In 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.
- 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.”
- The full richness and depth of every moment as the way in to Unique Self. Marc describes the chi required for this kind of radical, whole-hearted, joyous living. Marc gives the Aramaic formulation for joy in the difficulty and pain of samsara. “There’s one way you can actually plug in to the radical energy and eros and joy that is the initiating energy of the cosmos that animates all of reality. The way you actually plug in is you get your little cord, and you follow your little cord to the end, and then you see at the end of your cord there’s a puzzle piece. And, that puzzle piece is your Unique Self. It’s the unique expression of essence that lives in you, as you, and through you. It’s God having a Rob experience. It’s the irreducible uniqueness that lives, not at the level of conditioning,… [but] at the level of essence. All the way up, and all the way down. And, when you actually plug in the electrical cord at the end of which is your Unique Self into the wall of the Kosmos,… what flows into you is this burst of vitality and energy that enables and opens the possibility of what Rob’s calling your whole-hearted engagement.” Marc says, we find whole-hearted engagement through Unique Story and embracing the unique essence that animates us.
- The interrelationship of their books. Your Unique Self gives you the Strength to Awaken. Your Strength to Awaken comes from Your Unique Self. These two books are two sides of the same equation.
- The ego’s basic habit. Rob says, “Your ego will create an automated struggle and tension with what is.” He talks about freeing ourselves from the fear of pain and grasping after pleasure. When we move through the gate beyond these two, we access the joy of Unique Self that Marc describes, and we integrate the body-mind with the moment.
- The three traits of the Enlightenment of Fullness. Embodiment, uniqueness, and creativity!
Listen to the first part of the dialogue here:
Rob McNamara is author of The Elegant Self and Strength to Awaken. He specializes in helping people resolve their persistent painful limitations to become more powerful, proficient and aligned with what matters most in life. He is a skilled Psychotherapist, leading Performance Coach, Psychology Professor at Naropa University, and an Integral Zen Practitioner. Rob has been lecturing on Integral Psychology and Human Development for nearly a decade for both graduate and undergraduate students in a number of academic and professional programs including the MA Transpersonal and Contemplative Psychology programs and BA Contemplative Psychology program at Naropa University. He runs his private practice in Boulder, Colorado serving clients world wide. Rob’s expertise includes the intersection of integral practice, adult development, human performance and integral strength training. He works with a broad range of executives and professionals, undergraduate and graduate students and athletes ranging from high school to Olympic and professional world champions.
Dr. Marc Gafni is a philosopher, public intellectual and wisdom teacher. He holds his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, rabbinic certification from the chief rabbinate in Israel, as well private rabbinic ordination. He is also ordained and holds a doctorate in religious science. He is the initiating thought leader, together with Ken Wilber, of World Spirituality based on Integral principles, as well as the leading theorist and teacher of Unique Self Enlightenment. He is the director of Center for World Spirituality, a think tank he co-founded in 2010 with Mariana Caplan which is creating a body of work to evolve the source code of human existence. A rabbinic lineage holder in Bible, Talmud, and Kabbalah, Gafni self-describes as a “dual citizen” of both Integral World Spirituality and classical Hebrew practice. He is a guest editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice on issues of Integral spirituality, has been a faculty member of J.F.K. University, and is the author of eight books including the national bestseller Soul Prints, and The Mystery of Love, an exploration of the relationship between the erotic and the sacred. His most recent books are Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment which received a 2012 USA Best Book Award, and the two-volume Radical Kabbalah.