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.
- 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.
Below is a partial transcript from their dialogue in which Marc Gafni elaborates on his definition of the Enlightenment of Fullness.
Marc Gafni defines the Enlightenment of Fullness:
[28:10.] In Buddhism, it’s about the enlightenment of emptiness. It’s the realization that all the things you thought were substantial are actually empty. Underlying all of them there’s this ground of being called sunyata. It’s beautiful. It’s a pure non-conceptual understanding. But, the key move in Buddhism is to challenge the apparent substantiality of it all, whether it’s the substantiality of the self in Theravaden Buddhism, the substantiality of phenomena… it’s an illusion. You got to get underneath that illusion. That’s a very critical step. Deep bow to that holy tradition.
The next step, which takes place in Buddhism, but it’s not really the key focus in the way that Buddhism is transmitted in the West. The next step is what I call enlightenment of fullness. So, if Buddhism focuses on EoE, what I call World Spirituality focuses on Enlightenment of Fullness. And, EoF is the realization of the shimmering, blazing aliveness of reality.
Now, in reality… what do we know about reality? We know two things about reality… We know three basic things. One, we know reality has form, body. That’s what Rob’s talking about. Reality has form. Reality doesn’t exist without form. As a matter of fact, emptiness, what Nagarjuna called in Buddhism emptiness, meaning kind of the ground of being…. He says there’s no emptiness without form. So, there is actually no emptiness, meaning there’s no spirit any place that exists without form. There is no possibility in this reality that we live in of spirit appearing without body. Doesn’t exist.
Actually in the great lineage of the Biblical mysticism, there’s a great text which says, “Through my body, I vision God.” That should be the subtext of Rob’s book. Rob’s book is about “Through my body, I vision God.” “Book of Job,” Chapter 19. Job’s little footnote, he says, “See Rob McNamara in 2000 years. He’s going to explain what I mean.” “Through my body, I vision God.”
So, Enlightenment of Fullness has to fully embrace the body. That’s the first requisite. You can’t move without that. And, the body is the portal, the opening, to everything that comes beyond it. So, we always include the body. Not just because it’s the body temple you need to hold your soul, in which case the body is just utilitarian. The body’s instrumental. You need the body to hold your spirit—No! The body itself is your spirit. When you actually access the fullness of the body, the wisdom of the body actually holds in it every spiritual truth. Everything. There’s nothing that’s not there. So, that’s one thing, the body.
The second dimension of this world that we live in is uniqueness. There’s no body, there’s no form, that’s not unique. The second you’re talking about form, about body, you’re talking about uniqueness. So, if you would take an internal look at Rob McNamara’s immune system. I don’t know why you’d be doing that; it’s a little kinky, but whatever. I don’t know why you’d be doing that. You’re into Rob McNamara’s immune system. And, you put that up on a screen next to Brett Thomas’s immune system, they’d be totally different. You’d just be blown out of your mind at the radical uniqueness and singularity of these two great men’s immune systems. They’re completely different. And, if you put Ken Wilber up there, and Marc Gafni up there, and Diane Hamilton up there, and you put Sally Kempton up there, you’d be blown away time and again that you have these radically different immune systems, and actually, all the people I just mentioned have radically distinct DNA structures, cellular signatures, all through.
So, the body is absolutely and radically unique. So, the second dimension of EoF is the radical embrace of uniqueness.
And, the third dimension of the enlightenment of fullness, and we’re just creating this dharma on this call, we’re doing live dharma here. It’s kind of like jazz dharma. We’re jazz dharma-ing here. Jazz Dharma #3, the third dimension of reality that Rob addresses in his book Strength to Awaken and I address in Your Unique Self is creativity. Reality is creative. Reality is ceaselessly creative. And, the creativity of reality comes from the body uniquely expressing, through the mind, spirit, creatively.
Through this creative grand gesture of bringing something new into being, the creative advance of novelty in Whitehead’s famous phrase, that’s exciting, that’s EoF—and, what we need to do now is to create a new language of spirit that brings us into this new millennium, we have to get back to basics. The basics are body (form in the old language), uniqueness, and creativity. That’s the holy trinity. Body, uniqueness, and creativity, and all ethics come from that—from how you train your body, how you engage your uniqueness, how you emerge your creativity, that’s everything. So, Rob, your book is a critical piece in this new emergent teaching of enlightenment of fullness. And, just like, big congratulations on it. It’s exciting.
Listen to the first part of the dialogue here: