Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Barclay PowersBarclay Powers is an author and futurist filmmaker. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies from Columbia University and has an extensive background as an independent scholar. He has studied Chinese, Tibetan and Indian meditation, yoga and martial arts traditions for more than 30 years. Powers is currently releasing multiple media projects worldwide in film and print, related to the evolution of consciousness based on his studies with numerous masters of ancient wisdom traditions. His most recent film, The Lost Secret of Immortality, based on his book, won best spiritual/religious/Christian film at the Great Lakes International Film Festival, 2012, the Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival, 2012 and best spiritual documentary at the New York International Film Festival, 2011. See his website at for information on the book, graphic novel and film.


Integral Immortality

The Kundalini/Golden Embryo
Theory of Everything

Barclay Powers

Integral Theory has not been able to translate the inner technology of complete chi or energy refinement.

There are many different approaches to the spiritual transcendence of time, which is a constant theme in the contemplative traditions that have inner illumination and spiritual enlightenment as their goal. The triplex unity, trinity or Trikaya could be considered to be a relatively accurate framework of ultimate consciousness evolution when accurately translated from an esoteric post-metaphysical perspective. The idea is that the cosmos and the human body are composed of three levels or dimensions that are united by the union of the three bodies, which results in liberation or moksha. If we assume that immortality or Buddhahood, complete spiritual awakening, has been achieved repeatedly throughout human history, the basic postmodern narrative of Western civilization changes completely. The great historian, Arnold Toynbee, considered the introduction of Buddhism to the West to be one of the most significant events in the 20th century. Although we take the concept of moksha or liberation for granted, it is possible that Western civilization is actually in the process of what could be described as tantric consciousness mutation at the level of the collective unconscious. If we also consider the Philosopher's Stone to be a European secret kundalini/golden embryo tradition, we can hypothesize that the ultimate result in the 21st century will eventually be a post-scientific explanation of Tantric Buddhahood and the secret of immortality in the form of spiritual awakening.

Golden Embryo

The most important Integral question is: how does a human being physically unite the relative with the absolute in the 21st century using a perspective in which they have never been separate - nontheistic nonduality? Postmodern spiritual enlightenment does not necessarily require a theistic belief system. Buddhism, Taoism and Jainism have lengthy histories of enlightened adepts without inner illumination being dependent on a deity or creative intelligence. Since most science is atheistic Integral Theory prevents a scientific explanation of Buddhahood by forcing nontheistic systems into highly distorted theistic definitions of meditation and nonduality. Labeling emptiness as God, and saying that your present awareness is nondual because everything is spirit, has nothing to do with Buddhahood which is the union of the three bodies - physical, subtle and super subtle. The spiritual teachers that have been endorsed by Integral Theory have unknowingly prevented the spiritual evolution and awakening of their students because of an incomplete understanding of chi/prana and its connection to genuine enlightenment. Many theistic traditions also had genuine three body alchemical esoteric systems based on the kundalini/golden embryo but Integral Theory has rejected alchemy as pre-rational based on incomplete translation. A philosophy that cannot explain the Philosopher's Stone is clearly missing something since this realization is the original goal of science and many ancient religions and contemplative traditions based on the Coniunctio – subtle body union.

Tantric Buddhahood or immortality can also be defined as the rediscovery of the Hermetic Androgyne or Rebis. These are other terms for the kundalini/golden embryo: the Philosopher's Stone, the union of the three bodies (corpus, anima, spiritus), (Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya, Dharmakaya), physical, subtle and super subtle. Calling the Dharmakaya the Vedic causal body, and defining it as emptiness and deep sleep, is a clear example of an incomplete understanding of the completion stage of meditation – the real original face, the embryo of enlightenment. Actually the Neidan internal alchemical model of enlightenment – uniting the pre-birth or pre-heaven chi or consciousness with the post-heaven chi or consciousness - demonstrates that the pre/post trans fallacy is the exact opposite of how enlightenment actually works. Pre-birth or pre-heaven consciousness (prior to the fall which occurs at birth) can only be described as pre-rational by the Integral Model, when actually it is post-post-rational immortal Buddhahood, pure yang, when refined into the embryo of enlightenment. The pre/post trans fallacy has literally reversed the real mechanism of enlightenment within the human reproductive system.

The primary purpose of the human reproductive system is enlightenment from a post-rational post-modern spiritual perspective. This has been proven in China over and over for thousands of years and is the basis of the inner alchemical model of immortality/Buddhahood. For this system to work there has to be an enlightened point of origin in both the human body and the human species. The Neidan system has worked successfully over and over again and still does. This means that both the pre/post trans fallacy and the evolutionary enlightenment of Integral Theory are reversed and incomplete.

Integral Theory has not been able to translate the inner technology of complete chi or energy refinement. The translation has not been clear enough because of the language barrier as well as the pervasive use of metaphor. As soon as the word immortality appears in inner alchemical texts the Western scholar invariably labels it prerational superstition. Immortality does not mean the physical body never dies. It means that the subtle body has been transformed from yin to yang by the Coniunctio, the conjunction of pre-birth yang and post-birth yin subtle bodies.

This means that if you accept nondual enlightenment, Buddhahood/immortality as true, Integral Theory and science are incomplete and esoteric yogic and alchemical traditions have always been right. Or at least since the enlightened point of origin, which would theoretically have to have occurred somewhere between apes and modern man from a highly speculative perspective. Eros may be unable to completely explain this transitional evolutionary event.


What Buddhas and immortals have always taught is that the first chakra, or starting point of the human body, has an energy charge, which can transform and awaken the human brain when moved from the lower torso to the head. A partial version of this is a kundalini activation. A complete version fully unites the three bodies, dissolving the super subtle body into the subtle body, transforming it from yin to golden yang. This is the Coniunctio, the legendary union of subtle and super subtle bodies, which results in complete awakening, the transcendence or unification of time – the Unus Mundus. The fact that this experience is the original goal of modern science, clearly and fully understood 500 years ago, is even more remarkable. Fortunately this firing process, which results in spiritual enlightenment, has been preserved and further developed in modern Chinese qi gong and meditation systems, which may result in complete awakening like Yi Chuan and Neidan inner alchemy.

The Neijing Tu is a Taoist "inner landscape" diagram of the human body
illustrating Neidan “internal alchemy”.

Integral Theory has so diluted the promise of enlightenment that it currently prevents the complete evolution of consciousness, which is the goal of meditation and awakening. None of the stages of consciousness that represent the highest states of awareness come close to explaining Buddhahood, the Philosopher's Stone, the kundalini/golden embryo or immortality, either scientifically or spiritually. The current Integral definition of enlightenment – oneness with everything combined with evolutionary emergence based on pseudo-satori is incomplete, and has misunderstood the human body's energy and subtle body systems. From a Bodhisattva perspective, a map of consciousness evolution that is so distorted that it prevents Buddhahood and destroys the promise of genuine enlightenment is not good karma by any means.

Now let us work together to repair the map from a post- Buddhahood perspective based on creating a post-metaphysical translation that restores the original definition of enlightenment as the permanent discovery of ultimate meaning and the true identity of human beings. Perhaps the most important idea is that enlightenment is based on subtle body union and is physiological not merely psychological.


The lost secret of immortality is that the first chakra, the starting point (bindu) of the human body, is the dormant embryo of Buddhahood (Tathagatagarbha). The current Integral definition of the three bodies - gross, subtle and causal has actually made the same error that Jung did by using a psychological mistranslation of the three bodies – Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya, Dharmakaya, or corpus, anima and spiritus. Jung went in circles for a lifetime trying to integrate Jesus, mercurius and the serpent within a psychological framework based on the Coniunctio, the conjunction of yin anima and yang spiritus, which he misunderstood as merely psychological integration. Because the idea of chi/prana is not understood as the basis of the kundalini/golden embryo, the goal of alchemy has become completely lost in translation, which has also occurred in Integral Theory. It should be noted that Jung's error in assuming that the kundalini or golden flower represented the unconscious is virtually identical to Wilber's dramatic error in considering the Dharmakaya, which he incorrectly calls the causal body, to be correlated with deep sleep. This mistake is based on incomplete meditation and pseudo-satori.

It is important to remember that the theory of both Chinese and Indian medical systems, which appears to be accurate, is that the origin point of the human body is enlightened both now and in the origin of the species. This is why all human beings have Buddha nature, and the pre-birth chi or energy of the human reproductive system is still enlightened in a dormant form. The classical saying was that man is an inverted tree; his roots are in heaven. Chinese theory is that heaven is the yang world of the Buddhas and immortals, which can be united within the human being that has achieved the goal of inner alchemy. The human being is a microcosm, which contains the macrocosm holographically when the three bodies are united, which also integrates heaven, earth and man, the three worlds or dimensions.

Buddhist Three Bodies

The fact that Gebser had the insight of the presence of the ever-present origin, and recognized it as spiritual is truly remarkable. Of course, since this means that the pre-trans post-trans fallacy so cherished by the Integral movement is backwards, we can expect silence in acknowledging this crucial error that literally destroys the promise of genuine enlightenment. Real nonduality also destroys evolution, at least as it relates to humans, which the Integral elite has somehow forgotten to notice. Nonduality means that the origin of consciousness is enlightened. Apes are not enlightened and cannot achieve Buddhahood, the Trikaya the union of the three bodies. Remember – Darwin saw a gorilla in the London Zoo. As any Buddha would tell you, if he had seen his original face the story of evolution would be very different. If he had seen his Integral pseudo-original face he might have told us it was Eros. Evolution does not rob enlightenment of meaning, which is the flawed hypothesis of Integral Theory. Buddhahood/immortality completely destroys evolution at least as it describes the origin of the human species.

Fortunately it does appear that humans may be evolving into Buddhas, which would certainly be a most desirable form of consciousness mutation. This is why Buddhas have always said that the human body is necessary for complete liberation, the union of the three bodies, the Trikaya.

Taoist Three Bodies

Integral Theory has not understood the completely false history of both science and religion, which is accepted by the consensus worldview of post-modernity. As soon as we take the concept of the kundalini/golden embryo as a hard science phenomenon we find ourselves in an entirely new world in which myth is real and the origin of human consciousness is enlightened. As soon as we define the Philosopher's Stone as the embryo of enlightenment, which is the nondual origin and goal of both science and religion, everything changes in terms of perspective. Imagine a world in which children are taught that the first chakra is the dormant embryo of Buddhahood, a fully enlightened Buddha is who they really are. If you are taught that the starting point of the human body is the secret of enlightenment you may eventually end up with an enlightened Bodhisattva world civilization. A Bodhisattva world civilization is the real goal of Integral Theory, religion, science and democracy.

Philosopher's Stone
(Note the embryo of enlightenment in the lower abdomen.)

Integral Theory seeks to create a rational explanation of postrational authentic spiritual experience but has misunderstood the ever-present point of origin. Although conventional kundalini theory is relatively well understood, very few scholars have suggested the kundalini as the most logical explanation for the Philosopher's Stone. The complete version, the golden embryo, appears as the yang solar super subtle body, which restores the Unus Mundus and reverses the fall of man when the Coniunctio is completed. This was the core esoteric sacred science, which underlies many ancient civilizations and could be considered the lost knowledge of the human race, which is in the process of rediscovery. A neurotheological explanation of enlightenment would undoubtedly explain the golden vision of the original face, which could be called the template of the common ancestor, as the reason for the Western concept of the Imago Dei, the image of God within man, the divine spark of light. The best neuroscientific explanation of God creating man in His own image is this experience of post-Coniunctio awakening.

Hermetic Androgyne

Current Integral Theory has failed completely in understanding that the physical body is not the real body in esoteric yogic and alchemical theory. The primary body is the super subtle body, the kundalini/golden embryo that transforms you from a man to what the Chinese call a real human being – an immortal. At the very least we should expect Indian classical realization to be defined as uniting solar and lunar energy currents within the central channel of the body. The caduceus, the symbol of mercury, represents this triple channel kundalini activation in alchemical art depictions. Many spiritual practitioners have not understood that cross-legged sitting alone can block the prana from travelling up the spine to the head. Both Jainism and Taoism often emphasize standing meditation as a more effective method of taking the energy chi/prana from the lower torso to the head than just sitting. Because of the Western confusion about Tantra the initial period of celibacy, which creates a surplus of reproductive energy, is often misunderstood as religious repression as opposed to energy cultivation based on jing, chi and shen or nadi, prana and bindu, the Chinese and Indian systems.

Unfortunately Integral Theory has completely ignored the classical East Asian prescription for enlightenment. Jing or reproductive energy is refined into chi or vital energy, which is refined into shen or spirit (kundalini/golden embryo in its complete form), spirit is then returned to void and then to Tao (post-Coniunctio). The golden embryo is also known as the original spirit, the original face, or Dharmakaya, the super subtle yang solar body. The end result is the Unus Mundus, time synchronization based on the complete integration of the upper world, middle world, lower world dimensions, heaven, earth and man. Man, the microcosm, fully integrated with the macrocosm of the universe, the three dimensions which are united by the three bodies, which are united by the three treasures jing, chi and shen. The alchemical perfection of the soul means that the yin subtle body has been transformed to golden yang by the firing process, which results in the Coniunctio and the union of the three bodies.

Microcosmic Orbit

Integral Theory has not understood the difference between theistic and non-theistic meditation/enlightenment traditions. Simply saying that Eastern and Western mysticism is the same and results in nonduality is not accurate when the causal body is incorrectly defined as emptiness. For complete awakening to be achieved subtle and super subtle bodies have to be united. Initially the Tathagatagarbha embryo of Buddhahood is dormant and formless. It appears as the Dharmakaya, your original face at the time of enlightenment, and then dissolves back into emptiness or formlessness (post- Coniunctio). This process, the complete union of the three bodies, loops the human timeline, permanently integrating the relative and the absolute. The end result is that a Buddha both exists and doesn't exist simultaneously. This is the real meaning of form is emptiness and emptiness is form. The dissolution of the original face at the time of enlightenment erases the origin point within the human time line, and is the reason for the concept of Anatman - non-self as your true nature.

Integral Theory makes the classical error of describing postenlightenment from a pre-realization perspective, and then calls emptiness God. Pseudo-theistic satori is undoubtedly the reason for this confusion. Buddhism has been plagued by the apparent irreconcilable conflict between the embryo of Buddhahood and emptiness doctrines. The actual enlightenment experience, in which the Dharmakaya, your original face, is returned to void and completely negated, also results in the negation of time. The end result of this experience is the nonduality of the relative and absolute on both an individual and cosmic level, because they are inseparably entangled, and the part actually contains the whole holographically. This is the mustard seed, which contains the polar mountain - the real union of the microcosm and macrocosm. The beauty of Buddhahood is that once one individual in a given time period achieves the Trikaya the experience becomes possible for everyone who can understand the translation and follow instructions. At this point in history all the necessary information is available which is what is enabling you to read this right now. Chinese Neidan inner alchemical theory actually explains Buddhist enlightenment more clearly than any other source, although the Six Yogas of Naropa come close.

Embryo of Buddhahood

Integral Theory is highly distorted by its misunderstanding of corpus, anima and spiritus, the physical body, the lunar subtle body and the solar super subtle body. Wilber has made the same mistake as Jung in not realizing that Jesus, Shiva or Hermes Trismegistus are often used metaphorically in esoteric alchemical and tantric systems as descriptions of fully awakened human beings that have successfully united the three bodies. It is not a great leap to assume that what is called the original spirit or golden embryo in China is called the Holy Spirit in Gnostic Christianity. The serpent or dragon is a virtual universal metaphor for the kundalini/golden embryo, the super subtle body, which lies dormant within the first chakra of all human beings. Any religious system that is based on three divine characters probably has had successful inner alchemists within its history, and as civilizations influenced each other they often shared foundational myths and characters.

Historically an individual within a culture that united the anima and spiritus within the corpus is often considered to have become identical to the founder by recreating the myth of origin – Cosmic Man. The myth is not pre-rational by any means. It has simply not been accurately translated into a post-metaphysical 21st century definition of the Trikaya, the union of the three bodies, material, subtle and super subtle. The theistic traditions have always defined the solar super subtle body as the Imago Dei, the image of God within man. It is this vision of golden nonduality, which has repeatedly changed the course of human history. When the serious errors of Integral meditation and subtle body theory are corrected there is a very real possibility of an accurate postmodern definition of enlightenment, which results in what could be called a tantric renaissance in Western civilization. Since Western civilization is in the process of becoming global this transformation could eventually be conceivable worldwide. The problem is relatively simple - no Western psychological or neuroscientific model of the brain has included chi/prana as the primary inner technology, which activates the kundalini/golden embryo the super subtle body. Golden dragons and serpents are not pre-rational alchemical mythology to be rejected by post-metaphysical modernity. These are ancient metaphorical descriptions of the super subtle body, which lies dormant within the lower torso of every human being.


The Uttara Tantra is one of the best classical explanations of the golden self within man, which unites the relative and the absolute and returns consciousness to its perfect enlightened origin. This is why Dzogchen, the great perfection, describes your true nature as perfection itself. Conventional kundalini activations, based on uniting solar and lunar energy meridians within the central channel, (the caduceus) are not complete forms of awakening.


The oroborus, the oldest symbol of alchemical enlightenment, depicts the actual looping of time, which occurs when the subtle and super subtle bodies are united (Coniunctio) within the physical body. Integral Theory has missed the key point completely in defining the kundalini (the caduceus) as legitimate, and the oroborus as prerational. The oroborus is post-post-rational immortality, the complete transcendence of time, the Unus Mundus, the reversal of the fall of man.


There are actually two different versions of the original face, which Integral Theory needs to redefine. It should also be obvious by now that defining deep sleep as both emptiness and the causal body is a mistake that destroys the validity of Integral Theory. The concept of the witness, defining your present awareness as Godhead, Dzogchen pointing out instructions, this present moment is enlightenment or your original face, are all poetic pseudo nondual descriptions of reality which confuse pre-realization and postrealization states of consciousness. Parroting poetic slogans does not result in Buddhahood, the union of physical, subtle and super subtle bodies. The goal of meditation is to unite the pre-birth and postbirth chi or consciousness. So while it is true that the relative and the absolute have never been separate, the super subtle body, the embryo of enlightenment, your real original face has to be reactivated by inner heat to fully unite with the subtle body transforming it from yin to pure golden yang.

This is the legendary triplex unity or Unus Mundus, the unification of the three treasures (jing, chi, shen); three bodies physical, subtle, super subtle and three worlds, heaven, earth and man, (upper world, middle world and lower world dimensions). The embryo of enlightenment or original face is a composite of both adepts if sexual yoga (karmamudra) is used for the firing process that unites the three bodies. Both the Hermetic Androgyne and the Ardhanarishvara depiction of Shiva illustrate this as does Samantabhadra and Samantabadhri in the Ati yoga tradition of Tibet. Zen, like Integral Theory, has often confused pseudo-satori with the true golden vision of the original face, the super subtle body. Tibetan Buddhism has often made this error based on misinterpreting clear light experiences as liberation. Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Turiya are other examples of confusing yogic experiences with real three body union – Buddhahood. Pseudo-nonduality, which characterizes current Integral Theory definitions of higher consciousness, is a fatal flaw, which must be corrected by the Integral elite that has completely misunderstood genuine spiritual awakening and the synchronization of time.


Integral Theory has unknowingly destroyed the real promise of enlightenment – discovering ultimate meaning as the deepest level of your self, and completely evolving beyond postmodern definitions of what it means to be human – immortality. Taoist inner alchemy explains Buddhahood/immortality and the triplex unity, which appears to be the basis of many religions, which have three central characters. The promise of enlightenment, the union of the three bodies, is that any human being that fully activates the original enlightened chi/prana of the reproductive system has the capacity to transcend time by erasing its beginning. Alchemy has been disguised by metaphor, which can only be translated by a real adept that has achieved the Coniunctio – union of subtle and super subtle bodies. Returning the Dharmakaya to void, the goal of Buddhist meditation, which results in Buddhahood, was metaphorically called slaying the dragon in Western occult science and believed to reverse the fall of man. The staggering beauty of true spiritual awakening is that when the third eye opens, post-Coniunctio, the divine spark within man is seen as a living reality for everyone. The kundalini/golden embryo lies dormant within all human beings as Buddhas and immortals have always taught. This ancient knowledge is now available globally for the first time in the history of the world. In the 21st century and beyond it may eventually awaken a substantial portion of the human race for the real truth has always been within.

The Goddess of Truth Holding the Mirror
of Reflection and Serpent of Wisdom

Comment Form is loading comments...