I enjoy reading the thoughts of Ken Wilber. He’s a philosopher. And his goal has been to pull together the wisdom of the world, as represented by spiritual leaders, scientists, business people, psychologists and many others, into a coherent whole. Ken thinks that every perspective has something to offer and it’s a mistake to say “I have the whole truth.”
I find that spiritual ideas stay in my head a bit and then leave. I’ve read many books but it’s rare that I can recall what they said. And I want to remember something “important” when I’m writhing amid the daily grind.
I see potential for me in Ken’s phrase “one taste”. He points to the ocean and the waves on it. Each wave can be considered as one of life’s experiences: happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating, peaceful, challenging, sublime. Or how about each wave as a person you know – someone kind, someone nasty, distant, cozy, chuckly, morose. But if I look at all these waves, what is their essence? It’s true that some waves are big and some small, but what is the core of it all? Why, it’s brilliant and obvious … they’re all wet. A tiny ripple is just as wet as a tsunami.
All these experiences and all these people, as different as they are from each other on the surface, down deep are the same. They’re all sweetly light and graceful. They all have one taste. How can this be? Surely the bliss of bright colours in my condo is better than the pain of constipation. Well, on one level, of course. But maybe there’s another level that I can access at any time, even when the temperature is 35° Celsius (95° Fahrenheit), with a heat index of 43 (109). Sure, my body would be massively uncomfortable, but what about my Spirit?
Here’s what Ken has to say. His use of capitals may be offputting, as well as his inclusion of the word “hopeless”, but then there’s the message:
The desires of the flesh, the ideas of the mind and the luminosities of the soul – all are perfect expressions of the radiant Spirit that alone inhabits the universe, sublime gestures of that Great Perfection that alone outshines the world.
There is only One Taste in the entire Kosmos, and that taste is Divine, whether it appears in the flesh, in the mind, in the soul. Resting in that One Taste, transported beyond the mundane, the world arises in the purest Freedom and radiant Release, happy to infinity, lost in all eternity, and hopeless in the original face of the unrelenting mystery.
From One Taste all things issue, to One Taste all things return – and in between, which is the story of this moment, there is only the dream, and sometimes the nightmare, from which we would do well to awaken.