March 30, 2020

Which Instrument are You in the World Spirituality Symphony?

by Marc Gafni & Mariana Caplan

Below are a few thoughts we would like to share in simple and clear terms in regard to why evolving a World Spirituality is the urgent need and great adventure of our time. We have jotted these thoughts down, also catalyzed by in-depth conversations with Ken Wilber and Tami Simon, who we are working closely with in catalyzing, articulating, and serving the emergence of the an authentic World Spirituality that has the potential to provide a context of meaning for hundreds of millions of people. This is a work in progress, but here are some preliminary thoughts.

Let us begin with a bold and audacious statement—not on our personal behalf, but on behalf of an incredible group of committed individuals from around the world who are coming together to catalyze and incarnate a new movement of spirit: World Spirituality. We believe that we are being called to articulate a vision of World Spirituality that speaks compellingly to the hundreds of millions of people who have moved beyond the religions or beyond exclusive identification with any one tradition. We believe that this may be one of the vital next moves in the evolution of consciousness.

We believe that World Spirituality is a desperately needed unifying principle which remembers and reminds us that what unites us is so much greater then what divides us.

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Ten Spiritually Transmitted Diseases by Mariana Caplan

It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit. It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas—power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis—as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path. Along with my partner, author and teacher Marc Gafni, we are developing a new series of books, courses and practices to bring further clarification to these issues.

Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV-positive—men and women, gays and straights alike. As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives, and experiences become similarly “infected” by “conceptual contaminants”—comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles—that are as invisible, yet as insidious, as sexually transmitted disease.

The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.

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Key Principles of World Spirituality with Claudio Naranjo

The Center for World Spirituality’s Marc Gafni and Mariana Caplan explore the notion of a World Spirituality with Claudio Naranjo and ask what are the key principles that run cross culturally throughout religion?

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Articulating a World and Evolutionary Spirituality: The Integral Imperative of Spirit with Dr. Marc Gafni, Michael Pergola, & Mariana Caplan — Sept. 16 – 18, 2010

Articulating a World and Evolutionary Sprituality based on Integral Principles: “The  Evolutionary Imperative of Spirit in Our Time,” presented by Integral Spiritual Experience, One Spirit Seminary and Center for World Spirituality, with Dr. Marc Gafni, Michael Pergola, and Mariana Caplan.

Evolving a World Spirituality Spirituality based on Integral Principles is the urgent need and great adventure of our time.

The yearning to articulate a World Spirituality is rippling across the globe in the hearts and minds of tens of millions of people. For some people, the classical religions have lost their power. They seek a path of practice and commitment that transcends the traditions. For others, their intuitive desire is to transcend and include the traditions. They seek to live as dual citizens, rooted in their tradition, even as they locate themselves as citizens in the broader community of World Spirituality.

A World Spirituality based on integral evolutionary principles and rooted  in the shared truths held to be self-evident by all great systems of spirit and gnosis across historical time is urgently needed at this moment in history. At the same we recognize that the shared truths held by all the great systems are interpeted through the level of consciousness held by the practioners of the particular spiritual system. Ethnocentric consciousness will always produce ethnocentric religion, pluralistic consciousness will produce pluralistic religion and integral consciousness will produce integral religion.

Naturally this religion will appear in many different forms including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc.  Evolving an authentic life rooted in commitment and freedom articulated and lived in the principles and practices of World Spirituality at the highest possible level of consciousness is the next great step in spirit’s unfolding.

The Center for World Spirituality is writing a series of groundbreaking books and creating new templates for spiritual practice, education, and community. The templates are at once rooted in the past, present, and future. Welling up from an integration of the leading-edge emergent evolutionary insights taught by spirituality, psychology, and the sciences, World Spirituality paves the way for the next stage of evolution, seeding the ground of hope that is our collective memory of the future.

The Five Reasons Why Evolving a World Spirituality is an Evolutionary Imperative in Our Generation; An Evolutionary Imperative that Depends On Us.

For the first time in history the core challenges to survival that we face today are not local to a particular religion, country, or region. The challenges are world challenges, ranging from the very real threats to the very ground we walk on and the air we breathe, to world hunger, to the danger of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of a rogue state, to the most pressing issues of social and economic justice. There is no place left to hide in the word and the old spiritual truth of the essential oneness of it all, the interconnectivity of it all is not longer a hidden teaching but an obvious truth for all to see. Whenever new life conditions come to pass a new evolutionary leap in consciousness and culture is required to meet them. The global challenges we face require the evolution of a new spiritual consciousness in which we realize that what unites us is so much greater than what divides us, namely a World Spirituality.

For the first time in history there is a critical mass of at least two hundred million people who have reached world centric consciousness. Simply put these people have expanded their circle of caring and concern beyond their ethnocentric affiliations. These are people who are at home  in the world and who feel responsible for the world as a whole and not merely for their country or religion.

For  the first time in history the most profound teachings as well as living teachers, from all the great systems of spirit, are readily available in a non-coercive and openhearted form, not only to people of that particular religion, but to all who would come to study and practice.

For the first time in history the notion of dual citzenship is readily understood and available. Not only can one be a dual citzen of two countries but one can also remain committed to one’s native or chosen spiritual tradition while at the same time being a citizen of world spirituality.

For the first time in history there are hundreds of millions of well-educated people who, although they cannot find their homes in the traditional religions, are searching for a compelling universal set of spiritual principles by which they can live their lives

The Specific World Spirituality Technology that will structure this weekend practice and study intensive is the Three Faces of Spirit. More on what this means below!

Deploying Three Faces of Spirit, we will enter deeply into:

  • The Study of Sacred Texts as a core Spiritual Practice
  • Evolutionary Integral Relationships practice
  • Evolutionary Integral Nature practice
  • Enlightenment Practices of Meditation, Chant, and Voice Dialogue

Deeper Explanation:

This workshop will be a deep experiential dive into one of the profound teachings of  Integral Spirituality that emerges from the Great Traditions and which finds strong expression in Kabbalah, Kashmir Shaivism, and esoteric Christianity. This classic teaching as it emerges in Integral through its being rooted in the first, second, and third person perspectives.

We will look into the arising of these three perspectives in our lives and demonstrate how they all must be deployed to create an integral evolutionary understanding of every dimension of being. The specific focus of the workshop is a series of instructions that will point the way to a world spirituality rooted in integral knowing.

Currently, each face of spirit finds expression in a particular institution of culture. The first face appears in the ashram, the second appears in the synagogue, and the third appears in the University. Each claims that true gnosis can only be achieved through its particular methodology.

Zen practice is centered around is the 1st person practice of meditation. Buddha is the archetypic hero of this perspective.

Church, in all of its forms, holds the second person of spirit. Its core practices are prayer and devotion. Rumi and the Hasidic masters are the archetypal expressions of the 2nd Person of Spirit.

The University is the classic modern expression of the 3rd Person of Spirit. Objective study, science, and empiricism are the core practices.

We will show through analysis, conversation, and practice (the Three Faces themselves) that all three perspectives inspire different emotions, invite different forms of knowing, yield different experiences of growth and are engaged through different sets of practices.

We will address the profound gifts of each of the three perspectives.  We will also point out the limitations of each perspective when divorced from the other two.

The three faces of Spirit each arouse a different emotion. The first face of spirit arouses bliss. The second face of spirit arouses love. The third face of spirit arouses awe.

We will also engage the four major arenas of living and show how the three faces of spirit manifest in each of these arenas.

These arenas are:

  • The Study of Sacred Texts as a core Spiritual Practice
  • Evolutionary Integral Relationships practice
  • Evolutionary Integral Nature practice
  • Enlightenment Practices of Meditation, Chant and Voice Dialogue