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Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World Paperback – November 13, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"Even the timid first-timer can penetrate and be rewarded by Integral Spirituality."—Shambhala Sun

"A satisfying and thought-provoking read."—Elephant

“Ken Wilber’s Integral Spirituality is possibly the most important spiritual book in postmodern times. Step by step, with luminous clarity, he unites all spiritual traditions without diluting the potency of any one lineage or tradition. I think this book is an antidote to the religious animosity of our times. Anyone serious about raising the level of consciousness on this planet should read this masterpiece.”—Dennis Genpo Merzel, Roshi

 “A work of inspired genius. Integral Spirituality is a seminal text for 21st-century spiritual studies.”—Jim Marion, author of Putting on the Mind of Christ

 “One of the most important books on spirituality written in the postmodern era. The Kabbalah of the future will rest on Ken’s work.”—Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, coauthor of Jewish with Feeling and Credo of a Modern Kabbalist

 “Getting acquainted with Wilber’s Integral Approach can be as thrilling as seeing the first photograph of Earthrise over the moon’s horizon. A crucial task of our time is reconciliation between the wisdom of the world’s religious traditions and the best in contemporary thought. Integral Spirituality offers a new and promising framework for tackling this task and renews my hope.” —Brother David Steindl-Rast, cofounder of

 “Integral Spirituality is a book that literally shatters spiritual confusion. Eloquent, compassionate, and deeply helpful, it should be read by every practitioner and lover of Spirit.”—Sally Kempton, author of The Heart of Meditation

 “Vast in scope, profound in depth, and far reaching in its implications, Integral Spirituality is, quite simply, the most encompassing account of religion and spirituality available in our time."—Roger Walsh, PhD, University of California, author of Essential Spirituality

About the Author

<p style="line-height: 150%;">Ken Wilber is the author of over twenty books. He is the founder of Integral Institute, a think-tank for studying integral theory and practice, with outreach through local and online communities such as Integral Education Network, Integral Training, and Integral Spiritual Center.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; Reprint edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590305272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590305270
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Wilber is one of the most widely read and influential American philosophers of our time. His recent books include "A Brief History of Everything", "The Marriage of Sense and Soul" and "Grace and Grit".

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Bosco Ho on December 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In one of his previous books "Sex Ecology and Spirit", Ken Wilber introduced a wildly ambitious schema that (as one previous reviewer accurately calls it) attempts to butt-weld western psychology onto eastern spirituality. His All-Quadrant-All-Levels (AQAL) model is a dizzyingly complex schemata that tries to appease, well, pretty much every major thinker in the eastern and western canon.

Despite the ponderous weight of "Sex, Ecology and Spirit", there were major holes in his exposition, and "Integral Spirituality" was written, I suspect, to plug some of those holes. I believe that there are 2 major problems that Wilber addresses in "Integral Psychology". The first problem is that, although Wilber spent the bulk of "Sex, Ecology and Spirit" savagely critiquing the limits of a menagerie of postmodernist thinking, he did not incorporate the insights of postmodernism into his AQAL model. The second problem is that, in "Sex, Ecology and Spirit", even though he divides the world into four irreducible quadrants in his AQAL model (the individual interior, the individual exterior, the social interior, and the social exterior), he reads the history of the Enlightenment as the differentiation of only three spheres of values (aesthetics, morals and science). Clearly, one sphere of value missing.

Scholars of Wilber might find then, that the first 5 chapters of "Integral Spirituality" are a tedious re-tread of the AQAL model found in previous books. But this particular presentation of the AQAL model offers something fundamentally different. It embraces postmodern insights into its core, by providing a much more nuanced discussion of inter-subjectivity.
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97 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on December 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Integral Spirituality lays out a worldview that tries to encompass and take whatever is of value from as many worldviews as possible. It assumes that no particular position is completely wrong and looks for patterns of meaning across the world's wisdom traditions. Anyone familiar with Wilber will already know this, but for those new to him this point may be useful to mention.

There are many reviews that criticize this book for repeating material that is repeated in other books. I agree with these criticisms and I think there is a bit too much of a commercial focus on the website as well. I was expecting less repetition and more editorial discipline, but I still think the book justifies a 4 star rating based on its other merits. Hopefully, Ken will get away from doing this in future publications.

What I enjoyed specifically about this book was the material on Integral Methodological Pluralism (although this appears in other places) and the somewhat different focus on an Integral Post-Metaphysics. The material on the shadow and disowned self was also interesting and I'm also glad he included a chapter on an Integral Life Practice. Integral Life practices involve engaging every level of being such as body, emotion, mind, soul and spirit to bring about transformation of consciousness.

While this book does indeed contain a lot of recycled material, it is worth purchasing for the new material and some of the new ways that old ideas are presented. Going forward, however, I hope Ken Wilber works more closely with his editors, gets clear on the audience for a particular book and avoids unnecessary repetition and rambling.

Ken is certainly a very important philosopher with a useful point of view.
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of teaching this book to a small undergraduate seminar on the Sociology of Religion last quarter. The reaction was decidedly mixed, with some students finding the material to be exciting and mind-expanding, while others, though sympathetic to the ideas, were totally turned off by Wilber's egotism and bad writing. My #1 recommendation to Ken and the Integral Institute is to fully, integrally utilize the talents that are being gathered and produce works that are edited for maximum impact -- there is a world of sentient beings to save, and time is short!

Overall, Wilber's analysis is incredibly valuable, and if this is the first of his books you read, you will learn much. However, it is less clear that INTEGRAL SPIRITUALITY adds much to what he has already said. I still recommend THE MARRIAGE OF SENSE AND SOUL as the best introduction to his work.

I will limit my substantive comments to a few points of critique: 1) The topic promised by the subtitle is only covered in Chapter Nine, "The Conveyor Belt," and is not examined with the depth or with the respect that it deserves. 2) One of the most fascinating aspects of the book, for anyone who has been following Wilber's project over time, is that he has stopped bashing the "Mean Green Meme" (bad writing exemplified!) and incorporated postmodernism into his AQAL system. Now he's taken to bashing all spiritual authors and teachers who have NOT incorporated postmodernism! 3) As a sociologist and long-time political activist, it is by turns amusing and annoying to me how superficially Wilber treats his lower-left and lower-right collective quadrants (cultural and social).
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