Integral Spirituality: A Deeper Cut

Ken Wilber Integral Philosophy, Spirituality, Web course


Some of the most important and insightful conversations in the world.

In 2006 Ken Wilber published his seminal book Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. This book represents the culmination of more than three decades of Integral theory and practice, suggesting a theory of spirituality that honors the truths of modernity and postmodernity—including the revolutions in science and culture, while incorporating the essential insights of the world’s religious traditions. Integral Spirituality demonstrates how today’s spirituality must combine the insights of the East with the discoveries of the West, paving the way for a radical new role for the world’s religions.

Nobody is more passionate about Ken Wilber’s work than you. Which is why we invited you to ask Ken your own questions about Integral Spirituality, resulting in more than 40 hours of groundbreaking dialogue that explores the book in remarkable chapter-by-chapter detail. Integral Spirituality: A Deeper Cut is your personal guide through the ins and outs of Integral theory and practice, and makes an essential companion to Ken’s critically-acclaimed book.

Deeper Cut includes 94 audio lessons, separated into 14 chapters —
a staggering 40 hours of material!

These are some of the most important and insightful conversations Ken Wilber has ever recorded. Featuring the most cutting-edge theory, the most intimate stories, and the most meaningful applications of Integral thought to our lives and to our world, you will not find spiritual conversations as intelligent and as sophisticated anywhere else in the world.

“This Integral Spirituality series stands out as one of my favorite conference series that I’ve ever been involved in. Not only did it give us a chance to really dive into Integral theory and practice with people who know my work so well, but it allowed me to connect with our members and listen to some of the most extraordinary stories that I’ve ever heard, which has been very gratifying for me personally. If you really want to see how deep the integral spiritual vision goes, you won’t want to miss this.” Ken Wilber

Discover the answers to some of today’s greatest spiritual questions

  • What is the difference between “religion” and “spirituality”?
  • What is the real relationship between God and evolution, or between science and spirituality?
  • Why does the universe exist? Why is there something instead of nothing?
  • What is the meaning of “enlightenment” in today’s world?
  • How can spiritual practitioners be so evolved in some aspects of their lives, and so self-involved in others?
  • What are the very best practices to help us accelerate our growth and awakening?
  • What’s the difference between masculine and feminine paths to spiritual awakening?
  • What is the relationship between spirituality and creativity?
  • How can art be used to portray and transmit spiritual experiences?
  • In what ways do we “create our own realities?”
  • How can we overcome the rampant narcissism that seems to be so prevalent in today’s spiritual communities?
  • What is the nature of “synchronicity,” or the meaningful coincidences that often seem to accompany spiritual experiences?
  • How can I make sense of the culture wars that often beleaguer meaningful social progress in the world?
  • What is subtle energy, and what is its relationship with consciousness?
  • How can we talk about spirituality in a way that can actually survive modern and postmodern criticism?
  • What is the meaning of “post-metaphysical” spirituality?
  • What are 4th, 5th, and 6th-person perspectives?
  • Is there any real evidence for involution?

What Is Integral Spirituality?

It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new man, it’s a new woman. The new human is integral, and so is the spirituality.

The familiar Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times,” is no doubt fulfilled in our time. For the first time in history we have access to all the world’s wisdom, to the musings of saints, sages, and scientists through the ages. That access is growing exponentially. Scarcely a century ago, the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal was transmitted; now, we venture out every day on the information superhighway. We are inundated with information, and today, more than ever, there is an impulse to make sense of it all.

Philosophy (literally, “love of wisdom”) might well be the oldest human pursuit. For as long as human beings have existed, we have questioned our existence. And whereas our close evolutionary relatives have demonstrated the ability to create tools and perhaps even display a sense of humor—traditional criteria for what makes us unique as humans—we have not yet observed in them the capacity to make meaning. Perhaps it is meaning itself, and the search for it, that sets us apart.

Every human age has its priceless contributions, its startling insights. Premodernity discerned “the Great Chain of Being” beneath the myriad forms of manifestation, a majestic progression from matter to body to mind to spirit. Modernity informs this view considerably; it tells us that we live in a universe that has evolved over roughly 14 billion years. Matter evolved to the point at which life emerged; life evolved to the point at which consciousness emerged. And postmodernity points out that each of us is embedded in a context, largely invisible to ourselves, from which we interpret our experience. Rather than a pregiven world, we enact a worldspace, the product of the phenomena we observe and the viewpoint from which we make the observation. We are, quite literally, viewing manifestation through a set of lenses, lenses that we never knew we were wearing. And in the process of development, we swap those lenses for new ones, viewing phenomena in increasingly more precise, nuanced, and sophisticated ways.

At the leading edge, most developmental theories posit a stage that might be called “integral,” for its hallmark attempt to make sense of everything, to find the pattern that connects. One such theory is “AQAL,” short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types.” The AQAL model, proposed by American philosopher Ken Wilber, is perhaps the most comprehensive view ever taken of how all manifestation, all matter, all life, all thought, and all experience can fit together in a coherent whole. AQAL itself is content-less, which makes it infinitely applicable to any particular area of inquiry.

Any field (e.g. business, medicine, politics) can be viewed through an AQAL lens. And this view can vastly enrich our understanding of the contours, limits, and possibilities of that field. Touching in on the five aspects of the model ensures that we have covered all of our bases. We can be sure that we are viewing a given situation from every conceivable angle, and can proceed with the best information possible.

But what if AQAL was applied to spirituality itself? What if we were to view the ancient pursuit of spirit from the highest viewpoint we can possibly take at this time? What would we learn from the journeys of those who have gone before, and what implications would there be for the road ahead? Remembering that there is no pregiven world, but rather, worldspaces that arise when a new perspective is taken from a new altitude, what is the worldspace that arises when spirituality is viewed from integral?

Integral Spirituality is a description of precisely that. It is a depiction of the view, from 50,000 feet, of spirituality, described by one of the great thinkers of our time. The book yields extraordinary theoretical insights, such as the fact that states of consciousness (which religious traditions guide us through) are always interpreted from stages of consciousness. And it provides practices that help us to navigate these states and stages in a breathtakingly conscious manner, ensuring that we are living as freely and fully as we can. It makes the bold proposition that religion—far from being obsolete—is the conveyor belt that will enable humanity to progress safely through the stages in its evolutionary past, and with great hope into its evolutionary future.

About the Author
Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber

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Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life.

If you haven’t already heard of him, Ken Wilber is one of the most important philosophers in the world today.  He is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages.  Ken Wilber currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and is still active as a philosopher, author, and teacher, with all of his major publications still in print. 

What makes Ken Wilber especially relevant in today’s world is that he is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.  As Wilber himself puts it: “I'd like to think of it as one of the first believable world philosophies...” Incorporating cultural studies, anthropology, systems theory, developmental psychology, biology, and spirituality, it has been applied in fields as diverse as ecology, sustainability, psychotherapy, psychiatry, education, business, medicine, politics, sports, and art.

"If ordinary people don't perceive that our grand ideas are working in their lives then they can't develop the higher level of consciousness, to use a term that American philosopher Ken Wilber wrote a whole book about... The problem is the world needs to be more integrated, but it requires a consciousness that's way up here, and an ability to see beyond the differences among us."
-President Bill Clinton

Wilber explains the need for an Integral Approach in the following way: In our current post-modern world, we possess an abundance of methodologies and practices belonging to a multitude of fields and knowledge traditions. What is utterly lacking however, is a coherent organization, and coordination, of all these various practices, as well as their respective data-sets. What is needed is an approach that moves beyond this indiscriminate eclectic-pluralism, to an Integral Methodological Pluralism— driving toward a genuine “theory of everything” that helps to enrich and deepen every field through an understanding of exactly how and where each one fits in relation to all the others. Through the Integral approach, we reveal the previously unseen possibilities for a better, more compassionate, and more sustainable future for all of us.

In short, the Integral Approach is the coherent organization, coordination, and  harmonization of all of the relevant practices, methodologies, and experiences, available to human beings.  Ken Wilber states “You can’t [realistically] honor various methods and fields, without showing how they fit together. That is how to make a genuine world philosophy.”

The twenty-first century literally has three choices: Aristotle, Nietzsche, or Ken Wilber.”
– Jack Crittenden Ph.D., author of Beyond Individualism

Ken Wilber is also the founder of the Integral Institute, which is the first organization fully dedicated to advancement and application of the Integral Approach in relation to contemporary global issues. It was formed in collaboration with over 200 scholars and experts, specializing in education, politics, business, medicine, psychology, spirituality, as well as, law and criminal justice. The Integral Institute is currently partnered with Fielding Graduate University.

In 2007 Wilber co-founded Integral Life, a social media-hub dedicated to sharing the integral vision with the world wide community, as well as documenting and catalyzing the progress of the integral movement.

“The most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times.”
–Tony Schwartz, the president, founder, and CEO of The Energy Project, and the author of What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America

Module 1 Introduction: The Integral Approach  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction
Unit 2 Markers of Development
Unit 3 Full Enlightenment
Unit 4 Uniting Multiple Disciplines
Unit 5 Misinterpreting States and Stages
Module 2 Integral Methodological Pluralism  
Unit 1 Quadrants and the "Big Three"
Unit 2 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-Person Perspectives
Unit 3 Kosmic Address and the Pauli Exclusion Principle
Unit 4 Spiritual Practice and Cultural Embedment
Module 3 Stages of Consciousness  
Unit 1 Ken's Introduction
Unit 2 Privileging Those Without Privilege
Unit 3 Moving Multiple Lines
Unit 4 The Role of Will
Unit 5 Spheres of Existence
Module 4 States of Consciousness  
Unit 1 Masculine and Feminine Paths to Nonduality
Unit 2 Structuralist and Hermeneutical Approaches to Meaning
Unit 3 Taking Perspectives on Perspectives
Unit 4 The Mysterious Presence
Module 5 States and Stages  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction
Unit 2 Skillful Communication
Unit 3 The Relationship Between States and Stages
Unit 4 Peak and Plateau Experiences
Unit 5 The Darth Vader Move
Module 6 Boomeritis Buddhism  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction
Unit 2 The Integrity of Emptiness
Unit 3 Worldcentric Buddhism
Unit 4 Gauging Development
Unit 5 Buddhism and Postmodernity
Module 7 The Shadow and the Disowned Self  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction
Unit 2 Shadows and Dissociation
Unit 3 Practicing Ethics
Unit 4 Shadow Hugging
Unit 5 Approaching the Authentic Self
Unit 6 Is 3-2-1 Too Superficial?
Unit 7 The Shadows of Shadow-Work
Unit 8 The Collective Shadow
Module 8 A Miracle Called “We”  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction
Unit 2 Relating With Amber
Unit 3 A "We" in Time
Unit 4 Creating Intentional Communities
Unit 5 Skillful Means and Mixed Altitudes
Unit 6 Zones of Emergence
Module 9 The World of the Terribly Obvious  
Unit 1 Ken's Introduction
Unit 2 The Mirror of Nature
Unit 3 Evolution and the Bodhisattva Vow
Unit 4 Mental Perspectives vs. Soul Perspectives
Unit 5 Art and the Terribly Obvious
Module 10 The Conveyor Belt  
Unit 1 Kenʼs Introduction
Unit 2 Integral Sunday School
Unit 3 Gaps in the Conveyor Belt
Unit 4 The Energetics of Awakening
Unit 5 How to Self-Assess?
Unit 6 What About Race and Racism?
Unit 7 Applying the Conveyor Belt to Organizational Development
Module 11 Integral Life Practice  
Unit 1 The Difference Between ITP and ILP
Unit 2 Bringing ILP to Walmart
Unit 3 Selfless Service as Practice
Unit 4 Personal Will, Unique Will, and Enlightenment
Module 12 Appendix I: From the Great Chain of Being to Postmodernism in 3 Easy Steps  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction
Unit 2 The Cutting Edge of Physical Evolution
Unit 3 What’s the Evidence for Involution?
Unit 4 Involution and Practice
Unit 5 The Future of Consciousness, Energy, and Eco-systems
Module 13 Appendix II: Integral Post-Metaphysics  
Unit 1 Why Is Enlightenment Important?
Unit 2 Why the Kosmos?
Unit 3 Metaphysical Baggage
Unit 4 The Integral Daemon
Unit 5 The Evolution of Perspective
Unit 6 Constructing Reality
Unit 7 State-Stages and Kosmic Grooves
Unit 8 Integral Calculus, Integral Perspectives
Unit 9 The Science of Spirit
Unit 10 Meaning, Enactment, and God
Unit 11 Quadrants and the Myth of the Given
Unit 12 A Post-Metaphysical Approach to Synchronicity
Module 14 Appendix III: The Myth of the Given Lives On  
Unit 1 Ken’s Introduction: Reverse-Engineering the Kosmos
Unit 2 New Thought, New Age, and Beyond
Unit 3 Technology and Consciousness
Unit 4 Ancient Practice, New Understanding
Unit 5 Is the Future Spinning Out of Control?
Unit 6 After Enlightenment, What’s the Point?
Unit 7 The Finger Pointing to the Moon
Unit 8 Beyond the Fourth
Unit 9 Involution, as Never Before Seen
Unit 10 Arhats and Bodhisattvas
Unit 11 Eternity in Love
Unit 12 The Self-Liberating Nature of Reality
Unit 13 Perspectives and Practice
Unit 14 The Three Faces, From Altitude
Unit 15 Three Truths
Unit 16 To Get a Universe Going