July 19, 2018

The World is a Waiting Lover

Audio and Transcript of a dharma teaching by Marc Gafni for the Circle of Venwoude in Holland through Skype (Easter 2012)

The Story of Krishna

We’re going to finish with a holy story that I will read you from my heart, from the mirror of the heart. It’s the great story of the goddess Radah.

You know that many mortal women make love to Krishna, and Krishna is the sensuous God, the child, the lover. He was often caught stealing butter. He would walk among the villages in the hot, moist, Indian land, and he called the women to join him for an afternoon of lovemaking. Age didn’t matter, the rolls of the belly didn’t matter, gray hair or black hair didn’t matter, curve of the breast didn’t matter, marital status didn’t matter. Krishna loved all women and all men, and Krishna wanted to be loved in turn.

Stream Audio here and read further below:

[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…]

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…]

From Sex to Super-Consciousness: Unique Self and the Future of Love

evolver1Marc Gafni and Adam Gilad in Dialogue
Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

Unique Self: “To be awake is to be a lover: alive, aflame and open as love. Therefore, at its heart, to be a lover means to be willing to participate in the transformation of consciousness.”

Sex is play. Sex is surrender. Sex is profound and dangerous and exhilarating discovery – of our truest selves and the selves of our lovers.

After all, the ancient Hebrew mystics didn’t say, “And Adam banged Eve.” They wrote, he “knew” her.

How can your sexual self be the crucible of knowing yourself anew? Of knowing your lover with both profundity and lightness, with both fierceness and the tenderness of a newborn’s touch?

Sex can be entertainment, distraction, obsession — or it can be revelation of our truest selves, our most infinite consciousness. Through our bodies touching, we can touch the divine.

And we can feel – when we drop our anxieties, our bills, our status, our egos – what we can be as human in the act of “becoming.”

Few speak on this subject with Adam Gilad’s remarkable insight and infectious enthusiasm. The 50,000 followers of Adam’s dating and relationships newsletter already appreciate his unique mix of global wisdom traditions, spiritual cheekiness, advanced education and expansive practices. His legendary audio trainings and special programs cover topics like: learning the “language” of the other gender; cultivating a dance of the sexes rather than a battle; playing the spectrum of sexual polarity; and always, always, always, opening to fearlessness in self-awareness, self-evolution, compassion, forgiveness and really good wine.

[Read more…]

Free Dialogue on Feb. 21: Rob McNamara and Marc Gafni

RobMcnamara_0The Center for World Spirituality is pleased to share with you a letter we received from Rob McNamara, an author, performance coach, psychotherapist, and professor based in Boulder, Colorado. Rob’s book, Strength to Awaken, An Integral Guide to Strength Training, Performance & Spiritual Practice for Men & Women (2012) is a definitive work which is reshaping the integral spiritual approach to embodiment and physical fitness.

Dear Friend,

In my work and teaching, I am committed to helping people resolve their persistent painful limitations to become more powerful, proficient and aligned with what matters most in life. Becoming more elegant and aligning yourself with your largest excellence is the most important action we can take right now. Creating, refining and stabilizing your larger abilities as a human being is my passion.

That is why I’m confident that you will love this free dialogue with myself and Marc Gafni, one of the most brilliant minds in spirituality today. We will be discussing the rich intersection of our books Strength to Awaken and Marc’s new book Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment.

strength-bookThis Free Call is this Thursday, Feb. 21st at 6pm PT / 9pm ET. To join us reserve your place as soon as you are able:

>>> RESERVE YOUR PLACE

Our call will be about an hour long. This conversation will highlight some of the central teachings Gafni’s new book outlines and we will explore fitness and spirituality in a way that simply is not available anywhere else. We will close with a short Question and Answer session to field some of the biggest questions you have regarding spirituality, awakening and it’s intersection with strength, fitness and embodiment.

Looking forward to connect!
Rob McNamara
author of Strength To Awaken and The Elegant Self

PS: You can get Your Unique Self HERE and Strength To Awaken HERE if you haven’t already.

Daily Wisdom: The Crying of Union

imgres-1We begin with longing. We give expression to that yearning in tears.  Ultimately, the promise of divinity is that the crying of longing will become the crying of union.  The transformation of the crying of longing, to the crying of union is part of the Tikkun, the ‘fixing’ of tears.  And this is the very process of redemption itself.

Even those who cannot cry however can find their yearning. There is a story of some Chassidim who, in the presence of the Rebbe, were dancing and singing before God, all in great devekut, in great cleaving.  And they were all crying holy tears. There was one among them, however who could not cry. He felt so terrible about this that he ran and got some onions, which he held to his eyes so he too could cry. The master, seeing this, praised his action, saying that it was very precious to God that he wanted to cry. Very often we desperately want to cry but have forgotten the language of tears. We need to be reminded that to long to cry is sometimes as precious as the cry itself.

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

 

Marc Gafni and Charles Randall Paul: The Roots of Individuality

Charles Randall Paul, Ph.D., is one of the most creative leading edge orthodox theologians in the world today. He is board chair, founder, and president of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. He has lectured widely and written numerous articles on healthy methods for engaging differences in religions and ideologies, and he is currently completing two books: Fighting about God: Why We Do It and How to Do It Better and Converting the Saints: An American Religious Conflict. He is on the board of editors for the International Journal of Decision Ethics. Charles is also a member of the Wisdom Council of the Center for World Spirituality.

Today the Spirit’s Next Move blog features a 25-minute audio conversation between Dr. Charles Randall Paul and Dr. Marc Gafni, director of CWS and scholar-in-residence. In this segment, Gafni establishes the essential contours of Unique Self teaching on enlightenment and Paul asks for clarification regarding its implications for Eastern enlightenment. Gafni says that unattachment is a higher integral embrace of East and West, and its general position is that nobody is entirely wrong. Every great system has its own understanding that is true and partial, he says. The great understanding of the East is that to move beyond suffering, you have to move beyond your identity as a separate self. And Unique Self retains that central insight by incorporating the teaching that separateness is the source of suffering but it is different from uniqueness.

Charles takes issue with Marc at times, as their exchange on the nature of Western enlightenment in the Renaissance shows, along a path towards a greater shared understanding. They agree that the roots of Western individualism can be traced back both to Christianity as well as the Judaism’s teaching of Imago Dei, but neither religion fully escaped ethnocentrism. It was not until the Renaissance, Marc says, that the individual is given dignity qua individual without being located in a particular religious context.

Listen to the audio: [Read more…]

Unique Self Video No. 14: Levels of Consciousness

From “Part 14. Unique Self and levels of consciousness,” the fourteenth part of the Unique Self video blog series:

What is Unique Self?

The core way we refer to Unique Self is as both a unique structure-stage of consciousness and a state of consciousness. Primarily it’s a specific structure-stage of consciousness that comes online as a natural spontaneous expression of living into your uniqueness at higher levels of consciousness. Of course knowing about Unique Self might be one of the things that spurs you, causes you to grow up to higher levels of consciousness. It’s the transmission, the teaching, and study of Unique Self that is one of the things that awakens you. [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.

What is pleasure? A short dharma talk with Marc Gafni

By Marc Gafni

I want to share with you a little dharma talk I gave earlier this year in response to the question, “What is pleasure?” If you’re accustomed to the standard answer which says that pleasure is Hedonic, you are in for a surprise.

Listen to the audio below (about five minutes) and follow along the transcript provided.

What is pleasure? Pleasure is the universe caressing us. Pleasure is the feeling that the personal face of essence intends me to be held and loved and pleasured.

Pleasure reminds me that the world is sane, that the world intends and holds my pleasure.

In fact there’s this gorgeous 3rd century Aramaic text that talks about the moment of transition, the moment we move from this life to the next life. There’s the tunnel and the light and in all the cross-cultural appearances of this story, there’s judgment. There’s life review that happens. [Read more…]

Don’t ever turn to stone. Take a leap to learn new things.

Photo Credit: thriol

 

By Kristen Ulmer

People ask me all the time why I started Ski to Live.

I want to tell you a story about my past you may find shocking. It explains why I started these evolutionary mindset ski and snowboard camps, and also illustrates the next top mindset tip.

When I was 22 years old I was competing in local Utah mogul competitions and generally coming in last place. Heck, I hadn’t even owned a pair of ski pants until two years prior — just competing in anything was a big step.

That summer, while my fellow competitors trained on snow at expensive camps at Mount Hood, Whistler or even South America, I decided to take a trip to Asia by myself. For 5 months. To work on my self esteem.

I had two rules on this trip. I made these rules because I realized my self worth was entirely based on the fact I was pretty, and could ski well. I realized I wasn’t going to always be pretty, or always ski well, and I thought I’d better find a way to build a more solid personal foundation. [Read more…]

Why discipline and will power are completely outdated, and an evolutionary alternative

Workout

Photo Credit: jontunn

By Kristen Ulmer

This may surprise you, but discipline, perseverance, setting an intention, drive, the will; all those celebrated states usually taught by sports coaches, are completely outdated. Same with goal setting.

Here’s why. I remember having to perform a difficult ski photo shoot while still recovering from an injury. I wanted to maintain status and sponsors so I “sucked it up” “did it anyway” “refused to give up” “pushed through the pain and fear.” Sounds powerful right?

Such willed effort is fine in a pinch: I skied great that day, but here’s the problem: doing something I didn’t feel like doing was the first step toward future burn out and ultimately resenting my sport.

There’s a better path. [Read more…]

Every Detour is the Destination (By Tom Goddard and Marc Gafni)

Detour

Photo Credit: Shannon K

 

By Tom Goddard and Marc Gafni

The Issue

Most, if not all, of us have chapters in our lives that feel like detours, or worse. A bad job, a nightmare relationship, a bout with drink, a regrettable move — sometimes all at once! Such times are characterized by anguish, or anger, or shame, or desperation — again, sometimes all at once.

Perhaps now is one such time. Perhaps a dominant thought these days is “how do I get out of this and move on to a better place?”

Perhaps not. Maybe this is a good time, with only an occasional look back at a particularly bad detour, a reminiscence tinged with shame or remorse. If we can tell the story of such a time, we tell it with justifiable anger or sadness.

Either way, whether the detours are in the rear view mirror or squarely in the here and now, our common reaction is to push them away from our experience. Life would be, or would have been, better without the detour.

The Dharma

But that’s just one level of understanding, and not necessarily the only one, or the “true” one. On one level of consciousness, at the level of separate self ego, it’s true. On a higher level of consciousness, you can hold this at a deeper level. At this higher, or deeper level of consciousness, you can behold the amazing realization that each such detour, no matter how painful, is or was essential to the unfolding, the realization, of my Unique Self.

Every detour is a destination. To know that every detour is a destination is the first step in turning your fate into your destiny. [Read more…]

To improve at your sport, always be in a state of leaning in

Deer

By Kristen Ulmer

If you really want to improve at your sport, it’s important to always be in a state of reaching, or leaning in. You may be surprised by what that means.

The simple part is: You play tennis on your front foot, not your back. Great skiing happens when you’re reaching for speed, not resisting speed. If you’re running and sense the wind pushing you back, you’re not leaning in. Lean in and you’ll sense the wind pushing you forward.

Leaning in is all about yes; to everything. And here’s where it gets hard. Everything means … everything. Lean in to all of life, not just the good stuff. [Read more…]

Self-confidence: a sign that you have arrived spiritually

Andy Houghton

Photo Credit: Andy Houghton

 

By Joe Perez

Self-confidence is a sign that you have arrived spiritually, according to syndicated columnist Norris Burkes. In “Spirituality: Be your own person,” the Air National Guard chaplain writes:

Jesus …  flat out ask[ed] his adoring crowds, “Who do people say that I am?”

The throng fired back some wild-eyed guesses, as some even said he was the ghost of an old prophet.

Others said he was a lunatic, but Jesus brushed those speculations aside and turned to those who were important in his life, his students, and asked, “Who do you say that I am?”

Peter stood and set it straight. “You da man!”

OK, he didn’t exactly say that. Peter said, “You’re the Christ.”

Jesus responded to this astute conclusion with an astounding command. He told them to not tell a soul.

Why would Jesus ask for such anonymity? Some scholars say that he was trying to avoid being crucified prematurely.

I think it was much more.

I think Jesus had arrived at the moment in his life where he knew that he didn’t need to “proclaim” who he was.

His walk, his breath, his talk exuded the confidence of one who was truly different.

He knew his purpose, and he knew he was the only one who needed to feel contentment in that purpose.

Read the whole thing.

World Spirituality suggests that Burkes has identified an important principal of enlightenment, that moment which he says you stop trying to proclaim who you are and just put your effort into being who God wants you to be. Of course, there are many different ways of interpreting what God wants, and I am using this expression as another way of pointing to the Thou in the I/Thou relationship we all have with All That Is.

Norris says of Jesus: “His walk, his breath, his talk exuded the confidence of one who was truly different.”

Or … He exuded the confidence of one who was truly himself, fully realized in Unique Self.

 

If you want a lifetime of happiness, never be satisfied

Olympics

Photo Credit: Miss Barabanov


By Kristen Ulmer

One of my clients admitted the first gold medal he won in the Olympics made him feel happy and satisfied for about six months. His second gold medal he was satisfied for only a few weeks.

Sounds like a bummer, actually. All that work and subsequent glory is supposed to lead to ‘happily-ever-after’ right? The bragging rights alone should carry for decades.

Yet here’s my advice: If you want a true lifetime of happiness and love for your sport: Never be satisfied. [Read more…]

Consciousness is power: a lesson from pebbles

Runner

Photo Credit: Alain Limoges

By Kristen Ulmer

While a body builder, Schwarzenegger was rumored to say lifting weight 1 rep in a conscious state enhanced results more than lifting the same weight 10 times in an unconscious state.

While we wouldn’t take relationship advice from the guy, perhaps this comment deserves pondering! [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom Post: Body and Soul

The GorgeThe body leads to the soul, and the soul leads back to the body.  “When I look at the I of my body I find the I of my soul.  When I look at the I of my soul I find the I of God.”

The Sufis have a wonderful saying–“Say your praise to Allah and tie your camel to a post.”  What this really means is, touch the fullness of God and let that inspire even the simplest service.

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 324

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

Robert McNamara: more integrated muscle building gets better results

Muscle

Photo Credit: ccdoh1

 

Robert McNamara’s approach to resistance training, as described in his book Strength to Awaken, is grounded on integral principles… and he views muscle building as a spiritual discipline. On his Embodied. Evolution. blog, the author explains why people over the age of 22 to 24 need to build muscle:

Muscle strength cannot be reduced to a “macho” thing that you may or may not not be attracted to. The larger truth relevant for everyone is this: You need muscle strength, this is a pragmatic fact. If you don’t believe me go volunteer at a nursing home for a week. It will dramatically change your perception of strength and what happens to your quality of life when you can’t move around freely. Muscle strength determines freedom of movement perhaps more than any other single factor and science tells us that strength is positively correlated with quality of life. When you lose strength you also lose quality of your life. It’s that simple.

One of the questions everyone must address is this: Does your day to day lifestyle increase your capacity to move about freely with greater ease and more flexibility? If you can not say yes to this, consider breaking out of your conditioned lifestyle that presently holds you. If you are not moving towards becoming more, then you’re slowly, or perhaps not so slowly, eroding the quality of your life.

Strength and metabolism do not have to decline with age. In fact, it appears that these decline more in concert with lifestyle than with your chronological age. Strength training is a massively (perhaps the most) powerful way to reverse both of these measures as you grow older.

Strength To Awaken is the most integrated approach to strength training you will find on the planet. Greater integration means greater results. Train smart, learn to engage whole-heartedly into the discipline of strength training as this book does and you will enjoy multifaceted adaptations that will likely serve every facet of your life.

Read the whole thing.

 

Daily Wisdom Post: Love the Stranger as Your Self

First we need to claim our body as part of our core identity.  “Through my body I vision God,” a verse from the biblical book of Job, is one of the most important mantras of the Kabbalists.  Nineteenth-century master Elimelech of Lishensk teaches that only by trusting our body can we decipher the word of God.

The second step in the redemption of Shechina would be to reclaim all of my psyche.  This includes the furthest reaches of consciousness, including the unconscious.  You must embrace all of your light as well as all of your darkness.  Any part of me that I split off and reject is in exile.  By placing it on the outside, I am emptying my self.  The more I place on the outside, the more empty I become.  Using the Shechina language of our quest, I de-eroticize my self.  My life becomes boring, vapid, and empty.  The more of my psyche I include on the inside, the more erotic I become, and the “holier” I become.  To be holy = to be erotic = to be on the inside.

Biblical myth expresses the same idea in the language of love.  There are three love mantras in biblical myth:  Love God; Love yourself; Love the stranger.  Deeply understood, all three are of course the same thing.  To love yourself is to love all of you–the God in you and the stranger in you.

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 315

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

What is Somatics? (By Mary Ann Gray Voorhies)

SomaticsBy Mary Ann Gray Voorhies

Somatics, in the tradition of Thomas Hanna, is a powerful new discipline in the field of health care.  Somatics  (also called Clinical Somatic Education) gives us the technology and the tools that enable us to learn to control our own physiology. Now, for the first time in history, we have the POWER to change our own bodies in relatively rapid ways — ways that can dramatically improve our health and well being. For the first time in history, thanks to Thomas Hanna, we have at our disposal simple ways to become victorious over the negative effects of accumulated stress or trauma on the human body. [Read more…]