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No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,363 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A simple yet comprehensive guide to the types of psychologies and therapies available from Eastern and Western sources. Each chapter includes a specific exercise designed to help the reader understand the nature and practice of the specific therapies. Wilber presents an easy-to-use map of human consciousness against which the various therapies are introduced and explained. ...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published February 6th 2001 by Shambhala (first published 1979)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  1,363 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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T.J. Beitelman
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It was about a week after my mother died and I was in Reagan National Airport, in D.C., reading No Boundary as I waited for the plane to take me back to Birmingham and some semblance of the regular, workaday world. A woman came up to me and said, “Ooh, Ken Wilber. Deep.” I nodded, made the obligatory self-deprecating comment: “I only understand about every third word.” Which was pretty much true.

The lady told me how she thought it was fine to be brilliant and all, but a writer-thinker has a resp
Neelesh Marik
The most authentic book on consciousness I 've read to-date. There's no Integral Theory in this book. Given the inherent limitations of language in representing experience, this book comes closest to what could be possible. The last chapter appears complex at first, but is actually the crowning glory of simplicity. For any and every seeker in this world, this book will provide a new perspective to the act of seeking itself.

Some pearls from a book which is a veritable necklace:

Something very simp
Nov 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
Every thing is everything. Oh, and it is what it is. 1=1. A tautology is tautologous. Now you don't have to read a massive compendium of references in service of the point. ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't even know what to say about this book except that it opened up parts of my intellectual knowledge base in a way that has never been opened before. The root concepts in this book are nothing new to me but the way in which he went about explaining things, illuminated a completely new light. I finished the book with tons of highlights, tons of notes, places I need to return to for further clarification at a different time, a few questions and a deep desire to tell all my friends, who would ...more
Giorgi Bazerashvili
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book by Ken Wilber, a modern-day mystic, who gives us a comprehensive map of the development of consciousness in very practical terms. What I like the most in his teachings and writings, is his style, which encompasses models that create a sense of big-picture understanding and a bird-eye view over the psychological and spiritual planes of humankind.

He claims that there are no boundaries in the universe and tells us that all the boundaries are being created by us in every mome
Ben Guterson
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think I'm throwing in the towel on Wilber. This is the fourth or fifth book I've read by him over the years, and I've never been able to figure out if he's too profound for me or, rather, a guy with some cool but hazy ideas whose writing style doesn't work for me. I'm landing on the latter. This book, while it started off promising, veered into the fog about midway through, and I just couldn't see my way through the jumble of guru-speak, semi-arbitrary quotes, and sluggish explication. ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
No Boundary Review REDUX

It's crazy that this has happened ... but I re-read and actually finished reading this, and my current opinion of it is the polar opposite of my initial one. After my DNF, 1-star review where I unfairly and unflinchingly slammed the book, I kept hearing & reading things in various podcasts, books, articles, conversations, etc. that would contain hints of ideas I first read about in No Boundary. It was after a very deep conversation over coffee with a friend, where I f
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
“As Korzybsky and the general semanticists have pointed out, our words, symbols, signs, thoughts and ideas are merely maps of reality, not reality itself, because the map is not the territory.”

My fear of disappointment in this book came from two primary sources. One, the subject matter. For seemingly, for every respectable work subtitling the phrase 'personal growth', countless others, offering no more than superficial self-help drivel, sprout up to usurp one’s attention and define the genre. An
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone wondering waht it's all about
Ken Wilber, who has mastered most of the mystical religious traditions of the world, makes the mystical very very practical in this down-to-earth book. He examines the way in which we create boundaries as a instinctual act of consciousness, and the fallacies it results in as far as our understanding of the world, our selves, reality, and spirituality. Nothing esoteric, just a simple, matter of fact examination of the make-believe we treat as real, and an analysis of how various psychotherapeutic ...more
Jaïr Cijntje
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book you will find thé most clear explanations of every level of consciousness there is: from the shadow of the ego to the unity consciousness. Ken Wilber also does this without sounding like a mystic or a saint; he uses terminology and examples that are easy on the mind for us (read: sceptical Westerners). He manages to bundle the basics of everything you need and want to know, and offers book referrals at the end of each chapter, if you feel the need to further your self study. Which I ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I started to read this book with excitement and enthusiasm. I really wanted to "get" this Advaita / unity consciousness idea. I thought the first three chapters were well written, and I eagerly began chapter 4, No-Boundary Awareness, where he really gets into his thesis of "oneness." But starting on page 46 I slammed into a brick wall, to which I have returned several times for additional head-banging, but I'm still stuck, perhaps permanently. On the sense of sight, he says "Is perception really ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great read. It covers a lot of ground in a very organized and succinct manner that is easy to follow as it gets to the crux of the matter. However, its simplicity, straightforwardness and at times witty and amusing smile-inducing prose by no means undermine its seriousness and depth. Very well written.

My only "But" to this book is that Wilber seems to suggest here that the integration of the ego (between persona and shadow) and the centaur (between mind and body) are necessary in order to stand
Temo Tchanukvadze
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! A little book about our consciousness, shadow, and nonduality. Ken Wilber has astonishing explanation skills. Every time I kept reading I felt I was experiencing a little glimpse of no boundary world. He reveals some practical techniques to raise your consciousness. No Boundary is filled with sources for every subject you can research. He repeats the main subject many times from different perspective in case you can't grasp at first and sure you won't. I am planning to reread soon! ...more
Matt Harris
May 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Ken Wilber is one of my favourite western philosophers who has integrated the milestones of all disciplines of science, and eastern philosophy into a roadmap for us modern seekers. This book was particularly important for me in giving a link between Buddhist theories of interdependance and rational, empirical scientific observation.

It discusses at length the actual concept of a Boundary, what it means, and why it doesn't so much separate as join, and this insight alone is worth exploring the b
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Ken Wilber understands the Big Picture. But how do you go about explaining It All to people? This book is a good place to start. He informs us how to get to The Ultimate State of Consciousness by describing where it can't be found and what's holding us back. Boundaries. He moves through the different levels of boundaries we set up and talks about how they function and how various Western (psychological) approaches deal with them as well as how various Eastern (spiritual) approaches can help us b ...more
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I understood the "no boundary" concept intuitively as a boy but lost it somewhere in young adulthood. Wilber's book helped remind me that we're all parts of an infinitely larger whole, which isn't just nice to know, it's helpful in practical ways, for example having compassion for someone who is behaving badly. Oh and not to mention helping me cope with that little "fear of death" thing. ...more
Joseph Knecht
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A simple and yet very powerful text that tries to erase all boundaries.

There are many relevant insights, but I found the style of writing very pleasant to read.

Somehow the early writings of Wilber are better than the late writings, even better than his magnum opus.

The exasperating fact which Adam learned was that every boundary line is also a potential battle line, so that just to draw a boundary is to prepare oneself for conflict. Specifically, the conflict of the war of opposites, the agoniz
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this book!

The premise of the book is to look at the idea of boundaries as a manufactured reality and address how it compromises living our fullest, best lives. There are considerations of several religions, mindfulness practices, and therapy styles to arrive at a weltanschauung our unity consciousness.

The book is a great read. It is approachable even through complicated ideas. The author does a wonderful job building from chapter to chapter to take a concept deeper.

The reason this boo
Johnny Danell
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great book from Ken Wilber. This book was written early in his career and is more reminiscent (in its theories and style) to his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness than his later more developed theories. In other words (the words of Integral theory) this book is mainly about the upper left quadrant of the Kosmos (the individual subjective) and don't touch on any other quadrants. With that said, this is in a way a strength of the book, since it is a much shorter and easier read than say ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
I once heard that some Buddhists believe every moment is occurring simultaneously, though we perceive it in a linear fashion. In other words, we already are enlightened, we just need to realize it. I used to think this way of seeing time felt supernatural, but I’ve come to see it’s actually quite logical.

I’ve read loads of religious and psychological texts, and this book has helped me wrap my head around some of the concepts and ways of thinking I’ve come across. I was a bit unsure during the fi
Robert Kipa
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times repetitive, contradictory, tautologous, and even plain overwhelming as Wilber jumps from religion to religion, philosophy to philosophy in an attempt to make them all blend together smoothly.

Still, it’s one of the better books that attempt to do so, if only because of a clear central message and progression. Compare to Alan Watts’ “Psychotherapy East and West” but in a much more... readable and useful context.

TL;DR: No boundary, no problem.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable exploration of the evolving sense of self, towards unity. An introductory spiritual guide, full of references for deeper reading.

The simplicity and practicality of the explanation of complex concepts makes them feel familiar and approachable.

A book that tickles one’s appetite for discovery.
Mantis .
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. Written during the earlier days of Ken Wilber, this book is touching and informative at the same time. Besides giving the reader a great idea into Wilber's foundational thought process, this book takes you on a journey through the rising of consciousness and the boundaries that it forms and transcends. Uplifting yet deep and deliciously serious. ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good walk through with thoughts from Eastern and Western worldviews. Mostly emphasizing boundaries formed while human and the duality which stems from that. The ego/persona being. The slash representing the boundary. The mind/body. Past/Future. Pointers into how various boundaries can be observed by traditional Western psychology and Eastern encompassing views.
Arda Ozdemir
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found No Boundary deeply philosophical, yet lacking in practical approach to personal growth. It has a insightful perspective on the reality we live today, and how our minds and layers of our minds affect our thinking and actions. It was an inspirational book for me as I formulated some fundamental concepts in my new book The Art of Becoming Unstuck.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Although I totally agree with the premise of the book, the writing seemed repetitious to the point of boredom. This was a tedious read which made it quite difficult to even want to pick it up to finish. I would recommend other authors for enlightenment on this subject.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Eastern, meaning the imaginary place from which Wilber thinks he draws his spirituality. Hence that's first. Western, meaning the White World from which Wilber comes. The rest is just monkeys masquerading as humans. ...more
A. K.
Apr 05, 2021 rated it did not like it
Absolute garbage. A long, incomprehensible ramble, with charts that make no sense. Terrible writing, full of I, we, our. Awful drivel that thinks a whole lot of itself, without ever making a clear, supported point.
Gary Henderson
Aug 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Self aggrandizing "spiritual" poser. Wouldn't bother. I'm sorry I did! ...more
Matias Selzer
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: human-behaviour
Definitely one of my favorite books ever.
It almost got 4 stars because I felt that the last chapter missed something.
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Kenneth Earl Wilber II is an American philosopher and writer on transpersonal psychology and his own integral theory, a systematic philosophy which suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience.

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“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.”
“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.” 31 likes
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