Afterword

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So Glad to See You Looking Ahead!

HyperLearning Has been Designed With Your Optimum Potential and Greatest Focus in Mind!
Make Sure You Have Made The Most of the Sections You Have Covered Thus Far in the Course!
More Material Will be Rolling Out to You Soon!

See You in The Crucible Forums!

David Rainoshek, M.A.

www.RevolutionaryWebinars.com

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HyperLearning: A Mystic’s Perspective

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

- Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

A Limitless Context for HyperLearning

Having come this far, it would be rude of me to not provide you with a larger context in which to hold HyperLearning; an understanding of the full nature of the perspective from which this book was written; and to what purpose I think HyperLearning ultimately serves.

This book has largely been about how to cultivate your own passion, purpose, and space to develop and use your rational mind to learn, hold, create, and serve yourself and others better in your own Unique Ways of Being in this lifetime.

In other words, it has largely spoken to a high level of expressing and satisfying Self-Actualization needs, a high stage of needs development illustrated by researcher Abraham Maslow:

Conventional Model of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

You can see that the highest level in this chart of Maslow’s Hierarchy is Self-Actualization: the “need to live up to one’s fullest and unique potential.”

Self-Actualization (a term originated by Kurt Goldstein) is the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their unique abilities and to strive to be the best they can be. Maslow describes self-actualization as follows:

“Self-Actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is.” (Psychological Review, 1949)

“It refers to the person’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially.

The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person. In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventions.”[1]

Maslow writes the following of self-actualizing people:

  • They embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them.
  • They are spontaneous in their ideas and actions.
  • They are creative.
  • They are interested in solving problems; this often includes the problems of others. Solving these problems is often a key focus in their lives.
  • They feel a closeness to other people, and generally appreciate life.
  • They have a system of morality that is fully internalized and independent of external authority.
  • They judge others without prejudice, in a way that can be termed objective.

These points should, at this point, remind you of much of what I have presented in HyperLearning. The stage of self-actualization fulfills the need to reach one’s fullest potential, and HyperLearning is directly in service to realizing your self-actualization needs.

But this is not the whole story…

This earliest and most widespread version of Maslow’s Hierarchy includes only 5 motivational levels (seen above), but a more complete version of the hierarchy, taking into account Maslow’s own later life work (and that of others such as Viktor Frankl and many mystics from wisdom traditions worldwide), includes a 6th level, that of Self-Transcendence.

Self-Transcendence involves moving beyond the care and concern for oneself and one’s own experience into that of all people, or all beings. It is, therefore, transpersonal (beyond the personal) involving an expanded sense of identity that includes, yet transcends, the personal sense of selfhood. This is also referred to as spiritual needs.

Momentarily, we will dive deeply into two main varieties of Self-Transcendence, but before we do, I want to mention a larger, cross-cultural, perennial context in which to view this common human experience of: satisfying  basic personal needs, actualizing one’s self in more skillful and significant ways, and then – if development continues – transcending one’s own self in a higher, wider, deeper embrace of the entire Kosmos.

What is the Kosmos? We have heard about the Cosmos with a “C.” It is what I call “Carl Sagan’s Cosmos” – the physical universe as studied by chemists, astrologers, astronomers, and physicists. But the Kosmos with a “K” is much more full, alive, developed… and has been acknowledged by religious traditions and cultures across the spectrum throughout human history.  In A Theory of Everything, Ken Wilber writes of the Kosmos:

“The Greeks had a beautiful word, Kosmos, which means the patterned whole of all existence, including the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realms. Ultimate reality was not merely the cosmos, or the physical dimension, but the Kosmos, or the physical and emotional and mental and spiritual dimensions altogether. Not just matter, lifeless and insentient, but the living Totality of matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit. The Kosmos!—now there is a real theory of everything. But us poor moderns have reduced the Kosmos to the cosmos, we have reduced matter and body and mind and soul and spirit to nothing but matter alone . . . in this drab and dreary world of scientific materialism. . . An integral vision attempts to include matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit as they appear in self, culture, and nature.”

Notice, Wilber mentions “Matter, Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit.” This developmental hierarchy, and the evolutionary drive (or telos) behind it, from mere atoms and molecules into living bodies, minds, souls (which love and offer compassion) and to Spirit itself is known as The Great Chain of Being.  It has been popularized by Aldous Huxley in his book The Perennial Philosophy; by Arthur Lovejoy in his book, The Great Chain of Being; and by world-renown professor of comparative religion Huston Smith in his book The Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions.

According to Huston Smith, this understanding of the development of the Kosmos is held by virtually all of the world’s great wisdom traditions. Ken Wilber writes in The Marriage of Sense and Soul, “As Arthur Lovejoy abundantly demonstrated in his classic treatise on the Great Chain, this view of reality has in fact ‘been the dominant official philosophy of the larger part of civilized humankind through most of history.’”

The development of the Kosmos from Matter to Body to Mind to Soul to Spirit is one in which “lower” levels are transcended and included in “higher” levels of being and knowing.

The traditional Great Chain is beautifully illustrated with two graphics from Huston Smith’s Forgotten Truth:

 The Great Nest of Being, Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions by Huston Smith, pg 62.

These levels of development, from matter into body, mind, soul, and spirit, and experienced as levels of the Kosmos (seen in the top half of the image above), but also levels of selfhood (seen in the bottom half of the image). Your own personal life experience is an unfolding of these developmental levels, which also play out in the Kosmos at large.

Again, the major wisdom traditions worldwide find incredible agreement on these deep features of development, even while the surface features – such as names, practices, rituals, icons, and so forth shift with each culture and tradition. Wilber displays it as such in A Theory of Everything:

The Great Nest in Various Traditions, Ken Wilber in A Theory of Everything, pg 68.

This is a dramatic and important agreement among traditions worldwide, and a cause for celebration and inter-religious cooperation and co-creation, would we let go of the limitations of our embeddedness in local ideologies, practices, and beliefs as absolutely true as opposed to others’ local ideologies, practices, and beliefs. We are in such substantial agreement on the human experience as a spiritual one in search of higher, wider, and deeper recognitions of love, compassion, creativity, growth, and our connection with God that our inability to get together in greater harmony is astounding. As I have said earlier in HyperLearning, to co-exist – like the bumber sticker below suggests – is not enough.

We need to co-create, and that co-creation can be driven by a recognition of the dramatic similarities of our common agreement in the deep features of the personal human experience, and the unfolding of the Kosmos at large, as illustrated in the image, The Great Nest in Various Traditions, above.

Wilber explains that the Great Chain is actually more aptly described as a Great Nest, like nested Russian dolls. It is a developmental hierarchy, and looks like this:

  The Great Chain, or Nest of Spirit, and The Curative Spiral

As we move through a developmental hierarchy, such as the Great Chain, or Nest of Spirit, there is a good news, bad news reality known as the Dialectic of Progress. Wilber explains, “As consciousness evolves and unfolds, each stage solves or defuses certain problems of the previous state, but adds new and recalcitrant—and sometimes more difficult—problems of its own. . . Dogs get cancer; atoms don’t. But this doesn’t damn evolution altogether! It means evolution is good news, bad news, this dialectic of progress. And the more stages of evolution there are—the greater the depth of the Kosmos—the more things that can go wrong.” [2]

Simply put, as things get better, or more complex, the opportunity for things to go amazingly right co-arises with the opportunity for things to go deeply wrong. A Porsche has many more capabilities than a tricycle for example, yet it also has a much higher chance of breaking down and needing maintenance to continue functioning at a high level. In the same way, your body is able to do and achieve much more than a rock, and needs more care and attention in order for it to run smoothly and maintain a state of health. Your body can create flexibility, beauty, glowing skin, states of bliss, pleasurable sensations, co-create a new human body, etc. while also being capable of creating cancer, MS, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, etc. It is good news, bad news, all the way up.

And one of the things that can go wrong is that higher levels of being, such as the human mind, can dissociate from lower realities (one’s body, or the biosphere), ignoring them or marginalizing them in a rational or emotional zeal after some goal, such as: creating a nuclear power station with spent nuclear weapons on the Ring of Fire to power an island of 135 million people (as in the recent and ongoing triple nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in Japan).

But industrial accidents are not the only dissociation of our times. Eating processed food is a dissociation of mind from matter and body. So is the overuse and misuse of pharmaceuticals. Working hard on your career and ignoring the needs of your body (which supports your mind) is common. So is supporting the environment by recycling, while continuing to drive and consume excessively. Modern agribusiness is a dissociation of mind and body from matter (you can’t keep mining and poisoning the soil and expect to maintain a healthy body or mind). Even many of us who actualize our souls in love and compassion for other beings often forget to take care of our bodies. Dissociations from lower levels of our being and knowing abound in our lives. In many respects, we have created a Culture of Dissociation that needs healing.

This is why, in this HyperLearning Course, I have emphasized Nutritional Life Practices that take care of the body and brain – these “lower” levels of our own being are in service to our HyperLearning Mind, which in turn serves our Soul’s Unique Purpose and the recognition of… well, we will get to Spirit in a few minutes.

But one more point on dissociation, and why we need health at all levels of the Great Chain or Nest of Spirit.

It is imperative to recognize that when we destroy or ignore the biosphere – the earth –  we are not harming something external to ourselves. We contain the biosphere – it is an integral part of who we are. The earth – the biosphere – is alive (or dying) in our very own being. A disaster such as Fukushima is melting down in the lower aspects of your very own being. It is interior to us. This is how developmental hierarchies work. Take away or destroy a lower level (the biosphere), and higher levels (your body and mind) disappear. If the earth goes or is made uninhabitable, we go. If your body goes, so goes your mind. If your mind is not fully developed, it will impact the development or skillful expression of your Soul’s Unique Purpose in this life.

THE CURATIVE SPIRAL

In the Great Chain, or Nest of Being graphic, you see a curve – what Ken Wilber has called “The Curative Spiral.” Our higher levels of being and knowing need make a return visit to a full embrace of the more fundamental aspects of ourselves (the physiosphere, the biosphere, our own bodies) and then can move forward with activities informed by a fuller appreciation of our being, integrated and whole, not dissociated and pathological.

In concert with Life Practices supporting an integrated Curative Spiral (to be presented in future articles) is a deep recognition that we are in service to The Great Chain of Being unfolding – unimpeded and healthy – for as many beings as possible. Ken Wilber calls this the Basic Moral Imperative: the greatest depth of development for the greatest span (or number) of beings. An actualization of the Basic Moral Imperative includes thinking of all beings present and future in our ways of being.

Dissociations such as those mentioned earlier (harmful industrialization, degredation of our environment, poor food choices, lack of care for our body and mind,) are a threat to healthy development and a disregard for the Basic Moral Imperative, which we are here to encourage. Starting with ourselves first, and then influencing public policy, the Dissociative Age must close, an Integrated personal and global culture is due. Understanding the Great Chain of Being or the Nest of Spirit as a fundamental truth is essential in an Integral evolutionary culture and a HyperLearning Mind in service to even higher levels of being and knowing that are in service to Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence for ourselves, and as many people as possible.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This whole evolutionary move from Matter to Body to Mind to Soul to Spirit, or the Pre-Personal to the Personal to the Transpersonal, or from Self-Needs to Self-Actualization to Self-Transcendence… this we call the ascending current of our own development. It is actually on HALF the STORY. This is akin to summiting Mount Everest. There is also the decent off of Everest, and as many of us know from that heroic journey, summitting is not the final destination. The return is equally important, and in many cases requires greater skill being applied to the journey up and back than would be necessary for a mere ascent alone.

We will return to this Ascending and Descending Everest metapor towards the close of this Afterword, but let’s finish ascending Everest first – a major feat of human consciousness supported by healthy Self-Actualization at the levels of Mind and Soul in service to Self-Transcendence at the levels of Soul and Spirit, as seen in the Great Nest of Spirit graphics above.

Two Varieties of Self-Transcendence:
Temporary States and Permanent Stages

There are two main varieties of Self-Transcendence:

1.  Temporary State Experiences (or Peak Experiences), and
2.  Permanent Stage Acquisitions of Transpersonal, Transrational Ways of Being and Knowing

Both are legitimate forms of self-transcendence, but one is temporary (and accessible potentially by anyone at any stage of life development), and the other is a permanent acquisition that requires prior stages of development, and is therefore a high level of human development. Let’s look at the two, the first represented by the work of Abraham Maslow, and the second illustrated by Ken Wilber.

Why? We are going to place the whole endeavor of HyperLearning into a much larger context. . . which will deeply inform the significance of your learning for the rest of your life.

Below is what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs looks like, updated with Self-Transcendence:

Self-Transcendence
As a Temporary Peak State Experience

“I found myself grunting in agreement or mumbling, ‘Of course it has always been this way’ over and over again as the panorama of my life seemed to be swept up by this unifying and eternal principle . . . I seemed to relinquish my life in ‘layers:’ the more I let go, the greater sense of oneness I received. As I approached what I firmly believed to be the point  of death, I experienced an ever greater sense of an eternal dimension to life.”

– A Peak State Experience reported in
Altered States of Consciousness
by Charles Tart

Maslow believed that we should study and cultivate the first type of self-transcendence – Temporary Peak Experiences – as a way of providing a route to achieve personal growth, integration, and fulfillment. Peak experiences are unifying, and ego-transcending, bringing a sense of purpose to the individual and a sense of integration. Individuals most likely to have peak experiences are self-actualized, mature, healthy, and self-fulfilled. However, all individuals of any age are capable of temporary peak experiences; having them is an experience familiar to all human beings.

Such peak experience states are:

  • Emotional (a happiness or feeling of love that transcends the limits of time and space)
  • Sexual: experiences in which union with the other involves a loss of the sense of self (see Jenny Wade’s book, Transcendent Sex), or transcendence of the limits of one’s self
  • Dream states
  • Near-death experiences
  • High spiritual states of bliss due to devotion, prayer, or meditation (which could be temporary or permanent)
  • Drug-induced experiences
  • Unity with nature

A perfect, somewhat hilarious, and beautiful video illustrating a temporary, transcendent peak experience that involves both unity with nature and perhaps a drug-induced state can be seen here:


YosemiteBear Mountain and the Giant Double Rainbow, January 2010

Definitely a must-watch… it has over 35 million views for a good reason (beyond humor): we all recognize or long for a peak experience of the sublime…

Maslow originally found the occurrence of temporary peak experiences in individuals who were self-actualized, but later found that temporary peak experiences happened to “non-actualizers” as well, but not quite as often. In his book,  The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (New York, 1971) he writes:

I have recently found it more and more useful to differentiate between two kinds of self-actualizing people, those who were clearly healthy, but with little or no experiences of transcendence, and those in whom transcendent experiencing was important and even central … It is unfortunate that I can no longer be theoretically neat at this level. I find not only self-actualizing persons who transcend, but also non-healthy people, non-self-actualizers who have important transcendent experiences. It seems to me that I have found some degree of transcendence in many people other than self-actualizing ones as I have defined this term …

Ken Wilber, who has integrated the work of Maslow, later argued that a peak experience could occur at any stage of a person’s life development, and that “the way in which those states or realms are experienced and interpreted depends to some degree on the stage of development of the person having the peak experience.”  For example, a 3-year-old child who still believes in magic as absolutely real at all times and in all cases will interpret the cause and meaning of a state of absolute bliss differently than a 55-year-old Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Both temporary states of bliss may be the same – but the way we interpret and generate meaning from those temporary states is largely dependent upon who we have developed into being in our lives thus far.

Wilber is in agreement with Maslow about the positive values of peak experiences, but is at pains to make clear, “In order for higher development to occur, those temporary states must become permanent traits.”

Self-Transcendence
As a Permanent Trait Acquisition

All creatures seek after unity; all multiplicity struggles toward it—the universal aim of all life is always this unity.

– Johann Tauler

 

Being one with the universe, one with God—that is what we wish for most whether we know it or not.

–Fritz Kunkel

Permanent traits, or stable acquisitions of abilities and perspectives, or ways of being that are transpersonal, transrational, trans-egoic, and post-conventional are where it’s at.

The reasons for wanting to develop to such a high estate will become abundantly clear soon…

As I said earlier, HyperLearning has been about Rational Self-Actualization, but what I have not said is that my purpose for fulfilling such a stage is not just for its own sake, but to set the conditions for Self-Transcendence and a Post-Rational (or Transrational), Transpersonal, Post-conventional set of practices, realizations, worldviews, and ways of being.

On Rational Self-Actualization setting the stage for Self-Transcendence, Maslow wrote later in his career:

As he that is, the person in the peak experiences gets to be more purely and singly himself he is more able to fuse with the world, with what was formerly not-self, for example, the lovers come closer to forming a unit rather than two people, the I-Thou monism becomes more possible, the creator becomes one with his work being created, the mother feels one with her child.

That is, the greatest attainment of identity, autonomy, or selfhood is itself simultaneously a transcending of itself, a going beyond and above selfhood…

In conclusion I wish to underscore one main paradox I have dealt with above . . . which we must face even if we don’t understand it. The goal of identity (self-actualization . . .) seems to be simultaneously an end-goal in itself, and also a transitional goal, a rite of passage, a step along the path to the transcendence of identity. This is like saying its function is to erase itself. Put the other way around, if our goal is the Eastern one of ego-transcendence. . . then it looks as if the best path to this goal for most people is via achieving identity, a strong real self, and via basic-need-gratification.[3]

In the track, “The Movie” on Doors singer Jim Morrison’s album An American Prayer, Morrison says, “The program for this evening is not new. You’ve seen this entertainment through and through. You’ve seen your birth, your life and death, you might recall all the rest… did you have a good world when you died, enough to base a movie on?”

In other words, Morrison is asking, before you die (a transcendent, transpersonal experience) did you cultivate a deeply significant and full individual personal life – one good enough to freely let go of?

While we are not talking about the transcendence of death and the end of life here – HyperLearning is very much about the creative life force coming to full fruition. In the leap to Self-Transcedence (as with a leap to all new higher, wider, deeper stages of being and knowing), there is a certain aspect of dying to who you once were into something larger… But first, you must complete the stage you are at (such as personal Self-Actualization) fully enough to move onwards, such as one does with courses in school or chapters in a math class. First, addition and subtraction, then pre-algebra and geometry, Algebra I and II, and then calculus and advanced mathematics.

Ken Wilber writes on the form of development to higher stages:

“At each successive stage of growth and development, the self differentiates from the given level, transcends that level to the next higher one, and then integrates the lower with the higher. Each successive stage of development therefore transcends but includes its predecessor(s). ‘To supercede,’ said Hegel (1949), ‘is at once to negate and preserve.’ That is to say, as development moves from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each higher stage negates (transcends) but preserves (includes) its predecessor in a higher-order, unity, and synthesis, and this process continues until there is only Unity.”[4]

In order to move to a stage of higher development, it is important to first fill out the prior stages. To move into the Post-Rational, Trans-Rational, Trans-Personal, Post-Conventional levels of Self-Transcendence, we are best served by as full and healthy a development of the Personal,  Self-Actualized, Rational Mind and Life as is possible.

Wilber writes, “There is a saying by Hans Sachs, I think, that psychoanalysis ends when the patient realizes it can go on forever. . .”

At some point in our HyperLearning, we fill out the Rational Mind sufficiently, most of our absolutely necessary questions about how the conventional world as-it-is are satisfied, yet we yearn for an even larger meaning to existence – ours and the Kosmos at large. As Ken Wilber said above, We seek “a higher order, unity, and synthesis. . .” In other words, healthy, full, personal Self-Actualization gives way to the deep and inevitable need for growth into transpersonal Self-Transcendence, or care and concern for realities beyond ourselves, our culture, even the limits placed by pesky realities such as time, space, and duality…

So, lower levels of a developmental hierarchy – such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – support growth and development to higher levels, and Rational Self-Actualization sets the stage for Transrational Self-Transcendence. Maslow knew this…

If this all sounds pretty high-falootin’ or like I have just come off of Bullshit Mountain, just wait – I am about to provide some important clarity on Self-Transcendence. We will now answer two important questions, one that addresses moving from the bottom UP the Great Nest of Spirit (or an ascending current in our life); and one that addresses moving from the top DOWN the Great Nest of Spirit (or the descending current).

1.  What does this transition from Self-Actualization to Self-Transcendence involve?
2.  Why is Self-Transcendence important in my daily life, or for society at large, and once more, how does  it relate to HyperLearning?

1. What does this transition from Self-Actualization to Self-Transcendence involve?

The transition from Maslow’s lower levels of needs (“Physiological,” “Safety,” “Belongingness,” “Love,” and “Esteem”) to higher levels (such as “Know and Understand,” “Aesthetic,” and “Self-Actualization”) is a transition that involves what Wilber calls the Oedipus complex: transforming from physical, bodily needs to needs of the human mind. We have not discussed this life transition or stage, or emphasized it in HyperLearning, because you have already accomplished it; and also because this book is about fulfilling personal Self-Actualization needs in service to the next major transformation to Self-Transcendence, and what is involved in that significant leap in development which Wilber calls the Apollo complex:

One of the conclusions . . . was that the most significant and widespread complex today is not the Oedipus complex – or difficulty transforming from body to mind – but what we might call the Apollo complex – a difficulty in transforming from mind to soul, or from personal, mental, egoic realms to transpersonal, subtle, and supraegoic realms. The Vishnu complex, the difficulty in transforming from soul to spirit, occurs on a level so evolved that it afflicts only advanced meditators (as I will shortly explain).

The nature of these higher complexes, such as the Apollo and Vishnu, was made painfully obvious to me in my own meditation. By the time I had finished writing No Boundary (Wilber, 1979), my meditation practice, while not exactly advanced, was no longer in the beginner’s phase. The leg pain (from the lotus posture) was manageable, and my awareness was growing in its capacity to maintain an alert yet relaxed, active yet detached stance. But my mind was, as the Buddhists say, that of a monkey: compulsively active, obsessively motive.

And there I came face to face with my own Apollo complex, the difficulty in transforming from the mental sphere to the subtle sphere. The subtle sphere (or the “soul,” as Christians mystics use that term) is the beginning of the transpersonal realms; as such, it is supramental, transegoic, and transverbal. But in order to reach that sphere, one must (as in all transformations) “die” to the lower sphere (in this case, the mental-egoic). The failure to do so or the incapacity to do so is the Apollo complex. As the person with an Oedipus complex remains unconsciously attached to the body and its pleasure principle, so the person with an Apollo complex remains unconsciously attached to the mind and its reality principle. (“Reality” here means “institutional, rational, verbal reality,” which, although conventionally real enough, is nevertheless only an intermediate stage . . . that is, it is merely a description of actual Reality itself, and thus, if clung to, eventually and ultimately prevents the discovery of that actual Reality.)

The struggle with my own obsessive/compulsive thinking – not particular obsessive thoughts, as per specific neurosis (which is often indicative of an Oedipus-complex holdover), but the very stream of thought itself – was an arduous task. As it was, I was fortunate to make some progress, to be able eventually to rise above the fluctuations of mental contractions and discover, however initially, a realm incomparably more profound, more real, more saturated with being, more open to clarity.[5]

Now here is where the territory of human consciousness and the unfolding of the Kosmos gets interesting. Many of the problems that we face in our personal lives, and in our life with “others” have to do with an overly dogged attachment to our limited self, our personal concerns, our boundaries, our needs, our particular culture, worldviews, ideas, and ways of being to the exclusion of the concerns all others. We suffer in our rigid individualism, often alone and feeling fearful and beset on all sides by “others,” not to mention the impermanent, limited time and power we have to express our individuality in this short life. Who doesn’t experience this?

Mystics the world over suggest that ultimately, we have forgotten something, or that in this life there is an even larger reality beyond individuality, division, boundaries, time, and space which knows no limits whatsoever, and yet is the very fabric of our being, the very awareness looking out of these eyes, listening with these ears at this very moment, and every moment from beginingless time.  This is amnesis – our fundamental forgetting of who we really are through and through and through… and in all our striving, wanting, and seeking it is actually this one absolute and unifying transpersonal experience of re-remembrance, or anamnesis, of UNITY that we are forever seeking.

Wilber writes in The Atman Project:

The soul’s duty in this life is to remember. The Buddhist smriti and sati-patthana, the Hindu smara, the Sufi zakir, Plato’s recollection, Christ’s anamnesis: all of these terms are precisely translated as remembrance. “It is precisely a failure to remember,” says Coomaraswamy, “that drags down from the heights the soul that has walked with God and had some vision of the truths, but cannot retain it.”[6]

Our whole life is a unity project, as Wilber describes it:

We seek Spirit in ways that prevent it. We seek for Spirit in the world of time, but Spirit is timeless, and cannot there be found. We seek for Spirit in the world of space; but Spirit is spaceless, and cannot there be found. We seek for Spirit in this or that object, shiny and alluring and full of fame or fortune; but Spirit is not an object, and it cannot be seen or grasped in the world of commodities and commotion.

In other words, we are seeking for Spirit in ways that prevent its realization, and force us to settle for substitute gratifications, which propel us through, and lock us into, the wretched world of time and terror, space and death, sin and separation, lonliness and consolation.[7]

 

Everything you have ever sought, every pleasure or respite or type of fulfillment you have ever attained or desired has been in service to this fundamental desire for Unity. But because these unity experiences – while temporarily satisfying – all quickly or eventually fade, we are left seeking more… We even feel badly for “subsititute gratifications” – as Wilber calls them above – desires for unity experiences through food, sex, ideas, thoughts, relationships, objects… yet even the most depraved of these are evidence that we are seeking a higher UNITY.

“The One is the Good to which all things aspire: The Absolute is the Summit and Goal of all evolution, all ascent, all manifestation. It provides the motive, the action, the ‘pull’ of all things to actualize their own highest potential, whatever that might be… The One as the Good is the final omega point of all ascent and all wisdom. It is the return of the Many to the One.

The One is the Goodness from which all things flow: It is the Origin and Source of all manifestation, at all times, in all places. There is a timeless creativity or overflow of the One into the Many. All things, high or low, sacred or profane, yesterday or tomorrow, issue forth from the divine Fountainhead, the Source of All, the Origin of all. The One as Goodness is the first cause of all causes; it is the alpha point of all worlds; and as such, all worlds express the Goodness, the compassion, the love and super-abundance of the Divine. This creative super-abundance of the One (as alpha point) is an uncontainable outflowing that results in the Plenitude and variety and multiplicity of this world, so that this world itself is a ‘visible God’, expressing compassion and Goodness through and through, and this world is to be fully embraced as such. It is God as the Many.

The Absolute is the Nondual Ground of both the One and the Many: It is equally and both Good and Goodness, One and Many, Ascent and Descent, Alpha and Omega, Wisdom and Compassion. Both Ascending and Descending paths express profound truths- neither of their truths is denied (in fact, both are strongly asserted). But neither path alone expressed the whole Truth, and neither path alone imbibes fully of Reality. Reality is not just summit (Omega) and not just source (Alpha), but is Suchness- the timeless and ever-present Ground which is equally and fully present in and as every single being, high or low, ascending or descending.” [8]

This is the highest level of development on the Great Nest of Spirit – a personal recognition that you are one with everything, one with all, that in fact, a direct knowing has arisen – and remained, that your very awareness itself is God, is Spirit, looking out through your eyes, moving in your bloodstream, driving your development to self-recognition: you are the All, and so is everything and everyone else. 100% of Spirit is everpresent everywhere, and everywhen.

This is the absolutely transpersonal, transcendent experience and recognition of total Unity  that we ultimately seek. And those who find it best, develop a full and healthy enough personal self to build on, and eventually release, in that space of transcendent witnessing that Spirit is the Ground and Goal and Substance of all things… closer to you than your own face.

(By the way – the royal road to this transpersonal, transcendent recognition is through meditative and contemplative practices – which exercise not the eye of mind, but the eye of Spirit. This is the domain of mystics in all world religious traditions, from Christian mystics to Sufi, Kabbalist, Hindu, and Buddhist mystics.)

Another name for this transcendent realization is Big Mind. We spoke about Big Mind Practice earlier in HyperLearning. Big Mind considers all, holds all,  is the all. With Big Mind, no one is higher or lower,  in or out, worthy or unworthy; there is no limit to time, space, or being. Everything is one, and it is limitless. “Things as it is,” as Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind wryly said.

But Big Mind – holding it all and recognizing the All, is actually on HALF the deal. We have reached the top of Mt. Everest. It’s beautiful. But if you stay up there too long, you will freeze. Moreover, the skills that you used to get “up there” play into whether or not you have the oxygen, the skills, the time, the energy to come back down off the mountain and re-engage with the world as-it-is, moment to moment. Getting off the mountain, for most climbers of Everest, is actually the most challenging and perilous part of the climb.

It is the same in the Hero’s Journey as outlined by mythologist Joseph Campbell in The Hero with A Thousand Faces. The Return of the Hero after he has already gotten what he went for, can be frought with danger itself of many varieties. Cambell writes:

“When the hero-quest has been accomplished, through penetration to the source, or through the grace of some male or female, human or animal, personification, the adventurer still must return with his life-transmuting trophy. The full round, the norm of the monomyth, requires that the hero shall now begin the labor of bringing the runes of wisdom, the Golden Fleece, or his sleeping princess, back into the kingdom of humanity, where the boon may redound to the renewing of the community, the nation, the planet or the ten thousand worlds. But the responsibility has been frequently refused. Even the Buddha, after his triumph, doubted whether the message of realization could be communicated, and saints are reported to have passed away while in the supernal ecstasy. Numerous indeed are the heroes fabled to have taken up residence forever in the blessed isle of the unaging Goddess of Immortal Being.”

It’s bliss. It’s Bliss! Who wouldn’t want to stay there forever? Yet there is even more than Bliss, more than Oneness, more than merely summitting the mountain. The descent, the re-entry, the translation of what you have witnessed, experienced, and realized (from pre-presonal to personal to transpersonal, from self-needs to self-actualization to self-transcendence) as a permanent acquisition needs to be made plain to the world of the many.  This is the final deed of the Hero. This is the descending current, Spirit and the recognition of Spirit coming back into the world.

The degree to which you developed yourself before summiting the mountain will determine to a large degree how skillful you are in coming off the mountain, talking about the experience, teaching how to do it, or merely living with others from a place of greater knowledge and awareness in a way that is meaningful to them.

So now, let’s look at our next question… the descending current, or the Big Mind of absolute truth and Oneness moving into the world into the Big Heart of absolute compassion for the many.

2. Why is Self-Transcendence important in my daily life, or for society at large, and once more, how does it relate to HyperLearning?

The ultimate goal of self-transcendence is to realize that everything is one unified Spirit, or God.  Many of us who have spiritually grown up with the influence of eastern traditions or mystical expressions of spirituality both east and west, may have been – or still are – under the impression that the final goal in this life is enlightenment, a radical letting go of our attachments to this “separate self,” this “limited ego,” our desires… anything that has a beginning and an end, releasing into oneness.

But you have “only” summitted Everest with that recognition of recognitions. Even after such an awakening into Big Mind, or oneness with Spirit, there is still a world here to engage with. Children are born each day; people are getting together and working on their lives; disasters are happening that require help; food is grown, delivered, eaten, and defecated; flowers continue to bloom; suffering and joy continue ever onwards; as does the development of individuals and humanity at large. A “return,” or a descending off the mountain is in order if we want to get involved with manyness after pursuing the ascending oneness strategy. Ken Wilber writes:

From Tantra to Zen, from the Neoplatonists to Sufism, from Shaivism to Kegon, stated in a thousands different ways and in a hundred different contexts, nonetheless the same essential word would ring out from the Nondual Heart: the Many returning to and embracing the One is Good, and is known as wisdom; the One returning to and embracing the Many is Goodness, and is known as compassion.

Wisdom knows that behind the Many is the One. Wisdom sees through the confusion of shifting shapes and passing forms to the groundless Ground of all being. Wisdom sees beyond the shadows to the timeless and formless Light (in Tantra, the self-luminosity of Being). Wisdom, in short, sees that the Many is One. Or, as in Zen, wisdom or prajna sees that Form is Emptiness (the “solid” and “substantial” world of phenomena is really fleeting, impermanent, insubstantial – “like a bubble, a dream, a shadow,” as The Diamond Sutra puts it). Wisdom sees that “this world is illusory; Brahman alone is real.”

But if wisdom sees that the Many is One, compassion knows that the One is the Many; that the One is expressed equally in each and every being, and so each is to be treated with compassion and care, not in any condescending fashion, but rather because each being, exactly as it is, is a perfect manifestation of Spirit. Thus, compassion sees that the One is the Many. Or, as in Zen, compassion or karuna sees that Emptiness is Form (the ultimate empty Dharmakaya is not other to the entire world of Form, so that prajna or wisdom is the birth of the Bodhisattva and karuna or compassion is the motivation of the Bodhisattva). Compassion sees that “Brahman is the world,” and that, as Plato put it, the entire world is a “visible, sensible God.”

And it was further maintained, in East and West alike, that the integration of Ascent and Descent is the union of wisdom (which sees that Many is One) and compassion (which sees that One is Many). The love we have for the One is extended equally to the Many, since they are ultimately not-two, thus uniting wisdom with compassion in every moment of perception.[9]

There it is. The union of wisdom – that the Many are One – and compassion – that the One is Many. It is compassion that keeps even a person who has moved beyond their own limitations and severe attachments to their individual human experience, involved in the world. But the world – the many – is messy, complicated, evolving, devolving, true, false, up, down, fast, slow, ugly, beautiful, destructive, creative… so multitudinous and complex, and the work of helping it can be frustating and neverending… It is tempting to abide in transcendent oneness than to get involved. It is one thing to experience All as One, but another altogether to then get back into the fray with the world, particularly a multicultural world in which we are now called to take so very much into account.

I am reminded of one of my favorite stories, that of the night the historical Buddha realized his great awakening. Siddhartha (the Buddha) had been practicing in with several other renunciates, in communities, with teachers, and on the road for 5 years. After being saved from starvation (he was giving asceticism a try) by a young child who fed him rice and milk, he established a quiet place to practice under a tree, and Siddhartha began to see more and more clearly the true nature of the awakened mind. Finally, one day not too long after being saved from his trials with asceticism, he recognized that a grand awakening was forthcoming. Siddhartha determined to sit under the tree in meditation until he was fully awakened.

Seeing this, Mara (representing suffering and death) appears to Siddhartha to tempt him (a common theme, no?). After numerous temptations Mara is about to give up, but he provides one last test. Mara says, “Okay – fine! So you are going to wake up – you are going to have a grand awakening and know the nature of your mind, of consciousness, of all things manifest and unmanifest. Good for you. But who will you be able to tell? Who will know it?

Siddhartha knew there was some truth to this. What he was about to directly realize would be beyond words, and few if any would have the requisite desire and conditions necessary to practice and see for themselves. Yet, Siddhartha was not dissuaded. He placed his hand on the Earth, and said, “The Earth will be my Witness.” And with that, Mara left, and Siddhartha woke up, and discovered his true self, and his Unique Self as the historical Buddha, fully awake, fully divine, fully human.

The last temptation of the Buddha was not creating doubt about whether he could summit Mt. Everest, it was whether he could skillfully come back down and teach others. How to translate the ineffable, the sublime, that which is beyond words and time and space into the everyday, with words and time and space? Joseph Campbell again on this difficult but necessary task of the returning hero in The Hero with A Thousand Faces:

How teach again, however, what has been taught correctly and incorrectly learned a thousand times, throughout the millennia of mankind’s folly? That is the hero’s ultimate difficult task. How to render back into light-world language the speech-defying pronouncements of the dark? How represent on a two-dimensional surface a three-dimensional form, or in a three-dimensional image a multi-dimensional meaning? How translate into terms of “yes” and “no” revelations that shatter into meaninglessness every attempt to define the pairs of opposites? How communicate to people who insist on the exclusive evidence of their senses the message of the all-generating void?

Many failures attest to the difficulties of this life-affirmative threshold. The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real, after an experience of the soul-satisfying vision of fulfillment, the passing joys and sorrows, banalities and noisy obscenities of life. Why re-enter such a world? Why attempt to make plausible, or even interesting, to men and women consumed with passion, the experience of transcendental bliss? As dreams that were momentous by night may seem silly in the light of day, so the poet and the prophet can discover themselves playing the idiot before a jury of sober eyes. The easy thing is to commit the whole community to the devil and retire again into the heavenly rock-dwelling, close the door, and make it fast. But . . . the work of representing eternity in time, and perceiving in time, eternity, cannot be avoided.[10]

We need people who have skillfully developed themselves – Self-Actualized – to a worldcentric, multicultural level of awareness, and even transcended Self-Actualization to Self-Transcendence, seeing that the ground and goal of it all is, and always has been, Spirit. Eastern traditions have a word, Lila, which means the play of Spirit, the world is the play of Spirit. It is from this place, not doggedly attached to our own limited game, that we can compassionately get involved with others and understand that the face of any “other” is nothing but our own face, and the face of God. It is all unfolding perfectly, and from that place of perfection, we get involved to offer our help.

It is in this space that we begin to co-create the solutions to the problems we face, and serve the Basic Moral Imperative of cultivating the greatest depth (or development) for the greatest span, or number of people.

For our purposes here in this Afterword, let’s take just one example – Ecology and the Environment – as an example of why higher interior levels of growth to worldcentric self-actualization and kosmocentric self-transcendence are most relevant, nay, absolutely necessary, if we are to fix the root of our global ecological crises.

Ken Wilber quotes a character in his postmodern fiction book, Boomeritis:

“People, dear souls, listen to me. Of course we all want to save nature, to honor and preserve Gaia. But the only way to save the biosphere is to have human beings agree on a course of action that will curtail our destructive and polluting ways. Humans must agree to take global action, yes? And the only way to have humans agree that we must take global action is to have a significant number of humans evolve to the global, worldcentric stages of awareness, yes? Yes. The egocentric and the ethnocentric stages of awareness could not care less about the global commons because they do not themselves possess a global awareness.

“And that means that Gaia’s main problem is not toxic waste dumps, the ozone hole, or global warming. Gaia’s main problem is that not enough human beings have evolved from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric levels of consciousness, yes?”  This time the audience yelled back, “Yes!”

“And what is the main thing that prevents this interior development? The widespread belief in flatland. The widespread belief that there are no levels of consciousness, the insane notion that nothing is higher or better than anything else. You cannot talk about the stages of interior growth if you deny stages in the first place.

“And so, you see, once you subscribe to flatland, all you can do is try to fix the exteriors—you try to stop people from polluting, you try to force them to recycle, you try to legislate a moral response to Gaia. And of course it doesn’t work very well, because you must resort to force, legal or otherwise. How much better to help people develop to the worldcentric waves of awareness, at which point they will spontaneously and naturally be moved from within to protect the global commons. A deep and natural love of nature will rise from their own “consciousness, because their own consciousness is starting to become one with nature itself.”  [11] Boomeritis, 295

And in Sex Ecology Spirituality Wilber continues:

Thus, without in any way denying the crucial importance of the ecological and economic and financial factors in the world-demanding transformation, let us not forget that they all rest ultimately on a correlative transformation in human consciousness: the global embrace, and its pluralistic world-federation, can only be seen, and understood, and implemented, by individuals with a universal and global vision-logic, where the new scarce resources involve not only material-economic shortages, but the resources of a meaning-in-life that can no longer be found in self or tribe or race or nation, but will find its context, its therapia, its omega, and its release, in a worldcentric embrace through which runs the blood of a common humanity and beats the single heart of a very small planet struggling for its own survival, and yearning for its own release into a deeper and a truer tomorrow.[12]

And with that, we come off the mountain. HyperLearning is not only designed to help us freely summit Everest, but to ensure that when we return and do the work that is our soul’s Unique Self Purpose in the world at at this time, we have a full, well-developed, compassionate, informed, and skillful personal self that can co-create and love in the best ways possible.  And given that the world continues to grow and evolve, we need passionate minds and souls that will continue to embrace and integrate ever more dichotomies, complexities, and possibilities.

I hope that HyperLearning will serve as a guide to maintaining the freedom to compassionately embrace and engage – in ways that are powerful and Unique to you – the ever fuller fullness of this evolving Kosmos, to the benfit of all beings, which are nothing less than Spirit, nothing less than God, nothing less than your very own Self.

Kosmocentric, Personal and Transpersonal Poetry Selections from “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass

I know I am solid and sound,
To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,
All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.

I know I am deathless,
I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter’s compass,
I know I shall not pass like a child’s carlacue cut with a burnt
stick at night.

I know I am august,
I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood,
I see that the elementary laws never apologize,
(I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by,
after all.)

I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.

One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten
million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait.

My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite,
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
And I know the amplitude of time.

.  .  .

I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

.  .  .

Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,
No more modest than immodest.

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current
and index.

I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their
counterpart of on the same terms.

- from “Song of Myself” in Leaves of Grass by  Walt Whitman

Final Words of Gratitude to You

“During a formal silent lunch in the zendo, a young woman with a soup tureen stopped in front of Suzuki Roshi, gave him two ladles full, and blurted out, “Suzuki Roshi, when I’m serving you soup, what is it like for you.

He said, “It’s like you’re serving your whole being to me in this bowl.”[13]

It has been my great honor to serve you HyperLearning with my whole being. May this course be of great use to you as you impart the best of yourself with your whole being in ever higher, wider, deeper, more skillful and ever creative, loving, and compassionate ways in this your Unique and Beautiful Life.

Stay Sharp,

David Rainoshek, M.A.

www.RevolutionaryWebinars.com


[1] Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370–396.

[2] Wilber, Ken. The Eye of Spirit. Shambhala. pg 67.

[3] Maslow, A. H. (1999b). Peak-experiences as acute identity experiences. In A. H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being (3rd ed., pp. 113–125). NewYork: Wiley. (Reprinted from American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1961, 21, 254–260).

[4] Wilber, Ken. “Odyssey” Collected Works Volume 2, Pg 38.

[5] Wilber, Ken. “Odyssey,” Collected Works Volume 2, pg 40-41.

[6] Wilber, Ken. The Atman Project in Collected Works Volume 2, pg 268.

[7] Wilber, Ken. The Atman Project in Collected Works Volume 2, pg 60.

[8] Wilber, Ken. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, pg 356.

[9] Wilber, Ken. Sex Ecology Spirituality. Shambhala. Pg 337-38.

[10] Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Collected Works, New World Library, pg 189.

[11] Wilber, Ken. Boomeritis. Pg 295.

[12] Wilber, Ken. Sex Ecology Spirituality. Pg 206

[13] To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shunryu Suzuki, pg 71.

A Mystic’s Perspective

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A Mystic’s Perspective

 


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