Ken Wilber on Mindfulness and Why “Growing Up” is as Important as “Waking Up”

As mindfulness has grown in popularity, it’s questionable whether it’s potential as a tool for enlightenment has been sufficiently acknowledged. Ken Wilber — author, philosopher, and founder of Integral Institute — notes that mindfulness is mostly valued for it’s benefits to health, productivity, and emotional well-being. Enlightenment, he says, is not so much a part of the popular motivation towards this practice.

In the video below, Wilber contextualizes mindfulness — referencing it’s origination close to three thousand years ago, and how it relates to this moment in human development. And, how modern people might relate to the idea of enlightenment… or not.

Later in the video, he succinctly introduces the provocative idea that throughout human history, people have either been focusing on “Growing up” or “Waking up,” but we have never done both at the same time. Therefore, he says, this history of humanity is that of a broken species — whether we’re considering people from the East or West.

I hope you enjoy the video, and, if this whets your appetite, I encourage you to check out the new course form Integral, in which Wilber leads students much deeper into this exploration. Click here to learn more.

About the Authors:

ken-wilberKenneth Earl “Ken” Wilber II is an American writer on transpersonal psychology and his own Integral Theory, a four-quadrant grid which suggests to synthesize all human knowledge and experience.



travisTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he handles the SMC Blog, and other marketing tasks. He also gives tours of the Great Stupa and is empowered as a Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position. 

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