December 18, 2017

A Crisis of Imagination

From Mystery of Love by Marc Gafni:

The greatest crisis of our lives is neither economic, intellectual, nor even what we usually call religious. It is a crisis of imagination. We get stuck on our paths because we are unable to reimagine our lives differently from what they are right now. We hold on desperately to the status quo, afraid that if we let go, we will be swept away by the torrential undercurrents of our emptiness.

The most important thing in the world implies wisdom master Nachman of Bratzlav, is to be willing to give up who you are for who you might become. He calls this process the giving up of pnimi to reach for makkif. Pnimi, for master Nachman, means the old familiar things that you even hold on to, even when they no longer serve you on your journey. Makkif is that which is beyond you, which you can reach only if you are willing to take a leap into the abbys.

Find your risk and you will find yourself. Sometimes that means leaving your home, your fathers’ house, and your birthplace, and traveling to strange lands. Both the biblical Abraham and the Buddha literally did this. But for the Kabbalist the true journey does not require dramatic breaks with past and home. It is rather the journey of imagination.

“If I don’t live on my edge, I lose my aliveness. If I don’t take my Unique Risk, I will take risks that are not mine to take.” – Marc Gafni at the Summer Festival of Love 2015

Words of Appreciation from the Summer Festival of Love

After the Summer Festival of Love, some of the contributors shared their experiences in a private email thread. We are happy to have their permission to share these Outrageous Love testimonials with you!

Dr. Kristina Kincaid, Director of the Outrageous Love Project at the Center for Integral Wisdom and the Director of the Integral Evolutionary Tantra Institute in New York City, wrote this Outrageous Love Letter about the Festival:

Hello Outrageous Lovers!

I had the profound honor and wild pleasure of participating with a most astounding team of Holy Rockstars standing audaciously together supporting Marc as the Living, Breathing, Alive, Aflame, Awakened, Dharma as he liberated Eros, in front of a crowd of over 250 people! WOW!

This is not a polite essay or an endorsement, but a mystical testimony…

Read the whole first part here>>>

Read the second part here>>>

Lines & Circles: A new Dharma on Unique Gender at the Venwoude Summer Festival of Love

We are in the midst of day 3 of 8 of the Second Annual European Integral Wisdom Conference on Love, Eros, and Enlightenment also known as the Fourth Summer Festival of Love. The whole event is outrageously rich and full on so many levels. 240 participants are here – and the “field” is shimmering with love, practice, and delight. The evolution of love is happening right here, right now. Marc Gafni is bringing down new and gorgeously alive dharma every day and the community gathered here is wonderfully receptive, playful, and committed.

The first day started with a heavy summer storm that mirrored perfectly the bright explosion of the dharma brought into the room so passionately by Dr. Marc. The Venwoude community, as well as an awesome team of contributors and volunteers, in collaboration with The Center for Integral Wisdom, welcomed the participants.

Every day Marc gives beautiful and powerful teachings on the evolutionary emergence of the Unique Self symphony, Evolutionary Relationships, and Unique Gender. There is also a whole spectrum of workshops and practice groups as well as awesome conversations and fantastic food. The participants are loving it and the energy is building. This whole event is not only truly Integral but also outrageously rich and full on so many levels.

Some gems from the Dharma quoted and paraphrased from Marc:

We need to know–more than anything else in the world–that the universe is not a fact but a story. The universe is a story–not an ordinary story but a love story–not an ordinary love story, but an outrageous love story.

Evolution is Outrageous Love in Action. The best information we have today is that the universe is a love story, an outrageous love story. We are the central actors in it and the inherent plotline is love.

Love is not hard to find. It is impossible to avoid. The universe feels. And the universe feels love.

To awaken means to realize that the universe is whispering into my ear in every moment: I love you. I need you. I choose you.

In the newness of the moment is the healing of the moment. The power of NOW is that all of the past and all of the future is right here.

You can always ask yourself: Was newness born in this moment? Or is something dying? Maybe nobody else will know the difference but you will and reality will.

A new Dharma on Unique Gender

There are five great historical stages in western culture of how people looked at gender:

  1. For most of history, people thought there is man and woman, male and female.
  2. Culture used differences as a tool for oppression.
  3. Because of that, there was a great move in culture to level all differences.
  4. Neuroscience discovered through the use of FMRI that there are differences between the sexes that are real hardwiring.
  5. At the same time, neuroscience also discovered neuroplasticity: The culture we live and participate in can shift and transform the brain. Marc called that cultural neuroplasticity.

In every moment that has blessing, in every place that has blessing, there is an inner marriage of masculine and feminine, or line and circle qualities, occurring.

As a Unique Self, I am a Unique Gender, a unique integration of line and circle qualities, which is the Divine inner marriage–Hieros Gamos.

The divine marriage is happening everywhere. In an evolutionary relationship, a Unique We is born that has unique gifts to give together. You cannot get to this outer marriage without first having an inner marriage. That’s the democratization of Hieros Gamos, the Divine inner marriage.

Human beings are Eros waking up but not yet awake. For most of history there was no conscious choice. For the first time in history there is actually a choice on how to live your unique gender. Humanity is waking up. Eros is waking up.

What if the only discerning principle for human beings was: Are you an outrageous lover? That’s what makes you erotic.

Join Dr. Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton at the Shakti Summit

Do you want to increase your ability to receive pleasure and deepen your intimacy in all your relationships? Would you love to have the courage to love fully with an open heart, and be in action according to your Unique Gifts?

To do this, the key is to align with your sacred feminine life force—your Shakti.

Unfortunately, our fast-paced, busy lives can leave us depleted, burned out, and disconnected from this essential source of energy, passion, creativity and delight…

That’s why we’re excited to share an online event that CIW co-founder Dr. Marc Gafni is a part of, called The Shakti Summit, a free online event taking place July 8-9, 2015.

The Shakti Summit – July 8-9
You can sign up for free here!

Dr. Gafni will be joining some wonderful colleagues — including host Lisa Schrader and inspired teachers such as Sai Maa, Jeff Brown, CIW leader Sally Kempton, Sheri Winston and others — who will share their takes on how you can live the wisdom of the feminine face of essence by accessing the Shakti fire that is available to you.

During this summit, you’ll also learn how to:
• Speak your truth, set boundaries and ask for what you want
• Revison your relationship to sexuality
• Learn to embrace your embodiment and heal old body-image issues
• Fuel your creative gifts with sacred erotic energy
• Discover the joy of living each moment as sacred

Register for The Shakti Summit now — and learn to embrace your Shakti as “the primal life force of the feminine face of God.”

To listen to Dr. Marc Gafni’s teaching during The Shakti Summit 2015 on Outrageous Love and a new vision for the Masculine and the Feminine Beyond Venus and Mars, click here>>>

CIW at Summit Powder Mountain

Summit Powder Mountain, July 3-6, 2015 in Eden, Utah

Marc Gafni and Kate Maloney (CIW Executive Director) are attending Summit Powder Mountain, where Marc was invited to offer a special presentation at 2pm on July 5 on “Beyond Venus & Mars: The Next Step In Masculine & Feminine”.

This invitation only event quickly sold out. During the weekend attendees will see and hear a series of discussions on on a variety of topics – from maintaining a strong company culture to cyber security. We’re thrilled that the work of the Center will be a presence at this event, with Marc’s teachings on the evolutionary masculine and feminine adding an important voice to the mix. Among the speakers and contributors at Summit Powder Mountain will be Eric Ryan & Elliott Bisnow, Brian Vickers, Sarah Jones.

Summit‘s mission is to build community, catalyze entrepreneurship, address global issues, and support artistic achievement, in an effort to make our world a more joyful place. The mission of the Summit Series, Summit’s flagship event series, is to unite the leaders of today and tomorrow in surreal settings and immersive experiences designed to catalyze positive personal and collective growth.

Summit Powder Mountain is one of the events in the Summit Series. Summit Powder Mountain aims to rethink the great American mountain town around a community focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, arts, and altruism. Tucked on the southern side of Powder Mountain, in the town of Eden, Utah, it’s a new kind of neighborhood, where friends, family, and the change makers of today and tomorrow gather in an environment created to catalyze personal and collective growth.

The Seven Evolutionary Principles And Practices — For Being A Fully Alive, Whole Man with Marc Gafni and Fred Jealous

Gafni and Jealous

[Read more…]

Gay Spirituality’s Next Move: Joe Perez and Marc Gafni in Dialogue

joe-full-headshot-2The worldwide movement for same-sex marriage rights and an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians gets the newspaper headlines, but the deeper truth is that we are in the midst of a seismic shift in consciousness regarding our views of sexual orientation and erotic/emotional relationships. For a decade, author, poet, and integral thinker Joe Perez has made the case that the emerging LGBT movement must be understood in its spiritual dimensions as bringing unique perspectives and gifts of importance for everyone.

In “Homophilia’s Next Move: Gay Spirituality & Unique Self,” Joe and Dr. Marc Gafni will examine the mutually fructifying potential of bringing together insights from the Gay Spirituality movement with the Unique Self teaching. Joe’s teaching on the Two Directions of Love — Heterophilia and Homophilia, Eros and Agape — will be related to Marc’s understanding of Eros and the Unique Self body of work.

Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. Pacific, 9:00 pm Eastern
Duration: 1 hour
Host: Joe Perez
Guest: Marc Gafni
Location: To Be Announced

A graduate of Harvard University in comparative religion and philosophy, Joe Perez has pioneeered weblog journalism and autobiography. He has written many experimental weblogs since 2003 and his spiritual memoir, Soulfully Gay, written when he was 34 years old, is considered a pioneering text in Integral Spirituality. He currently is developing GaySpirituality.com, which will provide a much-needed resource for the personal and spiritual development of the worldwide LGBT community.

Follow Joe on Facebook (Main Page and Gay Spirituality).

From Sex to Super-Consciousness: Unique Self and the Future of Love

evolver1Marc Gafni and Adam Gilad in Dialogue
Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

Unique Self: “To be awake is to be a lover: alive, aflame and open as love. Therefore, at its heart, to be a lover means to be willing to participate in the transformation of consciousness.”

Sex is play. Sex is surrender. Sex is profound and dangerous and exhilarating discovery – of our truest selves and the selves of our lovers.

After all, the ancient Hebrew mystics didn’t say, “And Adam banged Eve.” They wrote, he “knew” her.

How can your sexual self be the crucible of knowing yourself anew? Of knowing your lover with both profundity and lightness, with both fierceness and the tenderness of a newborn’s touch?

Sex can be entertainment, distraction, obsession — or it can be revelation of our truest selves, our most infinite consciousness. Through our bodies touching, we can touch the divine.

And we can feel – when we drop our anxieties, our bills, our status, our egos – what we can be as human in the act of “becoming.”

Few speak on this subject with Adam Gilad’s remarkable insight and infectious enthusiasm. The 50,000 followers of Adam’s dating and relationships newsletter already appreciate his unique mix of global wisdom traditions, spiritual cheekiness, advanced education and expansive practices. His legendary audio trainings and special programs cover topics like: learning the “language” of the other gender; cultivating a dance of the sexes rather than a battle; playing the spectrum of sexual polarity; and always, always, always, opening to fearlessness in self-awareness, self-evolution, compassion, forgiveness and really good wine.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Swords – On Thrusting and Receiving

imgres-5By Dr. Marc Gafni

The symbol of the line is the sword. In biblical Hebrew the actual word for  sword, often a phallic expression, is cherev. The sword and the lance are male symbols of thrusting forward, combat and conquest. The goal of the sword is to affirm which line (sword) is higher in the hierarchy. The sword is goal-oriented. It does not have conversation; instead, it takes control. The sword cuts  through and analyzes. The sword is the discriminating intellect which divides, categorizes and conquers.  Clearly the sword/line is both a powerful force of the spirit as well as a scourge.

The circle is not about thrusting forward. It is about receiving. In the sexual image the circle always receives the line’s forward movement. Whatever position one might take, it is always the circle which must receive the line. The circle listens, opening herself up to receive the line. She is able to absorb the line’s thrust – develop it, unpack it, and give birth to something entirely new. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: What is “Temple Consciousness”?

imgres-3To be in temple consciousness is to be in God. Eros pure and simple. This shift in consciousness is hidden within the folds of biblical myth text itself. We have already seen that the biblical term lifnei hashem, usually translated as “before God,” can be more fruitfully unpacked as “on the inside of God’s face.”

This allusion plants the seed for the much more radical move made by mystic Isaac Luria in the 16th century. In Luria’s graphic and daring vision, the world is not formed by a forward thrusting male movement which creates outside of itself. Quite the contrary – Divinity creates within itself a sacred void in the form of a circle. This is the Great Circle of Creation. The circle, unlike in the original biblical image, is within God. It is an act of love which moves God to withdraw and make room for other – paradoxically – within God. [Read more…]

Gay enlightenment? A moment for LGBT spiritual revival

By Joe Perez

Posted today on the MyOutSpirit.com Blog:

Every so often I address a column or blog post to my lesbian, bisexual, and gay readers. This one’s for you. And, because your journey is my journey, and ultimately there is only One True Self – this column is really for everybody.

Whereas mainstream pundits and public intellectuals in the U.S. are focused on the next election, and many other folks are focused on the next Saturday night, there is a wider and deeper perspective. Looking as wide as this moment in over 2,000 years of socio-cultural evolution since the beginning of the Common Era, and looking as deep as this moment arising when the cutting edge of individual consciousness is a postmodern mindset, and even this edge has become dull and dismal.

It is an odd time to be gay or bisexual. For American men of my generation – past 40 – our lives have been crises of meaning and meaninglessness. We were born into a world in which the reigning moral, religious, and spiritual authorities condemned how we love and would have forced us into closets, castration, or so-called reparative therapy. We could read the mystics and enlightened sages of centuries past and with only a few exceptions could find no evidence that affirming the spiritual dignity of same-sex love was meriting even a moment’s thought. And we did, and by unprecedented numbers gays, lesbians, and bisexuals rejected organized religion and set out upon paths of individual spiritual seeking. They found their ways into Zen monasteries, radical faerie gatherings, drumming circles, hot yoga classes, and not a few very, very, very liberal churches and synagogues (places where they worried about marginalizing atheists and making sure language was neutered of any hint of white heterosexual patriarchy).

Read the entire article…


Follow Joe Perez’s writings for gay and bisexual men at Gay Spirituality Blog.

CWS supports International Day of the Girl

As these words are written, Malala Yousafzai is in critical condition in a hospital. The girl, now 14 years old, came to fame when the world learned she was the pseudonymous BBC blogger who advocated for girls’ education and criticized the atrocities of Islamic extremists in her city. She has been a contender for a prestigious international peace prize for children. Yesterday, on the eve of the International Day of the Girl, she was shot in the head and neck.

The world is outraged at the Taliban’s act of terror which is described like so by the Christian Science Monitor:

“Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all,” a hooded, bearded Taliban militant asked a bus full of schoolgirls on their way home earlier this week. “She is propagating against the soldiers of Allah, the Taliban. She must be punished,” the Taliban militant shouted louder. Then, recognizing her, he shot her at a point blank range.

We pray for Malala’s recovery and honor her courage and contribution to peace and the rights of girls. Let us keep the 14-year-old girl, truly a world leader, in our thoughts and prayers. Taliban officials claimed responsibility for an attack on her which leaves her in critical condition at this time, citing her work on behalf of education for girls as an “obscenity.” Let us keep them in our prayers as well, praying that fundamentalist extremists everywhere would wake up and grow up!

The struggle for girls’ rights is one face of Spirit’s next move, and we are all called to love and compassion to aid them. It is fitting on this day that the leadership team of the Center for World Spirituality expresses our support for the International Day of the Girl, a new day for working to make the world a better place for girls everywhere.

[Read more…]

Where Americans import conservatives from overseas

Gay Methodist

Photo Credit: Religion News Service

 

By Joe Perez

In certain places in America, conservatives are so scarce they’ve begun to import them from abroad. Specifically, in Tampa, Florida, where 1,000 delegates gathered for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. While liberal American Methodists pleaded for tolerance for gay people, conservatives from overseas compared homosexuality to bestiality. [Read more…]

Joe Perez on the evolution of attitudes towards gays and lesbians

Lesbian Wedding

Photo Credit: anna and liz

 

“Given enough time, modernity is enough to show traditional churches that homosexuality is not an illness or disorder, and ought to be tolerated. Given enough time, postmodernism is enough to show modernist churches that they need to accept gays, lesbians, and other sexual and gender minorities for the diversity they bring. Given enough time, an integral wave of consciousness — a World Spirituality — will be enough to show traditional churches that they have held an honorable role by keeping the flame burning which knows the inner divinity of gays and lesbians; it will be enough to show modernist churches and secular organizations the ways in which gay/straight differences in perspective offer many fruitful new avenues for investigation of  the interior life of all sentient beings; it will be enough to show postmodern churches, spirituality-based, and mission-driven organizations the best ways to bring homophiles and heterophiles and all people within whom gender/sexual/energetic polarities exist into a constructive theology of interrelationship, marriage, and social ethics. All this is within our reach in the stratums of pre-modern, modern, and post-modern life-worlds in which we dwell, but it most definitely requires a World Spirituality.” — Joe Perez

Recently on this blog: Towards a World Spirituality theology of gay marriage

 

Towards a World Spirituality theology of gay marriage

Gay Men

Photo Credit: bodies-of-art

by Joe Perez

In a World Spirituality perspective, the theologian is more like an symphony composer, with theologians from different theological traditions translating the musical notation for the musicians of different instruments. Clearly there is give and take between the symphony composer and the composer for piano, violin, drums, etc.; but ultimately they are creating new music together.

In our times, a major crisis has emerged for theology which could help to doom religion in many countries unless it is redressed: the crisis of homosexuality within the churches. No, not the crisis that gay people are religious (there have always been gay people in churches, probably in disproportionately large numbers). The issue is that our religious traditions have holy traditions and scriptures dating to pre-modern times when there was no contemporary understanding of homosexuality or modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities (LGBT).

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom Post: Jagged Lines; Erotic Circles

The circle is more naturally erotic than the line. Recall that we identified four faces of the erotic: interiority, interconnectivity, yearning, and fullness of being. The circle evokes each of these qualities:

Interiority–The circle, unlike the line, has an inside and an outside. Its very essence is in the creation of an inner circle.

Interconnectivity–In the circle, all are interconnected.  All have a place.  No one is ahead or behind, above or below.  Because of this, the circle naturally invited cooperation instead of competition.

Yearning–Circles also bespeak our unquenchable longing.  It is not a line, where movement is pragmatic and linear.  In a circle one understands that no end will ever be reached.  This longing participates in the yearning force of being.

Fullness–The circle attracts us to the fullness of its curves.  Whether it be the round table, the swelling of a woman’s pregnant belly, the curvatures of thigh, breast, or shoulder, the gentle slopes of a lush countryside, circles vibrate with fullness and energy.

from The Mystery of Love
Marc Gafni
Page 190

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Foreward to Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez: Integral Spirituality in Real Life ~ Foreward by Ken Wilber

by Ken Wilber

I would like to take a slightly different approach to this month’s column, and instead of continuing to outline an integral approach to spirituality, give an example of its use in the real world. What I am doing in this column is quite different from the other columns on Beliefnet (namely, give a serialized overview of an integral spirituality, which can get somewhat tedious). So, let’s take a break.

What follows is a foreword I wrote for a not-yet-published book called Soulfully Gay, by Joe Perez. Joe is just now seeking a publisher, so you won’t yet find his work on Amazon. I won’t spoil what he’s written by telling you the plot, but I hope you enjoy this note from the heart and see it as an example of integral thinking in action. [Read more…]

Newest Thinking on Unique Self, from a dialogue with Bert Parlee and Marc Gafni, at the recent Integral Leadership Collaborative


Your Unique Self: Giving Your Gift — Dr. Marc Gafni — Audio Transcript

Bert Parlee: Marc has an incredible breadth of wisdom and knowledge, not only in the spiritual traditions, but his doctorate is from Oxford, he’s a scholar, speaks various languages, and the way he weaves stories, drawing from all streams of life that he brings into his very embodied organic teaching style. Welcome Marc. [Read more…]

The Problem with Zen Boyfriends

by Mariana Caplan

[adapted from Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path©, Sounds True, 2009]

Some things just don’t want to die. Much to my surprise, a little piece I published over 10 years ago, about a certain type of spiritual guy I found myself dating in my early twenties, set alight a dormant flame throughout the world. Originally published in the anthology “Radical Spirit,” “Zen Boyfriends” was rapidly translated into multiple languages, and I soon learned that Zen boyfriends were found in Italy, Spain, France and even communities in Thailand and other parts of Asia.

More years on the path brought more Zen boyfriends and infinite variations on the theme, not only for myself but from my clients and from readers and seekers everywhere. “Zen Boyfriends” eventually resurrected itself as a musical produced by Oregon musician Mark Steighner, and it was finally updated and reproduced in the San Francisco Bay area by me, with musician Anastasi Mavrides and actress Suraya Keating, to sold out audiences. I hope you enjoy the snippets from the original writing and revised theater production, and please share your stories!

***

At a certain stage in my own spiritual development, I began to attract a new breed of men that over time I came to call “Zen boyfriends.” I use the term “Zen” loosely here, because a man doesn’t have to be a Zen Buddhist to fall into this category. He could be a Tibetan Buddhist, a Sufi, or even a practitioner of some obscure brand of yoga. The more rigid the tradition, the better for this type. What defines a Zen boyfriend is the manner in which he skillfully uses spiritual ideals and practices as an excuse for his terror of, and refusal to be in, any type of real relationship with a woman. He is both too identified with his balls to become a celibate monk, and at the same time too little identified with the wider implications of them to take responsibility for them. The result: a righteous, distant and very intelligent substitute for a real man.

Andrew was a great example of a Zen boyfriend. This is how a typical morning went in our love nest:

At 4:30 a.m. his alarm sounds. “Andrew, your alarm is going off.”

“Press the snooze.”

I oblige. Then at 4:38 it goes off again. “Andrew, get up!”

“I’m too tired.”

By the fourth snooze I was wide awake, while he dozed away like a baby in arms. When he’d finally open his eyes sometime around 5:30, I was undeniably and un-spiritually pissed off. Without even a word or a glance in my direction, he would roll out of bed and head for the bathroom. I would listen with mounting rage as he gargled his Chinese herbs, did an hour of tai chi on the creaky hardwood floor, and then adjusted himself on his zafu to meditate. Often I would get up and meditate as well, but since I didn’t practice the same form of meditation as he did, he said we couldn’t practice together. The argument was always the same:

“Why do you set your alarm if you’re not going to get up?”

[Read more…]