“Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and open; real love will take you far beyond yourself; and therefore real love will devastate you. I kept thinking, if love does not shatter you, you do not know love. We had both been practicing the wound of love, and I was shattered.”Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit
Watch as Ken and Corey explore the ongoing unfoldment of love along the paths of Waking Up, Growing Up, Opening Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up. What follows is one of the most powerful, transformative, and touching conversations that Ken Wilber has ever recorded.
Part 1: The Timeless Love of Ken and Treya
Part 2: Waking Up to Love: Spirit in 2nd-person
Part 3: Growing Up to Love: The Unfolding Heart
Part 4: Opening Up to Love: Multiple Intelligences
Part 5: Cleaning Up Our Love: Obsession, Narcissism, Fear, Pain, and Resentment
Part 6: Showing Up as Love: Inhabiting the Heart
Part 1: The Timeless Love of Ken and Treya
“And there, there it was; that was exactly why she had so insistently asked me to promise that I would find her. It wasn’t that she needed me to find her, it was that, through my promise to her, she would therefore find me and help me, yet again, and again, and again. I had it all backwards. I thought my promise was how I would help her, whereas it was actually how she would reach and help me again, and again, and forever again, as long as it took for me to awaken.” —Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit
We begin this long discussion about the Integral path of conscious love with a heartfelt discussion of the Grace and Grit film that just released, as well as the underlying and undying love that Ken and Treya shared — bringing us right into the heart of this conversation and setting the tone for everything that follows.
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Part 2: Waking Up to Love — Spirit in 2nd-Person
We continue the discussion by exploring love on the path of Waking Up — namely the transformative power of Spirit in 2nd-Person, a kosmic singularity of love that pulses within us and between us at every moment.
Watch as Ken reflects on how his relationship with Treya awakened him to the timeless presence of Spirit in 2nd-Person, and how we can use practices like Tonglen, prayer, and selfless service in order to contact the One Love that connects everything to everything else, that opens and deepens and widens the channels between us, and that allows this eternal love to move more freely through us and through our world.
Part 3: Growing Up to Love — The Unfolding Heart
When timeless Love enters the temporal world, it takes many forms. And those forms unfold over time, resulting in a tremendously broad spectrum of love that truly begins to blossom at the human level. From the physical and sexual forms of love that perpetuate our species, to the familial love that we feel for our wives, husbands, sons, daughters, and parents, to the platonic love we feel for our friends and role models, to the many shades of romantic love that only began to emerge a few hundred years ago during the shift to Orange worldcentric stages of being and becoming — with every new stage, our capacity to give and receive love grows. This is one of the central strategies of evolution itself — with every step our heart grows larger and more and more of the universe is included in our loving embrace, creating new wholes where there were once only lonely and disconnected parts.
Watch as Ken offers a brief history of love’s evolutionary unfolding, and how an integral heart holds the entire spectrum of love that has emerged so far.
Part 4: Opening Up to Love — Multiple Intelligences
When we think of “love”, we often first think of it in emotional terms. Which means that our actual phenomenological experience of love is largely dependent upon our emotional line of intelligence — what we can feel, what we can express, etc.
But as we feel into this, it becomes clear that there are a number of other developmental lines that are shaping our moment-to-moment experience of love and connection:
- The cognitive line determines what we can see, and there are always aspects of reality that are flying “over our heads”. We can’t love what we cannot perceive cognitively.
- The interpersonal line determines the depth and quality of our relationships and the sorts of love that can be expressed there.
- The intrapersonal line determines our capacity to love ourselves, and to spot the various obstacles and shadows that we place between ourselves and love.
- The spiritual line positions love’s relationship to the ultimate questions of existence — and in fact, “love” is often framed as the ANSWER to these ultimate questions.
There are a number of other lines that we would want to include as well, which Ken and Corey explore here. All of these lines together determine the overall shape and quality and felt experience of our love, and each of these lines offer a different way to reflect and refract our love. What’s more, bringing attention to each of these lines gives us the opportunity to more fully open ourselves to love, by focusing on each of the developmental channels through which love is given and received.
Watch as Ken discusses some of the most important developmental lines we want to track here, and some ways that we can work with these lines to open ourselves more fully to love.
Part 5: Cleaning Up Our Love — Obsession, Narcissism, Fear, Pain, and Resentment
There is a dark side to love, and it has many names. Fear, narcissism, obsession, and pain are among the most well known. All of them present themselves as allergies, addictions, and obstacles to love, common excuses that we use to avoid the slings and arrows of the heart.
Watch as Ken discusses five of the most common love-related shadows, the overall nature of shadow, and the practices we can engage in order to reclaim those shadows and overcome these obstacles to love.
Part 6: Showing Up As Love — Divine Purpose and the Bodhisattva Vow
When it comes to showing up as love and allowing the fruits of our practice to spill over into the rest of our world, it’s helpful to think of the many different ways we can inhabit our love, right now in real time. Watch as Ken and Corey explore the “Integral Ikigai” as a practice of love that helps align your heart with your deepest sense of “calling” and life purpose, which then allows you to skillfully and sustainably bring more love into this world. It’s a love that is running on all cylinders, because it is rooted in all four quadrants.
Ken and Corey also discuss the Bodhisattva Vow and how it puts us in direct service of love’s unfolding. Why do we want to wake up, grow up, open up, clean up, and show up? To reduce suffering, both in our own lives and in the world around us. Why do we want to find and follow our ikigai? Because it allows us to better fulfill our Bodhisattva Vow.
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!
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About Ken Wilber
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. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.