I began a post, relative to Joe’s nudge, on what I mean by non-spiritual spirituality, 3rd-tier, etc. I’ll rework it a bit and post in a few days I imagine.

But some background. I had a very painful day. The littlest things bring to surface what is really at work. Case in point, I spend 10 minutes talking to my lady on the cell trying to figure out which brand, tablet numbers, mg/tablet, MSM or no MSM, for joints or not for joints, and price on glucosamine for her tendinitis. Finally I get it all together, come home and find out I had actually grabbed the wrong bottle. The “wrong” bottle was in the “wrong” position–I mean I looked at the labels on the shelving and grabbed via label (which would have been right) except this one was mis-shelved.

I got furious and reacted way out of proportion.

Things are slipping in my life. I’ve always had a hard time with everyday things (chores, money, etc.), but now it is as bad as I can remember. Something is just not wired right with me.

I’m suffering from many things, but just one to mention as backdrop to any further conversations. A sickness I guess, it’s almost like vertigo.

Having had enough experiences of what I tentatively call the third-tier, violet, or at least post-integral, to where the experience (state) is strong enough that it can be potentially “tapped” into with little to no effort, it deeply leaves me confused.

Where do I put my time and energy, myself literally?

This kind of spiritual practice is not being developed anywhere except by Andrew Cohen’s people. Other spiritual traditions are doing their own beautiful work, but nobody, as far as I know (and I’ve looked pretty extensively) is doing structures and intersubjectivity as itself a teacher which is the corollary of stages. Again it’s not everything but having awakened to (what I see as) its truth, I can’t go for less than that.

I have no intention of joining that community. First off, I’m a Christian, my path is already established–I have been trying to incorporate aspects in without becoming syncretistic which isn’t always clear. I’ve never really waded into the whole Cohen debate from within the integral blogosphere bc as far as I know, I’m the only one who has had any real (though by no means extensive) exposure to the teaching, the practice, and the experiences involved.

Seems to me all the rest is just talking heads from outsiders who read negative accounts on whatenlightenment, Mother of God, etc. Nobody is able to discuss true but partial on this front. Also I’m long since (2 yrs+) disconnected from members of the community, so any change in their system I can’t comment on.

But I’ll say this–I’m not surprised by the charges of former students, however much we know from psychological literature those re-tellings are suspect. They certainly are not completely the figment of their collective imaginations.

I don’t believe in the Guru model as compatible with Western society anyway. So I’m prejudiced out the gate. I would not recommend any Westerner to any Guru establishment (other than a basic Zen-like the teacher is just your spiritual teacher model), including Cohen. Wilber said that Cohen’s voice (and teachings) needed to be heard–I took that seriously and also took it to mean to differentiate the teaching from the teacher/community. Same with Da.

But having gone there, who is with me? Or who I am with? Without a support, my strength is not enough and the collective gravity of life pulls the self down to a lukewarm place. I could of course practice traditional enlightenment, the Big Mind and all the Rest, but I frankly am “unmoved” by all that. The route has mostly become an escape hatch right now.

Chris still arises in that space as really messed up. And whoever “I” am in relation to him, that relationship is also pretty unhealthy–my low self-esteem has kicked into very high gear of late.

Integral is the best than can be achieved for the world. But it is a long way away from any real manifestation. 2%, 5% or no. And it has been very painful for me to see I-I not succeed, not live into flourishment, hell even sustainability/integrity.

Plus I go to a school where any so-called integral discourse is completely banished. There isn’t anywhere in the churches where this kind of thinking is given space. I mean the integral one and even traditional nonduality, forget about anything else.

I have no center. I’ve failed miserably at “integration.” But honestly I guess I don’t care enough.

I don’t really know where this is going, other than as a kind of warning to the reader. If you for whatever reason–AND I ADVISE NOT TO (seriously that’s not me being coy)–follow in on these meditations of mine, they come from a place I can’t claim (and won’t) is trustworthy.

Not in a grounded way. There are perhaps nuggets and kernels hiding in the bush here and there. I should tell you to seek traditional ways which will tell you that once you realize your identity beyond space and time all is well, etc. I’m cynical now and my cynicism is probably showing through. It’s not wrong, it’s just once I awakened to truths that aren’t covered in that story–however arrogant it may be appear or is for me to make that statement–a part of me knows and can’t go back.

What that something is, I’ll try to explain at a later time. The keywords are authentic self, post-metaphysics, etc.

A couple of years back I went through a period of “dropping the whole thing.” I just did things–gardening for example. I was free but fairly selfish from another angle. I wasn’t full. I just stayed in the Absolute er the Absolute stayed me. I was kind sure, but I didn’t do anything.

I could go back to that, but I know I won’t and don’t want to. That space at least has taught me that this fucked up space isn’t a problem just an issue. Or set of issues. In fact, I’d say that I don’t even really know that all of me wants it differently than it is now. Part of it out of spite and martyrdom complex no doubt, but another just because this is what it is. Of course there is another part of me that wishes I didn’t live with the feeling that I’m untrue to myself. That I’m living a lie.

That what I was aware of and my life actually lined up. That I lived in a world that actually nurtured my soul instead of killed it. But for now and my intuition tells me for awhile to come that will not be.

The best thing to do now is find a way to serve. Not in some pious way just because.

Published in: on January 28, 2007 at 7:23 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Read your post and identified with it far, far more than I would like. 😉

    Service is good. But let’s not forget also about relationships, especially what I take may be your (and definitely is my) propensity for isolation.


  2. Hi Chris,

    I really appreciate your honesty in this post. I too relate to much of what you write about here, especially the contrast between the absolute and the messed-upness of the personality/little guy, and the sense of dryness (not being nourished). Although I am sure it is different as well… (isn’t it always?)

    I am also curious about the 3rd tier/nonspiritual spirituality realizations/experiences and am looking forward to your post. Can you include some of your own experiences with it as well, in addition to the more general insights? (It may help me connect with it better.)

    Wish you (and Joe) all the best.


  3. When I last looked (15 years ago), Thomas Keating had integrated much of Wilber’s work into his own non-dual Christian teachings. You might want to check him out – a very amazing human being.

  4. Hey Chris,

    As always, I appreciate your clarity and candour. I “feel” where you (and Per and Joe) are “seeing/being” I think. I have nothing like the depth you guys report, and my road is a little different, perhaps.

    My psychodynamic practice is really much more thorough than my spiritual practice. I do a lot of listening to the bodymind and noticing blockages and tensions and trying to be present and allow whatever arises to arise. This is meditative, it’s shadow work, but rooted in felt physical tensions.

    The other thing is running Sydney Integral. I have a few peers who I share stuff with who are on their own journeys. I feel like that collegiality stabilises me a lot. They also slap me when I get too self-involved.

    Somehow I know/can observe the little guy is messed up, but I’m sort of fond of him/me.

    I’m kind of adding to what Joe says about relationships. I don’t think intersubjectivity is just a field on which awakening can happen, I think it’s a vessel that can stop awakening from slopping all over the place.

    But I’m probably not talking with the same view as you guys, so this might all be nonsense.

    Pax, bro.

  5. Fellas,

    I appreciate the kind words and support. Thanks also to remember things like psychodynamics, relationships.


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