“…you, in the very immediateness of your present awareness, are in fact the entire world,
in all its frost and fever, in all its glories and its grace, in all its triumphs and its tears.
You do not see the sun, you are the sun; you do not hear the rain, you are the rain;
you do not feel the earth, you are the earth.” ~ Ken Wilber, A Spirituality that Transforms (2006)
Our innate urge to transform and evolve comes from the moment we were created, in the image and likeness of God, to serve—as one of Edgar Cayce’s readings stated—as co-creators and companions of God. Even Ken Wilber acknowledges an inner drive: “…there is a fundamental Eros to the universe, a drive to reach higher, deeper, and further…” (deVos, 2008). And, as is the beauty of our universe, transformation and evolution take on different meanings across scientific disciplines, religions, and cultures. One scientific discipline’s metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is another’s from fossil fuel power to solar power. One culture’s strength in new-found democracy is another culture’s strength in centuries-old traditions. One person’s accepting Christ into his/her heart for eternal life is another person’s awakening to the unity of all life.
This need to grow and evolve is woven so tightly into the fabric of all existence that it is continuously demonstrated both consciously and “unconsciously.” A tree continues to grow even though it appears to lay dormant in the winter. New human and animal life forms after a period of gestation. We grow from infancy to adulthood. We start out being taken care of and we reach a point of taking care of others. Progressive, forward movement is inevitable in all areas of creation and manifestation – in the image and likeness of God, perhaps? And it’s in the capacity of humans to become conscious of this co-creative responsibility.
Ken Wilber’s view of evolutionary consciousness and transformation appears to be linear, rigid, and somewhat elitist – an aspect to which he readily admits. First, consciousness creates matter and then evolves through successive physical, biological, mental, and spiritual (consciousness) levels of self-recognition. Transforming to a state of unity consciousness—we are all ONE—involves translating our world, “to make sense of it, to give meaning to it” (Wilber, 2006) until this translation no longer serves us and begins to lose its meaning. Wilber sees transformation as a shattering of our worldviews in order to embrace true authenticity at each progressive stage “until infinity alone is the only statement that the world will recognize” (Wilber, 2006). It’s as if one cannot evolve unless one experiences a “death of the self” (Paine-Clemes, n.d.) at that particular level.
I think Wilber would view Lynn Sparrow Christy’s ideas of transformation and consciousness evolution as “aggressively translative” as opposed to authentically transformative. Yet, Christy’s end-game and approach are decidedly different. Wilber’s end-game is simply one of ultimate awareness of unity consciousness, whereas Christy’s is one of ultimate action and interaction with unity consciousness. Her end-game is to “…become a living soul and equal with the Creator” (from Cayce reading 900-10), to become fully conscious of and embrace that we are co-creators and companions of God. It’s like peeling back layers of an onion, the dawning of various levels of realization. Reframing our story of existence, expanding our worldview to recognizing “that our presence here is an opportunity to realize God in the earth” (Christy, 2013, p. 85), and cultivating “both our unique identities and a sense of oneness with God” (p. 94) are directly aligned with our evolutionary purpose.
Christy’s call to evolutionary consciousness seems to break away from the rigid stages of consciousness portrayed by Wilber and suggests a more inclusive, unifying progression: “…our awakening consciousness is the means by which consciousness can awaken in all matter” (Christy, 2013, p. 119). Wilber (2006), on the other hand, has written that “radical transformative spirituality is extremely rare, anywhere in history, and anywhere in the world.” I think that no matter how incrementally one of us “evolves,” all of us benefit, and the evolutionary wheel continues to turn.
Wilber and Christy offer two different ways to get to the backyard from the front door. Wilber’s approach seems to say “burn down the house and walk through the embers.” Christy’s way is more like “open the doors and walk through them.”
My spiritual evolution has been one of opening doors and reframing my worldview as I journey through them, a slow and gentle awakening of my consciousness and my co-creative nature. My views of religion, spirituality, God, rituals, traditions, work, and myself, among other constructs, have radically changed throughout my life without “burning down the house,” and I know they will continue to transform as I discover new doors to open. Crises and dark nights of the soul can serve a transformative role in one’s personal evolution, but the choice is always ours in how we awaken to our ultimate destiny.
© Karen W. Newton. Karen has a Masters of Transpersonal Psychology from Atlantic University, Virginia Beach, VA.
Christy, L. S. (2013). Beyond soul growth: awakening to the call of cosmic evolution. Virginia Beach, VA: A.R.E. Press.
deVos, C. W. (2008, Jan. 28). Morphic fields, memory, and the creative advance. Retrieved from https://www.integrallife.com/ken-wilber-dialogues/morphic-fields-memory-and-creative-advance
Paine-Clemes, B. (n.d.). Mentor’s perspective. From Week 5, Course TP5100. Retrieved from http://moodle.atlanticuniv.edu/mod/page/view.php?id=22840
Wilber, K. (2006). A spirituality that transforms. Retrieved from http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/ASpiritualitythatTransforms_GENERAL_b42000.pdf