Full Spectrum Mindfullness course - wake up, grow up - been around for some time?

HI there,

I have just started going through the Full Soectrum Mindfullness Course. In the Introduction on wakie up, grow up, I came across this statement: " It is only in the past decade or so that it was realized that we have both of these paths of growth, and that both of them are incredibly important and truly necessary if we want to be fully developed and truly whole human beings."

So I am not sure if I understand the whole concept completely then because as a student of yoga philosophy, I came across a book called Eastern body, western mind, by Anodea Judith. Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. It combines developmental psychology with the chakras stages. It was published in 1996. There is also another more obscure book called Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, whic talks about developmental stage, (structure states) in relation to waking up. It is from 1984.

So the whole idea seems to have been around longer than the last decade? Don’t get me wrong, I think its great that the correlations are portrayed to clearly in this online course. Just trying to match it to the knowledge I already have.

I also agree that the ancient waking up traditions generally didn’t have much of an idea of developmental psychology, and particularly the shadows created when things went wrong.I have experienced this first hand while living in ashrams for 15 years.

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Hi Petram,

I read and study humanistic psychology, philosophy, and existentialism among other topics but I’ve never had inclinations in the chakras. I went on you tube to listen to Anodea and this is what she said

2:26 we look at the spiritual aspects of the chakra system which is how climbing up this
_ladder of the chakras inside your soul takes you to a larger and larger perspective and connects you with divine consciousness so it’s a wonderful journey it’s rich it’s an elegant system it’s a philosophical system it maps on to the body Maps on to our childhood and stages of history and many different aspects of our being the chakra system is really a universal template for understanding human consciousness and behavior

With all due respect to Anodea, does anyone really know what she is talking about? Terms like divine consciousness, stages of history, and universal template, are troubling to me. I’m reminded here of Michael Beckwith, Teal Swan,Tony Robbins, and Wayne Dyer. Spirituality is essential to our lives but why is it that there is so much talk about spirituality, chakras, awakening, and all the rest but little on how to genuinely achieve it. It is as if we have become enamored with all these ideas as an end in itself instead of the means by which we can achieve true awakening. In this, the question arises, is Anodea enlightened? If so, to what degree? Of those I believe who are awakened, it would be Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, and Gangagi, None of them talk about chakras. I’m not saying that Chakras are nonsense, it’s just that when these new age terms are used, there is a proclivity for us to lose ourselves in them. It’s all too easy for us to blindly Become enthralled with ideas and theories without knowing it. Susan Cook Greuter has brilliantly warned us about this proclivity regarding IT.

In addition, and in reference to growing up, in the Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments there is a passage that runs as follows

If thou hadst known how to suffer,
thou wouldest have been able not to suffer.
Learn thou to suffer, and thou shalt be able not to suffer.

Carl Jung said “All neurosis is a substitute for legitimate suffering” and in the teachings of Ouspensky he makes the distinction between real and imaginary suffering and that the imaginary is what keeps us from awakening. I gather from these observations that, unless we learn how to suffer legitimately we will continue to suffer. From my own experiences in psychotherapy, limited though it is, I experienced legitimate suffering brought about by unrequited love. It changed me in ways I never thought possible and it freed me from the collective consciousness of the masses who are still under the spell of the myth of romantic love.
The experiences we go through in life are suppose to be lessons on how to suffer but most people never learn them despite repeated suffering, especially when it comes to amorous love.

I may be beside the truth, but there are too many individuals out there claiming to be spiritual teachers. They appeal to our emotions and use all manner of new age jargon to sound legitimate. Yet not one of them has address the crucial importance of legitimate suffering i.e. learning how to suffer. In addition, it bothers me that practically all of these spiritual gurus conveniently ignore the socio economic and political forces that have serious adverse effects to our emotional and psychological well being making it that much harder for us to wake up and grow up. It’s no wonder many who strive for awakening leave this often f**ked up world and into another -meditation retreats- because its essential for awakening.

And why is it that monks from all the wisdom traditions spend their entire lives in ascetic practices and countless hours of meditation to find God or enlightenment yet here we are striving to do the same thing but part-time and expecting the same result. I recall Gangai saying that she did not meditate all that much and I don’t think Tolle did any of it. It makes you wonder that perhaps there are other ways to reach awakening/enlightenment that even Ken Wilber is not aware of.

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Hello gnossisman,

I’m wondering if you could say a little more about “how to suffer legitimately?” I’m not sure I understand how you mean that, but I want to, Thanks.

I also wanted to respond to a few things you’ve said here, notably about the chakras (but also re: Tolle and Gangaji). Contrary to what many people believe, the chakra system is not a “new age” invention. New Agers have borrowed liberally from ancient fields of knowledge to fashion their piecemeal spirituality and healing orientation, and because most people are not aware of some of these ancient practices, they maybe think New Agers have just invented a few things. (Adulterated and tainted a few things perhaps, but they didn’t invent them.).

Take for example the use of crystals which many people think of as a New Age thing, but this is not a new phenomenon, as shamans, for instance, have used crystals in healing and divination and other work for thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of years. But New Agers and shamans have different ways of treating crystals; whereas New Agers tend to publicly display their crystals and expose them to sunlight for “cleansing,” shamans who work with crystals typically do not expose them to the light of day or to the public eye.

The chakras as centers of vitality/consciousness, far from being any recent development such as with New Agers, are mentioned as early as the Vedas, Indian scriptures thought to be between 3,000-4,000 years old. But the chakras are not known just in Hinduism or other Eastern spiritual or yogic traditions; certain tribes in the U.S. and Mexico also have chakra systems.

Among the Huichol Indians of Central Mexico, for example, the chakras are called “nierikas,” or doorways/portals to “other worlds.” There are just 5 chakras in the Huichol system (5 being their sacred number); located at the coccyx, the stomach, the heart, the eyes, and (surprise, surprise) the cheekbones! (from which the Eagle’s wings emerge, the eagle being one of the Huichols’ primary spirit allies, serving all members of the tribe).

In terms of the yoga chakra system, there are said to be many chakras, but 7 major ones, located in the subtle body and corresponding in the physical (gross) body to:

1 the coccyx (Muladhara chakra, “root support”)
2 the pelvic area/reproductive organs (Svadhistana chakra, “abode of the shakti”)
3 the area of the navel (Manipura chakra, “gem”)
4 the heart (Anahata chakra, “unstruck sound”)
5 the throat (Vissuddha chakra, “pure”)
6 the third eye, just above and between the eyebrows (Ajna chakra, “command” center)
7 and the crown of the head (Sahasrara chakra, “1000 petals”)

The chakras are often represented as lotuses (hence, the 1000 petals) or mandalas. Chakra, by the way, means “wheel” or “disc.” A chakra is where prana (vital energy/life force) concentrates and spins in a circular motion; prana radiates out from the chakras into the entire system.

Without getting too technical, suffice to say, each chakra has a number of associations, depending on the chakra system/tradition. For instance, there will be a male and female deity associated with them, a seed mantra/subtle sound, a geometric figure and color(s) and certain “properties.” Also associated with chakras 1-5 are an element, an animal, a sense power (e.g. seeing, and color-as-such, for the 3rd chakra), a power of action (e.g.reproduction and sexual enjoyment for the heart chakra), and a bodily substance (e.g.bone for the 5th chakra). And chakras 1-4 have psychological qualities associated with them.

In other words, the chakras are actually a pretty sophisticated system for people who choose to work with them as part of their spirituality as well as in healing (and to show just a bit of that sophistication is why I’ve given as much detail here as I have).

And this is without even considering the chakra system as another holarchy, a la Integral stages of development.

While I have not read Anodea Judith, when she refers (per your quotes) to the chakra system taking you to a “larger and larger perspective,” or she refers to them as “stages of history,” think of the stages of individual and cultural development we talk about as Integralists. ‘Stages of history’ is, to me, just another way of saying ‘stages of cultural development.’ The chakra system lines up pretty well with the stages of development (e.g. the archaic stage of development is all about survival, and the root or 1st chakra is too–hunger, food, survival; the rational stage of development emphasizes equality and the relational heart and this has a correspondence with the 4th or heart chakra, etc.)

As for what she says about the “ladder of chakras inside your soul,” how I interpret this is that the chakras, which are hierarchically arranged, reside in our subtle body, and the soul is associated with the subtle body and subtle state of consciousness (whereas the gross/physical body and gross state of consciousness are associated with the ego, and the causal body and causal state of consciousness are associated with spirit).

As for Tolle’s awakening, which occurred at the edge of a suicidal depression in which he recognized two of himself (the “I” who could no longer live with “himself”) and queried as to “which one is real?”–and found with this thought that his mind/his thoughts stopped, and he was then “sucked into a vortex of energy, a void”–this was of course, in my language, a spontaneous gift of spiritual awakening into the causal state. He did however, according to his writings, afterwards read a lot of spiritual literature and also studied with various spiritual teachers.

And as for Gangaji, what I have heard her say is that she received spiritual transmission from her teacher Papaji, who also instructed her in “just stopping,”–stopping the seeking, stopping the thinking, just stopping. Her primary practice seems to have been not meditation, but inquiry.

If I understand these types or mechanisms of awakening, I have no doubt that Wilber does too, you know? I think you might really appreciate Wilber’s “Integral Spirituality” book, and also, “Grace and Grit,” if you haven’t already read it, which says a lot about suffering within the context of an “amorous” relationship.


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Hi LaWanna

In Dr. Karen Horney’s book (pronounced horn-eye) “Neurosis and Human Growth: the struggle for self-realization” she makes the distinction between true suffering and and that which is false. The former cultivates genuine self confidence while the latter is fueled by what she refers to as neurotic pride (I like to think of it as false pride) Says she,

Up to this point pride acts as a kind of censorship, encouraging or forbidding feelings to come to awareness. But it may govern feelings in a still more basic way. The more pride has taken over, the more a person can respond emotionally to life only with his pride. It is as if he had shut away his real self in a soundproof room and could hear the voice of pride alone. His feeling satisfied or dissatisfied, dejected or elated, his likes or dislikes of people, then, are mainly pride responses. Likewise the suffering he consciously feels is mainly a suffering of his pride. This is not apparent on the surface. It feels convincingly real to him that he suffers from failures, from feelings of guilt, loneliness, unrequited love. And he does indeed. But the question is: who suffers? In analysis it turns out that it is mainly his proud self. He suffers because he feels that he has failed to achieve supreme success, to do things to ultimate perfection, to be so irresistibly attractive as to be sought out always, to make everybody love him. Or he suffers because he feels entitled to success, popularity, etc., which is not forthcoming. Only when the pride system is considerably undermined does he begin to feel true suffering. Only then can he feel sympathy for this suffering self of his, a sympathy that can move him to do something constructive for himself. The self-pity he felt before was rather a maudlin writhing of the proud self for feeling abused. He who has not experienced the difference may shrug his shoulders and think that it is irrelevant— that suffering is suffering. But it is true suffering alone that has the power to broaden and deepen our range of feelings and to open our hearts for the suffering of others. In Profundis ,Oscar Wilde has described the liberation he felt when, instead of suffering from injured vanity, he started to experience true suffering.

In P.D. Ouspensky’s book _The Forth Way_a questions are often asked about suffering

Q. There are two kinds of suffering: one is due to seeing my own mechanical-ness and
weakness, and the other is suffering from seeing someone you are fond of ill or
unhappy. How to work against it or use it for the work?

A. The question is, can you do something or not? If you can, you can, but if you cannot, it is another thing.
If we begin suffering about everything we cannot help, then we shall certainly never cease suffering. The chief thing is to find how much imagination there is in it. We may be perfectly sure there is none, but if we make one more effort we often see that it is all imaginary. We have a wrong picture of ourselves, and at the same time we ascribe to this wrong picture real features. But if this picture is false, then everything about it is bound to be false and its suffering is also false. It may be very acute, but this does not make any difference. Imaginary suffering is generally more unpleasant than real, because with real suffering you can do something, but with imaginary suffering you can do nothing. You can only get rid of it, but if you are fond of it or proud of it, then you have to keep it.

So when Dr. Horney says that one suffers from unrequited love caused by false pride, that was my nightmare.
And when Ouspensky says that we can be proud of our imaginary suffering, it’s false pride that makes it so.

As I understand it, the ego ascribes to itself an idealized image of itself with unrealistic virtues and qualities it does not have and therefore are not grounded in reality. This, in turn, brings false pride into existence. So when false pride assimilates our culturally created and misguided narratives of romantic love, we set ourselves for bitter disappointment, even death. Have you ever seen the film, The Heiress with Olivia De Haviland? It is a brilliant dramatization of what love is not and shows what happens when false pride takes hold of it creating all manner of heartache and grief.

I believe that what I’ve said above is about that which prevents us from growing up. On waking up, I take it that’s where the chakras come in mostly. I appreciate your generous description of this system. As I’m thinking about this, I realize that my interest has been far more on growing up than waking up because I have much reservations and suspicions about spiritual teachers and gurus who espouse elaborate philosophies that cannot be fully comprehended. Erich Fromm said that

Today, millions of people in America and Europe try to find contact with tradition and with teachers who can show them the way. But in large part the doctrines and teachers are either fraudulent, or vitiated by the spirit
of public relations ballyhoo, or mixed up with the financial and prestige interests of the respective gurus. Some people may genuinely benefit from such methods in spite of the sham; others will apply them without any serious intention of inner change. But only a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the new believers could show how many belong to each group.

Dr. Fromm wrote this in 1976 and it ties in with Dr. Greuter concerns about IL purpose and future. I’d really like to know what she has to say about the need for creating psycho-therapeutic methods that can help us grow up which would make it easier to wake up- I would think.

Dear Gnosisman,

thank you for your reply and your thoughts on suffering. Very interesting and valuable. I suppose u rather wanted to talk about that than my proposed topic and it was interesting to hear about your own experiences with that. Really.
However it wasn’t quite clear what that has to do with my question. Ken Wilber himself lists the Chakras in the comparative charts in the back of his book Integral Psychologie, p. 199 under basic structures and other systems.
So it seems that developmental steps have been known in the ancient Vedic cultures? At least a little bit? I mean of course they have, because they also dealt with the issue of education. Right? For example Rudolf Steiner also got man of his ideas from the ancient Indien systems of philosophy. I agree that it is only fairly recent, that this knowledge has been made accessible and digestible to a broad range of people again. So where is the difference?

Hi Petram,

I wish I could but I cannot answer your question about developmental steps -or stages- from the past and those we have now.

When you pointed out that waking up and growing up are incredibly important and necessary in order to be fully developed, I got carried away on growing up because I’ve been thinking and studying it for a long time.
Years ago, I read Steiner, Ouspensky, Evelyn Underhill, Simone Weil, and others but lost interest in them because they appealed too much to theories and ideas that does not address the immediate concerns I had at the time which was feelings of meaninglessness, mortality, boredom, and loneliness. Reading Fromm and Horney changed all that because they were showing me why I was feeling so bad and in ways I never thought possible. So when in comes to the chakra system, it does not speak to me in the same way as Fromm and Horney.
Deepak Chopra refers to the chakras as “metaphors for the expression of consciousness”. That makes sense to me. No doubt, all spiritual traditions express themselves that way but is it really making a difference? And how long must we practice these traditions in order to see a real transformative difference in our emotional and psychological well being? For me, time is running out hence I just want to address my neurotic ways and get on with my life. I’m not seeking enlightenment because I’m not that ambitious and I can’t afford it.
It seems to me that real change can happen in the collective consciousness of the masses if we focused more on growing up than waking up because I believe the former is more realistic than the latter. The film I mentioned previously, _The Hieress,_is a perfect story of a woman who learned her lesson in growing up and did so the hard way. Can stories be the instructive means by which we can teach the masses what it means to grow up and the consequences if you don’t? I believe it can.

Thanks gnossisman for taking the time to flesh out what you meant by “how to suffer legitimately” with Horney’s and Ouspensky’s words. Identification with the egoic small self, of which false or neurotic pride is a part, does indeed limit us in many ways. Horney’s words are of course right on. I thought maybe you were referring to secondary emotions preventing one from getting at the heart of some kind of suffering; you know, being afraid because we have fear, or feeling sad because we’re sad, or feeling anxious because we have anxiety, or depressed because we’re depressed, that kind of thing, but now I understand how you meant that phrase.

Another book you might appreciate (mentioned by petram): “Integral Psychology.” Among many other useful things about consciousness and psychology and spirit, the book pinpoints the kinds of therapies that are useful in addressing pathology or “stuckness” or whatever at any stage of development (growing up). It’s quite comprehensive, and Cook-Greuter’s work is represented in it (and maybe Horney’s too, I don’t remember).

As for the chakras, just to clarify, that system is pertinent (but unnecessary to understand) in both “waking up” and “growing up.” For instance, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with which you may be familiar, speaks to developmental stages; we all start at the bottom with physiological needs and (in healthy development) move upwards in the hierarchy (holarchy) to needs for safety, to love/belongingness needs, to needs for esteem, to needs for self-actualization.

The chakra system can to some degree line-up alongside this hierarchy of needs, and is equally a model for developmental stages in growing up. But again, understanding the chakras is not necessary to either growing up or waking up.

Hi petram,

In response to your question in your first post, I was reminded of when I heard some Integralists years ago refer to “evolutionary spirituality” as a ‘new thing.’ Huh? I said, the idea of evolution is sort of built in to some Eastern spiritual traditions through the concept of reincarnation. But then I had to remind myself that the average person probably has little to no knowledge of Eastern traditions, so evolutionary spirituality would be a “new thing” for most people.

I think in the quote from the FS Mindfulness Course you mentioned that the emphasis should be on the “or so” in the phrase “the past decade or so.” There has of course been an earlier thing here and there published referencing both paths of growth, growing up and waking up, For instance, Wilber’s book “The Atman Project” was first published in 1980 and it references evolution through stages of consciousness, which is a “growing up” thing, but it also speaks to transpersonal “waking up” matters. Who knows but what even the authors you mention might have been tuned in to early Integral theories and wrote their books in '84 and '96 using some of that earlier knowledge.

I don’t know, but perhaps that quote from the Course refers to a wide, broad-based coming together or fuller integration of Western psychology and its well-researched theories on psychological development, and Eastern traditions with their in-depth knowledge of states of consciousness.

I also wanted to clarify what I said about the chakras being referenced in the Vedas. While Vedic cultures may have known of the chakras, and may have seen them in their hierarchy, it’s highly doubtful they had any true knowledge of development, per se. In other words, one can see hierarchy, which is just ranking, without seeing development or enfoldment. This probably would have been particularly true during Vedic times as Spirit was worshiped mainly in its immanent aspect, in the exterior, natural world (gods of the wind, sun, fire, etc.) rather than in its transcendent aspect.

I hope this is helpful, even a little bit.

Hi there,
I have a question about “Practice Instructions: The Witness”:
Does Ken suggest to do this practice with eyes open or eyes closed?
Thanks! :slight_smile: