This is a great discussion between Brother Wayne Teasdale (author of The Mystic Heart) and Ken Wilber. In part 1 they talk about how we relate to the Supreme Identity (God, or Buddha nature if you prefer).
The journey to union involves an experience of “extreme desolation” or a dark night of the soul which follows a glimpse of heaven (or the true nature of reality as One). The dark night happens because the divine withdraws in order to force the self-will to dissolve. As Meister Eckhart said:
“For God to get in the creature must get out.”
In other words, the ego or false self must go. All your little projects and ideas about how you want to live your life have to go if you want enlightenment.
Can you even say, “I want enlightenment”?!
Part 2 of the discussion between Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber where they talk about the use of science in relation to spirituality and what has been discovered with long-term meditators. They also discuss the tendency of materialist scientists to give reductionist explanations for things that aren’t part of their worldview. Part 1 here.
Physics has become a mathematical game and none of the theories can be proved. In the end, there is no empirical evidence for materialism!
Consciousness is all that we can know. Understanding that is the key to understanding reality.
This video continues the discussion from part 2. Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber conclude their talk on materialism and why it doesn’t work, and then Brother Wayne shares some of his mystical experiences that gave him insight into the structure of Being. Intellectual illumination isn’t thinking – it’s more of a vision. You just know.
There’s essential existence (Being) and then all sorts of possibilities in multiple universes, which give rise to Becoming in time contained within eternity. When all the potentialities are actualised, you have absolute existence – but that never happens in time. It has already happened in eternity.
This video continues from part 3 where Wayne Teasdale shares more of his mystical visions and insights. In this part he talks about a vision he shared in his book The Mystic Heart. In this vision he had no sense of himself, just the “primordial act of identity of the Godhead – how God is God.” A vision of the Unmoved Mover in eternity and how that gives birth to the creation.
We have trouble understanding these kinds of visions because of the way we perceive time in chunks, but God sees it all simultaneously.
“Absolutely everything has meaning and a place.”
This is part 5 of the discussion between Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber. Here they take questions from the audience and talk about how you can tell the difference between a spiritual experience and something that might be psychotic. See part 1 here.
With genuine spiritual insight there’s no dissociation, but you do have clarity and positive outcomes that arise from the vision.
You have to be very careful if you think God is talking to you. Mystical experiences tend to be very private and are actually quite hard to communicate, mainly because whatever comes through has to be filtered through the human personality.
Ken Wilber explains St Teresa’s system for discerning where the voices are coming from by dividing them into pre-personal, personal, and transpersonal categories. You basically only want to listen to the transpersonal ones.
“Real mystics are very wary of voices and visions. They don’t trust them.” – Wayne Teasdale.
This video continues the Q&A from the previous part of the discussion. Here Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber talk about how to make sense of all the different techniques and practices that are available in order to create an authentic path for yourself.
The temptation is to take a little from lots of different traditions, like you’re in a spiritual supermarket (which is why Zoe Popper meets her teacher in Morrisons beside the soup in Chapter 8). But ultimately you have to choose one path if you want to get somewhere. The path that’s right for you will be one that resonates with you on a deep level – it just feels right.
They also talk about what all the paths have in common. It’s really about removing obstacles to seeing reality, as well as dealing with the tendency to identify with the obstacles, i.e. ego.
“Once that identity is gone those obstacles actually become the expression of your realisation. So on the way up you have to strip attachment to all of them. On the way down you re-inhabit all of them. But that takes a real clarity of intent not to remain attached and pretend that you’ve transcended them, because you’re really just addicted to them.” – Ken Wilber
In this final part of the discussion between Wayne Teasdale and Ken Wilber they talk about what awareness actually is and how you move towards the realisation of what you already are. See part 1 here.
“We’re happening in God’s consciousness. We’re happening right now in that infinite light, if we could but see. … We have the ability to know every event, the infinitely infinite number of events going on in all realms, in all universes, and right here, now. But it would be very hard to tie our shoes, cook, go for a walk, dress ourselves, if we were aware of that all the time.” – Wayne Teasdale.
Spirit is ever-present awareness. The question is how your individual attention relates to this ever-present noticing. Whatever you’re aware of, it’s all arising in Big Mind, or Spirit, without any effort.
So to wake up – stop trying to be aware. Let it be.