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Awaken Interviews Ken Wilber Pt 6 -You Can Lose Your Fear In Fifteen Minutes

Donna Quesada: I’m not sure I completely understand what you mean by projection in this sense.


Ken Wilbur: Projection means I have some part of me that I don’t like, that I’m uncomfortable with and so I repress it, and when I repress it and shove it into my unconscious that’s where there are a bunch of defense mechanisms, and the most common is called projection. And that’s when I take this part of me that I split off from my conscious mind and made unconscious, and I push that unconscious part onto somebody else. I project my unconscious drive onto other people and then I think they have that drive pointed at me.

DONNA: They’re doing it to me.

KEN: And they’re doing it to me. So if I’m angry at you, but I don’t want to be angry, so I push the anger out of my mind, and I project it onto you, then I’ll think you’re angry at me. And if I think you’re angry at me, then I’ll get all tense and nervous and so on… and that can be cured very quickly.

DONNA: Sorry to interrupt… and we use that expression, victim consciousness… is that where that comes in, as a kind of protection mechanism?

KEN: Yes. Yeah, and all you have to do to work with a particular neurosis is figure out what the actual projection is that they’re involved with. So, like I said, your fear of flying, for example, you might be projecting your sense of control or wanting to have control onto the pilot, and then the pilot’s got your control, so now you’re out of control and that means anything can happen and so you’re afraid of flying. And so it could be that the pilot is the person that you’ll want to put in the empty chair.

DONNA: Interesting.

KEN: You’re the pilot and get your control back from the pilot.

DONNA: Oh, interesting. I don’t happen to have that particular phobia, but I’ve got one with needles. So in my mind, I’m transposing what you’re saying into the context where…

KEN: So, what’d you come up with?

DONNA: Well, it would be a similar mechanism of control, I suppose. With the doctor with the needle or the nurse with the needle.

KEN: Right. Yeah, and if you can spot those… and I mean, you can do it yourself, you can put an empty chair in front of your chair and go back and forth dialoguing. You want to actually create a real dialogue between you and the imagined person because she wants to re-identify with your projection, and so you play the role of that person and you’ll answer yourself in the first person perspective.

So you’ll say, if you’re playing your pilot, the pilot might say, “Yes, I have all your control,” and so you’re saying, “I have all the control” but that’s really what you’re doing. Your eye is re-identifying with its control because you just said, “I have your control.” So as you go back and forth and you play the eye that has the control. You really will… where it was, there I shall become and you’ll take back that control, and when you really do that, if that’s what’s causing your fear of flying, the fear of flying will go away.

And you can take back your projections in a fairly quick amount of time, particularly when you’re actually identifying with the person who has the projection. So if I was playing you and you have my anger, and I think “Why are you angry at me?” Then I’d play you and then I say, “Well, because I don’t like you.” And so I’m angry. Then you… and I’m really identifying with you being angry… So, I have my anger and where it was, there I have become, and it can happen that quickly that I’ve taken my anger back.

When I do that, then I’ll no longer fear your being angry at me. So, I’ll lose that anxiety and the fear that I had that you were going to beat me up or whatever, and so that part of the process can occur in 15 minutes. If you’ve got the right process, the right projection, the right person that you were projecting it onto, then your neurosis will disappear in 15 minutes.

DONNA: There’s a video of you slowing down your heart rate. What is your personal practice these days?

KEN: Basically, it’s a form of meditation that you find in Chan Buddhism… That was very much like the space I was in when I was doing the guided meditation… I just rest as the witness, just let everything arise as it wishes, let my thoughts go wherever they want, and I’m just witnessing all of it.

DONNA: And when you slowed your heart rate down like that, which was fascinating, how did that fit into your practice? Did that correspond to the way that you could slow down your brain waves?

KEN: When did I mention slowing down my heart?

DONNA: Well, I was watching a video of you where you hooked yourself up to something and you were able to slow down. I believe you were slowing down your heart rate, if I remember right.

KEN: Yes. Actually, I was slowing down my brain waves.

DONNA: That’s right.

KEN: And I had gotten this brain-mind machine that measured Delta, which is deep sleep waves, beta, which is dream waves… beta, and alpha, which are waking state, thought pattern waves, and I just put the machine together, and so I wanted to videotape myself when I tried to slow my brain waves down.

What I was doing was using a similar type of meditation as I gave in the guided meditation that just slowed… disidentify with my small ego, disidentify with my small mind, and if I really disidentify with them… well, they should probably slow down. And that’s what I was trying to determine… if my brain waves actually would slow down. And so I turned it on and went into this meditative state, and you can see starting at the top, the brainwaves… Alpha goes to zero, then beta, then theta, and all that’s left is the Delta wave because Delta Wave is what you produce in deep dreamless sleep… when the only self present is the witness. And so I had full Delta, full witness waves because I was witnessing.

DONNA: Yet you were awake…

KEN: Yeah.

DONNA: So, you were able to get there while still remaining aware. Is that similar to what happens during lucid dreaming?

KEN: Yes. And lucid dreaming, you become aware of the beta wave state. And so you’re dreaming, but you’re aware of dreaming. You’ve brought witnessing to bear on the Theta state, and the Theta State keeps producing because you keep dreaming, but now you’re also witnessing the dream. And so there is a bit of awareness of the dream and you can dream whatever you want. You can fly, you can have sex, you can have a smorgasbord, you can eat anything you want, I mean, it’s just crazy.

DONNA: What has been your biggest challenge, not only in your personal practice but in your work as well?

KEN: Well, I was saying that I was looking for the types of wholeness, and I had gotten to their opening up to multiple intelligences and then I got to where I call cleaning up, with the Freudian unconscious and making a whole and healthy psyche where you had a split off and fragmented psyche and then I realized there was another type of wholeness, which, the way I draw the main perspectives, like first person, second person, third person perspective, is what I call The Four Quadrants. The Four Quadrants are the interior and the exterior, the subjective and the objective of the individual and the collective.

DONNA: Oh, Okay. Interior, exterior… individual and collective.

KEN: Right. So, you have the interior of an individual, which is your mind, and you have the exterior of an individual, which is your brain. And then you have the interior of the collective, which gives the sculpture, or what we’re doing right now… is exchanging second-person perspectives, and that gives us the lower left, and the lower right is all the exterior objects looked at in the third person, or an objective perspective. Or, as “its.”

And so, that’s like an ecological system or anything like that, where we see just a whole system of objective objects brought together to form a single system. And those… so what I was trying to do was, well, when I include all four quadrants, so I called that “showing up” because you’re showing up for all of the major perspectives or major dimensions that you have available to you. First-person, second-person, third-person singular, third-person plural, and I call that “showing up.”

So we have five different types of wholeness, we have waking up wholeness, growing up wholeness, opening up wholeness, cleaning up wholeness, and showing up wholeness. And those are at least five very real types of wholeness because each of them gives us a different set of wholes and different types of wholeness.

Whether we wake up to a wholeness with the whole universe, or we grow up to a higher perspective wholeness… first person, second person, third person, fourth person, fifth person, and so on. Whether we open up and using all of our multiple intelligences because that gives us an expansion of feeling of wholeness… or whether we clean up and where it was, the I shall become. They give us a whole and healthy psyche, not a split and fragmented psyche or whether we show up and use all four quadrants in our day-to-day life because all four of those quadrants… first person, second person, third person, third person plural, are very important and they each have a different epistemology or different knowing methodology. So there’s empiricism, hermeneutics, introspection, and so on, and each of these are very real ways of knowing the objects in each of those quadrants.

DONNA: Does intuition count as a form of epistemological knowing?

KEN: I’m sorry.

DONNA: Does intuition count as a valid form of knowing?

KEN: Intuition, by dictionary definition just means an immediate sense of knowing. So you have an intuition of your computer screen right now because you know it, but we often use intuition to mean an immediate knowing of something that we can’t really know. So, it takes on a mystical flare, where we say mystics use their intuition, which just means they immediately know their oneness with God, or oneness with reality, or oneness with the universe, and they know it in an immediate, straightforward, first-person fashion. And so, that intuition is a very real form of knowing. It’s just an immediate sense of knowing and that’s very, very real and I count it as one of the important types of knowledge that we have.

DONNA: Is there anything I didn’t bring up or ask, that I should have? Is there anything else that you’d like to share about what you’re working on, or what you hope to be working on?

KEN: Right. Well, as I was talking about those five different types of wholeness, I wanted to present those and that’s the book that I just finished, called Finding Radical Wholeness, and I’ve already submitted it to my publisher, so I’m done with it and I finished editing it and all of that and it goes through these five different types of wholeness. And it describes what each one is and the type of wholeness that it’s involved with, and then it gives exercises or practices that each person can do to get in touch with that wholeness.

So, I keep forms of meditation for waking up, I keep forms of practicing, growing up stages, and what each one looks like, and I give your stock therapy practices for unifying… and I give multiple intelligences and examples of each one, so you can learn how to practice it yourself.

And then showing up, I walk through the different types of perspectives… first person, second person, third person and so on, and show how you can unify with those and achieve the wholeness that they offer. And the whole book just walks people through all five of these types of wholeness. And that’s the problem that I was trying to solve and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I think it’s a very good book. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve done and I’m very looking forward to having it available.

DONNA: Well, perhaps Colin can send me a copy and we could talk to you again about it once I’ve read it. Would you do that?

KEN: Yeah.

DONNA: Okay, I’d like that very much. What will the title be again? Can you say it again?

KEN: Finding Radical Wholeness.

DONNA: Finding Radical Wholeness. Okay.

KEN: I was calling it Making Room For Everything, but my publisher wanted something a little more obvious, so I changed it to Finding Radical Wholeness.

DONNA: I look forward to it.

KEN: Okay, great.

DONNA: Well, Ken It’s just been a pleasure to have this time with you. I really appreciate it on a personal level and I know that your words will be of benefit to so many.

KEN: Oh, I appreciate it.

DONNA: It’s been a really special conversation.

KEN: Thank you. I appreciate that.

DONNA: Then, I will look forward to meeting you again after I’ve received your book and I wish you a wonderful rest of your Sunday.

KEN: All right. Thank you.


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