By Ken Wilber
It is truly a pleasureand honorto write the foreword to Dustin DiPernas Streams of Wisdom. Im also, if I may be allowed some self-serving noise, very proud of this book, the reason being thatas Dustin openly allowsthe book is essentially based on my work and my thought (but with, I hasten to add, a substantial amount of original additions and an enormous amount of supporting detail, most of which I did not include in my original outlines). But this is exactly the way that I would like to see my work in Integral Theory used, because generally when writing in any pioneering area (if I may be allowed a little more self-serving noise), I generally write what are essentially outlines for the new areageneral maps of the new integral worldknowing, or least hoping, that I have provided enough guidelines for others to follow and fill in the details with more rigor and sophistication. (This has happened, for example, with the brilliant Integral Ecology, Integral Economics, Integral Psychotherapy, Integral Criminology, and so on.) And now Dustin has done so with his series in Integral Religion and Spirituality, and the results are truly wonderful.
Integral Theory, as it shows up in Integral Spirituality and Religion is based on a few fundamental ideas, some of them quite novel. One, every event has at least four perspectives (called quadrantsnamely, the interior and exterior of the individual and the collective, or I, We, It, and Itsor, again, art, morals, and science, or first-person, second-person, and third-person modes, counting the two exterior modes as one). These quadrants show developmentnamely, through developmental lines or streams that grow and evolve through developmental levels or waves (e.g., multiple intelligences, such as cognitive intelligence, moral intelligence, self intelligence, spiritual intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, emotional intelligencewith all of these streams growing t
hrough essentially similar waves or levels of complexity). The deep structures or patterns of these levels are basically similar wherever they appear, although their surface features or patterns vary considerably from culture to culture. In addition to these lines and levels or structures of consciousness, there are states of consciousness (e.g., waking, dreaming, deep sleep, meditative). Finally, rounding out this Integral outline, there are types, which are patterns that continue to appear at each level of development (such as masculine/ feminine, or Enneagram types, etc.). All in all, that gives us five major elements that every human being in the world possesses (indeed, every sentient being), and the point about an integral approach is that if you want to have a truly comprehensive and inclusive picture of any event, you need to include all five elements.
This is as true for religion and spirituality as for anything else. (Although the word spirituality is usually used to refer to the more interior aspects of religion, and religion to the more exterior, institutional aspects, I will use them synonymously unless otherwise indicated.) Religion has all five dimensions or elements: quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types. Virtually all five of those assertions are novel, theyand especially their connectivityis what makes the Integral Theory approach to religion so new and creative, capable of handling some very difficult questions that have eluded humankind virtually from the start (see Integral Spirituality for a further discussion of this). This book, Streams of Wisdom, includes all five of these elements with particular focus on the distinctions between states of consciousness and structures of consciousness.
When we examine these two elements in more detail, Integral Theory suggests and Dustins work confirms that every individual has a dual center of gravity. Every human being has both a structure center of gravity (or structure-stage)
and a state center of gravity (or state-stage). We usually determine the structure center of gravity by using the stage of self-development or ego development (but any line or group of lines can be used). These stages move from archaic, to magic, to mythic, to rational, to pluralistic, to integral. For ones state center of gravity we usually use the basic path of gross, subtle, causal, witness, and nondual. Everyone is born with a dual center of gravity: archaic and gross. This basic notion of a dual center of gravity is part of an overall understanding of a kosmic address.
States and Structures are particularly important when we look at world religions. One of the things each tradition tends to do generally speaking is to give emphasis to one or the other of those types of self. Most fundamental religions, for example, focus only on a particular narrative whether that is the beginning of the universe, the natural state, no sin, illusion, maya, suffering. From that position they offer a way out of that problem. Salvation, then, becomes accepting the truth of that narrative; believing in one major adept personal savior, whether that be Mohhamed or Jesus, - etc. If you believe then when you die youll go to a particular heaven. When the focus is on the narrative, and all beliefs center around it, the tradition is oriented toward a particular level of expression (often mythic/amber) and gives emphasis to the needs of the relative self at that stage. In this way, the tradition focuses on the individuals center of gravity as it shows up in structures.
The other type of emphasis gives preference to the psychotechnology of consciousness change of a particular tradition. This element focuses on changing ones center of gravity in states. Relatively speaking, technologies of consciousness change are rarer than the other type of engagement that give more emphasis to the structures of religion.
When we look to Western developmental models for support in stat
e cultivation, we notice that there is little information about meditative stages. According to current conventional models, states like waking, dreaming, and deep sleep are temporary. Modern researchers dont believe its possible that one can establish a permanent vantage point that brings full wakefulness into each on an ongoing basis. Most Western researchers are only vaguely aware of the truly infinite dimensions of the observing self. They are often aware of it but not to the extent that self can be realized. And most are even more unaware of the degree of extraordinary liberation or freedom that can be realized, and virtually nothing is known of nondual suchness as vantage point. All of this is because as natural states waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, dont turn into vantage points or center of gravity except through training... shifting from gross, to subtle to causal to turyia to turiyatita. And so if we want solid evidence in this domain of state development we have to turn to our worlds great wisdom traditions. Wisdom traditions have maintained lineages overtime that preserve knowledge about consciousness transformation.
We are left with this very important distinction between structures and states. These are the two different dimensions that we tend to work through as human beings. Naturally we want to make sure that all religions are doing both. Its fine to work with structures as they show up in various levels of spiritual intelligence. This means that we want to work with higher stages not just mythic narrative based levels. There is an amber Jesus, an orange Jesus, a green Jesus, a turquoise Jesus. We can also make sure that our great wisdom traditions are drawing on some aspect of their own lineage transmission for state-stages. This means that they all include some effective form of contemplative practice. Father Thomas Keating, for instance, stated that, Christianity only really starting ignoring contemplative development at the counter refo
rmation. Prior to that, it was common. And it was certainly common in the early centuries of Christianity.
And so with an integral approach, we want to make sure that we are introducing both of those. We want to make sure that the religious traditions have as full and complete development in spiritual intelligence and a robust path to introduce states of consciousness as they progress through vantage points. With any integral orientation to spirituality or religion, neither of those can be left out and both need to be pursued.
As we move toward a trans-lineage, universal spirituality, it becomes clearer and clearer that many paths have traditions of their own that can draw on to introduce true spiritual awakening. Those paths that dont, well have to introduce some sort of meditative practice as part of their dharma. Re-coding both structures and states is possible for the very first time.
Dustin puts true substance behind the basic outlines Ive offered in my work on Integral Spirituality. With examples from the worlds great traditions, Dustin articulates the key elements of spiritual development. Using an advanced integral outline he expands the basic distinction between structures and states, described above, to include four major vectors of human growth: (1) states; (2) state-stages; (3) structures; and (4) structure-stages. For the purposes of this volume, Dustin treats structures and structure-stages as a single category allowing him to give emphasis to the distinction between states and state-stages. In volume 2 of his series, Evolutions Ally, Dustin provides a more refined differentiation between structures and structure-stages. Altogether, his first two volumes give a full exposition of the four most important vectors of...