Ken Wilber – Introduction to Integral Spirituality

Here, Ken Wilber offers an introduction to a spirituality that honors the truths of modernity and postmodernity — including the revolutions in science and culture — while incorporating the essential insights of the major religions. You will learn how this new evolution in spirituality combines the enlightenment of the East, which excels at cultivating higher states of consciousness, with the enlightenment of the West, which offers developmental psychology and psychodynamic psychology — each of which contributes key components to a more integral spirituality.

Integral Spirituality

On the basis of this integral framework, a radically new role for the world’s religions is proposed. Because these religions have such a huge influence on the worldview of the majority of the world’s population, they are in a privileged position to address some of the biggest conflicts we face. By adopting a more integral view, the major religions can act as facilitators of human development: from magical to mythical to rational to pluralistic to integral — and to a global society that honors and encompasses all stages of life.

Other Ken Wilber presentations on YouTube,

Integral Theory

Ken Wilber’s AQAL, pronounced “ah-qwul”, is the basic framework of Integral Theory. It suggests that all human knowledge and experience can be placed in a grid of four quadrants, along the axes of “inside-out” and “individual-collective”. According to Wilber, it is one of the most comprehensive approaches to reality, a meta-theory that seeks to explain how academic disciplines and every form of knowledge and experience fit together coherently.

Four quadrants: “a proposed architecture of the Cosmos”

AQAL is based on four fundamental concepts and a resting category: four quadrants, different levels and lines of development, different states of consciousness and “types”, subjects that do not fit into these four concepts. “Levels” are the stages of development, from pre-personal through personal to transpersonal. “Lines” are development lines, the different areas of development, which can proceed unevenly, with different stages of development in the different domains. “States” are states of consciousness; according to Wilber, individuals may have a terminal experience of a higher stage of development. “Typing” is a rest category, for phenomena that do not fit into the other four concepts. In order to make a full account of the Cosmos, Wilber believes that it must contain each of these five categories. for Wilber, only such an account can accurately be called “integral”. In the essay, “Fragment C: The Ways We Are in This Together”, Wilber describes AQAL as “a proposed architecture of the Cosmos”.

The model is crowned with formless consciousness, ‘the simple feeling of being’, which is equated with a series of ‘ultimates’ from different Eastern traditions. This formless consciousness transcends the phenomenal world, which is ultimately only a semblance of a transcendental reality. According to Wilber, the AQAL categories — quadrants, lines, levels, states and types — describe the relative truth of Buddhism’s two truths doctrine. According to Wilber, neither is true in an absolute sense: only formless consciousness, “the simple feeling of being,” absolutely exists.