August 16, 2018

Unique Self Psychology and the New Enlightenment Blog: What Is “Mind?”

By Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D.

The word “psychology” was coined in the 16th century from the modern Latin psychologia which in turn is taken from the Greek psykhe meaning “breath, spirit, soul.” If these words signified similar things to the 16th century Greeks as they do to us you’d never know it. To sign up as a psychology major in any of the world’s mainstream universities in the early 21st century “psychology” is still described as “the science of mind and behavior.” As all historians of psychology know most of the emphasis in the last 200 years has been on the “behavior” piece. We are still “fuzzy” on the “mind” piece. If by “mind” we mean our mental experiences, sentience, and the field of awareness that these arise in we still come up short. There is growing evidence that “mind” is also a social phenomenon being sculpted dialectically by our interactions with other creatures and the environment. Also there is mounting evidence that at least the experiences of “mind” may be more affected by things like our gut bacteria than ever thought possible even 20 years ago. This may be thought of as another “interactional” dynamic. We carry more DNA for the bacteria that symbiotically work with us than the DNA of our own cells. All these interactions affecting our mental experience and what we call our “mind” seem to suggest more of a field effect than a solitary reality.

In physics, the field effect refers to modulating the electrical conductivity of a material by the application of an external electric field. I try to be very cautious about using similes from physics to discuss psychology. Here I want to relax my caution to use the simile two ways implying the “material” in the description of physics field effects is akin to our solitary experience of “mind” and the “field” in physics akin to the cacophony of situations and stimuli we are immersed in from cradle to grave. What I am pondering is whether what we colloquially refer to as “our mind” is possibly only one aspect of a vast and potentially infinite array of interactions, influences, and overlapping fields.

Ok so back to the two ways I am playing with the simile of field effect: First we know that much of our being relies on electrical activity including our brain. And we know that human brains electrically (and otherwise) entrain with other brains in the presence of certain stimuli. Some stimuli (experiences) are more entraining than others. Drumming and all music have the potential for strong entrainment as do physical activities done in groups like dance, sports, sex (imagine a dyad if the group thing bugs you here), and various “crowd phenomena like so-called “mob psychology” (and “no” this is not psychoanalysis of Vito Corleone but rather how people will do things in crowds they won’t do alone and where the increase of energy is almost wave-like in a so-called “mob happening.”).

Second I feel playing with the simile of field effect to describe “mind” is valid because we are all immersed in a series of fields whether you think of them concentrically or as an overlapping cacophony of potential influences. Part of training “mind” is discerning, focusing, and choosing from among those influences. Some are such that we can make them objects of awareness then “choose” to focus on them (for example choosing those people we will allow emotionally closest). Others are things we are totally immersed in and necessary for survival (like gut bacteria) or characterized by chaos patterns that make them more variable (crowds, things that happen to us, elements in the environments we physically inhabit).

In Personality Psychology or Psychotherapy Theory it is common to hear people describe themselves as a “community of selves.” Mind seems a similar phenomenon in that it is a seeming solitary experience that is one aspect of a vast and potentially infinite field of influences, interactions, symbiosis and accidents. In future blog entries I will discuss levels of the field of psychology in the context of Unique Self Psychology. We will also explore why “soul” keeps popping up in etymological explorations of the word “psychology.”

Integral Psychologist and Associate Academic Director for CIW Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and clinical counselor in Ohio. He is professor of counseling/counseling psychology and “Distinguished Faculty Member” at Cleveland State University. His research interests span a broad spectrum including psychopathology, mental health diagnosis, psychopharmacology, and spirituality in counseling and psychotherapy. He has authored or co-authored six books and dozens of peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on mental health related topics.

Elliott has been inspired and influenced by the Free Thought movement of the late 19th century and particularly by Robert Green Ingersoll, a leading freethinker of that time. He believes the most important skill for a human being is critical thinking seasoned with compassion. Elliott also is a singer/songwriter and creator of “FreeThought Folk Music” which he performs throughout Northeast Ohio. His CD “American Infidel” was released in 2013.

He has worked with Ken Wilber and the Integral Psychotherapy Team at Integral Institute since 2004 developing the Integral Psychotherapy approach. Integral Psychotherapy draws upon all validated psychotherapeutic approaches to help clients deal with psychological symptoms or live more fulfilling lives by removing barriers that come from living unconsciously. As an Integral Coach, he helps clients take action through motivation, methods of inquiry, and assisting clients in using the Integral Model to achieve their goals and improve their lives.

We wish all our readers a good and sweet year: L’Shanah Tovah U-Metukah. Read more about the cosmocentric rereading of the ritual of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year holiday, by Dr. Marc Gafni, here>>>
In Evolutionary Love,
The Center for Integral Wisdom Team

Elliott Ingersoll: How Do We Make This Real?

Dr. Elliott Ingersoll, Associate Academic Director of the Center for Integral Wisdom, gave a talk at our recent board meeting in Texas about how the Dharma of Outrageous Love and Unique Self is going to transform the field of psychology.

Dr. Marc Gafni introduces Elliott as the Integral psychologist (according to Ken Wilber) and the most popular professor for psychology at Kent State University.

In his serious, yet humorous way Elliott talks about his work at the Metro Health Medical Center and how through collaborative interdisciplinary efforts people’s lives have been changed because their stories have been heard. By having their stories heard people feel seen and loved.

“In being loved they are experiencing a wholeness that for whatever reasons they didn’t get in other parts of their lives… and their recovery is progressing at a pace that far outstrips what we were doing before…” Elliott reports.

He shares about his hope that Unique Self Psychology will transform the field: Students learning how to hold space and to really see the other person and experiencing themselves as being seen will carry that experience into their therapy sessions. This –although a little scary in the beginning–is pretty contagious and it is what will transform the field.

“Nature loves diversity–genetically, psychologically and spiritually. Every one of us has a plate. Every one of us has a way to deal with our plate. And that’s the piece of Unique Self that we want to bring into psychology.”

Listen to Elliott as he takes us on a journey from the flatland psychology that has “physics envy” through the effects of psychotropic medication to the possibilities of a psychology transformed by Outrageous Love and Unique Self:

 

Some interesting statements and questions Elliott raises in his talk:

  • Who will be a voice for those people who don’t have a voice?
  • Outrageous Love is missing in so much of our health care.
  • The uniqueness of people is muted with psychotropic medication.
  • There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain. We don’t have one physiological marker for any mental disorder.
  • You cannot medicate anger out of a person.
  • WHEN psychotropic medication works, we don’t know how.
  • Outrageous Pain cannot be held by ego. Unique Self can hold it and can deal with a piece of it and be excited about what’s on “my plate.”
  • When people are being seen they stay and get the treatment they need to get better.

To listen to Dr. Marc Gafni’s teaching during The Shakti Summit 2015 on Outrageous Love and a new vision for the Masculine and the Feminine Beyond Venus and Mars, click here>>>

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…]

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…]

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…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #24 – Pleasure: Delusion or Divine

from Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of domdeen

©2012 photo courtesy of domdeen

Money, power, and pleasure, when experienced at the level of ego, appear separate from the divine field and trap you in the clutches of grasping and striving. When experienced from the level of enlightened consciousness, money, power, and pleasure are expressions of your Unique Self touching the divine. Pleasure from the place of Unique Self is experienced as a divine caress reminding you that the world is sane and good. Ego pleasures feel narcissistic, and solidify the coiled contraction into small self. They never satisfy; you are constantly driven to get more and more, and someone else’s pleasure makes you feel your own lack. The same pleasure experienced from the consciousness of Unique Self expands your heart and consciousness into the love-intelligence, love-beauty, and love-pleasure of All-That-Is. You are satisfied by even the simplest pleasure, and you delight in the pleasure of others.

Similarly, power and money grasped by the ego seek to support the false belief of the separate self that it will live forever. Power and money are used to accumulate goods you do not need, and to acquire superficial control over others in order to assure yourself that you are valuable and worthy. Money and power experienced from the consciousness of Unique Self are gracefully and skillfully deployed with delight for the greater good of all beings.

Separate from the divine field, money, pleasure, and power appear as foolish and even grotesque identity enhancers for the ego. This becomes radically apparent whenever we encounter death. The ego is confused. It fails to discern between separateness and uniqueness, and so the goods of existence are hijacked to serve its own impossible goal of survival—separate from the larger field of love-beauty-pleasure-intelligence from which it was never separate and never can be separated.

Correct intuitions that are hijacked and misapplied by the ego are contextualized and reclaimed at the level of Unique Self. These include eternity and the finite goods of the world, the goodness of pleasure, the divine aspect of power, and more. All of these are reclaimed without grasping at the level of Unique Self.

Further Discussion:

One of the things Dr. Marc teaches us to recognize about pleasure is that it is not pain’s opposite. In fact, he teaches:

The opposite of pain is comfort. To achieve pleasure you must be willing to bear the discomfort of being displeasing to yourself, of feeling worthless, inadequate, depressed. It is only by sitting in the pain that you can find the pleasure. (p. 282 of Unique Self) [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #21: Special Relationship or Open as Love

Exclusive Rubber Stamp by Stuart Miles

©Stuart Miles, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

Your ego always seeks the “special relationship”—in the egoic sense—to cover the pain of your emptiness, and thinks the “special relationship” is better than all the rest of your relationships. The Unique Self does not limit love to one person, even though the traditional definition of marriage or a committed relationship can limit you to one partner at a time. The Unique Self lives open as love in the world.

 

 

Further discussion:

VIP by Salvatore Vuono

©Salvatore Vuono,
www.freedigitalphotos.net

Our ego, which is our contracted self-sense of being merely a separate self, separate from the All-that-is, feels the pain of that separation and contracts even more. It wants to cover up that pain. It wants to cover up that nagging feeling of emptiness. So, it always looks for that one “special” person who is worthy of being connected to, that “special relationship” that will make “me” special, too. And because no one can ever do that, it will leave a trail of unhappy and often failed relationships. [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #15: Bigger or Smaller

Baby's Hand Holding Mother's Finger by gubgib, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©Baby’s Hand Holding Mother’s Finger by gubgib, www.freedigitalphotos.net 

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

When you are in ego, people feel smaller when you walk into the room. They feel invisible before you. The result is that they feel depleted and in danger. When you are in your Unique Self, people feel bigger when you walk into the room. They feel seen by you. They feel your desire to love and give to them.

 

 

Further discussion:

Don’t we all recognize that? Somebody walks into a room, and we immediately feel smaller? And in somebody else’s company we feel great, empowered, seen, and loved?

But why is this so? Aren’t those feelings of smallness and our dependency on other people’s acknowledgement related to our own bad self-esteem, as much of the New Age popular psychology makes us believe? [Read more…]

Open Heart or Closed Heart – Distinction between Unique Self and Ego #8

By Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles

 

When the ego’s heart breaks, then the heart closes and contracts. When the Unique Self’s heart breaks, the heart opens through the pain into greater love. For your ego, the interior face of the kosmos is at best a concept. For Unique Self, the interior face of the kosmos is the infinity of intimacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Discussion: [Read more…]

Joy or Fear: Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #7

Multicolored Ink Drop by posterize, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by posterize

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

The Unique Self is in joy. Joy is the natural by-product of living your Unique Self story. The ego is rarely happy and often plagued by an underlying feeling of fear, deadness, or depression. The happiness that the ego does experience is of a heavier and less richly textured quality than the joy of the Unique Self. The joy of the Unique Self is lighter and freer, often verging on the ecstatic.

 

For further discussion:

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” ~ Erich Fromm

Joy has become front and center in our everyday psychology. And we often feel that there is something wrong with us when we don’t feel happy all the time. The pursuit of happiness is even one of our constitutional rights.

But what do we mean by that? And why is joy called a by-product here if it is that important? [Read more…]

Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni in Dialogue: Unique Self Therapy (Part 8)

Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber continue the Unique Self dialogues with a segment of great interest to anyone concerned about healing modalities. Beginning with the opening question, “What would a Unique Self therapy look like?” and continuing on to groundbreaking discussion of nondual spiritual practice, this exchange provides numerous insights. From Wilber’s perspective, the essence of Unique Self therapy is uncovering the lies that we tell about ourselves, including lies about our grandeur. Wilber and Gafni concur that the Tibetan Buddhist practice of yidam (or “divine pride”) offers valuable wisdom that can be adapted for use within an integral Unique Self healing context.

This clip is a 16-minute excerpt which follows immediately from Part 7 on Unique Shadow. In the previous conversation, the pandits conclude that uniqueness paradoxically appears as a spontaneous level of consciousness at “second-tier,” the structure in which consciousness becomes more capable of looking at itself. They saw that key in charting the Unique Self’s position and understanding the nature of shadow is understanding is the relationship to levels of consciousness. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: A Paradigm Shift in Understanding Joy

imgres-1Joy, teach the Kabbalists, is both a source and a conduit of energy.  The word most often associated in Kabbalah with joy is chiyut, roughly translated as “life energy,” somewhat like the Chinese notion of chi.  To be happy is to be plugged into the chiyut of the Uni-verse.  The portal to that energy is the self, the vital Unique Self.  At the same time, once you are plugged in, the joy itself is not only an energy source but also serves as a medium to channel ever-more divine energy.

Dr.Marc Gafni
Your Unique Self
Page 224

Daily Wisdom: Joy is more than an attitude; it is a potent and powerful source of energy.

 imgres-2By Marc Gafni

The idea of joy as divine energy is expressed by the Kabbalists in many different codes.  Let me share one of them with you.

A favorite epigram of the Kabbalists is simcha poretz geder:  “Joy breaks through all fences.”  One Kabbalist, the master Simcha Bunim (whose first name actually means “happiness”), used this epigram to give a novel explanation of a famous mystical passage, “All the gates are locked, the gates of tears are never locked.”  Traditionally, this verse has been taken to extol the power of a broken heart to break through all barriers when all other avenues have proven ineffective.  When nothing else works, tears can still open the gates.

In a subtle twist, Simcha Bunim turns the passage on its head:  If you are sad, he says, then you can enter only if the gate is unlocked, already wide open.  Thus, God has no choice but to leave the gates of tears unlocked.  If you are joyous, however, then you can get through even the gates that are locked.  After all, simcha portez geder, “Joy breaks through all fences.”

Dr. Marc Gafni
Your Unique Self
Page 224, 225

Unique Self and Levels of Consciousness

In this lively dialogue, Don Beck, Katherine Woodward Thomas, and Dr. Marc Gafni explore the relationship between Unique Self and Levels of Consciousness. Dr. Marc begins with an introduction to his latest teaching, Unique Self, and defines for us the differences between Unique Self and True Self. The dialogue takes a deeper dive as Don, Katherine, and Marc take a journey up and down the spiral and look at Unique Self as it expresses itself through the different levels of consciousness. If you’re ready to take the next step on your Unique Self journey, then this dialogue is for you!

Don Beck has been developing, implementing, and teaching the evolutionary theory of Spiral Dynamics for more than three decades. Beck has elaborated upon the work of his mentor, Clare Graves, to develop a multidimensional model for understanding the evolutionary transformation of human values and cultures.

Katherine Woodward Thomas a national bestselling author of Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love Of Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2004) and creator and lead coach of the highly acclaimed Calling in “The One” 7 week transformative process. She is also a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker and the co-creator and co-leader of the Feminine Power transformative courses and the Feminine Power Global Community, a thriving learning community serving thousands of women worldwide.

Listen… [Read more…]

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…]

Addiction recovery methodologies in search of more comprehensive perspectives

Where are all the four-quadrant, all levels of self (egoic self, True Self, Unique Self) approaches to addiction and recovery? The Center for World Spirituality has taken one of its core projects books and applications of integrally-informed, Unique Self-inclusive approaches to addiction and recovery (for more, see our projects underway by Lori Galperin of Castlewood Treatment Centers). Meanwhile, researchers and thinkers are continuing to advance the cutting edge in recovery from various perspectives that are important parts of the whole.

Writing recently on Huffington Post, Wray Herbert looks at the physiology and psychology of addiction (upper-left and upper-right quadrants), summarizing the findings of Jessica Tracy and Daniel Randles of a new University of British Columbia on the connection between shame and alcoholism. He describes the UBC Emotion & Self Lab’s study methodology in detail, noting that it used videotaped body language of alcoholics over a span of time to measure the connection between shame and propensity to relapse. He writes:

This is the first scientific evidence to bolster what alcoholism counselors and recovering alcoholics have long known: Shame is a core emotion underlying chronic heavy drinking. Shame is what gets people into the rooms of AA — it defines the alcoholic “bottom” — but it’s a lousy motivator for staying in recovery. The power of AA is that it offers something to replace the negative emotions that most alcoholics know all too intimately.

[Read more…]

The refusal to love always means the desperate desire to retain control at all costs

This spiritual law of the universe plays itself out in many hidden ways which you need to recognize if you truly want to return to love. I want to outline for you areas where, in order to become a lover, you need to give up control. Just as the Hebrew mystics portrayed the God lover as stepping back in order to make space for world, so do we need to step back to create space for our love to flow. First, if we love ourselves, we have to give up our need to be perfect. If you don’t love yourself then you expect perfect self control. If you do love yourself, then you have to allow room for imperfection and failure. Emerson was right when he wrote, “There is a crack in everything that God has made.”

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in. — Leonard Cohen

For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.
—W. B. Yeats, “Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop”

Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

 

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

What is pleasure? A short dharma talk with Marc Gafni

By Marc Gafni

I want to share with you a little dharma talk I gave earlier this year in response to the question, “What is pleasure?” If you’re accustomed to the standard answer which says that pleasure is Hedonic, you are in for a surprise.

Listen to the audio below (about five minutes) and follow along the transcript provided.

What is pleasure? Pleasure is the universe caressing us. Pleasure is the feeling that the personal face of essence intends me to be held and loved and pleasured.

Pleasure reminds me that the world is sane, that the world intends and holds my pleasure.

In fact there’s this gorgeous 3rd century Aramaic text that talks about the moment of transition, the moment we move from this life to the next life. There’s the tunnel and the light and in all the cross-cultural appearances of this story, there’s judgment. There’s life review that happens. [Read more…]