December 18, 2017

Esalen 2014: An Outrageous Love Story in 4 Acts – Act 4

This is part 4 of this series. Click here for part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Write Outrageous Love Letters The practice of writing Outrageous Love Letters is modeled by the Song of Songs, written, as they say, by the great lover King Solomon. It is the practice of Rumi… and Hafiz.

It is also a hidden Chassidic practice that was lost in the Holocaust when most of the Chassidic Masters were killed. Marc has recovered this practice from what he calls the “Inside of the Inside.”

Having engaged this practice myself on a regular basis I can attest that it radically trains our love muscles.

[Read more…]

Special Community Lineage Days at Venwoude and Conscious Capitalism Event at Nijenrode University

We just completed a very special series of events at our Teaching Center at Venwoude in Holland. Dr. Marc Gafni taught two Valentine’s Day events in a very beautiful church in Amsterdam. This was followed by a wonderful and very intimate two-day retreat at Venwoude on Saturday and Sunday. Capping off the 4-day weekend, we had an outstanding presentation at Nijenrode University on Conscious Capitalism with Prof. Dr. Paul de Blot, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Ken Wilber (via Skype) in front of 150 enthused Entrepreneurs.

Valentine’s Day at Vondelkerk Amsterdam

Marc Gafni at Vondelkerk AmsterdamA packed house of people celebrated Valentine’s Day in an old beautiful Church in Amsterdam with Dr. Marc’s Dharma on Outrageous Love. It was a day of profound new dharma, deep practices, and a stunning community of Outrageous Lovers. Dr. Marc took us deeply into a practice space with dyad practices, chanting, and intimate sharing. The evening session seemed to explode–after a very quiet and subtle beginning with hearts meeting in Chant and Meditation and finally and melting open into the Inside of the Inside–with a fireworks of Dharma on Outrageous Love and Unique Intimacy. [Read more…]

First Circling Weekend Immersion in New York – 26th to 27th October 2013

John and Sean

John Thompson and Sean Wilkinson are board members at the Center for World Spirituality and Europe’s leaders in the practice of Circling.

Are you wanting to bring your Unique Self deeper into your relationships? Are they truly finding more intimacy, play, growth, and fulfillment your deep longing knows is true?

Then circling is a practice that can breath new life into spiritual work and a great vehicle for those wanting to express their unique gifts with others.

What is Circling?

It’s relational group meditative practice that develops our capacity to skillfully bring our attention and appreciation into connection with others. With careful guidance and group presence, individuals can start to develop a deeper trust in the inherent intelligence in themselves and other. Circling Europe has been deeply inspired by Unique Self teaching and has found this practice to be one of the premier ways of deepening into this great dharma. [Read more…]

A Personal Invitation from Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni

Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart, Oct. 18-20, 2013

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Please join Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni at Esalen October 18-20 for an astonishing weekend experience of Evolutionary Love Practice.

There are two practical inquiries that will sit at the core of all of our sacred play:

What does it take to live your life in love?
What does it mean to be lived as love?

The 4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat
“Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”
October 18-20

During this weekend, we (Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni) promise to help you discover some real answers to these questions, which are rich with potential to transform the rest of your life.

Back in the 70s, a little book called The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment swept the spiritual world. Its message was simple: Enlightenment does not require heavy effort and asceticism. It only requires that you choose love in all circumstances. Making this simple insight alive and real in your life is the change that changes everything.

We each individually realized this insight during times when we were searching for light in the complexity of our own lives, and something deep within us recognized that choosing love in all circumstances is the secret. We also both knew that just deciding to love in all circumstances is not enough.

You can’t just decide to love. You need to find out how to kindle love in yourself. You need to practice love. You need to understand the different forms and levels of love. And you need a way to keep kindling your love-core — through meditation, through chant, through contemplation, and through “outrageous acts of love” that change not only your relationships, but you yourself.

That’s what this weekend retreat – Falling in Love with the Divine – is about: Loving Your Way to Enlightenment.

[Read more…]

The Radical Path of the Outrageous Lover! A weekend workshop with Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Kristina Kincaid Oct. 4-6 in NYC

HeartAt this key time in history we are called to evolve and embody Love, Sex and Eros! The sexual is the ultimate spiritual master. Deep understanding of the sexual is the ultimate guide to accessing the spirit in every dimension of our reality. To be a great Lover — an Outrageous Lover in all facets of your being — you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant spirit whisperings of the sexual.

This event is a co-production with our Teaching Center Institute of INTEGRAL EVOLUTIONARY TANTRA in New York City.

Workshop: Oct 4 – 6, 2013
Fri 7–9 (free evening session)
Sat + Sun 10–5:30

Free Dialogue Evening! LOVE, SEX & EROS
Friday, Oct. 4 from 7-9 pm between Dr. MARC GAFNI
and WARREN MOE, Director, Inst. of Core Energetics

Please download the Flyer here for info on how to register.

[Read more…]

We are a Community of Virtual Presence and Evolutionary Love Gatherings

To register for our Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain Retreat Center, October 10-13:
“Evolutionary Intimacy and the New Enlightenment”: (more information below)

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To register for our 4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat, October 18-20:
“Falling in Love with the Divine – Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”: (more information below)

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Venwoude Summer Festival of Love 2013 © Chahat Corten

Venwoude Summer Festival of Love 2013 © Chahat Corten

The Center for Integral World Spirituality is a vibrant community of Virtual Presence and Evolutionary Love Gatherings. We share tremendous Holy Purpose in bringing Unique Self teachings into the world. The Eros that unites us is grounded in simple truths of Unique Self teachings with which we all deeply resonate. [Read more…]

4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat at Esalen

“Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”

October 18-20, 2013

Buddha Sunset

Photo by CIW Board of Trustees member and Managing Director Steve Raymond

Prepare to transform your relationship to the divine!

Two of our beloved and transformational World Spirituality heart and wisdom masters and teachers will merge their gifts to help you unfold your own secret heart-tantra. Awakened Heart meditation teacher and author Sally Kempton joins Dr. Marc Gafni, Unique Self author and Kabbalistic lineage holder, for this ecstatic and unique offering at Esalen. Last year, we were joined by many outrageous lovers, some seeking expression for the divine through their primary love partnerships and some seeking to deepen their own heart mysteries for themselves. Esalen is situated on the breathtaking Pacific Coast, and the organic, healthy offerings there will rejuvenate your body, heart, spirit, and soul as you fall in love with the Divine and awaken to your soul’s destiny. Register soon for this wonderful retreat/workshop before it fills up! [Read more…]

The Three Great Skills of Loving: How to Love Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

marc-gafni-100x100Sally-Kempton-100x100

 

Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton workshop at Pacific Coast Church

Everyone of us wants to be a lover. We want to love the people in our lives. We want to love ourselves. And we want to love the world. But, what does it really mean to live as a lover? And is love something we can practice?

In this workshop, we’ll explore three powerful and necessary skills that let us receive and give love–in any and all circumstances. Powered by Marc’s revolutionary insights and concept-busting humor, Sally’s gift for bringing meditation alive, and Marc and Sally’s shared capacity for heart-to-heart transmission, this workshop will be illuminating, heart-softening, dynamic and fun.

Where: Pacific Coast Church, Pacific Grove, CA
When: Sunday, April 14, 2013 1:00PM to 4:00PM
Cost: $50.00 at the door

Your Unique Self: What It Means to Be a Lover … from God’s Eyes

buddha-lilyBy Marc Gafni

Note: The following article appeared in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Common Ground Magazine.

The true nature of your values is always revealed in death. In eulogies, both in what is spoken and unspoken, there is something of the essential nature of your life and loyalties. Sometimes, however, before you die you are strangely privileged to declare where your ultimate loyalty lies.

It was September 11, 2001. The planes had just crashed into the Twin Towers in Manhattan. Victims had moments to use their cellphones. No one called asking for revenge. No one offered philosophical explanations or profound insights into the nature of reality. People did one thing and one thing only: they called the people close to their hearts to say, “I love you.”

“I love you” is our declaration of faith. Implicit in those words is everything holy. Yet we no longer know what we mean when we say it.

It used to mean, “I am committed to you. I will live with you forever.” Or it might have meant, “You are the most important person in my life.”

But it no longer seems to mean that. And when you no longer understand your own deepest declarations of love, you are lost. You become alienated from love, which is your home. Despair, addiction, and numbness become your constant companions.

To read the entire article, download it as a PDF file.

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Outrageous Tragedy and Outrageous Love

Connecticut-shooting-vigil-3-jpgA boy walks into a school and kills twenty-seven people.
For no reason. Most of the children between age five and ten.
We live in a world of outrageous pain.
The only response to a world of
outrageous pain is outrageous love.
We need to become outrageous lovers.

In the same sense that the twenty-seven murders in Connecticut on December 14th are outrageously horrific beyond expression, our response must be outrageously loving beyond imagination. For every bullet of outrageous pain that destroyed life we must respond with missiles of outrageous love that affirm life. What might that mean?

Listen to “Outrageous Tragedy and Outrageous Love,” a 5-minute audio with Marc Gafni (in conversation with Bryan Franklin and Jennifer Russell).

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I invite you, dear beloved friend and reader, to answer that question yourself and share it here.

Tell us what personal or communal acts of outrageous love might you or we as a collective do to respond to the outrageous pain?

Daily Wisdom: As You Love Yourself

Of course, to remind another of their full beauty you have to be fully aware of your own.  The Baal Shem Tov has a wonderful teaching on the biblical mandate “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  First it is a statement of fact–you love your neighbor precisely as much as you love yourself.  For in the end, you can only perceive another’s greatness if you have glimpsed and believe in your own. Self-love is self-perception.

If this is so, then a powerful question arises.  How do you love yourself when you know all of your foibles pathologies and blemishes?  Isn’t self-love self-perception?  And does not honest perception yield forth all of the reasons why we are not lovable?  And yet most of us manage, at least to some degree, to love ourselves.  Is it just self-deception?  No, not at all.  Love is not merely perception, it is a perception-identification complex.  Self-perception means that although you are aware of the full complexity of your personae–the good, the bad, and the ugly–you identify the essence of who you are with your good–your good, loving, giving, creative, and generous self.

That does not mean that you deny your beast.  It is, of course, critical to integrate all of you into your self picture.  To love yourself is to identify yourself as part of the Shechina. Writes the Baal Shem Tov, “To love yourself is to love the Shechina.” Not to love yourself is to send the Shechina into exile. So proclaim the Kabbalists, to which Rumi adds:

By God, when you see your beauty
You will be the idol of yourself.

In your deepest nature you must know that you are the hero of your story.  In your deepest nature you are love and grace and strength and splendor.  Now you must decide to identify with your deepest nature.  Do you focus on your innocence or your guilt?  Do you focus on your ever-inevitably dirty hands, or on your ever-eternally pure soul?  To love yourself or anyone else, you need to know that your innocence is your essence.  That you always remain worthy of love.  That your innocence is never lost.

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Pages 121, 122

 

World Spirituality Unplugged: From Jerusalem to Tibet with Love: Marc Gafni and Dalai Lama in 2008

Marc Gafni (from his 2008 dialogue with the Dalai Lama):

To love someone is to see them with God’s eyes, to perceive them at their highest place, like — as His Holiness said — the mother who sees the baby. The mother,  no matter what the baby does when older, always sees the baby as divine. Therefore we call God in Hebrew mysticism, Kabbalah, the divine breast of the Mother who feeds us all.

So we are all, like God, trying to see Other with God’s eyes. So to love is to see with God’s eyes, not an emotion, but a perception. … That’s our basic idea. So we say we can train people to love. Because if love is an emotion, we can’t train an emotion. But we can train a perception. We can train people to see.

So good Hebrew teaching is to train people to see… and to give… The Hebrew word for “love” also means “to give” and “ecstasy”… Ecstatic emotion that comes from giving. In Hebrew tradition, I first give, and if I give, I love. That’s just a gentle wisdom from Jerusalem to Tibet. Thank you so much for your wisdom on loving…

Video after the fold…

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Individual Love

From Sally Kempton’s “What is Love?”:

Individual Love

All of us, throughout our lives, constantly do what I did project onto other people and things the feelings of love that actually come from within. “It was the music,” we say. “It was Ned (or Sarah, or Jeannie). It was the surf! It was my teacher’s presence!” Yet the yogic view is that all of our experiences of human love are actually glimpses of the Great Love. (“God’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,” Rumi wrote. “It hides within these, till one day it cracks them open.”) It is only when love gets filtered through the prism of the human psyche that it begins to look specific and limited. It becomes veiled by our thoughts and feelings, and we start to think that love comes and goes, that we can feel it only for certain people, or that there’s not enough love to go around. We can’t help doing this.

Our senses, mind, and ego, hardwired to give us the experience of separateness and distinction, set us up to think that love is outside us, that some people and places and things are lovable and others are not, and furthermore that love has different flavors: mother love, romantic love, love of movies, love of nature, compassionate love, sexual love, love of the cozy feeling of being under the covers at the end of a long day.

[Read more…]

Unique Self Video 15c: History of “Wake Up, Grow Up” terminology

In the ongoing Unique Self video series, Part 15c gives us an overview of history of the terminology of “wake up, grow up, etc.” as used today in World Spirituality. Tracing the terms back to John Wellwood, Gafni also discusses why this information is important. [Read more…]

Unique Self Video No. 15b: Unique Self is the Highest Level of “Growing Up”

The Unique Self video series continues with a brief reflection on the role of Unique Self within the foundational principles of World Spirituality. Marc Gafni says:

Your highest growing up is Unique Self. You lighten up by following your Unique Shadow back to Unique Self. Love is in 2nd person a Unique Self perception, and in 1st person you live as live but live uniquely as love, and in 3rd person you are the unique expression of all love-intelligence of All-That-Is… [Read more…]

Unique Self Video No. 15a: The Cornerstone of World Spirituality Practice

In the next video in the Unique Self series, Marc Gafni summarizes World Spirituality as follows:

At the core of World Spirituality teaching is what’s been called wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, and open up. That’s the whole teaching. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: God in second person is all about relationship

Whether the relationship is that of a servant to his master or a lover and his beloved or a relationship between partners or even friends, they are all “relating” to God.

The most powerful form of God in the second person is almost certainly the prayer experience. It is told that when Hassidic master Levi Yitzchak of Beridchev used to pray he would begin the standard liturgical form of blessing. “Baruch Ata Adonai,” “Blessed are you God,” and then break out of the mold of blessing crying out in sheer joy,  ” YOU… YOU… YOU… YOU!” He would lose himself in these words repeatedly shouting in ecstasy, “YOU… YOU… YOU!!!” This is the rapture of God in the second person.

For Levi Yitzchak the blessing is a kind of Buddhist pointing out instruction. It points however not to sunyata or emptiness but to God in the second person. Nachman of Bratzlav taught the spiritual practice of Hitbodedut.  In one form this meant walking alone in the forest “talking to God as you would to your friend.”

In God in the second person we meet God and bow. In God in the second person we meet God and partner. In God in the second person we meet God and love. The key however is the encounter. It is the encounter with God in history and in the lived reality of every human being that is the essence of the God in the second person experience.

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

 

Time is running out! Last chance to register for “Falling in Love with the Divine”

November 9-11, 2012
Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA
Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart
Weekend Workshop with Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton

This is a weekend of heart-awakening practice–powerful teachings and methods for opening up your hidden capacity for relationship to the Beloved–both within yourself, in the people in your life, and in the world.

It’s been said that the path of love is the easiest of all paths to enlightenment. Relational spiritual practice–devotion–has been part of every spiritual tradition. There are skills to be learned if we want to walk the path of love, and we need to know how to apply them not only in ecstatic moments or times of intimate connection, but also in the moments when love seems far away and difficult to access.

Through talks, meditation, chanting, partner practice and contemplation, we’ll unfold a series of practical steps to an awakened love practice.
Click here to register.

The weekend of loving outrageously

The Center for World Spirituality is pleased to share a spontaneous artistic creation inspired by a recent event of ours in connection with Shalom Mountain. John Tarcza tells us that a “wild idea started to stir and evolve uncontrollably” in him while editing audio recordings from the weekend. He combined a few minutes of reflections by Marc Gafni with music (Erik Satie Gnossienne No. 1, Buddha Bar remix) … and created this wonderful combination. John has graciously allowed us to share it with you.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Enjoy!

The one thing we all know is true
Every one of us in the room
Is that we live in a world of outrageous pain, outrageous pain
Beyond imagination

The world’s an outrageously painful place
And the only response to outrageous pain
Is outrageous loving

So I want to invite everyone to actually do a reset on intention
And to actually play one step larger
And say if you dare, if I dare,
That I want to be a lover
For the sake of the evolution of Love
Boldly, clearly, the evolution of Love
Depends on me

[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: You are beautiful!

The most important thing we can ever tell someone else is, “You are beautiful.” We were all made conveniently equipped with built-in mirrors – our eyes. They are the reflecting pool in which the person before us beholds herself. It is up to us to choose what she will see reflected there. To be a lover is to  make sure that whoever looks into your mirroring eyes will feel the embracing energy of  “You are beautiful”.

What a wonderful way to live! Spiritual tradition reminds us of what we often forget in the doldrums and tensions of the day-to-day. That is, that everyone is beautiful, and furthermore, that everyone is uniquely beautiful. Every human being on the face of the planet holds in his or her essence an utterly unique reflection of the infinite beauty of God.

We can respond to the biblical invitation to  “love everyone” by perceiving and honoring this light in all who cross our path. Lovers see infinity dancing in the looking glass of each other’s eyes. We need to become lovers again. It will make it all so different. And we want to. We all love being lovers. We have simply forgotten to look. We have forgotten to perceive that we are all stepping gently through God’s magnificent museum. Each soul we behold – a perfect masterpiece.

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