Lightmind Extract 010


Puer 9.18.04
Hi Jim,

A couple of quick impressions: After knowing Adya for a number of years, I can comfortably say that he doesn’t care about an AQAL model at all. He’s not an intellectual at all. Doesn’t care a whit about reconciling this map and that spectrum and that fulcrum … Doesn’t even seem too interested in that gig himself.

But: I would say that he is a very unusual example of human integration. BTW, he used to race bikes and was quite an athlele, so he’s in excellent physical condition. He’s a householder and is married to a doll named Annie. Loves to go to the movies. Loves popcorn. Loves sitting around. Loves to joke around. Regular guy. And … (this’ll get me in trouble …) he’s honestly the most Christ-like person I’ve ever met. (Yeah, that’s subjective.)

I guess to answer your question, he sure seems absolutely comfortable being somebody and nobody, totally AQAL in Wilber speak. In religious language, the God / man deal feels seamless. A very simple guy. Put another way, he takes the cake for being ordinary.

Actually, you make the same point I do here:

Tolle says that until he was 30 he lived “in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression.” Whether we include these years of pain as part of his “sadhana” or “practice” or not, pain is a factor in the process that Tolle went through en route to “ego death.”

I think that was his sadhana, and it freed him. It wasn’t conventional “practice” at all. It doesn’t fit a model. My point is that dogma about practice–a touch of yoga, so many hours of sitting, sweat and pain–doesn’t free. There are just too many exceptions to the traditional models, i.e., Tolle and others.

Wilber says that transformation, in his “integral,” transpersonal developmental stage model, “is a matter of actual, prolonged, difficult growth.” He says “Practice is not a ladder that can be thrown away without first climbing it.” He says transformation “is a long, laborious, painful process.”

This has certainly been my experience, but, again, I wouldn’t say it’s a rule. Wilber acknowledges (Adya too) that self nature is always already present, and avialable at “any level of development.” So Adya’s teaching always points to this fact directly. At the same time, he’s held the hands of many people for years who, after “awakening”, go through hell.

Actually, as I think about it, you’re right: Adya doesn’t say the same thing that Wilber does. But I think he’s living proof of exactly what Wilber says.

Thanks for the reply, Jim. Lots more we could say here, but duty calls.


6 Responses to “Lightmind Extract 010”

  1. 1 marmalade


    My experiences resonate with this description of Tolle, but I can’t say I’ve experienced “ego death.” I will say that debilitating depression brought me a fuller sense of the spiritual than any spiritual practice I’ve attempted. I’ve experienced something close to “ego death” for periods of time.

    Integralists are often so focused on healthy development, but forget that sometimes unhealthy development is what can open us to spiritual experiences. Broken Yogi said something about Kali. He said that she not only healed but revealed our wounds. Its our woundedness that opens us, and being a spiritual athlete can simply lead to strengthening our defenses against opening up.

    I believe it was Whitlark who wrote that its our woundedness that allows development to occur. He was speaking of Spiral Dynamics in context of Jungian archetypes, but this might apply to other types of development. In reality, there is no perfect development as is presented in idealized models.

  2. 2 muddypractice

    Excellent comment. I think there is a great deal of truth to what you are saying.

    I was going to write that I’m not sure that my own experiences with terrible depression have brought me much “spiritual” benefit at all; however, I suppose that they have led me to eventually developing more compassion for myself and others’ depressions and other forms of suffering, as well as helping me to realize that all emotions, no matter how solid, permanent, (or oppressive!) seeming, are lacking in solidity and pass away just like all other phenomena.

    I really like what you say here: “Its our woundedness that opens us, and being a spiritual athlete can simply lead to strengthening our defenses against opening up.”

  3. 3 marmalade

    I can’t say that depression usually feels like a spiritual experience. But what it does do is to force me to be extremely honest with myself. And compassion like you say.

    I’m not dissing the spiritual athletes. There is a place for every type in this world.

    You gotta work with what life offers you. It just so happens that life offered me depression.

  4. 4 muddypractice

    “…what it does do is to force me to be extremely honest with myself.”

    Well, that’s great… Really.

    I like the fact that your comment here smacks of wisdom rather than defeatism. Cheers. I really admire your outlook!

    “You gotta work with what life offers you…”

    Yes, again, f’rinstance, even though that sounds simple on the surface, I think that what you’re saying there is actually very profound. It’s one of those “simple” things that can seem to present an enormous difficulty in actual practice. Our resistances to what “is” are just that pervasive. However, once we soften around our resistances, and what “is”, then we find that the burden is primarily in the energy we’ve accumulated towards the task of resisting/armoring…anyhow, that’s my working theory!

    Maybe the New Thought background sunk in more even than you previously thought?

  5. 5 Marmalade

    I’m glad it works for you.

    To translate into more New Agey terms:
    God only gives us as much as he knows we can handle.

    But I prefer the way I said it…
    …simple and without an attempt to spin it positive:
    “You gotta work with what life offers you.”

    This seems more straightforward and honest to me. I don’t know that what life has offered me is good or bad, but its what I got.

    How about New Thought Taoism? My wariness with New Thought is the Christian slant of idealizing the Good or Love. When I find myself lost in the darkness, I have no idea what Good or Love means… but I know its real because it can’t be denied.

  6. 6 muddypractice

    One of my main “problems” historically in this area involves the idealizing of the Good or Love…I feel that such idealization is a ultimately a valuable thing to do, but I carry so much baggage with me from my own warped interpretations of Judeo-Christian interpretations of “God”, that I end up projecting harsh aspects onto the Divine which really have no place there, and are just a reflection of my own messy (muddy!) conditioning. Working out all that is an ongoing project for me at this point.

    I suppose it comes down to letting go– letting go of all of one’s poisonous preconceptions, especially…a large part of this involves the question of how to not project one’s received superego contents onto one’s conception of the Divine…

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