The world is not as it would appear. Just as one may not readily view radio waves with the naked eye, their presence and impact is undeniable. The same may be said of the spectrum of consciousness as identified by Ken Wilber. Wilber proposes that just as there is an electromagnetic spectrum, there is a similar spectrum of consciousness. Similar to the electromagnetic spectrum, some bands may be readily viewed, other bands require an increased sensitivity or tuning into a specific frequency of consciousness.
There were quite a few fascinating concepts that I had learned from this book, besides the whole concept of the spectrum of consciousness. First, Wilber identifies the universe as occurring in one simultaneous moment, and that time and space is an illusion. Everything within the universe occurs HERE and NOW. The time aspect is referred to as The Eternal Moment. There are at least a couple of interesting implications from this.
First, let’s discuss space. The universe should not be viewed from a dual perspective, but in a non-dual, or singular manner. We should consider ourselves one with the universe. When acting upon someone or something else, we are really acting upon ourselves. If the majority of the world thought in these terms the world would likely improve – after all, why would someone knowingly hurt themselves (either in terms of another person or the environment)?
It is by social conditioning through the use of symbolism (language) that we separate ourselves from the universe. This symbolism creates a map which distances us from our oneness with the universe. Although the creation of evolution of symbolism has helped move us forward by providing a means of communicating with one another, it is not without a downside.
Next, let’s discuss time. The theory of now is that there is no time but the present. The past and the future are merely illusions. The present is fleeting and the future is not relevant. Consider the following words from Ken Wilber:
“Acute and active attention to what is Now (Factor 1) results in the suspension of thought (Factor 2), because thought looks to the past for its substance an the future for its consequence. Thought is time, and hence the time-less Now is the thought-less Now – thus silent awareness (Factor 3) emerges as I become present to the Present. This entails vigilant attention to whatever is at this moment, watching the ‘inner’ stream of thought just as one would watch the ‘outer’ stream of, say a river; for ultimately the inner and outer streams are not two. ‘This is really all there is to contemplative mysticism – to be aware without judgement or comment of what is actually happening at this moment, both outside ourselves and within, listening even to our involuntary thoughts as if they were no more than the sound of the rain. This is possible only when it is clear that there is nothing else to do, and no way on or back.’ There is nothing else to do because there is no time to do it; there is no way on or back for there is no past or future. The answer is close, and tomorrow it will be no closer. And precisely at the point where we realize this, we cease using the present to get ‘somewhere else,’ and thus we awaken to what Coomaraswamy called ‘a perpetual uncalculated life in the present.”
The Spectrum Of Consciousness was a complex read, probably one of the most challenging books I have ever read, however it has changed the way I perceive the world.
The following are additional articles I have written on The Spectrum Of Consciousness:
1. Two Modes Of Knowing
2. Living In The Present
If addition to The Spectrum Of Consciousness, I highly recommend A Brief History Of Everything by Ken Wilber.
1. J.R. Sedivy. Living In The Present:
2. J.R. Sedivy. Two Modes Of Knowing:
3. Ken Wilber. A Brief History Of Everything:
4. Ken Wilber. The Spectrum Of Consciousness: