Wilber on Psychedelics


Integral Life Practice


August, 2005

Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening

by Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, Marco Morelli

Introduction to Ken

“That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real.” -Ramana Maharshi

“I had been meditating fairly intensely for around twenty years when I came across that line from Ramana. I had studied Zen with Katigiri and Maezumi; Vajrayana with Kalu and Trungpa; Dzogchen with Pema Norbu and Chagdud; plus Vedanta, TM, Kashmir Shaivism, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, Daism, Sufism… well, it’s a long list. When I ran across Ramana’s statement, I was on an intensive Dzogchen retreat with my primary Dzogchen teacher, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche. Rinpoche also stressed the importance of carrying the mirror-mind into the dream and deep sleep states. I began having flashes of this constant nondual awareness, through all states, which Rinpoche confirmed. But it wasn’t until a few years later, during a very intense eleven-day period-in which the separate-self seemed to radically, deeply, thoroughly die-that it all seemed to come to fruition. I slept not at all during those eleven days; or rather, I was conscious for eleven days; or rather, I was conscious for eleven days and nights, even as the body and mind went through waking, dreaming and sleeping. I was unmoved in the midst of changes; there was no I to be moved; there was only unwavering empty consciousness, the luminous mirror-mind, the witness that was one with everything witnessed. I simply reverted to what I am, and it has been so, more or less, ever since.” – Ken Wilber – Constant Consciousness – Lions Roar


Beezone has clipped out this portion of the Q & A of the Seminar to show Ken’s thoughts on ‘Psychedelics’


“People who use psychedelics and transformative practice get an enormous bit out of them. In the meditative states they have some kind of comparison… so when they’re introduced to Ayahuasca it’s not their first experience, they don’t over-read it. At the same time, the people who do that, get experiences that you just quite can’t get sitting on the meditation mat.”


Part II

A “Call to get Real’ – One of Terry Patten’s last interview

Terry Patten was a philosopher-activist, author, teacher and coach, community organizer, consultant, and social entrepreneur. Most recently Terry published A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries—a book summarizing his life’s work and offering an approach to facing the problems of our time. Over the last fifteen years, Terry devoted his efforts to the evolution of consciousness: facing, examining, and healing our global crisis through the marriage of spirit and activism. Terry co-wrote the book Integral Life Practice with Ken Wilber and a core team at the Integral Institute in 2008.


I want us to recognize our tremendously strong impulse to draw a conclusion, to think we know. But it’s in the NOT knowing—the inquiry, the curiosity, the humility, the beginner’s mind—that we create a real opening.”

An extraordinary, heartfelt conversation with spiritual practitioner, teacher, activist, Integralist, and author Terry Patten, who was at the time facing his own mortality following a recent diagnosis of a rare and aggressive cancer. An inner radiance shines forth as Terry, with much graciousness and candor, discusses the call to “get real”—not only personally but also collectively; his deepened perception of the “amazing grace of existence;” the directionality that has guided much of his life; and action inquiry: working on becoming next-stage human beings by experimenting with being the best people we can be. A touching and transformative talk, Terry conveys the deepening understanding coming from living on the edge and transmits a “radical okayness” with everything. Recorded September 21, 2021.

Topics & Time Stamps

  • The call to “get real,” personally and collectively; waking up to the miracle of existence (04:17)
  • With the diagnosis, the burden fell away (21:44)
  • Mortality versus morbidity: many sufferings are worse than death (31:02)
  • The directionality that guided Terry’s life and wanting to be “good” (41:11)
  • Encountering his root guru, Adi Da (44:50)
  • The importance of being kind (46:54)
  • Let’s bend a knee to something greater than ourselves and LISTEN (53:43)
  • The radical okayness of it all (55:52)
  • Action inquiry and evolving into a new stage of human development (56:27)

Resources & References