June 22, 2018

Daily Wisdom: Being an Insider

(c) 2011 photo courtesy of Exsodus

2011 photo courtesy of Exsodus

To be a person of Torah, to be enlightened, is to live from the inside. To be an insider, to feel — oh my God — I have a place. It’s important that I exist. I am called uniquely to do something in the world that nobody else in the world is capable of doing except myself. The experience of my irreplacability is the beginning of my joy. The experience of my replacability is the beginning of my depression. Life is about finding out, disclosing, revealing that I am an insider. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: ….A Vast Net of Jewels

imgres-1“Mystic philosopher Teillhard de Chardin writes, ‘The farther we penetrate into matter by means of increasingly powerful  methods – the more we are overawed  by the interdependence of all the parts.’  In the beautiful image of Mahayana Buddhism,  speaking accurately for the Kabbalah as well, the universe can be likened to a vast net of jewels–the reflection from one jewel contained in each. In the words of Isaac of Homil, and countless Hebrew mystics over the ages downing whiskey in European shtetls or running ecstatically through Jerusalem’s ancient streets, ‘Alt is Gud v’Gud ist Alt — All is God and God is All!’

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Eros and Ethics Merge

imgres-6The Hebrew phrase or koan of “loosen the reins” is too wonderful not to share with you. “Harpeh et HaMoshchot.” Harpeh, meaning “loosen,” is also the word for heal. There is something powerfully healing in letting go of the tightness – loosening the fixities. The word for reins, moshchot, also means attraction or desires. Let your desires breathe; your deepest attractions are wise. Listen to them.

Implicit in the sexual circle are three levels. Circle: unchecked raw sexuality.  Line: sexuality delimited and controlled by ethics.  Circle: The Secret of the Cherubs.  The sexual models but does not exhaust the erotic. This is not an abandonment of ethics. It is a higher ethic which has absorbed the sacred intrusions of the line even as it  reintegrates the primal longings of the circle. Eros and Ethics merge.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

Daily Wisdom: The Moment of Creation is One of Ecstasy

imgresOriginally, creation was said to have been a one-time event, an erotic, divine implosion in which the primal line bisected the primal circle and cosmos poured forth. This image was recast by post Renaissance Hebrew mystics in the light of the re-ascendancy of circle consciousness. Hebrew Mystic Levi Isaac, for example, opens his commentary with a radical assertion: creation is happening every second. The force of love which is divinity is constantly pouring through existence. Indeed, it is existence itself.

The moment of creation is one of ecstasy. Creation is an erotic outpouring, emerging from our ability to step fully inside, to touch what Levi Isaac calls ayin and Buddhists would call the void, to let the fullness of being pour through you.  Levi Isaac, seeker of Eros, simply cannot accept  the alienating masculine line image of creation common to the medieval schoolmen. For them, creation is a one-time event, which while originally caused by God, takes place outside of God.  Levi Isaac insists in a God who inheres in all of reality, in the ecstasy of creative union, replayed constantly in an eternal now. In his insistence, it becomes so. Thus for Levi Isaac, Luria’s image of circle being penetrated by line is the constant reality of existence. It is the yearning force of being – played over and over again.

We may at times lose touch with the interpenetration of line and circle, but is always present longing to be exposed.

~Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

We are a Community of Virtual Presence and Evolutionary Love Gatherings

To register for our Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain Retreat Center, October 10-13:
“Evolutionary Intimacy and the New Enlightenment”: (more information below)

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To register for our 4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat, October 18-20:
“Falling in Love with the Divine – Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”: (more information below)

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Venwoude Summer Festival of Love 2013 © Chahat Corten

Venwoude Summer Festival of Love 2013 © Chahat Corten

The Center for Integral World Spirituality is a vibrant community of Virtual Presence and Evolutionary Love Gatherings. We share tremendous Holy Purpose in bringing Unique Self teachings into the world. The Eros that unites us is grounded in simple truths of Unique Self teachings with which we all deeply resonate. [Read more…]

Two Recent Letters following the Venwoude Mystery School/Summer Festival of Love with Marc Gafni

Letter from CWS Board Member and Unique Self Teacher Chahat Corten.

chahat-corten-100x100Dearest friends and partners,

How can I even start to describe to you the shower of Grace and Love, Deep Dharma transmission from Spirit via Marc that has happened here last week in the eight days of the second gathering of the CWS / Venwoude Mystery School of Love at Venwoude in Holland.

Some 150 people gathered, indeed from all over the world, to create together a field of Outrageous Love, visioned, held, loved open, and sustained in the most profound and wondrous way by Marc.

There was an unwavering stream of teaching, that was deepened and embodied in many afternoon workshops and musical & dance happenings in the evenings. The level of synchronicity that I experienced between the core morning teachings of Marc, the afternoon workshops, and all the other offerings was so magical that it sometimes took my breath away.

Many of us who have been studying with Marc now for more than three years experienced an enormous deepening in the transmitting of the teaching on the 12 principles of Eros. [Read more…]

Wisdom for Your Week: A Gift for You from the Summer Festival of Love at Venwoude

Marc Gafni teaching at Venwoude

Marc Gafni teaching at Venwoude

The second annual Mystery School of Love has begun and is already in full swing. More than 150 people have come to celebrate with us this year’s theme: “Reclaiming Eros.” Many participants were here with us last year and are excited to be here again!

The festival revolves at its core around Dr. Marc’s several hours of Dharma transmission each morning. In the beginning of the day, spiritual teacher Chahat Corten — a leading luminary at Venwoude and a direct dharma student of Dr. Marc — begins the morning with a day-opening ceremony. Dr. Marc then meets with the twenty or so teachers gathered on the faculty of the Mystery School. Included are leading teachers who are each in their own right bright stars and key leaders of the Venwoude community where Dr. Marc serves as the World Spirituality Teacher in Residence. We will post a bit later a special piece about all the the wonderful teachers, each worthy of note and great appreciation.

The center of the emergence is the field of radical dharma and outrageous love that is woven and rewoven by Dr. Marc. The attendance at the festival has doubled in the last year and we expect that to keep doubling every year. Dr. Marc weaves a field of precise and powerful–truly “source-code-changing”–teaching, which transforms minds and explodes hearts. Dr. Marc’s mind and heart seem to merge as one and he lives for everyone as an overflowing and brilliant weaver of meaning, meta theory and grand narrative—even as he opens up spaces of genuine enlightenment that seem to shift the earth beneath people’s feet. It is an enlightenment teaching pure and simple, and the process is, as Dr. Marc calls it, Loving Your Way to Enlightenment!

To give you a little taste of it, we want to share with you just the first few minutes of Marc Gafni’s opening dharma talk, where he sets the frame by giving us 6 principles and commitments for the upcoming week. This is before any of the real dharma got started – this was the first hello:

[Read more…]

Eros or Grasping: Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #9

Eros Cupid Statue London by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Eros Cupid Statue London by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

 

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego is not erotic. Unique Self lives in Eros. To live in Eros means to live with fullness of presence and with a felt sense of wholeness. It is to yearn urgently and ecstatically, without grasping and to experience interiority, the feeling of being on the inside. This is the experience of Unique Self. The ego lives with the feeling of always being on the outside. It fragments, grasps, and never shows up fully present to other. Unique Self lives in Eros.

 

For further discussion:

What is Eros? And what does it mean to live an erotic life?

Well, clearly: It is not sex! [Read more…]

Center for World Spirituality Mystery School of Love (aka Summer Festival of Love) Venwoude International Retreat Center, Holland

The following video gives you a small taste of the Center for World Spirituality Mystery School of Love (aka Summer Festival of Love) run in partnership with Venwoude International retreat center.

The Mystery School is an annual eight day event which takes place at the end of July and the first week of August. The morning dharma teaching is by Dr. Marc Gafni with an all star team of teachers leading breakout sessions in the afternoon.

The Mystery School is a profound enlightenment teaching intensive where the practices revolve around awakening to what Dr. Marc calls Your Unique Self. This awakening to your true nature and to the sacred activism that is the invitation of your life is rooted in a powerful realization of the unique love beauty and love intelligence of all that is, that lives in you, as you and through you.

Many students report profound enlightenment experiences during mystery schools. Those experiences however are but pointers towards a stable and integrated awakening to your unique self that has the potential to literally change everything even as you deepen and transform from where you are. This is the path of what Dr. Marc calls the evolutionary lover or the outrageous lover. At the core of the dharma is Dr. Marc’s core mantra: We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.

Next Venwoude Festival / Mystery School:  July 27th – August 3rd, 2013
Info here: http://www.venwoude.nl/summerfestival.htm

 

Sex & Spirit: Wisdom of the Spiritually Incorrect

divine-erosBy Marc Gafni

Note: The following article appeared in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Common Ground Magazine.

If you stop to think even for a short moment, you realize that sex really is the great mystery of our lives. Two groups, however, suggest very different approaches to sex, and both of them are wrong.

One powerful group of forces is arrayed in culture to prevent us from getting sex. They tell us that sex is somehow wrong, immoral, or sinful. Even when we think we have gotten free of them, they pop up again inside our hearts or heads, wagging their fingers disapprovingly. And they remind us constantly of all the trouble sex has gotten the world into — from the Trojan War to the Clinton/Lewinsky drama. Not to mention the trouble it has gotten you and me into—emotionally, psychologically, personally, professionally, and physically. You have to admit that the sexual conservatives have a point. If you want to keep life simple, clean, and orderly, forgoing or limiting your sexual experience might be an excellent choice. If you like spiritual exercises, take a few minutes to list all the times sex has gotten you into trouble.

Lots of conventional moralists and organized religion fall into this category. Religion wants to affirm love and passion as virtues but to divorce them entirely from sex. So moralist religion works hard to erect boundaries that will protect us from the pitfalls of sex. Yet while we all know that sex requires some discipline, and that context and commitment count, most of us know in our hearts that the moralists are wrong, and that sex is ultimately—and overwhelmingly—good, and not merely a side benefit of achieving loving relationship.

To read the entire article, download it as a PDF file. 

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Ethics is an erotic expression of our deeper divinity

imgres-4If we come to understand that ethics is an erotic expression of our deeper divinity, we are truly moved to the ethical. For at that point we realize that it is an expression of our deepest selves, a  response to the call of our own voice. Ethics, to be compelling and powerful, must be an expression of your erotic divine nature and not a contradiction to it. So when the prophet insists that God and the God within you is beyond nature, and can therefore act ethically against nature, they are referring only to your first nature, not to your deeper second nature. Your deeper nature is God.

The marriage of the erotic and the ethical, when it takes place not merely intellectually but in all of your being, makes you the greatest of lovers.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Daily Wisdom: Frog Song

urlBy Marc Gafni

King David, the biblical author of Psalms, perhaps the greatest spiritual poetry every written, is walking by the river lost in ecstasy. In this state, he cries out, “God, tell me – is there anyone that has ever praised you as much as I?”

At that moment, a frog fantastically exclaims to him, “Be not so proud, David, for I have done more than you. You sing to God on occasion – I sing to God with every croak.” [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Longing is the matrix of God’s revelation to us…

imgres-4We long for something deeper; something more, a higher and more noble authenticity. We masquerade in the mask of our wholeness knowing all along that it is but a charade; that we are part of larger whole with whom we yearn to be re-united. A shard of a shattered vessel whose hidden sparks seek to be uplifted and absorbed into the one even as they retain their sacred separate identity.  “As the gazelle yearns after the stream of clear water, so does my soul long after you, my God.”

Kalonymous  Kalman of Piacezna teaches in his book Holy Fire, “in response to our yearning for God, God longs and draws closer to us.” [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: Evolving Divine Consciousness

imgres-3The unfolding of divine consciousness is not a purely intra-divine process. The great privilege of being a human being is that we participate in the evolution and healing of God. We are God’s healers. It is the evolution of the human spirit that catalyzes the evolution of God. When God and man meet in an evolutionary embrace redemption is achieved. 

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

 

 

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…]

Daily Wisdom: Even God must be Becoming

imgres-2In Hebrew mysticism, in radical departure from Aristotle, being is infinitely inferior to becoming. Even God, to be perfect – argued the mystics – must be becoming. Which person do we think of as more evolved – one who is static or one who is always growing and expanding? Clearly the latter, respond the mystics to their own question. A person who is not growing is in some sense flawed. Some would even say that the moment we stop growing, we start to die.  Well then – why would you then deny God the same perfection?

When you give up your commitment to the next moment’s unfolding, you give up on God. On your divinely unfolding soul print. God’s gift to you is your life. Your unfolding and growth during that life is your gift back to God, for God expands in our growth.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

 

Daily Wisdom: The world is filled with Soul Print hints

imgres-15In truth every slice of reality in the holographic universe contains all of wisdom. The true Artisan draws wisdom and inspiration from a reality rich and replete in meaning. The world is filled with Soul Print hints. It may be the lyrics of a song, a sign on a building, an old friend you meet after years of not seeing each other, or a book that grabs your attention and demands to be read.

British thinker Adam Phillips, in his wonderful work The Beast in the Nursery, understands well the slow and subtle eros of hints.  The artist inside us, he writes, is “all the time on the lookout for material to make a dream with.”  In a series of  pregnant sentences, Phillips writes,  “For Keats, inspiration means being able to take the hint… It is not only a tuned responsiveness; it is also an unconscious radar for affinities; for what speaks to one by calling up one’s own voice.”

There is a self-fulfilling circle: the deeper one enters one’s character and voice, the more whisperings are heard and hints detected. Of course, the wink, the subtle gestures, the tilt of the head, all these are the language of lovers; hints and intimations, the hallmark of intimacy.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

Daily Wisdom: We can only hear through the love that listens….

imgres-16A phrase in the Zohar used for those soul printed souls who are living their story is lechisah, whispers. To live your story is to be able to hear the intimate whisper of divinity erotically caressing your life.  We are all recipients of cosmic love notes. Paul Tillich reminds us that we can only hear through the love that listens. Buber captured the spirit of biblical myth when he wrote, “To live means being addressed – We have only to present ourselves and to perceive.” To live my story is erotic in the resonance of its melody and the fullness of the canvas. The world, when I am in my story, is no longer empty. The soul is not just here to pay back karmic debts. It has a contribution to make from the depth of its infinite specialness. It is in the making of that contribution that a human being fills fulfilled. That is the eros of living your story.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

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

 

 

 

New Year Wisdom: Arise, Arise, to Return to Your Soul

arising-western-sunrise-togetherFrom the Erotic and the Holy by Marc Gafni:

A line, circle, shadow story from the depths of Hebrew mysticism.

Every year in the days approaching the new year, people would be awakened for the special early morning forgiveness prayer. The truth is, people were awakened at around three in the morning and came to pray while it was still pitch black. These were not the usual morning meditations. Instead, they were special prayers of arousal in which one would try to awaken oneself from more than the sleep of the night. It was a bid to awaken from the accumulated stupor of the entire preceding year. This is the primary time of the year for teshuva, the return of which we have been speaking.

With that background of the spirit, you will understand just how amazing that what happened really was. In this particular year, everyone in the town arrived late at the prayer hall and shared the same strange dream. They had dreamt that they were awakened to prayer by the Outcast. It was a strange dream, so they did not get up till it recurred again and again, finally rousing them from their slumber. [Read more…]