July 23, 2018

“Outrageous Love” Poem by Cerridwen

We are pleased to be able to share with you the inspiring poem below, written and submitted by Shalom sangha member and energy healer Cerridwen following the Shalom Mountain Wisdom School in Livingston Manor, NY, October 10-13.  Dr. Marc Gafni, Wisdom Teacher in Residence at Shalom, unfolded teachings on Pleasure, Addiction, and Eros at this retreat, and the sangha celebrated together the Outrageous Love dharma. Cerridwen says the retreat experience moved her closer to this draft of her poem. [Read more…]

Introducing “Storytelling with Cheryl Rae Fidelman”

The Center for World Spirituality is thrilled to present the first column in a regular series by one of today’s most exciting literary artists. Cheryl Rae Fidelman’s new video column will explore a variety of topics informed by World Spirituality from her unique poetic perspective.

Cheryl’s first offering is “Satchi n Me.” We are confident you will enjoy and be enriched by her storytelling quality of voice and facial expressions which invite us all into her Unique Perspective in solemnity and laughter. This is a poetic reflection on “Emptiness” which is well worth a look.

Storytelling with Cheryl Fidelman #1 – Satchi n Me

Daily Wisdom: Innermost desire is the most important spiritual guide

imgresIn Chassidut the notion of longing became essential to the Chassidic understanding of the universe.  For  my teacher  Mordecai Lanier, Teshuka, meaning innermost desire, is the most important spiritual guide.  In contradistinction to Jewish moments of piety, which tried to use the mind and will to overcome desire, the master of Izbica teaches that stripping away the superficialities to access the innermost desire of our souls is ultimately the only reliable guide on our spiritual path.

Taking this one step further, the great teacher of both  non duality and God in the second person, Levi Isaac of Berdichev, teaches that not only is holy yearning a spiritual guide, but all yearning, all desires, are spiritual guides, for in the end, all yearning is really yearning  for the one.  All roads seek to bring us back to our source.  To our highest integration and one-ness.  And even when on the face of it our innermost desires seem to be for that which is base and not yet holy, a deeper reading of the script of our lives will reveal that in fact, whenever we kneel, we are always on our knees to God.  Whenever we yearn we are ultimately yearning for integration, for one-ness, for divinity.

Dr. Marc Gafni
from: The Dance of Tears
(in press)

Poem: “Nativity”

nativitystar5Nativity
By Li-Young Lee
(1957 – )

In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.

How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night’s darling?

Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,

this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,

just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,

each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.


Li-Young Lee is an American poet.

Daily Wisdom: He becomes the Language of God….

The human self understanding as “King,” stems from the insight, fruit of all serious spiritual practice, that all of reality is included in the divine. Once one realizes that all is the Godhead then one may draw one of two conclusions. First, one might say, well if all is God then I must immediately nullify and surrender to God. And that is good. However one might also say – if all is God, then I am God as well. And that is much better. For the first realization produces what Jewish, Christian and Eastern mystics have called Via Passiva. It’s a passivism, even a kind of resignation which results from the realization that human action is but illusion and the only will which is real is the will of God.

The second far deeper realization understands that if the human being is part of God then he is ultimately liberated. All of his actions count infinitely. He becomes the language of God. God’s adjectives, nouns, verbs, even God’s dangling modifiers. His identification with the divine is not emasculating at all. On the contrary it is radically liberating and empowering. His realization that there is nothing in the cosmos independent of God, the realization that is formally termed acosmism, yields not a tepid quietism but rather, what we have termed an audacious and impassioned “Non Dual Humanism.”

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears
(2013)

Marc Gafni’s Devotional Heart Chant

Marc Gafni, master of the chant, offers a glimpse into his devotional heart:

See more videos in the  Unique Self Video Blog series.

How does the word “awake” symbolize enlightenment itself?

By Joe Perez

On Integral Thinkers, I post the first in a series of columns on what I am calling integral phonosemantics. The topic of the first column is the significance of the sound symbolism for the English word “awake.” I suggest that the very sound of the word offers us a picture or enactment of the phenomenon of enlightenment.

From “My Philosophy of Life Begins with “Awake-ness”:

Language, I discovered, possesses a wisdom only glimpsed darkly by the New Age books on numerology which promise to tell you how your destiny is determined at birth by your given name. Language is magical, but not in that sort of way. Everything essential about awakeness that I already knew was already available to me simply by listening to the sound of the word broken down into its parts (called phonemes), and then feeling carefully into my body as it pronounced the word. I began to recover lost knowledge of the word by feeling proprioceptively.

The phonosemantics (sound symbolism) of the word “awake” align with the story I will tell you about awake-ness in the English language. The word begins in a neutral /ə/ vowel, in linguistics, schwa, a term meaning that an unobstructed breath is pronounced in the middle of the mouth’s vertical axis and the center of the mouth’s horizontal axis.

From there, out of absolute neutrality, it finds its “way,” a sound symbol that begins with /w/, the labio-velar approximant consonant, meaning that it is made by articulating with the lips and dorsum, the back part of the tongue. In my comparative studies of sound symbolism in conjunction with a wide variety of cross-cultural maps of subtle energy, I concluded that in terms of the traditional Chinese vocabulary for subtle energy, there is no English vowel more yin than /ə/.

Thus, at the outset, the phoneme connotes something which begins in utter neutrality or formlessness and then begins a process. The sounds are labial (articulated with the lips), which my study of sound symbolism suggests that being at the front of the mouth convey the undertone of beginnings to things. For instance, when /b/, the voiced labial fricative, starts a word it symbolizes such things as “Big Bang,” and “Begin” and “Be.”)

[Read more…]

Three Unique Self Prayers

We want to thank Adael Bullock for assembling a collection of reflections and personal sharing from the recent Shalom Mountain Wisdom School fall event.

With Marc Gafni teaching at the retreat center in New York, the topic of Unique Self was at the fore. Accordingly, several of the reflections were inspired by this teaching. Enjoy “Spark of Creation,” “In Your Faces,” and “May I Suggest.” … and there’s more to follow in the days ahead.

“Spark of Creation”

A Unique Self Prayer
By Liza Braude-Glidden

Spark of Creation, Beginning of Beginnings,
Let Your Holy Embodied Love live through each of us uniquely
Help us turn every event towards its best place in love’s mandala.

In Your sweet generosity, bring me all that’s uniquely mine,
To love, heal, create, destroy —
As You were in the beginning, so You unfold through me and blossom,

You hear my laughter, pain and joy. You know the name inside my name.
All of us can rest in You as You hold each beauty and sacrifice,
And Your love, personal, intimate and divine, always begins and never ends.
[Read more…]

Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 5 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for World Spirituality think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

Implications: A Great Voice Which Does Not Cease

Some teachers have taught that revelation heard long ago at Mount Sinai when God spoke to human beings was an event occurring once in the lifetime of the universe, calling it according to its biblical phrasing, “A great voice which did not continue.” Again, the mystics insist that another reading is possible. In the original Hebrew, the phrase “did not continue” can paradoxically be read as “did not cease.” The voice of Sinai is accessible even after the echoes of the original revelation are long since lost in the wind. The voice of revelation has never ended.

So if the voice still continues, in what form does it live on?

It thrives in the voice of the human being who speaks from the silence. This is what I have termed Silence of Presence. When we listen deeply, we are able to uncover the God-voice within us. We become present in the silence. We are called by the presence–the God-voice within us–that wells up from the silence.

Indeed the entire cultural –spiritual enterprise of the Judaic spirit in the post biblical age is to hear the voice, even in – some would say especially in – the silence. The Biblical age ended when God stopped talking. For the Buddhist, even if one were to assume some notion of divinity – there is clearly no such absurdity as a talking God. For the Hebrew however, the essence of divinity is a talking God. Indeed the Hebrew God of the Bible talks almost endlessly, pouring out 24 books of divinely spoken or inspired word – the Hebrew Canon. What to do then when God stops talking and retreats into silence? In the interpretive reaction to this silence Judaism and early Christianity parted ways. For Christianity the cessation of speech by a talking God could only be a portent of divine withdrawal of favor. They interpreted the silence as a silence of absence. God no longer talked to the Hebrews for he had chosen a New Israel. The post prophetic Hebrews however refused to accept this understanding of God’s silence. This is the silence, not of abandonment they insisted – but of mature love. It is not silence of absence but silence of presence. Imbued with intense and profound religious passion they listened to the silence and insisted that they heard God talking. That speech is the Halachic enterprise, which insists on the radical presence of the divine in every facet of existence. It is only in this sense that we understand the Rabbinic comment after the temple’s destruction, “God’s presence in this world now rests in the four cubits of Halacha”. It is not a statement of dejection or resignation – it is rather the confident commitment of the lover.

[Read more…]

Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 4 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay by Marc Gafni is published as a white paper of the Center for World Spirituality think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

Ten Words to Live By

The second biblical myth word symbol of freedom is actually mistranslated into English as the Ten Commandments. The people, so the story goes, having fled Egypt, gather at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Of course, nowhere in the biblical myth is there any mention of Ten Commandments. Here is where the old witty maxim, “Reading the bible in translation is like kissing a woman through a veil,” becomes not altogether untrue. In the original Hebrew, the people receive at Sinai not Ten Commandments but “Ten Words.” Here Voice becomes Word, the articulation of speech. It is the beginning of the vision that follows revolution.

The third word symbol is no less than the word “Messiah.” “Messiah” in the original Hebrew is understood by the Kabbalists, quite astoundingly, to mean “conversation.” Master Nachum of Chernobyl, mystic and philosopher, points out that the Hebrew word for messiah, Mashiach, can be understood as the Hebrew word Ma-siach – meaning “from dialogue” or “of conversation.” His assertion radically implies that the Messiah is potentially present in every human conversation—every mutual act of voice-giving.

All authentic conversation is sacred conversation. The ability to have an honest face-to-face talk in which both sides are true to themselves, vulnerable and powerful at the same time, is Messianic.

Simply put, sacred conversation is the vessel that receives the light of Messiah.

[Read more…]

Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 3 of 5)

By Marc Gafni

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for World Spirituality think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

The Second Stage: from Silence to Sound

The beginning of freedom is the emergence of voice. This stage is expressed both by the initial cry of the Israelite slaves that broke their silence, as well as by Moses’ arrival on the scene. “When Moses came, voice came,” writes the Zohar. Moses does what the charismatic revolutionary always does: he gives voice to the people. Indeed, biblical myth text records the beginning of redemption with the following words: “…It came to pass in the course of many days that the King of Egypt died and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage and they cried out and their cry came up unto God.” The enslaved Israelites are received by the presence of God at the point when they move from the dumb silence of the slave to sound which is the beginning of speech, the characteristic of a free people. This “cry” is not an elegantly articulated protest – it is a cry as in the cry of a wolf, or the cry of an infant. It is primal, impassioned, pre-civilized, a howl of protest that makes it into the halls of heaven, heard by God himself.

For the first time the enslaved can express distress. They seek to articulate words that are not yet ready to form themselves on their lips. At this stage of moving toward freedom, we do not yet know how to tell our story. We do not know what we would do with the world if it were given over to our stewardship. We just know that we must protest.

The biblical myth symbol (Leviticus 25) for the transition from slavery to freedom is the primal blast of a ram’s horn. No trumpet of gold, it is rather the rawness of the ram’s horn that captures the slave’s first fitful sounds. The first thing a revolutionary movement must do is sound its ram horn–start a newspaper, set up a radio station, build an internet site. It is not by accident that the fundamentalist and totalitarian states are trying to disallow or severely limit internet access. Freedom’s beginnings are expressed in the first shouts of protest.

The sixties and seventies were such second-stage revolutionary generations. This helps explain why so many sixties hippies became late seventies and early eighties yuppies and then transformed again into the establishment of the nineties. The feeling of distress generated protest – sound and even the first glimmerings of voice–but there was no alternative vision of society to generate “speech.” Similarly, many third world revolutionaries reflect such second stage thinking. Consequently, as we all know, that not a few third world revolutionaries became the leaders of far more repressive regimes than the ones they overthrew. Because they lacked speech to articulate the primal manifestations of voice, they needed to repress all of their own pain, the very distress and disease that initially led to the revolution.

[Read more…]

Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 2 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for World Spirituality think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

The First Stage: The Silence of Absence

The aforementioned passage in the Zohar (Exodus 25a) suggests that there are three distinct stages in the continuum from slavery to freedom. The first stage is silence. The second stage involves moving from silence to sound without speech. And the third stage is speech–voice and articulated word.

In the first stage, slavery, we are mute and dumb. We live our lives without ever really crying out. The routines of the everyday deaden our sense of injustice, and our passions atrophy amid the narrowness of Egypt, when all sounds are smothered in our throats. In the biblical myth, the people were silent in the first stage of exile in Egypt. The pain broke their spirits and they became mute–no longer able to even cry out, much less to express the injustices with the eloquence of speech. We all have touched a fraction of that experience when, after a protracted argument, we are so worn down that we lack the strength to protest even the most blatant offenses of those who oppose or oppress us.

In a less familiar reading of the biblical story, Talmudic masters suggest that the slavery in Egypt was not of the usual kind. In fact, the Israelites were successful and prosperous. However, the deadening quality and comfort of their routine had anesthetized the sensitivity to their own wounds of alienation. How many of us suffer and hurt, yet remain fundamentally unaware of our suffering, deadened by the soma pills of the expected, and the narrow straits of success?

[Read more…]

Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 1 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for World Spirituality think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

“As the Kabbalists point out, the word Moses spelled backwards is Ha Shem, meaning ‘the name.’ Importantly, Ha-shem in biblical Hebrew also is the most common reference to God’s name. When you respond to your call and realize your soul print, fully becoming your name, you become one with God. When Moses did this, he found his voice, he became a prophet.”

By Marc Gafni

To live your story is to move from a state of slavery to freedom. Slavery is not limited to our old image of the oppressed Hebrew or black slave being whipped by the cruel master. We are all potentially free, just as we are all potentially slaves. Our intent in this brief essay is to at least begin to unpack a core intuition of the Zohar —that a free person is a person who has found voice. As we shall see in the very last paragraphs of this discussion the implications of freedom are wondrous indeed!

The Hebrew name for the Passover Storytelling Ritual, which celebrates and reenacts the dynamic movement from slavery to freedom, is Pe-Sach. Renaissance mystic Isaac Luria reminded us that Pe-Sach is a combination of two words—Peh, meaning “mouth,” and Sach, meaning “talk.” Pe- Sach, therefore, means the mouth that talks.

One school of Hasidic masters unpacks this idea by defining redemption as the emergence of speech. To move from a dumb and mute existence to a communal storytelling existence is to undergo redemptive transformation. “To be redeemed,” writes one mystic, “is to lead a history-making, storytelling, communing, free existence.” To be in exile is to lack history, tell no story, fail to commune, and exist as a slave, silent.

The most oft cited source for this idea is a stunning passage in the Zohar which describes the Egyptian slavery as the “exile of speech.” In Kabbalah, every biblical nation represents a different organ of the body; Egypt represents the throat. The mystics read the Hebrew word “Egypt” literally as meaning narrowness. The throat is, of course, the narrow, constricted passage between the wide spaces of the heart and mind. The narrow throat, Egypt, is thus the ideal symbol for the exile of speech. Speech remains caught in the throat, in the dark passage, and can’t make it to freedom’s gateway, the mouth. Redemption comes in the birth of the word. In the actual process of your retelling, you reclaim your story. But to be capable of retelling your story you need voice. Redemption then is the process of finding voice.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Perception as Creation

The language of God is man. We are not just God’s messengers, we are God’s language and voice, the means by which she shares her message. This idea becomes a little easier to access in light of quantum physics. One of the essential mind-bending breakthroughs in quantum physics is that the observer is part of the experiment. That is to say, the perceiver influences the outcome of the experiment. Said more broadly, perception not only observes reality, it creates reality. To say that love is perception  is therefore to say that love–far more than a mere emotion–is  the erotic creative force which in-forms all of being.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni


For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Photo of the Day: John Craig

Cross

Photo Credit: Craig Photography

 

By Joe Perez

Across
Up, under
Crying
Creature
God
On, All
Separate
Sin, Son
Cross

 

 

 

 

Daily Wisdom Post: Name

Anyplace where you are regarded only as a function, where your name is not known and honored, you are a slave. Anytime you regard another as a mere instrument in your design, you become a slave master and an oppressor. To be a lover is to know the name. It can be the name of the waiter, the taxi driver, of your accountants’ son or of the mailman’s wife. By remembering the name, you become a lover.

Marc Gafni
The Mystery of Love
page 225

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Eros Audio Series: What is Divine Speech?

Listen to this free audioclip by Dr. Marc Gafni from his Erotic and Holy audio series.

The breakthrough to the other side happens in every facet of existence. It happens in an erotic conversation, when time stands still. To be engaged erotically, means the same as to be holy: being in the inside of an event.

The Maggid of Mezritch, a great Hassidic master once said, “If you can hear yourself talking, sit down”! That is the exile of speech, Galut Ha-dibbur, in Hebrew. In this speech is the Goddess Divine, Shekinah. The exile of the divine is when you can hear yourself talking, because you stepped outside.

The Zohar, the book of Aramaic Hebrew mysticism says “a river flows from Eden” – to be in that river is to be in the flow, which is exactly the Eros space. In another Kabbalist story, Hanoch the cobbler stitches his shoes, and the text say “the heavens begin to move and transform.” What is he doing when he stitches his shoes? Nothing else, but stitching his shoes. He is totally one with that action: he is in the inside of it, and so he becomes the Shekinah, the erotic itself. The divine is in exile, when the inside and the outside are disconnected. [Read more…]

The Global Rite of Passage Project — Sept. 17, 2011

The Global Rite of Passage Project

A Crowning Moment of Integrating Practice, Perspectives and Poetics

 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

518 Valencia Street
Near the 16th Street BART in San Francisco’s Mission District (map)

1PM – 6:30PM  &  8PM -11PM
(Metaphor*phosis! Embodied Poetics)

REGISTER

The Integral Living and Leadership Institute (ILALI) invites all those compelled to serve our evolutionary good to The Global Rite of Passage Project. This trans-generational endeavor, which includes Second Wave Integral, aligns integral practice and design while uncovering our next collective story. As structures around and within us begin to die, we come to see, know and enact the next iteration of Integral as it births. Specifically, attendees will:

* Embrace what is emerging within and between us through intersubjective and transgenerational exploration, a form of integral practice that ILALI calls Evolutionary Cross-Training.

* Explore Integral Design and learn about the tools used to cultivate optimal conditions for community, organizational and societal change from experts in the field, including Dr. Don Beck (via Skype), one of the main architects behind South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a multi-party democracy.

* Entertain the inquiries: What is emerging as humanity’s next story? How do we co-author and help tell it?

*Participate in the inspiration, new metaphors and novel forms of artistic expression of this emerging second wave fervor through Metaphor*phosis!.

A powerful performance space, Metaphor*phosis! offers an open mic (bring a poem!), music, and will feature Oakland Poetry Slam Champion, Sam Sax and World Beatboxing Champion and America’s Got Talent finalist, Butterscotch. Join us and enact our unique part of the cosmic puzzle as on-the-ground visionaries and integral players! If you register online by September 10th, The Global Rite of Passage Project is $100 ($80 for students). After September 10th, the rate will be $120 ($100 for students). Scholarships are available – please contact us to request one.

In Partnership with…

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The Global Rite of Passage Project – Facilitators and Entertainers

Mark Fabionar – Mark is a university instructor, consultant with Inflection Point Technologies, and founding director of ILALI. Alicia Stammer – Alicia is principal of Mikaena Consulting, co-founder of Integral Sacramento and part of ILALI’s leadership team.

Dustin DiPerna – Dustin is Director of Education for the Center for World Spirituality, co-founder of the WEpractice Community and part of ILALI’s leadership team.

Dr. Don Beck (via Skype) – Don is CEO of the Spiral Dynamics Group, founder of the Global Center for Human Emergence (CHE) and an advising partner of ILALI.

Michael Richardson-Borne – Michael is a writer, transmedia artist and founding director of the Creativity Camera (C-Cam) Collective.

Carmen Leilani DeJesus – Carmen is a voice and performance coach. She played the role of Kim in the original Canadian production of Miss Saigon.

Kelly Sosan Bearer  (DJ Sosan) – Kelly serves as the Executive Producer for the Center for World Spirituality, Curator & DJ of Integral Spiritual Experience and Founder/Host of Integral Chicks Podcast.

Sam Sax – Sam is Oakland’s 2011 Poetry Slam Champion.

Butterscotch – Butterscotch was the 2005 World Hip-Hop Women’s Beatboxing Champion and a finalist on season two of America’s Got Talent.