Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Integral Spirituality by Ken Wilber: Introduction

Is there a book which can serve as an antidote to the religious animosity of our times, a book which can unite spiritual traditions without compromising their essential message? There seems to be a fervent agreement among some of the most well-respected religious scholars and philosophers of our time that Ken Wilber's latest work, Integral Spirituality, fits the bill.

Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi, a Zen teacher from Brooklyn, and creator of the widely acclaimed "Big Mind process" suggests that anyone serious about "raising the level of consciousness on this planet should read this masterpiece.” Sally Kempton, a teacher in the Saraswati order of Indian monks, and the author of The Heart of Meditation, says that Integral Spirituality is a book that "literally shatters spiritual confusion." Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi, who is considered one of the major founders of the Jewish Renewal movement, asserts that "the Kabbalah of the future will rest on Ken's work." Professor of Psychiatry and Philosophy at University of California, Irvine, Roger Walsh, who is also renowned for his best selling masterwork, Essential Spirituality, claims that Integral Spirituality is, "quite simply, the most encompassing account of religion and spirituality available in our time.”

Not many books on spirituality can claim to have received such superlative recommendations from celebrated scholars of diverse traditions. Let’s find out for ourselves if such recommendations are justified. Please join us for the next two months as we discover how the great religions of the world can be reconciled, and at the same time, integrated with science and philosophy.


Anonymous said...

I just searched the web and found a PDF of the first draft of Integral Spirituality...

Anonymous said...

Religions came out of male-dominance and the message reflects that tendency which ever religion you look at.

Nomi said...

Wilber will argue that religions came out of the "cosmic unconscious" that all human beings carry alongwith the egocentric, cultural or carnal unconscious. The challenge is to get connected with the "cosmic unconscious" which this whole book is all about.

Anonymous said...

I have found Integral Operating System a useful introduction to Integral Theory...

Anonymous said...

I have not read Integral Spirituality but want to share my favorite quote from Ken Wilber's Sex, Ecology, Sprituality:

"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

Dr. Kurt Johnson said...

Yes, as reflected in the choice of this book, Integral Spirituality is a book that MUST be read by anyone doing either spiritual teaching or working in the area of "world shift". There is no other compilation available, not to mention all the "new angles" in the book, that is comparable or current to our time. Without considering all the threads brought together in this book, spiritual teachers, seminary professors, world shift spokespersons "on-the-circuit" etc., cannot hope to be fully conversant and up to date on their subject matter.

Since the publication of this book I've either taught, or been involved with teaching, Integral Spirituality at the Seminary level based on Wilber's text along with Wayne Teasdale's classic book The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions.

So...., Integral Spirituality is a book that anyone seriously trying to "be in the conversation today" re: spirituality and world transformation, must digest and ponder. All readers, especially spiritual teachers, will be glad they did because I'm sure there will be at least half a dozen (or many more) things "they would have not thought of themselves".

I also recommend the free pdf that is mentioned elsewhere in this blog.