March 27, 2019

“Outrageous Love” Poem by Cerridwen

We are pleased to be able to share with you the inspiring poem below, written and submitted by Shalom sangha member and energy healer Cerridwen following the Shalom Mountain Wisdom School in Livingston Manor, NY, October 10-13.  Dr. Marc Gafni, Wisdom Teacher in Residence at Shalom, unfolded teachings on Pleasure, Addiction, and Eros at this retreat, and the sangha celebrated together the Outrageous Love dharma. Cerridwen says the retreat experience moved her closer to this draft of her poem. [Read more…]

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part III

(c) 2010 Salvatore Vuono

©2010 Salvatore Vuono

In the final installment of this three-part essay below, which is excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity. We transform them into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized.

From Part I: “Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point:  I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts.” [Read more…]

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part II

(c) 2013 satit_srihin

©2013 photo courtesy of satit_srihin

In this three-part essay, excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized.

From Part I: “Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point:  I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts.” [Read more…]

Imitation or Originality: Distinction between Unique Self and Ego #3

Brain Design By Cogs And Gears by MR LIGHTMAN www.freedigitalphotos.net

by MR LIGHTMAN

 

from Dr. Marc Gafni’s Your Unique Self.

Ego imitates. Unique Self is original. Your ego is trapped in imitation. For the ego is, by its very definition, in limitation. Limitation leads to imitation. So the ego is always living the life of limitation based on imitation, which leads to mindless competition. Your ego is in constant competition, which leads to compulsive comparison and dissatisfaction. Originality, which is a quality of Unique Self, freed from the tyranny of comparison, is by its nature both urgently creative and self-satisfied.

Your ego never thinks an original thought. Originality emerges from your Unique Face, which is evoked by contact with your Original Face. “Original Face” is the Buddhist way of describing the experience of sustained contact with the eternal, transcendent Ground of Being. Originality gives birth to action beyond reaction. Your Unique Becoming emerges from your immersion in Being.

We are excited to announce a transformational 10-week Unique Self telecourse that starts April 24th!

 

For further discussion: Here is what some famous people have said about originality.

“The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.” ~ Arthur Koestler

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” ~ Herman Melville

“The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

What is YOUR take on it? Where does originality show in your life?

Where do you already live from your original face? From your Unique Self?

What do you like about it? What seems to be difficult?

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section – here or on our Facebook page.

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part I

Looking for more on the wisdom tradition that aligns you with your deepest creativity? In a three-part excerpt from the long version of Soul Prints, Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print or Unique Self destiny unrealized.

You can view Part II of this essay in full by clicking here>>

You can view Part III of this essay in full by clicking here>>

Yetzer and Yetzirah: Raising the Primal Sparks of Creativity and Passion

by Dr. Marc Gafni
from The Way of the Dragon in the long Soul Prints.

 

Part I.colorful
In biblical spirituality, information about God is relevant for one reason only. Information about God is information about us. We are commanded to be little Gods – to imitate God. Just as God stood at the abyss of darkness and said let there be light, so are we commanded to stand at the abyss of our darkness and say let there be light. A little bit of light dispels so much of the darkness. Further, just as God is a creator – creating, sculpting, painting, composing a gorgeous physical world – so, too, are we invited to create, to sculpt, to paint, and to make music. [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: Those who turn darkness to Light

imgres-7The members of the Zohar’s holy fellowship are called “Those who turn darkness to light.”

It was their profound engagement in their personal darkness which was the matrix for their radical creativity, their light. Zohar is only revealed through the prism of one’s soul print. All creativity wells from this place. In this spirit we understand Rilke’s advice to the Young Poet: “Go deep into yourself and how deep is the place from which your life flows.”

Not all of us are soul printed to write the book of the Zohar. But all of us have the creative potential to write a book of life that shines. That creative potential is our divinity. When we say God is one, we mean original. When the Hebrew mystic experiences herself as part of God it can only be through the path of her originality.  God is an original and can’t stand imitation.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

 

 

The Victorious Surrender

imgres-5God is waiting for us to give up the imitations in our lives so that we can receive the real thing. Imagine what would happen if we really opened up to the knowledge that there is a force holding things together without our being in control. What if we surrendered to that force and allowed it to guide us in our lives? What if we stopped to realize that the planet is constantly supporting our lives?

The very air we breathe – unless we interfere with the natural systems – is constantly made available to our lungs by plants and ocean plankton through an incredible process of photosynthesis. The universe is consciously supporting us and breathing life into our souls at every moment. For the Hebrew mystic, creation is not a one-time event. It is instead a continuous process, hinted at by modern quantum physics, in which the universe recreates itself in love at every second.

This essential giving up of control does not mean that we do not expend enormous effort and energy in trying to chart our destinies and repair the world. It does mean that we need to do so in a way where we understand that even as we labor mightily, we know that it is simply not all up to us. Knowing that, we consciously invite the universe to partner in our efforts, breathing its life and energy into and through us.

The spiritual process of giving up control is called by the Hebrew mystics bittul. Usually, this is explained as self-nullification to God. In reality, it means something quite different. Rather than abnegation, it is a way of making ourselves transparent to God. We give up lower self control because we desire the higher divine self to flow through us. This is the experience of eros modeled on the sexual. We can access it in creativity, prayer, sexuality, study and any other arena of life in which we are willing to be lovers.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 6

The story of evolution is the story of creativity, which is the story of Unique Self. Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber draw many key connections in this segment of their Unique Self audio dialogue conducted in September 2012. The dialogue begins with Ken Wilber’s storytelling about the nature of creativity from a cosmo-centric perspective. This builds to the amazing insight that Unique Self is actually the creator of the past and the driver of the future. More parallels and equations follow in due course.

This clip is a 24-minute excerpt which follows immediately from Part 5. The transcript below tracks the flow of the conversation on creativity up to the point at which Unique Self is equated to choice. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Divine Imagination

God is the possibility of possibility – limitless imagination. The first of the ten commandments is “I am God.”  When this God is asked to identify himself, He responds, “I will be what I will be.” That is, ‘You cannot capture me in the frozen image of any time or place. To do so would be to destroy me.’ It would be to violate the second commandment against idolatry. Idolatry is the freezing of God in a static image. To freeze God in an image is to violate the invitation of the imagination. It is to limit possibility.

The Temple modeled after the Biblical myth tabernacle in the desert is the product of imagination. In a wonderfully paradoxical set of mystical texts, Bezalel, the master craftsman of the book of Exodus, receives no clear blueprint from God or Moses on how to build the tabernacle. And yet he builds it in accordance with “God’s will.” For the Kabbalists, this is a hidden allusion to the power of holy imagination to intuit cosmic truth.

When the mystics suggest that Bezalel is “taught by God,” they speak in code. The artist is “wise of heart,” “filled with the spirit of wisdom, intuition and intimate understanding.”  All of these draw their inspiration from the breath of divine imagination.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Marc Gafni on Post-Postmodern Art: A New Article in Parabola Magazine

By Marc Gafni

Artist Claudia Kleefeld is not the first person to see the symbol of the spiral as being a portal to a vision of a coherent cosmos. She is original in that she is a first-rate, old-master-style artist with thirty years of training, who paints the spiral as an expression of an Eros of certainty that asserts the utter meaningfulness, depth, and order of the cosmos. Kleefeld’s paintings emerge from her own opened eye of the spirit and speak directly to the higher spiritual intuition of her viewers. Finally, Kleefeld is unusual in that she is part of an emergent form of art, which seeks to reveal the enchantment of a cosmos — a cosmos that is good, true, and beautiful.

I am delighted to present an article which celebrates the work of Claudia Kleefeld, one of the brightest shining lights in the universe of art today. My new article, “Post-postmodern Art: A Return to Belonging,” is now published in the latest issue of Parabola Magazine.

[Read more…]

Exploring the Unique Self and Beyond (Part 4): Eros – in Search of Enlightenment

By Hans Jecklin

Eros needs human consciousness to become enlightened. He cannot do it by himself. Only enlightened human consciousness can embrace the huge evolutionary span wherein Eros manifests as what I understand a primordial driving force of evolution: Supreme Grace.

We can see with awe how on all levels of manifestation – from matter to spirit – a similar pattern of attraction between wholes leads to connection and unification into ever-greater wholes: Eros at work, guided by a greater intelligence.

When we look at human relations and love, it is interesting to watch Eros at work on many levels, most of them being unconscious: Survival instincts in many guises – physical, vital, emotional, mental – that do not differ so much from what we can observe in the animal world. Beyond the realm driven by instincts, it is very likely that what Jungian psychology understands as projection of anima or animus on a partner is a human accomplishment: It means that we are attracted to the other by what we believe to be missing in ourselves.

This the nature of Eros which Socrates relates in Plato’s Symposium as a teaching he has just been given by the sage Diotima: Eros as an aspect of human nature that incessantly searches and creates outer connections which he cannot escape to lose, until he finally understands his true history and fate.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: The Stones Will Sparkle

Prism

From The Erotic and the Holy, by Marc Gafni:

Now let me share with you something truly beautiful. It is a sort of Hebrew mystic expansion of Traherne’s moment of rapture. It is one of my favorite stories.

The disciples still tell of the time, more than two centuries ago, when the master known as the Bat Ayin, the Daughter of the Eye, received his call. The way the old students tell it, a mysterious man entered the study hall of the master in Europe and whispered with great intensity several sentences into his ear. On the very next day, the master gathered the community and announced that they had received the call of Lech Lecha, the call to go up to the Land of Israel.

The master was clearly roused to great passion. The disciples, infected by his ardor, were moved to action. The entire community over a period of a year was transplanted from Europe to the biblical land of Israel. It was around the time of the American Revolution. The community flourished in the mystical city of Safed, overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

One day, however, after many tranquil years, a mysterious man appeared in the study hall. The older disciples recognized him. It was the same man who had whispered into the master’s ear so many years before. Who was he? Where was he from? No one knew.

This time, however, he did not whisper several sentences into the master’s ear. He spoke to the master for only a moment, uttering perhaps one sentence. Then he was gone. The master’s face fell. He withdrew from the study hall into his room, where he remained seven whole days. When he came out, his face shone. That same ardor and passion that had moved him to make the initial journey once again lit up his countenance. “We are not there yet,” he said, “but we will get there.”

He began to sing and dance. His display went on for nearly seven hours. What was most strange, though, was that every fifteen minutes or so, he would go to the window, look outside, and then return to the circle, dancing and singing with renewed intensity and passion.

At some point in the eighth hour, a smile of ecstasy and triumph spread across his face. “Yes,” he said softly, “they are rubies.” [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: You are beautiful!

The most important thing we can ever tell someone else is, “You are beautiful.” We were all made conveniently equipped with built-in mirrors – our eyes. They are the reflecting pool in which the person before us beholds herself. It is up to us to choose what she will see reflected there. To be a lover is to  make sure that whoever looks into your mirroring eyes will feel the embracing energy of  “You are beautiful”.

What a wonderful way to live! Spiritual tradition reminds us of what we often forget in the doldrums and tensions of the day-to-day. That is, that everyone is beautiful, and furthermore, that everyone is uniquely beautiful. Every human being on the face of the planet holds in his or her essence an utterly unique reflection of the infinite beauty of God.

We can respond to the biblical invitation to  “love everyone” by perceiving and honoring this light in all who cross our path. Lovers see infinity dancing in the looking glass of each other’s eyes. We need to become lovers again. It will make it all so different. And we want to. We all love being lovers. We have simply forgotten to look. We have forgotten to perceive that we are all stepping gently through God’s magnificent museum. Each soul we behold – a perfect masterpiece.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

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

Daily Wisdom: It’s All Art!

Whenever we keep eros confined to one narrow frame of being, while de-eroticzing the rest of the picture – the Shechina remains in exile. Sex is only one of the places where we exile the erotic. There is a wonderful Balinese saying which goes something like, “We do not have art – we do everything as beautifully as we can”. When we build ugly cities where beauty is abused and people are depersonalized and then build a beautiful art museum, the Shechina is in exile. We exile the eros of beauty to the constricted precincts of formal art.

The same is true of music. Music is not limited to symphonies or rock concerts. We are all musicians and life is overflowing with music. Remember the Broadway show “Stomp”? There was no dialogue; it was all music and dance. The catch was that no musical instruments were used. The instruments were adapted from the fabric of everyday living. Pots, pans, brooms, sinks, faucets, garbage can lids, bottles, bags, newspapers, hands, feet, virtually every part of the body – all of these became instruments of music. The implication is stunning; what we usually do is limit art to formal work by people we call artists, just as we limit music to formal instruments. Formal music and art need to model the erotics of sound and beauty in all of our lives and not just in their narrow provinces. Music and art need to pervade all of living. Every moment is a canvas and is possessed of its own melody.

Rumi knowingly instructs us:

Let the beauty that we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the Ground.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

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

Beauty is the most erotic of gifts, the ecstasy of love

Art Museum

On a discussion of Emerging Integral Art and Aesthetics, a comment by Fareed Artist:

We can also experience states of consciousness where the phenomenal world which forms, truly appears as an illusionistic art-working. We find that Divine Reality is always ever present. Is speaking through all of us, to each of us. Yet for some reason, that presence leaves our consciousness, it passes, and we forget the colors of truth. It is as if we are walking by the most wondrous of all artistic creations, and talking on our cell phones. We don’t recognize the God is right before us.What we find beautiful is that feeling of wholeness, transcendent re-contextualization, that is felt in the heart, and then so in the mind. That is called exquisite beauty, and is transformative. It may speak to us alone, or may be talking to all of us at once, or to each person, one person at a time. It causes us to feel and thereby see, all of life as continually and significantly meaningful. In fact it is always there.It is experienced. It is the most erotic of gifts. It is the ecstasy of love, being lived, within life and death.

Death then, no longer is a matter of importance, as it is held in that exquisite state of beauty. So it is then, most beautiful, most complete and most whole – as in the end of a song. In this way too, our actions are divinely meaningful, as a worship of all-ness, casting no thing aside.

It is this state of being that is captured, signified in a work of art, or the gesture of a master, for our small minds, so that we can know that big mind, in all her unfathomable, ever changing complexity.

Beauty can be formed from that which we feel is un-harmonius and alienated. Rather, that which is believed to be alienated, can be known in the real. We must learn to turn that pain into life. This is the truth in art.

That it is all of its parts, and is greater even than the sum of all its parts. That it is whole, perfect, even in its separateness, in darkness, in its limitation of delusion. That it is all illusion. It is all art.

(Inspired by Marc Gafni – Spiritual Teacher)

If you want a lifetime of happiness, never be satisfied

Olympics

Photo Credit: Miss Barabanov


By Kristen Ulmer

One of my clients admitted the first gold medal he won in the Olympics made him feel happy and satisfied for about six months. His second gold medal he was satisfied for only a few weeks.

Sounds like a bummer, actually. All that work and subsequent glory is supposed to lead to ‘happily-ever-after’ right? The bragging rights alone should carry for decades.

Yet here’s my advice: If you want a true lifetime of happiness and love for your sport: Never be satisfied. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom Post: The Music of the Temple

One of the places where we overcome alienation and step inside to an act of surrender is the sacred realm of music.  Eros cuts through ego and touches essence.  We feel alive and totally present in the fullness of our longing.  Mastery in song and music takes place precisely at the point where radical discipline and control are transcended.  At the intersection between control and surrender the singer or musician gives herself up, allowing herself to be played by the universe.  It is of course not an accident that an essential component of the Temple service was music.  The biblical myth text reads, “If you are searching for Shechina” then come to the Temple with its symphony of holy song.  Through music from exotic instruments and songs that opened the heart, the people were aroused to the erotics of desire and personal surrender.

Mystery of Love
Marc Gafni
Page 165

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

Daily Wisdom Post: Evolutionary Love

The Eros of evolution dances up the evolutionary spiral to higher and higher levels of complexity, and consciousness emerges from the evolutionary soup. It is a continual process of self-organization through self-transcendence, in which self transcends itself to recognize and join other in higher embrace. Love by any other name. The evolutionary ladder continues to spiral to ever-higher and deeper levels of complexity and consciousness. Each higher level is always defined by ever-higher levels of mutuality, recognition, union, and embrace between the evolving cells and organisms. Plants, amphibians, mammals, then higher mammals, until we get to the full bloom of human consciousness. This is the Great Story of One Love: Evolutionary Love.

Your Unique Self (in press)

Dr. Marc Gafni

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

Our journey as evolutionary artists is a dance of creativity

Dancers in Australia

Photo Credit: Oude School

 

By Marc Gafni

Do you know that you are the evolutionary artist of the next stage of your life and the life of the world?

Do you know that personal creativity is your doorway into the creativity of the Kosmos?

Do you know that creativity is your birthright?

Do you know that higher consciousness is naturally more creative and less fearful?

Do you know that what you create through your mind, heart and body transforms all of us and all of life?

This is a truth of dramatic importance: Each of us is participating in a great dance of creativity. Our journey as evolutionary artists involves every aspect of life — from the words we choose to the love we make. And that journey begins when we recognize how our own creativity is actually an expression of the evolutionary love-intelligence of all that is. The Vedic and Tantric traditions of Hinduism, the Sufis sages, and the philosophers of Kabbala reminded us that divinity is creativity. The Buddhist sages have invited us to the liberated free-functioning creativity of the compassionate Bodhisattva. The Judeo-Christian teachers have invited us to imitatio dei to be like God, even to be as God.

Just as the great love-intelligence emanates worlds out of its own being, we are invited to turn into our own center, and find that world-creating source within ourselves. From there, we can become co-creators of a transformed world.

You are creative because consciousness is inherently creative. The mysterious Eros that animates and drives the evolutionary unfolding is at this very moment creating and recreating all of reality anew in every moment. That Eros, which lives in you, as you and through you, acts creatively through you the moment you give your consent to it.

It is our delight and obligation to answer the call to evolutionary creativity — and its fulfillment.

The next great movement of evolutionary love is waiting for you — for each of us — to identify and manifest your unique creativity. It is asking you to recognize yourself as the artist of your life, and then to broaden your artistry until you are creating in the service of All that Is.

Are you ready to respond to the great invitation and obligation to evolutionary creativity, in the service of our own evolution, and the evolution of all that is?

If you are then you have begun to wake up and that is simply fucking awesome!

 

Nick Georgiou’s art, inspired by the death of the printed word

Our Names writ, writ in Kosmic scroll,
Our cosmic names turn and turn,
Books they are written in, burn and burn,
Ever Our Names are writ, rewritten.

— Joe Perez

 

Nick Georgiou:

My art is inspired by the death of the printed word. Books and newspapers are becoming artifacts of the 21st century. As a society we’re shifting away from print consumption and heading straight towards full digital lives. My sculptures are products of their environment — both literally and figuratively. As often as I can, I use local newspapers to add authenticity, and the form the sculpture takes is a reflection of the personal connection I feel to that particular city. [Read more…]