cover image Grace and Grit

Grace and Grit

Ken Wilber. Shambhala Publications, $25 (422pp) ISBN 978-0-87773-635-6

Ten days after transpersonal psychologist Wilber married Terry Killam in 1983, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This harrowing account of her losing battle against disease is unusual in several respects. Killam (who changed her first name to Treya) shared her husband's belief in the ``perennial philosophy'' of the world's wisdom traditions embracing rebirth, enlightenment and the all-pervasiveness of Spirit. Her condition tested their faith simultaneously. Her lengthy, candid journal entries, interwoven with his narrative, form a tremendously moving love story. Killam, who died in 1989, combined orthodox treatment with such alternative therapies as diet, meditation and psychotherapy. Wilber ( The Spectrum of Consciousness ) disputes the imputed New Age view that mind alone causes all physical illness. He intimately participated in his wife's ordeal, and here presents cancer as a healing crisis, an occasion for self-confrontation and growth. (Oct.)