "atheist" acting from rational-universal compassion is more spiritual than a fundamentalist acting to convert the universe in the name of a mythic-membership god."
    -- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , p. 250
  41. "There in the Heart, where the couple finally unite, the entire game is undone, the nightmare of evolution, and you are exactly where you were prior to the beginning of the whole show. With a sudden shock of the entirely obvious, you recognize your own Original Face, the face you had prior to the Big Bang, the face of utter Emptiness that smiles as all creation and sings as the entire Kosmos - and it is all undone in that primal glance, and all that is left is the smile, and the reflection of the moon on a quiet pond, late on a crystal clear night." -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 43 and concluding passage
  42. "... once you get a strong glimpse of One Taste, you can lose all motivation to fix those holes in your psychological basement. You might have a deep and painful neurosis, but you no longer care, because you are no longer identified with the bodymind. There is a certain truth in that. But this attitude, nonetheless, is a profound violation of the bodhisattva vow, the vow to communicate One Taste to sentient beings in a way that can liberate all. You might be happy not to work on neurotic crap, but everybody around you can see that you are a neurotic jerk, and therefore when you announce you are really in One Taste, all they will remember is to avoid that state at all costs."
    -- One Taste , p. 138-9
  43. "Magic never in its wildest dreams thought that it would be trumped by mythic. And the mythic gods and goddesses never imagined that reason could and would destroy them. And here we sit, in our rational worldview, all smug and confident that nothing higher will sweep out of the heavens and completely explode our solid perceptions, undoing our very foundations. And yet surely, the transrational lies in wait. It is just around the corner, this new dawn. Every stage transcends and includes, and thus inescapably, unavoidably it seems, the sun will rise on a world tomorrow that in many ways transcends reason."
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 60
  44. "Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity - a total embrace of the entire Kosmos - a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It is at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?"
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 38-39
  45. "It is in the union of the Ascending and the Descending currents that harmony is found, and not in any war between the two. It seems that only when the Ascending and the Descending are united can both be saved. And if we - if you and I - do not contribute to this union, then it is very possible that not only will we destroy the only Earth we have, we will forfeit the only heaven we might otherwise embrace."
    -- A Brief History of Everything , p. 11
  46. "It's a strange world. It seems that about fifteen billion years ago there was, precisely, absolute nothingness, and then within less than a nanosecond the material universe blew into existence.

    Stranger still, the physical matter so produced was not merely a random and chaotic mess, but seemed to organize itself into ever more and complex and intricate forms. So complex were these forms that, many billions of years later, some of them found ways to reproduce themselves, and thus out of matter arose life.

    Even stranger, these life forms were apparently not content to merely reproduce themselves, but instead began a long evolution that would eventually allow them to represent themselves, to produce sign and symbols and concepts, and thus out of life arose mind.

    Whatever this process of evolution was, it seems to have been incredibly driven from matter to life to mind.

    But stranger still, a mere few hundred years ago, on a small and indifferent planet around an insignificant star, evolution became conscious of itself.

    And at precisely the same time, the very mechanisms that allowed evolution to become conscious of itself were simultaneously working to engineer its own extinction.

    And that was the strangest of all."
    -- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality , p. 3
  47. "For authentic transformation is not a matter of belief but of the death of the believer; not a matter of translating the world but of transforming the world; not a matter of finding solace but of finding infinity on the other side of death. The self is not made content; the self is made toast."
    -- One Taste , p. 28 ("A Spirituality that Transforms")
  48. "Eros is the love of the lower reaching up to the higher (Ascent); Agape is the love of the higher reaching down to the lower (Descent). In individual development, one ascends via Eros (or expanding to a higher and wider identity), and then integrates via Agape (or reaching down to embrace with care all lower holons), so that balanced development transcends but includes."
    -- Sex, Ecology, Spirituality p. 338, 339, 340
  49. "And therefore, all of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe,wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout from the heart -perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakable public example -but authenticity always and absolutly carries a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability,and shake the spiritual tree,and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacent. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you.

    ... And this is truly a terrible burden, a horrible burden, because in any case there is no room for timidity. The fact that you might be wrong is simply no excuse: You might be right in your communication, and you might be wrong, but that does not matter. What does matter,as Kierkegaard so rudely reminded us, is that only by investing and speaking your vision with passion, can the truth, one way or another,fully penetrate the reluctance of the world. If you are right, or if you are wrong, it is only your passion that will force either to be discovered. It is your duty to promote that discovery -either way - and therefore it is your duty to speak your truth with whatever passion nd courage you can find in your heart. You must shout, in whatever way you can."
    -- One Taste , p. 35f


  50. "And thus the green meme, champion of flatland, ends up inadvertently promoting exactly the oppression it wishes to overcome. Along with the blue meme of outright racism, the green meme is the primary source of oppression in this culture."
    -- Boomeritis, p. 124
  51. "The Good, the True, and the Beautiful, then, are simply the faces of Spirit as it shines in this world. Spirit seen subjectively is Beauty, and I of Spirit. Spirit seen intersubjectively is the Good, the We of Spirit. And Spirit seen objectively is the True, the It of Spirit....And whenever we pause, and enter the quiet, and rest in the utter stillness, we can hear that whispering voice calling to us still: never forgot the Good, and never forgot the True, and never forget the Beautiful, for these are the faces of your own deepest Self, freely shown to you."
    -- The Marriage of Sense and Soul , p. 201
  52. "The beasts are mortal, but they do not know or fully understand that fact; the gods are immortal, and they know it - but poor man, up from beasts and not yet a god, was that unhappy mixture: he was mortal, and he knew it."
    --- Up from Eden, p. x.
  53. "Many scientists believe that there might indeed be intelligent life on other planets; many believe we are still trying to find intelligent life on this planet. But few believe there are enough aliens that they are visiting us daily in droves-unless we are the Zoo of the Universe, and aliens love to bring their kids by to look at the primitive beasts: Now little Zordac, watch what happens when we take this stick and shove it up...'
    "The narcissism is the giveaway." Carlton smiled with the audience. "The comedian Dennis Miller got it just right: 'Only man is a narcissistic enough species to think that a highly evolved alien life force would travel across billions and billions of light-years- a group of aliens so intelligent, so insouciant, so utterly above it all, they feel no need whatsoever to equip their spacecraft with windows so that they can gaze out on all that celestial beauty-but then immediately upon landing, their first impulse is to get in some hick's ass with a flashlight.'"
    -- Boomeritis , p. 185
  54. "Likewise, looking deep within the mind, in the very most interior part of the self, when the mind becomes very, very quite, and one listens very carefully, in that infinite silence, the soul begins to whisper, and its feather-soft voice takes one far beyond what the mind could ever imagine, beyond anything rationality could possibly tolerate, beyond anything logic can endure. In its gentle whisperings, there are the faintest hints of infinite love, glimmers of a life that time forgot, flashes of a bliss that must not be mentioned, an infinite intersection where the mysteries of eternity breathe life into mortal time, where suffering and pain have forgotten how to pronounce their own names, this secret quiet intersection of time and the very timeless, an intersection called the soul. "
    -- Integral Psychology , p. 106.
  55. Formless realization contains no information about the world of form. Unless you find a way to take your nirvanic realization and express it in integral samsaric ways, you will end up creating a very petty, narrow belief-system, that doesn't take into account the riches of the manifest realm.
    -- Speaking of Everything CD
  56. The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one. The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego, which simply increases the effort of ego itself.
    -- One Taste , p. 256
  57. "Since modern science had, in effect, killed two of the three value spheres (I-aesthetics and we-morals), [extreme] postmodernism would simply attempt to kill science as well, and thus, in its own bizarre fashion, attempt an »integration« or »equal valuing« of all three spheres because all of them were now equally dead, so to speak. Three walking corpses would heal the dissociations of modernity. Into the postmodern wasteland walked the zombie squad, and the wonder of it all is that they managed to convince a fair number of academics that this was a viable solution to modernity's ills."
    -- The Marriage of Sense and Soul, p. 120
  58. Each succeeding stage involves an increase in perspectivism and thus an increase in the capacity for mutual care and compassion.
    -- On the Nature of a Post-Metaphysical Spirituality, wilber.shambhala.com
  59. "Listen to Erwin Schroedinger,the Nobel Prize-winning cofounder of quantum mechanics,and how can I convince you that he means this literally?

    Consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown.

    It is not possible that this unity of knowledge,feelings,and choice which you call your own should have sprung into being from nothingness at a given moment not so long ago;rather,this knowledge,feeling, and choice are essentially eternal and unchangeable and numerically one in all people,nay in all sensitive beings.
    The conditions for your existence are almost as old as rocks.For thousands of years men have striven and suffered and begotten and women have brought in pain.A hundred years ago (there's the test),another man sat on this spot;like you he gazed with awe and yearning in his heart at the dying light on the glaciers. Like you he was begotten of man and born of woman.He felt pain and brief joy as you do.Was he someone else? Was it not you yourself?

    WAS IT NOT YOU,YOURSELF? Are you not humanity itself? Do you not touch all things human,because you are it's only Witness? Do you not therefore love the world,and love all people,and love the Kosmos,because you are its only Self? Do you not weep when one person is hurt,do you not cry when one child goes hungry,do you not scream when one soul is tortured? You know you suffer when others suffer.You already know this! "Was it someone else? Was it not you yourself?"

    One Taste, p. 342-343


  60. "Academic religion is the killing jar of Spirit."
    -- One Taste, November 24


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