Out of curiosity I did a Google search on the above three words in parentheses as a phrase. In the entire internet there was only one hit and it was to this forum in my discussion of ladder, climber, view. It is a unique phrase and even more, a valid contender for what this forum purports. It might even be a misnomer to call something postmetaphysical "spirituality" given what I said in the thread:

[Referencing "to see a world," see link] "As for turquoise, it reinjects 'Spirit' back into the equation. And therein lies the question for an IPS, how to have a nondual spirituality that doesn’t separate spirituality from the mundane, that doesn’t 'include' the metaphysical interpretations from prior WVs. It might even be an expression of a metaphysical WV holdover to call something 'spirituality,' since the very term indicates the metaphysical notion of an absolute world apart from a relative WV. Granted we can re-define it any way we like but nevertheless its etymology is one of a split, dualistic origin. Another term that can be more easily separated from its metaphysical baggage is 'nondual.' Integral Postmetaphysical nonduality? I’ve already made a strong case that the intersection of American Pragmatism with second generation cognitive science is precisely this WV based on postformal cognitive functioning. And AQAL to boot, though they don’t use those terms."

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Hi, Ed,

That's interesting. I also do occasional Google searches like that, just to see what might have been posted on the web recently. I usually search under terms such as integral, postmetaphysical, spirituality, religion, evolutionary, participatory, or else any combination of these terms (or others relevant to the forum) attached to the names of various world religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc). What's becoming rather frustrating is that the majority of hits I get, at least up front, are from posts on this forum (or things you or I have written elsewhere!). But occasionally I find something new (as I did yesterday, with Tom Thresher's new book, Reverent Irreverence).

Concerning "integral postmetaphysical nonduality," yes, I think that's a very apt term for one of the predominant views we have explored on this forum. I'm also not convinced that "spirituality" is the best word for what we're up to, but it's a familiar, commonly used word these days that has one meaning that I think is useful: where "spirituality" refers to something like "soteriological" or "transformative" path or way of life, rather than referring to a metaphysical entity or ground.

In Wilber's formulation, I think we can also still speak of "Spirit" in a postmetaphysical context if we frame that injunctively and/or enactively.

Best wishes,

Yeah but this forum has extensively discussed Wilber's use of "Spirit," in Integral Spirituality, for example, and he most certainly does use it metaphysically. By itself an injunctive or enactive "paradigm" doesn't eliminate the metaphysical tendencies or interpretations. We've also examined the metaphysical implications of the terms "soteriology" and "transformation," especially in Wilber's usuage (and Cohen's and the general integral and evolutionary enlightenment crowd). As you know I'm all in favor of growth, development, transformation, integration, and even holarchy, but have a different, more postmetaphysical (imo) interpretation of how these terms are used. I'm just trying to postmeta the meta-program, to cross-paradigm the paradigm.
Yes, we have. I don't think anything has been said yet that would encourage me to do away entirely with these terms, however. I use them in ways that I still feel comfortable with. But I understand your point.

I also think Wilber, in Integral Spirituality, does point in a direction in which these terms can be used non-metaphysically (through injunctive / enactive framing). But he doesn't do this consistently or clearly, in my opinion -- as I argued in a recent thread on "kosmic addressing of mystical experience."

(P.S. My response was to your pre-edited post. I agree that there has been inconsistent application of postmetaphysical thinking in Integral thought to date.)
I see your point...does something have to differentiate prior to integration?
I think spirituality may take many years to be seamlessly integrated into the psyche of a society, because of trauma, shame and original sin programming. As we "actualize" spirituality becomes one with the entirety of Maslow's triangle. But I am positive that it takes a village of actualized individuals in order to make one seamlessly nondual spiritual individual. That the business world, social world, ecological world etc...are still secular and of low moral integrity, causes the individual to be divided out of necessity in order to preserve spirituality/soul interiors as such.
Regarding the relation of American pragmatism to eastern nondual traditions, see this book: The social self in Zen and American pragmatism by Steve Odin. (See free Google books preview here.) The book is included in Griffin's series on constructive postmodern thought, where he distinguishes this from the deconstructive variety. While I don't agree with Griffin's dichotomy here, nonetheless that this book passes muster into the "positive" category indicates at least that perhaps there is more to this distinctly American brand of nonduality than meets the typical integral eye. The book focuses mostly on Mead (in the west) and one can see our prior lengthy discussion of this nondualist at this link.
Pragmatism is pragmatism...how can it be American?
It is interesting that you are reaching for a spirituality that is not "spirit-ual" and a seculartism that is not purely materialistic. Perhaps this is a radically circular discussion with no real resolution, but it is captivating.

To overcome the dissociation of compartmentalization our attempts at generating and stabilizing a sovereign Self cannot be achieved through turning a spiritual dollar or a psychological dollar. In this way we can bring the highest morality and conscious integrity to the process of socially establishing a strong spiritual core Self. This in turn will contribute towards generating community around love and shared interest, rather than capital gains. The nondual “spiritual” or sovereign individual is best "built" in a group setting so there is the push pull of success and failure around realizing and defining oneself as a causal origin. Since we are socialized economically and religiously to defer our authority to those of greater power…it takes both the encouragement and challenge of a group working towards personal sovereignty in order to more clearly Know Thyself and stand in our clear light born of the integrity of wholeness. It is obvious that when trying to realize the pure-Self-impulse, this cannot be perverted with prior influences of hierarchy, status, money, property, security, popularity, sex etc… All this societal differentials as to personal worth must be dropped, transcended and worked through in order to establish the cosmic Self—through which mystic community is born.

Creating the post-metaphysical nondual spiritual individual therefore cannot be done using the same methods that we have used in our religions, spiritual traditions or commercial spiritual movements.
I didn't say all pragmatism was American but was referring to a particular American tradition of it epitomized by the likes of Mead (and James, Dewey, Pierce etc.) A tradition taken up by the later second-generation cognitive scientists like Maturana, Varela, Lakoff, Johnson etc.

I'd agree though that we need different methods to achieve IPN than has been available in previous metaphysical traditions. Some integralites believe we can use those same enactive paradigms but just update or recontextualize or reinterpret them. I've long argued though that the paradigm form-structures are themselves part and parcel of the metaphysical "experience" thus created so we need more than just a superficial facelift or metaphorical boob-job. I made the same case about "integral" capitalism, that we need to move into a democratic economic model, that we can't just put integral lipstick on the capitalist pig.
Exactly I am really big on this...mainly perhaps because I am not on the predator side of the equation and want to create a vessel for the emergence of true creativity and true spirit.

For starters I propose monthly sovereignty salons that provide a circle-process caldron suitable for artists, scientists, and philosophers to “cook” a unique, personal expression of the cosmic human.
This is what I am doing...I will tell you how it goes. I am going to use a toy clockface...with Noon being perfect alignment with ones sovereign seat. Then during the course of discussion and exercises if someone feels thrown off their seat, or others think that someone is thrown off, they will move the hour arm to how far they are removed from Noon. This is a tactile way of helping us remember to "maintain" within the push-pull of social interaction. Then we will explore methods of how to regroup, recoup and reestablish our sovereign seat within an ongoing relational exchange. We will be building the language, sensitivities, gestures, games, exercises, visioneering, planning, meditation and practices related around building individual sovereignty and circle-group intercommunion.
I'm moving a few posts over here from the Levin thread, as they are cross-pollinating similar themes at the moment.


But does Levin prescribe new technology for attaining this process? As we're discussing in the IPN thread, will the old methods suffice?

Levin gives some clues to a new methodology above.

"Hearkening requires the disciplined practice of Gelassenheit, i.e. letting-go and letting-be, as a mode or style of listening. In learning Gelassenheit, the art of 'just listening', listening without getting entangled in the ego's stories and preoccupations, one learns a different way of channelling, focusing, attending."

I am reminded of the practice of vipassana, just observing the breath, listening to the sounds that arise and fall away, watching thoughts float by on scudding clouds. And perhaps more importantly, observing the self that observes all of that, the ego turned on itself, allowing for awareness to disidentify with a self, at least for a moment or two. In this sense the method is not new but rather is ancient. So what makes it different?

"Our practice at stage IV is a practice that needs to take place under the influence of the feminine archetypes: there ust be an appreciation of and a recovery of experiencing modalities that, in our culture, have been traditionally constellated through these archetypes."

I am reminded of Lakoff's metaphors for the differences between contemporary political parties, the stern father and the nurturing mother. That we are moving from the former conservative to the latter liberal "archetype," if you will. And the mother is much more apt at unconditional love for her child, much more apt to listen without judgment, to accept and nourish whatever the child brings home from its adventures. So perhaps our contemporary contemplative practice per above is different in that it is not so much above focus and concentration as it is about openness and allowing. As a sage once sang:

Mother Mary comes to me
speaking words of wisdom
let it be, let it be.

But again, this is not a return to the former matriarchical mode that arose with horticulture. It is not a return to the kind of Goddess worship akin to witchcraft and paganism. It is as Levin notes:

"It brings back what was 'forgotten'; but it also redeems it by 'making' it what it never was."

As Meredith Brooks once sang:

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I'm a bitch, I'm a tease
I'm a goddess on my knees

Along the lines of hearkening a feminine that never was I'm reminded of John Caputo, from The Weakness of God (IUP, 2006):

"The name of God is the name of an event rather than of an entity, of a call rather than of a cause, of a provocation or a promise rather than of a presence.... I shift from the register of strength to that of weakness, from a robust theology of divine power...and omnipotence to the thin theology of the weakness of god, from the noise of being to the silence of an unconditional call" (12).

And hearken back to this discussion of Lady Gaga, how she is a postmodern, postmetaphysical, nondual hermaphrodite, an old kind of feminine in a new way.


I skipped around in the book a little to get a sense of where he was going, and whether he offered any specific "practices." You've already hit on two of them -- hearkening, which he likens to Gendlin's focusing or Zen shikantaza; and a renewed emphasis on feminine archetypes.

Regarding the former, he writes:

"Since hearkening, the fourth stage, or centre, of listening, is a recollection that demands of us the greatest openness to Being of which we are capable, it is a mode of perceptiveness that we can only achieve by cultivating our capacity for feeling and restoring the connection between feeling and listening. This means, in the important terminology that Eugene Gendlin has introduced, not only that we need to listen to our body's felt sense of its Befindlichkeit (how we are faring in the various situations of life in which we find ourselves), but also that we need to learn a listening which listens with this bodily felt sense. In other words, we need to cultivate a listening that is deeply rooted in our body's felt sense of situated being."

He also touches on a few other practices, including a social communicative practice (a la Habermas) and a proposal to seek, in this context, the conditions of an "ideal listening situation" to complement H's ideal speech situation -- which is first broached and cultivated at stage III, apparently, and then deepened at stage IV. Other suggested practices relate to the cultivation of aesthetic dimensions of listening (through music and cultivation of attention to natural environments).

In one of his endnotes, besides referencing Zen in several places, I notice he briefly discusses Tarthang Tulku's TSK vision:

"I especially recommend Tarthang Tulku (1977) Time, Space, and Knowledge, Berkeley, Calif.: Dharma Publishing. This book contains a treasury of practical exercises, based on ancient Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, to facilitate the transformation of our habitual way of experiencing ourselves as living in time. I would add that, because of the connection between listening and time, and the way these two figure in the identity of the self, the development of our capacity for listening can change our experiencing of time -- and, conversely, changes in the way we live time, changes in the way we experience ourselves as being-in-time, or being-timed, can affect the way we listen, e.g., increasing our listening patience and our tolerance of silence."


Indeed practices of the body in situated space are key to the cogscipragos of American pragmatism, of how more complex metaphor is built upon more primitive image schemeas of exactly this kind. Mark Johnson, one of those cogscii, in his latest book The Meaning of the Body also emphasizes the aesthetic element related to this, as in dance. And of course they've always been about the nondual relationship of self-other and inner-outer that is interactive, i.e., a social communicative practice a la Habermas, who got a lot of this from Mead, another of the cogscii. (Btw, Johnson considers Levin as part of this tradition.)

Which brings me to the shift in emphasis of meditation per se from a strictly individual event to more of an interactive event. The former is more of the rugged individualism type that still posits an individual ego self that arises in response to the other-outside whereas the latter recognizes, like the cogscipragos, that it arises within the matrix, if you will. Hence more "feminine" and interactive meditative practices are developing like insight dialogue and what Jana is experimenting with instead of the typical individual meditation practice of sitting in a room, alone together, doing our own practice but not interacting.

All of which reminds me of dance as one of my favorite interactive meditative practices. Even in couples dancing there are those that dance alone while together, not dancing together as a unit. And the latter is the key to partner dancing, to creating an event-performance that is more than the individuals alone, that is about connection and communication, about felt sense, about the body in space. And not just the physical body but also about creating emotional and aesthetic bodies in their own spaces, in time, with knowledge. It is a most delicious TSK practice.
I am also reminded of John Heron's collaborative inquiry, and what he said about Wilber's notion of spirituality in "A tangle of levels and lines":

"Thus Wilber tries to argue that the basic categories for integrating all the lines in higher unfoldment have been uncovered on a single line that has no experience whatsoever of such multi-line integration. The way out of this tangle is gently to propose that the contemplative line is not a spirituality line, that spirituality is not about states, however remarkable and extraordinary, that people get into by a lifetime of individual meditation.

"A more convincing account of spirituality is that it is about multi-line integral development explored by persons in relation. This is because many basic developmental lines - e.g. those to do with gender, psychosexuality, emotional and interpersonal skills, communicative competence, morality, to name but a few - unfold through engagement with other people. A person cannot develop these lines on their own, but through mutual co-inquiry. The spirituality that is the highest development of these lines can only be achieved through relational forms of practice that unveil the spirituality implicit in them.

"In short, the spirituality of persons is developed and revealed primarily in the spirituality of their relations with other persons. If you regard spirituality primarily as the fruit of individual meditative attainment, then you can have the gross anomaly of a 'spiritual' person who is an interpersonal oppressor, and the possibility of 'spiritual' traditions that are oppression-prone."
Open Relating and Grokking—The practice of Gelassenheit, (letting-go and letting-be), is a compassionate style of listening meditation and social interaction that comes more from “allowing” the Heart/right-brain wiring to gain prominence. Rather than dissecting our interpersonal interactions through the left-brain’s narrative and status preoccupations. We thus enter “We Space” through the empathetic circuitry by first training ourselves to love our own flesh and our own core by turning the Mind’s Eye within to deeply feel our innate a priori health, thereby restoring the connection between feeling and listening. Growing up in presovereign, dependent families we were taught to look for love and attention outside of ourselves, and so we remain starved of our own affection, health and integration our entire lives. Once we have unconditionally reconnected with ourselves and established the hardware for Grokking, we can then drop the safety-judgment monitoring system (vigilance) of the left-brain’s security narrative. Energy and consciousness that was formerly spent in “scanning for safety and status” can then be channeled into feeling, openness and allowing. The energy that was spent in the paranoia of power differential can then be spent in Grokking, hearkening, or the fully embodied flow of holistic perception…similar to Gendlin's focusing or Zen shikantaza. This felt-sense mode of perception permits the mystic connection within and without by restoring the bodily felt-sense of listening without the inertia of repression or resistance. In other words, we need to cultivate a listening that is deeply rooted in our body's felt sense of being situated fully in its own space-time, with spacious knowledge (emptiness-unconditionality), patience and tolerance for silence. Thus permitting the coherent synchronization of information received by all the various modes of antennae. By relating within and without through the opened empathetic circuitry we can then reintegrate those parts of us that have been cut off and deadened, thus recovering our full resources, health and deep humanity.
The energetic of humans caught living within the compulsive ignorance of Borg culture is that of a racehorse in a hamster wheel. In Borg society we spend the majority of our energy suppressing ourselves to maintain the social contracts of deceit. Lies of repression, omission and retreat to sustain a meager survival within the automatic dominant/submission, master/slave relationship transactions permissible within a economically focused society. Breaking out of this energetic to create the world of the sovereign human requires the deep engagement of self-acceptance, Self-love, Self-responsibility and Self-creation. For there are no bridges, no easy direct routes from this culture to the next, thus we must forge our own path through the “Nothing.” In discovering this path we must cocreate all aspects of the sovereign human: language, behaviors, senses, touch, gesture, looks, attitude, sovereign-eyes, responses, discipline, focus, remembrance, vision, direction, motivation, capital, relationships and goals.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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