Saturday, September 08, 2007

I AMness | Integral vision of Ken Wilber and Sufism

The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber Thoughts from Quranic and Sufi Mystic Perspective

Those who know Ken Wilber and aware of his writings, thoughts will definitely admit that he is one of the most profound thinker, philosopher and a prophet like visionary figure of our contemporary time.

Although Ken Wilber in his writings hardly speaks about Sufi tradition, the point from where he is coming from, the path he is taking on and the station where he is reaching has profound link with Sufi Mysticism or Islamic Mysticism and that can be validated by passages of the Quran and the gnostic sayings of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace.

I was reading the Integral Vision by Ken Wilber, the book which just came out (2007, Shambhala). Now this relation, shared truth is interesting and at the same time important because the goal is to point or arrive at the aspects of truth through an integral vision. And Sufi tradition, which is an alive, thriving and much modern up-to-date tradition can be brought to share its wisdom – that’s holds a lot of significance as far as integral vision is concerned.

I was reading an exercise on self-awareness at the end of the book and could easily connect that to Sufi path. Without going into lengthy explanation, I quote some important part from that meditative exercise and in bold-italic giving hints from Sufi mysticism or Islamic esoteric tradition. Section 3 and 4 are also followup thoughts on the integral vision.

[2. ]
Following is the quotation from Ken Wilber’s book, The Integral Visions. Bold italic is passages and saying of Prophet inserted in Inspirations and Creative Thoughts for rationalizing from Sufi point of view.

Notice your present awareness.

Notice the objects arising in your awareness – the images and thoughts arising in your mind, the feelings and sensations arising in your body, the myriad objects arising around you in the room or environment. All of these are objects arising in your awareness.

Now think about what was in your awareness 5 minutes ago. Most of the thoughts have changed, most of the bodily sensations have changed … but something has not changed. Something in you is the same as now as it was 5 minutes ago. What is present now that was present 5 minutes ago?

I AMness. The feeling-awareness of I AMness is still present. I am that ever-present I AMness. That I AMness is present now, it was present a moment ago … it was present 5 minutes ago.
What was present 5 hours ago?

I AMness. That sense of I AMness is an ongoing self-knowing, self-recognizing, self-validating I AMness.

What was present 5 years ago?

I AMness. So many objects have come and gone, so many feelings have come and gone, so many thoughts have come and gone … But one thing has not come, and one thing has not gone. … This timeless, ever-present feeling of I AMness is present now as it was 5 years ago.

What was present 5 centuries ago?

All that is every-present is I AMness. Every person feels this same I AMness – because it is not a body, it is not a thought, it is not an object, it is not the environment, it not anything that can be seen, but rather is the ever-present Seer (Al-Baseer, the All Seeing One, the Ever-Present Seer, one of the manifest attribute of God in Quran. Surely He sees everything, 67:18), the ongoing open and empty Witness (Ash-Shahid, the Witness) of that is arising, in any person (He is with you wherever you are, 57: 4. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein, 50: 16), in any world, in any place, in any time, in all the worlds until the end of time, there is only and always this obvious and immediate I AMness (Vision comprehends Him not, and He comprehends (all) visions). There is only and always this radiant, self-knowing, self-feeling, self-transcending I AMness, whether present now, 5 minutes ago, 5 hours ago, 5 centuries ago.

5 Millennia ago?

Before Abraham was, I AM. Before the universe was, I AM (God is the He besides Whom there is no object, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting by whom all subsist, 2:255). This is my original Face (Then God made him (Adam) complete and breathed into him of His spirit, 32:9), the face I had before my parents were born, the face I had before the universe was born (God says, Man is my secret and I AM his secret – sacred tradition of Prophet, hadith qudsi) …

I will NEVER again pretend that I do not know or feel my own I AMness. (He who knows himself knows God – Prophet Muhammad)

The great Unborn and the great Undying (He begets not, nor is He begotten, 112:3), which never enters or leaves the stream of time, a pure Presence above time (God says: son of adam complains about time but I AM time– recored in sacred hadith by Prophet Muhammad), floating in eternity, I am this great (Al-Kabir, the Great), obvious (Al-Zahir, the Manifest), self-knowing (Al-Alim, the all knowing and all is He), self-validating (Al-Muhaimin, the Guardian over all), self-liberating (As-Samad, on Whom all depend and He depends not on any) I AMness.

… in all the know universes, the overall number of I AMs is but one (Say with your whole being: the Self is but One, Qul huwa Allahu ahadun, 112:1).

And in Quran when describing Himself God refers His identity with a Plural pronoun on many occasions which is so contrary to the most important stress on God’s Oneness, which is so basic to Islamic Faith. Now, why would God, Who is One will use plural pronoun when identifying Himself?

Many try to justify with the logic that particular We is used as a Royal Pronoun. But its not a matter of grammar only. I personally feel there is a great mystery therein. The 'We' that God refers in Quran, the Final Testament is to mean 'the Self' which is expressed in multiplicity of self but which is always One that encompasses everything, the Self that is in every small and every great. That is the secret of I AMness, the secret of God’s all encompassing I AM. That’s how Ultimate Unity in Multiplicity back to Unity.

[4. ]
There is a beautiful baul (mystics of Bengal) song by the title, Shokolei Ami (sung by Indian band Dohar) which goes like this:“Bichar kori chaiya dekhi shokolei Ami.”

Which translate closely:

After all my contemplation I come to this vision:
Everyone is I AM.

:: References:
. The Integral Vision - Ken Wilber
A very short introduction to the Revolutionary Integral Approach to Life, God, the Universe, and Everything.
. Translation of The Quran
. Anchoring to I-AMness, youtube Pin It Now!