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Becoming a "Spiritual Teacher" Myself

I have always thought all kinds of diverse humans (and other-than-humans) could be "spiritual teachers" for the world, and for the evolution of consciousness and sustainable and sane living. That said, I have struggled greatly with all the various kinds of "spiritual" teachers I have met in the human world. I have even written of throwing out the term "spiritual" because it seems so poisoned to me, for a lot of reasons, as have many religions and forms of religiousity that come out of them. Yet, after re-reading Wilber's notion of "Integral spirituality" (his own term, with a very particular and complex developmental theory behind it) I think it best not to throw out anything until I (we) understand what we are dealing with as the "problems" (or, I prefer to call "pathologies") of spirituality, religiousity and religion (or, for that matter, if we were to include Buddhism in this, and Wilber does, we are more talking about a "psychology" of spiritual growth than a typical religion).

So, I'll not throw out the 'baby with the bathwater' and toss the term "spiritual" or "teacher" for that matter. Wilber has offered, along with many of the brightest researchers he cites, a more "reasonable" approach to go head and embrace this dimension of human experience that is so ancient and still so prevalent--for short, I'll call it the "spiritual domain" of experience. Now, just to be clear, I am going to share more on Wilber's summary view of his 'corrective' to spirituality on the planet and the major religions included--but that is not my particular focus (which, I'll outline in other future FM blogs; also see a few blogs I have written in the past few weeks since getting Wilber's (2017) new big book The Religion of Tomorrow --as well, you may want to read my book review of it on amazon.com, along with others writing there).

So, if you don't want to read a 777 pp book on Wilber's 'corrective' to the evolution of religion, religiousity and spirituality, I am going to suggest READ PP. 504-11 and that will do it. You will have got everything from the book (ROT) that Wilber cares about and is teaching about (of course, he has taught about a good deal of this in his other books on religion and spirituality over many decades too). The Religion of Tomorrow (ROT), to be clear, is also for today. He wrote, "... many of these summaries are of material that turns out to be particularly important for any religion of tomorrow (or of today for that matter). These areas and ideas [i.e.., in ROT by Wilber et al.] that are almost entirely neglected (or actively denied) [due to fear?] by virtually all of today's spiritual systems (and by virtually all human disciplines as well)" (p. 511). WHOW! If you hear what grand voice he is using here sort of shakes my bones, at least, it may rattle others... because he he talked about the BIG NEGLECT, the BIG DENIAL, the BIG FEAR... as it appears to me. And, what he presents in the Integral Theory (metatheory) is really for him that profound, and I tend to agree with him. His critique is saying "all human disciplines" as well are ignoring his theory and applications (again, he makes clear, he is not the only one saying this stuff, and there is a lot of application of Integral Theory going on by others)... so, I'll leave you with that opening of how important he sees this work. I'll also acknowledge that he is going to have a massive wave of people, if they read this kind of grand claim, totally diss Wilber and Integral Theory... for a lot of reasons, some of which I do think are because of BIG FEAR of its implications and yet, most of them will merely reject Wilber and his work and big claims because "he's an arrogant asshole" really, a white-male heterosexist... etc. And, then, really, the deeper ontological (philosophical) issue will come down to Wilber, a "structuralist" thinker vs. Others (especially in the academy) "poststructuralist" thinkers. This latter divide is grand, it's a WAR over the best way to understand reality. Keep in mind this is really kind of a false dichotomy too because Wilber is not only a "structuralist" thinker, and in fact is a foundation to his developmental theorizing but it is not the be all end all, and he works hard at times to be more poststructuralist and to enjoin the best of both camps and ways of knowing reality. I won't go into all that argumentation he puts out or his attempts to do this. I will say, rare if any of his opponents (poststructuralists) even make a moments effort to be so generous in integrative possibilities as Wilber has made for decades. That says something about those committed to poststructuralism if you ask me. It doesn't speak well for their own ideological biases, even when they claim they are against ideologies (e.g., they would cite Wilber as such).

QUOTATIONs OF SUMMARY (from ROT) (pp. 504-11)

Before I start a few quotes as good discussion points perhaps, I am claiming myself now to be a "spiritual teacher" (it's not the first time I have declared this, but I actually rarely ever mention it to anyone, including myself). As I come to claim this more, I merely am interested to apply all I have learned in life and my studies with the work of Wilber's (e.g., ROT) and come forward to offer a 'new' integral approach to being "spiritual" --that is, to encourage a healthy evolution of spiritual intelligence on the planet. I mean, of course I would want to do that with the conviction of every bone in my body. But, if you are looking for a certain image of a "spiritual teacher" (and/or spiritual educator) then, check those out, and see how you carry them around, and how you may "diss" anyone who could be a spiritual teacher to you just because they don't appear to fit some image (or tradition) you prefer. I am not saying you "should" agree or follow or access me and the spiritual work I do. I only offer you confront your own views and go from there. I ought to do the same.

Wilber's great summary (applying the principles of the book, and Integral Theory) to religion(s) come through as he uses the e.g. of Buddhism (very consciously) where he could use Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. He kind of goes after Buddhism, to bring more clarity. He argues there is sufficient evidence that there are "Stages in Buddhism Itself" and by that he means obvious "structure-stages" (or levels) of development, that coincide with levels of consciousness on his spectrum of evolution model/theory. Again, his spectrum approach, and integral approach, are not Wilber's per se, he has summarized hordes of data from diverse sources to make this model/theory usable and strong (not in any way claiming it cannot be critiqued).

On p. 505, Wilber notes others have been working on books/models to understand what an Integral Spirituality would look like and then on p. 506 he goes after a clarity on the Stages in Buddhism Itself (that some in Buddhism recognize and most don't):

"Buddhism began as a Rational system, one of the few of the world's Great Religions to do so. And remember how we are using 'rational' [in Integral Theory]-- it doesn't mean dry, abstract, analytic, and alienated. It means capable of a least a 3rd-person worldcentric perspective; it can therefore introspect and reflect on its own awarness and experience, adopt a critical and self-critical stance.... Buddhism is closer to a psychology than a typical religion. Of course, most schools of Buddhism put a central emphasis on states [of consciousness/experience], but when it comes to their interpretation, it is typically rational, objective, and evidence based." [kind of like science] Of course, not everybody is born at Rational. Actually, nobody is. All individuals start their development of basic rungs and Views [i.e., worldviews] at sensorimotor and Archaic, and move from there to Magic, then Magic-Mythic, then Mythic, then Rational, Pluralistic, and Integral (if they continue growing). And this means that individuals at all of those stages can be attracted to Buddhism, and over the centuries, actual schools of Buddhism have arisen that are based primarily at each of those Views [i.e., structure-stages 0-9]" (p. 506).

So, that's enough for this one FM blog ... I'll do up more soon... to continue these wonderful few pages of summary that tell it all (in a way)... oh, and keep in mind, all the time I am reading this work of Wilber's I am doing a simple fearanalysis... I'm looking at all those structure-stages and plotting my Fear Management Systems theory on them and that's for another time too, but to say, Wilber and his colleagues do not adequately address my FMS theory at all and this is a huge problem if we really want religions, religiousity and spirituality to develop healthily ...

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