Chapter 10: Towards Kosmocentricism – Lessons from Ken Wilber Part 1

Letter to Middle England

… Making this leap from the mythical to the rational or other stages beyond requires an understanding of the role of culture and conditioning on our lives. It is about understanding that what we see and how we interpret what we see is in part a construction. As Wilber points out, many theorists agree that perceptions are conceptions constructed to one degree or the other by cultural conditioning. He provides a very good example: “When it comes to spiritual experience, we can see this very clearly. If you look, for example, at the spiritual experiences of the Western enlightened saints and sages, you find many accounts of angelic beings, or beings of light or luminosity, but you’ll never find any saint or sage in the West describing an entity that has ten thousand arms. And yet that experience seems to be very common in Tibet. Tibetans might see the goddess Avalokitesvara with ten thousand arms appearing in their dreams all the time and think that is the actual form of God. It is the form of God in Tibet, but not in Germany.”

Such perceptions however do not detract from what are authentic spiritual experiences. The problem arises when an individual who has such an experience insists that his experience is universal when in reality it is culturally inspired…

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