Three Faces of Spirit

In my last post I introduced one of the five aspects of Integral Theory, “the quadrants,” and explained how they map the three perspectives out of which we look at the world: “I” or first person perspective: the inside of an individual; “You/We” or second person perspective: the inside of a collective and “It” or third person perspective: the exterior of the individual or collective. Naturally these perspectives tell us something about how we relate to Ultimate Reality.

In conversations with prominent spiritual leaders, Wilber began to see how the three quadrants deeply inform the way in which we experience Ultimate Reality. Of course the Ultimate is beyond all perspectives, however, It can only be experienced, or pointed to, via perspectives.

As you can see from the illustration above (from What is Enlightenment Magazine Issue 33, 2006), we experience the Ultimate from the “I” perspective, the eternal I Am; the “Thou” perspective, the almighty, Other; and the “It” perspective, the Web of Life.  What became known as the Three Faces of Spirit is articulated fully in the four disc CD series, The One Two Three of God (available from Amazon and Sounds True).

What Wilber also realized was that while all three perspectives may and often are alive within a spiritual tradition, each tradition leans heavily on one perspective to point to Ultimate Reality. In true integral fashion, he advises that our view is most full or complete when we include all three perspectives. In my next three posts I will explore each of these perspectives in more depth.