An introduction to why I became interested in Ken Wilber’s Integral model and why it has a lot to offer in regards to complementing the model of the evolution of human consciousness put forward by Alice Bailey.
Next, I want to introduce you to someone else I will mention quite often in this book — Ken Wilber. In 1989, a few years after I first encountered Alice Bailey’s teachings, I ended up having a series of spontaneous spiritual awakenings that I believe were triggered off by a few years of intensive meditation work. Overwhelmed by what I was going through, I attempted to talk to some of the Alice Bailey people I knew. To my amazement, at the time none of them seemed informed enough to help me understand what was happening to me or were able to offer any help. Returning to the same bookstore where five years before I had gotten the flyer about the meditation class, I found myself gravitating to a book called Transformations of Consciousness written by Ken Wilber. At last in that book I was starting to find some useful information that began to help me understand my seemingly far out experiences.
Later I went on to read other books by Ken Wilber and joined the Transpersonal Psychology movement that he was once a part of. I even went on to get my third Master’s degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. While working towards a Doctorate at the same university, I was informed by one of my professors that Ken Wilber was starting something called the Integral movement. I joined Integral, but never fit in entirely because most Integral people either rejected Alice Bailey or had never heard of her. This made it difficult for me, because even to this day (and it is one of the main reasons I have written this book), I still find so Bailey’s writings not only valuable, but still (as I mentioned before) pioneering in her thoughts.
So what does Wilber himself think of Bailey? For starters, you can check out the recording that is part of the Integral Spirituality audio series titled Theosophy, Alice Bailey, New Thought. In the audio someone asks Wilber directly about Bailey and Theosophy. The conversation starts around 4:30 into the audio when someone begins to assert that Theosophy and Bailey are examples of the “Myth of the Given” and throughout the audio Wilber tends to agree. What is the “Myth of the Given?” You can learn about it in Wilber’s Integral Spirituality book pp. 175 – 178. Or, go to this link to read a pdf file about it on Integral. But, essentially it means that the world as it appears in your consciousness, and as it is given to you, is taken as actually real, or the truth. In essence you cannot question it, which causes you at the same time to ignore the cultural contexts and many other kinds of contexts that are influencing your perceptions, interpretations, and construction of your worldview. This kind of approach, Wilber notes later in the tape, is particularly a problem of those with Amber consciousness (Bailey’s Groups Four and Five out of her Ten Groups).
As for the rest of the audio tape? Essentially, what you will find is that Wilber doesn’t say much about the Theosophical Society and Alice Bailey. Instead, he goes on into an historical perspective starting back with Swedenborg, Emerson, and the New England Transcendentalist movement. He also talks briefly about the New Thought movement, Mary Baker Eddy, and then spends a lot of time on Anton Mesmer. He does state that he feels the Theosophical movement is mainly Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism in general, with some of Vedic Philosophy, Christianity, and Christian Science thrown in there. One person he does spend a little more time on is Annie Besant where he says (and I have transcribed Wilber here), “People like Annie Besant were, um, they again they appear a little bit weird to us now, but at the time Annie Besant was a fine scholar and a great writer. I think her works are terrific if you look at them in context at the time they were occurring and what you could get away with.” He also says about Besant, “”Annie Besant was the finest writer of the lot of them and she was a fine psychologist.”
As for Bailey? He doesn’t say anything about her really. Instead he moves on to talk about the belief in Masters found with Blavatsky, Bailey, and Besant. In one way he is implying that this talk about Master’s might have been a way of stepping down the teachings so the people around them could understand these women better. He says, “”When in Rome teach the Romans” and then goes on to say that maybe they, like teachers he knows today, ended up “adopting the characteristics of the people they are teaching.” As for why a belief in Master’s was given, Wilber states that this belief in Master’s represents “a strong Amber culture that really wants authorities and the way to do that is to have secret Masters. Um, and that’s just you know kind of what would be done. And, they would just sort of not think it was being lying um or deceptive. This is how it has to be worded to get anybody’s attention, and it could be Masters in the Himalayas, you know, is how they would think because it comes from Tibetans in the Himalayas, so what the heck.” Then, he concludes by saying, “but it doesn’t necessarily change the value of the teaching. Some of it was pretty good.”
Precisely my point and why again I am putting forth this first book in a series of books, because if we ignore who wrote the Bailey books (which every introduction to every Bailey book asks us to do), and focus on what is in the books, then I hope you will discover and learn to appreciate just how good some of this teaching was. Yes some people in the Theosophical worlds (that include writings by Blavatsky, Annie Besant and others) have Amber consciousness. Some people in Integral have Amber consciousness. I tend to agree that whatever level of consciousness you have influences the perceptions of how you see the world in front of you (including my consciousness, Bailey’s consciousness, Wilber’s consciousness, and even I will dare to say the consciousness of the readers of this book). Keeping this in mind there is in my opinion a lot of value in what I call the “three B’s — Blavatsky, Besant and Bailey’s — writings. Since I am mostly versed in the writings of Bailey, this book is primarily orientated as a way to demonstrate their value.
So why, if I have all this passion for the Bailey teachings, and there is not much respect for Bailey in the Integral world, do I even bother with Integral? Maybe it is that pioneering and rebellious Spirit in me again. I just find a lot of value in Integral. For one thing it is a movement with a growing amount of energy that increasingly is attracting a great deal of attention from predominantly the younger generations (something that the Bailey teachings are not doing too well at anymore). Integral also approaches things with the spirit of synthesis. At one time my California license plate was SYNTHSIS. That is how much I liked the idea of the “synthesis” approach. Truth be told in their time, Blavatsky, Besant, and Bailey approached things in the spirit of synthesis. Call it synthesis or Integral, they all represent kindred attempts to bring together many points of view.
Integral has also made a lot of headway into universities and the academic world. Maybe I am an educational snob who has attended one too many universities and still believes they have a lot of value, which is why I like the fact that Integral has built more of a bridge into the world of intellectuals (which would be considered Bailey’s Group Six, which is also know as Integrated Personalities, which you learn about in this book). Finally, Integral is taking a lot of the ideas of the Ageless Wisdom writings (of many traditions) and just putting them into more modern language.
Integral also tends to attract fewer people with what Integral calls Amber consciousness (which is something you find in Bailey’s Groups Four and Five). What does Integral’s Amber consciousness look like? Amber consciousness is essentially tribal in nature. that tribal orientation makes Amber prone to slinging mud at others who disagree with them or have a different point of view. The goal behind this mud slinging is to demonstrate that they have the only way, truth, teacher or teaching. As the Myth of the Given implies those with Amber consciousness believe that whatever teaching or truth that has been given to them is absolutely true. There is no wiggle room to question anything that is written or said. What is given is what is so usually because it was given by some exhalted authority figure who was chosen by the Gods or something! So don’t challenge it.
Also, other teachers or teachings are likewise demonized as wrong, evil, part of the “Dark Lodge,” satanic, going to lead you astray and so forth. Therefore you are warned to stay away from anyone or anything that might make you doubt or question the teaching you have been given. Instead of learning to sit with your questions and the contradictions between various teachings, anything or anyone out that conflicts with what you have been given is simply throw out! Maybe it is my independent and pioneering spirit again that has for most of my life caused me to not care much for this right/wrong approach. Another reason I have gravitated to Integral is that I find those in Integral less prone to Amber type thinking, since their emphasis is on integrating different approaches in order to find their value. So, if Integral is so much more “integral” then why not just stick with Integral and skip Bailey since Integral is now considered more modern and is more accepted?
Why accept them both? Mainly because I find it immensely fascinating how the two approaches compliment one another. To my mind that means that maybe, just maybe, there is some real validity to what the two approaches are saying. I also find how the two approaches mostly compliment each other a little bit weird. Yes, weird (a word which means uncanny). I mean Bailey wrote her first books over 100 years ago. And, though Integral likes to think it is coming up with something visionary and new, what my book will reveal is that Alice Bailey put forward similar ideas a century before. They are pretty good. Only too few people really understand what the heck Bailey is talking about. That is another reason I am attempting this book. To take “my stab at it” as a friend once told me I was doing in regards to explaining the interface of these two approaches in regards to human and spiritual development.
Next, regarding what you will see written in this book, I know there will still be some errors and gaps in my understanding in what I am presenting to you. My goal is not to present myself as an authority. I am not. My goal, however, is to hope that I am giving you enough of a sense of both of these models that it will make it easier for you to segway into Bailey and Wilber’s ideas on your own, without feeling quite so lost or overwhelmed. Then, hopefully you can continue to evolve what both models have to say, and fill in the blanks or make corrections of what I have written here as you feel it might be necessary.
Ultimately, then the entire reason I have dedicated most of my life to what is now being put down in this extensive piece of work, is to help further an understanding of what the stages of spiritual development for human beings might look like. That means if these are truly the stages involved, regardless of who came up with the notions of how these stages work, these stages will stand the test of time. If not, then rightfully so pick them apart, improve upon them, or just throw them out. The point is, I am not attached to the outcome. As I already shared, to me it is the pioneering endeavor and the spirit of exploration that matters the most. I hope as you read this book that same pioneering and adventurous spirit captures you as well.
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