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No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth Paperback – February 6, 2001
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"Ken Wilber is one of the most important pioneers in the field of consciousness in this century."—Deepak Chopra
"The most sensible, comprehensive book on consciousness since William James."—Dr. James Fadiman, President, Association for Transpersonal Psychology
"No Boundary does for this generation what Alan Watts' writings did for an earlier one. It brings the most difficult subject of all—nature of consciousness—into an easily grasped presentation that is both elegant and simple."—John White, editor of Kundalini, Evolution, and Enlightenment
From the Inside Flap
A new, easy-to-grasp map of human consciousness against which the various therapies from both Western and Eastern sources are introduced. Designed to help individuals understand the practice of each therapy.
Top customer reviews
This book has a different tone and structure than many of Mr. Wilber's other books. There is less repitition and somehow he seems to be more accessible and lyrical in his descriptions and metaphors. If you read later Wilber, you will find it lacks some of the feeling tone of this earlier work.
In this book, Ken talks about boundaries and how they are often mental constructs. For example, the boundary that defines me could be taken arbitrarily as my skin. However, I might say I have a body, rather than that I am a body. This implies perhaps that I am a mind that is associated with a body and that I'm moving the line between self and other to the head. In a similar fashion, it is possible that a may have a transpersonal experience in which case my boundary moves out beyond my skin. The idea is much like the arbitrary division between a tree's roots, limbs and branches. These divisions don't necessarily exist as distinct boundaries on the tree, but arise from the analytical nature of thought.
In general, the book looks at a synthesis of Western and Eastern psychological and spiritual approaches to growth. It challenges tacit assumptions on both sides and tries to get the reader to take a broader perspective on reality while honoring what is good in each particular tradition. It is an extremely thought-provoking work and includes a lot of good scholarship. I find it to be highly complimentary to Wilber's later work and often more eloquent.
If you are looking for the best, most comprehensive and readable introduction to Wilber's work, I recommend A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING. If you are interested in a good developmental psychology book from Wilber's point of view, then the ATMAN PROJECT will not disappoint. It covers development from birth to enlightenment and it quite fascinating. If you own these three books you will have a good overview of Wilber's most important ideas without a lot of overlap. If you are interested primarily in his latest thinking, then INTEGRAL SPIRITUALITY may also be a good choice.
No Boundary is well-written, concise, invigorating on a personal and spiritual level. It is academic yet intensely personally challenging, as Wilber plows unflinchingly into each type of personal pathology, most with examples, exercises, and references for further reading. The book can be disorienting to say the least - but disorienting in the most compassionate and insightful and necessary way possible. 100% recommended if you care to move towards a fuller self-awareness, but consider using a personal journal while reading it, as it can trigger a great deal of emotionally troubling insights.
I believe this is Wilber's second book and is about 30 years old now, but it could have been written yesterday. The difference between this one and his later work is that his thoughts were simpler early on. I also finished Integral Spirituality recently and it was also good but much more complicated. Integral Theory has evolved and Wilber has had time to add complexity to the extent that some people don't even want to deal with it.
But No Boundary is not complicated. It could be tough to understand for some Western readers at first, but for me it was a very modern and accessible introduction both to Ken Wilber and to what I would call nonduality. In it's highest form I think nonduality encompases all faiths and traditions (as well as science) to at least some extent and in that sense it is integral and inclusive, just like Ken Wilber tries to be.
Although there are nondual portions of Judaism and Christianity, it is usually taught through ancient traditions like Buddhism or Taoism and because of that it's also not up to date with modern explanations. Ken does an excellent job of making the case for an integrated and inclusive path of personal growth with modern and sensible language that spoke directly to me.
One interesting part of the book that caught me off guard right away was how he breaks down the boundaries in our world and our mind. He points out that there are no actual boundaries in nature. You might think of the beach where water and land meet, but he says that is a line not a boundary. It is a place where land and water join...there is no boundary. All boundaries are conceptual and all are points of unification. What we really see are lines, not boundaries and that makes a huge difference in how they are understood.
This is one of my favorite books ever...and my new favorite author.