Why people focus on refuting Ken Wilber?

 

WH’s speedlinking for today has a link to a post on why so many focus on refuting Wilber (although the post itself seems to have vanished.)

When I saw that brief description of the post, what immediately came to mind is KW’s personality. His writings reflects a personality that invites, if not begs, people to tear him (and his theories) down a few notches. Whenever a particular identity and image is held onto and presented as strongly as in KW’s case (of being macho, smart and hip), it invites others to punch holes in it and tear it town. It is quite beautiful in a way, although can get ugly as well: if he doesn’t do it himself, others will do it for him, reminding him of his own task.

I am not saying that he is not macho, smart and hip. He is very much all of those, and genuinely so. There is just a very strong air of it being a particular image as well, and one that he spends a great deal of energy building up and presenting. And that draws some people to tear it down as flies are drawn to honey.

There are of course other aspects to all of this as well: inaccuracies in how he presents the views of others (it seems that he sometimes almost deliberately misrepresents the views of others), the way he puts down people criticizing or questioning his theories and models (sometimes harshly and with little compassion), his status as one of the most brilliant thinkers of our times (which in itself is reason enough for some to focus on punching some holes there), how he has a God-like status among some (again, a good reason for some to bring him down a few notches), and probably genuine holes in the theories and models themselves.

So in a way, it may all be part of a natural compensating process. He strongly holds onto a certain image so others want to deflate it, showing that it is only an image. He misrepresents certain views of others, so others naturally react. He puts others down, and this attitude is then mirrored back at him. Some of his followers are a little too enamored by him, so certain folks want to show that he is not quite the god some make him into.

It is all a natural, inevitable, process. One that is beautiful in the way everything is a perfect mirror, inviting us all to see in ourselves what we would rather not see. And one that also can get quite ugly through our resistance to this process.

If I hold onto a certain image, others will try to deflate it. This is an invitation to myself to see how I am holding onto the image, and let go of it. If I resist, it gets ugly and everything only intensifies.

There is a reason this happens with Ken Wilber, and not people like Dalai Lama, or Douglas Harding, or Adyashanti. And it goes beyond just his role as innovator and theory builder. In their cases, there is no resistance, so no need to punch holes in their image or theories, and no need to pull them down a few notches. In KW’s case, there is resistance, and this invites attacks.

To me, it is not so difficult to image someone developing the exact same theories and models as KW, but with no identification with a particular identity, and no resistance. In this case, there will still be questions and criticism of his work, but it will (mostly) happen in a far more uneventful and less dramatic way. And probably with more of a sense of partnership and collaboration, at least from his side, than of advesarial positions.

That is not to say that it would be better that way. When we are attached to a particular identity, then drama is good. It helps us see our identifications. And it even helps develop the theories, although sometimes in less comfortable ways.

Outer mirroring the inner

 

The outer mirrors the inner in many different ways.

Big Mind

First, as Big Mind the outer mirror the inner in that everything arising is awake emptiness and form, absent of I. It is all Big Mind perceiving itself. And since there isn’t an I and Other, there isn’t any outside and inside, and no real mirroring going on. It is immediate. Whatever arises is Spirit arising as and to itself.

Individual level

Then, there is the mirroring at our individual soul and human levels.

At our human level, there is a psychological mirroring. Whatever qualities and characteristics I see out there is also in here, in my own life. I recognize it out there because I know it from my own life.

At our soul level, the physical universe mirrors aspects of essence or of subtle energies. The blackness out there mirrors the fertile blackness of Spirit as it appears when filtered through the belly center. The luminosity out there, of the sun, stars and any other source of light, mirrors the inner luminosity of Spirit filtered through the head center.

At the level of essence, there is a direct experience of blackness, luminosity and so on. It is what is closest to immediate experience, and the words are not used as psychological metaphors as they are on the psychological level.

Three aspects

Each of these are equally important, they each fill out the picture.

Whatever arises is awake emptiness and form, Spirit arising to and as itself.

Whatever arises out there are reflections of psychological qualities in here.

And what arises out there mirrors aspects of essence and subtle energies which can be directly experienced in here.

One Taste of emptiness and form, the centers of seeing, feeling and loving, and the deepening into it

 

Snippet from the previous post, which in turn was a snippet and comment on the post before

Two aspects of One Taste: emptiness and form, and within form

There is the One Taste of emptiness and form, of all as awake emptiness and form.

There is the One Taste within form, of the wider world of form as a mirror for my human self.

The three centers: seeing, feeling and loving

There is the seeing, feeling and loving of it all as Spirit, and of the wider world of form as a mirror for my human self.

Deepening into

And there is the deepening into it.

Dream :: Cat Brought Back to Life **

 

I find a room in the basement, and in it a machine. It brings a cat companion of mine, which died a few years ago, back to life. It is slightly surprising at first, and I see that just about anything else can be brought back – or into – life as well. I explore how to use the room and machine in a more conscious and predictable way, and find that a clear intention is the key.

This dream is similar to Solaris, the science fiction novel by Stanislav Lem (and movie by Tarkovsky) where an extraterrestrial ocean brings people from cosmonauts’ past – apparently – back to life. There was a similar image and atmosphere in the dream.

The day before, I had a deepening discovery relating to projections. I was in the bodywork intensive, noticed I seemed very tired, and saw how my mind went to lunch break and the opportunity for taking a nap then – even if this was early in the morning session. I noticed the sense of relaxation and rejuvenation was present, although placed by thoughts into the future, and decided to look for it right here instead. By noticing the same quality of relaxation and rest right here, I was able to bring a sense of being refreshed to my experience. What I was looking for was right there, in the present.

The “new” discovery was how immediate the projected material is, and how easy it is to contact it right here. It is already noticed right here, before being projected onto “other” such as past, future, others, so the only task is to notice it again, right here.

  1. A quality arises and is noticed.
  2. A thought is added to the quality, appearing to place it onto “other” – past, future, other. This most likely happens when the quality being here does not fit with a particular identity or a worldview.
  3. I can notice this projection, and re-find the quality right here.

This seems to be exactly what is reflected in the dream.

  1. The cat is alive in my memory and the qualities associated with him (innocence, open hearted, curious, courageous) are right here.
  2. A story is added to these qualities placing them on him and in the past. He is dead, so the qualities are projected back into the past, appearing there only. (A “there” which is really here, and always is.)
  3. I notice this process as it happens, and see the qualities right here. He is brought back to life, in the sense that the qualities I associate with him are seen right here, alive. I can find them alive right now, in my own experience and life.

This is just another reminder that anything I see “out there” is alive right here right now. The world is my mirror.

Mirrors Mirrors Everywhere

 

The world is my mirror. At my human level, everything I see out there – any quality I see in any human, animal, plant, fictional character, dreams, landscape, universe – is also in here. And as Big Mind, everything is I as soon as it arises.

eBuddha is exploring some of the apparent flaws of Ken Wilber, and it reminded me of how any teacher and/or pundit also are mirrors for ourselves.

I project out our insights, clarity, brilliance, compassion, awakening and so on onto the teacher, and can familiarize myself with them there. As with any other quality, it is often easier to first see them out there.

And since no person is going to live up to my idealized stories about them, they are bound to do something to shatter my illusion. Again, whatever I see in them reflects something in myself. They help me see my own shadow side.

So as with anything else, I become familiar with myself through the other, and am invited to see in myself what I see in the other.

It the teacher mirrors a conscious and healthy approach to his or her own shadow, then the process can be gradual and less painful. But if not, or if the teacher consciously sometimes use a strategy to ruffle feathers (as seems to be the case may be with Ken Wilber here) it may be a shock to his or her followers.

This is where we get to see (a) if what the teacher manifest – typically something that goes against norms – is something we are familiar with in ourselves and have found some peace with, and if not, then (b) if we recognize the signs of a shadow projection (“that is not me!”) and know how to work with it.

Befriending

 

The world is my mirror – whether I find myself as human beings and/or as Big Mind.

As a human being, whatever I see out there reflect myself in here.

And as Big Mind, everything arising is me.

Resistance to what is

When I resist this, there is pain. It is the signal that I am excluding in my mind something that is inherently a part of what is and myself.

And resistance comes up when I attach to a thought, as any thought by necessity is different from and more limited than what is.

In other words, when I attach to a thought, I immediately create an exclusive identity, which has to be painful as it conflicts with my nature which is beyond and including any and all polarities.

What is – free from descriptions

What is is – and I am – inherently beyond and including existence and nonexistence, spirit and matter, formless and form, seer and seen, awakened and deluded, living and nonliving, life and death, culture and nature, mind and body, right and wrong, and so on.

What is is – and I am – inherently free from all this. Any name describe me, yet I am free from any name.

Mechanisms of pain

As a human being, the pain comes in many ways.

It comes from a limited repertoire. I am invited to bring out more of my qualities, yet don’t because I am not familiar with them yet or exclude them through holding onto a limited identity.

The pain is also there due to a sense of separation. I see qualities out there and not in here, and the other way around. I see myself as a separate entity. I see myself as variously better and/or worse than what I see out there. I get caught up in seeking something and avoiding other things, in my internal and external life. I get caught up in blind identifications. I get caught up in struggle.

Not seeing in myself what I see out there gives rise to pain in innumerable ways.

At the level of Big Mind, the pain simply comes from separation – from the appearance of I and Other in the field of what is, inherently absent of any I or Other.

Befriending

So no wonder we have found many ways to help ourselves heal this split in our experience of what is, this fictional life bringing about pain.

  • Being with
    The simplest approach is to just be with whatever is happening. I just ask myself Can I be with what I am experiencing right now? I am with whatever is happening, including the impulse to resist and push something away. And in that way, I befriend whatever is happening. The ficitional boundary between this particular form of I and Other dissolve.

  • Welcoming in
    Going a little furhter, I can actively embrace and welcome in whatever is arising. I see them as lost children wanting attention and warmth, and provide it for them.

  • Inquiry
    Then there are the many forms of inquiry, including The Work. Here, I examine attachments to thoughts and allow them to unravel – and the resistance with them. What appeared as an Other and a disturbance (or worse) is now revealed as a friend. What arises may be the same (or not) but the charge went out of it.

  • Process Work
    In Process Work, I unravel the process behind whatever is happening in the external or internal world. I follow the bread crumbs, and find the gift behind it. In this way too, anything happening becomes a friend – an invitation into exploring aspects of the world and myself that is new to me, and allowing boundaries to dissolve.

  • Giving it over to the divine
    And I can give it over to the divine. That is where it is anyway, so I am really just giving over my experience of myself as an individual separate doer. Everything is living its own life anyway, and this is another reminder.

  • Asking for it to resolve
    As a more active version of the previous one, I can ask for resolution in whatever way it needs to resolve.

    I may also ask to see whatever I need to see for it to resolve. I may ask for whatever in me that needs to unravel to unravel. I may ask for harvesting of whatever gifts and nutrients are in it.

    I see that holding an intention in this way – precise and open ended at the same time – creates a sense of a field within which this unraveling can take place.

I am You

 

The deepening experience of I am you (and you are I) comes from both the Absolute and the Relative levels.

Absolute

From the Absolute, I am literally you and the other way around. Everything is Big Mind, Buddha Mind, God, Spirit forming itself into the myriads of forms. Everything is emptiness dancing.

When there is a glimpse or realization of selflessness, there is no I or Other anymore. Everything just is, absent of any inherent I. And when there is no I, there is no Other. It is all just movements within the same ocean, distinctions within a seamless whole.

I – as Big Mind functioning through this human self, is you – as Big Mind functioning through that human self.

As Big Mind, everything and everybody becomes a mirror for myself. I reflect myself in everybody and everything. I fall in love with myself in everybody and everything. I get to know myself through everybody and everything.

This deepens as there is more familiarity with myself as Big Mind. It deepens as there is more familiarity with everything absent of any “I” anywhere.

Relative

From the Relative – the Absolute with an overlay of abstractions – I am also you.

I am a human being, and in myself I can find anything I see in you. You are a mirror for myself.

As a human being, everybody and everything is a mirror for myself. Anything I see in everybody and everything is also here in me. I can find any quality out there, also in here. I see it out there, exactly because I recognize it from in here.

This deepens as I become more familiar with seeing in myself what I see in you. It deepens as I continue to explore, notice, and live this. For me, it especially deepens through inquiry. It becomes more and more clear – in a very down to earth way – that I am you. Everything I see in you is also here in me.

Process Work, Big Mind Process, Dreams & Mirrors

 

During the dreamwork class at the Process Work center today, I was reminded of the many connections between PW, my own experiences and worldview, and the many other approached I am interested in – including the Big Mind process and Byron Katie’s inquiry, in addition to Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, shamanism, and so on.

Process Work & Big Mind process

Arny Mindell talked about the small me and big me several times, which has a close correspondence to Big Mind and the human self in the Big Mind process. I can see how he is on the edge of radical nonduality in his views, radical selflessness, radical absence of any fixed identity, playing at the edge of it before taking the plunge.

World as a mirror

I was also reminded of how I – since my teens – have seen the world and dreams: Both are there as mirrors for myself. Every quality I see “out there” – in the world, in others, in the universe, in stories, in dreams and so on – are also “in here”. As a human being, I can find in myself everything I see out there. And as Big Mind, there is no separate “I” – there is just one field, all I.

Every situation, be it in waking life or in dreams, are there to help me see this. To first expand my conscious identity, and then see how any identity is limited, limiting and just a belief in an abstraction. Every situation is here, inviting me to realize what already is – the absence of any separate I.

As my identity expands, my repertoire expands as well and I become more fluid in my life. But it is still limited, there is still a belief in abstractions, there is still I and Other, there is still the belief in the idea of “I”. There is still a resistance to what is, although it may appear subtle. There is still a delusion, still a mistaken identity. Still stuckness. Still suffering.

When the belief in the idea of “I” falls away, in the realization of selflessness and Ground awakening, the last bit of resistance falls away with it. Everything happens, revealed as without any inherent I anywhere.

Mirrors – Three Ways

 

Whenever I listen to Bush talk about terrorists, I cannot help having a story of how perfectly he is describing himself and the policies of his administration.

And of course, in that, I also see how I describe myself. I can find everything I see in him in myself – it may just show up in different ways and in different areas of life.

The world is my mirror.

Only for you – and me

 

As we explore projections and also Big Mind, there seems to be a deepening sense of it all being only for me, and only for you, and only for each of us.

Projections

In working with projections, I see that the whole world is there for me to recognize what is in myself. Something is in me, I am not aware of it yet, I project it out on something in the wider world, I see it there and can familiarize myself with it there, and can then see it in myself as well.

The world is my mirror, and everything happens just for me – inviting me to see in myself what I see out there.

Big Mind

As Big Mind, we see that this is literally true. Everything out there not only reflects something in me (a quality or impulse at my human level), it also is me. It is all the play of spirit. It is all me, and it is all for me.

For each of us

Going back to our human level, we see that this is true for each of us. The whole world is there only for each of us.

The whole world is there only for me, for you, for him, for her, for each one of us.

It has a center everywhere, and nowhere.