November 17, 2017

If you ask, surely you must be in need

The story of the holy snuff box

A beautiful story retold by Marc Gafni

Everybody knows that Holy Beggars hold the world together. Thus would one modern master introduce the following sacred story. Never, never pass by a holy beggar, and they are all holy. Walk across the street. Go out of your way! Who knows who he really is? Who knows what great soul lays hidden in that tattered beggar? You never know… You never know. All you can know that is if someone asks, they must certainly need.

One day a beggar came to see the Holy Israel, Master of the Name. He was angry and depressed. “What kind of a God do you have. I used to be rich – I helped many people. But now look at me – I have lost everything. It’s not fair. How did such a fate fall upon me?!” And with that the beggar broke down into tears.

Chinese Mother of Pearl Lacquer Box with Peony Decor“Sweet Yossele,” said Israel, Master of the Name. “All the mysteries are in your own life. Think back to Yom Kippur six years ago.”

And now the master Israel had Yossele’s complete attention. For how did he know that his name was Yossele – and how could he know what he had done six years ago? Master Israel continued. “It was a fast day, the holiest day of the year. A day when we pray all day long. People on that day are at their weakest, but also at their highest. You remember, Yossele, that you brought the snuff box to the prayer service?” For although on this fast day eating is proscribed, fragrance is permitted. Often, as in the prayer fellowship I grew up in, snuff boxes would be passed around, to offer fragrance to revive the spirits for prayer.

”Do you remember, asked Master Israel, how you went around to all the congregants giving snuff to everybody?” Yossele, now spellbound, could only nod silently. “Well there was a beggar in the back of the room, lying lifelessly on a bench. You said to yourself – just for a second, ‘Why should I walk back there for him? He can come up to me to get his snuff.” Yossele was overwhelmed as he recalled for the first time that fleeting thought. “Well,” continued Master Israel “that beggar hadn’t eater for three full days. If only you knew how much he needed that pinch of snuff! He was so inside of his prayer that the heavenly gates were wide open… listening to his every word, his every sigh.

“When the holy angels saw that you did not walk back and give this holy soul some snuff, that was it – they were enraged! They decreed you should lose all your money and that the beggar should become wealthy instead of you. Well, that beggar is now the wealthiest man in your town.”

At this point, Yossele’s contrition turned to anger. “You mean that beggar has all of my money? What chutzpah! How do I get it back?”

“Actually, you can get it back,” answered Master Israel with a twinkle in his eye. “If you can find a time when you ask him for a pinch of snuff, and he refuses, at that moment all of that lost wealth will be returned to you.”

Read the whole story here…

 

New Thought Leader Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni Discuss the Topic of Evil

Ken WilberMarc Gafni teaching at Venwoude

Dr. Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber meet by phone regularly to discuss new thought on a wide range of topics, including the future unfolding of the Center and its initiatives. At the core of their work is key book that is slated for release in the Summer of 2015 on World Spirituality Based On Integral Wisdom Principles. This will be the source code book which their other books will emerge from and reference.

On this note, we’d like to share a dialogue that will appear in a different form in the book: a beautiful conversation about how the evolved and awake human being engages evil and suffering.

An excerpt:

Marc Hello everyone. Mega-Pandit Ken Wilber, it is a delight to be with you, sir.

Ken Yes, sir.

Marc Yes, sir, and we are here for our Thought Leader Dialogue Series, and I’m here with Ken Wilber who is an initiating thought leader of world spirituality based on Integral principles, and the thought leader in the Integral Movement, and a deep partner and visionary and really active in charting the course of the Center for Integral Wisdom. And we’re here to talk about the word that is live spelled backwards, evil, evil, which is a topic that, friends, doesn’t come up often. And, Ken, I think it would be fair to say that even in Integral Theory it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, although it’s implicit in many, many conversations, but it’s not that often that it’s explicit, and, of course, it’s one of the great questions. So, Ken and I are going to just go back and forth and really have what may be the first major Integral dialogue on this topic.

Any number of people have told me, Ken, that you and I spoke about this, and I went back to see it before we talked today, that you and I spoke about this in 2005 with Patrick Sweeney at the Integral Spiritual Center, the first meeting. If you remember, the last day was an open day for the public?

Ken Right.

Marc And a number of people asked us questions about evil, and you and I had, what people said to me, was really one of the very rare Integral exchanges on this topic. So that was way back in the day.

Ken Yeah, well, evil dropped out basically with modernity.

Listen to this vibrant dialogue and read the whole transcript>>>

 

Unique Self and the Future of Medicine

Our Board of Directors members Venodhar Rao Julapalli, M.D. and Vinay Rao Julapalli, M.D., F.A.C.C. have written an exciting white paper about Unique Self and the Future of Medicine and we have just published it on our website.

Credit: http://www.glsciencesinc.com - /images/Word_Collages/

Credit: http://www.glsciencesinc.com – /images/Word_Collages/

There is a dire need for the integration of the art, science, and morality of medicine. This paper explores the deep implications of the Unique Self in integrating medicine. Co-authors and physicians Venu and Vinay Julapalli call on their extensive understanding of the promises and pitfalls of modern health care to reconceive the practice of medicine. The paper provides the framework to evolve medicine through the emergent Unique Self insight. At stake is no less than the future of how we care for ourselves and each other.

Read the introduction and download the whole article here.

 

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…]

Ten Commitments of World Spirituality Based on Integral Principles by Marc Gafni

haertmeditation_markgafni

The Commitment to the Enlightenment of Fullness:

The journey begins with a recognition of the fullness and depth of reality and to the specific experience and innate dignity of every human life. Every human being has an innate right to participate with joy in the fullness and depth of reality. [Read more…]

Wisdom for Your Week: Thought Leader Dialogue between Richard Barrett and Marc Gafni: The Unique Self and Societal Development: The Path of Societal Transformation

Corporate Social Responsibility In Word Collage by David Castillo Dominici

©David Castillo Dominici, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Listen to Richard Barrett, founder and chairman of the Barrett Values Centre and author of many books—e.g. What My Soul Told Me, The New Leadership Paradigm, and Building a Values Driven Organization—and Marc Gafni as they talk about an exciting new role that nations and our democratic systems can play in the evolution of consciousness, when they awaken to their Unique Selves, and what that might mean.

You can also listen to the first two parts of the dialogue and read a summary or partial transcript here:

[Read more…]

Spirit in the Public Square: Outrageous Love in Response to Outrageous Pain — Awakening Our Evolutionary Unique Selves

 

Join us in our response of Outrageous Love to Outrageous Pain

Join us as the Integral World Spirituality Community gathers to talk and act in Response to Outrageous Pain Anywhere and Everywhere in the World.

We live in a world of outrageous pain. Boston, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Congo, Kenya, Jerusalem, Manhattan, Bangladesh. Outrageous pain is everywhere.Broken HeartSquare

The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.

There is an outrageous act of love that the worlds needs from you. No one else but you is capable of addressing that unique corner of Un-Love and healing it into Love.

This is why, in light of the recent tragedies in the U.S., we are holding a special, live, Public Square Phone Event next Tuesday, April 23, with Dr. Marc Gafni and Riane Eisler.haertmeditation_markgafni

Full information here—>

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

Outrageous Tragedy and Outrageous Love

Connecticut-shooting-vigil-3-jpgA boy walks into a school and kills twenty-seven people.
For no reason. Most of the children between age five and ten.
We live in a world of outrageous pain.
The only response to a world of
outrageous pain is outrageous love.
We need to become outrageous lovers.

In the same sense that the twenty-seven murders in Connecticut on December 14th are outrageously horrific beyond expression, our response must be outrageously loving beyond imagination. For every bullet of outrageous pain that destroyed life we must respond with missiles of outrageous love that affirm life. What might that mean?

Listen to “Outrageous Tragedy and Outrageous Love,” a 5-minute audio with Marc Gafni (in conversation with Bryan Franklin and Jennifer Russell).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I invite you, dear beloved friend and reader, to answer that question yourself and share it here.

Tell us what personal or communal acts of outrageous love might you or we as a collective do to respond to the outrageous pain?

Would Jesus, Krishna, and Buddha have been best friends?

Note: The following dialogue transcript is taken from the conversation between Marc Gafni and Dada conducted in December 2012. The entire dialogue is currently available for a very limited time at the Imaginal World website.

We need to actually grow up to higher and higher levels of consciousness. The way we do it is we have to tell the story. We need to teach about levels of consciousness. People don’t even know they exist. There are clear and distinct stages of consciousness. That needs to become part of our vocabulary.

We need to being looking at where are we on the map. Where’s my people? Am I egocentric? Ethnocentric? Worldcentric? Cosmocentric? That’s just one simple way of talking about levels of consciousness. It’s really easy. Every one of our holy listeners, who are awesome and thank you and deep bow, can get that.

Egocentric: my felt sense of concern is me and my people, my family, people who help me survive.

Ethnocentric, which is a leap of consciousness: I have expanded my circle of care and concern to those in my circle, my country, my tribe, my religion.

Worldcentric: I actually have a felt sense of caring and concern for actually every human being in the world.

Cosmocentric: I’m even wider and more expanded. I have a felt sense of care and concern for every sentient being, for the cosmos, for past, present, and future, and I’m awakened to the divine in me and I’m acting as a divine agent catalyzing and taking the responsibility for this whole story that we’re in, because you started the story. You were there at the Big Bang. Where else could you have been? Because it’s your story, step up, take responsibility for it, play in it, in all the ways you can in your life.

Those four levels of consciousness, ego-, ethno-, world-, and cosmo-centric: that’w what I mean by levels of consciousness. it’s just a simple way to talk about it. We’ve got to grow up, and we need to wake up.

[Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 7

Conventional understandings of the shadow (the term first used in psychology by Carl Jung to describe the unconscious) leave many students of psychology befuddled or confused. Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni have charted groundbreaking perspectives on shadow which deepen our awareness of what it means to be human and how we can lives more fully conscious lives. Wilber’s contribution, described in Transformations of Consciousness as well as other books, connects shadow to issues in the navigation from one fulcrum of consciousness to the next. Gafni’s contribution, articulated in Your Unique Self, describes shadow as a distortion of Unique Self or an unlived part of one’s unique story.

Listen to the dialogue and read a partial transcript: [Read more…]

Marc Gafni and Charles Randall Paul: The Roots of Individuality

Charles Randall Paul, Ph.D., is one of the most creative leading edge orthodox theologians in the world today. He is board chair, founder, and president of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. He has lectured widely and written numerous articles on healthy methods for engaging differences in religions and ideologies, and he is currently completing two books: Fighting about God: Why We Do It and How to Do It Better and Converting the Saints: An American Religious Conflict. He is on the board of editors for the International Journal of Decision Ethics. Charles is also a member of the Wisdom Council of the Center for World Spirituality.

Today the Spirit’s Next Move blog features a 25-minute audio conversation between Dr. Charles Randall Paul and Dr. Marc Gafni, director of CWS and scholar-in-residence. In this segment, Gafni establishes the essential contours of Unique Self teaching on enlightenment and Paul asks for clarification regarding its implications for Eastern enlightenment. Gafni says that unattachment is a higher integral embrace of East and West, and its general position is that nobody is entirely wrong. Every great system has its own understanding that is true and partial, he says. The great understanding of the East is that to move beyond suffering, you have to move beyond your identity as a separate self. And Unique Self retains that central insight by incorporating the teaching that separateness is the source of suffering but it is different from uniqueness.

Charles takes issue with Marc at times, as their exchange on the nature of Western enlightenment in the Renaissance shows, along a path towards a greater shared understanding. They agree that the roots of Western individualism can be traced back both to Christianity as well as the Judaism’s teaching of Imago Dei, but neither religion fully escaped ethnocentrism. It was not until the Renaissance, Marc says, that the individual is given dignity qua individual without being located in a particular religious context.

Listen to the audio: [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Alexander and the Eye of Acquisition

A Story from Marc Gafni:

The rapist, the corporate raider, the Don Juan, and the conqueror are always taking. The sad result is that they never give and therefore never receive. Therefore, the more they take, the less they have. As a result they always remain empty. For many of the biblical mystics, the symbol of conquest was Alexander the Great. He took almost the entire known world of his day. Yet, insisted the masters, without becoming a lover, Alexander would necessarily remain empty.

The legend tells of Alexander finding the Garden of Eden, symbol of all fulfillment, on the African continent. Now the Talmudic masters have a little bit of a soft spot for Alexander. They saw in him not only a conqueror but also a wisdom seeker. So along the way to Eden, Alexander is depicted as growing wiser and slowly divesting the personality of a pure taker.

In one of his adventures Alexander is confronted by an army of women warriors – mythological symbols of Eros and Shechina. They say to him, “It is not worth your while to attack us. For if we kill  you – you will be known as ‘the king killed by women,’ and if you kill us you will be known as ‘the cruel king who killed women.’” A lesson in the futility of taking.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Every generation is part of the unfolding revelation of divinity

R. Kook, twentieth century philosopher mystic, teaches that every generation is part of the unfolding revelation of divinity.  Each generation, picking up from where the last one left off, moves closer to understanding the full depth and divinity of sacred rites and passages. In this sense the “covenant between me and the children of Israel”  is not only between God and the people – but “between”  the children of Israel…. and their children ….and their children – a covenant between generations. Israel means for me, borrowing a reading from my teacher Mordechai Lainer of Izbica, based on a close and creative reading of the original Hebrew, Yashar El; the direct apprehension of the divine.

The community of Israel are those who receive tradition reverentially and yet seek their own unmediated experience of divinity as the lodestone of their spiritual and ethical journey.  In this covenant each generation promises its forbearers to continue the journey of unfolding divinity though the prism of our questing souls.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears (forthcoming 2013)

Daily Wisdom: On corporate kindness

By Marc Gafni

Yet, corporations in the end are made up of real people, and real people all have the potential to be lovers.

The following is an excerpt from an acceptance speech made by Howard Schultz, the chairman and chief global strategist of Starbucks.

 “When I was in Israel, I went to Mea Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox area within Jerusalem. Along with a group of businessmen I was with, I had the opportunity to have an audience with Rabbi Finkel, the head of a yeshiva there. I had never heard of him and didn’t know anything about him. We went into his study and waited ten to 15 minutes for him. Finally, the doors opened.

What we did not know was that Rabbi Finkel was severely afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. He sat down at the head of the table, and, naturally, our inclination was to look away. We didn’t want to embarrass him.

We were all looking away, and we heard this big bang on the table: “Gentlemen, look at me, and look at me right now.” Now his speech affliction was worse than his physical shaking. It was really hard to listen to him and watch him. He said, “I have only a few minutes for you because I know you’re all busy American businessmen.” You know, just a little dig there.

Then he asked, “Who can tell me what the lesson of the Holocaust is?” He called on one guy, who didn’t know what to do–it was like being called on in the fifth grade without the answer. And the guy says something benign like, “We will never, ever forget.” And the rabbi completely dismisses him. I felt terrible for the guy until I realized the rabbi was getting ready to call on someone else. All of us were sort of under the table, looking away–you know, please, not me. He did not call me. I was sweating. He called on another guy, who had such a fantastic answer: “We will never, ever again be a victim or bystander.”

[Read more…]

World Spirituality Unplugged: “What is a purpose-driven business?: John Mackey and Marc Gafni in Dialogue, Part 2″

This is the second installment of World Spirituality Unplugged, a regular new column on this website which will feature highlights from the Center for World Spirituality’s substantial audio and video archives. The audio clip posted here (less than 10 minutes) is an excerpt from a 2010 dialogue between John Mackey and Marc Gafni, originally recorded for the Future of Love Teleseries, an online event co-sponsored by CWS.

Marc Gafni, as you are well aware, is the Director and Scholar-in-Residence for the Center. John Mackey is  the Chairman and CEO of a $4 billion Fortune 500 company. Mackey was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2003. John is a strong believer in FLOW principles, including free market principles and empowerment management. He is also one of the most influential advocates in the movement for organic food. Whole Foods was the first grocery chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Victims and Pseudo-Victims

The pseudo-victim has genuine options which she refuses to action; she refuses to turn fate into destiny and cries more than it hurts. Another kind of pseudo-victim also may have some level of real hurt but more often than not the hurt is more imagined than real and being a victim is a freely chosen role which has many hidden benefits which the pseudo-victim seeks to exploit. The hidden victims of pseudo-victims therefore are real victims.

The underlying dogma of the Culture of Victimization is the location of human evil outside the human being. This belief significantly undermines the God field. The premise is simply that since human beings are naturally good, all evil must be the result of some external force which warps natural human goodness. The argument between the very many streams of thought who affirm this position is merely about which cause, external to the person, actually is the major factor in causing evil. For Marxists, it is the capitalist structure of economies and societies; for the staunch Republican it might be big government or television violence or liberals. For liberals it might be the old church or handguns or patriarchy.

— Marc Gafni, The Dance of Tears

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…]

C. R. Paul’s Report on A Conference on Religious Diplomacy In Tehran and Qom, Islamic Republic of Ir (By Charles Randall Paul)

IranPreamble: The Theory Behind My Going to Iran

It is customary for politicians in the USA to end important speeches with a public prayer: “May God bless America.” It attempts to unite the people in support of a leader’s program by signaling a majority consensus of the need for divine assistance to promote liberty and justice for all in a flourishing social order that does not perish from the earth. America is an exceptional place because it has not trashed its ideal of responsible freedom for all people even though it had to be chastened to repent of sins of theft of land from Indians and life from slaves. Americans uniquely have come over time to feel the vital importance of continuous contestation of fundamental religious beliefs and moral values without the majority imposing its belief system by violence or legal coercion (in most cases at least).

Americans, to continue their positive influence, now need to find the faith and courage to publicly ask God to bless The Islamic Republic of Iran and all the peoples in the Holy Land and Everyone Everywhere else too. A god that only blesses America is a deity too small for anyone to seriously worship these days. And we know it in our hearts. We need a strong defense program and a thriving economy and a rebirth of courage to use moral leadership in a cynical world that reduces all actions to acquisition of material power. So we have come to remember (9/11 helped) the third leg of social/political power is collective idealism—the purpose for which we desire to live as a society beyond being free, secure and wealthy. [Read more…]