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The teachings of Ken Wilber Login/Join 
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OK, here's another bone to pick, and it has to do with the view of creation implicit in Wilber's teaching. He will constantly say things like, "In the causal state, the witness sees all of creation as 'arising.'" His implicit pantheism (in the light of his teachings on nonduality) places him in the emanationist camp with regard to creation--a view that is radically different from the creationist view in Christianity and its relatives. Here's a quick comparison of these two approaches, also from my doctoral dissertation, cited above.

In its religious expression, emanationism maintains that God
alone is real, and what we call the universe is naught but God
expressing as the various forms we see about us. While this view
might seem to affirm most powerfully the sacredness of creation, it
also leads to gross violations of common sense when applied to the
realm of identity, calling into question the validity of one's
experience of being an entity separate from other entities.(15) It
is precisely this experience of individual identity that emantionists
calls illusory. If only existence (or God) is real, then I (whatever
that is) am not.

The implications of emanationism regarding one's understanding
of God, Self, and Ego are obvious. If the sense of individual life
is identified as Ego consciousness, then the Ego is nothing but an
illusion. Why such an illusion should be so intensely and
universally cherished is not explained to any great degree of
intellectual satisfaction. Generally, the Ego is considered a
provisional structure operating in the interest of personal survival.
But just why, exactly, God should need an Ego to help God survive is
an issue that seems not to provoke much reflection.

For the emanationist, it is Self, not Ego, that is the
manifestation of God in human form. The Hindu calls this Self Atman,
and sums up the relationship between Atman and the transcendent
Brahman as "That Art Thou." That two different terms are used in
reference to Self and God, here, is no contradiction of the
emanationist position. Atman is the emanation of Brahman in human
consciousness. The goal of Hindu spirituality is to lead one out of
the illusory world (Maya) of the Ego to rest in the experience of
Atman, or divine Self. In this experience, one comes to know pure
being, knowledge, and bliss: sat-chit-ananda. Buddhism seems to work
toward the same goal, only the theological language of Hinduism has
been shed in favor of a more psycho-philosophical perspective.(16)

As Christians continue to encounter the religions of the far
East through the many Hindus and Buddhists who have come West, it is
certain that these Eastern notions of God, Ego, and Self will
challenge and, perhaps, confuse our own use of this terminology.
Even if it were to be demonstrated that they use these words in
reference to the same experiences that we use them, the
emanationist/pantheist context suggests a different relationship
among them than has been traditionally understood in the West. The
philosophies and theologies that have inspired the development of
Western culture are not emanationist/pantheistic, but creationist.
At stake, here, is the manner in which the relationship between
existence and essence is understood. This might seem a small matter,
far removed from the real problems of life, but the consequences in
terms of understanding one's true identity are monumental.

The creationist doctrine, which St. Thomas' philosophy
supported, recognizes that essence is totally dependent upon
existence for its being, but does not conclude from this that essence
is identical to existence. Essence is a created thing--an expression
of Existence, to be sure, but a being new and different from
Existence.(17) In religious terms, we would say that the Being we
call God creates beings who are entirely dependent upon God for their
existence, but who are nonetheless beings distinct from God. The
proof of this is that any created being is a form manifesting action,
energy, freedom, and intelligence, but within limitations, whereas
the Being synonymous with Existence itself knows no such
limitations. Furthermore, the idea that God can become
particularized into the many limited forms we see about us
contradicts the concept of equivalency between God's essence and
existence. This concept, which is an affirmation of the simplicity
of God--that God is indivisible into parts--is foundational in St.
Thomas' understanding of essence and existence.(18) When pushed to
the extreme, the emanationist view actually denies a distinction
between existence and essence, while the creationist view maintains
this distinction to be real and fundamental.

St. Thomas did not pretend to understand or explain precisely
how God and creation are connected. This is a great mystery! His
teaching on essence and existence describes something of the manner
in which creation stands in relation to God. God and creation are
two different entities, and yet the two are not separate. God is
present in all of creation, and all creation has its being in God.
This affirms the reality of an ever-present, ongoing union between God and the creature by virtue of the fact that the creature is
constantly receiving its act of existence from God.(19) Some writers
refer to this as a natural union, but I prefer the term existential
union for obvious reasons. We shall say more about this type of
union as we go along.

_______________________________

14. Western thinkers of a pantheistic bent would include Parmenides,
Heraclitus, Paracelsus, Spinoza and Goethe. Philosophers and
theologians from the Hindu tradition who have articulated a
pantheistic view would include Shankara and Ramnuja. The
common Buddhist notion that the world we see about us is a
passing illusion, and only Absolute Mind is real constitutes a
kind of a-cosmic pantheism.

15. The Hindu Swami Rama writes, "Shakti (divine energy) is a
projection of consciousness that veils the consciousness (Shiva)
from which she was projected, in the innumerable illusory mani-
festations [Maya] that she brings forth and that we call the
universe." (Brackets mine.) Quoted in "The Awakening of
Kundalini," from Kundalini, Evolution and Enlightenment (New
York. Paragon House. 1979/90), John White, editor.

16. As mentioned earlier, however, it may well be that the non-
Atman, or no-self state of the Buddhism goes beyond the non-
Ego state of Hinduism. Many writers, however, suggest that
the Buddhist no-self and the Hindu Atman are both references
to the same universal Self that underlies one's personal
consciousness. For an insightful discussion of this topic, see
The Perennial Philosophy (New York. Harper and Row. 1944.)
by Aldous Huxley, pp. 1-11.

17. In PtI, Q45 of The Summa Theologia St. Thomas Aquinas writes
of "The Mode of Emanation of Things from the First Principle."
His use of the word emanation is different from the emanationist
position here discussed, describing, instead, the manner of
procession of creatures from the Creator. Regarding the reality
of a distinction between the creature and the Creator, St. Thomas
writes:
Because creation is signified as a change, as was said
above (I, 40, 2), and change is a kind of medium
between the mover and the moved, therefore also creation
is signified as a medium between the Creator and the
creature. Nevertheless, passive creation is in the creature,
and is a creature.

18. Ibid., PtI, Q3 deals with the simplicity of God. In the
Seventh Article, St. Thomas writes that
. . .there is neither composition of quantitative parts
in God, since He is not a body; nor composition of form
and matter; nor does His nature differ from His
suppositum; nor His essence from His existence; neither
is there in Him composition of genus and difference, nor
of subject and accident. Therefore, it is clear that God
is nowise composite, but is altogether simple.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's already happened to me. I regularly have the experience of being in a room full of people and having the knowlwedge that I am relatively awake, and that they are relatively asleep, and the Night of Sense has altered my perceptions.

That feeling is such a double-edged sword in my opinion, MM. One wonders if we are really more aware or perhaps actually still in the dark as attested by the fact of a sense of separateness. Is it uniqueness and awareness or isolation and separateness? That is the question. I think it can be both. We�re all inherently separate in some sense by nature. And some people (I�m a prime example) are just less sociable or less able to be sociable and thus separateness, in my humble opinion, can be easily confused with awareness. And yet I do think awareness can set us apart. I can�t count the number of times I�ve been to some party or gathering and felt absolutely estranged from the human race. What are these people talking about? It�s all so mundane!!! Let me out!!!

I guess the long and the short of it is that feelings like this can touch on awareness or arrogance or both. I�m assuming, MM, that you�re 100% Prime Awareness. Wink But I do know that I often mistake the separateness that comes from fear for a higher awareness.

In other words, reading Wilber won't jump me up any more stages.

One thing brothers JB and Phil have taught me is that we may be farther ahead in the game than we realize. We just have to admit victory. Wink I think the key is not playing by someone else�s rules and not worrying about jumping stages, but playing a different board game where some dubious writer isn�t setting the rules.

It sometimes helps me understand This Big Ol� Universe if I first grasp that thinking is a luxury. Existence seems to be what existence is geared toward. We needn�t in our brains come up with the right formula before we can exist correctly. In many cases I think we need only shut off our intellect so that we can reconnect with existence. If one believes that existence and God is inseparable (and this may indeed be the case) then it makes perfects sense to orient one�s self in that direction. Yes, This Big Ol� Universe sure seems like a puzzle to be solved but it�s clear that a good living can be made ignorant of the final solution to the puzzle or in searching for the final solution to that puzzle�or a little of both.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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His implicit pantheism (in the light of his teachings on nonduality) places him in the emanationist camp with regard to creation--a view that is radically different from the creationist view in Christianity and its relatives. Here's a quick comparison of these two approaches, also from my doctoral dissertation, cited above.

If you�re amazed that I sort of understand what you just said, Phil, it�s because I started reading through your dissertation last night. I�m probably 1/5 into it but I find I�m sort of sympathetic to the emanationist point of view. As I proceed further on I�m sure I�ll see exacty how this view is radically different from the creationist view in Christianity. I love a cliffhanger. Wink Nice piece of writing so far.
 
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Brad,

First, there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. The feeling of being different is manufactured by the ego and thank you for reminding me. It's about an equal amount of the time now (a large improvement,) that I feel union with creatures around me. Sometimes the dogs do not bark and the children are beautiful and the
birds do not fly away. Smiler

At other times, I feel this k energy humming
and perhaps more bliss (or considerably more distress) than others around me are probably experiencing. I can get really twisted by my illusion of separateness at these times, and it's better to be around someone, even someone who is hurting and needs to talk, as this helps me forget about myself.

Brother Andrew, in The Practice of the Presence of God said that most of the time he consulted noone about his internal condition. This is perhaps wise, since there are times they would surely throw a net over me Wink I'm not unique, and
my experience is normal (for someone having a k
experience,) but certainly not average for the general population. This leaves me feeling a bit like 007 on a secret mission or something. It does have it's advantages, as it did the other day when another mystic reported watching his two year old sleeping and having the feeling that she was a rag doll or inanimate object, a feeling most parents would probably be ashamed of, and I shared a few of my mental twists and how Gopi Krishna had the same experience that he did. Even being all goofy
most of the time, God can use it to help someoneSmiler

Phil,

Wilber said that there is very little change in levels, no matter what scale you use, in adults
from 25-55. Journaling, psychotherapy, role playing or whatever could only get people up .5 levels. Meditation could raise a person 2 full levels in four years, but nothing much happened beyond the four years.

I guess the good news would be that if we get a significant number of people working and raising children to devote an hour a day to it, then they would be working and raising children two levels higher than otherwise. Smiler

caritas,

mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First, there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. The feeling of being different is manufactured by the ego and thank you for reminding me. It's about an equal amount of the time now (a large improvement,) that I feel union with creatures around me.

That�s a great thing, MM. I wish I could say the same thing, but I�m working on it. Despite what I said, I absolutely LONG to get lost in the mundane and to find the spectacular and unforgettable in the absolutely banal. I sometimes wonder if the secret to life isn�t simply getting hold of the right delusions � delusions that are healthy and lead to happiness and compassion. Whether these delusions are, in fact, a reflection of true reality is an interesting question and one that I think religion probes deeply. At least THEY are asking the questions. I sort of think that atheists and materialistic scientists have simply given up on the question prematurely.

And when I make such observations and critiques, as I did previously, you can bet your bottom dollar that this incomplete pot who is calling the kettle black knows or suspects that every word coming out of his mouth is hypocritical. But truly it seems that the people who are at peace generally aren�t the ones doing the talking, so somebody�s got to pick up the slack. Big Grin
 
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Wilber's books are full of the mundane and the banal. He makes belly-button gazing seem quite romantic. You begin by looking at youself and what you see isn't much. "Is this really all there is, craving, attachment, fear, desire, anger, pride and manipulation?" Frowner

After looking at this for awhile, you also see great beauty in the most average ordinary things, children at play, the elderly, flower gardens, trees, lovers walking hand in hand, a man reading the bible on a park bench. Smiler

There is a great deal going on, and there are wonders to behold, but there is a long period of the ego turning in upon itself, and this can be so boring and tedious that it's no wonder they came up with the "vow of silence." Wink
But then again, Willaim Blake saw the whole world in a grain of sand...

caritas,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Is this really all there is

I suppose the trick is to turn that question around to "What am I ever going to do with so much?"

But we're human. We're easily bored. We need stimulation. As much as we might intellectually know that watching paint dry is a wondrous and stupendous event, we just can't make a life out of it�unless you're one of those one in a hundred million people who can do so and then go on to write books to convince everyone else that this is the normal or "higher" mode of being.

Although we might not ever be perfectly enthralled with the mundane, we could certainly do without all the self-talk that we absorb from the media and advertising that we aren't good enough, aren't doing enough, etc�the kind of talk that makes if nearly impossible to settle into the mundane, to sit quietly alone in a room, to be still and know that He is God. I'm convinced that becoming involved with a guy like Wilber (or a guy like Tathagata) in serious, short bursts is a good thing. It's like exercising a muscle that doesn't usually get exercised. But we would look very silly walking around all the time with a Flab-Buster tied to our rumps. It's the same thing when trying to emulate one of those one-in-a-hundred-million people too closely. But every once in a while a one in a BILLION sort of person comes along who is worth emulating and it is life-enhancing to do so over an extended length of time.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From Michael: [i] There is a great deal going on, and there are wonders to behold, but there is a long period of the ego turning in upon itself, and this can be so boring and tedious that it's no wonder they came up with the "vow of silence."

Ha. Smiler But why, we might ask, must there be a long period of the Ego turning in on itself? In Wilber's Eastern worldview, this sort of meditative practice is normative, but not so in Christian spirituality, where the Ego looks "beyond," as it were to God, and there's nothing boring about that. We're back to the crux of the matter, which is difference between a spirituality of realization versus one of relationship. In the latter, self-realization happens in the context of relationship, as we awaken to ourselves as not simply an "I am," but an "I who am loved."

Wilber said that there is very little change in levels, no matter what scale you use, in adults
from 25-55. Journaling, psychotherapy, role playing or whatever could only get people up .5 levels. Meditation could raise a person 2 full levels in four years, but nothing much happened beyond the four years.


Well, maybe so, as I don't have research to the contrary. Good thing that holiness has absolutely nothing to do with one's developmental state, however? Wink

from Brad: Although we might not ever be perfectly enthralled with the mundane, we could certainly do without all the self-talk that we absorb from the media and advertising that we aren't good enough, aren't doing enough, etc�the kind of talk that makes if nearly impossible to settle into the mundane, to sit quietly alone in a room, to be still and know that He is God. I'm convinced that becoming involved with a guy like Wilber (or a guy like Tathagata) in serious, short bursts is a good thing.

For sure! Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brad Nelson:
[QB]
That feeling is such a double-edged sword in my opinion, MM. One wonders if we are [i]really
more aware or perhaps actually still in the dark as attested by the fact of a sense of separateness. Is it uniqueness and awareness or isolation and separateness? That is the question. I think it can be both. We�re all inherently separate in some sense by nature. And some people (I�m a prime example) are just less sociable or less able to be sociable and thus separateness, in my humble opinion, can be easily confused with awareness. And yet I do think awareness can set us apart. I can�t count the number of times I�ve been to some party or gathering and felt absolutely estranged from the human race. What are these people talking about? It�s all so mundane!!! Let me out!!!

Brad, Long time, no see.

That is a typical HSP feeling, and I think you are an HSP (highly sensitive person). HSPs are also more aware.
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Sarasota, Florida | Registered: 17 November 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi, Katy. It's good to see you again.

That is a typical HSP feeling, and I think you are an HSP (highly sensitive person). HSPs are also more aware.

Just between you and me, one of the reasons that I started writing on public forums a few years ago was to try to overcome my shyness by way of desensitizing myself. I clearly recognized that I was an HSP, although that term, of course, was introduced fairly recently to me by you. It hasn't really worked, but it has allowed me to learn a lot, improve my writing skills, and hopefully improve my thinking skills as well. They say that when God closes one door he opens another, and I guess that gives me confidence enough to say, without sounding boastful, that, yes, my awareness level is probably tweaked a bitter higher than the average person (while acknowledging some truly blind spots that I have). Probably most of that is due to a lifetime of walking on eggshells with my hypersensitive radar set on maximum, so it's not something that I would say is worth the price.

But truly, if I was given a choice I would turn the sensitivity knob down. It's just not worth whatever benefits I supposedly get. But since I can't do that (at least without the use of alcohol, which is a bygone story) then I guess I'm just going to have to learn to live with it. One of the ways I do that is to just try and stop beating my head against the wall; that is, to stop stressing over some limitations caused by the HSP condition and to try to move on to what I *can* do. Giving up one's dreams (or delusions � who knows which is which) is never easy.

I hope you are doing well.
 
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One of the ways I do that is to just try and stop beating my head against the wall; that is, to stop stressing over some limitations caused by the HSP condition and to try to move on to what I *can* do.

Bravo! Big Grin

Hmm . . . how about, "Be here now in love."
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmm . . . how about, "Be here now in love."

That reminds me. I�ve already read that book. It�s time for another re-reading. I highly recommend it. Honestly, I don�t know why books like Phil�s aren�t populating the best-seller list. It is simple, concise and honest. I think if he made more false promises, glossed over the difficulties, and padded it with a lot of pop-culture fluff he might sell more of them.

I�ve read a lot of self-help books in my time and it�s often analogous to moving from one drug to another looking for the right fix. Sometimes you get it but it doesn�t last very long and you have to look for more. You increase the dosage. You go from soft cover to hard cover. When that�s not enough you go from a 150 page tome to a 350 page volume. When �10 easy steps to successful living� doesn�t seem to work you look for five easy steps. And then three.

The bottom line is that I just hope Phil understands just how good of a writer he is. I do hope I�m making him blush right about now.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Brad. I know a real compliment when I hear one. Much appreciated. Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Brad Nelson:
[qb] Hi, Katy. It's good to see you again.
. [/qb]
Hi Brad, Thanks very much!

You say that HSP "didn't work" for you? Did you read the book???? One REALLY has to understand this trait (not a condtion) in order to live a healthy and happy HSP life. Most people have not heard of the term HSP, much less understand it.

For one thing HSP is not the same as shyness. Shyness would be considered social anxiety, and THAT is not desirable. And HSPs are not antisocial. We just socialize in a different way. Arrive at the shindig late, and go home early. lol Also we like to "socialize" with one or two people at a time.

Introvert is still another thing. All Introverts are not HSPs of course, and not all HSPs are Introverts. In fact a small percentage of them are Extroverts.

Anyway, I guess I have gotten far off the orginial topic. Phil, should we move this one to the HSP thread, if it is still here?

Brad, I also agree with you that HSPs are more aware. Actually that is one of the main things about HSPs. Only we are more aware of subtleties, and that makes a big difference.

Keep writing, Brad. I think you write very well, and it is a great means of expression for HSPs.
Oh, and I agree with you that Phil is a great writer. I happen to have one of his books which I bought years ago before I ever heard of him and this place. I told him the book is all "yellowed".. you know, with a highlighter. He has interesting things to say and stays committed and does not compormise when it comes to our Saviour, Jesus.

Thanks!
Katy
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Sarasota, Florida | Registered: 17 November 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Katy said: Did you read the book????

No, I haven't read the book yet and chances are I won't ever get around to it.

One REALLY has to understand this trait (not a condtion) in order to live a healthy and happy HSP life. Most people have not heard of the term HSP, much less understand it.

For one thing HSP is not the same as shyness. Shyness would be considered social anxiety, and THAT is not desirable. And HSPs are not antisocial. We just socialize in a different way. Arrive at the shindig late, and go home early. lol Also we like to "socialize" with one or two people at a time.


Thanks. That further description is helpful. I can't say I'm even 50% sure what an HSP is, but it certainly sounds like it would be very easy to misdiagnose one's self. One could think one is an asocial anxiety-type person when, in fact, one simply (I guess) prefers keeping the company of just a few people. Perhaps a mixture of both. Who knows.
 
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Maybe that HSP thread needs to be revisited? Wink

---

from: http://207.44.196.94/~wilber/further.html

Now for an interlude looking in a little more depth at the Atman-project theory. It is an absolutely basic dogma in Wilber�s system. By a dogma I mean a tenet derived from, or laid down by, the authority of a religious tradition, a tenet which is relatively impervious to debate, on the grounds that it is associated with long spiritual practice within that tradition. And such grounds on their own are never adequate in my view, among several reasons because all kinds of hopelessly incompatible doctrines from diverse traditions would have a claim upon us. Traditional practice, traditional experience and traditional tenet are mutually interlocking, and hostile to genuine experiential inquiry.

The central role of the Atman-project dogma in Wilber�s system is one of the reasons why I think that system is so baneful and oppressive, and why I don�t go out of my way to comment on the good things in it � any more than I go out of my way to comment on good things in what the current Pope teaches, because the overall impact of his teaching is so baneful. This dogma clearly overtly denies (while covertly presupposing) that there is such a thing as a real, finite and connected spiritual person, distinct and nonseparate, having real intuitions about the human condition, intentionally emerging as a creative transformative presence in the world. It insists that, this side of enlightenment, there is One spirit and just many (little m) deluded separate selves misapplying real intuitions in different ways at successive stages, but no Many (capital M) � no emerging spiritual persons of infinite potential, with infinite horizons, distinct and nonseparate, interconnected within the whole.


Heron is calling Wilber on being a religious dogmatist. Comments? Is Wilber's schema little more than a modern attempt at promoting a religious perspective, drawing heavily, in his case, from advaitan Hinduism and Buddhism?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Back to this topic, after giving it a rest.

Having attended a workshop on Spiral Dynamics, I came into contact with many who have great admiration for Wilber, and who use him to distance themselves from Christianity. I came away convinced that Wilber's works spawn a kind of snobbish anti-Christian mentality:
- that Christianity is a lower form of religion, mired in mythic-membership and failing to produce many who attained the lofty heights of enlightenment;
- Christians are generally narrow and judgmental;
- that Christians still believe in the ridiculous notion of ontological duality.

Into my hands came Religion and the Human Sciences, by Daniel Helminiak -- a superb Catholic theologian and spiritual writer. He devotes a long chapter to a critique of Wilber, pointing out, among other things, Wilber's . . .
- poor epistemology;
- pantheistic philosophy;
- mistaken identification of consciousness as God;
- mistaken identification of non-reflecting consciousness as the same experience to which the Christian mystics give testimony;
- arrogant judgmentalism toward Christianity;
- lack of understanding of Christianity;
- bias toward Eastern approaches;
- use of "paradox" as a Red Herring fallacy when his reasoning breaks down;

The book is out of print, but I will contact Helminiak to see if he will permit me to scan and post his chapter on Wilber. It's very professionaly done, quoting Wilber and responding with respectful reasoning. Only once does Helminiak drift into a strongly worded denunciation:
quote:
(Regarding basic Christian teachings and concepts) Wilber shows profound ignorance regarding these matters. He, a defender of spirituality, does not recognize the spiritual issues that are at stake in the Christian doctrines of Incarnation, Resurrection, Trinity, and Grace. Worse than ignorant, he is also unmannered, rued, and offensive (McDermott, 1996). Not understanding Christianity, he caricatures its central tenets, and then he dismisses his caricature with ridicule (Wilber 1995, pp. 350-355).
I'm not denying that one can find good in Wilber's teaching, but I don't really like having to work so hard to sift the wheat from the chaff. If one is looking for good, integral spiritual theology with an appreciation for the complexities in human development, Helminiak is a much more trustworthy writer, imo.
 
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I've been popping a CD of Doctor Paul Hourihan, a teacher of Taoist thought, into
the 'puter and listening while online for a couple of months now. One sentence that jumps out at me over and over again is that, "so few, in any of the traditions, are now meeting the requirements" (for transformation.)

From the glossary of Invitation to Love:

Mythic Membership Consciousness

the unquestioned assimilation of values and ideas from one's social group; overidentification with one's family, ethnic, or religious community from which one draws one's identity and self-worth,
and conformity to the group's value systems. It is characterized socially by the stratification of society into herarchical forms.

--------------------------------------------------
It's not the values, but the overidentification with them, and inability to question them. If I can examine them and they still hold up, then my examined life is worth living. Socrates might not agree since he seems to like the questions more than arriving anywhere.

I would not be surprised or insulted to find out that the current practice of Eastern religions is at a higher level of consciousness than current Christian practice, as Doctor David Hawkins suggests, but I do not believe that the gap is as great as he has suggested. The Christian of the future will be a mystic, imho, since that is the path to the higher levels.


Wilber sees dualism and belief in a God who cares
and watches over us as immature. Oh, well. Smiler

$00.02 mm <*))))><
 
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http://www.annonline.com/interviews/980824/

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The second interview from the top presents a good summary of Helminiak's thinking about Wilber and Eastern religion. The other interviews are good as well.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I listened to about 20 minutes of that second interview. I wished he'd gone into more detail on just a few subjects rather than say relatively little about a broad range of them. Oh well. I did like this quote:

Agnosticism is a viable position as long as we�re dealing with nice people.

Big Grin And I like the concept itself of a "scientific approach to spirituality" and whether one could do this and still be addressing spirituality.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, "nice people" are always easier to deal with than mean people. Razzer

Helminiak's entire approach is "scientific" in that it uses the same process that science uses to formulate hypotheses and reach an understanding. One of his hopes is to bring spirituality into the domain of human study, which is why he responds to Wilber, who has done the same, but with a different approach. For Helminiak, it is precisely attentiveness to the process of being attentive, intelligent, reasonable and responsive that is the essence of human spirituality. What he proposes is that we can verify this dynamic by attending to the operation of our own consciousness, and so follow its lead beyond positivism (the "hard" sciences) to the human sciences.

I like it, I like it. Smiler
 
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One of my spiritual directees is a big fan of Wilber, and he gave me some tapes to listen to -- the series on "Cosmic Consciousness." It's kind of fun, in places, and there are some interesting and helpful insights and distinctions. Still, one must be on one's toes, for the paradigm is most definitely advaitan Hindu/Buddhist, as noted above.

E.g., Wilber describes three common states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, deep sleep. He considers the latter to be an instance of pure consciousness, emptiness, the spiritual Self, which we can eventually become awakened to know outside of sleep. So far, so good; I don't have a problem with that. Then he goes on to state that this Self is not something akin to the divine -- i.e., spirit -- but the actual Godhead Itself, and that it existed even before the Big Bang. For Wilber, the Self is God, eternal, and something we can learn to "tune into" with "spiritual practice."

Now, first of all, Wilber doesn't really know this. Anyone who knows the experience Wilber is describing also knows that it does not reveal itself to be God, nor that it is eternal. We do not know when Self had a beginning; we only know that "it is," and that its awareness transcends somatic and psychological operations. So Wilber is going beyond the facts given by the experience itself in pronouncing his dogmas. He's doing naught but using the attainable experience of Self as some kind of "proof" for the Hindu and Buddhist teaching he's committed to.

In my view and in the teaching of Catholic writers like Helminiak and Lonergan, the non-dual experience Wilber describes is indeed Self, but in its non-reflecting, non-intentional manifestation. It is human spirit, consciousness, become conscious of itself, in unmediated fashion--direct awareness and self-possession. This is good, and it's something the West hasn't explored very much. But we do know this experience, and have given an accounting of it that is much more in line with the data of the experience itself than what Wilber describes.

Again, dear friends, careful with this man . . . If you're not on your toes, he'll make a Hindu out of you.
 
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In my view and in the teaching of Catholic writers like Helminiak and Lonergan, the non-dual experience Wilber describes is indeed Self, but in its non-reflecting, non-intentional manifestation. It is human spirit, consciousness, become conscious of itself, in unmediated fashion--direct awareness and self-possession.

That's seems a reasonable assessment to me, although I think it's inherently easy it to define something as ethereal as consciousness as just about anything you want. And how are we to know ever really know exactly how the other is experiencing their consciousness? But it's an interesting trend to see how so many people want to either connect with the divine or to consider themselves part of the divine or simply think of themselves as divine. Maybe that's a clue. And I can't say for sure that in some "deeper" state of consciousness that we don't come upon some interface between god and ourselves where we are neither god but neither are we ourselves.

If you're not on your toes, he'll make a Hindu out of you.

LMAO! They couldn't make a Democrat out of me. What chance do they have of making me a Hindu?

Okay, so they DID wind up making a dittohead out of me. So, what's that prove? Big Grin
 
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And how are we to know ever really know exactly how the other is experiencing their consciousness?

You can describe the experience and see how it relates to your own. In the present case, Wilber was talking about Deep Sleep and connecting that to Self, and so that's pretty specific in that we all experience Deep Sleep.

And I can't say for sure that in some "deeper" state of consciousness that we don't come upon some interface between god and ourselves where we are neither god but neither are we ourselves.

I've never run across a reference to that kind of state -- a kind of "blend," as it were. It seems that boundaries in the spirit world are similar to those in the physical world, and that includes God. That "interface" or place of union would still leave one on one side or the other, dependending on who was who. Of course, in the case of God, it is possible that the divine can "indwell," or dwell "within" the space of another spirit or entity. Even in such cases, however, there are two entities and one can sense that this is so . . . that one is not the divine indwelling . . . that one does not have access to the perspective of the indwelling presence except insofar as It communicates it.

I think the big problem here, Brad, is Wilber's Hindu perspective, which really is monistic and pantheistic. Once you buy into that -- and he has, whole hog! -- then it colors everything. But the one thing I'm totally certain about is that Wilber cannot say for sure that he was present before the Big Bang. That's just nonsense. Even great masters from those Eastern traditions who remember all their previous incarnations go back to a first one, a beginning. And the Buddhists don't call this Self experience -- Buddha nature -- God, the divine, etc. They let it be what it is and don't lie about its attributes the way Wilber does.
 
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Phil and Brad:

Wilber and his ilk have to stay very busy, since everything they're procuring comes from the mind, which is controlled by the I.D. most of the time, with little stability out of its own polarized energies for non-duality in any substantial way, expect in brief mometents.

And Phil, your remark about the non-reflective aspect of the non-dual state of Self may also partly explain why the relational nature of the divine in its immanent expression is often missed among those who surrender no further than their own awareness. We can appreciate the present moment with much lucidness from within its intimate, eternal source, but the present moment held by attention obscures the larger, grace-filled reality; it can only get as stable as the bodily energies allow, and this requires tremendous kundalini upheaval, often leaving virtue secondary to psychic developments.
 
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