Lightmind Extract 007

01Jan08

~julian 9.17.04
jim and heruka, great dialog below. jim you are in rare form, taking any good brain supplements i should know about?

heruka, it’s interesting to see the shift in your expressed opinion from cohen-esque “arduous work to defeat (fry) the ego is the only way” to adyashanti’s “just let go of the effort and be the enlightenment you already are…..’practice’ and how you conceive it is itself the obstacle.”

interesting too to see jim holding up the “intense practice and submisssion to an advanced teacher are essential for radical transformation” side of the discussion.

i think all of this gets us into the fascinating and tricky domain of the relationship between map and territory. we know that the map is not the territory, but having a good map (theory) helps a great deal when embarking on a journey through the actual territory (experiential practice). without a good comprehensive map like the one wilber keeps revising and expanding, we easily can get caught up in one area of one quadrant and think that this is all there is. we easily reduce all quadrants to our interpretation of one quadrant and do oursleves and eachother a great dis-service.

wilber is an extraordinary, comprehensive, relentless mapmaker. he never stops pointing out, though, that all the mapmaking and studying is irrelevant if it does not serve the implicit purpose of guiding or informing one’s actual practice.

the unfortunate piece is that wilber himself does not teach any practices: 20 or so books of theory/mapmaking, 0 instruction in any practice (besides a few non-dual pointing out bits, and a few short excercises in No Boundary 30 years ago….) he proclaims himself a pundit not a guru.

this is all valid, but it does leave a gaping hole: wilber’s entire body of work is not just food for thought, not just a hobby for armchair psychospiritual theorists….it is a guide to a contemplative life, in which psychotherapy, meditation, philosophical reflection, perhaps yoga, social action etc… are being engaged as a journey through the actual territory of transformation.

yet wilber does not teach. happily, this avoids the guru pitfalls mentioned in detail here and elsewhere. unhappily it leaves it to the reader to apply in an integral fashion; not just to think about it and opine, but to actually use the theory as a framework for a set of practices.

until we get our hands dirty and take the risk of actually facing ourselves on the meditation cushion, a huge percentage of what wilber says remains just a fun thinking-hobby, in which we identify with various ideas of what enlightenment is and isn’t and where we think we abtractly stand. this does not move us through any stages of development.

this does not make the map useless anymore than the always already nature of pure consciousness makes practice unecessary…….these things are in a dynamic relationship to eachother and cannot be otherwise.

to (badly) paraphrase t.s. elliot: we shall not cease from our explorations until finally we come to the place we have always been, but know it for the first time…

and, wilber says there are multiple lines that move through the stages of development. so just the cushion is not enough. spend some time on the therapy couch, the breathwork futon, the bodywork table etc…then come back and read, study, theorize, as a way to keep exploring, energizing, and making sense of the practice. then go back and do some more practice.

in this way the interest in psychospiritual growth moves from hobby to path. the ideas are related to an actual experience. the experience informs the ideas and the practice keeps raising unsettling questions that challenge our existing identity structure, including our most cherished ideas!

the first time i meditated with a teacher he said afterwards, “how did you like it?”

“it was good…” i said non-commitally.

“give it another 20 years before you make up your mind.” he said with a smile.

the “always-already” teachers are lovely. they create a space to relax into and feel at home. they point out something absolutely essential and are unwavering in their commitment to share this with others. unfortunately they dismiss their own 20 years or more of practice as unneccesary for the novice and unwittingly perpetuate a kind of boomeritis immaturity in their students.

no work to be done, no emotional material to be worked through, no practice neccessary = no real transformation or movement along the limes of development through any significant stages, just a few peak experiences and a lot of ungrounded, dualistic negation of the experience of being alive and the raw material that we get to work with to keep waking up….also, they generally perpetuate spirituality as a way of denying and dissociating from the very psychological pain that good practices would help their students work through. this would actually create transformational movement….

as wilber says on the speaking of everything interview cd: nondual realization leaves the rest of us pretty much as it finds us. if you are an word before non-dual realization, you’ll be an word afterwards……what counts is how you tune up the rest of your instrument so that your non-dual realization can sing out through the different vehicles of your being into your life.

without deep experiential integral practice as a path, wilber is saying this does not happen. all of his exhaustive and alaborate theoretical work points toward one thing: practice. take up multiple injunctions to develop, heal and know yourself and the world around you.

the rest is all a parlor game.

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