September 23, 2021

Vegetarian v. Carnivore: Beyond False Choices to the Rise of the Conscious Omnivore

(c) 2013. Photo used courtesy of KEKO64

(c) 2013. Photo used courtesy of KEKO64.

By Joe Perez

Although I have felt guilty since childhood for eating animals, I have not succeeded in the past at becoming vegetarian and probably will never totally give up meat or dairy products. The moral case against eating meat is strong, but that doesn’t mean I have found the arguments in favor of strict vegetarianism convincing.

I was raised with a stereotypical American diet in which meat is served in nearly every meal. But I have evolved to find for myself a stance which is less absolute than Vegetarian v. Carnivore, and done so by examining my actions from a worldcentric perspective.

The bottom line is that I have gradually found myself eating significantly less meat as a personal matter and choosing meats which are farmed humanely. I have rejected approaches to diet based on mere personal preference or ideology. Instead, I’ve chosen an ethos of meat on a middle path, one which would please neither vegetarians nor carnivores.

As I see it, a dietary philosophy which bans meat and brands opponents as murderers or one which reduces animals to objects for domination are unnecessarily extreme. Instead, an Integral vision asks us to consider animals as worthy of respect as our co-inhabitants of the Earth with intrinsic value, but it stops short of viewing their consumption as an intrinsic evil. We are asked to maximize our compassion for animal life as an integral part of the spiral of evolution and to weigh the costs and benefits of our relationship to animals. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 6

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 6)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

Two Faces of All That Is

This is the animating impulse that moved eastern spiritual teaching, motivated by love, to seek to free you from the illusion of separate self. Their great mistake was to jettison Uniqueness along with separateness by conflating the two in a way that was both unnecessary and wrong. This confusion of separateness and uniqueness forgot that you could be both part of the whole and a distinct part at the same time. The recovering of that memory is essential to healing the fractured and broken self. The dignity of the part can be held even as your are connected to the whole. You are part of the seamless coat of the universe. Seamless, but not featureless.  You can transcend your exclusive identification with your part nature, the ego, even as you identify with the larger whole. But that does not mean that your unique part nature is absorbed in the whole. Rather, it is integrated in the seamless coat of reality without compromising its unique features. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 5

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 5)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

***

God in the First Person:

“All at once I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant, I thought of fire and immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the next I knew that the fire was in myself. Directly afterward there came upon me as sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Among other things, I did not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not composed of dead matter, but is on the contrary, a living presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life. It was not a conviction that I would have an eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal, that the cosmic order is such that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world, of all worlds, is what we call love, and that the happiness of each and all is in the long run absolutely certain.”

~R.M. Bucke

God in the Second Person addressing man:

I will be united with you in marriage forever

I will be united to you in marriage through justice and righteousness

I will be united with you in marriage through overflowing love and compassion

I will be united with you in marriage in complete trust

And you will erotically know the divine

Hosea the Prophet: 2: 21- 23

Only someone who lacks both of these realizations can identify all that is as merely a process or impulse. Realization teaches that the all that is expresses as a process or an evolutionary impulse, but that God is process plus personal, not process minus personal. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 4

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 4)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

It is precisely this fellowship of prayer and prophecy, which we might refer to as the second face of God. In this pointing out instruction, God in the first person would be the face of god you feel flowing through you in meditation. God in the third person would be the face of God reflected in your radical amazement at the wonder and infinite intelligence displayed in every nook and cranny of existence. God in the second person is in the mystery of the encounter between God and Man. A relationship of intimacy is revealed between the finite and the infinite.  All of the infinite power, glory, and intelligence of the first person and third person of the divine were felt and revealed as relationship in the second encounter between the prophet and God. The precise flip side of prophecy is prayer. In their essence, they are the same. Both are expressions of the fellowship between man and God. The difference is simply this. In prophecy, God initiates and God invokes. In prayer, man initiates and man invokes. [Read more…]

The Seven Evolutionary Principles And Practices — For Being A Fully Alive, Whole Man with Marc Gafni and Fred Jealous

Gafni and Jealous

[Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 3

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 3)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

The sense of peril resulting from direct contact with the divine ground has nothing to do with any ideas that the people are sinful or the god wrathful. It is more like the famous question of the Bhagavad Gita: “Suppose a thousand suns should rise together in the sky,” what would happen to our reality? How can the individual hope to survive contact with Source? Source incarnates all the energy and power in the Cosmos and infinitely beyond.

Presence by its very nature overwhelms all individual existence. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 2

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 2)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

 

The most powerful expression of this realization is in the prophetic encounter with the divine mystery. This encounter runs like a thread from Abraham and Sarah to Moses, Miriam, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the larger legions of prophecy. As America’s second president John Adams has already noted, the best of everything Western man knows about freedom, love, ethics, and responsibility emerges from the great encounter between the finite and the infinite. [Read more…]

The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 1

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 1 of 3)

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

image courtesy of Stuart Miles (c) 2013

The realization of the personal which has been derided as the separate self or ego is so important that I want to ask you to enter this even more deeply with me. You need to feel a sense of this realization in your own being. You need to feel the love and care implicit and explicit in the loving personal address of the Cosmos. [Read more…]

Unique Self In the World – “My First Unique Self Encounter: The First Time I Ever Fell Really in Love”

Steve Raymond, Senior Teacher of Unique Self, Board of Trustees member

Steve Raymond, Senior Teacher of Unique Self, and CWS Board of Trustees member sraymond77@me.com

Steven Raymond is a student of Marc Gafni and of Integral theory. For the Center for Integral Wisdom, Steve serves as a Unique Self teacher and a Board of Trustees member, and is delighted to be bringing Unique Self dharma to the New England states in collaboration with other teachers. His focus is on the integration of group experiential processes with Unique Self training for individuals and healthcare professionals, with a particular interest in the fields of conscious birthing and conscious dying.

Steve has broad experience in deep experiential transpersonal processes and therapies, and is a master of assisting others with shadow work. Steve has a private coaching/teaching practice, and provides transformative consultation to individuals, groups and small entrepreneurs. He is also a leader in foundational men’s work, is an Alumni of the Breakthrough Men’s Community in Carmel, CA, and is now setting up a men’s community group and an Awakening Your Unique Self study group in Portland, ME. He is the parent of an adult son and daughter, and the grandparent of three children, who love him as a jokester and as a mythological god on the ping pong table.

Steve writes, “The essence of my spiritual practice, my Unique Self practice, is to seek to live a fully embodied and passionate life of joy, clarity and purpose. This is how I wish to Show Up for my family, friends, clients and students. And, it must also be said, as with all human beings, there are times when we must dance with our own shadow, and I always hope to do that authentically.”


My First Unique Self Encounter: The First Time I Ever Fell Really in Love
by Steven Raymond

My Unique Self in the Third Person

The first time I ever fell really in love, I was an emotionally damaged 23-year-old man finding my way through the complex maze of my early life. My first real love was a dying 70-year old woman, and the radically Outrageous Love I shared with her transformed my life and revealed a path forward that 37 years later I assess as the discovery of my Unique Purpose, and a life-altering revelation—my Unique Self. [Read more…]

Some Observations on the Changing Quality of Individual and Group Expression from the Sacred Vessel of the New Human/The Unique Self

Unique Self Essay by Julia Press, M.S.W.

puzzle_imageLet me begin by telling you that until about a month ago, I had not known of Marc Gafni.  My husband introduced me to Marc’s Internet videos on Unique Self.  With enthusiasm he told me that Marc was saying so many of the things I have been bringing forward to our gathering community.  Upon watching the videos, the joy that burst forth from within me was beyond description.  I immediately sent away for YOUR UNIQUE SELF and RADICAL KABBALAH, Books 1 and 2.  I feasted on these sacred writings on each of the following three weekends.  Page after page, Marc was describing the very experiences and understandings that have unfolded over the years of my own being’s evolution and in my work midwifing souls on the path of consciousness.  I felt I had known Marc for years.  For me, there is the added nectar of Marc’s saturation with Kabbalah which has been and is in great part my own portal and path into the deep mystical realms of understanding and living life.  [Read more…]

“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…]

First Circling Weekend Immersion in New York – 26th to 27th October 2013

John and Sean

John Thompson and Sean Wilkinson are board members at the Center for World Spirituality and Europe’s leaders in the practice of Circling.

Are you wanting to bring your Unique Self deeper into your relationships? Are they truly finding more intimacy, play, growth, and fulfillment your deep longing knows is true?

Then circling is a practice that can breath new life into spiritual work and a great vehicle for those wanting to express their unique gifts with others.

What is Circling?

It’s relational group meditative practice that develops our capacity to skillfully bring our attention and appreciation into connection with others. With careful guidance and group presence, individuals can start to develop a deeper trust in the inherent intelligence in themselves and other. Circling Europe has been deeply inspired by Unique Self teaching and has found this practice to be one of the premier ways of deepening into this great dharma. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Being an Insider

(c) 2011 photo courtesy of Exsodus

2011 photo courtesy of Exsodus

To be a person of Torah, to be enlightened, is to live from the inside. To be an insider, to feel — oh my God — I have a place. It’s important that I exist. I am called uniquely to do something in the world that nobody else in the world is capable of doing except myself. The experience of my irreplacability is the beginning of my joy. The experience of my replacability is the beginning of my depression. Life is about finding out, disclosing, revealing that I am an insider. [Read more…]

Two Recent Letters following the Venwoude Mystery School/Summer Festival of Love with Marc Gafni

Letter from CWS Board Member and Unique Self Teacher Chahat Corten.

chahat-corten-100x100Dearest friends and partners,

How can I even start to describe to you the shower of Grace and Love, Deep Dharma transmission from Spirit via Marc that has happened here last week in the eight days of the second gathering of the CWS / Venwoude Mystery School of Love at Venwoude in Holland.

Some 150 people gathered, indeed from all over the world, to create together a field of Outrageous Love, visioned, held, loved open, and sustained in the most profound and wondrous way by Marc.

There was an unwavering stream of teaching, that was deepened and embodied in many afternoon workshops and musical & dance happenings in the evenings. The level of synchronicity that I experienced between the core morning teachings of Marc, the afternoon workshops, and all the other offerings was so magical that it sometimes took my breath away.

Many of us who have been studying with Marc now for more than three years experienced an enormous deepening in the transmitting of the teaching on the 12 principles of Eros. [Read more…]

Defining the Enlightenment of Fullness

 

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of photoexplorer.

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of photoexplorer

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.

They discussed…

  • 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.

You can register for the full dialogue on this page.>>>

Below is a partial transcript from their dialogue in which Marc Gafni elaborates on his definition of the Enlightenment of Fullness. [Read more…]

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: Marc Gafni and Rob McNamara in Dialogue over Unique Self

imgres-1In 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.

They discuss…

  • 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.” [Read more…]

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part II

(c) 2013 satit_srihin

©2013 photo courtesy of satit_srihin

In this three-part essay, excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. 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 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…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #24 – Pleasure: Delusion or Divine

from Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni

(c) 2012 photo courtesy of domdeen

©2012 photo courtesy of domdeen

Money, power, and pleasure, when experienced at the level of ego, appear separate from the divine field and trap you in the clutches of grasping and striving. When experienced from the level of enlightened consciousness, money, power, and pleasure are expressions of your Unique Self touching the divine. Pleasure from the place of Unique Self is experienced as a divine caress reminding you that the world is sane and good. Ego pleasures feel narcissistic, and solidify the coiled contraction into small self. They never satisfy; you are constantly driven to get more and more, and someone else’s pleasure makes you feel your own lack. The same pleasure experienced from the consciousness of Unique Self expands your heart and consciousness into the love-intelligence, love-beauty, and love-pleasure of All-That-Is. You are satisfied by even the simplest pleasure, and you delight in the pleasure of others.

Similarly, power and money grasped by the ego seek to support the false belief of the separate self that it will live forever. Power and money are used to accumulate goods you do not need, and to acquire superficial control over others in order to assure yourself that you are valuable and worthy. Money and power experienced from the consciousness of Unique Self are gracefully and skillfully deployed with delight for the greater good of all beings.

Separate from the divine field, money, pleasure, and power appear as foolish and even grotesque identity enhancers for the ego. This becomes radically apparent whenever we encounter death. The ego is confused. It fails to discern between separateness and uniqueness, and so the goods of existence are hijacked to serve its own impossible goal of survival—separate from the larger field of love-beauty-pleasure-intelligence from which it was never separate and never can be separated.

Correct intuitions that are hijacked and misapplied by the ego are contextualized and reclaimed at the level of Unique Self. These include eternity and the finite goods of the world, the goodness of pleasure, the divine aspect of power, and more. All of these are reclaimed without grasping at the level of Unique Self.

Further Discussion:

One of the things Dr. Marc teaches us to recognize about pleasure is that it is not pain’s opposite. In fact, he teaches:

The opposite of pain is comfort. To achieve pleasure you must be willing to bear the discomfort of being displeasing to yourself, of feeling worthless, inadequate, depressed. It is only by sitting in the pain that you can find the pleasure. (p. 282 of Unique Self) [Read more…]

Wisdom for your Week: Chant as a Practice of Fullness

(c) 2011 photo courtesy of markuso

©2011 photo courtesy of markuso

In this short introductory video for this week’s wisdom of our week feature, Dr. Marc Gafni introduces us to the ways that chant is a practice that enacts, invokes, and accesses the Enlightenment of Fullness.  The Enlightenment of Fullness is a term he coined in 2009-2010 to describe an emergent property of World Spirituality. Here, he introduces chant by describing the parallels between it and classical silent meditative forms. Meditation is a practice of emptiness that frees us from the conceptual mind, liberates us from ego, and grounds us in True Self. The Enlightenment of Fullness—accessed through chant—emerges out of the ground of emptiness and the ground of being. However, in the end, as Marc says here, both the emptiness and fullness are one.

[Read more…]