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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Ken Wilber - Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

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{BATGAP theme music plays} >>Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump.

My name is Rick Archer Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually

awakening people.

I've done hundreds of them now and if this is new to you, go to and look

under thePast Interviews' menu.

This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so

if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there are PayPal buttons on every page

of the site.

And when I say "possible," not only possible for us to invest the time to do it but also

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My guest today is Ken Wilber and I'm delighted to have Ken on the show, I've wanted to have

him on for years and we're finally doing it.

It's hard to really do justice to Ken in any short bio, like the one I'm about to read,

but let me read this and then we will flesh it out a little bit more.

And we have a whole list of points and topics we want to discuss today.

So Ken has over two dozen published books translated in nearly as many languages, he

has created what is widely considered the first truly comprehensive Integral Map of

human experience.

By exploring and integrating the major insights and conclusions of nearly every human knowledge

domain in existence, Ken created the revolutionary AQAL Integral Framework, which we will be

explaining more in this discussion.

In short, the Integral Approach is the coherent organization, coordination, and harmonization

of all of the relevant practices, methodologies, and experiences available to human beings.

Ken states: "You can't [realistically] honor various methods and fields, without showing

how they fit together.

That is how to make a genuine world philosophy."

He is the founder of the nonprofit think tank Integral Institute, co-founder of the transformational

learning community Integral Life, co-founder of Source Integral exploring the nature of

Integral Society, and the current chancellor of Ubiquity University.

So, welcome Ken.

>>Ken: Welcome, good to be here.

>>Rick: Yeah.

Let's throw in a few biographical tidbits.

In one interview you said you wrote your first ten books while working fulltime as a dishwasher,

I thought that was interesting!

>>Ken: So yes, I did all of my formal education in things, like coming to Duke University

and medical school, and decided that wasn't really creative enough.

I switched over to biochemistry, did a graduate degree in that, I thought I could do research.

But none of those were really addressing all of those sort of silly questions about "Who

am I?

Why are we here?

What does it all mean?"

And so it was about that time that I discovered Eastern traditions and this just blew me wide

open, I had never heard anything like it.

It certainly wasn't the spirituality that I got in Sunday School.

And so I just became absolutely enthused, totally enthused with these what seemed to

be much deeper approaches to spirituality and seemed to steer away from the frankly,

really problematic sort of fundamentalist approaches, you know "Every word in the Bible

is literally true.

Moses really did part the Red Sea," all that kind of stuff.

>>Rick: Yeah.

>>Ken: And the Eastern approach to spirituality had nothing to do with that.

They weren't a matter of believing dogmatic, mythic, literal stories; they were technologies

of consciousness transformation.

And this is radically new to me, I had never seen anything like it, and of course I got

completely taken up with it.

And so I started practicing Zen, I started studying Vedanta, I managed to come back around

to forms of Christian contemplation, working with TaoismI went through at least a

dozen of the world's major traditions.

While I was doing that I had dropped out of graduate school because that truly wasn't

interesting me at all, and I was with a woman at the time, and we eventually got married

for ten years, and I came home one day and said, "I'm going to drop out of graduate school

and I want to write a book."

And I told my professors that.

They were used to talking about biochemical pathways and about thesis research and so

on, and I said, "No, I'm going to write a book on the soul and consciousness and stuff!"

and they just absolutely freaked out, they thought I had gone completely stark raving

insane, but I did.

And after studying ...well, the initial approach was that I would study a particular approach,

like let's say Gestalt Therapy, then I would study Zen, then practice them.

Then I went to psychoanalysis and then I would get Vedanta.

And there was something profoundly correct and important and useful in all of them.

But unfortunately, most of them also contradicted each other, disagreed with each other in really

profound ways and this started to become confusing to me.

And it dawned on me that before I was going to be able to get from sort of an unhappy

state to a happy state, I was going to have to get from this confused state to an unconfused


So I really wanted to know how all these various approaches fit together, if there was some

sort of larger, overall, integrating framework that would allow each of their respective

strengths to fit together in a way where they weren't just blatantly disagreeing with each


And so I spent a couple of years studying that and when I was 23 came up with my first

book, called The Spectrum of Consciousness, and it gave at least one version of how to

bring together all of these major approaches to self-realization, including Gestalt, psychoanalysis,

Jungian, Vedanta, Zen, Taoism, and so on.

And the book is called, like I said, The Spectrum of Consciousness, and even though I was 23

at the time, it sort of catapulted me into a kind of semi-fame and that got my career


So what I had to do though in order to make a living is that I agreed with my partner,

the woman I was living with, that we would just split costs down the middle, so we would

each pay half the rent, each pay half the phone, that kind of thing.

So I had to go out to some sort of job, and I ended up basically working in a place called

the Red Rooster Restaurant, and it was the finest fried chicken in a five-state area.

And so working there and ended up ... my job there was bussing tables and washing dishes,

which by the way is the lowest, lowest possible role in a restaurant that you can have.

>>Rick: I've done it.

>>Ken: That's the bottom of the bottom of the bottom of the jobs that you can get.

Turned out to be sort of perfect for me because I was very, very much into Zen at that time,

so those kinds of roles had a very Zen flavor to them, and so it all kind of fit together.

But I did for the next ten years work as a dishwasher and a bus-boy, and I also during

those ten years wrote about a book a year.

And so that's what kind of really, really got me into the field and then after the point

that I'd written about ten books, and these are being translated into eventually upwards

of almost 30 foreign languages, then I could start to support myself.

And that's just essentially what I kept doing all the way to today.

>>Rick: Cool.

I have a follow-up question which will take me a minute to ask and you can go with it.

So, you mentioned a number of things you had done and a couple of other things I was aware

of were Adi Da, TM, Philip Kapleau, some Tibetan Buddhist masters, Shabd Yoga.

And a number of years ago you made a video where you hooked yourself up to an EEG machine

and showed how different kinds of meditation changed your brain waves.

I think it's called "Ken Wilber Stops His Brain," or something like that.

And at one point I think you suspended virtually all your brain waves while maintaining what

you describe as a certain kind of witnessing.

>>Ken: Right.

>>Rick: You mention that you were doing a very specific and rare kind of meditation

to achieve this.

So I have a two-part question: is it possible to describe the meditation you were doing?

that's one part, and the second part is, many people I interview say they have experienced

a significant and abiding awakening, at the risk of putting you on the spot, have you?

>>Ken: Yeah.

Okay, well, that "Ken Wilber Stops His Brain Waves," that's not actually a specific type

of meditation that is taught in almost any of the traditional forms of meditation.

There are some similar ones.

In Theravada for example, you can get into what is called nirvikalpa or even deeper,

something called Nirodha.

Nirodha means complete cessation, so that no objects arising in manifestation at all,

and in the deepest point, that is the state of Nirvana, where there is just no samsara,

no manifestation arising at all.

And those are very real states.

We saw shocking examples of them during the Vietnam War, where monks protesting the War

would get into their lotus position and then get into that state of Nirodha or Nirvana

or cessation, where nothing is arising, no manifest forms arising, and because of that

they were literally free of all pain, all suffering, all desire, all ego ...

>>Rick: We hope.

>>Ken: And so immune were they to any sort of painful stimuli, continuing to sit in these

... in their lotus positions.

They had their bodies doused in gasoline and set on fire, and every one of them burned

to the ground, completely to ashes, and not one of them even flinched.

Now that's a real state of cessation, that is a real state of Nirvana, and that's why

Nirvana claims it's free of pain, free of suffering, and so on, it is.

It's a very real state and you can get into it.

The state that I got into was similar to that in that a lot of major activities are being

stopped, but it was also a combination, it's very hard to explain.

It was also a combination of Zhou Chen type of inquiry.

If somebody comes up to you and says, for example, "How do you feel from a physical

point of view?"

You can introspect and say, "I sort of feel sort of a little twitchy, a little comfortable,

I have some muscle pains," whatever it is, you have some sort of response to how you

felt physically.

And then we can say, "Well how do you feel emotionally?"

And you would introspect and you would come up with some sort of certain response on how

you felt emotionally.

And then I could say, "Okay, how do you feel mentally?"

And you would introspect and come up with some sort of response to that.

Now what if I say to you, "How do you feel right now from all three of those perspectives,

at once?"

Now almost always the first thing that happens when you are asked that kind of question is

your mind just goes blank ... >>Rick: Yeah, it goes more silent.

>>Ken: And it's just an asking, a questioning, an inquiring.

But nothing is really arising at first; it's just a pure, clear, awareness, without any

real activity.

Some people get the same kind of state if they're walking around a corner and somebody

jumps out and goes "Boo!"

And then for just a microsecond or two you are just electrically frozen.

Nothing is arising, you don't feel any jerkiness or fear, anything, but just for a few seconds

you are just pure clarity, without even moving.

And then all of a sudden, emotions start going out, your heart starts pounding and all that,

but for that second or two you are in that really pure place of just sheer clarity.

Same as if somebody says, "How do you feel from all those different perspectives?"

That's the closest I can describe the type of attitude that I get into where these brain

states just really go, essentially while on the screen they just all go to zero.

Of course they're not totally zero because the brain cells are still alive, I mean, the

brain is not actually flatlining; it's not dead.

But what the very sophisticated EEG machine shows is that in left and right hemispheres,

beta, theta, and alpha are all zero, and there is nothing but delta, which is equated with

deep, dreamless sleep, turiya - the pure witness, the transcendental awareness.

And that was constant during all of this because I had been meditating for over a decade by

then and have fairly constant state of witnessing available to me.

So to answer the second question, and traditionally teachers avoid that question because it is

completely paradoxical, Because if you say, "Oh yes, I'm enlightened," then that's taken

to be egoic bragging, and if you say, "No, I'm not enlightened," then that's taken to

be, "Well, why should I study with you?"

>>Rick: Yeah, right.

>>Ken: So dammed if you do and damned if you don't.

But putting aside those subtleties, we know what that means, we know that even though

the enlightened state is said to be, almost universally, to be a state that is ever-present,

that cannot be attained because it is literally, 100% of it is present right now and you are

100% aware of it, so there is no "bringing it into being;" it's absolutely unattainable.

The Prajnaparamita Sutras say over and over and over again, "If you could only understand

that enlightenment is unattainable, you would be enlightened."

And it is unattainable because it is already present.

You can't attain that enlightened state any more than you can attain your lungs or acquire

your feet.

>>Rick: Also, everything that anybody attains is usually something other than themselves.

You know, "I attain" a certain job or "I attain" a certain experience, but what we're alluding

to here is something which you are, it's not anything other than yourself.

>>Ken: And then the paradox is, yes, that's true, and usually when you have a so-called

"satori," "metamorphosis," or "moksha," one of the most common things that people will

report when they get that oneness with everything, is that as extraordinary and outrageous as

it can feel, a very common component is: "Oh, that!

God, I really had known that my entire life, before my life.

I've known it before the Big Bang.

I've always known this!"

And that's a very strong part of genuine waking up experiences.

So Zen actually has a statement that sort of encapsulates this paradox, and it goes

like this: If in training for the Tao, if there is any discipline in the attempt to

get it, then the completion of that discipline marks the destruction of the Tao.

However, if there is no discipline in the Tao, one remains ignoramus.

So that's the paradox.

It is always already fully present, literally, 100%, and there's never a point in your life

when you are not directly in touch with that fully enlightened mind, and that includes

during waking, dream, and deep sleep.

It's a constant consciousness that is always present.

But, clearly there are times when you realize that and then you can also look back and realize

there are times you didn't realize that.

So it could be fully present, but you still didn't see it.

And then when you see it, one of the things you realize is, "Ah!

I've always known this.

This is the one thing I've always known.

This is the only thing I can know.

It is the only thing that's real.

Of course I was aware of it."

So within that paradox, understanding that ... well, the first sort of satori I had was

with a Zen teacher named ??. And I had been in a state of witnessing for several days

and he knew that, so he walked behind me and he said ...

>>Rick: And let me just interject here.

So when you say "witnessing," just to make sure everybody understands your terminology,

and "for several days," does that mean 24/7, even in deep sleep?

>>Ken: Yes.

>>Rick: Okay.

>>Ken: And then Ken Gary said, "The witness is the last stand of the ego."

And with that, the witness just completely disappeared and there was just this direct,

radical oneness with everything that was arising.

There was no separate self, no Ken Wilber in that sense, although this thing in Ken

Wilber was arising, I wasn't identified with that more than I was with the chair, table,

or the woods outside.

It was just all part of manifestation, all arising, and what I was, was all of that;

one with absolutely everything that was arising, moment to moment.

That was my true self, and that realization, again, it's paradoxical.

You can realize and understand that it is actually the only thing that's ever 100% real,

it's the only thing that you are aware of all the time, and then as soon as you have

this paradoxical waking up to that, then you realize that that's been this reality that

you've known all along.

So those kinds of waking up, those kinds of satoris or kenshos, moksha experiences and

so on, those continue to deepen over the years.

And it got to the point where most of the time I was what's called constant consciousness,

which is that you are aware 24 hours of the day, through waking, dream, deep sleep, as

a tacit awareness through all of that, unbroken.

That still can deepen and I think actually, there is almost no limit to how much it can

keep deepening, even though when you get those early realizations they are staggeringly profound,

and it's really clear that if there is an ultimate reality, this is it.

And I would say that well over 90% of people that have that kind of deep satori agree that

this is the most real thing they have ever seen.

And it doesn't matter if these people are ditch-diggers, waitresses, PhDs, technologists,

doctors, lawyers ... 95% of them agree, "Okay, this is it, this is reality."

And that's why it has stuck around for thousands of years.

Not many people have it because it's still not that well-known, but those that do have

it, know it!

And it changes their lives, clearly, profoundly >>Rick: Yeah.

So one of the major things we're going to talk about today is your theme of "waking

up, cleaning up, growing up," and also, I'd like to also talk about your notion of "lines

of development."

And maybe those two are synonymous or maybe they are sort of overlapping like a Venn diagram

and relate to each other.

>>Ken: Sure.

>>Rick: So let's launch into that and I'll have questions for you as we go along.

Maybe you could give people an overview.

>>Ken: Yeah, okay.

It used to be, and this happened even was certainly what most of the great traditions

believed, and even in the 1960s and 70s as Eastern traditions rushed into the United

States and there were several new schools of psychology that were founded by some of

the very, very greatest psychologists in America and around the world.

And one in particular called Transpersonal Psychology was founded by Abraham Maslow,

one of America's two or three greatest psychologists, and it was specifically to study these kinds

of satori or enlightenment or waking up experiences, because you just didn't find that in psychology

anywhere in the West, but clearly something profound was going on.

And so that school started and when it started, almost everybody felt strongly that if you

got a satori, everything was fixed.

If you had unconscious shadow elements and you had satori, it would wipe out all of those

shadow elements.

If you had any problems in your life, having a satori would absolutely fix them because

satori is you're becoming one with God, you're becoming one with Spirit, you're becoming

one with everything!

How could you possibly go wrong under those circumstances?

And we had articles written, literally by the hundreds, explaining about how when you

get satori it lifts the repression barrier, all the shadow stuff comes up and is integrated,

you start developing through all the developmental scalesMaslow's scales, Kohlberg's scales,

Loewenthal's scales, you just whip through all of those, everything is cool Get satori

and you are superman!

You are superwoman!

It's all taken care of.

We believed that, strongly, for several years, for at least a decade.

By the end of that time we started realizing, "Wait a minute, some things are not quite

right here."

And to make a long story short, after watching for about 15 yearsthat's about how long

it's been since these Eastern traditions came into this countryand we've watched teachers,

spiritual teachers, meditation students, we've watched them for 50 years.

And we've found that the waking up experience is profound and it does a staggering number

of things, but that there are also a huge number of things that it doesn't fix at all.

And you can just list the dozens ... not even obvious things like that it won't make you

a great banker, get satori and you won't know how to do the Schrdinger wave equation

in quantum mechanics, get satori and you won't be able to run a 4-minute mile, get satori

and you won't lose 80 pounds, so an enormous number of things it didn't do.

So what did it do?

Well there are a couple of areas that we really thought that it did [make a difference] that

we found out it really didn't.

One of them was what we call "cleaning up," and in other words, "cleaning up" is referring

to psychotherapeutic, psychoanalytic, various forms of practices that help individuals uncover,

come to grips with, and integrate their shadow elements.

Shadow elements are various types of emotions, feelings, thoughts, and impulses that you

yourself are uncomfortable with, for various reasons.

Take anger for example, maybe your parents told you that you shouldn't have anger, maybe

the religion you were brought up in said you can't have anger, maybe you just felt extremely

uncomfortable whenever you had anger, and so you would push it out of awareness, you

would actually disown it.

But pushing it away didn't actually make it go away, it turned it into very painful neurotic

symptoms, occasionally even psychotic, and that was a real problem.

Now originally, during the period where we thought the satori did everything, we thought

it would cure shadow elements.

We what we found as we watched people meditate for 50 years is that it did not necessarily

address shadow elements, and in some cases it made it worse.

Because one of the stances of meditation for example, one type of meditation is just witnessing,

where something comes up and you go, "I had that but I'm not that.

I'm aware of that but I'm not that.

I see that but I'm not that," and just pure disidentification, disidentification, disidentification.

The problem with shadow anger is that you've pushed it out of your system, you haven't

integrated it, and as you push it farther and farther away, you're just continuing to

disassociate it, you're not integrating it.

Before you can actually let go of it you have to fully own it, if not, you're just aggravating

the disassociation, you're aggravating the repression.

You're not owning it, you're disowning it, and that's what meditation would do, it made

it worse.

>>Rick: Let me interject a question here.

Now you know, some of the ancient traditions, like Buddhism, have all sorts of ethical and

moral and behavioral admonishments, and Patanjali with his Yamas and Niyamas, so it seems like

those guys tried to address the "cleaning up" issue.

And when I was studying under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he refuted the notion that Patanjali's

Eight Limbs were sequential; he said that the limbs grow simultaneously, the way the

limbs of a body do as it grows, and with the degree that Samadhi grows the other limbs

will grow, but as you have been saying here, that doesn't seem to have panned out in the

real world.

So I'm more inclined to think along the lines that you are saying now, but what do you make

of the fact that these ancient traditions did seem to try to address cleaning up issues?

>>Ken: Yes, that's very straight forward.

Let me just give an example of let's say, where I'm repressing my anger, and so my anger

starts to show up in a recurrent dream I have where there's a monster chasing me that wants

to eat me and devour me.

And what I feel every night in that dream is fear, because this thing is about to eat

me, this monster, that is my projected anger, is now coming after me because I'm not owning

that anger.

And so when that angry monster is coming after me to eat me and I feel overpowering fear,

and I'll wake up breathing fast and sweating and go, "Oh my God!" � if I take that scenario,

just that, that there's a monster chasing me and I feel fear, and I go to the radiations,

all the traditions have very sophisticated understanding of defiled emotions, they don't

understand repressed emotions.

So if I got to a tradition, to a teacher, and present this complaint and say, "Here

is this dream with this monster chasing me and I'm feeling fear," then what would happen,

like in Tibetan transmutation processes, is they would work with the fear as the primary

emotion and they would teach you to go into that fear and have it transform into a higher

wisdom, which is how many traditions would work.

Now the only problem with that is, that fear that it is working with isn't an authentic

emotion, it's a diseased emotion; it is an emotion that is the product of repressed anger.

No tradition knows that.

So what would actually happen if you took that same dream to like Freud or Fritz Perls,

they would first say, "Okay, we want you to talk to this monster back and forth, establish

a relationship, find out what it wants, �Why are you here?

What are you doing?

Why are you doing this to me?'

And then change places, you play the monster."

And so now you're sitting there [saying], "I want to eat you, I want to kill you."

And so as you play the monster you're getting in touch with this deep anger.

And so you go back and forth talking that, and so then you're going from being a person

that has fear to being a monster that anger.

Now that anger is what the real emotion is, that's where it started, that's the authentic


And so the final step is okay, now you identify with that monster, let that monster be you,

reown it and reown that anger.

So you take that anger back.

You're not taking fear into yourself, that's a false emotion, and if you take that false

emotion into yourself, you've reduced a false wisdom.

You first have to take the anger back and make that real, so that you have the anger

pointing that way and the monster is you, you are simply projecting it.

You won't get that in any of the traditions because that kind of repressed emotion wasn't

discovered until about 100, 150 years ago by Freud, Jung, Adler, Otto Rank, and so on.

And so from that understanding of actually repressed, dissociated emotions, we find that

only in the modern West.

We find it in none of the spiritual traditions, East or West, anywhere, all they do is deal

with whatever emotions are there, but they don't understand all of the psychodynamic

processes that can make those emotions to be false, inauthentic emotions, and not the

real source of the problem.

The source is an even deeper emotion that's getting repressed and then turns into these

other emotions.

That's what the traditions work with, "cleaning up" works with the actual source of the emotional

problem, and that's why we found that even as people meditate, and some people have been

meditating 50 years and their shadows, meaning "repressed emotions," were not only not getting

better, but in many cases they were getting bigger because as I said, some forms of meditation

make repressed emotions worse.

So what we're saying is that there is a process of waking up that's incredibly important,

but this process of cleaning up (actually working with repressed, dissociated, disowned

emotions), that discovery humanity figured out only about 150 years ago.

And so that's much too recent to appear in any of the world's great spiritual traditions

and in fact, it appears in none of them.

So those two things (waking up and cleaning up)... that's one of the things that we split

off: you can't expect a spiritual teacher ... what you can expect them to do is to help

you wake up, if they're a good teacher, if they are an authentic teacher, not all of

them are, but if they're authentic, that's what you can get.

But you're not going to get cleaning up, no matter how good a teacher is, unless they've

actually studied practices for cleaning up.

And of course that's what we do and call "Integral Spirituality," but almost no spiritual systems

out there have a good understanding of cleaning up.

And that's really a disaster because almost everybody that goes into religion or spirituality,

they almost always have some sort of shadow elements that are part of their motivation.

They are in there because of enormous guilt, or because of obsessive compulsive drives,

or deep types of jealousy, or anxiety, or depression, and those can only be reached

by going to the original forms themselves and not simply by using techniques way up

here where secondary emotions are being produced, that won't do it.

So what we want to start doing is saying, "Okay, with more complete forms of spiritual

practice we do want to include waking up" - and we talked a little bit about that, about

being one with everything and waking up to that, so we're now adding "cleaning up."

We can talk about that and then I'll go on to the next major one, which is the "growing

up" factor and talk about why that's important.

>>Rick: Okay, so what I have heard you saying here is you know, just as the modern sciences

such as physics, chemistry, etcetera, know all kinds of things that the founders of the

ancient traditions couldn't possibly have known and didn't know, even the modern science

of psychology, if we want to call it a "science," has something amazing or valuable to contribute

that the founders of these traditions didn't know ...

>>Ken: Right.

>>Rick: And moreover, well, you mentioned how the shadow stuff can get actually magnified

in an awakened being.

And unfortunately we have all too many examples of that, where these people who apparently

are highly enlightened and who radiate Shakti and who are amazingly charismatic and articulate

and everything else, are behaving in ways that their followers think, "I wouldn't behave

that way, why is this guy behaving that way?"

And then they think, "Well, who knows, he's enlightened and he must be in tune with God

and so it's crazy wisdom, and who am I to say," and they do all this rationalizing and

sort of jettison their discrimination, which creates huge problems.

>>Ken: Yes, yes.

That's part of the problem and that's part of ... if spirituality is going to actually

survive into tomorrow, it's clearly going to have to take these things into account.

And we see this especially when we get to the topic of "growing up," but right now it's

pretty well known that traditional religion, which usually doesn't include these types

of waking up practices or practices for liberation and satori and moksha, but just more of a

fundamentalist Christian or fundamentalist Muslim, or Orthodox Jew and so on, and even

a large number of practicing Buddhists and practicing Hindus, those are essentially belief

systems about how to get them reborn into some happy afterlife, some Buddha heaven.

Which by the way, you can't get enlightenment in those heavens; in order to get enlightenment

you have to have a precious human body, which means you have to be on this earth, in this

life, in this body to get enlightenment.

But if religion is going to be able to exist into tomorrow, and I say in this in the background

of such data as that in Northern Europe, for example, today, the percentage of the population

that considers itself truly spiritual is 11%, that's down from about 95% during the Middle


Religion is going just like that.

The places that it is starting to catch up are in developing countries and individuals

that are starting their growth and development, and we'll see that when we start looking at

what we call "growing up," the growing up by the levels and stages of development that

all human beings go through.

And what we find in those developmental sequences is that that lower stages tend to universally

have beliefs and things like magic and mythic, and not in any high sense, not like in true

siddhis or paranormal powers or even ESP.

There is a fair amount of evidence that things like ESP exist, but we're talking ... when

we say "mythic" in this case, we mean something James Fowler called the stage of spiritual

development of "Mythic-Literal," because people believe in myths and they believe that they

are to be taken absolutely literally.

So, if you are a Christian fundamentalist you believe that Moses really did part the

Red Sea, that Lot's wife really was turned into a pillar of salt, that God really did

rain down locusts on the Egyptians.

>>Rick: Locusts might have happened I think, but I don't know about the other two.

Could have been some environmental plague or something like Utah had when there were

these huge locust invasions at one point, when the Mormons first went out there.

But anyway, continue.

>>Ken: Yes, well, any of thoseChrist being born of a biological virgin, those types

of things - but the higher stages of growing up don't have those kinds of beliefs at all.

And if we use ...well, before I come back to that, let me give a quick intro to really

what "cleaning up" is.

>>Rick: Sure.

>>Ken: Because what we found is that human beings have perhaps upwards of a dozen, multiple


They have cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, aesthetic intelligence, interpersonal

intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, and they also have something

called "spiritual intelligence."

And spiritual intelligence is just that.

These are called "multiple intelligences," and these have to do with how individuals

think, how they use their intellect to reason about moral situations, aesthetics, interpersonal

interactions, and there is a moral intelligence, which means thinking morally about what's

the right thing to do, and so on.

But there is a difference when it comes to spirituality between waking up, which is usually

a direct spiritual experience, and then spiritual intelligence in growing up, and that is simply

how we think about spirit.

It's an intellect, so it is how we intellectually conceive of God or Spirit of ultimate Reality.

Even when a new Atheist is thinking about ultimate Reality and trying to decide whether

it's there or not, that person is using their spiritual intelligence; they are deciding

that there isn't anything like Spirit.

But whenever we ... the multiple intelligence called "spiritual intelligence" is [being

used] at any time human beings think about ultimate realities, or think about what Paul

Tillich called "Ultimate Concern."

By definition they are using their spiritual intelligence, whether they are Atheists, Agnostics,

Buddhists, Hindus, doesn't matter.

Now spiritual intelligence, like all of the multiple intelligences, they are all very

different from each other, but study after study has shown that they are all go through

essentially the same levels of intelligence.

So you have different lines going through the same levels.

It's hard to find names for these levels of development because almost any name you use

will be coming from just one of the dozen multiple intelligences.

So if you say, "Well this level is the level of conformist belief," well that's true in

the moral line of development but it's not true in the cognitive line of development.

And you can be at a form-operational universal level of cognitive development and have an

extremely low level of moral development.

These can all occur at different rates, at different levels.

So I give examples of Nazi doctors who have very high levels of cognitive intelligence

and very low moral intelligence.

So you can seewe call it a psychographbut you can map how far a person is in

cognitive intelligence, how far they are in moral intelligence, how far they are in emotional

intelligence, how far they are in aesthetic intelligence and in spiritual intelligence,

and so on.

>>Rick: Yeah.

Let me ask you a quick question here.

Do you know if you pull the leg of a stool, the other legs come alongor a table;

they are tightly correlated.

Do you feel that with these different lines of development that there is any correlation

whatsoever, even like a big stretchy rubber band, or do you feel that they are completely

unconnected, like a stool that has been sawed into pieces and you can pull one leg without

influencing the others to any degree?

>>Ken: They tend to actually fall into three major groups and the lines in each group tend

to develop within about a half stage of each other.

So there are the cognitive lines and those tend to be the highest developed in people,

and they tend to be necessary but not sufficient for the other multiple lines because if you,

for example, were going to introspect and come up with an answer to a question about

what is morally the right thing to do, you have to be cognitively aware of that moral

line or you won't even know what it is.

So cognition has to be a little bit ahead of moral development or you won't be able

to see it accurately.

There are a few exceptions, but mostly the cognitive is necessary but not sufficient

for all the other lines.

And so it is often a stage or two higher than the other major two bundles of lines.

The second major one is in some ways the most important and it is what we call the "self-relating."

These are all lines of development that relate to your self-sense, to your very identity

as yourself, and so it includes things like Jane Loevinger's Stages of Ego Development,

which is very clearly self-development, but also moral development, Maslow's needs development,

these all tend to develop within about a half stage of each other.

But they can be one or two or three or four stages behind the cognitive bundle.

And then there's another bundle that's just kind of loose and sometimes can almost stay

at zero, and those are the lines that we call "gifts" or "talents," so things like mathematical

intelligence, musical intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, which has to do with things

like sport capacity, and sometimes artistic intelligence.

There are people that are very high in cognitive intelligence, they are very high in self-development,

but they couldn't play a piano if their life depended on it ...

>>Rick: And that seems to be fine, I mean, who cares if Ramana couldn't shoot a basket

like Stephan Curry or something, but one would expect Ramana to have a fairly high level

of moral development in keeping with his high level of consciousness.

So some things seem to be more logically or correlated and others are irrelevant to those.

>>Ken: You're right.

And all of these, the actual development of these lines through these given levels, that's

what we call "growing up," and it's a very specific capacity that humans have.

And again, this is a capacity that literally wasn't discovered until around 100 years ago.

There are now dozens of nature models of psychological development that give their own little tweaks

and twists on exactly what development is, how it occurs, and so on, [but] the vast majority

of them still have multiple lines, multiple intelligences, and they all have very similar

levels of development.

I did one book called Integral Psychology and I included over 100 different developmental

models, and I had charts on every one of them.

And each of the charts included the stages that each of these 100 different models, how

they saw these stages.

And what was impressive is that there is a great deal of similarity between all of them.

But they are very specific and things that you wouldn't guess if you were guessing, nor

can you see these levels of growing up by introspecting; they are much more like grammar


People brought up in a particular culture, they learn to speak that cultures language

quite accurately, they put subject and verb together correctly, they use adjectives and

adverbs correctly, in other words, they are following the grammar rules of that language

quite correctly; a large system of grammar rules.

But if you ask them, "What are those rules you're following and can you writ e them down?"

Almost nobody could do it!

Most people don't even know they are following grammar rules very specifically, even though

they are using them moment to moment.

You and I are using them moment to moment, right now.

But we can introspect and we can see these grammar rules at all.

Well the levels of growing up are just like that.

Each level has a different kind of grammar pattern, so each level sees the world profoundly


And when you are at one of these levels, and everybody is always at some level of growing

up, you can't introspect and see them, any more than you and I can introspect now and

see the rules of grammar, it's just not going to happen, and so that's why it took so long

for humanity to discover these levels of growing up.

And the problem is, because these were only discovered about 100 years ago, that's much,

much, much too recent to be included in any of the great religions or in any spiritual

system, worldwide.

And that's why there is not a single religion or single spiritual system anywhere in the

world today that has anything like "growing up," at all.

>>Rick: Couple of questions here, one is that, you know, saintliness is in popular culture

associated with enlightenment, at least in some circlesyou know, we have St. Teresa

or St. Francis, and the East also there have been some saintly figuresAnandamayi Ma

and so on.

Then on the other hand you have, like you mentioned, Zen and The Art of War, where you

have people who are supposedly highly enlightened and deeply awake advocated very brutal practices

in order to perpetuate Japanese culture or whatever.

How do you explain that dichotomy?

Could it be perhaps that there are levels of development which include the heart and

others which could be very profound, yet which have not really begun to open the territory

of heart development?

>>Ken: Well, you can postulate any particular line that you want; I've actually seen probably

over 50 lines of development that various people have postulated.

Most of them don't hold up, for complex reasons.

A line of development is a very specific type of thing, and you do have to demonstrate that

it does go through these various stages.

And the stages can be on the one hand very simple, some of them only have about four

stages, most of them have between around 6 to 8 stages.

So people like Lawrence Kohlberg in Moral Development, Maslow in Needs Development,

Loevinger in Ego Development, Carol Gilligan in Women's Moral Developmentthese are

all levels of development in a particular line and they are all very, very specific,

and again, there is an enormous amount of agreement among them.

But each level of development gives you a staggeringly different view, and that includes

of course, because you have these dozen multiple intelligences, that includes your moral development,

your aesthetic development, your emotional development, and so on.

And so as these develop, and here is one of the final things that we learned that just

sort of changes everything, and that is that growing up and waking up, just like waking

up and cleaning up, these are relatively independent.

You can be very high in waking up and very low in growing up.

You can be very high in growing up and never have had a waking up experience in your entire

life; these are two very different things.

And unfortunately because no religion has an understanding of growing up nor cleaning

up, for that matter, but they are fundamentally teaching - if they are looking for ways to

get to enlightenment or liberation - they are teaching what they've learned about how

to help people wake up.

But they are not teaching them anything about how to grow up because they know absolutely

nothing about it, nor are they teaching them anything about cleaning up because they know

absolutely nothing about it ... >>Rick: So, wait a minute now, if they know

nothing about it and there isn't any correlation, then how is it that there does seem to be

a fairer abundance of saintliness among the Scriptural records of enlightened people?

you know, [that they are] full of compassion and great love and devotion, and there are

all sorts of things like the Bhakti Sutras and all.

There does seem to be some kind of correlation, but there are flagrant violations of it nonetheless.

>>Ken: Well, that's the point.

And when all the traditions have some form of ethical guidelines, that's not what I mean

when I say "growing up," ... >>Rick: But people who have actually embodied

those guidelines, not just people who seem to be spontaneously living a saintly life

who are also apparently enlightened.

There seems to be, you know, a fair number of those people that you can recount, if you

read all those stories in the Puranas and all that.

>>Ken: But the problem with that is when all of those stories were created and they had

certain waking up, when they talked about ... well, let me first give a very simple

version of growing up and you'll start to see the problem.

>>Rick: Okay.

>>Ken: We can use Carol Gilligan's version in this case.

She found four major stages that all women go through in their moral development.

We also find that men go through similar stages but in a different voice.

Her first stage she calls "Selfish," and we also call that "egocentric" � the woman

cares only for herself.

The second stage she called "care," because the woman extends care from herself to a group.

Now this group or tribe or clan or nation, it is just one major group.

It's not all groups because that would be too big a step for this development; you have

to take it one step at a time.

So the first step is expanding your care from just yourself to a larger group of people.

So this is called not "egocentric," which was the first stage, this is called "ethnocentric"

because it is focused on a particular group.

And ethnocentric means just that: it is prejudice to that one group because that is the only

group it can identify with, that's the only group that it can feel has the one true way.

And so it is notorious, virtually every native culture felt all other cultures were barbarians,

were savages, they were not really "up to them."

And this included people who were doing waking up, they felt the same way about these others

... >>Rick: They say Papaji hated the Pakistanis

>>Ken: ... so they extended care and compassion to theirs, not to others.

The next stage beyond "Care" Gilligan called "Universal Care," that's where the woman extends

care to all groups, to all human beings, and attempts to treat all of them fairly regardless

of race, color, sex, or creed.

And her final stage was "Integrated," where the woman learns to integrate both masculine

and feminine forms into her being.

Now historically, the first time that humanity went from ethnocentricand by the way,

"ethnocentric" was the first time that humanity started to develop paths of waking up, this

is where we got Zen and Vedanta, Sufism and Christian contemplative, mystical forms of

prayer, The Cloud of Unknowing, Upanishads, and so on.

These were all at the ethnocentric stage of development.

So you could take somebody like a Christian fundamentalist who had had profound waking

up experience, and by the way, history is full of them.

Almost all of the early Christian saints that were so full of love and care were at ethnocentric

stages of growing up, even though they were having profound experiences of waking up - remember,

these are now two different things.

So on the ethnocentric side, the Christian fundamentalist has a profound experience of

waking up, but he is convinced - and it's an authentic version of waking up, history

is full of thembut he is convinced, as a fundamentalist, that the only other kind

of people that can have this experience are those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal

Savior and, "If you don't do that, you can't have this experience, sorry."

>>Rick: So you think that if that experience is genuine it doesn't tend to soften them

up a little bit and make them a little more universal in their perspective?

Can you really have that experience full blown and maintain that adamant fundamentalism?

>>Ken: Every saint in history did.

>>Rick: Are you sure?

That's a bit of a blanket statement.

I don't know, I can't argue with you on that because I can't think of any exceptions off

the top of my head.

But I know in my own experience I've become much more broad-minded over the years just

through my own growing experiences, even doing this show I'm able to talk to such a wide

variety of people.

And there's a quote from you someplace here: "I have one major rule: everybody is right,

more specifically, everybody, including me, has some important pieces of truth and all

those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious,

and compassionate embrace."

I feel like personally I've grown in that kind of perspective over the years, and if

even me, then why not some of these great sages and saints?

>>Ken: Well very simple, you live in a world that's global in its dimensions.

You are fully aware not of just egocentric and ethnocentric stages of development; that's

all something somebody 2,000 years ago had.

There were no "world-centered" stages of development, they hadn't emerged in evolution yet; they

didn't emerge until around the Western enlightenment.

And so at that time, in about a 100-year period, from around 1770 to 1870, slavery was outlawed

for the first time in all of history.

None of these previous cultures that had waking up and had saints that were compassionate

and loving are caring ... Buddhist monasteries had slaves!

St. Paul recommends to slaves, "Love Jesus Christ and obey your master."

These are deeply racist organizations that are having waking up experiences, and when

they say "compassion" they mean only within the limited tribe that they feel can have

that experience, and that's a problem.

We see that for at least 3,000 years, until the modern era.

And slavery was embraced by every single one of them, so was sexism.

Every one of them was patriarchal.

Did waking up help that?


There is even, and it still lasts to today, I heard a Theravadan Buddhist practitioner

the other day, somebody accused Buddhism of being sexist and he said, "Oh, that's just

not true, I can prove it: even a woman can be reborn as a man!"

? >>Rick: Hilarious.

>>Ken: Oh, okay, guess you're not sexist.

This is a huge discovery that we made only about a decade ago, that waking up and growing

up are essentially different.

Now yes, in certain ways they interact, of course, everything interacts with everything,

but they can be separated and they tend to run on different tracks.

And if you look at it, there are actually different types of practices that you do when

you are trying to wake up versus when you are trying to grow up; they are not the same.

Practicing this won't automatically increase this, and practicing this won't automatically

increase this.

And so that's what's so important.

The crucial item as I see it is that today for the first time, literally the first time

in history, we have a chance to put together waking up and growing up and cleaning up all

in one package.

And we should start to say, in order to help everybody realize, "If you are going to join

a path and it doesn't include something on all three of those, you're going to get f#@!$%d.

You are going to end up in a bad, bad way because one of these is going to go sour because

you're completely unaware of it, and it is going to be operating in a nasty way that

it does, and at some point it's going to bite you and you will be extremely unhappy."

And as we know, that is incredibly common.

You have people that are fairly well spiritually, you know, evolved, and then they get into

financial, sexual, power screw-ups because they are at a fairly low level of growing


If somebody is at a world-centered, universal care world-centered stage, they are not going

to morally infringe on a student, it's impossible from that stage.

That stage categorically hates that kind of behavior.

But we don't train for that stage in spiritual practice, we train only for how to transcend

individual self.

We don't train for, "Wait, how do you actually help grow that individual self?"

Even though you are going to transcend it and you are going to realize the reality of

ultimate oneness, you still have to express that oneness through whatever self you have.

And if your self is at a low egocentric stage of development, and if you have a massive

shadow element and you try to express an otherwise authentic enlightenment, it's going to be

a disaster!

You will make it sound ridiculous, you're going to act ridiculous, and every follower

who comes within 10 feet of you is going to say, "Well if that's enlightenment, I'll take

less of that, thank you very much."

>>Rick: Yeah, either they are going to say that or they're going to hang on for years

saying, "Well, I don't understand it and this guy seems crazy, but he seems so bright and

so amazing, and he's got such darshan, and I better not leave or I'm going to blow it,"

and then people 20 years later think, "Oh my God, how could I have been so gullible?"

>>Ken: You're exactly right.

That is probably the major unfortunate path that the majority of people end up taking

and they end up wasting a life.

>>Rick: Yeah.

So with your overview of the spiritual landscape, what percentage, or how would you break it

down in terms of all the various teachers and teachings and groups and whatnot, in terms

of the degree to which they all incorporate all three legs - waking up, cleaning up, and

growing up?

>>Ken: It's very, very slim, and the main reason is that as I was pointing out, the

waking up path consists largely of a series of direct experiences that a person has, and

all the maps that the traditions have drawn are maps of those experiences.

So if you look at St. Teresa's Seven Interior Castles, she is just giving you a direct,

you know, "Then I experienced this, then I experienced this, and then I experienced this

light pouring down."

You're aware of it, I mean, when you have one of those experiences you know it, you're

aware of it.

If you have an experience of being one with the entire universe in love and peace, you'll

know itthat's waking up, unlike growing up.

When you're in a particular level or stage of growing up - and I use as a model just

as an example the stages Jean Gebser for the major stages of development, and remember,

there are dozens of different names for these levels even though if you look at them you

can see the great similarity in all of thembut he called these major stages "Archaic,

Magic, Mythic (which means Mythic-Literal), Mythic-Rational, Pluralistic, and Integral

or Integrated."

When you are at any one of those stages you have no idea you are at that stage and that

that stage is helping to interpret how you view any experience you have, including a

waking up experience.

And that's why you can be, and we actually have empirical studies on this recently, you

can be at virtually any stage of growing upyou can be at Magic, Mythic, or Pluralistic,

or Integral - and you can have any experience of waking up, from the lowest to the very

highest, and those again, are independent.

So you can be at a relatively low ethnocentric stage of development and have a complete experience,

all the way up through full enlightenment, and we also have empirical tests on that.

One of the really telling ones was of a group of researchers who took a large number of

people, and this is a subjective choice, but took a large number of people whom the most

people that they talked to felt they were fairly enlightened, sort of highly evolved

people that were teachers or really advanced in their spiritual awareness, in their waking

up in other words.

And they gave them about a dozen tests that are standard tests used to grade where you

are on a multiple intelligence of growing up, so cognitive tests, emotional intelligence

tests, aesthetic tests, and so on.

And these more enlightened people that took all these tests got absolutely average all

the way across the board; they scored no higher than people that had never had a waking up

experience in their life.

They are two different processes, entirely, and that is what is so extraordinary, is that

both of them are needed because your waking up experience will be interpreted according

to the stage of growing up that you are at.

So is this very common nowadays?

Is this understanding out there?


And the reason is that the actual ingredients of growing up and cleaning up, as I said,

weren't discovered until about 100 years ago.

Most forms of meditation and great religious systems are 1,000 or 2,000 years old, so this

is much too recent to be included in these original spiritual systems.

I guarantee you, if somebody like the Buddhists or even somebody like the New Testament writes,

if they were aware of the stages of growing up, they would have been all over them because

it governs how you interpret your waking up experience, and they would want you to experience

it from the highest possible interpretive stance.

They don't want you interpreting it from the selfish, ego-centric, ethno-centric, Nazi


But they weren't aware of it so this all got left out.

So only about a 100 years ago we discovered them and it was really only about a decade

or two ago that we realized this back and how it fit together.

I mean the data was all lying out there and they were all sort of doing their separate

thing, and a few of us came together and said, "Wait a minute!

That governs this and Jesus, we have to put this all together or it's going to be a disaster."

So it has only been a decade or two that this has been fairly well-known.

That said, there are I would say at least several dozen of I think the very best spiritual

communities you can find anywhere, that now use a system that incorporates waking up,

and growing up, and cleaning up, and a few other things that we call "showing up" and

"opening up," but those are minor other items.

But they are using them and without a single exception so far, they are ecstatic, they

report much better results, and they are reporting that the results stick longer.

Because you can have a waking up, but if you have a really low level of growing up then

you just drag it down, drag it down.

And if you have a shadow, then it will come up and start screwing with it, and screwing

with it, and so on.

>>Rick: I think people are coming to appreciate this more and more.

These days you hear everybody talking about integration and people are getting fed up

with gurus behaving badly.

And there's the Me Too Movement and the Time's Up Movement and all of that, so it seems to

be something in the air and I think you articulated it well; it is something that is very timely,

what you are saying.

There are a couple of questions that have come in from people, related to what we have

been saying, and I also have one of my own, which I won't forget.

The first is from Maurice in Guatemala who asks: "Are the levels of intelligence of the

different lines predetermined?" - you were saying a minute ago how you can't really tell

what level you're at.

Also Maurice asks: "Who has the authority to determine if we are actually evolving in

any given line?"

So let's have you answer his first.

>>Ken: Are these levels fixed?


If you go back 150,000 years ago when humans were moving ... or even a million years ago,

when humans were moving from great apes into what Gebser called "Archaic," in other words,

the earliest forms of recognizably human being, there wasn't more than essentially, just the

bottom line of development, that's all there was.

There was an archaic level and little bumps of various types of intelligences that were

starting to evolve, because human beings would run into areas that posed a question, and

the more they ran into that area that posed the question, the more they developed, evolved

ways to address that question.

So, if you wanted to run into something and were looking over there and wanted to know

if it was raining outside, somebody would say, "I want to know if it is raining outside,

would you check?"

And somebody would go and look out of the hut or outside and they would say, "Yes, it's


So you would check.

So you are honing your cognitive intelligence, and cognitive intelligence helps to tell you

what's true, so it checks and says, "Yes, that's true, that's true, that's true," and

so that started to develop the first level.

And then there could also be things like emotional intelligence; women in particular started

to develop that, because in those early stages men were hunting, women were generally at

home caring for infants.

That would change, but in those early days that tended to be the way it was.

And so, women had to be very nuanced to every single emotional twitch and twinge of an infant,

and that's how their emotional intelligence started to develop, to be very careful to


So women ended up with something like 28 different degrees of emotional intelligence.

Men were just out there hunting.

They ended up developing two degrees of emotional intelligence: forward and reverse, and that

was kind of that.

But emotional intelligence started developing as they started running into other dangerous

areas, other areas of specific questioning.

The different lines of development started to develop.

From about the earliest archaic to about 150,000 B.C., at the point the "Magic" stage started

to develop.

And so now we had two levels of development that the lines could go through.

And if somebody stayed at an archaic stage they were looked at as being a little bit

retarded or maybe a little bit slow.

To be an adult you had to make one major transformation, from archaic to magic.

Then within about another 100,000 or 130,000 years, the "Mythic" started to develop, and

that wasn't hunting, that was farming.

And so another level was added.

And by the way, as this was happening and levels were being added, everybody was still

born at square one.

That is still true today.

Even if we are at a Rational or Pluralistic, fairly high stage of development in Western

culture, everybody is still born in square one; they are still born in Archaic, they

are still born at impulsive, at power-driven stages, at stages driven by aggression.

So they are still going to want to form gangs, they're still going to want to crave criminal


And everyone is having to move through these lower stages of growing up before you get

into the higher stages of growing up, like Care and Universal Care, and then you will

want to do less of that.

But it will always be a problem because you are always born at square one.

But no, they are not fixed and they keep growing.

So we are at a kind of integral stage right now but there is no reason that there can't

be higher stages in the future, and that's what makes it interesting.

And it also makes it interesting that if you are at a relatively high stage of growing

up now, then you really are, the way you act today is going to help determine the structure

of the level of consciousness that everybody gets tomorrow, and you really can have a hand

in that.

So I sort of make this up as a new Kantian imperative which is, behave as if the way

you are acting will become the way everybody will act tomorrow.

It will get changed down the road and there will be another one, and that one will change

and there will be another one, but right now, at the leading edge, most people listening

to this conversation think they are at a leading, integral stage of growing up or they wouldn't

find this conversation interesting; they would have turned it off hours ago.

>>Rick: Yeah.

>>Ken: So if you are still here and still listening, or if you are still listening to

good ol' BATGAP on a regular basis, you're in this, so take it seriously.

You are actually helping form the structures and levels of consciousness that will be laid

down tomorrow, and delivered tomorrow.

So it is a big responsibility.

So no, they are not fixed, they continue to grow.

And again, you can be relatively, differently evolved; you can be very high in some lines

differently evolved, medium in other lines, and very low in other lines.

And as for how to determine it, there are several different ways to go with that question,

but one I'll just say is that each of these multiple intelligences have one or two different

types of tests that are fairly accurate at helping you determine what stage you are at

in each of these lines of development.

So if you are really curious about that you can get online, google around and find a number

of places where you can actually take tests, if you want to, and figure out where you are.

>>Rick: Cool.

>>Ken: Or you can read my books and sort of pick it up from there, get a start on it.

There are lots of other books out there too though and I would recommend pretty much all

of them.

>>Rick: So in the last two minutes you made two points that actually segue into the other

two questions that I wanted to ask.

The first one was, you said that according to how you act you are impacting society and

society is going to change accordingly, if enough people act this way.

And that tends to contradict something you seem to be saying, which is that there is

no real correlation between your level of consciousness and your action, but maybe not,

but will give you a chance to respond to that.

But one other thing I want to throw in here before you do is that a lot of people say

that a spiritual awakening on a mass scale is kind of the world's greatest hope, you

know, it's the one thing which is causal or fundamental enough to possibly offset the

plethora of problems, any one of which could do us in, from global warming to genetic modification,

to everything - all these different things.

By developing enlightenment we are getting right down to the bedrock and we are affecting

change more fundamentally and more powerfully than we could at any more superficial level.

However, if that sort of spiritual awakening wasn't even able to change the personality

of so many people who have attained it, you know, they've stayed at fairly Archaic levels

of behavior, how can it have any hope to change the world?

>>Ken: It can't.

Here is the problem: again, simply having a waking up experience can happen at virtually

any level of growing up, and that means a part of the problem with spiritual teachers

that you know, they put on this faade of loving care, and outgoingness and wonder,

but the really bad ones you find that they have a core of really just caring for themselves.

Now how can that happen when you have a waking up experience?

Well waking up undercuts but it doesn't completely dissolve, because you still have a conventional

self, you still interact with the world.

If somebody calls your name, you will still answerthat's the conventional self, that

still stays.

What happens with waking up is that you find a bigger awareness that you are identified

with in a stronger way, a so called "true Self" or "supreme Identity" - the Sufis call

it "supreme Identity.

It is an identity with everything that is arising moment to moment.

And just taken in itself, that experience we would tend to say, "Yes, that's what we

need to help with global warming."

People have to experience Gaia as their own body, then they will stop pissing all over

it, they'll start taking care of it just as they would their own body, and that is true

if they are at an integral level of growing up.

If they are at lower levels of growing up, if they are at Archaic or Magic or ethnocentric,

Mythic, or merely a beginning world-centered [stage], they are going to end up acting and

expressing that waking up through those lower levels, in terms of their actual actions.

And that is why somebody who has a deep egocentric, conventional-self, is going to be primarily

the person that does get caught up in sexual abuse of their students, financial abuse,

all sorts of authoritarian, even Fascist types of actions, even though when they sit down

to do darshan they are open and loving and caring, and sure, they are, but how do they


They act like egocentric Fascists, and that's not going to help global warming.

But the first thing that we've learned about distinguishing waking up and growing up and

cleaning up is that you can no longer just say, "Hey, we need just one of those to make

everything better."

Because by the way, there are very large groups of people that champion just one of those,

they don't know about the others.

So there are people that are still out there saying, "It's shadow problems.

It's all the hidden shadows that humans have that make them hate and make them greedy and

make them fearful, and if we don't clear that up, we're never going to clear up all the

disasters in global capitalism, crony capitalism, in global warming.

We've got to clean our shadows up or we're going to hell."

And that group believes that, deeply.

There's another group that believes in growing up, that "Wait a minute.

If you look at the data, whether it's amount of aggression, amount of criminality, amount

of drug abuse - serious drug abuse, if you look at prejudice - racism and sexism, all

of those tend to happen in the lower stages of growing up, and as you get to the higher

stages of growing up, those tend to go away.

It's from the higher stages of growing up that you get things like wishing to stop oppression

and increase inclusivity, and make diversity an important thing.

Those values don't come from the lower four or five stages of development; those values

don't emerge until they are six or seven, ever.

And so if you don't have growing up, you can just forget inclusivity and lack of oppression

and all of that.

That is why it was only at a higher stage that slavery was finally outlawed.

That was only 100 years ago, for Christ's sake!

We've been doing this for almost a million years and we only figured that out a hundred

years ago?

When we had already figured our waking up and we had had experiences of being one with

everything and enlightenment?!

That didn't stop slavery, that didn't stop the patriarchy, because they were at lower

levels of growing up, no matter high they were doing with waking up.

So we are past the stage now where we can say, "Just give up waking up!"

Great traditions had waking up and racism and sexism and slaves; that didn't help.

We need waking up and growing up, and we need higher stages of growing up, higher stages

of waking up, and yes, cleaning up shouldn't be forgotten.

But anything that leaves out any of those in any of our major problems is not going

to work, and all we have to do is look at the world today.

It is still not working and we've still never taken an approach that combines them all.

We are taking approaches that are extremely important but we are fragmenting them off

and just doing them one at a time and it just doesn't work.

>>Rick: So as I understand you, an ideal spiritual practice would include all three simultaneously,

not sequentially, that none of the three are more fundamental or influential than any of

the others, that if they are developed in isolation you can actually create more problems

than you are solving, and that you really just need to develop all three in the most

effective way you can, simultaneously, for balance, growth, and for safe growth, we could


>>Ken: Yes, exactly, exactly.

And that is what is so extraordinary about it, is that in ways that we are just starting

to figure out, because again, this specific fact of having to use them all together was

only discovered about a decade or two ago, so this is still a relatively a new idea,

but every single thing we've done to look at it supports it in an extremely strong fashion.

And people that really sit down and look at it and study the data and evidence, I would

say that at least 80% of them have tended to agree.

So that's what we want to start to do, and if we do that and we actually start developing

systems that do include these important elements, then that might be a system that really could

be embraced by a fair number of people, even very intelligent, educated people.

And when they start getting a sense of the enormous amount of freedom that comes from

waking up, the incredible sense of fullness that comes from growing up, and the incredible

sense of cleanness in a sense, that comes from cleaning up, this makes religion an absolutely

attractive package for people.

It's not just, "Oh, you have to drive yourself to church and listen to some idiotic sermon

for 20 minutes that would just bore you to tears, and then you sing some nice songs and

give some money and then go home, that's not a very exciting package.

>>Rick: Do you think the traditional religions are going to be revived and incorporate all

three of these, or do you think that they are really things of the past and that there

are going to be new forms of spiritual pursuit that will start afresh and incorporate all


>>Ken: I think almost any of those could happen.

Unity Church for example, which is I think about the third or fourth largest Church in

America, a couple of years ago it officially adopted the AQAL Integral framework to put

its teachings in.

And it created twelve test communities where they started working on how to get integral

spirituality across, and that included waking up, growing up, and cleaning up.

>>Rick: Good.

>>Ken: Incidentally, the first thing they found was that in order to start teaching

these broader topics, which really for most people, that's a lot of new stuff to learn,

it's just a lot, it's like, "Wait a minute ... there's how many stages of growing up?

And oh, there's waking up?

And wait, there's cleaning up?!"

>>Rick: And there's all these colors and quadrants and all this stuff.

? >>Ken: Yeah.

But they found that people were inherently interested and they started doing it very


And the first thing they ran into as they started to transform was their old shadow

elements, particularly coming from fundamentalist Bibles saying, "Oh, you can't do this, or

this is bad, or what do you mean that Jesus Christ is not the only world spiritual teacher?"

And by the way, the Catholic Church in Vatican too, finally admitted that quote, and this

is paraphrasing, comparable spiritual salvation can be had in other religions.

So after 2,000 years they went from their own ethnocentric "We've got the one and only

way, only Jesus Christ is it, if you don't believe in Jesus Christ you're going to burn

in hell forever," to saying, "Oops!

Other religions can give you the same salvation."

That was a big, big jump for them.

>>Rick: Yeah.

Wait till ET lands on the White House lawn, then we'll discover there's a trillion inhabited

planets in the known universe, then they're going to have to take a bigger jump.

>>Ken: It's going to get bigger and bigger and bigger for sure, yes.

>>Rick: Yeah.

>>Ken: So they (Unity Church) are working to actually give like a six-month shadow workshop

to help people integrate stuff as it comes up, and then they start moving into some of

the other topics.

So that's an example of an established Church wanting to change.

We do have lots of groups, like SAND groups and Vedanta groups and Mormon groups, that

are simply taking what they teach but then adding all the new material; they are adding

growing up, and they are adding cleaning up, and they are adding showing up.

And they are working to make those fit with the practices of waking up that they already

have, and many of those are working exquisitely, I mean just exquisitely.

So it's encouraging.

>>Rick: Yeah, that's great.

>>Ken: The one thing that we do know is that the evidence for each of these areas - the

evidence for waking up, the evidence for cleaning up, and the evidence for cleaning up is overwhelming.

There are thousands of researchers that have looked into all of these and have found an

enormous amount of evidence supporting them.

So this isn't something that we're just making up, its not like Jacque Derridas

deconstruction that one person dreamt up and it's supposed to change things.

This is being done by hundreds and thousands and over historical times, it has been done

by millions of people, and so the evidence is overwhelming.

>>Rick: That's great.

>>Ken: And so it's just a matter of putting it together.

>>Rick: Yeah.

{another listener's question:} "You tell your readers repeatedly that reality is mysterious

and impossible to map perfectly ... >>Ken: Well I would agree with that.

>>Rick: Pardon?

Oh, you agree with that, yeah.

Well this is a listener's question: "But then you suggest a map, and you are brilliant at

working out these maps, including color-coded charts showing the levels of development.

And I've heard that your followers are always trying to figure out where they are in this


In fact, a few minutes ago you alluded to looking it up on Google and taking a test.

So any philosophy, including Integral Theory, can be overthought, resulting in concept addiction.

Do you worry about that with your students?"

>>Ken: Sure.

And I would say it's a problem in about 30%.

I didn't criticize it a lot because it's one of a handful of things that I think you really,

really, really have to be careful about.

It doesn't change the fact that each of these areas are there and they do unfold in the

way that they do, and so how you relate to that is up to you.

But it is still there, it's still operating, it's still hitting you day in and day out,

constantly, and you can take it into account or you can just ignore it and let it have

its way with you, but it is having its way with you.

These things are operating and they are operating right now, so again, you can either be aware

of that or you can ignore that.

I think by far the better way is of course, take it into account and attempt to come to

terms with it.

What you don't want to do is reify it, turn it into ...

I mean, if you would look at the so-called levels of development, I've made it very more

clear that those are much more things like bands in a rainbow, they are very loose and

merged together.

They are not rigid like rungs in a ladder that you just have to step up on.

And people, certainly, some of their multiple intelligences are very high on the ladder, some are

very medium, others are very low.

They are switching sort of all the time, they are constant up and down, and going and flowing.

But there is, if you keep growing and developing, there is a subtle but continuing growth and

increase in the degree of sophistication, the degree of maturity and development that

you have, that each of these goes through.

And it's not just that, it's also just using it as an objective system.

You can look at things happening in the world and it explains a staggering amount of material

that otherwise seems just stupid or silly or crazy.

It explains culture wars really well, it explains international politics really well, and so


So there a broad spectrum of uses that you can have for something like this.

>>Rick: You brought out a point in, I think it was in your Integral Buddhism book, which

I've been reading the last couple of nights, or maybe it was an article that you wrote:

"To experience enlightenment in today's world is not to become any freer than the ancient

sages since emptiness doesn't change, but it is to become fuller since the world has

grown in complexity."

I found that fascinating.

It's as though in a more diverse, complex, dynamic world enlightenment, if you can attain

it, is actually going to be more interesting in a way, than it would be in a much more

primitive world.

>>Ken: Right.

It started out and the idea was: there was a world of samsara and there was a world of

nirvana, any you had to get off the world of samsara, just gone, off of it, get rid

of it, and embrace just the world of nirvana.

And that is what Gautama Buddha originally preached and that's what Buddhists practiced

for 600 to 800 years.

And then a gentleman by the name of Nagarjuna came along and he said, "Wait a minute, there's

something not quite right about that.

Nirvana is real, samsara is real, but they are not split.

There is a deeper unity underlying them, it makes them one," or what he technically called

"nondual" � they are not two.

So the Heart Sutras say, "That which is emptiness is not another than form, that which is form

is not other than emptiness."

That meant exactly that which is samsara is not other than nirvana, that which is nirvana

is not other than samsara.

And so with that we got a whole switch in ideal, from an Arhat who promises to get into

nirvana and get off the world of samsara forever, to the Bodhisattva who promised never to get

lost in just nirvana, but to find the unity of nirvana and samsara and to therefore stay

in both of them, as he helped individuals in samsara gain their own enlightenment, which

was to realize the profound unity of nirvana and samsara.

And so being able to work those both together, realizing that you're not looking for a kingdom

that's not of this earth; you're looking for a heaven on earth, you're looking for where

heaven and earth are not two, and can make that the paradise.

That's a completely different change, and that's a change that has an enormous nobility

to it, and an enormous care, and that is why compassion became so big to Mahayana Buddhism.

It was said that even Plato, who originally had shadows in a cave and then the light outside

the cave, and the idea was "get rid of the shadows, find the light."

According to Lovejoy in The Great Chain of Being, Plato then in his final Form said that

shadows were actually just a manifestation of the light and you were to find the unity

between the two of them.

This is something we tend to see happen around the world, that there was first the idea that

the manifest world is broken, it's fallen, it's alienated, it's shot through with original

sin, it's marked by dukkha and it is inherently suffering, every bit of it, and your goal

is to get the hell off of that realm, entirely, and find a realm that was free of all of that.

And finding that freedom was a religious salvation.

That's what salvation meant, was getting off this broken, horrifying, suffering world.

>>Rick: Yeah, real life tended to be that way, I mean a toothache could kill you, there

was a good chance childbirth was going to kill you, the average lifespan was maybe 30

years, so you couldn't blame people for ... >>Ken: Absolutely not.

And that's what is so interesting, that when everybody from Nagarjuna to Plato to Plotinus

started saying, "Wait, these are actually two different aspects of one underlying wholeness.

Our job is to find the wholeness, not to latch on to just one half of that broken whole."

And everything started changing at that point in the waking up dimension and that's profound,

that's in a sense still where it is, this discovery of this nondual reality.

But then part of that nondual reality of course is how we express it.

Do we express it through egocentric modes, through ethnocentric modes, through world-centric

modes, or through integrated modes?

It's our choice, we can do either, and they are all profoundly different.

And lower ones offer horrifying problems, and the upper ones offer an enormous amount

of integration and wholeness that much more accurately reflects the nondual unity of ultimate

reality itself.

So this is one of the things that's really important to help bring that kind of nondual

reality, which is ever-present, but to have that realization occur of that ever-presence,

and interpret it then from an integral, balanced fashion, and that seems to be about the best

that we can hope for nowadays.

>>Rick: Yeah, I think that the two perspectives offer very interesting implications as to

what God is.

The one is, "God sort of really blew it in creating this creation, or He is some kind

of a sadist who just wants to torture us and to make us get out of here" � that the main

point of being here is to get out of here, and the second one is more like, "What a wonderful


It's Divine, it's the Divine play, there's so much joy and creativity, and infinite possibilities

and wonderful things, and all that," which is the Divine created the creation for the

sake of Lila, not for the sake of some kind of torment.

>>Ken: Right, absolutely.

And that's a big change, that's a big change.

>>Rick: It is.

>>Ken: And you find it in East and West, not just one or the other.

>>Rick: It's a much more pleasant perspective to live with.

>>Ken: It is, it is.

>>Rick: Here's an interesting question that will shift our gears a little bit: "Do you

think that there will be an acceptance of replicated inner experience as a process of

scientific investigation?

The psychiatric community trusts subjective reports from patients to modify pharmaceutical

products, so why not trust the subjective reports of yogis to suggest therapies to help

map out realities more subtle than scientific instruments are capable of detecting?"

>>Ken: I think that is possible in a sense up to a certain point, and then it leaves

some things out.

The traditions themselves tend to differentiate between what they call "relative states" and

"ultimate states."

So if you look at for example some of the Neoplatonic traditions, if you look at Tibetan

Buddhism, if you look at Vedanta Hinduism, you find the same five major states of consciousness

that are given.

And these five by the way, are the five states that when you study them in a row become five

major stages of meditation.

And somebody like Daniel P. Brown has done an enormous amount of research now with over

20 different meditation systems showing that most of them go through essentially these

five major stages of development.

And I have agreed with that for some 20 years.

Dustin DiPerna by the way wrote a couple of booksEvolution Alley and Streams of Wisdom

where he points out that these five states that I recommend, and that this researcher,

Daniel P. Brown, has discovered, and he shows that they are exactly similar and how fundamental

they are.

I think there are several other ways you can talk about these states, but these five are

central and are pretty important.

There are three relative states and two ultimate states.

The three relative states are states that exist in space and time, they have temporal

duration, they have boundaries; they come, they stay a while and they go.

And they are classically called "gross, subtle, and causal," examples of which are always

given as waking state, dream state, and deep dreamless or formless state.

And these are relative, you know, they come, stay for a while and they then go, then the

next one comes, stays a while and goes, the next one comes, stays a while and goes.

Then there are two ultimate states, these are states that are ever-present, they are

fully present right now, and one is called "turiya" and one is called "turyatita."

And the wordturiya' is Sanskrit that literally meansthe fourth,' and it is called "the

fourth" because it is the fourth state after the first three states of gross, subtle, and

causalor waking, dreaming, and deep sleepthat's three and then turiya is the fourth,

but turiya is an ultimate state.

And then beyond turiya is turyatita, and that is whatturyatita' means, beyond turiya.

So turiya is just pure witnessing, it is not identified with anything, it is a radical,

ever-present awareness, not any content of awareness ...

>>Rick: Transcendental consciousness.

>>Ken: ... just pure awareness.

>>Rick: Yeah.

>>Ken: And it's not this, not thatneti, netinot that, not that, not that.

And in turyatita there is a sense of radical freedom, because you are free of any identification

with anything; you are completely free of any and all things.

So the attitude is like, "I have sensations but I'm not those sensations.

I have feelings but I'm not those feelings.

I have thoughts but I'm not those thoughts.

I am just the pure awareness."

So that is pure turiya, pure witness, sometimes called "true self" or "real self," and then

when you get to turyatita, all of a sudden the witness which is standing back from everything

and witnessing it impartially, without any pain or any attraction or any desire, or anything,

all of a sudden the witness just tends to dissolve into everything that it is witnessing

and there is just a pure oneness.

So you no longer see the mountain, you are the mountain, you no longer see the clouds,

you are clouds, you no longer feel the earth, you are the earth.

That's the state of pure, nondual oneness or pure unity, and it is sometimes called

"ultimate Divine," "unity," "Divine," "Consciousness," and so on.

And so it is when we get to that ultimate state in which everything is arising and it

is the ground of absolutely everything, that state is very, very hard to pin down in brain

processes or brain waves.

In the relative states you can definitely do it, I mean, you can already take, for example,

waking, dream, and deep sleep, which tend to be things like beta waves for waking, theta

waves for dreaming, and delta waves for deep sleep, and you can measure those out.

We talked about me stopping brain waves where I stopped all beta waves of waking state,

or I stopped all theta waves of dreaming, and it was just delta witnessing - deep, dreamless

sleep waves.

And those can all be measured and we're going to get increasingly sophisticated measures

of those relative types of alternative states.

I think Ritchie Dickerson at Wisconsin is doing a lot of this, the Dalai Lama gaining

access to pretty much every meditating Tibetan monk in the world for him to investigate and

research on.

I think they were the first to discover things like gamma waves, for monks that have been

practicing Tonglen or compassion, having meditated for 20 years, they showed massive amounts

of gamma waves.

So I think those kinds of things are going to increase, and we actually call them the

"upper right quadrant," which are things like brain waves and neurophysiological connections

and so on, and upper left, which we call the "states of consciousness" themselves, the

actual experiences of consciousness itself.

And I think that is going to increase.

I think as you get to the ultimate states, particularly turyatita, these are incredibly

difficult to pin down.

Because what researchers can maintain, for example, if they are studying let's say theta

dream states and they track the theta waves in the brain when somebody is dreaming, that

can be done fairly straightforwardly.

But when you get to an ultimate state of consciousness, the experience, the phenomenological experience

you have when you experience something like that radically ultimate state, is that that's

a ground that has been present throughout all manifest history.

It goes all the way back to the Big Bang and before.

By the way, if there is something like Spirit, that's what you would expect it to do!

You wouldn't expect a real spirit of the universe to be produced by your brain!

What spirit is that?

The Spirit is supposed to make the brain, it's not produced by the brain; that would

be ridiculous!

It would also mean that there was no spirit in the universe until about a million years

ago, when human brains came along.

That's all backwards.

That doesn't work.

When you get to that ultimate state, if you are looking at how certainly how the traditions

would view it, the brain exists in that state, that state doesn't exist in the brain.

So it does get into some really funky kinds of areas that scientists just don't know what

to do with.

So at that point it starts to get a little weird.

But all the other states, yeah, I think we are going to have very, very clear and specific

maps of those.

And it will be important to continue to remember that the map is not the territory, and that

goes for all the maps I've made as well.

They are not the territory and we don't want to confuse the map with the territory, but

at the same time, we don't want to have a completely screwed up map.

A screwed map is a map that gives you a spiritual awakening and tells nothing about spiritual

growing up and spiritual cleaning upthat's a bad map, that's a broken map.

But once you recognize those are there, it doesn't mean you can just learn that map and

know it; it means you have to go out and experience waking up, you have to realize your radical

oneness with everything, and you actually have to grow through the stages of growing

up, at least get into some higher stages that would get you out of ethnocentric, power-driven


And if you have got some sort of mass of shadow, don't just learn about it, do something about


So these are the areas that we increasingly want to work on, and the more good maps we

have of those, great, the better.

>>Rick: Yeah, I think maps are important.

When Lewis and Clark went across the country, even though there weren't any roads, if they

had had good maps that at least told them where the mountains were, they could have

saved themselves a lot of trouble.

>>Ken: That's the truth.

>>Rick: And I think that spiritual seekers, if the territory is more clearly understood,

if we could have a modern GPS version of the spiritual territory versus the Lewis and Clark

version, then I think people would be able to navigate much more efficiently and with

far fewer mishaps.

>>Ken: I can relate to that, yeah, my great, great, great, great grandfather was Lewis.

>>Rick: Oh really!


>>Ken: Yeah.

>>Rick: Very good.

Was he the one who killed himself or the other guy?

>>Ken: Yes he was, he was the genius who killed himself.

I'm trying to live up to that.

>>Rick: Yeah.

A bunch of questions have come in from people, this one is from Steven in Chicago.

I think he is alluding to Shakespeare's As You Like It, it says, "What's the point of

all this development if it is just a stage and we are merely players?

Why take it so seriously?"

>>Ken: Depends on your capacity to endure suffering.

If you can endure and carry and be beaten up daily by enormous amounts of suffering,

fine, no worry.

If on the other hand you get tired of being flagged and bruised and battered and broken,

then you might want to take up steps to do something about it.

And the good news is there are many steps that can cure those problems, and there's

a good reason to do that if and only if you are tired of being tortured.

>>Rick: It's a good answer.

I mean, it's rather glib to say, "Oh, this is only a dream," but the dream can get pretty

nasty, and if you can make it a more enjoyable dream and yet also be liberated, not just

get caught up in the dream, why not?

>>Ken: History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.

>>Rick: Yeah.

How are you doing