Exploring an Integral Judaism

Last week I had another opportunity to meet with Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Philosophy, at his home in Denver, CO. We enjoyed a deep and insightful 3 hour conversation about the future of religion and it’s role in regards to human evolution.  We discussed “The Great Human Tradition” philosophy (for more on the GHT see my other website www.evolvingjudaism.com) and some practical details to its present unfolding.  We also explored the concept of an “Integral Education” and the varied ways it is currently being manifested, as well as some pitfalls to watch out for.

Ken shared about the need for there to be more exposure in mainstream religion regarding “stage” development and “state” experiences brought out in a language that is accessible to its audience’s current level of “stage-development”.  He spoke of the need for religious seekers at all stages to have authentic “state experiences” like those traversed through different meditative sojourns.  This is of great value, to both individual and collective evolution, for authentic state experiences naturally lead to further stage development.  Ken was careful to described how “state experiences” are always interpreted through whatever “stage” of development the practitioner is holding at the time (for more on this see Ken’s book: Integral Spirituality).

Ken Wilber and Gavriel Strauss

Ken and I discussed the current problem with how the whole line of “Spiritual Intelligence” has been collectively “frozen” due to the uncountable atrocities enacted by the “pre-modern religious world”.  As Ken puts it, the modern world threw out the “baby” of the entire line of spiritual intelligence with the “bathwater” of pre-modern religion.  This caused the modern world at large to condemn religion and spirituality to the level of superstitious myth, while empowering science to take its place in answering life’s existential questions, i.e. the question of “What is it that is of ultimate concern?”.  Science, as Ken says, has no business claiming the authority to answer such questions, for these existential questions of ultimate concern are to be left to the domain of healthy, developed, integral spirituality.

In short, the collective line of spiritual intelligence hit a “steel ceiling” at its amber or pre-rational stage of development and wasn’t allowed the healthy flowering of an orange or rational expression/stage of its development.  This in-turn led to a world where we have religious collectives “fixated” on a pre-rational version of their religious beliefs and practices, and a modern and post-modern collective who “represses” religion and spirituality as a valid line of development.  Either way you strike it we’re left with an imbalanced global narrative which results in the corrupt systemic symptoms with which Western culture continues to pollute the world.

The cure?  The introduction of more versions of orange or rational spirituality into the mainstream of both religious and modern/post-modern collectives, among these include different forms of Yoga and Zen and other types of Buddhism (as well as green and “second tier/Integral” versions of religion, e.g. Evolving Judaism, Integral Christianity and Integral Islam). Ken also mentioned the recent rise in “mindfulness” theories and practices (a very rational approach to spirituality, often presented devoid of its Buddhist roots); he said the popularity of mindfulness is a sign of the collectives yearning for more orange spirituality.

+Check out this Forbes article about a “60 Minutes” program on Mindfullness: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/12/14/60-minutes-explores-the-rise-of-mindfulness-meditation-and-how-it-can-change-the-brain/
+And this article in The Guardian about the rise of Mindfulness in schools and hospitals: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/06/mindfulness-hospitals-schools#img-1
+Or this video of Arianna Huffington and Jon Kabat-Zinn speaking on the topic:

Another example of how orange spirituality is gaining more acceptance and credibility is through countless “scientific” studies on the benefits of meditation:
+Here’s a recent article about a Harvard study that a friend of mine just posted:

On another positive note (I feel we need more positive news these days… don’t you agree?), Ken seemed to think that we in the US are moving toward the “Leading Edge” of our collective hitting the 10-15% mark of Integral consciousness which could lead to a critical mass trickle down effect of more national openness to Integral concepts and practices.  It’s his feeling that the Leading Edge has already passed the 15% mark in green consciousness which occurred somewhere around the sixties and is inching toward “second tier” Integral!  In other words we’re talking good news for global evolution… If you’re not hip to the Integral lingo.

All in all Ken was an incredibly gracious host and thankfully looked great!  I was honored to get to spend so much one on one time with such a brilliant thinker and be-er.

For expanded info on these topics and more I highly recommend Ken’s book: Integral Spirituality and chapter 9 in particular : )

Here’s a brief overview of the Integral Stages of Development:

And a more in depth chart: http://integral-life-home.s3.amazonaws.com/SteveSelf-Altitude.jpg

Posted on January 16, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. How fortunate you are to spend time with Ken. I presume you saw him while you were at Ohalah(?). I really appreciate your writings bringing Integral and Judaism together. Perhaps I will meet you one day at a Jewish Renewal event. I’m planning on attending Ruach this summer.
    It seems to me that some movements such as the Conservative movement, are quite orange, very rational. They accept religion, but threw out the developmental aspect of the Judaic mission. I do see more programs such as meditation at Conservative synagogues, but it is slow. I’m trying to bring a teal or indigo approach to an educational institution.

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