Ambition and Spirituality

Ken Wilber teaches us how to reconcile ambition and spirituality in these words of wisdom in his essay on “Egolessness” from his book The Essential Ken Wilber: An Introductory Reader.

I’ve been admiring his work for more than twenty years now and find his wisdom very palpable. I have listened to the audio recordings of “Cosmic Consciousness” several times in the past ten years. This was a discussion he had with Tami Simon, CEO of Sounds True.

The typical person wants the spiritual sage to be less than a person, somehow devoid of all the messy, juicy, complex, pulsating, desiring, urging forces that drive most human beings. We expect our sages to be an absence of all that drives us! All the things that frighten us, confuse us, torment us, confound us: we want our sages to be untouched by them altogether. And that absence, that vacancy, that less than personal, is what we often mean by EGOLESSNESS.

But egoless does not mean less than personal, it means more than personal. Not personal minus, but personal PLUS. All the normal personal qualities, plus some transpersonal ones. Think of the great yogis, saints and sages from Moses to Christ to Padmasambhava. They were not feeble-mannered milquetoasts, but fierce movers and shakers from bullwhips in the Temple to subduing entire countries. They rattled the world on its own terms, not in some pie-in-the-sky piety; many of them instigated massive social revolutions that have continued for thousands of years.

And they did so, not because they avoided the physical, emotional and mental dimensions of humanness, and the ego that is their vehicle, but because they engaged them with a drive and intensity that shook the world to its very foundations. No doubt, they were also plugged into the soul (deeper psychic) and spirit (formless Self) – the ultimate source of their power – but they expressed that power and gave it concrete results, precisely because they dramatically engaged the lower dimensions through which that power could speak in terms that could be heard by all.

~ from the essay “Egolessness” in The Essential Ken Wilber: An Introductory Reader by Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is the founder of Integral Spirituality, which is an integration of mysticism, philosophy, ecology, and developmental psychology. He believes that wisdom teachings that can benefit sentient beings come from diverse wisdom traditions and he is able to integrate these teachings into a coherent philosophy and spirituality.

My spiritual path has integrated the teachings of Buddhism, cosmology, Father Eli, the Silva Method, Arica gym, Swami Rama, Swami Veda Bharati, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), Gabrielle Roth, Anna Halprin, and natural medicine. What elements have you integrated into your spiritual path?

Books by Ken Wilber

The Essential Ken Wilber: An Introductory Reader.

Ken Wilber

Ever since the publication of his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, written when he was twenty-three, Ken Wilber has been identified as the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times. This introductory sampler, designed to acquaint newcomers with his work, contains brief… [Read More…]

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