July 21, 2019

Unique Self and Creating Your Life on Purpose

Join us for a new free event, “Unique Self and Creating your Life on Purpose”! On Thursday, Dec 6 at 6pm PT (9pm PT) Marc Gafni with be joined by Anodea Judith, author of Creating on Purpose, for a spirited discussion about the ideas contained in both their new books.

For more information, see:

http://uniqueself.com/welcome-friends-of-anodea-judith/

http://www.creatingonpurpose.net/Home_Page.html

Long concerned with the future of humanity, and passionate about awakening our collective potential, Anodea Judith has dedicated her life to healing the wounds in our personal and collective psyches. Her best-selling books on the chakras and global change have placed her among the evolutionary thought leaders of our time.

Anodea Judith holds a doctorate in Health and Human Services, with a speciality in Mind-Body healing, and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Her best-selling books on the chakra system, marrying Eastern and Western disciplines, have been considered groundbreaking in the field of Transpersonal Psychology and used as definitive texts in the U.S. and abroad. With over 500,000 books in print, and translations in 15 languages, her books have won her the reputation of solid scholarship and international renown as a dynamic speaker and workshop leader.

Anodea is founder and director of Sacred Centers, a teaching organization for life-affirming paths of wisdom. She taught with Lion Goodman for many years, co-creating the material for manifestation through the chakras through their many workshops worldwide.

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 on the positive and shadow sides of the interfaith movement

Marc Gafni, Director of the Center for World Spirituality, reflects on the article by Rabbi David Rosen, writing in Huffington Post (described in a recent blog post here) which gave his view on the importance of the launch on Monday of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. In this 22-minute audio clip, Spirit’s Next Move Executive Editor Joe Perez invites Marc to reflect on this important moment in the emergence of the global religious interfaith movement.

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…]

World Spirituality Unplugged: Four Audiences for World Spirituality

Recorded in 2010, Marc Gafni’s “Who’s Out There? Dual Citizens?” explores the audiences for a World Spirituality.

There are two broad groups of people out there we need to understand as we lay the foundation for spirit’s next move, an emergent World Spirituality.

Group One. People who are part of an ethnocentric religion (“We got the truth, you don’t,”) 70% of the world is hanging out over there.

The second group is people who have for whatever set of religion moved beyond the world religions. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, whatever. They no longer view themselves as part of the classical religions. Moreover, they don’t feel comfortable in the classical religions. They don’t feel held, addressed, compelled, invited.

Why? Lots of different reasons. Some of them may have actually internalized the critique of the religions introduced by modern thinking and post-modern thinking … and we’ll look at those critiques and where they are relevant and overstated. But whatever those critiques are, they have been incorporated into the Zeitgeist, the very fabric of our contemporary context.

Watch the video and read further below:

[Read more…]

Launch of new interfaith center in Vienna raises hopes

Rabbi David Rosen, writing in Huffington Post, explains the importance of the launch on Monday of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. The initiative was launched jointly by Austria, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, as well as an international organization headed by a nine-member board. Saudi King Abdullah played a key role in its founding including the enlistment of the Vatican as a partner in the center.

Rosen writes:

What makes this interfaith initiative so special is not just that it has been established by three governments or that it has a multifaith board. Rather, it is the fact that this initiative has come from the very heart of the Muslim world — from the custodian of the two holiest shrines of Islam. This gives it a unique standing and, hopefully, the potential to contribute globally.

While the center seeks to be a hub for interfaith work internationally and to provide state-of-the-art technology to help empower this work, it also explicitly seeks to address situations where religion is abused and exploited for violence and conflict, and to ensure that religion is part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

[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: First things first

From Ken Wilber’s “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

Even though you and I might deeply believe that the most important function we can perform is to offer auhentic transformative spirituality, the fact is, much of what we have to do, in our capacity to bring decent spirituality into the world, is actually to offer more benign and helpful modes of translation. In other words, even if we ourselves are practicing, or offering, authentic transformative spirituality, nonetheless much of what we must first do is provide most people with a more adequate way to translate their condition. We must start with helpful translations, before we can effectively offer authentic transformations.

The reason is that if translation is too quickly, or too abruptly, or too ineptly taken away from an individual (or culture), the result, once again, is not breakthrough but breakdown, not relapse but collapse.

To read the whole article, see KenWilber.com.

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

World Spirituality Unplugged: “What’s love got to do with business?: John Mackey and Marc Gafni in Dialogue, Part 1”

World Spirituality Unplugged is a regular new column on this website which will feature highlights from the Center for World Spirituality’s substantial audio and video archives which are more relevant than ever before. The short clip posted here (about 5 minutes) features an excerpt from a dialogue between John Mackey and Marc Gafni, recorded in 2010 for the Future of Love Teleseries, an online event for which CWS was a co-sponsor.

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…]

Gay enlightenment? A moment for LGBT spiritual revival

By Joe Perez

Posted today on the MyOutSpirit.com Blog:

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

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

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

Read the entire article…


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

CWS supports International Day of the Girl

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

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

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

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

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

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: How to choose political spiritual lovers

By Marc Gafni

To move towards a politics of love you do not need to found a new political party or national social movement. You need just a small group of people with a shared vision who are willing to stand together.

As anthropologist Margaret Meade said so succinctly,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Your political spiritual lovers should be chosen the same way you choose your spouse: shared visions and values.

Philosopher Maimonides, taking his cue from Aristotle, teaches that there are the three kinds of friendship communities. First, there are the pragmatic friends that help each other through life. Whether in carpool or the office or to round out a doubles game in tennis, these friends makes our lives more practically feasible. [Read more…]

Love in Action: Unique Self – Unique Projects

Integral Project Development: a way to consciously and actively participate in the Evolution of LOVE

By Kerstin Tuschik

So, alright: Let’s talk about Love!

For me, Love has always been the One force that moves the whole universe: the mysterious drive behind the big bang, the cosmic glue that linked elementary particles to atoms, atoms to molecules, molecules to cells, cells to organisms, up and up the evolutionary spiral until we get to human beings. And of course it doesn’t end here, but continues to expand our consciousness and drives our social and cultural development as a species as well as on a very personal scale.

Love for me is another name for God.

Yet, if all of this is so, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do people kill each other in wars about their respective worldviews? Why do more than 900 million people suffer from hunger worldwide while we are throwing food away, and we would technically be able to supply everyone with enough food? Why…? (Fill in your favorite Why here!)

The evolution of Love depends on us! God depends on us!

Growing up – responsibility for the creation process

The childhood of humanity is over, collectively we have approached adolescence with all the chaos this brings, and at least some of us are starting to grow into adulthood. Growing up here means to become conscious co-creators, partners of God, of Love, of evolution, and of course this also brings increased responsibility. Our actions and non-actions have an impact on All-That-Is. Let’s not become paralyzed by this, but do our homework to learn to master the creation process…

[Read more…]

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 11): How to Accomplish the Democratization of Enlightenment

By Marc Gafni

“How? How do we accomplish the democratization of enlightenment? The how… The answer to the how question is two-fold. One is intention and the other is practice. Intention means, “I intend towards enlightenment.” My intention in practice is not merely to obey the rules, not merely to satisfy my egoic need to be part of the whole, hot merely to be in alignment with the law.

My intention is to realize the true nature of my Identity and to have my goodness, my virtue, my love, my passion and compassion emerge naturally, spontaneously, organically from my true essence. I am actually commanded by my essence, and the command of my essence, the invitation of my essence, the Eros of my essence is far more powerful and transformative than any externally imposed command.

So the beginning is to set my intention towards my enlightenment, but not in the narcissistic, narrow way; the pursuit of a spiritual materialism, but rather to set my intention in love is to realize my true nature for the sake of the all…”

Watch the video:

[Read more…]

Conscious Capitalism: A Paradigm of Innovation and Transformation

Conscious CapitalistExecutive Summary

In March 2012 a group of prominent business leaders—including CEOs from Whole Foods, REI, the Container Store, IDEO, and 1800Flowers.com—met at Esalen to promote a more conscious paradigm of innovation, entrepreneurship, and free market capitalism. Building on the platform of ideas already being advocated by the Conscious Capitalism movement, this was the second conference in an annual series at Esalen that is helping to catalyze a new paradigm for doing business, Conscious Capitalism, which advocates simultaneously optimizing the interests of all stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, communities, and the planet, instead of maximizing shareholder value only. Recently, this new business paradigm has been gaining traction, as major companies realize that the conscious business paradigm is not simply a morally uplifting way to do business but actually results in greater economic gains and wellbeing for all constituents as well. Increasingly, this paradigm is showing that the embodiment of moral and spiritual values in the workplace also gives rise to greater employee productivity and customer loyalty.

In addition, during the second half of the conference the participants discussed new trends in innovation and design. Because governments cannot always solve troublesome social and ecological problems, creative design breakthroughs coming from the private, free market sector are likely to be applied more broadly in society. In particular, the cutting‐edge innovation is revealing that open source and group collaborations often result in the smartest solutions that are most likely to endure.

Overall, this conference series aims to restore the nobility of free enterprise, the integration of business with society, and the spirit of innovation as the true cornerstones of capitalism. A more spiritually integrated, valueladen, socially collaborative, and ecologically sensitive—that is, conscious—form of business practice is now emerging. What follows is a summary of some of the best practices and emerging trends

Monday

On Monday morning, the Director of the Center for World Spirituality, MarcGafni, launched the week’s conversations by suggesting that the conscious business paradigm is effectively integrating the Enlightenment of the West (individual dignity and free enterprise) with the Enlightenment of the East (mystical apprehension of the transcendent unity of humanity and life). When brought together into a new synthesis, these two Enlightenments reveal that one does not need to be separate from the concerns of others when living out one’s Unique Self” (Gafni’s term). As Gafni has put it: [Read more…]

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 10): What is Democratization of Enlightenment?

By Marc Gafni

“Now let’s begin to understand what we mean by the democratization of enlightenment. Once we bring Eastern and Western enlightenment into a higher integral embrace by disambiguating the confusion between separateness and uniqueness and therefore integrating the best intuition, insight and spiritual breakthrough understanding of both Eastern and Western enlightenment then we can have a genuine conversation about the democratization of enlightenment.

Every human being is a Unique Self. Every human being is a True Self. Every True Self is unique. There is no True Self in the manifest world which is not unique. Once we embrace uniqueness again as the expression of individuation, meaning the individuated expression of True Self, the personal face of essence, that is you, God’s signature written all over you, is God appearing in you as you, that’s Unique Self, we’ve removed the counter-intuitive sense of enlightenment which creates an obstacle and stands between the average human being who experiences their uniqueness and can’t understand an enlightenment teaching which tells them to reject their uniqueness.

Now we understand that the average intuition, the normal teaching of the human being which embraces uniqueness is correct and the enlightenment teaching that tells the human being to leave uniqueness behind because it conflates separateness and uniqueness is incorrect, at best partial…”

Watch the video:

[Read more…]

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 9): Integral Embrace of Eastern and Western Enlightenment

By Marc Gafni

“To take the next step, to move towards a higher integral embrace in which we can actually bring the Western and Easern enlightenment in conversation with each other. And again when I saw Eastern enlightenment, I mean also certain forms of mystical enlightenment which appeared in the West, but this is just shorthand. The way to bring them into a higher integral embrace, into a higher evolutionary unfolding, and to invite a kind of awakening in which the great goods of Eastern enlightenment and Western enelightenment are held together we need to understand and point out an essential mistake, an essential fallacy in both the Eastern understanding of enlightenment and Western enlightenment. Both of them made a central mistake which limits their understanding of each other. That mistake, that basic mistake, is a confusion or a conflation of separateness and uniqueness…”

Watch the video:

[Read more…]