January 20, 2018

Unique Self & Reincarnation with Marc Gafni & Michael Murphy – Part 8: On Using Discernment: The Many Ways to Pray

We are multidimensional human beings… When we pray, from what part of our Being are we praying from? The discussion continues learning the practice of prayer not as dogma, but as an empirical and experiential practice that has proven results. Learning to pray not from our small and separate ego drives, but from our Unique Self, is consciousness changing and transformative.

Unique Self and Reincarnation Part 7: East-West Enlightenment and a New Empiricism

What are the practical implications of reincarnation when we deconstruct dogma and embrace the many forms of empirical knowledge… as many as seventeen types of empirical knowing… that inform us of deeper human existential realities? Marc Gafni and Michael Murphy discuss Integral Transformative Practice.

Part 7: East-West Enlightenment and a New Empiricism

 

Unique Self and Reincarnation Part 5: Prayer and the Cosmic Vending Machine

If we take all theology and dogma out of the discussion, and look at empirical evidence, where do rigorous conversations on topics such as the positive effects of prayer or the possible reality of reincarnation take us?

Part 5 – “Prayer and the Cosmic Vending Machine”

Unique Self and Reincarnation Part 4: “Coming of Age in Relation to God”

Part 4 – “Coming of Age in Relation to God”

Marc continues the dialogue with his observations on cognitive bias – how people come to believe what they believe. It takes willingness and courage to objectively look at empirical evidence, and because the conversation on reincarnation has become associated with fringe metaphysical thinking, there has been a damper on the conversation regarding reincarnation and true human potential. – SR

 

 

 

Michael Murphy and Dr Marc Gafni Reincarnation Dialogue Parts 2 & 3

One Integral definition of “a postmetaphysical discussion on reincarnation” could be to attempt to integrate empirical first person transpersonal experiences with third person academic research and writing on reincarnation. Each domain has its proponents and biases. The challenge is in incorporating a phenomenological approach with credible research. It is in this spirit that Michael Murphy and Dr. Marc Gafni continue their discussion in Parts 2 and 3 of their dialogue on Reincarnation. – SR

Part 2 – Does Anything Happen After You Die?

Part 3 – The Reincarnation Research from the University of Virginia

True Self, Unique Self and the Infinity of Intimacy

Dr. Marc Gafni and Michael Murphy held an evening dialogue at a recent leadership meeting. The topic was on reincarnation, and the inquiry was, “How does a think-tank hold a credible post-metaphysical discussion on reincarnation?” What do we really think about reincarnation, and what is the narrative we want to evolve within a framework of Integral Theory, Evolutionary Love, Conscious Capitalism, and changing the source code of human consciousness, a few among the many think-tank concerns and initiatives?

This is Part 1 of a 9-part video series of that very entertaining and excellent discussion between Marc and Michael. Since his founding of the Esalen Institute in 1962, Michael has directly witnessed and experienced the modern exploration of reincarnation through transpersonal and spiritual processes, and Marc’s lifelong exploration of the nature of human existence and his evolution of Unique Self theory and practice compels him to discern the most credible philosophic framing for reincarnation possible.

Marc’s and Michael’s discussion was of particular interest to me because I worked for many years as an intensive care registered nurse, with seven years in AIDS units during the early days when death was inevitable. I was strongly called to Presence with patients and families facing death, and to evolve a gentler, more psychologically and spiritually mature approach to death within our culture. During those years I met many people who spoke quite convincingly about their near-death experiences. Later I became the training director for a transpersonal therapy association with past life therapy and pre-and perinatal regressions as central therapeutic processes, where I spent many years in private practice in dimly lit rooms bringing people through ostensible past life experiences. I have thought a great deal about these existential questions, and I loved that Marc and Michael tackled this topic from the angle of credibility because discussions of reincarnation are so easily swamped by metaphysical vagaries expressed with certainty. I know you will enjoy this entertaining and engaging evening dialogue between Marc and Michael, “True Self, Unique Self, and the Infinity of Intimacy.”

Steve Raymond

 

True Self Meditation for People with Dementia

by Steve Raymond

 

I met a lovely woman not much older than me in a coffee shop. She said something humorous, and we began a conversation that emotionally moved me because she was quite open with the fact that she is in Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease. She carried it well and very lightly, and shared her personal story with me quite eloquently.

In Monterey, I volunteered for too-short-a-time with the Alzheimer’s Association as a facilitator for a support group for people with Early Stage Alzheimer’s. The people in our group were mostly younger, ranging from 54 to 78, with three younger than 60. So, they were not just Early Stage, but also Early Onset. I say “too-short” because life changes brought me away from that work, and I felt very incomplete about it.

Photo by Julie M. Daley

Photo by Julie M. Daley

There are lots of sobering statistics and valuable information that are readily available at the National Alzheimer’s Association, with great advice for PWD’s (People with Dementia), and their caregivers. I have a somewhat different perspective to share.

Everyone in our Monterey group had clearly life-altering diminishment in their functional capacity. And yet, each person could be so acutely Present emotionally, and so aware of what was happening in their life and to their life.

One common thread in our conversations was the perceived stigma attached to the dementia. Very painfully, each described the experience of being stigmatized by the disease, as though they were now second-class citizens that are essentially written off by society as a hopeless case. This was what always brought forth the most visceral emotions, almost more than the experience of loss of abilities.

This prompted me to teach meditation to our group. In guided meditations, I would begin by having us find a place of calm centered Being-ness that existed separately from the false perceptions and judgements of others, and we would focus upon breathing in Self-Love, and owning the Truth that the dementia is a disease that is affecting their life, but that they could experience the Essence of Being entirely separate from the disease. I was always surprised that attention-span was not a problem. The group settled in comfortably for 20-minutes, and would emerge feeling a very peaceful and gentle sense of True Self Realization.
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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…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #23: Eternity or Death

Dark Tunnel With Light by pakorn

©pakorn, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego strives for immortality it can never achieve, and therefore displaces its grasping for eternity onto projects of control and conquest. The Unique Self experiences authentically what the ego longs for mistakenly—namely the recognition that it is divine and therefore eternal.

This distinction is essential and therefore deserves a brief clarification. The separate self emerges at a certain stage of human history and at a certain stage in the development of the individual human being. As the sense of separate self solidifies, so too does the terror of death. The person feels correctly that death is wrong, that they should not have to die. They feel that they are eternal and should live forever. They are right. The core intuition of immortality could not be more correct. But locked as they are in separate self ego awareness, they mis-apply that core intuition in two ways.

First, because they are utterly identified with the ego, they apply their intuition of immortality to the egoic separate self. They think that the ego will live forever. Second, because they are identified with the now-eternalized ego, and yet at the same time are gripped by the fear of death, which is oblivion to the ego, they seek all sorts of Viagra-like identity enhancers. They make the finite goods of the world into infinite goods. Money, surplus goods, power, accumulated pleasures—all become identity enhancers for the ego. Their purpose is to give the ego a felt sense of its immortality. But since the ego is not immortal, all of these death-denying immortality projects are doomed to failure.

Even though the ego does make these two essential mistakes, the ego’s intuitions are not wrong. When the mistakes are corrected at the level of Unique Self, the truth behind those intuitions can emerge. After you disidentify with your separate self, your Unique Self appears as a distinct and indivisible part of the eternal one. It is in your Unique Self that you realize your immortality. The Unique Self expresses correctly the mistakenly applied, but inwardly correct, intuition of the ego.

 

Further discussion:

A 2012 article in The Guardian has gone viral and is still circulating in social media: “Top five regrets of the dying.“ An Australian nurse in palliative care, Bronnie Ware, had for many years questioned her patients during the last 12 weeks of their lives about any regrets they might have. She has recorded their answers in a blog and eventually wrote a book about them.

When looking at these responses from a Unique Self perspective, we read of the patients regretting not having lived their Unique Selves: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” was the most common answer. [Read more…]

Unique Self in the World – “Slight Inklings: First Steps Towards a Celebration of Unique Self in Hospice”

It is a special privilege and delight this week to bring you an audio essay on Unique Self in hospice by Rev. John Hughes, entitled “Slight Inklings: First Steps Towards a Celebration of Unique Self in Hospice.”

John Hughes

John Hughes, founder of Integral Earth, ordained Episcopal priest, and Hospice Chaplain in Wisconsin.

Rev. John Hughes is known as “grandpappy” by two sweet little boys in Kentucky, he is known as “Dad” by two beautiful young women, and he is known as “dear husband” by a woman of vast integrity, in Wisconsin.  His cat doesn’t call him much.

By trade a spiritual caregiver at a hospice, John has had a checkered past, which included somehow becoming an ordained Episcopal priest and offering up his notions to two deeply merciful congregations.  He practices meditation, yoga, and immersion in Integral theory, while sometimes wallowing in confusion, and often rocking out to it in his car.  He is equally thrilled by Beat poetry, a swim, or a game of tennis, the sublime performance of the Green Bay Packers, and an incantation from Bob Dylan.  He is an earnest newcomer to Unique Self.

John has also recently launched the organization Integral Earth. He writes, “Integral Earth is my new organization promoting environmentalism, human rights, and spirituality, from an integral perspective.” You can check out more about this project on Facebook or Twitter.

(The transcript of the essay with supplemental interview follows the embedded audio.) [Read more…]

Faithful, expansive perspectives on Easter as a super-natural event

Easter

By Joe Perez

On the If Darwin Prayed blog, Bruce Sanguin asks himself good, tough questions about belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says:

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On the three different types of tears

Icicles

By Joe Perez

Soulfulness includes the ability to express deep and often sorrowful feeling. In tears, aspects of the soul are released from the body, flowing erotically from one soul beyond itself. Marc Gafni in The Dance of Tears (forthcoming, Integral Publishers) has even categorized three major types of tears:

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Simplicity Beyond Complexity: The Question Is the Answer (A Reponse to Suffering) by Marc Gafni

By Marc Gafni

Part I: The Question

One of the great teachings of the Integral Consciousness, which informs the emergent World Spirituality, is that frameworks matter.

The old world of the great traditions understood this very well. The framework is the meta-narrative, the big picture or worldview, the Great Story through which we interpret our experience.

To date in history, there have been three primary Great Stories. The pre-modern story was the story of simplicity, what I would call first simplicity. In terms of depth and interior enlightenment, this story was anything but simple in the simple-minded sense of things. It was the greatest interior view of the depths of kosmos, ever disclosed by the great human faculty of perception—the eye of the spirit. It was nonetheless, simplicity, because in large part[1], it claimed to have clear-cut answers to many of the great questions of Who we are, Why we are here, and Where we are going. Particularly, it claimed to offer clear and simple explanations of why human beings suffer or, said slightly differently, why bad things happen to good people. The Story was painful but simple. Suffering was a direct and clear part of the divine plan which human beings—if they looked deeply enough—were capable of understanding.

The Great Story of the old traditions was rejected by modernity and post-modernity. The profound simplicities were undermined and human kind found itself living in vast complexity. First Simplicity was replaced by a new complexity.

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