Skip to content
Paperback Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber Book

ISBN: 1570627428

ISBN13: 9781570627422

Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

Save $22.26!
List Price $26.95

3 Available

Book Overview

Coming soon as a Major Motion Picture Here is a deeply moving account of a couple's struggle with cancer and their journey to spiritual healing. Grace and Grit is the compelling story of the five-year journey of Ken Wilber and his wife Treya Killam Wilber through Treya's illness, treatment, and, finally, death.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Blew the roof off my 5-star ceiling

I'll admit it. I've written a lot of five star reviews. I tend to comment when I have praise to offer. This book just took me to a whole new level of appreciation for a writer. It's like the difference between, "Yes, I think you are a lovely person" and "There isn't one thing about you which I don't find absolutely loveable."I urge you to buy this book, and expand your own vision of what is possible: in a loving relationship, as one approaches the end of this physical existence, and within the human heart and soul.This book woke me up. It reminded me about Love. (Saying that, the words seem so inadequate) The truth is, I can't come close to conveying the Love which comes through in this book. It?s personal love directed toward a wife, a husband, a family. It's universal Love which calls to you to find your way home. It beckons "Promise you will find me again."I just finished reading the last chapter, and I cried and cried. I remembered what it was like when my mom died. Dannion Brinkley said that when someone dies, the doors to Heaven open up, and energy flows in both directions. I'll second that. My mothers death was one of the most sacred experiences of my life.Reading this, I also remembered Love. A friend of mine used to tease his wife. She would say "Honey, do you love me?" And he would respond, "Only when I stop and think about it." Love is like that isn't it? If we don't stop and become present to Love, then Love isn't present in our awareness, and that which isn't present in our awareness isn't real to us in the present moment. At best, it is a myth about a "Once upon a time/somewhere someday" experience.This book, and especially the last chapter increased my awareness of Love so dramatically, I felt like I just woke up. And then it repeated the experience. I just kept waking up to more and more love. I am overflowing with humble gratitude for the gift that reading this book is to me.Thank you Ken. Thank you Treya. Thanks for reminding me of what I live for.I have a request of you the reader. If you do nothing else, go to a bookstore and read the last chapter. I promise that if you are anything like me, it will flat out blow you away. Your reading that chapter will further the conversation of freedom. It will further the conversation of Love as a present moment reality. And it will further the conversation of death being beautiful in its own way, at its own time.You will not regret the time invested. I promise. --Frank Boyd

"My life twisted suddenly, unexpectedly."

"Because I can no longer ignore death, I pay more attention to life," Treya Wilber observes in the face of cancer (p. 407). Shambhala recently published the Second Edition of this book, twelve years after the death of Ken Wilber's wife. Heart wrenching and profound, this book lives up to its title by taking its reader through all the grace and grit of his wife's five year struggle with cancer. "Grace and grit" summarizes Treya's entire life, Wilber writes. "Being and doing. Equanimity and passion. Surrender and will. Total acceptance and fierce determination. Those two sides of her soul, the two sides she wrestled with all her life, the two sides that she had finally brought together into one harmonious whole" (pp. 390-91). Derived in part directly from Treya's journals, Wilber's book is as much about Treya's "nightmarish tour through medical hell" (p. 23), as it is about the couple's ability to "stay open to life and grow in compassion" (p. 341) through "profound inner change" (p. 164)."GRACE AND GRIT is her story; and our story," Wilber writes (p. x). It is a real love story that unfolds against a Buddhist backdrop that tells us: "Life is a bubble, a dream, a reflection, a mirage" (p. 363). At age 36, Treya met the man of her dreams, in 1983. They married four months later. Ten days after the wedding, Treya discovered she had breast cancer, and then underwent surgery and radiation. Eight months later, she suffered a recurrence, followed by more surgery and eight months of soul-poisoning chemotherapy (p. 279) and baldness. Eight months later, Treya was diagnosed with diabetes, followed by years of recurrent tumors throughout her lungs and brain (pp. 240; 268).Her cancer teaches Treya many things, including real suffering: "There is suffering in this world, no way around that one" (p. 280). However, through tonglen meditation, Treya finds compassion for it (p. 315). She learns "to be human. To be truly human. That is most important" (p. 170). Treya learns to "live in the present, not in the future, giving her allegiance to what is, not what might be" (p. 312). She discovers "passionate equanimity--to be fully passionate about all aspects of life, about one's relationship with spirit, to care to the depths of one's being but with no trace of clinging or holding" (pp. 335-6).Of the five Wilber books I've read, this one comes closest to a memoir, offering its reader a revealing look at Ken Wilber, the man and "support person." "I'm a ... " he says (p. 361), as he silently performs his "daily chores" for Treya, including cleaning, laundry, cooking, dishes, groceries, and vegetable juicing (pp. 336, 362). He writes, "learning to make friends with cancer; learning to make friends with the possibility of an early and perhaps painful death, has taught me a great deal about making friends with myself, as I am, and a great deal about making friends with life, as it is" (p. 356). He also learns to "practice the wound of love:" "Re


This book is a "supermarket" on love story, comedy,psychology, spirituality, growth, enlightenment, alternativemedicines, life, death and healing. A real page turner that allowsyou waste no time to finish it straight away. I read it during myvacation two weeks ago. I took it with me during bath and each trip tothe loo. Every person, especially women,with or without cancer mustread this book. This is also a perfect gift for those with cancer(the only downfall is of course the sensitive death issue so openlytalked about in this book the reality of which so many people in sucha predicament, both the patients and support people, find it difficultto face and prepare for. This is most unfortunate since this couldperhaps be the only truly significant help and hope for both patientsand support people to make the remaining time left, say if miracledoesn't come, worth living.)It is a course on living (also death)and how to be human and to accept all the human conditions that gowith it, written by both Ken and Treya Wilber. Ken Wilber hasskillfully increased my admiration and faith in the practicality andsuperiority, both spiritual and intellectual, of (eastern)mysticism,especially Buddhism, over mythical religions such as mainstreamChristianity and Islam (since there are also mystic branches in bothreligions), although he wouldn't call himself a Buddhist for his deepaffinity for Christian mysticism and Vedanta Hinduism (despite hisrigorous Buddhist practice).As he noted in the book jocularly:"All religions are the same, especially Buddhism". Hislove and dedication for Treya was so deeply touching. Treya'sremarkable endurance and psychological/spiritual health despiteextreme agony, pain and suffering she went through was unequaled. Herenormous love of life and calm acceptance of her imminent death was atrue epitome of the "passionate equanimity" she coined (shestill read her favorite phrases from her favorite spiritual books Kenwrote on cards in bold after she was almost totally blind due to hermalignant brain tumor). The title of this book was taken from thelast entry she put on her journal two days before she died that alsosignified this harmonious paradox and her victory of her lifetimebalance seeking between doing and being.A both are"gifted" with advanced intelligence (Ken Wilber is aintellectual, material and spiritual. They were lucky to have eachother because they beautified each other in every way, though underextreme duress the strength of their love and commitment to each otherwasn't without challenge which once almost tore them apart.Thisbook has "quietly" changed me (perhaps also my life, I can'ttell yet). I didn't feel it straight away but later I realised howthis book and Treya's incessant and "joyful" (she was a joy,in spite of everything)struggle has always been on the back of my mindever since. In so many ways I can see my reflection in Treya. Shewas single for a long time before she met Ken in her 36 years of age(and sentenced


An extraordinary story which makes such a welcome and necessary change from the superficial and happy-clappy stories about illness that all have such happy endings. This has a sad, powerful, truthful, enlightening ending. Treya dies, just like nearly all cancer patients and yet her dying IS meaningful, but not in the New Age way of "its all just your karma, or a life lesson you have brought upon yourself" - puke!The philosophy is outstanding. Highly intelligent and compassionate. No-one I have ever read about worked at hard as getting her spirit well (in case that might cure her cancer) as Treya and yet she dies. A definitive repost indeed to all the Caroline Myss and Louise Hay's of the world. I have grown deeply angry with the "you can heal your life/ you create your own reality" approaches as I struggle with (I hope) grace and grit through my own, possibly terminal, illness. This book is a rare shining example of truth - bright, brilliant, loving truth - in amongst the heap of self-righteous publications out there.Read it to be moved. To be enlightened. To grow in wisdom and courage.

Practicing the wound of love . . .

Here is a different side of Ken Wilber. More personal, more vulnerable, more approachable by more people. It's easiest to imagine Ken Wilber as a scholar/monk, locked in his study grinding out title after title. (See _Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: the Spirit of Evolution_ for a recent imposing example). In _Grace and Grit_ we come as well to know an all-too-human Wilber, a tragic lover with a heart stung by nettles of distraction and despair. Putting his writing aside for a period of years, Ken became a full-time support person for his wife Treya during her protracted struggle with cancer. Until the very end, the Wilbers hoped and labored for a cure. In the end, they chose to make Treya's death a lesson in living for all of us. This is a sad and joyous book. Saddest of all: what might Treya Killam Wilber have shared with us had she lived longer? (Longer, not fuller. Her life was full - there can be no doubt.) Most joyous: in this work the Wilbers have shared both a vision and practice of hope beyond the boundaries of biological existence. Recommended reading for all who wonder how life can end, when love cannot.
Copyright © 2022 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured