You’ve heard Ken talk to spiritual teachers and celebrities, but how about an oil tanker? A stripper? Well in this installation of The Loft Series, Ken offers what’s got to be one of his most hilarious teachings to date. His focus is on shadow, but this time he adopts a more practice-oriented perspective, offering examples of shadow at each of six levels of development—featuring conversations with a stripper, a monster, a man burning in eternal flame, a radiant being, an oil tanker, and Gaia. As for what these conversations entail, you’ll just have to experience them yourself….
Ken starts by framing the issue in terms of three selves and two core confusions—with selves, as you’ve recently heard him discuss, we have the authentic and the false self, both aspects of the finite self, as well as the infinite, atemporal True Self. The two confusions relate to what was missed by both the East and West. Traditional western psychotherapy aims to convert false self to authentic self, completely missing the existence of a true self, while most all contemplative traditions focus exclusively on the True Self, not distinguishing which aspect of the finite self is worth transcending and thereby moving the false self along through each state-stage. From an integral perspective, our work must honor both contributions: transform the false self into an authentic self while working to cultivate satori that doesn’t harbor a secret shadow.
To enable this, we must employ shadow work, and, according to this teaching, shadow work across the spectrum of development, picking up alienate elements of all types and varieties as we return to the wholeness of authentic selfhood. Now, we don’t want to reveal too many of the exciting details, but Ken walks us through this full spectrum reclamation, offering examples of a 3-2-1 process at each of six levels. Starting at magenta and proceeding through teal, these shadow vignettes feature conversations with a stripper, a monster, an man burning in eternal flame, a radiant being, an oil tanker, and Gaia. As for what these conversations entail, you’ll just have to experience them yourself. This experience, despite Ken’s caricatures, is of tremendous developmental importance, for, as he explains, to befriend the shadow across the spectrum is to befriend the history of your own evolution.
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”.