The Center for Integral Wisdom is an Activist Think Tank dedicated to partnering with leading thought leaders and change agents to transform and evolve the source code of culture through application of Integral principles.
Together we articulate, evolve and deliver a new, Integral narrative for living – which transforms each individual, culture and life itself – creating a world of Outrageous Love, through Outrageous Love.
Our mission is to love outrageously, live outrageously, and create an extraordinary world.
We make a global impact through information products, courses, books, films, events, courses, workshops, podcast, magazine, websites, blogs, and more.
At a time when we are more interconnected and interdependent than ever, we lack a shared narrative of meaning and purpose. Evolving a shared narrative of meaning and purpose that will animate and inspire both our individual and collective lives is our mission. Particularly we are committed to articulating and sharing a “new meaning story” for our civilization whose vision and values have the power to liberate us from the global action paralysis which defines so much of our politics and culture.
At the Center, we are committed to evolving and articulating a number of core structures of consciousness, which have the power to guide, inform and transform key dimensions of both our public and private lives in both their interior and exterior dimensions. They are:
1. Integral Meta Theory
2. Unique Self Theory: Unique Self theory addresses the essential question of identity from which all self flows: Who are you? You are an irreducibly unique expression of the love-intelligence of all-that-is, with a unique perspective, which fosters your unique insight, which births your unique gift which empowers you to joyfully address the unique needs in your unique circle of intimacy and influence that can be addressed by you and you alone. Unique Self theory affirms the irreducible dignity, creativity, and obligation of every Unique Self.
3. The Principle of Evolutionary Love and the Evolution of Love: This is the core principle that there is a fifth force driving and animating all of reality. That fifth force is a love-intelligence. Love-intelligence itself, in its expression in our world, is constantly evolving. We participate in the evolution of love.
These three taken together re-narrate and reform our most essential understanding of what it means to be a human being and a global citizen at this moment in time. They form the constituent features of reality’s innermost fabric.
Drawing forth and articulating these understandings as they are emergent from both the interior and exterior science and downloading it into culture is an essential mission of the Center.
We are guided by the deep knowing that the only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. Outrageous love expresses itself as outrageous activism, joy and responsibility in both our personal and collective lives.
Our vehicle is our Activist Think Tank. At this time we are working on a series of landmark projects in the areas of Integral Wisdom. These include key new thinking expressed in books, movies, online courses, summits and public teaching events. The themes we are engaging include Evolutionary Love, World Spirituality, Evolutionary Spirituality, Eros, Gender & Relationships, Addiction & Recovery, Identity, Conscious Capitalism & Entrepreneurship, Unique Self Medicine, and Education. We believe that these projects will provide important frameworks for implementing integral strategies on imperative social issues—and will powerfully impact public culture in a significant way. When taken together, these will unfold—for the first time in the contemporary era—a genuine shared narrative of spirit and a genuine framework for a world philosophy (or world spirituality) based on Integral principles.
We live in inescapable frameworks. This is true for the individual as well as for culture at large. Our frameworks of meaning and value, whether conscious or unconscious, directly shape virtually every decision we make. The global challenges we face require the evolution of a new consciousness; therefore, the articulation of a shared global framework of meaning and responsibility is an urgent need of our time.
Such a framework honors the singularity of every great wisdom tradition, traditional, modern, and postmodern, even as it identifies the underlying depth structures and unique contributions of each. When taken together, these begin to articulate an authentic integral “users guide to the universe.”
Evolving the source code of human existence is the urgent need and great planetary adventure of our time.
- 1 Integral Theory
- 2 The World Spirituality Project
- 3 Unique Self Institute
- 4 Conscious Eros, Creativity, & Relationships
- 5 Outrageous Love Project
- 6 Conscious Entrepreneurship
- 7 Success 3.0 Summit
- 8 Agape Integral Wisdom Scholar-in-Residence Project
- 9 A New Partnership with the Foundation for Conscious Evolution
- 10 CIW Hosts and Partners with The Emergence Project
- 11 CIW Partners with Initiative for a White House Council on Boys and Men
- 12 Mystery School at Venwoude
- 13 Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain
- 14 More Portals
- 15 Leadership
Evolving an authentic life rooted in commitment and freedom articulated and lived in the principles and practices of World Spirituality is the next step in Spirit’s unfolding. The teachings of Integral Theory, including the AQAL Framework pioneered by Ken Wilber, provide a key intellectual touchstone for our paradigm. It is a fundamental Integral impulse to include and inhabit more of our fullest and deepest humanity.
Broadly speaking, an integral approach is an approach to life which seeks a full-hearted embrace of existence and unconditional surrender to the passionate reality behind the reconciliation of all polarities, however we conceive that reality. It embraces vocations of playful creativity, enlightened authenticity, deep inner healing, and engaged service to others and the planet. In Marc Gafni’s words, “Integral theory is the best framework available in the world today for integrating different forms of knowing and experience. Integral theory is a magnificent pointing out instruction in first, second and third person which illuminates the contours of the Kosmos. Integral meta-theory is a framework which takes into account all forms knowledge, pre-modern, modern and postmodern and shows the way to their enactment in a higher Integral embrace of love”. We endeavor to engage in the liberation of all sentient beings into the most richly enlivened and radically illumined possibilities for being in the world.
For some people, the classical religions have lost their power. They seek a path of practice and commitment that transcends the traditions. For others, their intuitive desire is to transcend and include the traditions. They seek to live as dual citizens, rooted in their tradition, even as they locate themselves as citizens in the broader community of World Spirituality. Still others are secular humanists with an intuitive sense that their optimism, vitality, love, and ethics are of sacred significance.
A World Spirituality based on the shared truths demonstrated by reason and the eye of spirit in contemplation of all the great systems of knowing is urgently needed right now. The world today needs the best values represented by these wisdom traditions, among them: living in harmony with nature, enchantment, empowerment, ethical obligation, the spirit of innovation and democratic participation, authentic self-realization, flexible and global thinking, intimate community, and enlightened creativity. Alongside these values are such eternally important virtues such as love, kindness, peace, wisdom, and justice.
World Spirituality Essentials
Your Unique Self is radically singular, gorgeous, and special in the world. But it is even more than that. Your Unique Self is a puzzle piece that is utterly necessary to complete a much larger puzzle. The Unique contours of your puzzle piece are what allow you to connect with and offer your gift to all-that-is. Giving your puzzle piece unto the world adds an irreducible dimension to the completeness of the kosmos. Paradoxically, uniqueness is the currency of connection. It is the portal to the larger evolutionary context that needs your service. [Read more...]
Another cornerstone of our organization is the Unique Self Teaching by Dr. Marc Gafni. The core Western understanding of individuality and its affirmation of the dignity of the separate self is contrasted with the Eastern teaching of dissolution of the small self, before both are integrated into a higher integral embrace through a new understanding of Unique Self. The teachings of Unique Self fundamentally change the classical enlightenment paradigm through the assertion that enlightenment has a unique perspective, which might be termed the “personal face of essence.” Perspective taking, which emerges from enlightened consciousness, is rooted in the ontological pluralism that lies at the core of the Hebrew textual tradition. The new enlightenment teaching of Unique Self therefore rests on a series of integral discernments between separateness and uniqueness, ego and Unique Self, and personal and impersonal man. The Unique Self teaching suggests a new understanding of enlightenment through intersubjective love; the Unique Self perception is then set within an evolutionary context of being and becoming, in which it is seen to express one’s response to the personal address of the evolutionary God impulse itself.
The Unique Self principles and the core Integral principles form the basis for a series of our key initiatives in the areas of education, conscious society, medicine, recovery, spirituality, Eros, psychology, and entrepreneurship.
Unique Self Medicine
There is a dire need for the integration of the art, science, and morality of medicine. Co-authors and physicians Venu and Vinay Julapalli have written a white paper that explores the deep implications of the Unique Self teaching for an integrated approach to medicine. In it they call on their extensive understanding of the promises and pitfalls of modern health care to reconceive the practice of medicine. The paper provides the framework to evolve medicine through the emergent Unique Self insight. At stake is no less than the future of how we care for ourselves and each other.
From the abstract of their White Paper Unique Self and the Future of Medicine
Medicine is at a critical crossroads in its evolution from antiquity to our modern age. This article aims to reconceive the future of medicine. Key to this conception is an understanding of the evolution of individual development. To this end, the discussion will first outline the stations of the selves, on the path to what has been termed the Unique Self by spiritual thinker Marc Gafni. Next, the discussion will distinguish between two poles of development and outlook, in order to understand how the insight of Unique Self integrates these dualities. It will then view the Unique Self from three perspectives, or four quadrants, of reality and also illustrate how Unique Self appreciates the balance between part and whole. The discussion will subsequently correlate the stations of the selves with the history of medicine and further examine dualities in medicine that parallel those of the self. It will then elucidate how an understanding of Unique Self fundamentally shifts our envisioning of the practice of medicine. This shift renews the unique calling that is the art and science of healing.
Unique Self Recovery
Lori Galperin, Co-Founder and Director of the Unique Self Recovery project, writes:
Unique Self is about evolving your identity to be in greatest alignment with the essence of who you truly are. It is about understanding your significance. It is about recognizing the gifts you alone possess in precisely the way that you do, and finding a way to share them that brings deep fulfillment.
Every person has a particular set of capacities and qualities, a unique set of gifts to share with the world. So, never to achieve realization of one’s self deprives not simply the individual, but all. In anyone’s life, there are experiences that aid the unfolding of one’s unique self and likewise, experiences that shift the trajectory in ways that constrain its emergence.
Unique Self Recovery provides a way back. Finding the way back often rests upon discovering where, when, how and why one went off track. It requires looking anew, with compassion, at the previously painful, and at the time, perhaps unassimilable, that created a departure from the course of one’s truest, fullest self-unfolding. It involves looking at events that closed the heart and erected obstacles to intimacy: with self, others and the larger creative context. It is about re-opening.
Another central piece of the comprehensive “Dharma” that holds all the pieces in our Center are the teachings on Eros by Dr. Marc Gafni.
Eros, in our understanding, has many expressions. Each expression is hinted at in the temple mysteries. There are four faces of Eros which, when taken together, form the essence of the Shechina experience. These four faces are 1.) Being on the Inside, 2.) Fullness of Presence, 3.) Desire, and 4.) Interconnectivity of Being. According to Gafni, the face itself with its mystical role in these four dimension, is the truest reflection of the erotic.
In the flow of Eros, we access the experience of being on the inside of God’s face, which Marc explores through the Temple mystery of the sexually entwined cherubs atop the Ark who are positioned face to face; the Hebrew word “panim,” which means “inside, face, and before;” and the erotic experience of having a true face-to-face conversation. This significant teaching from Marc Gafni’s book The Mystery of Love invites us to embody the erotic—which is modeled but not exhausted by the sexual—more deeply in our own life.
At the very heart of Hebrew tantra is a very precise and provocative understanding of the relationship between love, sex, and Eros. If we allow it, it can open us up to a whole new understanding of our sexuality and show us the way to erotically reweave the very fabric of our lives in more vivid patterns, sensual textures, and brilliant hues.
Outrageous Love Project
Board Member Dr. Kristina Kincaid is the Director of the Outrageous Love Project that inspires and invites people through a series of interactive websites, books, and other products to commit outrageous acts of love and write outrageous love letters.
The practice of writing outrageous love letters goes back to Solomon and was also practiced by Rumi and Hafiz. Dr. Marc Gafni has made this ancient practice come alive again and it is widely practiced in his circle of students. It is a powerful practice to strengthen our love muscles.
Here is an excerpt from the forthcoming book on Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid:
There are two questions that you must answer to make your life a triumph. The first is, Who Are You? The second is, are you willing to play a larger game?
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. We live in a world of outrageous beauty. The only response to outrageous beauty is outrageous love.
What is the path of the outrageous love?
It is to live as an outrageous lover. What does an outrageous lover do? She keeps every boundary that should be kept and breaks every boundary that should be broken.
But what does an outrageous lover actually do?
The outrageous lover commits outrageous acts of love.
But which outrageous acts of love should you commit?
There is so much that you might do, and so much that needs to be done. The answer is simple.
You commit the outrageous acts of love that are yours, and yours alone, to commit. You commit the outrageous acts of love that are an expression of Your Unique Self.
The world of business is becoming one of the great cathedrals of spirit. Businesses are becoming places in which meaning can be created, in which mutuality begins to happen, in which intimacy and trust become core values, in which the expression of one’s unique self as part of a larger context becomes a reality.
Capitalism is the force that has lifted humanity out of poverty through voluntary exchange. Communism tried to life people out of poverty through coercion, but wound up killing 17 million collective farmers in the Ukraine and countless millions elsewhere. Business has lifted more people out of poverty than any other force in history. That is so shocking and so powerful that it makes you sit up in your chair and say “Oh my God! Could it be that evil corporations are actually responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other single force in the history of consciousness and the history of the planet?”
What does it mean to lift people out of poverty? It means babies not dying, it means mouths being fed, it means girls going to school and getting educated, it means a response to slavery that never existed in the world before. It means that all the values of the great traditions get enacted on two levels: by ending the physical oppression of poverty and by opening a gateway for human being to be able to experience genuine growth with spiritual, emotional and personal evolution.
We need to bow deeply to business, which initially did all this unconsciously. Lifting people out of poverty was never the conscious intention of business; it was the by-product of a business well enacted. Now business is awakening to itself and becoming conscious. It is recognizing that it is a force with enormous power and responsibility. By becoming conscious, it can do what it does even better, creating a tide that lifts all boats. It can create more community, more mutuality, and paradoxically, more profit, by engaging everyone in the system. That is exciting!
We must awake to the reality that business has the ability to change the self-perception and the self-narrative story for most of the human beings on the planet. We thought that was the role of psychology, but it’s not. Psychology can only deal with the broken pieces of people living in a society which pathologizes their core activity, which is business. We must change the essential narrative of business to make it an accurate reflection of the transformative impact of business, its true identity as the great healer. This is not a kind of Shangri-La vision; it is an accurate narrative of conscious business which should become internalized by the majority of citizens of the planet who are engaging in business. It is a huge and dramatic paradigm shift that actually shifts the very source code of our self-understanding.
The first Success 3.0 Summit, this amazing gathering from October 30th to November 2nd, 2014 in Boulder, Colorado of the world’s leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, and change-agents that was co-initiated by the Center for Integral Wisdom was a wild success.
The Success 3.0 Summit is an independent movement which was created to bring together dozens of the world’s leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, and change-agents to articulate a new, transformative narrative of conscious business and success.
Among the speakers were thought leaders like Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos Inc), Arianna Huffington (Editor in Chief, Huffington Post), Alanis Morissette (Singer/Songwriter & Activist), Blake Mycoskie (Founder, TOMS Shoes), Barbara Marx Hubbard (Author, Social Innovator, Evolutionary Thought Leader), Michael Franti (Lead Vocalist of Spearhead & Activist), Casey Sheahan (former CEO, Patagonia), Lynne Twist (Global Activist & Author), Adam Bellow (Vice President, Harper Collins), Ibrahim Husseni, Business leader, Ben Jealous (former President & CEO of the NAACP), DJ Spooky (Composer, Musician & National Geographic Emerging Explorer), Tom Chi (Innovator & Founder, Google Glass), Jack Canfield (Author, Chicken Soup for the Soul), and many others.
Agape and CIW join forces to enact new synergies of love’s expression in the world. Agape International Spiritual Center is a progressive community enacting gorgeously many of the core Integral Unique Self values of the Center for Integral Wisdom. We are delighted that the founder and spiritual director of Agape, Michael Bernard Beckwith, has joined the Executive Board of the Center for Integral Wisdom. We are also delighted that Dr. Marc Gafni, President of the Center for Integral Wisdom, is serving as a guest speaker of the Agape International Spiritual Center. The Center for Integral Wisdom, together with Reverend Michael and Success 3.0, is creating a feature-length documentary film on the evolution of love.
The expression of this partnership is now being evolved. It minimally involves two core books on the new story:
Conscious Universe: The Evolution of Love with Barbara Marx Hubbard and with Daniel Schmachtenberger
Evolutionary Love podcasts and partnership in convening
Solving problems without changing the basis for why they are occurring doesn’t create lasting success. Our major pressing global issues are primarily the result of human action…which is not the result of human nature directly, but human nature expressed through conditioning, which is changeable. There are technological, economic, and memetic structures in place that collectively create the current basis for conditioning…that all need to be addressed to bring about a lasting systemic shift. The magnitude, complexity, and urgency of our global challenges require deeper shifts in our collective direction than are even being endeavored towards by the current major change efforts.
By changing the conditioning factors of human behavior from ones that predispose harm to ones that predispose omni-considerate benefit, we simultaneously obsolete the basis of our major issues while accelerating evolution towards the realization of our potential.
We would like to introduce you to what we think is an important step forward in the evolution of human awareness and compassion. It’s a group that has proposed a White House Council on Boys and Men to President Obama. Headed by Warren Farrell the group has written a proposal that outlines the many reasons why this Council is needed.
Dr. Warren Farrell, the Vice President of CIW for Gender Issues, is the author of books published in 17 languages, including international best-sellers The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Are the Way they Are. Farrell, Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni have done numerous interviews together. Farrell, Gafni and John Gray are co-authoring Beyond Mars and Venus. Dr. Farrell’s popular and profound talk Why Love is Such a Mess, delivered at the Integral Spiritual Experience 2, shows how the real transition to gender liberation is the transition from Stage I survival to Stage II discovery of fulfillment—fulfillment that neither sex had in the past.
One very special partnership and cooperation is that between the Center for Integral Wisdom and the Venwoude Integral Practice Community. Dr. Marc Gafni, the Director and Co-Founder of CIW acts as a teacher in residence at Venwoude.
It was an unusual meeting of likewise hearts and minds, where we have forged a deep and shared vision on what may be able to unfold.
Venwoude as an important emerging place in Holland and in Europe, where a profound integral consciousness is held and Dr. Marc Gafni holding a strong and passionate vision for Evolving a Global Ethic for a Global Civilization and a World Spirituality based on Integral principles.
As part of this collaboration a new set of embodied trainings and teachings are being developed, which form the basis of the emergent World Spirituality and Integral Wisdom Practice. The practice combines deep study, meditation, prayer, the formation of Evolutionary We Space, somatic experiencing, chant, ecstatic practice, reality consideration and contemplation. Together the path of practical enlightenment is unfolded which engages and evolves the life worlds in all four quadrants.
Venwoude is the home of many CIW teaching events, including our Annual Mystery School of Love during the summer.
The Shalom Mountain Wisdom School grew out of the partnership between the Shalom Mountain Retreat Center and the Center for Integral Wisdom. It is an esoteric mystery school dedicated to deep consideration, inquiry and practice on the leading edge of human evolution and development.
CIW Founder and Director Dr. Marc Gafni acts as the Teacher in Residence at the Wisdom School.
The Wisdom School hosts weekends, during which we practice the holy trinity of Buddha, Sangha and Dharma. Buddha is our first person experience of God, Holiness, Tao, Atman, Ayin, Spirit or whatever name you want to give it. Sangha is the sacred, pleasurable and gorgeous incarnation of spirit invoked by the gathering of like-minded men and women in a community of purpose and joy.
Dharma transmission is a teaching or teacher that creates and “transmits” a space of open heart and insight from deep within a spiritual lineage that holds, guides and illuminates the way of the authentic seeker. Dharma is not Dogma. It emerges from the direct experience of reality. Dharma gives guidance, direction and illumination. At the same time it bows before the mystery and forever holds the question. At the same time it is not shy about giving answers where answers are possible and appropriate. Dharma dances between certainty and uncertainty with exquisite grace and authenticity. In the course of each retreat we engage mind, heart, body, soul and spirit deploying practice yogas in all these realms.
Check out some of our other portals with exciting content:
- The Activist Think Tank
- Our Community of Practitioners and Contributors
- The Integral Psychology Portal
- Our exciting and leading-edge Thought Leader Dialogues
- The Digital Intimacy Portal
- The Portal for the Spiritually Incorrect, where there are “no words that cannot be spoken”
- The Integral Wisdom Publishing
Originally founded by Dr. Marc Gafni (who serves as the Director, Scholar, and Teacher in Residence at CIW), Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton, and Mariana Caplan—a group that was later completed by Lori Galperin (CIW Founders), we are now led by an active leadership team consisting of some of the most respected scholars, wisdom teachers, leaders, entrepreneurs, authors, and activists in the world today. Our work in the world is focused in various areas: leading-edge scholarship, book, white paper and activist projects, programs & events, and online courses, which set the stage for our vision into increasingly penetrating the world’s consciousness, culture, and institutions. We hope you will join us in answering the call to this urgent mission and that you will support the Center for Integral Wisdom united in our common purpose.