"One of the aims of this volume is to begin to flesh out this
skeleton by bringing together, for the first time, both of these major schools of development—conventional and contemplative...."
Ken Wilber, Transformations of Consciousness (1986, pp. 7-8).
Under what conditions do people have a vivid God experience? Is is lasting? What conditions are most conducive to a God experience? How do God-experiencers account for suffering?
My purpose in creating this website is to bring Integral theory to professional psychology and psychotherapy, and also to help bring psychology's knowledge to the framework of Integral theory.
My professional training and experience spans over 30 years. I spent an average of 7 years of focused learning in each of these 5 groupings:
Is there a God?
RECOMMENDED ORDER OF READING FOR AN ADEQUATE BEGINNING UNDERSTANDING OF WILBER'S FRAMEWORK FOR INTEGRAL PSYCHOLOGY:
1. The Spectrum of Consciousness (1973/1993)
2. The Atman Project (1980)
3. Transformations of Consciousness (1986)
4. Integral Psychology (2000)
5. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (2000)
For added depth, Up From Eden (1996) and No Boundary (2001)
(Citations on Readings and References page)
Integral Psychology seems to be an apt Vol. 2 of a set, in which Vol. 1 would be Transformations of Consciousness.
1. The poetic, as well as descriptive, character of some of Wilber's writing suggests an underlying nondual paradigm [see my Ego Development and Sentio Ergo Sum articles, and Wilber's books: Eye to Eye ((2001), The Marriage of Sense and Soul (1998), and The Holographic Paradigm (1982)]. The multiple states-based personality theory logically incorporates psychological and contemplative dimensions of consciousness.
2. Academic psychology has favored data coming from (quasi-) scientific research methods, but clinical psychology has flourished from over a century of clinical studies. Wilber, a philosopher of consciousness but not a psychologist, often names certain exemplar researchers, presumably to make his points at least intriguing to academics, but he doesn't mention his beautiful early work. The vital job for psychological researchers is to use all forms of systematic research, not just quantitative, to study the new terrain marked by Integral theory. Inductive, ethnographic, multiple case studies, phenomenology and hermeneutics, modeling, exegesis, philosophical discourse, historiography, multi-methods--these and more are needed before deductive methods can bring their exactitude and logic to clarify the findings.
Social scientists can ask third-person behavioral questions, like, "How do wise and intuitive people speak about their experiences?" We need to systematically ask, "What is the nature of those experiences? What are the common denominators? How do we position ourselves to acquire them? What dangers or hazards can happen, and what can we do about them?"
2a. The Gravesian "momentous leap" to "second tier"*--from a rational belief system to rational and spiritual-- needs a strong conceptual, research-based bridge--criteria for judging genuine post-rational experiences vs. counterfeits such as projections and fantasy. We need research to ask which subtler states experiences are genuine and which are false leads; what constitutes subtle and causal consciousness states, as opposed to daydreaming and semi-stupor. What valid and reliable criteria provide signposts for meditation trainees?
There is a well-documented correlation between states training and psychological growth. What exactly is it about states that aid growth? Is it only the lowering of trait anxiety during situations calling for more mature responses? Are demonic experiences projections of shadow (unconscious intrapsychic conflict), which can be worked through in depth therapy? If nondual visionary experiences show the experiencer all of manifestation blowholing out of Ground Consciousness, then why isn't the experiencer omniscient after that? And the ultimate question: When life is a personal hell, what the....?
3. The emotional line of development as rarely, if ever, been recognized as a line parallel to others, such as cognition, ego, moral, social, etc. It has unfortunately been lumped with "intelligences," social-emotional, capacity, or pathologized as emotional immaturity. It's not that emotional development has not been recognized; its literature is vast but not properly collated in a way that will be useful for personal growth (as in an Integral Life Practice) and clinical-counseling applications. I surveyed the field in 2008 and created a beginning list of levels of emotional development (2008). I hope that someone will continue this project and do some research.
4. "Multiple intelligences" and "lines of development" overlap but are not identical, in my opinion. These terms need to be teased out. A glaring example is the difference between cognitive intelligence as defined by I.Q. scores--as talent relative to other people in the same age group--and levels of cognitive development conceptualized by Piaget and others. Intelligences and cognitive levels describe certain capacities, or functions, or abilities, which can be ranked as increasing.
5. Another unfortunate tangle confuses talent, development, and supra-mental health described by Positive Psychology (eventually see the Layers, Shadow, and Psychograph pages, under construction at this writing).
6. I have added an element to Wilber's AQAL map, called Layers of Consciousness. The unconscious mind is where we do much of our processing of experience, and Wilber wrote about 5-6 types of unconscious that are very intriguing and deserve consideration and possible elaboration. Shadow work is a vital part of an Integral Life Practice, and it is not synonymous with the unconscious mind. The unconscious is the bread and butter of the depth psychologist and thus of maximum importance for psychology professionals.
* Wilber, Ken. A Theory of Everything, Chp. 1.