December 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

My Unique Self in the Third Person

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

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

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

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

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…]

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…]

Ego Story or Unique Self Story Reloaded – Ego and Unique Self Distinction #25

Paper Cut Of Dragon And Child by jannoon028

©jannoon028, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

Your egoic story can be taken away by the circumstances of life. Your Unique Self story can never be taken away from you.

Ego can be taken away from you. Unique Self can never be taken away from you.

 

Further discussion:

In his book Your Unique Self Dr. Marc continues with a beautiful, very personal, and deeply touching story, which shall be reserved for its readers. Another example for this would be the story of the great Rebbe of Piaseczno, who has found and lived his Unique Self story in the midst of the greatest destruction, so beautifully told by Dr. Marc in this video series.

For the conclusion of our series on the distinctions between Unique Self and Ego, it remains to be said: It is time to put it all to work in our daily lives, in our personal Unique Self stories… [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…]

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…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #18: Responsibility or Excuse

File With Excuses Word by Stuart Miles

©Stuart Miles, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego very rarely takes substantive responsibility. When the ego attempts to take responsibility, it creates a painful, virtually unbearable contraction in the self. So the ego becomes the master of the excuse. The Unique Self is able to take responsibility spontaneously, lightly, and with full gravitas. The Unique Self holds with equal measure of gravitas and ease its own responsibility and its rightful anger at injustice. Usually, the ego advises the other person to “take responsibility,” while the ego itself wallows in the real and imagined offenses that it has suffered.

 

 

Further discussion:

Just hearing words like responsibility or obligation often lets our ego contract in pain and sometimes anger. From our separate selves the idea of taking responsibility often seems like pure impertinence. Finding the balance between taking the right measure of personal responsibility and being gentle with ourselves seems to be an important issue for most of us. [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #16: Yes or No

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

©2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

 

Your ego is always contracting and saying, “No.” Even when your ego says, “Yes,” it is only because it is afraid to say, “No.” Your Unique Self is always expanding and saying, “Yes.” Even when you say, “No,” it is only to make room for a more authentic “Yes.”

 

Further Discussion:

The following is excerpted directly from Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment (pp. 357-59), Chapter 25, “Say Yes”:

In Hebrew the word “yes”—kein—means “integrity.” Yes is the ultimate affirmation of our integrity. The question of your existence is whether you can say Yes to the unique destiny and adventure that is your life. That is self-love! From the place of ego you remain perpetually unsatisfied. Located in Unique Self, everything fills you. [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…]

Betrayal or Loyalty – Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #13

Heart Rotto by Idea go, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©Heart Rotto by Idea go, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego betrays. The Unique Self is loyal. When you are in your ego, and things go bad, you are willing—in your fear—to betray virtually anyone. Your ego is easily identifiable by the shallowness of its integrity. If you live in Unique Self and things go bad, you find your way, through thick or thin, to a deeper center of spirit.

 

 

 

 

Further discussion:

Betrayal: Isn’t this something from the soap operas on TV, but not something that we would ever do to another person? Can’t we all just relax and say: look at how advanced I am in living my Unique Self?

On the other hand: Haven’t we all had experiences where we felt betrayed? How do we react when we feel betrayed? [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #12: Victim or Player

By Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

"Worried Young Woman On Bed" 2012. Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

©2012 “Worried Young Woman On Bed” Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici 

In your ego, you cling to every petty detail of your story. You never let go of any of your wounds. Your mantra is “I hurt, therefore I am.” Therefore, your ego can never wholeheartedly forgive. If it does, the ego’s forgiveness is a tactic, not a sacrament. Your Unique Self forgives freely without giving up your own truth.

From the evolutionary context of your Unique Self, you realize that you have a Unique Gift to give to All-That-Is. You are animated, driven, and drawn by that larger vision and obligation. This allows you to place your wounds in a larger perspective. Your Unique Self is not a victim. It is an audacious player in the Great Story of the evolution of consciousness. This larger perspective allows you to begin to let go of the story of your wounds. As it is replaced by the greater story of your Unique Self, delight and obligation begin to emerge.

From the place of your Unique Self, you are able to intuitively balance your outrage at injustice with an intuition about when to give up being right and move on. Because you are able to give up being right without giving up your core identity, it becomes infinitely easier to forgive.

 

Further Discussion:

As Dr. Marc reminds us, life is what we do with our hurt, which means that we can choose to be victims or we can choose to be players in the evolutionary context. In Your Unique Self, Marc writes, “Hurt is not an objective reality that gives you license for cruelty under the cover of ‘I was hurt.’ Hurt is a state, and it is interpreted through your stage or level of consciousness. As you evolve, your relationship to your wounds naturally shifts. More than any other single barometer, what you do with your hurt reveals to you and others your genuine level of consciousness. When you feel hurt, the masks of piety and the guises of liberation from ego are stripped away, and your naked heart is revealed to yourself and those with eyes to see” (426). [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #10 – Authentic Freedom or Pseudofreedom

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

Your ego is a slave that wants to be free. Freedom is the quality that we call autonomy. Your ego, however, understands and experiences freedom/autonomy as freedom from external influence. Only then does ego feel free to do what it wants. Unique Self is free. Unique Self understands and experiences freedom as the freedom to live your Uniqueness and give your deepest gifts in the world.

When you feel yourself demanding your egoic freedom, stop for a moment and feel into it. Do not cover over the emptiness that lies at the root of your desire for freedom and autonomy. Feel into the emptiness. Feel into the hole.

For example: Perhaps you are in a relationship that you want to leave. You are chafing to get out of the relationship. But as you contemplate this, stay in the discomfort that you can palpably feel—which lies at the root of this desire. For now, do not give the feeling words. Instead feel the quality of the vacuity and emptiness that arouses the desire.

If you stay in it long enough, the emptiness will begin to fill up with being and presence, with your Unique Being and Presence.

(c) April 2011 Courtesy of Graur Codrin

(c) April 2011 Courtesy of Graur Codrin

What happened?

You have discovered that the root of your desire to be free from another was your disconnection from your own personal essence, your Unique Self. When your Unique Self filled the hole, the desperate desire you felt to leave the group—or the marriage or the job—faded away. That does not mean that you should necessarily stay in the marriage or the job. It does however mean that you will make the decision from a grounded place of full presence as your Unique Self, and are therefore far more likely to make the right decision.

 

Further discussion: Three Steps in to the Distinction

“This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them anew each day.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [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…]

Ego or Unique Self Story – Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #6

From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni

ID-1005646Enlightenment requires your ability to discern between your ego story and your Unique Self story. Your separate-self egoic personality has needs. It wants to make itself feel secure. So your ego tells you a story about yourself that makes you feel safe, valuable, and worthy. The inability to feel safe, valuable, and worthy is a devastating experience for the ego, one it will ward off at virtually all costs. So the ego hijacks everything that happens to you, and everything that you do, into a story about its own goodness, value, and worth.

The ego has a simple if ingenious mechanism for doing this. It disguises its ambition, its drive for power, or its insecure grasping, and converts them into narrative material that supports its own positive self-image. This is how the separate-self ego story develops. It is this story that teachers of True Self correctly tell you to leave behind when they say, “To be enlightened, you must let go of your story.” [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: “Through my flesh I vision God.”

imgresA second source of authority for the Bible is spoken of best by that greatly afflicted mythical figure, Job. Job tells us, “Through my flesh I vision God.”  (Or, as nineteenth-century poet John Keats reformulated Job’s insight, “I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination.”)  For the mystical reader of biblical myth, to “vision God” is to understand being, for God and being are one.

Kabbalists read Job’s words with a pronounced emphasis on the word my.  “My flesh” means not only my physical form, but also the body of my life experience, my heart’s affections, and my imagination.  The verse is thus taken to mean that we access the epic of being through the drama of the psyche.  Each of us can access the psyche only through our singular psyche–that is, through our unique story.

Radical truth is to be found, albeit paradoxically, in radical subjectivity–in the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.

 

Dr. Marc Gafni
Soulprints

 

Marc Gafni on Unique Self Relationships

unique-relationshipBy Marc Gafni

There’s something I call Unique Self evolutionary relationships, what we called in the Soul Prints book “soul print encounters”. In a genuine Unique Self encounter, we each hold a piece of the other’s story. The ethical obligation implicit in the encounter itself is to return to the other Unique Self that we are meeting the piece of their story that we are holding. That’s very deep.

The words are signifiers. They are pointing to this sense that we are interdependent in a very profound way. There are accentuated points of interdependence. There are people we are more dependent on than other people. Not the people we often think. Not the people who are paying our rent or providing me with a job although that may be. They are people who are part of our story, and they are holding a piece of our story because they’re helping us to enact our lives because they hold a piece of insight about our story. So a Unique Self encounter is when our stories intermesh, intertwine, and we recognize that we are each part of each other’s story and holding a piece of our story.

your-unique-self-cover-small-squareWe’re holding a piece of each other’s story. It’s a meeting that’s not about manipulation or mutual gain. It’s beyond win/win. It has that dimension, but it’s the creation of a larger story in which each person gives the other a piece of their story that is missing and a larger narrative emerges. That’s a Unique Self encounter. That’s an ethical obligation. In other words, the ethical obligation is to give the exchange of gifts that are demanded implicitly of the encounter. It can’t be legislated by any formal canon or convocation or magisterial authority. Rather, it can only be legislated by the internal command of the Unique Selves themselves, and through discernment they are able to recognize the part of each other’s story that they are holding and give that gift as the highest obligation of essence. That’s what we mean by obligation. That’s exciting. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: The Choir of Creation

imgres-2Lines and circles dance together in the hierarchy of nature. For chains for example are key to every eco-system. A chain is hierarchical, yet it is also made up of interloped circles! The balance of nature means that there is an appreciation for each, at every level. That you can’t be where you are without the other being where they are!

The erotics of interconnectivity however extend beyond the community of human beings. We are not alone on this planet. A wonderful encounter is recorded both in the Zohar and in an ancient Hebrew mystical text called the Perek Shira, the Chapter of SongThe Chapter of Song is a stunning tract which knows to tell that every creature on the planet has its own unique song. Moreover, it cites a sacred text from the Torah as the source of every creature’s song. The implication is radical and beautiful. The Torah, which includes all twenty-four sacred books of the Hebrew Bible, does not address humans alone. Both speak to and express in some mystical way all of creation.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

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…]