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Ken Wilber quotes (showing 1-30 of 97)

“And therefore, all of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe, wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout form the heart—perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakable public example—but authentically always and absolutely carries a a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability, and shake the spiritual tree, and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacent. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you.
Alas, if you fail to do so, you are betraying your own authenticity. You are hiding your true estate. You don’t want to upset others because you don’t want to upset your self. You are acting in bad faith, the taste of a bad infinity.

Because, you see, the alarming fact is that any realization of depth carries a terrible burden: those who are allowed to see are simultaneously saddled with the obligation to communicate that vision in no uncertain terms: that is the bargain. You were allowed to see the truth under the agreement that you would communicate it to others (that is the ultimate meaning of the bodhisattva vow). And therefore, if you have seen, you simply must speak out. Speak out with compassion, or speak out with angry wisdom, or speak out with skillful means, but speak out you must.
And this is truly a terrible burden, a horrible burden, because in any case there is no room for timidity. The fact that you might be wrong is simply no excuse: You might be right in your communication, and you might be wrong, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter, as Kierkegaard so rudely reminded us, is that only by investing and speaking your vision with passion, can the truth, one way or another, finally penetrate the reluctance of the world. If you are right, or if you are wrong, it is only your passion that will force either to be discovered. It is your duty to promote that discovery—either way—and therefore it is your duty to speak your truth with whatever passion and courage you can find in your heart. You must shout, in whatever way you can.”
Ken Wilber, One Taste
“I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.”
Ken Wilber
tags: truth
“The truth will not necessarily set you free, but truthfulness will.”
Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything
“That all opposites—such as mass and energy, subject and object, life and death—are so much each other that they are perfectly inseparable, still strikes most of us as hard to believe. But this is only because we accept as real the boundary line between the opposites. It is, recall, the boundaries themselves which create the seeming existence of separate opposites. To put it plainly, to say that "ultimate reality is a unity of opposites" is actually to say that in ultimate reality there are no boundaries. Anywhere.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“The simple fact is that we live in a world of conflict and opposites because we live in a world of boundaries. Since every boundary line is also a battle line, here is the human predicament: the firmer one’s boundaries, the more entrenched are one’s battles. The more I hold onto pleasure, the more I necessarily fear pain. The more I pursue goodness, the more I am obsessed with evil. The more I seek success, the more I must dread failure. The harder I cling to life, the more terrifying death becomes. The more I value anything, the more obsessed I become with its loss. Most of our problems, in other words, are problems of boundaries
and the opposites they create.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“To the extent that you actually realize that you are not, for example, your anxieties, then your anxieties no longer threaten you. Even if anxiety is present, it no longer overwhelms you because you are no longer exclusively tied to it. You are no longer courting it, fighting it, resisting it, or running from it. In the most radical fashion, anxiety is thoroughly accepted as it is and allowed to move as it will. You have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, by its presence or absence, for you are simply watching it pass by.

Thus, any emotion, sensation, thought, memory, or experience that disturbs you is simply one with which you have exclusively identified yourself, and the ultimate resolution of the disturbance is simply to dis-identify with it. You cleanly let all of them drop away by realizing that they are not you--since you can see them, they cannot be the true Seer and Subject. Since they are not your real self, there is no reason whatsoever for you to identify with them, hold on to them, or allow your self to be bound by them.

Slowly, gently, as you pursue this dis-identification "therapy," you may find that your entire individual self (persona, ego, centaur), which heretofore you have fought to defend and protect, begins to go transparent and drop away. Not that it literally falls off and you find yourself floating, disembodied, through space. Rather, you begin to feel that what happens to your personal self—your wishes, hopes, desires, hurts—is not a matter of life-or-death seriousness, because there is within you a deeper and more basic self which is not touched by these peripheral fluctuations, these surface waves of grand commotion but feeble substance.

Thus, your personal mind-and-body may be in pain, or humiliation, or fear, but as long as you abide as the witness of these affairs, as if from on high, they no longer threaten you, and thus you are no longer moved to manipulate them, wrestle with them, or subdue them. Because you are willing to witness them, to look at them impartially, you are able to transcend them. As St. Thomas put it, "Whatever knows certain things cannot have any of them in its own nature." Thus, if the eye were colored red, it wouldn't be able to perceive red objects. It can see red because it is clear, or "redless." Likewise, if we can but watch or witness our distresses, we prove ourselves thereby to be "distress-less," free of the witnessed turmoil. That within which feels pain is itself pain-less; that which feels fear is fear-less; that which perceives tension is tensionless. To witness these states is to transcend them. They no longer seize you from behind because you look at them up front.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“Anything which is just born, which has just come into existence, has no past behind it. Birth, in other words, is the condition of having no past. And likewise, anything which now dies, which has just ceased to be, has no future left in front of it. Death is the condition of having no future. But we have already seen that this present moment has both no past and no future simultaneously. That is, birth and death are one in this present moment. This moment is just now being born—you can never find a past to this present moment, you can never find something before it. Yet also, this moment is just now dying — you can never find a future to this moment, never find something after it. This present, then, is a coincidence of opposites, a unity of birth and death, being and non-being, living and dying. As Ippen put it, "Every moment is the last moment and every moment is a rebirth.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“Sometime the witch hunting takes on atrocious dimensions — the Nazi persecution of Jews, the Salem witch trials, the Ku Klux Klan scapegoating of blacks. Notice, however, that in all such cases the persecutor hates the persecuted for precisely those traits that the persecutor displays with a glaringly uncivilized fury. At other times, the witch hunt appears in less terrifying proportions—the cold war fear of a "Commie under every bed," for instance. And often, it appears in comic form—the interminable gossip about everybody else that tells you much more about the gossiper than about the object of gossip. But all of these are instances of individuals desperate to prove that their own shadows belong to other people.

Many men and women will launch into tirades about how disgusting homosexuals are. Despite how decent and rational they otherwise try to behave, they find themselves seized with a loathing of any homosexual, and in an emotional outrage will advocate such things as suspending gay civil rights (or worse). But why does such an individual hate homosexuals so passionately? Oddly, he doesn’t hate the homosexual because he is homosexual; he hates him because he sees in the homosexual what he secretly fears he himself might become. He is most uncomfortable with his own natural, unavoidable, but minor homosexual tendencies, and so projects them. He thus comes to hate the homosexual inclinations in other people—but only because he first hates them in himself.

And so, in one form or another, the witch hunt goes. We hate people "because," we say, they are dirty, stupid, perverted, immoral.... They might be exactly what we say they are. Or they might not. That is totally irrelevent, however, because we hate them only if we ourselves unknowingly possess the despised traits ascribed to them. We hate them because they are a constant reminder of aspects of ourselves that we are loathe to admit.
We are starting to see an important indicator of projection. Those items in the environment (people or things) that strongly affect us instead of just informing us are usually our own projections. Items that bother us, upset us, repulse us, or at the other extreme, attract us, compel us, obsess us—these are usually reflections of the shadow. As an old proverb has it,

I looked, and looked, and this I came to see:
That what I thought was you and you,
Was really me and me.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“The movement of descent and discovery begins at the moment you consciously become dissatisfied with life. Contrary to most professional opinion, this gnawing dissatisfaction with life is not a sign of "mental illness," nor an indication of poor social adjustment, nor a character disorder. For concealed within this basic unhappiness with life and existence is the embryo of a growing intelligence, a special intelligence usually buried under the immense weight of social shams. A person who is beginning to sense the suffering of life is, at the same time, beginning to awaken to deeper realities, truer realities. For suffering smashes to pieces the complacency of our normal fictions about reality, and forces us to become alive in a special sense—to see carefully, to feel deeply, to touch ourselves and our worlds in ways we have heretofore avoided. It has been said, and truly I think, that suffering is the first grace. In a special sense, suffering is almost a time of rejoicing, for it marks the birth of creative insight.

But only in a special sense. Some people cling to their suffering as a mother to its child, carrying it as a burden they dare not set down. They do not face suffering with awareness, but rather clutch at their suffering, secretly transfixed with the spasms of martyrdom. Suffering should neither be denied awareness, avoided, despised, not glorified, clung to, dramatized. The emergence of suffering is not so much good as it is a good sign, an indication that one is starting to realize that life lived outside unity consciousness is ultimately painful, distressing, and sorrowful. The life of boundaries is a life of battles—of fear, anxiety, pain, and finally death. It is only through all manner of numbing compensations, distractions, and enchantments that we agree not to question our illusory boundaries, the root cause of the endless wheel of agony. But sooner or later, if we are not rendered totally insensitive, our defensive compensations begin to fail their soothing and concealing purpose. As a consequence, we begin to suffer in one way or another, because our awareness is finally directed toward the conflict-ridden nature of our false boundaries and the fragmented life supported by them.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“Both the old and new physics were dealing with shadow-symbols, but the new physics was forced to be aware of that fact - forced to be aware that it was dealing with shadows and illusions, not reality.”
Ken Wilber, Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists
“Increasing consciousness = increasing complexity.”
Ken Wilber, Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening
“Because we demand a future, we live each moment in expectation and unfulfillment. We live each moment in passing. In just this way the real nunc stans, the timeless present, is reduced to the nunc fluens, the fleeting present, the passing present of a mere one or two seconds. We expect each moment to pass on to a future moment, for in this fashion we pretend to avoid death by always rushing toward an imagined future. We want to meet ourselves in the future. We don’t want just now—we want another now, and another, and another, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And thus, paradoxically, our impoverished present is fleeting precisely because we demand that it end! We want it to end so that it can thereby pass on to yet another moment, a future moment, which will in turn live only to pass.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“As simple as that sounds, it is nevertheless extremely difficult to adequately discuss no-boundary awareness or nondual consciousness. This is because our language — the medium in which all verbal discussion must float — is a language of boundaries. As we have seen, words and symbols and thoughts themselves are actually nothing but boundaries, for whenever you think or use a word or name, you are already creating boundaries. Even to say "reality is no-boundary awareness" is still to create a distinction between boundaries and no-boundary! So we have to keep in mind the great difficulty involved with dualistic language. That "reality is no-boundary" is true enough, provided we remember that no-boundary awareness is a direct, immediate, and nonverbal awareness, and not a mere philosophical theory. It is for these reasons that the mystic-sages stress that reality lies beyond names and forms, words and thoughts, divisions and boundaries. Beyond all boundaries lies the real world of Suchness, the Void, the Dharmakaya, Tao, Brahman, the Godhead. And in the world of suchness, there is neither good nor bad, saint nor sinner, birth nor death, for in the world of suchness there are no boundaries.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“Most of us are only willing to call 5% of our present information into question any one point.”
Ken Wilber
“Because the egoic mind has led us to feel separate from our immortal Ground of Being over the millennia, we have invented a number of immortality symbols to give us a precarious sense of security and identity in life. Traditionally, these have been religious in character, such as the belief in everlasting life after death, in the West, and the belief in reincarnation, in the East. However, today, it is money that provides the primary immortality symbol. It is our obsession for money that is driving humanity to extinction. For when we do not face our fears with full consciousness and intelligence, these fears will eventually come along to haunt us.”
Ken Wilber
“THE ULTIMATE METAPHYSICAL SECRET, if we dare state it so simply, is that there are no boundaries in the universe. Boundaries are illusions, products not of reality but of the way we map and edit reality. And while it is fine to map out the territory, it is fatal to confuse the two.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth
“This present moment, since it knows neither past nor future, is itself timeless, and that which is timeless is Eternal. Thus “the eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.”
Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness
“Man, the mask of God,”
Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness
“The difference between supermind and Big Mind (if we take Big Mind to mean the state experience of nondual Suchness, or turiyatita) is that Big Mind can be experienced or recognized at virtually any lower level or rung. Magic to Integral. In fact, one can be at, say, the Pluralistic stage, and experience several core characteristics of the entire sequence of state-stages (gross to subtle to causal to Witnessing to Nondual), although, of course, the entire sequence, including nondual Suchness, will be interpreted in Pluralistic terms. This is unfortunate in many ways—interpreting Dharma in merely Pluralistic terms (or Mythic terms, or Rational, and so on)—because it is so ultimately reductionistic; but it happens all the time, given the relative independence of states and structures at 1st and 2nd tier.

Supermind, on the other hand, as a basic structure-rung (conjoined with nondual Suchness) can only be experienced once all the previous junior levels have emerged and developed, and as in all structure development, stages cannot be skipped. Therefore, unlike Big Mind, supermind can only be experienced after all 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-tier junior stages have been passed through. While, as Genpo Roshi has abundantly demonstrated, Big Mind state experience is available to virtually anybody at almost any age (and will be interpreted according to the View of their current stage), supermind is an extremely rare recognition. Supermind, as the highest structure-rung to date, has access to all previous structures, all the way back to Archaic—and the Archaic itself, of course, has transcended and included, and now embraces, every major structural evolution going all the way back to the Big Bang. (A human being literally enfolds and embraces all the major transformative unfoldings of the entire Kosmic history—strings to quarks to subatomic particles to atoms to molecules to cells, all the way through the Tree of Life up to its latest evolutionary emergent, the triune brain, the most complex structure in the known natural world.) Supermind, in any given individual, is experienced as a type of “omniscience”—the supermind, since it transcends and includes all of the previous structure-rungs, and inherently is conjoined with the highest nondual Suchness state, has a full and complete knowledge of all of the potentials in that person. It literally “knows all,” at least for the individual.”
Ken Wilber, The Fourth Turning: Imagining the Evolution of an Integral Buddhism
“If the soul wants to know God, it cannot do so in time. For so long as the soul is conscious of time or space or any other [object], it cannot know God.”
Ken Wilber, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution
“The adventure of awakening is among the most universal of human dramas.”
Ken Wilber, Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening
“Eternity is not ever-lasting time but the real, unfading, indestructible, and timeless Present, for, as Schroedinger said, the present is the only thing that has no end.”
Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness
“Buddhist discipline is designed to transmute trishna, or egoic narcissism, into Karuna, Divine Narcissism; that is, to transmute self-love, which excludes love of others, into Self-love, which is love of others.”
Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness
“I was slowly learning that love did not mean holding on, which I had always thought, but rather letting go.”
Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber
“Todo sucede como si de un modo deliberado nos estuvièramos pelliscando dolorosamente a nosotros mismos y pretendièramos, al mismo tiempo, que no es asì.”
Ken Wilber
“Becoming a leader is the same as becoming a fully integrated human being,”
Ken Wilber, Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening
“Between life’s stimuli and our habitual responses exists choice.”
Ken Wilber, Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening
“The whole game is undone, this nightmare of evolution, and you are exactly where you were prior to the beginning of the whole show. With a sudden shock of the utterly obvious, you recognize your own Original Face, the face you had prior to the Big Bang, the face of utter Emptiness that smiles as all creation and sings as the entire Kosmos—and it is all undone in that primal glance, and all that is left is the smile, and the reflection of the moon on a quiet pond, late on a crystal clear night.”
Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything
“At the Integral stages of development, the entire universe starts to make sense, to hang together, to actually appear as a uni-verse—a “one world”—a single, unified, integrated world that unites not only different philosophies and ideas about the world, but different practices for growth and development as well.”
Ken Wilber, Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening
“El dios, o la diosa, del capitalismo, del marxismo, del industrialismo, de la ecología profunda, del consumismo o del ecofeminismo es el dios de lo que puede verse con los ojos, percibirse con los sentidos, registrarse con los sentimientos o venerarse con las sensaciones, un dios al que puede hincarse el diente y que se agota en las formas.”
Ken Wilber, Breve historia de todas las cosas

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