October 28, 2020

Daily Wisdom: Authentic spirituality starts elitist and ends up egalitarian

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From Ken Wilber’s “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

And so, even as we rightly criticize merely translative religion (and all the lesser forms of transformation), let us also realize that an integral approach to spirituality combines the best of horizontal and vertical, translative and transformative, legitimate and authentic–and thus let us focus our efforts on a balanced and sane overview of the human condition.

But isn’t this view of mine terribly elitist? Good heavens, I hope so. When you go to a basketball game, do you want to see me or Michael Jordan play basketball? When you listen to pop music, who are you willing to pay money in order to hear? Me or Bruce Springsteen? When you read great literature, who would you rather spend an evening reading, me or Tolstsoy? When you pay sixty-four million dollars for a painting, will that be a painting by me or by Van Gogh?

All excellence is elitist. And that includes spiritual excellence as well. But spiritual excellence is an elitism to which all are invited. We go first to the great masters–to Padmasambhava, to St. Teresa of Avila, to Gautama Buddha, to Lady Tsogyal, to Emerson, Eckhart, Maimonides, Shankara, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Bodhidarma, Garab Dorje. But their message is always the same: let this consciousness be in you which is in me. You start elitist, always; you end up egalitarian, always.

But in between, there is the angry wisdom that shouts from the heart: we must, all of us, keep our eye on the radical and ultimate transformative goal. And so any sort of integral or authentic spirituality will also, always, involve a critical, intense, and occasionally polemical shout from the transformative camp to the merely translative camp.

Read the whole piece…

Daily Wisdom: The Path to Understanding

adi-da-in studio3Ken Wilber in “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

[Chogyam] Trungpa [Rinpoche] had to introduce translative and lesser practices in order to prepare people for the obviousness of what is.

Exactly the same thing happened with Adi Da, another influential (and equally controversial) adept (although this time, American-born). He originally taught nothing but “the path of understanding”: not a way to attain enlightenment, but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself, and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it. The “perfect practice” is therefore not to search for enlightenment, but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present, and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit, and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs.

Nobody got it. And so Adi Da, exactly like Trungpa, introduced a whole series of translative and lesser transformative practices–seven stages of practice, in fact–leading up to the point that you could dispense with seeking altogether, there to stand open to the always-already truth of your own eternal and timeless condition, which was completely and totally present from the start, but which was brutally ignored in the frenzied desire to seek.

For more, read the entire article.

The Victorious Surrender

imgres-5God is waiting for us to give up the imitations in our lives so that we can receive the real thing. Imagine what would happen if we really opened up to the knowledge that there is a force holding things together without our being in control. What if we surrendered to that force and allowed it to guide us in our lives? What if we stopped to realize that the planet is constantly supporting our lives?

The very air we breathe – unless we interfere with the natural systems – is constantly made available to our lungs by plants and ocean plankton through an incredible process of photosynthesis. The universe is consciously supporting us and breathing life into our souls at every moment. For the Hebrew mystic, creation is not a one-time event. It is instead a continuous process, hinted at by modern quantum physics, in which the universe recreates itself in love at every second.

This essential giving up of control does not mean that we do not expend enormous effort and energy in trying to chart our destinies and repair the world. It does mean that we need to do so in a way where we understand that even as we labor mightily, we know that it is simply not all up to us. Knowing that, we consciously invite the universe to partner in our efforts, breathing its life and energy into and through us.

The spiritual process of giving up control is called by the Hebrew mystics bittul. Usually, this is explained as self-nullification to God. In reality, it means something quite different. Rather than abnegation, it is a way of making ourselves transparent to God. We give up lower self control because we desire the higher divine self to flow through us. This is the experience of eros modeled on the sexual. We can access it in creativity, prayer, sexuality, study and any other arena of life in which we are willing to be lovers.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Daily Wisdom: authentic spirituality is revolutionary

lightning2Ken Wilber, from “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

Whereas translative religion offers legitimacy, transformative religion offers authenticity. For those few individuals who are ready–that is, sick with the suffering of the separate self, and no longer able to embrace the legitimate worldview–then a transformative opening to true authenticity, true enlightenment, true liberation, calls more and more insistently. And, depending upon your capacity for suffering, you will sooner or later answer the call of authenticity, of transformation, of liberation on the lost horizon of infinity.

Transformative spirituality does not seek to bolster or legitimate any present worldview at all, but rather to provide true authenticity by shattering what the world takes as legitimate. Legitimate consciousness is sanctioned by the consensus, adopted by the herd mentality, embraced by the culture and the counter-culture both, promoted by the separate self as the way to make sense of this world. But authentic consciousness quickly shakes all of that off of its back, and settles instead into a glance that sees only a radiant infinity in the heart of all souls, and breathes into its lungs only the atmosphere of an eternity too simple to believe.

Transformative spirituality, authentic spirituality, is therefore revolutionary. It does not legitimate the world, it breaks the world; it does not console the world, it shatters it. And it does not render the self content, it renders it undone.

Discovering Spirit in Nature

imgres-1Posted today on Marc Gafni’s Tumblr blog, “The Third-Person Path to Spirit” – a loose transcript of a video with Marc Gafni:

What’s the path of third person? The path of third person is the path of wonder, utter and absolute wonder in which I engage not in a human face-to-face relationship, not in a dialogue. Not in a place in which there’s a conversation that takes place. It’s about the path of awe and wonder where I step back and I allow myself to be overwhelmed by the full and infinite wonder, texture, beauty, complexity, infinity of All-That-Is.

There’s a great little short movie called 10 where you have a couple laying in a park, and you take a  look at them and they seem ordinary couple having a nice afternoon. But then we extract 10 powers – ten squared, ten squared again, farther and farther again, into the galaxy, and we reach a larger perspective… we go 10 square up, again and again, and we reach the infinite vastness and complexity of all the infinite galaxies to the end of the reach of human grasping and we set them in this large context. And then the camera shifts and goes inside, 10 times down, back to the couple, and into the skin, the man’s skin particularly on his hand, 10 powers squared as it were, in and in and in and in, into the organ, into the cell. And you realize that actually going inside and expanding there’s this huge expanse.

You finish this film and Wow your entire mind has been shifted and expanded when you realize that this small self is this external signifier, a sign post we’re living in it, but there is infinite depth within us and infinite depth in the context in which we live. There are these two frames of infinity that hold us. Wow. That’s third person.

Read the entire transcript or watch the video.

What’s the difference between interfaith, inter-religious, interspirituality, perennial philosophy, and world spirituality?

There are several kinds of spiritual expressions today. They are all expressions of universal spirituality and World Spirituality includes all of them. In a recent audio dialogue posted on Spirit’s Next Move, CWS Director Marc Gafni discusses the similarities and differences among several major different types of post-conventional spirituality. The comments posted on Marc Gafni: Dual Citizen delineate the essential distinctions he sees.

After reviewing the major alternatives, Marc concludes:

World Spirituality takes a perspective on all of these and deeply bows to each one of them, and at the same time says that they’re true and partial… basically what it says is that if we just respect each other we lose the traditions. Just respecting is a great thing to do, but what that means is that we’re being guided by pre-modernity. We receive reverentially the contributions of pre-modernity and we recognize a difference between surface structures and depth structures…

Daily Wisdom: God’s redemption; the evolution of God – depends on us.

By Marc Gafni

By deploying intellectual, meditative and mystical faculties, the lover of divine text moves to unpack the fresh invitation of the divine voice. The divine voice speaks presently to the individual and the community in the eternal now.

It is however more than even that. In this ongoing conversation the interpreter/lover of the text does not merely uncover the original divine intention. She does not merely reveal that which was ostensibly latent in the text from the time of  it’s inception and only now ready to reveal itself. Rather the interpreter/lover of text actually participates as a primary catalyst not only in interpreting, but in actually evolving the divine voice.

Said simply the hermeneutic act is a catalyst for – and actually participates in – what is no less than the evolution of God. When the divine lover of text reads and interprets from their own deepest divine center, the divine voice in the texts evolves, expressing truths that the original voice which wrote the text “did not know and could not have dreamed.”

This is a pivotal deep structure of Isaac Luria’s Kabbalistic thought whose essence was perhaps best captured by Nikos Katzanakis when he said, “We are the Saviors of God.” Said slightly different we are co-creators with the divine responsible for the evolving divine spirit.

Dance of Tears
(in press)
Dr. Marc Gafni

 

 

 

Daily Wisdom: Happiness does not depend on progress

Photo Credit: shagzi23

Ken Wilber, a leading voice on the Wisdom Council of the Center for World Spirituality writes in No Boundary:

But, we ask, what will happen to our drive for progress if we see all opposites are one? Well, with any luck, it will stop–and with it that peculiar discontent that thrives on the illusion that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But we should be clear about this. I do not mean that we will cease making advancements of a sort in medicine, agriculture, and technology. We will only cease to harbor the illusion that happiness depends on it. For when we see through the illusions of our boundaries, we will see, here and now, the universe as Adam saw it before the Fall: an organic unity, a harmony of opposites, a melody of positive and negative, delight with the play of our vibratory existence. When the opposites are realized to be one, discord melts into concord, battles become dances, and old enemies become lovers. We are then in a position to make friends with all of our universe, and not just one half of it.

 

Unique Self and Levels of Consciousness

In this lively dialogue, Don Beck, Katherine Woodward Thomas, and Dr. Marc Gafni explore the relationship between Unique Self and Levels of Consciousness. Dr. Marc begins with an introduction to his latest teaching, Unique Self, and defines for us the differences between Unique Self and True Self. The dialogue takes a deeper dive as Don, Katherine, and Marc take a journey up and down the spiral and look at Unique Self as it expresses itself through the different levels of consciousness. If you’re ready to take the next step on your Unique Self journey, then this dialogue is for you!

Don Beck has been developing, implementing, and teaching the evolutionary theory of Spiral Dynamics for more than three decades. Beck has elaborated upon the work of his mentor, Clare Graves, to develop a multidimensional model for understanding the evolutionary transformation of human values and cultures.

Katherine Woodward Thomas a national bestselling author of Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love Of Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2004) and creator and lead coach of the highly acclaimed Calling in “The One” 7 week transformative process. She is also a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker and the co-creator and co-leader of the Feminine Power transformative courses and the Feminine Power Global Community, a thriving learning community serving thousands of women worldwide.

Listen… [Read more…]

Would Jesus, Krishna, and Buddha have been best friends?

Note: The following dialogue transcript is taken from the conversation between Marc Gafni and Dada conducted in December 2012. The entire dialogue is currently available for a very limited time at the Imaginal World website.

We need to actually grow up to higher and higher levels of consciousness. The way we do it is we have to tell the story. We need to teach about levels of consciousness. People don’t even know they exist. There are clear and distinct stages of consciousness. That needs to become part of our vocabulary.

We need to being looking at where are we on the map. Where’s my people? Am I egocentric? Ethnocentric? Worldcentric? Cosmocentric? That’s just one simple way of talking about levels of consciousness. It’s really easy. Every one of our holy listeners, who are awesome and thank you and deep bow, can get that.

Egocentric: my felt sense of concern is me and my people, my family, people who help me survive.

Ethnocentric, which is a leap of consciousness: I have expanded my circle of care and concern to those in my circle, my country, my tribe, my religion.

Worldcentric: I actually have a felt sense of caring and concern for actually every human being in the world.

Cosmocentric: I’m even wider and more expanded. I have a felt sense of care and concern for every sentient being, for the cosmos, for past, present, and future, and I’m awakened to the divine in me and I’m acting as a divine agent catalyzing and taking the responsibility for this whole story that we’re in, because you started the story. You were there at the Big Bang. Where else could you have been? Because it’s your story, step up, take responsibility for it, play in it, in all the ways you can in your life.

Those four levels of consciousness, ego-, ethno-, world-, and cosmo-centric: that’w what I mean by levels of consciousness. it’s just a simple way to talk about it. We’ve got to grow up, and we need to wake up.

[Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 7

Conventional understandings of the shadow (the term first used in psychology by Carl Jung to describe the unconscious) leave many students of psychology befuddled or confused. Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni have charted groundbreaking perspectives on shadow which deepen our awareness of what it means to be human and how we can lives more fully conscious lives. Wilber’s contribution, described in Transformations of Consciousness as well as other books, connects shadow to issues in the navigation from one fulcrum of consciousness to the next. Gafni’s contribution, articulated in Your Unique Self, describes shadow as a distortion of Unique Self or an unlived part of one’s unique story.

Listen to the dialogue and read a partial transcript: [Read more…]

Marc Gafni on the positive and shadow sides of the interfaith movement

Marc Gafni, Director of the Center for World Spirituality, reflects on the article by Rabbi David Rosen, writing in Huffington Post (described in a recent blog post here) which gave his view on the importance of the launch on Monday of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. In this 22-minute audio clip, Spirit’s Next Move Executive Editor Joe Perez invites Marc to reflect on this important moment in the emergence of the global religious interfaith movement.

Listen to the dialogue and read a partial transcript: [Read more…]

Legitimate marketing of spiritual teaching or “prophets for profit”?

Sharing with you a blog post I wrote today, “Prophets for Profit,” for MarcGafni.com:

It is completely legitimate and even necessary for spiritual teachers to engage the marketplace and sell their wares. In doing so they need to use the skills of marketplace consciousness in a way that is both filled with integrity and highly effective. Having said that, we need to beware of prophets for profit. When there is a massive financial motivation built in which is not open stated, assessing a spiritual teacher gets more tricky.

Sometimes “virtual” replaces the virtue of slow and gradual development, and teachers arise who have not been teaching for several decades and getting deeply cooked as a teacher. In these cases, one needs to exercise caution…

This post continues…

Addiction recovery methodologies in search of more comprehensive perspectives

Where are all the four-quadrant, all levels of self (egoic self, True Self, Unique Self) approaches to addiction and recovery? The Center for World Spirituality has taken one of its core projects books and applications of integrally-informed, Unique Self-inclusive approaches to addiction and recovery (for more, see our projects underway by Lori Galperin of Castlewood Treatment Centers). Meanwhile, researchers and thinkers are continuing to advance the cutting edge in recovery from various perspectives that are important parts of the whole.

Writing recently on Huffington Post, Wray Herbert looks at the physiology and psychology of addiction (upper-left and upper-right quadrants), summarizing the findings of Jessica Tracy and Daniel Randles of a new University of British Columbia on the connection between shame and alcoholism. He describes the UBC Emotion & Self Lab’s study methodology in detail, noting that it used videotaped body language of alcoholics over a span of time to measure the connection between shame and propensity to relapse. He writes:

This is the first scientific evidence to bolster what alcoholism counselors and recovering alcoholics have long known: Shame is a core emotion underlying chronic heavy drinking. Shame is what gets people into the rooms of AA — it defines the alcoholic “bottom” — but it’s a lousy motivator for staying in recovery. The power of AA is that it offers something to replace the negative emotions that most alcoholics know all too intimately.

[Read more…]

Marc Gafni and Charles Randall Paul: The Roots of Individuality

Charles Randall Paul, Ph.D., is one of the most creative leading edge orthodox theologians in the world today. He is board chair, founder, and president of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. He has lectured widely and written numerous articles on healthy methods for engaging differences in religions and ideologies, and he is currently completing two books: Fighting about God: Why We Do It and How to Do It Better and Converting the Saints: An American Religious Conflict. He is on the board of editors for the International Journal of Decision Ethics. Charles is also a member of the Wisdom Council of the Center for World Spirituality.

Today the Spirit’s Next Move blog features a 25-minute audio conversation between Dr. Charles Randall Paul and Dr. Marc Gafni, director of CWS and scholar-in-residence. In this segment, Gafni establishes the essential contours of Unique Self teaching on enlightenment and Paul asks for clarification regarding its implications for Eastern enlightenment. Gafni says that unattachment is a higher integral embrace of East and West, and its general position is that nobody is entirely wrong. Every great system has its own understanding that is true and partial, he says. The great understanding of the East is that to move beyond suffering, you have to move beyond your identity as a separate self. And Unique Self retains that central insight by incorporating the teaching that separateness is the source of suffering but it is different from uniqueness.

Charles takes issue with Marc at times, as their exchange on the nature of Western enlightenment in the Renaissance shows, along a path towards a greater shared understanding. They agree that the roots of Western individualism can be traced back both to Christianity as well as the Judaism’s teaching of Imago Dei, but neither religion fully escaped ethnocentrism. It was not until the Renaissance, Marc says, that the individual is given dignity qua individual without being located in a particular religious context.

Listen to the audio: [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Ideal of “No Practice”

Ken Wilber writes in “The Spirituality That Transforms”:

When Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a great (though controversial) Tibetan master, first came to this country, he was renown for always saying, when asked the meaning of Vajrayana, “There is only Ati.” In other words, there is only the enlightened mind wherever you look. The ego, samsara, maya and illusion — all of them do not have to be gotten rid of, because none of them actually exist: There is only Ati, there is only Spirit, there is only God, there is only nondual Consciousness anywhere in existence.

Virtually nobody got it — nobody was ready for this radical and authentic realization of always-already truth — and so Trungpa eventually introduced a whole series of “lesser” practices leading up to this radical and ultimate “no practice.” He introduced the Nine Yanas as the foundation of practice — in other words, he introduced nine stages or levels of practice, culminating in the ultimate “no practice” of always-already Ati.

Many of these practices were simply translative, and some were what we might call “lesser transformative” practices: miniature transformations that made the bodymind more susceptible to radical, already-accomplished enlightenment. These translative and lesser practices issued forth in the “perfect practice” of no practice — or the radical, instantaneous, authentic realization that, from the very beginning, there is only Ati. So even though ultimate transformation was the prior goal and ever-present ground, Trungpa had to introduce translative and lesser practices in order to prepare people for the obviousness of what is.

Read the entire article. Ken Wilber is a leading voice in the Integral World Spirituality movement, and more of his writings can be found on www.kenwilber.com.

World Spirituality Unplugged: Four Audiences for World Spirituality

Recorded in 2010, Marc Gafni’s “Who’s Out There? Dual Citizens?” explores the audiences for a World Spirituality.

There are two broad groups of people out there we need to understand as we lay the foundation for spirit’s next move, an emergent World Spirituality.

Group One. People who are part of an ethnocentric religion (“We got the truth, you don’t,”) 70% of the world is hanging out over there.

The second group is people who have for whatever set of religion moved beyond the world religions. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, whatever. They no longer view themselves as part of the classical religions. Moreover, they don’t feel comfortable in the classical religions. They don’t feel held, addressed, compelled, invited.

Why? Lots of different reasons. Some of them may have actually internalized the critique of the religions introduced by modern thinking and post-modern thinking … and we’ll look at those critiques and where they are relevant and overstated. But whatever those critiques are, they have been incorporated into the Zeitgeist, the very fabric of our contemporary context.

Watch the video and read further below:

[Read more…]

World Spirituality Unplugged: World Spirituality is an Evolutionary Emergent

In this 2010 video presented in our World Spirituality Unplugged series, there is a rousing call to see the “revolution in possibility” which is an evolutionary emergent in spirituality. From Marc Gafni:

In the world, everyone agrees that we see this evolution from simple to complex, greater levels of complexity, of depth and consciousness. This vision of a World Spirituality is an evolutionary emergent – it’s something new, has never existed before. There are glimmerings of it, hints of it, and in other conversations I will share with you the hints, precursors, the foreshadowings of this World Spirituality that is now bursting forth…

This World Spirituality, Gafni says, allows people to be both part of their own tradition as well as part of a global movement that goes beyond it.

[Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 6

The story of evolution is the story of creativity, which is the story of Unique Self. Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber draw many key connections in this segment of their Unique Self audio dialogue conducted in September 2012. The dialogue begins with Ken Wilber’s storytelling about the nature of creativity from a cosmo-centric perspective. This builds to the amazing insight that Unique Self is actually the creator of the past and the driver of the future. More parallels and equations follow in due course.

This clip is a 24-minute excerpt which follows immediately from Part 5. The transcript below tracks the flow of the conversation on creativity up to the point at which Unique Self is equated to choice. [Read more…]

World Spirituality Unplugged: “All Religions are Not the Same!!!”

In this 2010 video from the Center for World Spirituality archives, Dr. Marc Gafni articulates a vision for World Spirituality based on a ranking of worldviews into a new hierarchy of truth, beauty, and goodness. He says, in part:

There are two people today. Ethnocentric = my nationality, my religion, my group has got it going on. Augustine: there is no redemption outside of the church. There are about 30 percent of the world that have transcended: trance-ended. That’s how I like to teach that word. To end the trance of. They have ended the trance of the ethnocentric context that says our system is the superior system. A lot of people who are holding that belief including many people who are very loving and beautiful are still holding that belief. [Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 5

Why have so many people, especially spiritual teachers, resisted the idea of Unique Self? What are the implications of Unique Self for shadow work? And how are these two questions related? The answer may be connected to a failure to hold paradox.

Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni explore these topics in this part of their Unique Self dialogue (a 12-minute clip from a conversation recorded in September 2012). The answer which emerges is that, in Marc’s phrasing, there is a failure to discern the difference between egoic disassociation and disidentification. In spiritual traditions which “bash the ego,” there is a risk of losing one’s ability to make out the shape of the “individuated essence of the divine mind-heart which lives in you and as you.”

In Ken’s formulation, there is a failure to understand deeply “the infinite nature of the genuine Self and its unique nature appearing in each individual.”

Listen to the audio and read a partial transcript:

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A partial transcript of the dialogue follows:

Marc: I think one of the reasons in the early years why Unique Self had such opposition is that people had such a hard time in disambiguating the distinction between ego and Unique Self. Lots of the reason was an inhability to hold paradox, an inappropriate either/or thinking. The paradox is so important here.

In paradox … the Garden of Eden, my teacher once said, is not paradise but paradox. There’s an unbelievable text which ppears in the Zohar, not really commented on a lot, which calls King David the Jester of the King. Why is he the jester?

He says to God, “Test me.”

God says, “I don’t think so.”

David says, “Test me.”

David sits on his rooftop. He sees Bathsheba bathing unclothed. The whole story unfolds. Bathsheba inappropriately becomes David’s wife. David commits a number of cardinal life mistakes. God says, “You see. I told you not to be tested. It wasn’t a good idea.”

David said, “What do you mean, God? You said I would fail the test. I said I would succeed. You’re the master. I’m the servant. so I failed.”

The Zohar says, for that reason David is the jester of the king. I remember when I first read a version of that story, in my lineage master, Mordechai Lanier of Izbica, the source of all the Unique Self and non-dual humanism work, not of the post-kind but of the metaphysical traditions. He cites the story a lot, but doesn’t explain why.

Ten years after seeing the story for the first time … I realize this is about freedom and determinism. Of course! It’s about choicelessness. You’re both choosing and not choosing. Couldn’t be any other way. The paradox is: Total divine pride and total humility. Total audacity and total surrender in the precise same moment. How to tell between someone who is genuinely living their Unique Self compared to someone who is caught in some egoic hijacking of Unique Self. It’s a nice distinction.

Ken: It is. That denial we see in the denial of the Unique Self as well. In some cases, it’s just a flat out mistake because some of these things do sound contradictory and we have to just hear an explanation to agree. In other cases there are deeper dysfunctionalism almost which is a failure to realize and deeply acknowledge the infinite nature of the genuine Self and its unique nature appearing in each individual. And so in some cases it’s an innocent mistake, and in some cases it’s part of the structure of the lie I’m caught in, vis-à-vis my Unique Self.

Marc: That’s a fantastic analysis. If we would apply the disassociation/ disidentification discernment to this issue. I think what’s often happened is that when spiritual teachers don’t disidentify from ego but disassociate from ego, that creates a blindness. You can never evolve beyond ego, you can evolve beyond exclusive identification with ego. You disassociate from ego, demonize ego, you are blinded to Unique Self, because you disassociate from anything that is unique. When you teach a radical neo-advaita tradition, which is beautiful and holy, in Kabbalah or Hindu tradition, it doesn’t matter who’s doing it, it’s the same moment… when you adopt that kind of tradition which bashes the ego – then you lose your ability to discern the contours of the individuated essence of the divine mind-heart which lives in you and as you.

Ken: Definitely. That’s part of the whole consideration that each individual needs to go through as they begin to honestly confront their Unique Self.

Marc: We’ve identified denial of Unique Self as a fundamental matrix of shadow formation and pathology. You pointed out something else recently… Two other things you shared. One was Maslow’s Jonah complex, which is fantastic. Jonah, for the listeners, is asked by the divine voice to go to Nineveh to give a prophecy, and Jonah flees from being in the divine presence. He ends up in the belly of a whale. The Jonah complex of Maslow takes on an enormously deeper resonance when you think of it as not merely self-realization, which is critical, but also Maslow’s later understanding which you’ve talked about extensively, self-transcendence. It deepens our Jonah complex.

But then on a practical point, our last point, what we could really do is take this whole conversation, is we can take the 3-2-1 of shadow – a gold-starred module of Integral Practice – as you’ve integrated it from the great traditions: taking shadow from 3rd to 2nd to 1st person, that’s an integration of shadow qualities into you. (Oh, that asshold lives in me.) You can go 3-2-1-0 and see they are realizations of your unlived life. Because you haven’t lived your own Unique Life, qualities such as stinginess or anger or jealousy. They might all come back online, if you trace them back to their roots, the shadow qualities are unique. They lead you back to your Unique Self. I’ve never been jealous of a ballerina. But I can walk into a bookstore and see that Ken has written another book. Then he says – I hate him – you own it. Then you see that it was his Unique Self, and that lets me live my Unique Self. Ken it’s just stunning. Unless you do that… When you actually go from 1 to 0. Follow your Unique Shadow back to your Unique Self. We’ve done this over the last few years and it’s just stunning.

Unique Shadow is the yellow brick road back to Unique Self. Jung. Sometimes Jung got it, sometimes he doesn’t. He moves away from it, back and forth. Jung’s complex. What he didn’t get is – and he got a lot and we’re all in his debt in so many ways – is what I would call the virtue of Unique Self. He used to say I’d rather be whole than good. Your Unique Self is your wholeness and goodness together. He had some idea which is based on his elevationist move. You’re either going to be whole or you’re going to be good, based a view of religion which makes you good but not whole. Unique Self invites you to your wholeness and goodness as one.

Listen to the entire dialogue:

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