October 27, 2021

Daily Wisdom: Divinity Has One Ultimate Secret

Ken Wilber, writing in “The Deconstruction of the World Trade Center” (as republished in The Simple Feeling of Being):

Divinity has one ultimate secret, which it will also whisper in your ear if your mind becomes quieter than the fog at sunset: the God of this world is found within, and you know it is found within: in those hushed silent times when the mind becomes still, the body relaxes into infinity, the senses expand to become one with the world–in those glistening times, a subtle luminosity, a serene radiance, a brilliantly transparent clarity shimmers as the true nature of all manifestation, erupting every now and then in a compassionate Radiance before whom all idols retreat, a Love so fierce it adoringly embraces both light and dark, both good and evil, both pleasure and pain equally; for “I make the Light to fall on the good and bad alike; I the Lord do all these things”; a passionately embroiling Heat so painful it will melt your bones while you hurl yourself to the ground with awe and supplication and reverence and surrender.

And just when you are bowing to that Radiance, thrown to the ground by a Force that crushes mind and body and ego into microscopically insignificant dust, just at that point exactly: that is when it whispers, in barely audible words, a whisper like a beautiful woman calling your name on a shining, silvery, moonlit night: You are bowing to yourself. Don’t you remember who and what you really are? Did not even Saint Clement say, He who knows himself knows God?

Unique Self Video 15c: History of “Wake Up, Grow Up” terminology

In the ongoing Unique Self video series, Part 15c gives us an overview of history of the terminology of “wake up, grow up, etc.” as used today in World Spirituality. Tracing the terms back to John Wellwood, Gafni also discusses why this information is important. [Read more…]

Unique Self Video No. 15b: Unique Self is the Highest Level of “Growing Up”

The Unique Self video series continues with a brief reflection on the role of Unique Self within the foundational principles of World Spirituality. Marc Gafni says:

Your highest growing up is Unique Self. You lighten up by following your Unique Shadow back to Unique Self. Love is in 2nd person a Unique Self perception, and in 1st person you live as live but live uniquely as love, and in 3rd person you are the unique expression of all love-intelligence of All-That-Is… [Read more…]

Unique Self Video No. 15a: The Cornerstone of World Spirituality Practice

In the next video in the Unique Self series, Marc Gafni summarizes World Spirituality as follows:

At the core of World Spirituality teaching is what’s been called wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, and open up. That’s the whole teaching. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: God in second person is all about relationship

Whether the relationship is that of a servant to his master or a lover and his beloved or a relationship between partners or even friends, they are all “relating” to God.

The most powerful form of God in the second person is almost certainly the prayer experience. It is told that when Hassidic master Levi Yitzchak of Beridchev used to pray he would begin the standard liturgical form of blessing. “Baruch Ata Adonai,” “Blessed are you God,” and then break out of the mold of blessing crying out in sheer joy,  ” YOU… YOU… YOU… YOU!” He would lose himself in these words repeatedly shouting in ecstasy, “YOU… YOU… YOU!!!” This is the rapture of God in the second person.

For Levi Yitzchak the blessing is a kind of Buddhist pointing out instruction. It points however not to sunyata or emptiness but to God in the second person. Nachman of Bratzlav taught the spiritual practice of Hitbodedut.  In one form this meant walking alone in the forest “talking to God as you would to your friend.”

In God in the second person we meet God and bow. In God in the second person we meet God and partner. In God in the second person we meet God and love. The key however is the encounter. It is the encounter with God in history and in the lived reality of every human being that is the essence of the God in the second person experience.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears
(in press)

 

Unique Self Video No. 14: Levels of Consciousness

From “Part 14. Unique Self and levels of consciousness,” the fourteenth part of the Unique Self video blog series:

What is Unique Self?

The core way we refer to Unique Self is as both a unique structure-stage of consciousness and a state of consciousness. Primarily it’s a specific structure-stage of consciousness that comes online as a natural spontaneous expression of living into your uniqueness at higher levels of consciousness. Of course knowing about Unique Self might be one of the things that spurs you, causes you to grow up to higher levels of consciousness. It’s the transmission, the teaching, and study of Unique Self that is one of the things that awakens you. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: How do you embody nondual wisdom?

From “Walking the Talk: the Principles and Practices of Embodied Spirituality,” by Mariana Caplan:

I was 24 years old when I arrived in India for the first time. I had only a one-way ticket, a change of clothes, my journal, and a small handful of cash. Not an Indian rupee nor a guidebook to my name. My sole intention for that trip was to learn to listen to, and follow, the true voice of the heart. Even at that time I had done enough spiritual practice and psychological work to understand that not every voice that came from within was the voice of the heart. That there were, as Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff taught, multiple “I’s” within each of us. I knew the true voice of the heart had near-doubles, imitations, and even outright sabotaging impostors, as well as sincere but unobjective aspects of the self that did their best to provide spiritual guidance from within but whose voice still did not represent the innermost voice of the heart.

Yet even armed with that awareness, what I could not have appreciated so early in my spiritual search was the immensity of the task before me—that I must learn not only to access the true voice of the heart, but to then integrate that understanding into the body on a cellular level, into the deep grooves of psychological conditioning, into all aspects of daily life. To integrate that nondual source of wisdom into every microfiber of dualistic expression. I could not have imagined then that the mere insight into nondual reality—as awe-inspiring and life-changing as it is—was merely the beginning of the spiritual journey rather than its completion. That I could not and would not be satisfied until I could find a way to integrate that nondual wisdom such that it would gradually transmute all aspects of my experience—from intimate relationships and friendships, to sexuality, to child raising, to my relationship with the environment. I simply could not have known what such an integration would require. How potent and stubborn our mental habits and repetitive thought-forms are; how deeply the conditioning of karma, psychology, and a society based on ignorance, scarcity, and fear had worked its way into the cellular structure of the body. To embody my nondual insight and experience would be no small task.

Read the full article.

Daily Wisdom: “I am God”

Sacred hermeneutic is ultimately an erotic act according to the mystics in which the God in the interpreter meets the God and the text and realizes that they are one.

It is this erotic merger with the divine in the act of interpreting sacred text which has been the central realization of my own personal path to the divine.  In this meeting between infinite and finite, the meetings blurs into a merger, a unio-mystica, achieved  through the meditative ecstatic intellectual act of sacred study. Thus when we engage text we meet both third person descriptions of reality, a second person encounter with the Noten Hatorah, the torah given in the eternal now by the eternal divine thou, as well as the merger of the mystic with the word of God in which the voice of God speaks through the mystics Torah in the realization that “I am God.”

The Dance of Tears (in press)
Dr. Marc Gafni

Unique Self Video No. 12: Your Unique Self, The Book

Marc Gafni:

Unique Self emerges from my teaching over the last 20 years, a deep meeting between my teaching and Integral Theory, many many conversations between Ken and myself, fructified, amplified, and deepened by an inner circle of other teachers who brought their own gifts to bear, and now Unique Self belongs to no one. It’s the teaching of tomorrow, which will take each one of us.

Find your way on this radical path to personal enlightenment.

In the twelfth installment of the Unique Self Video series, Marc Gafni provides an overview of his new book, Your Unique Self:


For a transcript, see UniqueSelf.com.

How does the word “awake” symbolize enlightenment itself?

By Joe Perez

On Integral Thinkers, I post the first in a series of columns on what I am calling integral phonosemantics. The topic of the first column is the significance of the sound symbolism for the English word “awake.” I suggest that the very sound of the word offers us a picture or enactment of the phenomenon of enlightenment.

From “My Philosophy of Life Begins with “Awake-ness”:

Language, I discovered, possesses a wisdom only glimpsed darkly by the New Age books on numerology which promise to tell you how your destiny is determined at birth by your given name. Language is magical, but not in that sort of way. Everything essential about awakeness that I already knew was already available to me simply by listening to the sound of the word broken down into its parts (called phonemes), and then feeling carefully into my body as it pronounced the word. I began to recover lost knowledge of the word by feeling proprioceptively.

The phonosemantics (sound symbolism) of the word “awake” align with the story I will tell you about awake-ness in the English language. The word begins in a neutral /ə/ vowel, in linguistics, schwa, a term meaning that an unobstructed breath is pronounced in the middle of the mouth’s vertical axis and the center of the mouth’s horizontal axis.

From there, out of absolute neutrality, it finds its “way,” a sound symbol that begins with /w/, the labio-velar approximant consonant, meaning that it is made by articulating with the lips and dorsum, the back part of the tongue. In my comparative studies of sound symbolism in conjunction with a wide variety of cross-cultural maps of subtle energy, I concluded that in terms of the traditional Chinese vocabulary for subtle energy, there is no English vowel more yin than /ə/.

Thus, at the outset, the phoneme connotes something which begins in utter neutrality or formlessness and then begins a process. The sounds are labial (articulated with the lips), which my study of sound symbolism suggests that being at the front of the mouth convey the undertone of beginnings to things. For instance, when /b/, the voiced labial fricative, starts a word it symbolizes such things as “Big Bang,” and “Begin” and “Be.”)

[Read more…]

Unique Self Video No. 11: On Evolutionary Mysticism

Dr. Marc Gafni:

Evolutionary Spirituality is making an important contribution. My teachers are all evolutionary mystics, a term that’s been used in the academic scholarship of Hebrew mysticism. Evolutionary mysticism is the sense that I am participating in the evolving All, the evolving process.

In Part 11 of the Unique Self Video series, Marc describes the important role he sees for evolutionary spirituality as well as its potential pitfalls. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Unique Perspective – an Absolute Quality of Essence

Every evolved culture and every evolved individual may realize Unique Self when True Self awakens to its Unique Perspective. An early expression of this equation is sourced in pre-modernity in the great teachings of the Kabbalists. For these masters, the sacred text of the Torah is the word of God. Yet, paradoxically, in Hebrew mystical teaching a human being who is deeply grounded in True Self while fully incarnating his or her own uniqueness, also speaks the word of God!

Human insight HOWEVER is considered the word of God and, given the status of Torah, only when it derives directly from the clarified unique perspective of a human being who is connected to the ground of True Self. In this radical teaching the supreme identity between the human being and the godhead is only realized through the paradoxical portal of radical human uniqueness. Irreducible uniqueness, the full inhabiting of unique perspective or voice, is revealed to be an absolute quality of essence.

Dr. Marc Gafni
from:  Perspectives as Post-modern Revelation

Unique Self Video No. 10: What is the difference between Integral Spirituality, Evolutionary Spirituality, and World Spirituality?

An excerpt from Part 10 of the Unique Self Video series:

World Spirituality incorporates both the operating system of integral Spirituality, its pointing-out instructions, and clearly incorporates the evolutionary dimension of Evolutionary Spirituality. What World Spirituality seeks to do at every level of consciousness is offer a full expression of living—body, heart, mind, and soul—at every level of consciousness at its own level. At its highest level of consciousness—Kosmocentric consciousness, in which I feel identified with all sentient beings—I’ve identified with the Divine perspective that lives as my Unique Self. I feel responsible for past, present, and future.

Marc Gafni: [Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 4

In the fourth segment of the August 2012 dialogue between Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni, the issues are front and center. The pandits find a common ground in their distinction between True Self and Unique Self, and its importance for changing today’s conversation around enlightenment and all that follows from that. Wilber and Gafni both refer to Wilber’s early writings which speak of the difference between “personal plus” and “personal minus,” and find similarities to Gafni’s True Self/Unique Self distinction. Marc draws a parallel between Wilber’s pre/trans fallacy and what appears in his own writings as a “level one/ level three” fallacy.

One of the most interesting points is made by Ken who uses strong language to criticize the doctrine emergent from Theravadan Buddhism and forms of Western Buddhism which are heavily influenced by it. Wilber calls the philosophy a “disaster,” and notes that later strains of Buddhism including Mayhana and Zen, have to one degree or another begun to rectify the mistake.

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

Daily Wisdom: First things first

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

Even though you and I might deeply believe that the most important function we can perform is to offer auhentic transformative spirituality, the fact is, much of what we have to do, in our capacity to bring decent spirituality into the world, is actually to offer more benign and helpful modes of translation. In other words, even if we ourselves are practicing, or offering, authentic transformative spirituality, nonetheless much of what we must first do is provide most people with a more adequate way to translate their condition. We must start with helpful translations, before we can effectively offer authentic transformations.

The reason is that if translation is too quickly, or too abruptly, or too ineptly taken away from an individual (or culture), the result, once again, is not breakthrough but breakdown, not relapse but collapse.

To read the whole article, see KenWilber.com.

Marc Gafni on Post-Postmodern Art: A New Article in Parabola Magazine

By Marc Gafni

Artist Claudia Kleefeld is not the first person to see the symbol of the spiral as being a portal to a vision of a coherent cosmos. She is original in that she is a first-rate, old-master-style artist with thirty years of training, who paints the spiral as an expression of an Eros of certainty that asserts the utter meaningfulness, depth, and order of the cosmos. Kleefeld’s paintings emerge from her own opened eye of the spirit and speak directly to the higher spiritual intuition of her viewers. Finally, Kleefeld is unusual in that she is part of an emergent form of art, which seeks to reveal the enchantment of a cosmos — a cosmos that is good, true, and beautiful.

I am delighted to present an article which celebrates the work of Claudia Kleefeld, one of the brightest shining lights in the universe of art today. My new article, “Post-postmodern Art: A Return to Belonging,” is now published in the latest issue of Parabola Magazine.

[Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 3

What is the difference between the True Self and Unique Self? Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni approach this topic in the third part of the dialogue on Unique Self (about 24 minutes). Early in the conversation, Ken says:

Ken Wilber: The egoic self still has not yet passed through Emptiness, so it still believes it has a real existence and is something that is permanently everlastingly existing instead of something that is timelessly existing, and its specialness comes from the way it is different from other egos, and it still hasn’t experienced the True Self. At most, it exists at the soul level. The soul still exists — the soul is essentially the self in subtle realms. In the causal realms, it’s the True Self. The whole point that making sure you’ve passed through Emptiness is to strip through the soul of the separate self at that level.

Marc coined the term “Unique Self” in his book Soul Prints, and has been working to develop the Unique Self teaching for over two decades. Marc’s latest book, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, explores and unpacks it even further. For a timeline of the Unique Self’s development, see the Unique Self Timeline.

Listen and read more… [Read more…]

Read Joe Perez’s “Commentary on Unique Self Video No. 1: Gafni’s Trailblazing Theory of Unique Self”

Newly posted on Awake, Alive & Aware, a commentary on Marc’s first video teaching on Unique Self:

In this video, Marc Gafni introduces what he calls the “core teaching” of Unique Self. Stated succinctly:

Unique Self is the understanding that you are at the level of essence – not merely at the level of social, psychological, and cultural conditioning – you are ultimately unique, you are an infinitely unique expression of All-That-Is, an expression that never was, is, or will be ever again. That uniqueness of essence is your Unique Self.

The video continues with exposition highlighting the role of evolution in creating uniqueness, and then it shifts to take the Integral perspective that everything arises at “all quadrants” (or alternatively in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person perspectives). Gafni’s shorthand is to say that “uniqueness lives at the biological, social, cultural, and psychological levels” — essentially Ken Wilber’s quadrants in AQAL.

And then with “it’s your unique perspective on your enlightenment,” we see the key conceptual move central to the whole construct: Unique Self IS “enlightenment” in all four quadrants. So by definition it is the source of illumination, wisdom, and identification with the All, the central qualities associated with “enlightenment” as seen from an individual perspective. So the reason that we are calling Unique Self the “Next Chapter of Integral” is that it develops a practical, useful, new construct on top of the AQAL Integral Framework (one which has the support of Ken Wilber, the chief developer of AQAL, a salient fact).

Read the whole thing…

What about Susupti, deep sleep awareness?

By Joe Perez

The term ‘susupti’ (Hindi), deep sleep awareness, is worth knowing. The 8th century spiritual master Sankara analyzed human sleep states, concluding that there is no real existence of the self. In contrast, Ramanuja’s analysis of sleep implies that there is a Supreme Self which is present even during deep sleep. The latter view is consistent, I would say, with the position of the American philosopher Ken Wilber, whose work is a touchstone of World Spirituality. [Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 2

This week we are presenting the second in a multi-part dialogue series on Unique Self featuring Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni (a series which will continue all autumn). In this second clip (about 20 minutes), Ken and Marc situate the Unique Self within the context of Integral Theory, in particular the differentiation between structures or stages of consciousness on the one hand and states on the other. They conclude by differentiating between specialness as an egoic claiming of place, which is competitive and aggressive, and a Unique Self specialness which is “the currency of connction.”

Marc coined the term “Unique Self” in his book Soul Prints, and has been working to develop the Unique Self teaching for over two decades. Marc’s latest book, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, explores and unpacks it even further. For a timeline of the Unique Self’s development, see the Unique Self Timeline.

Listen to the audio and read the partial transcript as well as some Background Material below… [Read more…]

CWS supports International Day of the Girl

As these words are written, Malala Yousafzai is in critical condition in a hospital. The girl, now 14 years old, came to fame when the world learned she was the pseudonymous BBC blogger who advocated for girls’ education and criticized the atrocities of Islamic extremists in her city. She has been a contender for a prestigious international peace prize for children. Yesterday, on the eve of the International Day of the Girl, she was shot in the head and neck.

The world is outraged at the Taliban’s act of terror which is described like so by the Christian Science Monitor:

“Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all,” a hooded, bearded Taliban militant asked a bus full of schoolgirls on their way home earlier this week. “She is propagating against the soldiers of Allah, the Taliban. She must be punished,” the Taliban militant shouted louder. Then, recognizing her, he shot her at a point blank range.

We pray for Malala’s recovery and honor her courage and contribution to peace and the rights of girls. Let us keep the 14-year-old girl, truly a world leader, in our thoughts and prayers. Taliban officials claimed responsibility for an attack on her which leaves her in critical condition at this time, citing her work on behalf of education for girls as an “obscenity.” Let us keep them in our prayers as well, praying that fundamentalist extremists everywhere would wake up and grow up!

The struggle for girls’ rights is one face of Spirit’s next move, and we are all called to love and compassion to aid them. It is fitting on this day that the leadership team of the Center for World Spirituality expresses our support for the International Day of the Girl, a new day for working to make the world a better place for girls everywhere.

[Read more…]