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“It is indeed possible to use vertical development models to make specific statements about competences, but unpredictability cannot be put into a box. If it could, this would rob Awakening of the radicality it needs to remind us time and time again of the One.”

By Thomas Hübl

The discussion launched by the position paper from the Integral Forum is a good and important initiative. It reveals the confusion that exists in the area of spiritual competence. However, such a discussion stands on thin ice if we only look at it in a purely intellectual way without taking spiritual competence itself into account. True mystics – those who experience divine or absolute reality – are “consciousness freaks”. They do not just understand the inner order of reality intellectually but they experience it in a truly profound way.

Only an Awakened Consciousness Knows What an Awakened Consciousness Is

A comparison might help to make things clear as we discuss the issue of spiritual competence. Grade school pupils do not usually approach university mathematics professors and start a discussion with them about differential calculus. Yet many people from many different spiritual traditions set about describing the spiritual dimensions of human nature although they do not have the competence necessary for this task in terms of their own spiritual development. In many cases their cognitive development far exceeds their spiritual development, which means they often seek to explain spiritual competence in a cognitive way. This mixes up different lines of development. Intellectual discussion is then regarded to be a ”˜spiritual discussion'; but that is not what it is - it is a philosophical discussion about spiritual values.

The danger of Integral Theory is that individuals having a high intellectual capability and a cognitive-philosophical understanding of Ken Wilber's models of consciousness could possibly apply the overall explanatory model in a distorted way if they haven't integrated the higher levels of consciousness themselves. In contrast to this, Ken Wilber himself has a profound inner practice and a high intellectual as well as transcendental capability. A distorted application of the integral theory reveals a shadow within the integral movement. Yet another shadow is the fact that transmission cannot take place during an intellectual discussion about higher levels of consciousness (as compared to directly speaking from these levels). Here, the term ”˜transmission' is used to imply the energetic resonance that occurs when the higher vibrational energy of a more highly realized person stimulates the energy of a less realized person to resonate at a higher level. “Consciousness freaks”, whether they be spiritual teachers, highly realized people or awakened students, are able to perceive this transmission in other highly realized individuals. In this way, and because of this, they can determine the spiritual competence of teachers.

This phenomenon of transmission can also be illustrated using the example of a mathematics professor: she has a true understanding of advanced mathematics herself and is able to pass on this knowledge in such a way that she becomes a ladder for students that enables them to climb to higher levels of knowledge themselves. If she didn't possess this inner capacity, then her teaching attempts would just trigger confusion. The students would believe they are studying with a knowledgeable professor, but they would become quite confused because they couldn't understand what she's talking about. The same can be applied to spirituality. If someone is talking about non-duality but is not in a state of non-duality, then the words are just empty words. A transmission cannot take place. The words might, for example, provide an intellectual motivation to take up a spiritual practice but fail to impart a taste of non-duality.


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One Response to “Spiritual Competence by Thomas Hübl”

  1. charles dudas

    Thanks Thomas. You and Terry Patten are, in my opinion, probably the most highly sensitized to the pitfalls of “the consensus (feel good) trance”, that always used to lurk in the background, but today has somehow become nigh a standard of validation. Mindfulness, my friend, and more of it. Tschuss, charles dudas


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