As one who has written extensively about the interior life, meditation, and psychotherapy, Ken Wilber—the leading theorist in the field of integral psychology—naturally arouses the curiosity of his numerous readers. In response to this curiosity, this one-year diary not only offers an unprecedented entrée into his private world, but offers an introduction to his essential thought. "If there is a theme to this journal," Wilber writes, "it is that body, mind, and the luminosities of the soul—all are perfect expressions of the Radiant Spirit that alone inhabits the universe, sublime gestures of that Great Perfection that alone outshines the world."
Wilber's personal writings include:
• Details of his own spiritual practice
• Advice to spiritual seekers
• Reflections on his work and that of other prominent theorists in the field of integral psychology
• His day-to-day personal experiences
• Dozens of his short theoretical essays on topics from art to feminism to spirituality to psychotherapy
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
March 19—San Francisco
This morning I rented a car and drove out to Muir Beach, to Sam Keen's house, where
Treya and I first lived together after we were married (we rented the house from him; nobody was there today). I sat on the porch for an hour, maybe two.
It's still with me. She lingers still. The sadness is palpable, part of the misty atmosphere over the beach, making it hard to breathe.
For about two weeks after her death, I was in the same state of glory and grace in which she had passed. There was only radiant awareness, with no subject and no object, but everything arising just as it should, beautifully. We were together, then, I'm sure. And then the self-contraction returned, as is its wont, and I was Ken again, mostly.
look out over the beach; scenes of our life together emerge from the clouds and come looking for me. In many ways, I always think of Treya and me together in this house. We had a few months here before cancer struck; it was the only cancer-free zone in our entire time together. So it is here that I see her whole and full, breathtakingly beautiful, a radiance that reached right into you and grabbed your soul, and spoke in words too tender too repeat. It was here that we danced and cried, made love and laughter, held on to each other as if to life itself. And it was here that those wretched words, "Terry has cancer," were first spoken by me, over the phone, to family and friends,
in that first, horrible, hideous night.
I don't think of her that much anymore, because she is a part of that which thinks. She runs in my blood and beats in my heart; she is part of me, always,
so I don't have to picture her to remember her. She is on this side of my skin,
not that, not out there, not away from me. Treya and I grew up together, and died together. We were always two sides of the same person. It will always be so, I think.
On the plane, back to Boulder. Had dinner with Mike Murphy and Sylvia the other night. We talked about the Integral Transformative Practice centers that he and
George [Leonard] are starting. Mike's got the Stanford Center for Research in
Disease Prevention on board to help to document the progress and effectiveness of the integral training. This is truly important work, groundbreaking work, I
think, and it will help to define an entirely new approach to psychological and spiritual transformation, one that includes the best of ancient wisdom and the brightest of modern knowledge. No surprise that once again Murphy is at the leading edge.
Glorious morning—Boulder can be beautiful. Went shopping, restocked the refrigerator,
started through the piles of mail, 62 phone messages, etc.
Andy Warhol Diaries.
now we know the speed of shallow. Actually, I came to rather like Warhol. And his art. The fruit of one branch of the tree of Duchamp, Warhol is the consummate artist of flatland. His works are all surface, bright and vigorous,
alarming and electric, with absolutely nothing underneath. I don't like flatland, but I like his striking representation of it. "Surface, surface,
surface was all that anyone found meaningful." Warhol is really a great forerunner of postmodernism's aggressive, virulent, unyielding shallowness.
Sitting here on the porch, watching the sun go down. Except there is no watcher, just the sun, setting, setting. From purest Emptiness, brilliant clarity shines forth. The sound of the birds, over there. Clouds, a few, right up there. But there is no "up," no "down," no "over," and no
"there"—because there is no "me" or "I" for which these directions make sense. There is just
clear, easy, effortless, ever-present
became extremely serious about meditation practice when I read the following line from the illustrious Sri Ramana Maharshi: "That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real."
That is a shocking statement, because basically, there is nothing— literally nothing—in the deep dreamless state. That was his point. Ultimate reality (or
Spirit), Ramana said, cannot be something that pops into consciousness and then pops out. It must be something that is constant, permanent, or, more technically, something that, being
at every point in time. Therefore, ultimate reality must also be fully present in deep dreamless sleep, and anything that is
present in deep dreamless sleep is NOT ultimate reality.
This profoundly disturbed me, because I had had several
(glimpses of One Taste), but they were all generally confined to the waking state. Moreover, most of the things I cared for existed in the waking state.
And yet clearly the waking state is not permanent. It comes and goes every twenty-four hours. And yet, according to the great sages, there is something in us that is
that is literally conscious or aware at all times and through all states, waking,
dreaming, sleeping. And that
ever-present awareness is Spirit in us.
That underlying current of constant consciousness (or nondual awareness) is a direct and unbroken ray of pure Spirit itself. It is our connection with the Goddess,
our pipeline straight to God.
if we want to realize our supreme identity with Spirit, we will have to plug ourselves into this current of constant consciousness, and follow it through all changes of state—waking, dreaming, sleeping—which will (i)
strip us of an exclusive identification with any of those states (such as the body,
the mind, the ego, or the soul); and (ii) allow us to recognize and identify with that which is constant—or timeless—through all of those states, namely,
Consciousness as Such, by any other name, timeless Spirit.
had been meditating fairly intensely for around twenty years when I came across that line from Ramana. I had studied Zen with Katagiri and Maezumi; Vajrayana with Kalu and Trungpa; Dzogchen with Pema Norbu and Chagdud; plus I had studied—sometimes briefly, sometimes for extended periods—Vedanta, TM,
Kashmir Shaivism, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, Daism, Sufism . . . , well,
it's a long list. When I ran across Ramana's statement, I was on an intensive
Dzogchen retreat with my primary Dzogchen teacher, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche.
Rinpoche also stressed the importance of carrying the mirror-mind into the dream and deep sleep states. I began having flashes of this constant nondual awareness, through all states, which Rinpoche confirmed. But it wasn't until a year later, during a very intense eleven-day period—in which the separate self seemed to radically, deeply, thoroughly die—that it all seemed to come to fruition. I slept not at all during those eleven days; or rather, I was conscious for eleven days and nights, even as the body and mind went through waking, dreaming, and sleeping: I was unmoved in the midst of changes; there was no I to be moved; there was only unwavering empty consciousness, the luminous mirror-mind, the witness that was one with everything witnessed. I
simply reverted to what I am, and it has been so, more or less, ever since.
The moment this constant nondual consciousness is obvious in your case, a new destiny will awaken in the midst of the manifest world. You will have discovered your own Buddha Mind, your own Godhead, your own formless,
spaceless, timeless, infinite Emptiness, your own Atman that is Brahman, your
Keter, Christ consciousness, radiant Shekhinah—in so many words, One Taste. It is unmistakably so. And just that is your true identity—pure Emptiness or pure unqualifiable Consciousness as Such—and thus you are released from the terror and the torment that necessarily arise when you identify with a little subject in a world of little objects.
Once you find your formless identity as Buddha-mind, as Atman, as pure Spirit or
Godhead, you will take that constant, nondual, ever-present consciousness and reenter the lesser states, subtle mind and gross body, and reanimate them with radiance. You will not remain merely Formless and Empty. You will Empty yourself of Emptiness: you will pour yourself out into the mind and world, and create them in the process, and enter them all equally, but especially and particularly that specific mind and body that is called you (that is called, in my case, Ken Wilber); this lesser self will become the vehicle of the Spirit that you are.
And then all things, including your own little mind and body and feelings and thoughts, will arise in the vast Emptiness that you are, and they will self-liberate into their own true nature just as they arise, precisely because you no longer identify with any one of them, but rather let them play, let them all arise, in the Emptiness and Openness that you now are. You then will awaken as radical Freedom, and sing those songs of radiant release, beam an infinity too obvious to see, and drink an ocean of delight. You will look at the moon as part of your body and bow to the sun as part of your heart, and all of it is just so. For eternally and always, eternally and always, there is only
But you have not found this Freedom, or in any way
It is in fact the same Freedom that has lived in the house of the pure Witness from the very start. You are merely recognizing the pure and empty Self, the radical I-I, that has been your natural awareness from the beginning and all along, but that you didn't notice because you had become lost in the intoxicating movie of life.