August 16, 2017

Dr. Marc Gafni, In-depth Biography

Marc Gafni, D.Phil., Scholar-in-Residence and President of the Center for Integral Wisdom, is a contemporary philosopher and public intellectual who is leading the emergence of the World Spirituality movement based on what Gafni has termed the Democratization of Enlightenment. At the core of Gafni’s teachings is what he calls the Enlightenment of Fullness, the linchpin of which is Unique Self Teachings, a breakthrough set of insights and emergent technology with the potential to change the source code of the human experience.  The Unique Self teaching is now being adapted in leading treatment centers, universities, private schools and spiritual centers all over the world.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Marc Gafni has developed many educational programs and workshops rooted in traditional wisdom and yet fully adapted to the needs of the contemporary world.  His acclaimed writings and standing room only lectures are known for their unique mix of profound teaching and transmission, open hearted compassion and love, intellectual rigor and depending on the night, highly entertaining stand up comedy and storytelling.

An iconoclastic artist and provocative visionary, Dr. Gafni has led spiritual movements and learning communities as well as created and hosted the leading national Israeli television program, on Israel’s leading network, on ethics and spirituality. Now, he is focusing on bringing his passion, brilliance, and ability to transmit an open hearted presence to the Center for Integral Wisdom which he initiated together with Ken Wilber, Mariana Caplan, Sally Kempton, Warren Farrell and dozens of other intellectual and spiritual luminaries which is chaired by Barbara Marx Hubbard and Kate Maloney.  World Spirituality is a new framework for meaning based on an attempt at the highest possible integration of pre-modern religions, modern scientific principles, and post-modern philosophies based on Integral principles. More than an interfaith movement, and beyond perennial philosophy, World Spirituality thinkers are blazing new evolutionary paths in discovering the New Enlightenment, a path for realizing authentic self-discovery and evolving the source code of human meaning and values. .

Dr. Gafni has written ten books including the award-winning Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, the two-volume Radical Kabbalah, the recently published Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter and Tears: Reclaiming Ritual, Integral Religion, and Rosh Hashana. Older books include the national bestseller Soul Prints, which won awards including the NAPRA Nautilus Award for Best Spirituality Book of 2001, and the critically acclaimed book The Mystery of Love, which focused on Kabbalah and Eros. Both books were published by Simon & Schuster, and Soul Prints was also made into a National PBS special and both books were made into audio series by Sounds True. Gafni is currently writing major new works with co-authors of the Center for Integral Wisdom.  In a series of dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ram Dass, Moshe Idel, Deepak Chopra, Surya Das, Gabriel Cousens, Michael Murphy and many other thought leaders, he advanced the radical notion that all of Hebrew wisdom may be properly understood as a form of  evolutionary panentheism whose intended goal is the greatest depth of enlightenment for the greatest possible span of humanity.

Dr. Gafni’s book Your Unique Self  challenges the conventional wisdom of enlightenment as suggests a fundamental evolution of the source code  of enlightenment thought. It is the culmination of years of research into Western and Eastern enlightenment traditions and many hours of conversations with cutting-edge thinkers and spiritual teachers from diverse lineages and traditions.

Marc Gafni’s other books include a two volume thousand page work, Radical Kabbalah, based on his doctoral dissertation at Oxford University, Tears: Reclaiming Ritual, Integral Religion and Rosh Hashanah, and Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter. Collectively these works set the context for and elucidate a teaching he refers to as the Enlightenment of Fullness.

The themes of Dr. Gafni’s early books have been transcended and included in a new paradigm based on Integral principles with Unique Self as its first core principle. The World Spirituality movement brings the Enlightenment of Fullness into practice in real world communities, creating a vibrant and fulfilling context of meaning for people around the globe who can no longer locate themselves in the religious traditions or who no longer feel that one religion can be their exclusive home. The Unique Self principle reconciles Eastern and Western approaches to enlightenment in an elegant, exciting, and original way. Together with Mariana Caplan, Sally Kempton and other leading teachers, he is shaping a revolutionary way of understanding the nature of human existence, a new paradigm which could very well re-make today’s spiritual landscape.

For a public figure, he has been remarkably unafraid to show his continual evolution as a thinker and in his personal life, at times facing trials to his reputation on hate-sites and in  some corners of the blogosphere. He has lived boldly the mantra of World Spirituality: wake up, grow up, show up, and lighten up. As he defied the odds to successfully overcome injustice and  obstacle, he brought his deepened awareness of personal and collective shadow to his writings in such areas as the evolution of masculinity and femininity and ethics in spiritual communities.

Dr. Gafni, born Marc Winiarz, is the son of Kehath Winiarz and Claire Subar,  survivors of the Holocaust. He earned his doctorate from Oxford University in England and today he lives in the greater San Francisco area. He is the father of four children. He is the director of the Center for Integral Wisdom and teacher in residence at the Summer Festival of Love in Holland and at the Shalom Mountain Wisdom School in New York. He occasionally forays into the corporate board room leading widely acclaimed seminars for CEOs.

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