No Boundary: Ken Wilber Goes Back to High School

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Last year we featured a very special episode where we were joined by students at Choate Rosemary Hall, who had been studying Ken Wilber’s seminal book, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality for their senior year project.

This year Ken offered to hold another Q&A session with a new batch of CRH students, this time to discuss his 1979 classic, No Boundary.

What follows is a lively and deeply insightful exploration of integral spirituality, Ken’s personal practice, and the path of awakening that leads us to nondual realization.

Question 1


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“So the mystics must be content with pointing and showing a Way whereby we may all experience unity consciousness for ourselves. In this sense, the mystic path is a purely experimental one. The mystics ask you to believe nothing on blind faith, to accept no authority but that of your own understanding and experience. They ask you only to try a few experiments in awareness, to look closely at your present state of existence, and to try to see your self and your world as clearly as you possibly can. Don’t think, just look!”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 2


“But just where to look? This is precisely the point at which the mystics universally answers, ‘Look inside. Deep inside. For the real self lies within.’ Now the mystics are not describing the real self as being inside you—they are pointing inside you. They are indeed saying to look within, not because the final answer actually resides within you and not without, but because as you carefully and consistently look inside, you sooner or later find outside. You realize, in other words, that the inside and the outside, the subject and the object, the seer and the seen are one, and thus you spontaneously fall into your natural state.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 3

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“Thus the solution to the war of the opposites requires the surrendering of all boundaries, and not the progressive juggling of the opposites against each other. The war of opposites is a symptom of a boundary taken to be real, and to cure the symptoms we must go to the root of the matter itself: our illusory boundaries.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 4


“I have a body, but I am not my body. I can see and feel my body, and what can be seen and felt is not the true Seer. My body may be tired or excited, sick or healthy, heavy or light, but that has nothing to do with my inward I. I have a body, but I am not my body. I have desires, but I am not my desires. I can know my desires, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Desires come and go, floating through my awareness, but they do not affect my inward I. I have desires but I am not desires. I have emotions, but I am not my emotions. I can feel and sense my emotions, and what can be felt and sensed is not the true Feeler. Emotions pass through me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have emotions but I am not emotions. I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. I can know and intuit my thoughts, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Thoughts come to me and thoughts leave me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 5


“I have one major rule: everybody is right. More specifically, everybody—including me—has some important pieces of the truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.”
Ken Wilber

Question 6


“To the extent that you actually realize that you are not, for example, your anxieties, then your anxieties no longer threaten you. Even if anxiety is present, it no longer overwhelms you because you are no longer exclusively tied to it. You are no longer courting it, fighting it, resisting it, or running from it. In the most radical fashion, anxiety is thoroughly accepted as it is and allowed to move as it will. You have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, by its presence or absence, for you are simply watching it pass by.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 7


“False-imagination teaches that such things as light and shade, long and short, black and white are different and are to be discriminated; but they are not independent of each other; they are only different aspects of the same thing, they are terms of relation, not of reality. Conditions of existence are not of a mutually exclusive character; in essence things are not two but one.”
Lankavatara Sutra

Question 8


“When the individual truly sees that every move he makes is a move away, a resistance, then the entire machination of resistance winds down. When he sees this resistance in every move he makes, then, quite spontaneously he surrenders resistance altogether. And the surrendering of this resistance is the opening of unity consciousness, the actualization of no-boundary awareness. He awakens, as if from a long and foggy dream, to find what he knew all along: he, as a separate self, does not exist. His real self, the All, was never born, will never die. There is only Consciousness as Such in all directions, absolute and all-pervading, readiant through and as all conditions, the source and suchness of everything that arises moment to moment, utterly prior to this world but not other than this world. All things are just a ripple in this pond; all arising is a gesture of this one.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 9


“The simple fact is that we live in a world of conflict and opposites because we live in a world of boundaries. Since every boundary line is also a battle line, here is the human predicament: the firmer one’s boundaries, the more entrenched are one’s battles. The more I hold onto pleasure, the more I necessarily fear pain. The more I pursue goodness, the more I am obsessed with evil. The more I seek success, the more I must dread failure. The harder I cling to life, the more terrifying death becomes. The more I value anything, the more obsessed I become with its loss. Most of our problems, in other words, are problems of boundaries and the opposites they create.”
Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 10


“The simple fact is that we live in a world of conflict and opposites because we live in a world of boundaries. Since every boundary line is also a battle line, here is the human predicament: the firmer one’s boundaries, the more entrenched are one’s battles. The more I hold onto pleasure, the more I necessarily fear pain. The more I pursue goodness, the more I am obsessed with evil. The more I seek success, the more I must dread failure. The harder I cling to life, the more terrifying death becomes. The more I value anything, the more obsessed I become with its loss. Most of our problems, in other words, are problems of boundaries and the opposites they create.”

Ken Wilber, No Boundary

Question 11


“I have a body, but I am not my body. I can see and feel my body, and what can be seen and felt is not the true Seer. My body may be tired or excited, sick or healthy, heavy or light, but that has nothing to do with my inward I. I have a body, but I am not my body. I have desires, but I am not my desires. I can know my desires, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Desires come and go, floating through my awareness, but they do not affect my inward I. I have desires but I am not desires. I have emotions, but I am not my emotions. I can feel and sense my emotions, and what can be felt and sensed is not the true Feeler. Emotions pass through me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have emotions but I am not emotions. I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. I can know and intuit my thoughts, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Thoughts come to me and thoughts leave me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts.”Ken Wilber, No Boundary

We hope you enjoyed this episode of The Ken Show! Let us know what you think in the comments below, and also be sure to let us know if you have any questions for future episodes!



More Perspectives

No Boundary: A Union of Opposites

Ken Wilber

In this free excerpt from his book No Boundary, Ken Wilber explores the intrinsic dualism of the mind, offering a simple but cogent way to “transcend the pairs” and discover the nondual heart of the Always Already.



Ken Wilber Goes to High School: Sex, Ecology, Spirituality

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In this very special episode of The Ken Show we are joined by Aissatou Diallo, Zoe Tray, and Noah Delorme, students at Choate Rosemary Hall who have been studying Ken Wilber’s seminal book, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality for their senior year project. Watch as Ken, Aissatou, Zoe, and Noah unpack many of the core insights of SES and discuss the unique value Integral work holds for a new generation of thinkers, leaders, artists, and scholars.



Awaken the Eye of Spirit

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All of us possess three primary modes of perception that we use to disclose reality – the “Eye of Flesh”, the “Eye of Mind”, and the “Eye of Spirit”. Watch as Ken and Corey explore these ideas and the many ways we perceive and interpret spiritual realities.



The Varieties of Integral Spiritual Experience

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Watch as Ken and Corey explore the path of Waking Up — a guided tour through temporary states of consciousness that include everything from emotional states to chemically-induced states to the direct, immediate experience of timeless reality, revealing an infinitely renewable source of energy, resilience, and creative inspiration that rests at the very center of you.



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