January 20, 2015 – Teasdale, Utah
Dear Friends of Ken Wilber,
Last spring, at the Fourth Turning of the Wheel event in Boulder, Colorado, I had dinner with my friend Bence Ganti of IEC (Integral European Conference) fame. Bence told me about an idea that had been percolating in him for about a year: he said he thought it would be a great idea to start a fund for Ken to support him in his life and health struggles.
When I heard this, a lightning bolt flashed in my head, as the night before I had been reading the third volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill. And after WWII, when Winston had been voted out of power, a group of people that knew and loved Winston started a fund they called the Chartwell Fund, so that people could donate money to support Churchill in the latter part of his life—in recognition of the great contribution he had made to the world in virtually standing alone against the Nazis in 1940, and very probably saving Europe, if not the world, from Nazi domination. Prior to that, Winston had to support himself from his writing.
When I read that passage, I thought, that sounds like Ken. He has given so much to the world and to me, and I’ve gained so much of my livelihood, purpose, and direction in life through the influence of his writings and teachings. At that moment the seed was planted, and I thought we should do something similar to the Chartwell Fund for Ken. Then the next night at dinner, Bence mentioned the same thing. Synchronicities.
The next day I visited Ken at the loft, with my friend and colleague Dr. Bob Weathers. We had a very deep and beautiful conversation for approximately two and a half hours. During that conversation, Ken described his medical challenges and the razor’s edge that he has to walk to keep himself alive and in condition to stay engaged with us and his work in the world. Toward the end of the conversation, I mentioned the idea of the Ken Fund, and he was bowled over. He literally teared up and said, “That is one of the kindest things that anybody has ever proposed to me.”
So, this letter is for those of you who love Ken and all he has given us, who want a way to directly support him without having to buy books, products, DVDs, CDs, etc. My hope is that this will completely relieve any stress that Ken may experience in the Lower-Right quadrant, so that he can live stress-free in that area of his life for the rest of his life. And with that freedom and peace, he can do whatever Ken Wilber feels called to do.
Last year, Ken assured me that far from becoming less productive with age and health problems, he is becoming even more productive. He told me he had around eight books, all some 90% done. This year, four of those have already entered the publication process and will be coming out in the next year and a half—including the just released eBook The Fourth Turning and the soon-to-be-released Integral Meditation, as well as the 600-page monster The Religion of Tomorrow and his long-awaited second volume to the Kosmos trilogy (whose first volume was Sex, Ecology, Spirituality), tentatively titled Karma and Creativity, a 900-page opus that promises to be as powerful as the first volume.
When I asked him, “Why have all of these been hovering around 90% done?” he said, “Well, I’ve got to work.” And he would likely work come what may, but to know that we would also be supporting his writing would be to give him the freedom to move in the directions he feels most appropriate for his remaining time and talents.
In the Integral world we’re often working hard to make money. And that is understandable, because money is very important; it is oxygen for our lives and our work and gives us the freedom and the choicefulness to do our work in the world. What I feel from my heart about this offering is that it would be a way for us to say thank you to Ken. I know that some of us are struggling financially, some of us are doing okay, some of us have abundance, and some of us have great abundance. I’m asking you to give to this fund only if you feel called to do so. My thought is that if we can come together and help this man who has given us so much, perhaps we can come together also in other ways, to give of our treasure and our hearts, to help one another and the world.
So, if you can give $1, or $10,000, or whatever amount you choose to, or give a monthly donation to this fund of whatever amount feels right to you, I think we would bless Ken’s life and his heart with our love, support, and appreciation of all he has given. (Note that none of the Board of Directors are receiving any financial compensation for our time and efforts on behalf of the KWGF, however we have hired professionals to help with the legal and administrative tasks. We’re doing this out of deep love for Ken and our Integral family.)
With much love and appreciation to all of you.
John and the Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund Team
P.S. After the advent of the Chartwell Fund, Winston Churchill went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for his multi-volume history of WWII and for the quality of the inspirational speeches he had given in 1940.
For your information, we have applied to the Internal Revenue Service so that U.S. contributions can be tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Tax Law.