September 23, 2018

The Nature of Loneliness by Joe Perez

By Joe Perez

“For most people, the move beyond loneliness requires us to share our story with a significant other. For the spiritual elite, the receiving of our own story — and the knowing that it is an integral part of the larger story of All-That-Is — is enough. But for most human beings, loneliness is transcended through contact with another person.”

– Marc Gafni

Your Supreme Identity is calling to you from the essence of all things. It is your own dwelling place, your unique life story not only told but lived and constantly recreated. It is the force which not only remedies loneliness but gives us solace in our solitude.

Paul Tillich once wrote: “Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”

Researchers tell us that loneliness may be painful, but it also associated with spiritual experiences and creativity. When being alone is freely chosen as an artist’s duty, it becomes a normal part of life. Indeed, being alone is part of the human condition in which we are often at our saddest, full of shame or fear or anger. It does not require us to be physically isolated; we can be desperately lonely in a crowd or amid loved ones if we have been prevented from being our true selves. [Read more…]

Political Spirituality is Not a Politicized Spirituality by Joe Perez

By Joe Perez

At least since the early writings of Karl Marx, many public intellectuals have acknowledged some variant on the phrase “the personal is political”. Not only that, but by implication it is held that “the spiritual is political”. This notion actually is a reversal of the truth and invites a closer look at the connection between politics and spirituality.

Traditional religion is often intertwined with government. And various conservative, liberal and liberation theologies in the twentieth century across a spectrum of religions spelled out new ways in which religious teachings seek to influence the public sphere in secularized societies. [Read more…]

Rethinking Materialism by Joe Perez

By Joe Perez

(c) 2013. Photo courtesy of patpitchaya.

(c) 2013. Photo courtesy of patpitchaya.

Every holiday season the cultural discourse includes an especially heavy dose of anti-materialistic messaging. The excesses of consumerist culture are especially visible in distorted forms, such as the spectacle of shoppers at Black Friday and Boxing Day creating mobs which are so fierce they have resulted in violence and the trampling of shoppers. It appears to be a truism that materialism is bad.

Psychological research into materialistic values is sparse but surprisingly uniform in that the studies by and large find materialism harmful and detrimental to measures of mental health and well-being. It appears quite likely that as people have less materialistic values the happier they get. But it is not clear that researchers have gone far enough in elucidating the connection between wealth and wellness.

Informed by an Integral perspective which considers the level of consciousness at which value combinations occur, it is striking that materialistic values are concentrated at an Achievement-oriented level (orange) which is highly individualistic and acquisitive, and post-materialistic values are concentrated at a Pluralist-level (green). It is likely that existing studies of materialism have not paid attention to the importance of considering distinctions between different levels of consciousness, and therefore have come to inaccurate or at least partially true conclusions. [Read more…]

Vegetarian v. Carnivore: Beyond False Choices to the Rise of the Conscious Omnivore

(c) 2013. Photo used courtesy of KEKO64

(c) 2013. Photo used courtesy of KEKO64.

By Joe Perez

Although I have felt guilty since childhood for eating animals, I have not succeeded in the past at becoming vegetarian and probably will never totally give up meat or dairy products. The moral case against eating meat is strong, but that doesn’t mean I have found the arguments in favor of strict vegetarianism convincing.

I was raised with a stereotypical American diet in which meat is served in nearly every meal. But I have evolved to find for myself a stance which is less absolute than Vegetarian v. Carnivore, and done so by examining my actions from a worldcentric perspective.

The bottom line is that I have gradually found myself eating significantly less meat as a personal matter and choosing meats which are farmed humanely. I have rejected approaches to diet based on mere personal preference or ideology. Instead, I’ve chosen an ethos of meat on a middle path, one which would please neither vegetarians nor carnivores.

As I see it, a dietary philosophy which bans meat and brands opponents as murderers or one which reduces animals to objects for domination are unnecessarily extreme. Instead, an Integral vision asks us to consider animals as worthy of respect as our co-inhabitants of the Earth with intrinsic value, but it stops short of viewing their consumption as an intrinsic evil. We are asked to maximize our compassion for animal life as an integral part of the spiral of evolution and to weigh the costs and benefits of our relationship to animals. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 6

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 6)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

Two Faces of All That Is

This is the animating impulse that moved eastern spiritual teaching, motivated by love, to seek to free you from the illusion of separate self. Their great mistake was to jettison Uniqueness along with separateness by conflating the two in a way that was both unnecessary and wrong. This confusion of separateness and uniqueness forgot that you could be both part of the whole and a distinct part at the same time. The recovering of that memory is essential to healing the fractured and broken self. The dignity of the part can be held even as your are connected to the whole. You are part of the seamless coat of the universe. Seamless, but not featureless.  You can transcend your exclusive identification with your part nature, the ego, even as you identify with the larger whole. But that does not mean that your unique part nature is absorbed in the whole. Rather, it is integrated in the seamless coat of reality without compromising its unique features. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 5

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 5)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

***

God in the First Person:

“All at once I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant, I thought of fire and immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the next I knew that the fire was in myself. Directly afterward there came upon me as sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Among other things, I did not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not composed of dead matter, but is on the contrary, a living presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life. It was not a conviction that I would have an eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal, that the cosmic order is such that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world, of all worlds, is what we call love, and that the happiness of each and all is in the long run absolutely certain.”

~R.M. Bucke

God in the Second Person addressing man:

I will be united with you in marriage forever

I will be united to you in marriage through justice and righteousness

I will be united with you in marriage through overflowing love and compassion

I will be united with you in marriage in complete trust

And you will erotically know the divine

Hosea the Prophet: 2: 21- 23

Only someone who lacks both of these realizations can identify all that is as merely a process or impulse. Realization teaches that the all that is expresses as a process or an evolutionary impulse, but that God is process plus personal, not process minus personal. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 4

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 4)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

It is precisely this fellowship of prayer and prophecy, which we might refer to as the second face of God. In this pointing out instruction, God in the first person would be the face of god you feel flowing through you in meditation. God in the third person would be the face of God reflected in your radical amazement at the wonder and infinite intelligence displayed in every nook and cranny of existence. God in the second person is in the mystery of the encounter between God and Man. A relationship of intimacy is revealed between the finite and the infinite.  All of the infinite power, glory, and intelligence of the first person and third person of the divine were felt and revealed as relationship in the second encounter between the prophet and God. The precise flip side of prophecy is prayer. In their essence, they are the same. Both are expressions of the fellowship between man and God. The difference is simply this. In prophecy, God initiates and God invokes. In prayer, man initiates and man invokes. [Read more…]

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

Gafni and Jealous

[Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 3

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 3)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

The sense of peril resulting from direct contact with the divine ground has nothing to do with any ideas that the people are sinful or the god wrathful. It is more like the famous question of the Bhagavad Gita: “Suppose a thousand suns should rise together in the sky,” what would happen to our reality? How can the individual hope to survive contact with Source? Source incarnates all the energy and power in the Cosmos and infinitely beyond.

Presence by its very nature overwhelms all individual existence. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 2

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 2)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

 

The most powerful expression of this realization is in the prophetic encounter with the divine mystery. This encounter runs like a thread from Abraham and Sarah to Moses, Miriam, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the larger legions of prophecy. As America’s second president John Adams has already noted, the best of everything Western man knows about freedom, love, ethics, and responsibility emerges from the great encounter between the finite and the infinite. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 1

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 1 of 3)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

The realization of the personal which has been derided as the separate self or ego is so important that I want to ask you to enter this even more deeply with me. You need to feel a sense of this realization in your own being. You need to feel the love and care implicit and explicit in the loving personal address of the Cosmos. [Read more…]

Unique Self In the World – “My First Unique Self Encounter: The First Time I Ever Fell Really in Love”

Steve Raymond, Senior Teacher of Unique Self, Board of Trustees member

Steve Raymond, Senior Teacher of Unique Self, and CWS Board of Trustees member sraymond77@me.com

Steven Raymond is a student of Marc Gafni and of Integral theory. For the Center for Integral Wisdom, Steve serves as a Unique Self teacher and a Board of Trustees member, and is delighted to be bringing Unique Self dharma to the New England states in collaboration with other teachers. His focus is on the integration of group experiential processes with Unique Self training for individuals and healthcare professionals, with a particular interest in the fields of conscious birthing and conscious dying.

Steve has broad experience in deep experiential transpersonal processes and therapies, and is a master of assisting others with shadow work. Steve has a private coaching/teaching practice, and provides transformative consultation to individuals, groups and small entrepreneurs. He is also a leader in foundational men’s work, is an Alumni of the Breakthrough Men’s Community in Carmel, CA, and is now setting up a men’s community group and an Awakening Your Unique Self study group in Portland, ME. He is the parent of an adult son and daughter, and the grandparent of three children, who love him as a jokester and as a mythological god on the ping pong table.

Steve writes, “The essence of my spiritual practice, my Unique Self practice, is to seek to live a fully embodied and passionate life of joy, clarity and purpose. This is how I wish to Show Up for my family, friends, clients and students. And, it must also be said, as with all human beings, there are times when we must dance with our own shadow, and I always hope to do that authentically.”


My First Unique Self Encounter: The First Time I Ever Fell Really in Love
by Steven Raymond

My Unique Self in the Third Person

The first time I ever fell really in love, I was an emotionally damaged 23-year-old man finding my way through the complex maze of my early life. My first real love was a dying 70-year old woman, and the radically Outrageous Love I shared with her transformed my life and revealed a path forward that 37 years later I assess as the discovery of my Unique Purpose, and a life-altering revelation—my Unique Self. [Read more…]

Some Observations on the Changing Quality of Individual and Group Expression from the Sacred Vessel of the New Human/The Unique Self

Unique Self Essay by Julia Press, M.S.W.

puzzle_imageLet me begin by telling you that until about a month ago, I had not known of Marc Gafni.  My husband introduced me to Marc’s Internet videos on Unique Self.  With enthusiasm he told me that Marc was saying so many of the things I have been bringing forward to our gathering community.  Upon watching the videos, the joy that burst forth from within me was beyond description.  I immediately sent away for YOUR UNIQUE SELF and RADICAL KABBALAH, Books 1 and 2.  I feasted on these sacred writings on each of the following three weekends.  Page after page, Marc was describing the very experiences and understandings that have unfolded over the years of my own being’s evolution and in my work midwifing souls on the path of consciousness.  I felt I had known Marc for years.  For me, there is the added nectar of Marc’s saturation with Kabbalah which has been and is in great part my own portal and path into the deep mystical realms of understanding and living life.  [Read more…]

“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…]

Unique Self and Shadow: An Introduction

Naked Female On Rocks Facing Lightening by Victor Habbick

©Victor Habbick, www.freedigitalphotos.net

 “Any part of your story that you do not live,
lives in darkness…
part of your story is in shadow.
To come home you must recover and
embrace the memory of your fullest self.
Until the story of your life is lived
you will go on yearning for it.”
Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

 

It is so exciting to be on this journey together with all of you, our readers and participants in courses and retreats, my wonderful colleagues and friends, and my beloved teacher and friend Dr. Marc Gafni, who has invited me to team up with him in this sacred endeavor of writing this series of articles, which will ultimately become a book, as well as in this holy adventure of Integral Wisdom, World Spirituality, and Unique Self.

[Read more…]

Defining the Enlightenment of Fullness

 

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of photoexplorer.

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of photoexplorer

In a recent dialogue over Unique Self, thought-leaders Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara discussed the overlapping topic areas in their recent books, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment and Strength to Awaken/The Elegant Self.

They discussed…

  • Whole-hearted engagement.
  • The full richness and depth of every moment as the way in to Unique Self.
  • The interrelationship of their books.
  • The ego’s basic habit.
  • The three traits of the Enlightenment of Fullness: Embodiment, Uniqueness, and Creativity.

You can register for the full dialogue on this page.>>>

Below is a partial transcript from their dialogue in which Marc Gafni elaborates on his definition of the Enlightenment of Fullness. [Read more…]

Integral God: Sacred Activism and Falling in Love with the Divine – Excerpt

Excerpt of the Essay by Dr. Marc Gafni:

In their 2013 ITC conference presentation, Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton will explore “Integral God: Sacred Activism and Falling in Love with the Divine.” To explore this, they will consider two models of self in evolutionary mysticism and why these models matter. Both models emerge at the time of important updates to the source code of enlightenment. The first update is the understanding that all of reality, including spirit, is evolving, and this is a shared understanding of both Unique and Authentic Self teachings. The second update to the source code of the enlightenment teachings can be understood as the emergence of the awakened personal function, and this is a key area of divergence between the Unique and Authentic Self teachings. Read more in this excerpt from the introduction of the essay :

 

Unique Self and Authentic Self in Context:

Marc GafniWithin the Integral context, two ways of thinking about self have emerged which are distinctive both in their shared contours and significant distinctions. One framework or model has been called Authentic Self, and the other, Unique Self.[i] Their implicit assumptions suggest both a shared worldview and subtle but important distinctions in their vision of the ideal homo religiousus. These distinctions are foundational with vast implications in virtually every dimension of life, and therefore, need to be laid out with clarity and precision. Each suggests a different understanding of what it means to wake up from the narrow identity as a separate self or ego self into a more enlightened and correct identity as, respectively, Authentic or Unique Self.[ii]  Both the Unique Self and Authentic Self models locate themselves within the context of classical mystical enlightenment teaching. Neither emerges from a western flatland paradigm which views the self as an isolated and discrete unit, or what has been called a skin-encapsulated ego. For both Unique Self and Authentic Self, the first major step towards enlightenment is the realization that the person is not merely an ego or separate self, but rather that the person’s true identity is their absolute, essential, or true self. [Read more…]

Wisdom for Your Week: Unleashing the Symphonic Creativity of Every Unique Self

marc-gafni-headshot-2012On July 6, 2013 Simple Life host Cynthia Fernandes interviewed Dr. Marc Gafni, who shared with her and her audience some of the most cutting-edge teachings on Unique Self and the self-organizing principle of Evolutionary Unique We-Space.

They discuss:

  1. why people have a deeper need to start playing a larger game and stop doing business as usual.
  2. why people tend to close down when confronted with the huge challenges we are facing as humanity and what we can do about this.
  3. the path from Ego through True Self to Unique Self and what it means to be an outrageous lover.
  4. the clues to recognizing your Unique Self.
  5. how we can “unleash the symphonic creativity of every Unique Self” and how this is key to solving every challenge in the world.
  6. why both happiness as well as profit cannot be pursued directly – they are the natural by-product of living our Unique Self and striving for excellence.

Listen to the interview here and read the synopsis of some of the keypoints below:

[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…]

Wisdom for Your Week: Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara in Dialogue over Unique Self

imgres-1In this dialogue below, thought-leaders Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara discuss the overlapping topic areas in their recent books, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment and Strength to Awaken/The Elegant Self.

They discuss…

  • Whole-hearted engagement. What does physical strength have to do with your awakening and well-being? Rob McNamara describes his approach to the robust integral practice of whole-hearted engagement in the body-mind moment. We all have jobs, family, relationships, friendships, and our well-being to look after. Rob says, here, “Day to day, we tend to push the fundamentals off the table, and they tend to slide.  And, I think there’s a way that we can integrate all the major faculties in to a really robust engagement. And, that’s what I get really excited about around Strength to Awaken.” [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…]