December 18, 2018

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…]

Defining the Enlightenment of Fullness

 

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of photoexplorer.

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of photoexplorer

In a recent dialogue over Unique Self, thought-leaders Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara discussed the overlapping topic areas in their recent books, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment and Strength to Awaken/The Elegant Self.

They discussed…

  • Whole-hearted engagement.
  • The full richness and depth of every moment as the way in to Unique Self.
  • The interrelationship of their books.
  • The ego’s basic habit.
  • The three traits of the Enlightenment of Fullness: Embodiment, Uniqueness, and Creativity.

You can register for the full dialogue on this page.>>>

Below is a partial transcript from their dialogue in which Marc Gafni elaborates on his definition of the Enlightenment of Fullness. [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…]

Wisdom for Your Week: Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara in Dialogue over Unique Self

imgres-1In this dialogue below, thought-leaders Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara discuss the overlapping topic areas in their recent books, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment and Strength to Awaken/The Elegant Self.

They discuss…

  • Whole-hearted engagement. What does physical strength have to do with your awakening and well-being? Rob McNamara describes his approach to the robust integral practice of whole-hearted engagement in the body-mind moment. We all have jobs, family, relationships, friendships, and our well-being to look after. Rob says, here, “Day to day, we tend to push the fundamentals off the table, and they tend to slide.  And, I think there’s a way that we can integrate all the major faculties in to a really robust engagement. And, that’s what I get really excited about around Strength to Awaken.” [Read more…]

Yoga and Psyche Course at Esalen with Mariana Caplan, PhD.

Grounds, People and Property of Esalen Institute

 

 

 

Yoga & Psyche: Psychological Integration Through Yoga
April 12-14, 2013
Esalen Institute, Big Sur
www.esalen.org

Mariana Caplan is a PhD, MFT, SEP, is the author of 7 books including: Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path. She is a psychotherapist in Marin and worldwide, specializing in working with spiritual practitioners who wish to do psychological work.  She is also the co-founder of the Center for World Spirituality. [Read more…]

New book by Sally Kempton explores the transformative power of Shakti

shaktiHow do you live a life of spiritual awakening as well as outer abundance, inner freedom as well as deep intimacy? How do you serve the world selfessly, yet passionately celebrate your life?

A new book, Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddess of Yoga, provides a much needed and immensely valuable perspective.

The sages of Tantra have known for centuries that when you follow the path of Shakti—the sacred feminine principle personified by the goddesses of yoga— these gifts can manifest spontaneously. Yet most of us, women as well as men, have yet to experience the full potential of our inner feminine energies.

When you know these powers for what they are, they heighten your capacity to open spiritually, love more deeply and fearlessly, create with greater mastery, and move through the world with skill and delight. In Awakening Shakti, you will learn how to recognize and invite:

  • Kali, bringer of strength, fierce love, and untamed freedom
  • Lakshmi, who confers prosperity and beauty
  • Saraswati, for clarity of communication and intuition
  • Radha, who carries the divine energy of spiritual longing
  • Bhuvaneshvari, who creates the space for sacred transformation
  • Parvati, to awaken creativity and the capacity to love

With a wealth of meditations, visualizations, mantras, teachings, and beautifully told stories, Awakening Shakti provides a practical guide for activating the currents of the divine feminine in every aspect of your life. [Read more…]

Yoga & Psyche Dialogue Series features Mariana Caplan and Roger Walsh

yoga-psycheSince December 2012, the Yoga & Psyche Dialogue Series has enriched our understanding of Yoga, psychology, and trauma research with insights from Mariana Caplan, Richard Miller, Rick Hanson, Reggie Ray, and other leaders in the field. Produced by Diana Justl for publication on Mariana Caplan’s Real Spirituality website, the dialogues are free. They could open up a new world of understanding for anyone interested in discovering how the practice of ancient yoga integrates with the contemporary Western mind and psyche.

This week, Mariana Caplan dialogues with Roger Walsh, author and psychiatrist. Mariana Caplan writes:

This week our research continues in dialogue with Roger Walsh, an esteemed psychiatrist, author of many books and extensive research, and a highly experienced teacher and practitioner of meditation. I have personally always been fascinated by the relationship of psychiatry to spiritual practice, and the rampant bias people have against medication on the spiritual path, as well as a great deal of shame and secrecy among the many spiritual students and teachers who make use of these medications at various junctures on their spiritual path and path through life. In this dialogue, I talk extensively with Roger on this subject.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: How the Goddess Reveals Herself

shaktiDaily Wisdom from Sally Kempton’s “Awakened Heart”:

When you invoke the goddess, she begins to reveal herself as a subtle Presence in and around you. You sense her in the breath, and she gives you the subtlety to sense the flow of energy in your body. Maybe she lends power to your meditation, or deepens the love in your heart, or manifests as a graceful push to unexpected success in your endeavors. The more you tune yourself to the Goddess, the more you feel her presence empowering your life. The goddess, Shakti, is power itself, the very force that gives life. But, its important always to tune yourself to her liberating face. When there is something important and difficult that needs doing, ask yourself if it is in service of your highest evolution. Ask yourself if it will increase the store of love in you and in the world. Clarify your motivation. Then, ask for help from the Shakti. Ask that her blessing flow through your actions, and enlist even your mistakes to the service of love and healing.

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…]

Daily Wisdom: How do you embody nondual wisdom?

From “Walking the Talk: the Principles and Practices of Embodied Spirituality,” by Mariana Caplan:

I was 24 years old when I arrived in India for the first time. I had only a one-way ticket, a change of clothes, my journal, and a small handful of cash. Not an Indian rupee nor a guidebook to my name. My sole intention for that trip was to learn to listen to, and follow, the true voice of the heart. Even at that time I had done enough spiritual practice and psychological work to understand that not every voice that came from within was the voice of the heart. That there were, as Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff taught, multiple “I’s” within each of us. I knew the true voice of the heart had near-doubles, imitations, and even outright sabotaging impostors, as well as sincere but unobjective aspects of the self that did their best to provide spiritual guidance from within but whose voice still did not represent the innermost voice of the heart.

Yet even armed with that awareness, what I could not have appreciated so early in my spiritual search was the immensity of the task before me—that I must learn not only to access the true voice of the heart, but to then integrate that understanding into the body on a cellular level, into the deep grooves of psychological conditioning, into all aspects of daily life. To integrate that nondual source of wisdom into every microfiber of dualistic expression. I could not have imagined then that the mere insight into nondual reality—as awe-inspiring and life-changing as it is—was merely the beginning of the spiritual journey rather than its completion. That I could not and would not be satisfied until I could find a way to integrate that nondual wisdom such that it would gradually transmute all aspects of my experience—from intimate relationships and friendships, to sexuality, to child raising, to my relationship with the environment. I simply could not have known what such an integration would require. How potent and stubborn our mental habits and repetitive thought-forms are; how deeply the conditioning of karma, psychology, and a society based on ignorance, scarcity, and fear had worked its way into the cellular structure of the body. To embody my nondual insight and experience would be no small task.

Read the full article.

Daily Wisdom: Noticing Your Projector Screen

Integrity and balance are two of the fruits of doing your shadow work, says Sally Kempton in “Me and My Shadow”:

Your unconscious shadow attitudes, inescapably, become the lenses through which you look at life. Refusing to “own” a shadow tendency just makes you less conscious that it is distorting your perspective. Because inevitably, when you can’t see something in yourself, you project the quality onto someone else, either judging or admiring the quality in them.

This is just one reason why shadow work can be so revelatory, and so life changing. Just learning to recognize your shadow can transform your relationship to other people and yourself. You’ll have an easier time accepting constructive feedback once you’ve recognized that it’s your perfection-obsessed inner critic who’s beating you up, and not the person who’s trying to give you a useful critique. Even more important, when you do your shadow work, you’ll find that it can dissolve many of your negative feelings about yourself—feelings like shame and unworthiness, or the sneaking suspicion that you’re not the person you pretend to be. It also becomes easier to notice and let go of unconscious behavior patterns like being deceitful with your coworkers, blowing up at your mother, or choosing romantic partners who tend to take advantage of you. Shadow work, if you do it authentically, lets you begin to unpick the threads of your negative samskaras.

Often, people who have engaged in shadow work exhibit a high degree of balance, tolerance, and self-acceptance. They tend to have high integrity, in the sense that they don’t say one thing and do another. Their ethics are not undercut by their unconscious impulses, emotionally charged projections, or negative habit patterns.

As you, too, begin to acknowledge your disowned traits and do your shadow work, you’ll catch glimpses of what genuine inner balance feels like. For instance, when you find yourself feeling envious of a friend’s success, instead of resenting them, you will be able to use the feeling of envy to look to how you can step up to your own potential. Or you’ll no longer feel so much resistance to getting on the mat, because having seen into your inner rebel, you’ll be able to negotiate a practice schedule that is free-form enough so the rebel feels less restricted.

Sally Kempton is active in the leadership of the Center for world Spirituality and also participates in our Wisdom Council.

Read the entire article…

What about Susupti, deep sleep awareness?

By Joe Perez

The term ‘susupti’ (Hindi), deep sleep awareness, is worth knowing. The 8th century spiritual master Sankara analyzed human sleep states, concluding that there is no real existence of the self. In contrast, Ramanuja’s analysis of sleep implies that there is a Supreme Self which is present even during deep sleep. The latter view is consistent, I would say, with the position of the American philosopher Ken Wilber, whose work is a touchstone of World Spirituality. [Read more…]

Meditation for Life: Awareness, Inquiry, Realignment, and Return to Self

Shiva Meditation

By Sally Kempton

Cross-posted from Patheos.com.

Meditation makes you more self-aware. That’s one of its biggest gifts, even though we don’t always like what we see. When meditation is really working, it has a way of showing you unknown parts of yourself—pockets of your psyche that are beautiful and sublime, but also parts of yourself that are not so tasty. In fact, there will be periods when your life seems to bristle with situations that seem designed to reveal your most embarrassing reactive patterns and unskillful ways of coping. And I’m not even talking about big crises, just about the normal irritations of life.

Maybe you get the flu, or your back goes out, and you realize how cranky you feel when you’re physically uncomfortable. Maybe you notice the impatience in your voice when you talk to your teenager. Or, as happens regularly to a friend of mine, the moment of truth can come from a co-worker asking you pointedly if you would be acting so prickly if you’d meditated today.

The gift of meditation in these situations is that you have resources that can let you shift out of these patterns—sometimes right away.

[Read more…]

A World Spirituality Guide to How to Survive being Home for the Holidays, by Sally Kempton


By Sally Kempton

Your roots are showing.

Your relatives have the power to push your buttons like no one else. But they can also illuminate your path to personal transformation.

If you think you’re enlightened, go visit your family. Ram Dass, the influential American teacher of spirituality, said that back in the 1970s. For Anne, who called me recently to confess her fear of an upcoming family Christmas, this is more than an ironic quip.

Each Christmas, fifty of her family members—siblings, and step-siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren and assorted step-children—show up en masse at her father’s ranch in Montana, each harboring a personal grievance, grudge or secret rivalry with at least one other family member. Ann’s mother can’t even say hello to Ann’s sister without making a comment about her weight. Two of Ann’s cousins are Scientologists, another a Christian who believes that Scientology is a cult. Even the yogis in the family disagree with one another’s life choices. Ann’s sister-in-law left her teacher and still blogs angrily about him. That teacher happens to be Ann’s teacher, which is just one more complication in the family stew.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom Post: The Way of Becoming

After the evolution beyond ego and the identification with the impersonal, a new personal essence arises out of the very ground of the impersonal.

This is Unique Self. This Second Taste is dynamic, creative, and world transforming. There is urgency to the Second Taste. The God impulse of Second Taste is no less surging, ecstatic, and powerful than was the urge to merge in One Taste. In Second Taste, however, the ecstatic urgency is to emerge. This Second Taste ecstatic urgency aligns not with the eternal transcendent face of God, but with the evolutionary impulse of All That Is. The spiritual path that this ecstatic urge invites you to is the way of Becoming.

Meditation is not only the path into pure Being; it is also a key path to access the surging life force that is the evolutionary dance of unfolding.

In particular, certain forms of tantric or Kabbalistic meditation open the door to that ecstatic evolutionary impulse toward unfolding that lives uniquely in you, as you, and through you. It is the same impulse that utterly demands the creativity of the artist even as it moves the mother to ecstatically suffer the pain of childbirth.

Your Unique Self
 (In Press)
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 95

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

Karma and Psychology: Connecting the Dots

Mariana-Caplan-featuredReprinted from the Huffington Post

If somebody had to live my life, why did it have to be me?!

As a young woman on the spiritual path, I was always both intrigued and bothered by the concept of karma. It just didn’t seem accurate that everyone I knew who remembered a past life was a princess in Egypt or a king in medieval Europe. Or perhaps they had done something really terrible in a past life and they were being punished by God by not being able to get pregnant or running into continuous relationship landmines. The deeper principle of karma called to me, while many of the explanations seemed superficial and overly linear. So I did what any diligent young spiritual journalist would do, approaching each spiritual teacher or great yogi I met on my travels, and asking “What is karma?” and over the years try to sift through it all.

My conclusion, to date, is twofold: 1) The deeper principles of karma are so subtle and intricate that a lifetime of skillful inquiry and practice are necessary to begin to near a real understanding of it; 2) Viewing karma through the lens of deep psychology provides a means to approach the question of karma in a user-friendly and practical way.

Our personal psychology is how our karmic patterns show up in this lifetime. A general Buddhist or Hindu perspective on karma suggests that the individual soul moves through consciousness lifetime after lifetime, incarnating again and again in the school of life in order to complete various tasks and lessons, and to release contractions of consciousness.

[Read more…]

Inner Revolution ~ by Sally Kempton

Sally-Kempton-100x100

Feel like all hell is breaking loose? You might be experiencing a radical transformation that could change your life for the better.

Step by Step
These are the seven steps of radical transformation.

The Wake-Up Call
You realize that something needs to change.

Holding Uncertainty
You search for methods to help you change, explore teachings and avenues, all the while being willing to live with the insecurity of being in a process of identity-shifting.

Asking for Help
You approach teachers and mentors, and you strongly appeal to the power of grace itself.

Grace, Insight, and Awakening
Grace opens the situation, creating a breakthrough, inner shift, which may manifest as new gifts or insights.

Honeymoon
Enjoying the new situation, you live in the breakthrough. It may feel like being in love.

The Fall From Grace
You lose touch with the new gifts, experience the consequences of over-confidence, and a sense of dryness or loss of contact with your Source.

Integration
You bring insight to bear on the contractions that have caused you to lose contact with grace, you apply spiritual insights to the nitty-gritty actions of life, and you experience the ripening of your breakthroughs over time. [Read more…]

Fierce Grace: The Boons of Kali ~ by Sally Kempton

(c) August 2011 By vudhikrai

(c) August 2011 by vudhikrai

“You need to find your Kali side,” I told Annie. You may know someone like Annie. She’s a production manager at a local tv station, a single mom with a busy schedule, and a really nice person. She values yoga as a doorway into peace and well-being, teaches it to troubled teens, and always stresses the importance of equanimity and other yogic virtues — non-violence, surrender, contentment, detachment.

But Annie’s approach to yoga is like her approach to life: she is so conflict averse, that its hard for her even to admit that she has negative feelings. She rarely raises her voice, and she once told me that she can’t remember the last time she felt anger. But at this moment, mired in a family conflict that involves missing money, elder abuse, and shady lawyers, Annie senses that her carefully cultivated tendency to seek peace over conflict is not helping her. She’s called me for advice: she wants to be told how to keep a good relationship with her brother and sister, and still stop them from cheating her mother out of her property. In other words, she wants me to give her a prescription for non-violent conflict from the yogic playbook.

Instead, what pops out of my mouth is, “You need to find your Kali side.” [Read more…]

Finding the Vulnerable Heart, Part Two

By Sally Kempton

Originally posted on Patheos.

In Part One of this series, we began to explore vulnerability as a path, and to look at what it takes to feel safely vulnerable. My meditations on vulnerability began during a conversation with a student named Roberta. Roberta had noticed that she often felt over-sensitive, too open to other people and even the pain of the world around her. In the last article, I discussed where vulnerability comes from, and the different types of vulnerability. Mainly, I tried to distinguish between the vulnerability that comes from weak boundaries, and mature vulnerability—based on real inner strength. That kind of vulnerability, what we might call radical vulnerability, is really only possible for someone who has established both strong personal boundaries, and a deep connection to her own core, the Essence, or inner Self. Here are some conclusions, along with a couple of exercises: one for creating energetic boundaries, the second for deepening your relationship with your own vulnerable self. [Read more…]

Spiritual IQ: Is There Such a Thing?

 

by Sally Kempton

Originally posted on Patheos.

Growing up, I thought that the capacity for spirituality was a rare and special gift, like musical genius or natural charm. I knew only one person who seemed to have it: my parents’ friend Ned, an Irish poet who regularly went off to meditate with the Trappists and volunteer at the Catholic Worker’s soup kitchen on New York’s lower east side. People like Ned, I thought, had been born with an ability to experience the mystical underpinnings of things, to feel oneness with others, to be nice all the time. The rest of us were stuck with our basic ordinariness and selfishness, though like piano students stumbling through the scales, we could work at being spiritual, doing our best to act ‘as if’ we actually felt agape, spiritual love, or trying to sense a connection with the sacred. [Read more…]

Psychology and Spirituality: One Path or Two?

 

by Mariana Caplan

Originally posted on the Huffington Post.

There is great debate, and in many cases a sharp divide, between practitioners of psychology and those of spirituality. On one end of the spectrum, most of mainstream psychology does not concern itself with issues of consciousness and spirit and rejects what is not scientifically quantifiable. On the other end, many contemporary spiritual traditions view the psyche as an unreal construct and believe that psychological work is an indulgent reinforcement of the story of the false self. [Read more…]