By Marc Gafni
Unique Self Evolutionary Relationships
There’s something I call Unique Self evolutionary relationships, what we called in the Soul Prints book “soul print encounters.” In a genuine Unique Self encounter, we each hold a piece of the other’s story. The ethical obligation implicit in the encounter itself is to return to the other Unique Self that we are meeting the piece of their story that we are holding. That’s very deep.
The words are signifiers. They are pointing to this sense that we are interdependent in a very profound way. There are accentuated points of interdependence. There are people we are more dependent on than other people. Not the people we often think. Not the people who are paying our rent or providing me with a job although that may be. They are people who are part of our story, and they are holding a piece of our story because they’re helping us to enact our lives because they hold a piece of insight about our story. So a Unique Self encounter is when our stories intermesh, intertwine, and we recognize that we are each part of each other’s story and holding a piece of our story.
We’re holding a piece of each other’s story. It’s a meeting that’s not about manipulation or mutual gain. It’s beyond win/win. It has that dimension, but it’s the creation of a larger story in which each person gives the other a piece of their story that is missing and a larger narrative emerges. That’s a Unique Self encounter. That’s an ethical obligation. In other words, the ethical obligation is to give the exchange of gifts that are demanded implicitly of the encounter. It can’t be legislated by any formal canon or convocation or magisterial authority. Rather, it can only be legislated by the internal command of the Unique Selves themselves, and through discernment they are able to recognize the part of each other’s story that they are holding and give that gift as the highest obligation of essence. That’s what we mean by obligation. That’s exciting.
Let’s say that I meet someone, and that person had a difficult relationship with their father. He never recognized them clearly; they were systematically mis-recognized by their father, and that experience was brutal. Then I meet that person. Then we start to work together in a collegial context, or an employee/employer context, or a love relationship, and I give that person some dimension of critique, offered in a loving and beautiful way. Now that person I gave the critique to is furious with me. Why? Because contact hasn’t been made.
That person is now projecting onto me or constellating in me the experience of being wounded, systematically mis-recognized, emotionally brutalized, by her father. That’s so deep in her woundology structure that when she meets someone who is similar in certain external respects to her father, that unfinished business with her father comes between us having a genuine Unique Self encounter.
We haven’t had a Unique Self encounter because our two uniquenesses haven’t touched. In order for our uniquenesses to touch, we have to disambiguate, clarify the distorting prisms. it has to be me and you talking, me and this particular person, a man and woman, having a direct contact; and direct contact can only happen when I step out of a trance. I’m lost in a pain-trance. I’m in pain over my unfinished business with my father. I’m in pain over being brutally and systematically mis-recognized, so therefore in my encounter with Marc I’m not able to have a Unique encounter with Marc. Our two Unique Selves don’t kiss because every time we meet it’s through the prism of my ancient pain with my father. That’s the second principle which we talk about at great length in the book.
Unique Self encounter requires contact. Lots of encounters don’t require contact. We can partner on a project, we can laugh, drink, and never have contact. Contact in a utilitarian way doesn’t require contact. But in a Unique Self encounter in which we are trading each other’s story, that requires contact. Unique Self changes and re-visions the entire arena of relationships as it does almost every arena. In that way, I think it’s fair to say that Unique Self is psycho-active. When you come into contact with it, it transmutes, reorganizes, recognizes, and re-deepens every field that it encounters.
The text above is based on a transcript of a dialogue between Marc Gafni and Joe Perez originally published on UniqueSelf.com.
The Whole/Part, Autonomy/Communion Paradox is Finally Clarified
In the teaching of Unique Self, the whole/part, autonomy/communion paradox is finally clarified. The Unique Self teaching allows us to create right relationship between whole and part, autonomy and communion. This right relationship is the absolute key to joy, creativity, meaning and peace.
The separate self is an illusion. Every separate self is really part of a larger whole. To realize oneself as part of a larger whole is to be sane. This is the ultimate communion. At the same time, the part is not absorbed in the larger whole, but is a distinct, unique part with reality and dignity. The unique part has its own Eros and eternity, which is precisely the Unique Self. This is the ultimate autonomy.
Perception is Love
The Kabbalists were often referred to as Mistaklim or Chozim, roughly translated as the Lookers or Seers. To get a handle on what that might mean, just imagine how we feel when someone looks at us with erotic, loving eyes. We feel energized, uplifted and embraced. We become more vibrant, audacious and alive. We feel safer in the world. The sense of alienation, separateness and loneliness that tarred our empty days and painful nights seems to lift. The more steady the loving gaze is, the more we can steady ourselves and chart our direction and purpose on the path of being. It begins with the loving eyes of the mother – our first lover – and continues throughout our lives. Love’s eyes sustain us, nourish us and connect us to the essential aliveness that courses through the universe. Being seen makes us alove and alive. The same is true of God. The gaze of the mystic sustains and even ‘creates’ God.
Indeed Israel for the Kabbalists is not merely a national group. The very word Israel is far more profoundly translated from the Hebrew as ‘The one who sees God’. Love is Perception. Perception is creation. That is the power of the original appearance of the perception word Ra’ah in biblical myth. After every stage of the unfolding creation process in Genesis the text reads “God saw and It was Good”. Mystic Luzatto reflects virtually the entire Kabbalistic tradition when he reminds us that the motive force for creation is divine love God saw that is was Good could be re-read as God loved – perception is love – and brought the world into being.