aqal: putting it all together with 300+ categories

At the end of chapter four in Integral Spirituality, Ken Wilber mentions how the different aspects of the aqal model comes together in the context of spirituality.

What type of spirituality do we talk about? Well, it depends on the whole aqal set-up:

  • Which body? Gross, subtle or causal? Or nondual?
  • Which level of development? Or rather, which psychograph? What combination of lines at different levels of development?
  • Which four meanings of the word spiritual? High up each line, a separate line, a state, or an attitude?
  • Which quadrant: 1st, 2nd or 3rd person view?

If we put it all together, we arrive at 4 x 6 x 4 x 3 which gives us 300+ grid squares. Although here, we used only six stages of spiritual development, and did not look at the infinite possible psychographs that fills out the picture. If that is included, we arrive at infinite grid squares.

To make it simpler, and more practical, it seems that body and stages (4 x 6) is a good way to start, and this can be further refined with meanings and quadrants and a more refined psychograph.

Real life examples

I made up some combinations to see if I could find real life examples of each:

  • Gross physical (nature mysticism) + orange (science, rational)
    So here we have (a) a sense of the sacred in physical nature, combined with (b) a modern, science-informed outlook. The Universe Story seems to fit, as well as Carl Sagan.

  • Nondual + amber (absolutist, ethno-centric)
    Here we have a nondual realization within an amber context. A realized teacher who thinks or her traditions is the only valid path may be one example here. A nationalistic, fascist, racist realized Japanese Zen master is another.

  • Subtle + 2nd tier
    Deity mysticism combined with second tier (integral) view. This could be an experience of bliss, luminosity as impersonal, everywhere and always, something to tap into at any time.

  • Gross + magical
    Nature mysticism combined with a magical outlook. Australian aboriginals may be one example, and other shamanic traditions may also fit (although it is difficult for me to generalize here, I am sure there are many exceptions.)

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