August 14, 2018

Unique Self and Reincarnation Part 7: East-West Enlightenment and a New Empiricism

What are the practical implications of reincarnation when we deconstruct dogma and embrace the many forms of empirical knowledge… as many as seventeen types of empirical knowing… that inform us of deeper human existential realities? Marc Gafni and Michael Murphy discuss Integral Transformative Practice.

Part 7: East-West Enlightenment and a New Empiricism

 

Michael Murphy and Dr Marc Gafni Reincarnation Dialogue Parts 2 & 3

One Integral definition of “a postmetaphysical discussion on reincarnation” could be to attempt to integrate empirical first person transpersonal experiences with third person academic research and writing on reincarnation. Each domain has its proponents and biases. The challenge is in incorporating a phenomenological approach with credible research. It is in this spirit that Michael Murphy and Dr. Marc Gafni continue their discussion in Parts 2 and 3 of their dialogue on Reincarnation. – SR

Part 2 – Does Anything Happen After You Die?

Part 3 – The Reincarnation Research from the University of Virginia

True Self, Unique Self and the Infinity of Intimacy

Dr. Marc Gafni and Michael Murphy held an evening dialogue at a recent leadership meeting. The topic was on reincarnation, and the inquiry was, “How does a think-tank hold a credible post-metaphysical discussion on reincarnation?” What do we really think about reincarnation, and what is the narrative we want to evolve within a framework of Integral Theory, Evolutionary Love, Conscious Capitalism, and changing the source code of human consciousness, a few among the many think-tank concerns and initiatives?

This is Part 1 of a 9-part video series of that very entertaining and excellent discussion between Marc and Michael. Since his founding of the Esalen Institute in 1962, Michael has directly witnessed and experienced the modern exploration of reincarnation through transpersonal and spiritual processes, and Marc’s lifelong exploration of the nature of human existence and his evolution of Unique Self theory and practice compels him to discern the most credible philosophic framing for reincarnation possible.

Marc’s and Michael’s discussion was of particular interest to me because I worked for many years as an intensive care registered nurse, with seven years in AIDS units during the early days when death was inevitable. I was strongly called to Presence with patients and families facing death, and to evolve a gentler, more psychologically and spiritually mature approach to death within our culture. During those years I met many people who spoke quite convincingly about their near-death experiences. Later I became the training director for a transpersonal therapy association with past life therapy and pre-and perinatal regressions as central therapeutic processes, where I spent many years in private practice in dimly lit rooms bringing people through ostensible past life experiences. I have thought a great deal about these existential questions, and I loved that Marc and Michael tackled this topic from the angle of credibility because discussions of reincarnation are so easily swamped by metaphysical vagaries expressed with certainty. I know you will enjoy this entertaining and engaging evening dialogue between Marc and Michael, “True Self, Unique Self, and the Infinity of Intimacy.”

Steve Raymond

 

“Outrageous Love” Poem by Cerridwen

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

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…]

Integral God: Sacred Activism and Falling in Love with the Divine – Excerpt

Excerpt of the Essay by Dr. Marc Gafni:

In their 2013 ITC conference presentation, Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton will explore “Integral God: Sacred Activism and Falling in Love with the Divine.” To explore this, they will consider two models of self in evolutionary mysticism and why these models matter. Both models emerge at the time of important updates to the source code of enlightenment. The first update is the understanding that all of reality, including spirit, is evolving, and this is a shared understanding of both Unique and Authentic Self teachings. The second update to the source code of the enlightenment teachings can be understood as the emergence of the awakened personal function, and this is a key area of divergence between the Unique and Authentic Self teachings. Read more in this excerpt from the introduction of the essay :

 

Unique Self and Authentic Self in Context:

Marc GafniWithin the Integral context, two ways of thinking about self have emerged which are distinctive both in their shared contours and significant distinctions. One framework or model has been called Authentic Self, and the other, Unique Self.[i] Their implicit assumptions suggest both a shared worldview and subtle but important distinctions in their vision of the ideal homo religiousus. These distinctions are foundational with vast implications in virtually every dimension of life, and therefore, need to be laid out with clarity and precision. Each suggests a different understanding of what it means to wake up from the narrow identity as a separate self or ego self into a more enlightened and correct identity as, respectively, Authentic or Unique Self.[ii]  Both the Unique Self and Authentic Self models locate themselves within the context of classical mystical enlightenment teaching. Neither emerges from a western flatland paradigm which views the self as an isolated and discrete unit, or what has been called a skin-encapsulated ego. For both Unique Self and Authentic Self, the first major step towards enlightenment is the realization that the person is not merely an ego or separate self, but rather that the person’s true identity is their absolute, essential, or true self. [Read more…]

“Your Unique Self” reviewed by Mariana Caplan, PhD

Mariana Caplan, PhDMariana Caplan, PhD, co-founder of Center for World Spirituality, psychotherapist, professor of yogic and transpersonal psychologies, and the author of seven books in the fields of psychology and spirituality, has reviewed Your Unique Self:

“Your Unique Self is a great gift to the modern spiritual world. The author, Marc Gafni, has been immersed in spiritual study and practice for over three decades, and his work comes to a full flowering in this beautiful book.

In this way, Your Unique Self is both a philosophy and a practice that is relevant to seekers and practitioners of all traditions, both traditional and modern. The radical but grounded theory and method Gafni articulates offers the reader a chance to experience not only his or her unique gifts to the world, but to recognize uniqueness itself as an enlightened expression of our own inherent divinity. Unique Self in Gafni’s realization is the expression of the irreducibly unique “personal face of essence”. Here is a direct taste of the book itself.”

Read more>>>

You can buy the book and more books by Dr. Marc Gafni at Amazon>>>

 

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…]

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part III

(c) 2010 Salvatore Vuono

©2010 Salvatore Vuono

In the final installment of this three-part essay below, which is excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity. We transform them into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized.

From Part I: “Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point:  I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts.” [Read more…]

Wisdom for Your Week: Divine Tears

Kalonymus Kalman Shapira
Piasetzener Rebbe

In this beautiful and deeply moving series of short videos from 2008 from the Treblinka death camp, Dr. Marc Gafni tells us the story of Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, Rebbe of Piaseczno, who–after his whole family was killed by the Nazis–kept on teaching and loving and writing down his sermons to his students in the Warsaw Ghetto. When he became aware that the end of the Ghetto and its inhabitants was near, he buried the book in a canister. This canister was found after the end of the war and the book was published in Israel in 1960.

In one of the teachings of this last Polish Hasidic Master–as Dr. Marc tells us here–he asks himself: “What is the internal vibration of the Divine?” In Jeremiah, God speaks: “In the inner places, I cry.” Yet, in another place, it is said that in God’s inner places, there is joy and laughter.

Dr. Marc reminds us here that “in the inner space between the contradictions–that is where God lives.” And he narrates further that the Talmud, in the Tractate Hagigah, states about this: “That is in the inner house. That is in the outer house.”–without telling us which is which. Most Kabbalists read this–like a classical Vedanta, non-dual position–that in the inner places God is not affected by the world. So, in the inner places, God is all joy and laughter.

Not so, the Rebbe of Piaseczno… Read the partial transcript of the story as told by Dr. Marc Gafni:

[Read more…]

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part I

Looking for more on the wisdom tradition that aligns you with your deepest creativity? In a three-part excerpt from the long version of Soul Prints, Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print or Unique Self destiny unrealized.

You can view Part II of this essay in full by clicking here>>

You can view Part III of this essay in full by clicking here>>

Yetzer and Yetzirah: Raising the Primal Sparks of Creativity and Passion

by Dr. Marc Gafni
from The Way of the Dragon in the long Soul Prints.

 

Part I.colorful
In biblical spirituality, information about God is relevant for one reason only. Information about God is information about us. We are commanded to be little Gods – to imitate God. Just as God stood at the abyss of darkness and said let there be light, so are we commanded to stand at the abyss of our darkness and say let there be light. A little bit of light dispels so much of the darkness. Further, just as God is a creator – creating, sculpting, painting, composing a gorgeous physical world – so, too, are we invited to create, to sculpt, to paint, and to make music. [Read more…]

Center for World Spirituality Mystery School of Love (aka Summer Festival of Love) Venwoude International Retreat Center, Holland

The following video gives you a small taste of the Center for World Spirituality Mystery School of Love (aka Summer Festival of Love) run in partnership with Venwoude International retreat center.

The Mystery School is an annual eight day event which takes place at the end of July and the first week of August. The morning dharma teaching is by Dr. Marc Gafni with an all star team of teachers leading breakout sessions in the afternoon.

The Mystery School is a profound enlightenment teaching intensive where the practices revolve around awakening to what Dr. Marc calls Your Unique Self. This awakening to your true nature and to the sacred activism that is the invitation of your life is rooted in a powerful realization of the unique love beauty and love intelligence of all that is, that lives in you, as you and through you.

Many students report profound enlightenment experiences during mystery schools. Those experiences however are but pointers towards a stable and integrated awakening to your unique self that has the potential to literally change everything even as you deepen and transform from where you are. This is the path of what Dr. Marc calls the evolutionary lover or the outrageous lover. At the core of the dharma is Dr. Marc’s core mantra: We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.

Next Venwoude Festival / Mystery School:  July 27th – August 3rd, 2013
Info here: http://www.venwoude.nl/summerfestival.htm

 

Daily Wisdom: I NEED YOU

imgres-1Still more daring is the assertion of divine dependency on man which is made in the Talmudic masters audacious  interpretation of a verse in the prophet Isaiah, “You are my witnesses says the Lord, and I am your God.” Explain the masters, “when you are my witnesses I am God, and when you are not my witnesses I am not God.”

The key gift the lover gives to the beloved is to need the  beloved. And the converse. The gift of the beloved to the lover is to allow herself to need her lover. And of course the roles of lover and beloved are forever interchanging between the partners. This is the great gift of love for it fills the most basic and essential need of the human being; the need to be needed.

It is in being needed that we realize our humanity.  In being needed by God we disclose our divinity as well. There is no more ultimate need than to be needed by God. There is no more ultimate human dignity than to need and be needed by God.  What the mutuality of the covenant teaches us is that our need of him is but an echo, a reflection of his need of us. The great goal of spiritual work is turn God’s need – not into a merely human obligation – but into a genuine human need.  In doing so the human paradoxically begins to realize his divinity.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears
(page 379, in press)

 

 

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…]

Daily Wisdom: “The Men of Trust call out their Pain to God”

imgres-8Prayer in its Original Face is also a fellowhip between God and man. God meets us as our friend in prayer.

Ephraim of Sudykov writes that we seek God’s intimate friendship even as he seeks our fellowship for we both feel somewhat out of place in the world. We seek God’s friendship in bringing before God the raw cry of human insufficiency and pain. Reading the deep intent of the Psalmist, “I pour out my complaint before you,” the Midrash teaches, “The Men of Trust call out their Pain to God.”

To pray means to turn to God as my most intimate friend and confidant. I pour out before God my true pain and authentic need. I tell God my story in prayer and God receives my story. A child who is hurt runs to his mother. In part the child wants a bandage. But no less the child seeks the presence and intimacy of the mother. The enlightened ones teach that the ancient masters are those who are able to pray like children.

We cry out to God in prayer not to inform him of our need. That would be preposterous. We cry out to God in authentic prayer precisely because we know that God always knows our need. Every human need which is genuine is possessed of infinite value and infinite dignity.

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

 

Our Unique and our Authentic Self (Tom Steininger and Sonja Student in Dialogue; Translated by Kerstin Tuschik)

WakingUp-225Note: The following article is an English translation by Kerstin Tuschik of an article by Tom Steininger and Sonja Student regarding perspectives of a new spirituality for our times. It was first published in the German magazine EnlightenNext Impulse

TOM STEININGER: Of late we have spoken a lot about the Authentic Self and the Unique Self. [The Authentic Self teaching is widely associated with spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen among others and the Unique Self teaching with Marc Gafni and his book Your Unique Self.] This discussion is about how we can find a new understanding of spirituality in the 21 century. Is there also a new self-perception emerging through this new spirituality, a new spiritual self-concept?

SONJA STUDENT: Yes, at first we realize that in a new spirituality the evolutionary perspective plays a very important role. In the spirituality of today it is not only about realizing the timelessness or the primordial ground of being. In our inside we have to attend to other dimensions as well. This exceeds the classical terms of enlightenment. In these matters we cannot rely exclusively on the mystical traditions or the great world religions any longer. This is why the Integral Theory says that it is not only about waking up, but simultaneously about the process of growing up. We have to take care of becoming adult and developed personalities as well.

TS: Yes, we need both. The mystical teachings are about waking up, enlightenment. Many integral or evolutionary interested people forgot how important the dimension of the Absolute is, how important transcendence is. This dimension however takes center stage in all the traditional, mystical paths. In the East one speaks about the experience of Being, in Buddhism about the emptiness, the Christian mystics called it the direct experience of God. [Read more…]

Ethics is an erotic expression of our deeper divinity

imgres-4If we come to understand that ethics is an erotic expression of our deeper divinity, we are truly moved to the ethical. For at that point we realize that it is an expression of our deepest selves, a  response to the call of our own voice. Ethics, to be compelling and powerful, must be an expression of your erotic divine nature and not a contradiction to it. So when the prophet insists that God and the God within you is beyond nature, and can therefore act ethically against nature, they are referring only to your first nature, not to your deeper second nature. Your deeper nature is God.

The marriage of the erotic and the ethical, when it takes place not merely intellectually but in all of your being, makes you the greatest of lovers.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Daily Wisdom: Frog Song

urlBy Marc Gafni

King David, the biblical author of Psalms, perhaps the greatest spiritual poetry every written, is walking by the river lost in ecstasy. In this state, he cries out, “God, tell me – is there anyone that has ever praised you as much as I?”

At that moment, a frog fantastically exclaims to him, “Be not so proud, David, for I have done more than you. You sing to God on occasion – I sing to God with every croak.” [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Longing is the matrix of God’s revelation to us…

imgres-4We long for something deeper; something more, a higher and more noble authenticity. We masquerade in the mask of our wholeness knowing all along that it is but a charade; that we are part of larger whole with whom we yearn to be re-united. A shard of a shattered vessel whose hidden sparks seek to be uplifted and absorbed into the one even as they retain their sacred separate identity.  “As the gazelle yearns after the stream of clear water, so does my soul long after you, my God.”

Kalonymous  Kalman of Piacezna teaches in his book Holy Fire, “in response to our yearning for God, God longs and draws closer to us.” [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Evolving Divine Consciousness

imgres-3The unfolding of divine consciousness is not a purely intra-divine process. The great privilege of being a human being is that we participate in the evolution and healing of God. We are God’s healers. It is the evolution of the human spirit that catalyzes the evolution of God. When God and man meet in an evolutionary embrace redemption is achieved. 

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

 

 

Daily Wisdom: The essential revelation of biblical consciousness is the intimacy of infinity.

imgres-3By Marc Gafni

Prayer is man pouring out his deepest need before God. Philosophers and mystics alike scoffed at this prayer seeking the more pure prayer which pleads for alignment between man and god. Such prayer is surely sacred and noble. The psalmist prays to God “A pure heart create for me God….Take not your holy spirit from me.” Or in another passage the mystic yearning bursts out with full force: “As the deer desperately yearns after the brook of water so does my soul desperately after you O God; My soul thirsts for the living God. When shall I come and appear in the presence of God.”  Or in the Koan prayer of 19th century mystic Shneur Zalman of Liadi as he cries out in prayer;  “I do not want your hell; I do not want your heaven; it is you; you alone that I want.” All of these God in second person prayers whether coming from a dualist psalmist or a non dual mystic Schneur Zalman are an integral part of prayer. Yet none of them replace the core staple of Hebrew spiritual practice; the pouring of the heart’s deepest need before God. [Read more…]