December 11, 2018

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.

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Excitement Builds for Summer Festival of Love – July 26 to August 2

Summer Festival Icon

Sometimes, people wait to the last minute, and then decide to jump into a major life event because of an inward pull and calling… an impulse that is not to be denied! If you are having this calling regarding our 3rd Annual Mystery School, and our 1st Annual European Integral Wisdom Conference… now is the time to act so you can be at the Summer Festival of Love at the Venwoude Integral Practice Community in Holland, the week of July 26 – August 2.

Many are still carrying the transformative “Loving Your Way to Enlightenment” vibe from the Summer Festival and Mystery School of last year… really fantastic reports of authentic growth and change. Promotional Flyer here—>

Loving Your Way to Enlightenment

 

With Marc Gafni leading, our previous Mystery Schools have attracted many participants from all over Europe and the Americas, contributing to the expansion of our European Center for Integral Wisdom faculty, and to a dramatic evolution of CIW teachings and workshop opportunities in the past year. The Summer Festival of Love is truly a signature event among all of the teachings for the year.

Mauk Pieper, Chahat Corten and Dr Marc at the 2013 Summer Festival of Love

Mauk Pieper, Chahat Corten and Dr Marc at the 2013 Summer Festival of Love


 

 

There are few spaces left… you may register here. Register here—>

 

 

 

 

Wisdom for Your Week: A Gift for You from the Summer Festival of Love at Venwoude

Marc Gafni teaching at Venwoude

Marc Gafni teaching at Venwoude

The second annual Mystery School of Love has begun and is already in full swing. More than 150 people have come to celebrate with us this year’s theme: “Reclaiming Eros.” Many participants were here with us last year and are excited to be here again!

The festival revolves at its core around Dr. Marc’s several hours of Dharma transmission each morning. In the beginning of the day, spiritual teacher Chahat Corten — a leading luminary at Venwoude and a direct dharma student of Dr. Marc — begins the morning with a day-opening ceremony. Dr. Marc then meets with the twenty or so teachers gathered on the faculty of the Mystery School. Included are leading teachers who are each in their own right bright stars and key leaders of the Venwoude community where Dr. Marc serves as the World Spirituality Teacher in Residence. We will post a bit later a special piece about all the the wonderful teachers, each worthy of note and great appreciation.

The center of the emergence is the field of radical dharma and outrageous love that is woven and rewoven by Dr. Marc. The attendance at the festival has doubled in the last year and we expect that to keep doubling every year. Dr. Marc weaves a field of precise and powerful–truly “source-code-changing”–teaching, which transforms minds and explodes hearts. Dr. Marc’s mind and heart seem to merge as one and he lives for everyone as an overflowing and brilliant weaver of meaning, meta theory and grand narrative—even as he opens up spaces of genuine enlightenment that seem to shift the earth beneath people’s feet. It is an enlightenment teaching pure and simple, and the process is, as Dr. Marc calls it, Loving Your Way to Enlightenment!

To give you a little taste of it, we want to share with you just the first few minutes of Marc Gafni’s opening dharma talk, where he sets the frame by giving us 6 principles and commitments for the upcoming week. This is before any of the real dharma got started – this was the first hello:

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Daily Wisdom: The core characteristics of the realized person according to Hassidic master Mordechai Lainer’s teaching

They point out the highly humanistic undertone of Lainer’s non dualism.

1) Affirming and honoring of the unique individuality of every person.

2) Engendering of human freedom and empowerment.

3) Affirms the necessity, ontological impact, and dignity of human activism.

4) Affirms the ontic idenity between the human and divine name as the empowering realization of enlightenment.

5) Affirming of the ontological dignity of human desire and viewing it as an important normative guide.

6) Affirming the ontological dignity and authority of the human capacity to employ trans-rational faculties, “Lemaalaha MiDaato”, in apprehending the unmediated  will of God.

7) Affirms the centrality of will and the ultimate ontic identity between the will of God and the will of the awakened person, who has achieved post Berur consciousness.

8) Views not only the Tzaddik but that every person, Berur awakened state, as a source of ultimate moral and legal authority. We have termed this the “democratization of enlightenment.”

What is remarkable about Lainer’s thought is not that all of these features are present. Indeed many of them could be easily identified in many writers on secular humanism. What is unique is that all of these flow directly not from a secular perspective but from a radical non dualism which affirms that all is God. The idea that the human being substantively participates in divinity is the conceptual matrix which radically empowers and frees the human being.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears

 

Daily Wisdom: Divine Imagination

God is the possibility of possibility – limitless imagination. The first of the ten commandments is “I am God.”  When this God is asked to identify himself, He responds, “I will be what I will be.” That is, ‘You cannot capture me in the frozen image of any time or place. To do so would be to destroy me.’ It would be to violate the second commandment against idolatry. Idolatry is the freezing of God in a static image. To freeze God in an image is to violate the invitation of the imagination. It is to limit possibility.

The Temple modeled after the Biblical myth tabernacle in the desert is the product of imagination. In a wonderfully paradoxical set of mystical texts, Bezalel, the master craftsman of the book of Exodus, receives no clear blueprint from God or Moses on how to build the tabernacle. And yet he builds it in accordance with “God’s will.” For the Kabbalists, this is a hidden allusion to the power of holy imagination to intuit cosmic truth.

When the mystics suggest that Bezalel is “taught by God,” they speak in code. The artist is “wise of heart,” “filled with the spirit of wisdom, intuition and intimate understanding.”  All of these draw their inspiration from the breath of divine imagination.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment

This white paper, “Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment,” by Marc Gafni suggests that the Democratization of Enlightenment is the evolution of an enlightened society, with Enlightenment defined as knowledge of one’s own True Identity. Accordingly, three conclusions are drawn: First, that enlightenment is sanity and hence a necessary ingredient for all individuals, not merely for elites. Second, attaining Enlightenment does not involve denying individuality, but grasping a key distinction between separateness and uniqueness. Third, the goal of enlightenment is said to be not the evolution beyond ego, but beyond exclusive identification with ego. After these three findings, the Marc Gafi suggests that the Democratization of Enlightenment is essential both for individual mental health as well as planetary survival.


“Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment” was originally published in the October 2012 issue of Integral Leadership Review.

Unique Self Video No. 12: Your Unique Self, The Book

Marc Gafni:

Unique Self emerges from my teaching over the last 20 years, a deep meeting between my teaching and Integral Theory, many many conversations between Ken and myself, fructified, amplified, and deepened by an inner circle of other teachers who brought their own gifts to bear, and now Unique Self belongs to no one. It’s the teaching of tomorrow, which will take each one of us.

Find your way on this radical path to personal enlightenment.

In the twelfth installment of the Unique Self Video series, Marc Gafni provides an overview of his new book, Your Unique Self:


For a transcript, see UniqueSelf.com.

Daily Wisdom: Every generation is part of the unfolding revelation of divinity

R. Kook, twentieth century philosopher mystic, teaches that every generation is part of the unfolding revelation of divinity.  Each generation, picking up from where the last one left off, moves closer to understanding the full depth and divinity of sacred rites and passages. In this sense the “covenant between me and the children of Israel”  is not only between God and the people – but “between”  the children of Israel…. and their children ….and their children – a covenant between generations. Israel means for me, borrowing a reading from my teacher Mordechai Lainer of Izbica, based on a close and creative reading of the original Hebrew, Yashar El; the direct apprehension of the divine.

The community of Israel are those who receive tradition reverentially and yet seek their own unmediated experience of divinity as the lodestone of their spiritual and ethical journey.  In this covenant each generation promises its forbearers to continue the journey of unfolding divinity though the prism of our questing souls.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears (forthcoming 2013)

Unique Self Video No. 8: Enlightenment Is Not Only for the Elite

“Enlightenment is not only the province of the elite. It can expand beyond the narrow sectors of the meditation hall in Nepal or Brooklyn, or the back streets of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods where the pious Kabbalists sit and chant. Enlightenment becomes part of the fabric of every awakened life…” — Marc Gafni, from the Unique Self Video Blog, Part 8

Watch the video: [Read more…]

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 11): How to Accomplish the Democratization of Enlightenment

By Marc Gafni

“How? How do we accomplish the democratization of enlightenment? The how… The answer to the how question is two-fold. One is intention and the other is practice. Intention means, “I intend towards enlightenment.” My intention in practice is not merely to obey the rules, not merely to satisfy my egoic need to be part of the whole, hot merely to be in alignment with the law.

My intention is to realize the true nature of my Identity and to have my goodness, my virtue, my love, my passion and compassion emerge naturally, spontaneously, organically from my true essence. I am actually commanded by my essence, and the command of my essence, the invitation of my essence, the Eros of my essence is far more powerful and transformative than any externally imposed command.

So the beginning is to set my intention towards my enlightenment, but not in the narcissistic, narrow way; the pursuit of a spiritual materialism, but rather to set my intention in love is to realize my true nature for the sake of the all…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 10): What is Democratization of Enlightenment?

By Marc Gafni

“Now let’s begin to understand what we mean by the democratization of enlightenment. Once we bring Eastern and Western enlightenment into a higher integral embrace by disambiguating the confusion between separateness and uniqueness and therefore integrating the best intuition, insight and spiritual breakthrough understanding of both Eastern and Western enlightenment then we can have a genuine conversation about the democratization of enlightenment.

Every human being is a Unique Self. Every human being is a True Self. Every True Self is unique. There is no True Self in the manifest world which is not unique. Once we embrace uniqueness again as the expression of individuation, meaning the individuated expression of True Self, the personal face of essence, that is you, God’s signature written all over you, is God appearing in you as you, that’s Unique Self, we’ve removed the counter-intuitive sense of enlightenment which creates an obstacle and stands between the average human being who experiences their uniqueness and can’t understand an enlightenment teaching which tells them to reject their uniqueness.

Now we understand that the average intuition, the normal teaching of the human being which embraces uniqueness is correct and the enlightenment teaching that tells the human being to leave uniqueness behind because it conflates separateness and uniqueness is incorrect, at best partial…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 9): Integral Embrace of Eastern and Western Enlightenment

By Marc Gafni

“To take the next step, to move towards a higher integral embrace in which we can actually bring the Western and Easern enlightenment in conversation with each other. And again when I saw Eastern enlightenment, I mean also certain forms of mystical enlightenment which appeared in the West, but this is just shorthand. The way to bring them into a higher integral embrace, into a higher evolutionary unfolding, and to invite a kind of awakening in which the great goods of Eastern enlightenment and Western enelightenment are held together we need to understand and point out an essential mistake, an essential fallacy in both the Eastern understanding of enlightenment and Western enlightenment. Both of them made a central mistake which limits their understanding of each other. That mistake, that basic mistake, is a confusion or a conflation of separateness and uniqueness…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 8): Western Enlightenment

By Marc Gafni

“The first way we talk about enlightenment is from a mystical perspective, the shift of consciousness from small self to True Self. But the second way enlightenment is used in the English language is to refer to the Western Enlightenment. And every Westerner is familiar with this Western enlightenment. It’s the same word as used by Eastern or mystical traditions where one attains a new state of Being … the same word is used to refer to Western enlightenment, which is very different because in Eastern or mystical enlightenment the goal is to move beyond the separate self. The separate self is seen to be the source of suffering because as long as I see my self as separate, I have to compete with you, I have to grasp, I have to prove that I exist…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 7): The Fallacy in the Traditional Enlightenment Teaching

By Marc Gafni

“Why now? Why is a World Spirituality based on Integral principles which has as its core the democratization of enlightenment, which is the natural emergent of the Unique Self consciousness, why is it a possibility in a way that it never was, and why is it an urgent necessity in the way it never was?”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 6): What is Enlightenment?

By Marc Gafni

“What’s up in the evolution of consciousness in this moment in time is three components, a kind of holy trinity, what I refer to in my teaching and writing as the democratization of enlightenment. It’s an emergent World Spirituality based on integral principles and as Unique Self consciousness or Unique Self enlightenment. These three emergent structures of thought, emergent structures of being and becoming, are interrelated, inseparable from each other.

What does the democratization of enlightenment mean? Democratization as in democracy on the one hand, and enlightenment on the other hand. It’s the unique nexus of those two powerful, earth-shattering, mind-bending, heart-rending ideas that change the very nature of how we engage all that is. When you merge them together, something new larger than the sum of the parts emerges…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 5): Three Images of World Spirituality

By Marc Gafni

“Let’s try to envision World Spirituality for a second. Let me suggest three images. The first would be an orchestra, a great symphonic orchestra, in which every instrument is playing its music. From the diversity of instruments, what is yielded is a great symphony. In the premodern world, the religions believed that their instrument was the music. But the postmodern world has taught us is that the instrument is the critical context that shapes the music, the texture, the sound, the tonality of the music, but the spirit is not the surface structure. Spirit is the depth. And all the instruments are playing music. From the diversity of this music, of the instruments, comes the symphony…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 4): Who does World Spirituality address?

By Marc Gafni

“Who does a World Spirituality address? If we discern carefully, World Spirituality is transformative to the four major types of people in the world. First, there are the hundreds of millions of people who are post-traditional. They’re the people who can no longer locate themselves within a great tradition, a classical religion. Their experience, the way they’ve been brought into the world, their cultural exposures are such that they can’t locate themselves in a religion or a great tradition, and yet they are profoundly engaged and extremely compelled by Spirit…”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 3): Why World Spirituality, why now?

By Marc Gafni

“Why now? Why is a World Spirituality based on Integral principles which has as its core the democratization of enlightenment, which is the natural emergent of the Unique Self consciousness, why is it a possibility in a way that it never was, and why is it an urgent necessity in the way it never was?”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 2): Structure of this Teaching

By Marc Gafni

“What is World Spirituality? How do we realize this vision of World Spirituality? Who does it address? And why is World Spirituality so essential and possible today, an opportunity that hasn’t existed in 2,000 years?”

Watch the video:

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The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 1): Introducing Evolutionary Mysticism

By Marc Gafni

“Why now? Why is a World Spirituality based on Integral principles which has as its core the democratization of enlightenment, which is the natural emergent of the Unique Self consciousness, why is it a possibility in a way that it never was, and why is it an urgent necessity in the way it never was?”

Watch the video:

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The Seven Levels of Certainty and Uncertainty

Standing StoneBy Marc Gafni

The following are notes from Marc Gafni’s dharma talk given in March 2012 at Shalom Mountain Wisdom School, where Gafni serves as the World Spirituality Teacher in Residence.

Introduction

The seven levels of certainty and uncertainty tells the story of how the great religious traditions came into being and how they were challenged first by science, and then by modern and post-modern mindsets.

This is a rough sketch of a map of certainty and uncertainty.

We have forgotten what we know. Indeed we do not know whether we know or not at all. We do not know whether we know or what we know or even how to know. The general impression today is that anyone who claims to know something is lost in dogma or regressive fundamentalism. Indeed almost the definition of a fundamentalist is someone who claims to know something with is totally “true” about Ultimate issues.

A person cannot survive and certainly cannot thrive without knowing.

A generation cannot survive without its knowing. A generation certainly cannot participate in the evolution of consciousness, which is the evolution of love, without knowing what it knows.

So let’s go back to the beginning of story that led to this post-modern predicament in which all knowing is undermined and in which the only grand narrative is that there is no–and can be no–grand narrative.

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