Diane Musho Hamilton Sensei - Coming Home
November 12, 2008 12:17

Written by Corey W. deVos

Integral Zen. Part 4. Coming Home.
Diane Musho Hamilton Sensei and Ken Wilber

Diane Musho Hamilton and Ken Wilber conclude their fascinating discussion about Integral Zen, which attempts to cultivate a clear and unobstructed awareness that fully penetrates the heart of emptiness, while fully illuminating the entire world of form....

Just about anyone is capable of having an experience of mystical union with the world around them, prompting them to say the following six deceptively simple words: "I am one with the world."  But these same six words can carry acutely divergent meanings from person to person—after all, who is the “I” that is making the statement, and which world are you feeling at one with?  The fundamentalist world as strictly written and interpreted by the book and believers of the “one true faith”?  The physical world of atoms, molecules, and squishy machinery of biology?  The planet itself, as a single interconnected "web of life" threading us all together?  There is not a single, pre-given world "out there" that we can experience spiritual communion with, but a succession of worldviews that can only be perceived by the stages of consciousness capable of enacting them.  Enlightenment is not a static experience—though the empty side of the street may ultimately remain unchanged, the nondual union of form and emptiness is an endlessly moving target, as the manifest world perpetually twists, billows, and slides across the effortless lens of eternity, with new and novel perspectives being born every moment.

The integration of horizontal states of ever-present consciousness with the vertical stages of conscious development does much to help situate our experiences with ultimate reality, as well as offering some much-needed insight as to how an otherwise enlightened Zen master could retain the seemingly "unenlightened" biases of racism, nationalism, or homophobia.  Or how a heroin addict can experience states of spiritual communion with the world   Or how Charles Manson could attempt to justify his derangement by asking "If all is One, then what could be wrong?"  Each of these individuals would likely insist that their experiences of emptiness, transcendent unity, and at-one-ment with the world were very real and authentic, and they very well could have been.  But it becomes increasingly obvious which worlds—which morals, perspectives, and ideals—they are actually feeling at one with, and which worlds they are completely unable to feel united with, by virtue of these “higher” worlds being, in every sense, over their heads.

Integral Zen is the very first attempt within the tradition to account for both states and stages of consciousness, as well as the other components of the Integral approach: quadrants (or perspectives), developmental lines (or multiple intelligences), and types (e.g. masculine/feminine, enneagram, etc.)  By taking all of these dimensions of ourselves and the world around us into account—not only acknowledging them as they manifest in our experience, but beginning to recognize how they all inform and influence each other—we begin to see wholeness where we once only saw brokenness, light where we once only saw shadow, integrity where we once only saw compromise.  In short, we begin to see the elegance of an integrated world, allowing a newly-integrated self to find atonement with more of the manifest world than ever before possible—until this moment is inevitably swept up by the persistent gush of Eros, supplanted by something unimaginably deeper and better than us all—yet, somehow, unmistakably the same….

Many have noticed that humanity is now beginning to experience an extraordinary integration of science, spirit, culture, and technology, an evolutionary confluence of all that is good, beautiful, and true in this world.  And the Integral movement—of which you are all an essential part—represents the bleeding edge of evolution's latest and most significant creative leap toward it's own inexhaustible potential.  Diane represents one of the most remarkable expressions of this evolutionary drive—with one foot planted firmly in the Zen tradition and the other in Integral studies and practice, she is uniquely situated at the confluence of these two mighty streams of conscious evolution, where she stands with undeniable grace, mastery, and clarity.  It is impossible to be around Diane for any amount of time without falling in love with her, and more importantly, with consciousness itself, as she so fluently reflects your own inherent perfection back to you.  Diane is one of the Integral movement's most beloved teachers, for all these reasons and more, and we are very excited to share this dialogue with you all....



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