Posts by Integral Living Room

Death Denial and the Immortality Project

Death Denial and the Immortality Project
Recorded 3.17.2016

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Death denial and immortality projects are what Ken Wilber describes in his early book The Atman Project. “I spent probably the first third of my career looking really deeply into death denial, death substitutes and immortality projects,” Ken says. “We are obsessed with death”.

An immortality project, says Ken, is searching in the world of time for that which is timeless. We are constantly looking to plant a flag in the temporal world that will not blanch or tatter, whether it’s a physical structure or a belief system that promises an afterlife, or denies our fundamental impermanence.

In this community call we hear from Ken about how to stop confusing our relative, grasping desires for things in the temporal realm, with the experience of a real infinity, a genuine eternity. According to Ken we have a correct intuition of infinity (or Spirit, or oneness), but we apply it in a way that prevents us from realizing it. This changes at each stage of development. We’ll reach for food, sex, power, love, etc. on and on in attempts to gain wholeness. But these are substitute gratifications, and everything this desperate fear-of-death touches, it distorts.

Our liberation is to give up our immortality and embrace a real eternity. In other words, to wake up. –Ken Wilber

We can practice facing this fear and awaken to true timelessness in the embodied experience of letting go. This means feeling into your own immortality project and also exploring practices that touch on death.

In the call,  Diane talks about relaxing and trusting your death, and fostering an openness to the great transition. She quotes Rumi’s poem “The Tavern”:

I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way
Whoever brought me here must take me home

Diane, Terry and Jeff all share very personal stories about their own experiences with death (and death denial), and why the topic of death and dying, which is the theme of the next Integral Living Room gathering, attracts them. And of course, many callers also weigh in with observations and stories from their lives.

We hope you enjoy listening to the recording of last week’s community call, and join us for the next one on May 26th. If you haven’t signed up you can do that here.

Spiritual Bypass of the Soul? With Ken Wilber

Spiritual Bypass of the Soul? With Ken Wilber
Recorded 9.10.2015

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Subtle body and soul practices have been part of every human culture in history.  Modernity, with its emphasis on science and rationality, brought on a “disenchantment” of the world, where magic, myth, ritual, and ceremony were seen as superstitions to be rejected.

Once rationality is installed firmly in our awareness, however, human beings become restless and long for the world to be re-enchanted. This longing leads us to re-integrate our earlier relationship to the soul and to magic, and matures into a true trans-rational spirituality.

Ken points out that there are three great dimensions of our identity. In the gross realm associated with the waking state we are an ego; in the subtle realm associated with the dream state we are a soul; and in the causal realm associated with deep dreamless sleep, we know ourselves as the True Self. And when all these are known to be non-separate, we awaken as nondual Suchness.

An integral practitioner recognizes the reality and importance of all these domains. We are gross, subtle and causal beings, and all are dimensions of our practice. And yet, soul has tended to be left out.

So we discuss the reality of the soul, the experiences many of us have had, and the deep nature of Soul practice as part of Integral Spiritual Practice.

Ken emphasizes that it is an important frontier and that something very “real”, something beyond pre-rational hocus-pocus, can happen at a subtle level. It is here that we can be “initiated” into the next phase of our integral journey. Which is what we will engage, experientially, in this year’s Integral Living Room.

Ken refers to the paper Terry wrote on Integral Soul Work for this year’s Integral Theory Conference. We’ve posted it here (right click to save to your computer). It describes how a “nondual consensus” has led to the spiritual bypassing of the subtle, and introduces “Integral Soul Work” grounded in an incarnational, relational, integral nondual awareness. It says that on the basis of authentic self-transcendence, we can coincide non-egoically with the subtle and causal psychophysics of the soul’s specific character, purpose and destiny.

Jeff and Diane share their appreciation for subtle experience, as well as their wariness about new age fantasies and excesses. Listeners share resources and personal experiences of the subtle and soul.

This is a clear and compelling call, one that is helping us prepare for the deep experiential process of an authentic Integral Trans-Rational Soul Initiation at the Integral Living Room event in Boulder this Fall.

We hope you enjoy this fascinating conversation, and can join us for our next community call on October 1st. If you have already registered for the community calls, you will receive a reminder with your special PIN, as usual. If you haven’t registered yet you can sign up for the calls here.

We want to welcome those of you who we’ll be seeing in person at the Integral Living Room gathering. And welcome everyone, whether you’ll be attending or not, to listen to the recording.