March 30, 2020

What does it mean to be fair?

Snow White

By Marc Gafni

What does it mean to be fair? In one sense being fair means to be just and good. To be fair is to be honest and have integrity.

Fairness implies appropriate weights and measure. To be fair means to give things the right weight and measure accurately.

When my sons were young the phrase that would indicate that they were the most upset or disturbed was the mixed English and Hebrew idiom, “Zeh Lo Fair.” It’s not fair. When they said that, they were appealing to a universal standard of the good and the just, which has ultimate natural authority.

The word “fair,” however has a second meaning as well. To be fair means to be beautiful. [Read more…]

Is a politics based on World Spirituality conservative or liberal?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/08/1062913/-BREAKING-On-a-Roll-Washington-state-passes-gay-marriage-bill-55-43-

By Joe Perez

In truth, there is no division between spirituality and politics that can be found in The Way Things Are. If you believe, as I do, that there is only one True Self and that every unique individual is a completely whole and infinitely valuable Unique Self which is one and the same as that Ultimate Identity, then how can there be a separation?

In an Integral view of ethics, care and justice evolve in ever expanding reach from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric levels. Ultimately, there is a sense of self-identification with responsibility and empathy for all sentient beings in all times and places. Thus, politics — which I define broadly as the expansion of our circle of concern to ever wider levels of embrace — is deeply wedded to our sense of self and our understanding of the nature of reality. [Read more…]

Where Americans import conservatives from overseas

Gay Methodist

Photo Credit: Religion News Service

 

By Joe Perez

In certain places in America, conservatives are so scarce they’ve begun to import them from abroad. Specifically, in Tampa, Florida, where 1,000 delegates gathered for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. While liberal American Methodists pleaded for tolerance for gay people, conservatives from overseas compared homosexuality to bestiality. [Read more…]

Why disgust is important from a spiritual perspective

Worms

By Joe Perez

One of the most important insights of the Integral Framework is that it helps us to integrate psychological research regarding the basis for our worldviews with our spirituality. For instance, when we learn that many (but not all) liberals and many (but not all) conservatives are more likely to hold a common psychological type or structure-stage which per se is neither good nor bad, and for which they are not morally accountable, then we become less judgmental of them.

Thereupon we learn to dis-identify with exclusively liberal or conservative impulses as we locate within our own psyche the basis upon which liberals and conservatives usually hold out their warring worldviews as the only one worth belief. This change in political beliefs is associated with the arrival of a more expansive identification of the self and the world it inhabits. The self holds more of a both/and perspective rather than either/or.

Now it turns out researchers are constantly giving us greater understanding of how this all happens. Writing on Towleroad, Chris Mooney reviews the evidence to substantiate the fact that there appears to be no rational basis for the belief that children are harmed by same-sex marriage and unions. But Mooney’s main point is not political, but psychological. He argues that there is a psychological basis for differences in belief among liberals and conservatives regarding gay marriage, and it has to do with feelings of disgust: [Read more…]

The march to spiritual marketization

Owl

By Joe Perez

High in the heavens above, the Sun’s sweet sextile with Neptune suggests a universe hospitable to fantasy and the belief that anything is possible. It’s time to inaugurate a new crazy idea: a nightly column on Spirit’s Next Move which follows the hooting of the owls, listening for wisdom, however disjointed and scattered the whos and hoos and hoots may sound, amid the many boughs and branches of the World Wide Web.

Resplendent hues of Sol’s gold and Neptune’s briny green above; on Earth, hues of pastel pink and baby blue. Ever wonder if the preference of pink for girls and blue for boys is universal? Not even close. It appears to be a cultural choice that could easily have gone the other way. [Read more…]

Towards a World Spirituality theology of gay marriage

Gay Men

Photo Credit: bodies-of-art

by Joe Perez

In a World Spirituality perspective, the theologian is more like an symphony composer, with theologians from different theological traditions translating the musical notation for the musicians of different instruments. Clearly there is give and take between the symphony composer and the composer for piano, violin, drums, etc.; but ultimately they are creating new music together.

In our times, a major crisis has emerged for theology which could help to doom religion in many countries unless it is redressed: the crisis of homosexuality within the churches. No, not the crisis that gay people are religious (there have always been gay people in churches, probably in disproportionately large numbers). The issue is that our religious traditions have holy traditions and scriptures dating to pre-modern times when there was no contemporary understanding of homosexuality or modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities (LGBT).

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How Matt Emerzion changed millions of lives, one Monday at a time

Matt EmerzionBy Joe Perez

Imagine you don’t even read books, but one day become convinced that you need to write one … to help other people realize that life isn’t all about themselves. That’s what happened to Matt Emerzian after his life reached a low point and he needed to rebound. Recently Fast Company profiled and interviewed him. Here’s a part:

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Social inequality is a cause of disease in itself, scientists say

Macques

Photo Credit: Yodels

By Joe Perez

Despite thousands of years of prophetic religious teachings telling us to lift up the poor and identify with the outcast, and hundreds of years of Western Enlightenment teaching about that all people are created equal, we live in a world of massive social inequality. When we aren’t completely ignoring the problem, scientists research the phenomenon to shed light. In “Why Low Social Status Causes Health Problems,” on Big Think, comes word from the study of macaque monkeys that inequality leads to disease:

[Read more…]

A hidden danger of high states and structure stages: unkindness

DeerBy Marc Gafni

There is great danger in both in the New Age idolization of state experiences and the excessive premium that much of the Integral community places on complex levels of cognition. As I have pointed out in many teachings, higher levels of cognitive complexity do not a better human being make. It is not by accident that we rarely see posts in the blogs of persons at higher stages of development about kindness.

Kindness is a value that all to often is relegated by writers and thinkers to the lower levels of amber (AQAL) or blue (Spiral Dynamics Integral) consciousness. It rarely appears as a value in many Integral contexts. Or worse still it is given lip service even as it is ignored in practice when the real gods of cognition and power are worshipped.

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Walter Russell Mead: Youth today at risk of not forming a healthy relationship to work

Pizza Boy

By Joe Perez

“Young people often spend a quarter century primarily as critics of a life they know very little about: as consumers they feel powerful and secure, but production frightens and confuses them,” says Walter Russell Mead, editor of The American Interest magazine, is an insightful social commentator who isn’t afraid to make broad assessments of culture and society.

The liberal social model is breaking down in the U.S. and elsewhere, Walter Russell Mead says, but we can’t simply return to the conservative view of society, either. Calling the liberal model “blue” and conservative model “red” as is the norm among U.S. political pundits these days, he says that we need to find a way beyond blue that doesn’t try to re-create red.

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Daily Wisdom: The mysteriously moving creative process is the God-impulse

Whirling Dervish

From Marc Gafni‘s Your Unique Self:

The creative process that mysteriously moves from nothing to something is the God-impulse. To live as your Unique Self means to align yourself with that process, with the ecstatic evolutionary impulse that initiated the kosmos, with the ecstasy of God, which re-creates all of reality in every second of existence.

Are you ready to respond to this invitation, to offer yourself to the infinite love intelligence that wants desperately to show up in the world through and as you?

Photo Credit: neil banas

Reverse Innovation: a way to shift the paradigm on price

By Joe Perez

Do you think not having enough money is a problem for you? Maybe you’re overestimating the power of money. By following a process of “Reverse Innovation,” you may just find a way to bootstrap your dreams.

According to “Business Lessons from a Baby Elephant,” in Fast Company:

Baby ElephantIn the U.S., artificial legs cost $20,000. In Thailand, a doctor named Therdchai Jivacate wanted to create an artificial leg for the bulk of the population, where the average person makes $2 a day. He created a $30 artificial leg by making it from recycled yogurt plastic containers. He converted waste into wealth. He found that it was lightweight, durable, and comfortable.

Two years ago, a baby elephant in Myanmar stepped on a land mine, and lost one of her limbs. Dr. Jivacate fitted a $30 artificial leg on Baby Mosha. There’s a YouTube video: Baby Mosha is very happy now. My point simply is this: He was able to create a $30 artificial leg for an elephant! Why do we assume in the U.S. that an artificial leg has to cost $20,000?

It’s not about making something “cheap.” The quality of an artificial leg in Thailand, where many people don’t wear shoes and walk on uneven roads, has to be better than in the U.S. It’s about shifting the price/performance paradigm: about offering a lot of value at an affordable price.

Read the whole thing.

Don’t let excuses like “I don’t have enough money” get in the way of giving Your Unique Gift.

Photo Credit: Arno & Louise Wildlife

On the possibility and necessity of a World Spirituality

by Alex Grey

A video teaching by Marc Gafni:

For the first time in the history of planet Earth, in the history of consciousness, a World Spirituality is utterly possible and utterly necessary.

A World Spirituality is one that trance-ends. It ends the trance of any particular religion or nationality. It weaves together the best medicines of every great system of knowing into a larger whole.

Watch video and read the rest of the transcript below:

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom Post: Union is the Ultimate Erotic State

Interconnectivity, the fullness of presence, the inside of God’s face, the yearning force of being, they all characterize our experience of Union.  This is enlightenment.  Yet for the Hebrew mystic if Union does not lead us to compassion and great love then we have missed the point.  The medieval intellectual mystic Maimonides wrote a great book of mystical philosophy, Guide for the Perplexed.  In the last sentences, after the book reaches its erotic crescendo (Cheshek, meaning “raw sensual passion” is the Hebrew translation of the Arabic term employed by Maimonides), he appends an implicit postscript.  Paraphrasing:  If all this doesn’t make you a better lover of people then you are no lover of God and certainly no lover of your self.  Eros must always lead to ethics.

The human being begins her journey as part of the circle of nature.  In the creation story of Genesis 1, man and woman are created as part of the natural order.  Ancient myth reflected this circle of being, in which mortals and immortals, humans and Gods, and all of nature participated together.  This is the circle of eros.

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 323

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Finding God in Our Contraction by Dr. Marc Gafni

By Marc Gafni

Your state, in this case a mystical state, is always interpreted through your level of consciousness.

Hurt is a state. This is a huge insight. You need to really take it in.

Hurt is not an objective reality that gives you license for cruelty under the cover of “I was hurt.”

Hurt is a state, and it is interpreted through your stage or level of consciousness. As you evolve, your relationship to your wounds naturally shifts. More than any other single barometer, what you do with your hurt reveals to you and others your genuine level of consciousness. [Read more…]

Joy is a Unique Obligation, by Dr. Marc Gafni

From Daimon Comes Eudaimonia

The novelist Honoré de Balzac wrote, “Vocations that we wanted to pursue, but didn’t, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence.” If we do not pursue our particular call, then the ghost of that call will pursue us, like a haunting that stains our days.

For when you respond to cues that are not yours, when you’re a police officer instead of a painter, ultimately you can’t be happy. Happiness comes from being yourself in the most profound way possible. The ancient Greeks referred to happiness as eudaimonia. “Daimon” is the word for calling. You are happy only when you are responding to your daimon. Your daimon calls you to realize your Unique Self. Your happiness lies in your hands, if you would but take it.

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Daily Wisdom Post: The Alchemy of Love

“IT DEPENDS ON LOVE.”  In this old Aramaic phrase, “it” refers to shadow. This phrase will guide you on the path of shadow integration that the old Unique Self masters called the “left-handed emanation” or the “way of the dragon. ” The left hand implies the power of transmutation, while the right hand symbolizes the power of force. The left-handed path is referred to by the Tantric Kabbalists as Derek Hataninim, which I have often translated as “the way of the dragon ”. The way of the dragon invites not the slaying of the dragon, but rather its befriending and healing.

To follow this way is to serve and to grow through the light and energy that emanates from the darkness itself.

With the understanding of the New Enlightenment, the energy that emanates from the darkness is not foreign to us. It is none other than the displaced fullness of your Unique Self and the dis-owned freedom of your True Self. It is the energy of the radical breaking of all boundaries. You have shattered the limits of your skin-encapsulated ego, and stepped into the fullness of your distinct expression of all that is. You have realized your full identity with the divine, and all false boundaries crumble before the audacious power of your penetrating love. This is the ultimate expression of Eros.

The energy of darkness is but the pseudo-Eros of breaking boundaries in the world of illusion. When you follow the attraction to the boundary-breaking pseudo-Eros to its root, it is revealed to be the yearning for the full enlightenment of Unique Self manifestation. The coiled boundaries of separate self melt before the radiance of Unique Self.

This is the hidden intention of the old Kabbalistic koan, “The contraction of darkness is only sweetened in its root.”  The word for contraction, din, refers to your shadow.  The word “sweetness” refers to the tantric level of consciousness in Kabbalah, where light that comes from the darkness is of a higher quality than light that bypasses the darkness.

In the way of the dragon, the energy of shadow is transmuted through love.

One of the people who intuited this truth of shadow energy, even though he did not have a larger Unique Self context within which to integrate his understanding, was the philosopher Nietzsche.  He writes in his maddening and wonderful work,Thus Spake Zarathustra:

Of all the evil I deem you capable
Therefore I want the good from you
Verily I have often laughed at weaklings
Who thought themselves good because they had no claws.

Nietzsche believed that the good could never gain the upper hand unless it is infused with “the energy generated by murder.”

The poet Rilke captured the Kabbalistic consciousness of the way of the dragon in a few short lines:

Perhaps all the Dragons of our lives
Are princesses who are only waiting to
See us once, beautiful and brave.
Perhaps everything terrible is in
Its deepest being something
That needs our love.

Your Unique Self, (In Press)
Pages 271, 272
Dr. Marc Gafni

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Newest Thinking on Unique Self, from a dialogue with Bert Parlee and Marc Gafni, at the recent Integral Leadership Collaborative


Your Unique Self: Giving Your Gift — Dr. Marc Gafni — Audio Transcript

Bert Parlee: Marc has an incredible breadth of wisdom and knowledge, not only in the spiritual traditions, but his doctorate is from Oxford, he’s a scholar, speaks various languages, and the way he weaves stories, drawing from all streams of life that he brings into his very embodied organic teaching style. Welcome Marc. [Read more…]

What is My Dharma?

by Sally Kempton

In my late 20s, as a recovering existentialist in the midst of a life-crisis, I came across  he Bhagavad Gita, and read for the first time Krishna’s wordson dharma. You probably remember the situation: the warrior-prince Arjuna, paralyzed by confusion at the prospect of having to kill his kinsmen in a war, begs his friend and teacher, Krishna, for help. Though Krishna’s response touches on every essential aspect of the inner life, from how to meditate to what to expect when we die, the lines that struck me were these: “You are a warrior,” Krishna tells his pupil, “your svadharma, your personal duty, is to fight. Therefore, stand up and do battle. Better your own dharma badly performed than the dharma of another done perfectly.”

Is it possible to read that sentence without asking yourself the question “What is my dharma?” I felt that I’d suddenly found words for a question I’d been trying to formulate my whole life. I made my living as a writer—was that my dharma? I’d just begun serious spiritual practice—was that my dharma? I had a life-long aversion to the conventional rules of society—was that a sign that I was out of line with dharma, or simply that I followed a dharma that was uniquely mine? Was there really, as Krishna’s words seemed to imply, a blueprint for right action, perhaps lodged in my DNA, that could provide my own personal path to truth? Was that the clue to the question that had confused me for most of my life, “What am I really supposed to be doing?”

Years of practice have convinced me that there is such a thing as personal dharma, and that unless we’re in touch with it, we’re out of touch with our real source of strength and guidance. When we are inside our dharma, spiritual growth seems to happen naturally. When we aren’t, we feel stuck and stymied not just in our work and relationships, but in our inner life as well.

[Read more…]

World Spirituality Retreat – Day 3: Involution & Evolution

by Leyna Roget

Terry Patten is a firecracker of a teacher, and yet every bit of the exuberant knowledge he imparts on us is lined with love. For him, integral living is about formulating a commitment to the social framework of humanity through raw honesty and integrity. Patten leads us in a series of yogic moves to enter into the sacred space of our bodies. Our three body centers (head, heart, center) are the three faces of God through which we can awaken to the ‘I AM-ness’ of the divine and one another. We tap each limb of our body alive and our mind and heart follow.

Patten has such a poignant way of recognizing the mind-body connection as integral to realizing our full life force – individually and collectively. Through ‘involution’ our human, personal experience is accessed and is able to evolve, because really, our ‘involutionary given’ is that we are human AND humanity. With the birth of the cosmos, the big bang (or ‘holy yes’ as Patten puts it, haha) “evolution is a single story line that unites all of human knowledge”. Maybe the big bang knew what it was doing because once we came to be complex forms of life we were able to see the process by which we came to be. So, evolution has become self aware through us, and we are witnesses to our involution of self. Think about the universe having the gift of life, but not realizing it until billions of years later. Now think about your birth and being written a check by the universe, totaling the infinite sum of your worth to the world, and now, to be present means cashing it in yourself for all you have always been worth. OMG.

It wasn’t enough for Patten to be enthusiastic in his delivery, there was a certain amount of tenacity to his urging us to “make a contribution, be a part of that which is a healthy human adaptive response to this moment…anything less than that is unacceptable and you know it in your heart…you have to find a way to validate your own existence”. Amen. What’s the first step to validating our BEING-ness? “Be willing to feel all of it un-buffered, and be seen in it” – in that gritty, scary, revealing, shameful, beautiful, honest, unique you.

Patten gets to the heart of this breathtaking dialogue by asking, “what does it take for us to be real with one another…to touch and be touched…to be trustworthy?” This leads us into a series of group exercises that entreat us play and share in a space of vulnerability, with interpersonal communication anchored in love. We sit intimately close, in circles of four people. Being utterly present, we take rounds to concisely address a single question or statement: How are I feeling? … What is something that will allows others to know me better? … What I’m ashamed of is … The tension I’m living with is … A commitment I’m willing to make right now is… Wow. What a remarkable exercise in letting down your guard and TRULY getting to know people! We connect through these fears, evolutionary questions, and the desire to take our “involution” seriously.

I’ll forever cherish the challenge to take a chance with presence by “being dangerously real” and “listening with a beginners mind”. We are reminded to author and narrate our divine reality. Patten’s invigorating approach to human / humanity wholeness is energizing. What happens matters, what you do matters, in this moment – own it!

Leyna Roget networks with community organizations and businesses to introduce the inspiring stories of Planet Progress and the developing works of iNDIGO PROjECT MEDIA. She captures on and off camera images for Blog posts, Twitter updates, and various other engaging platforms to bring the viewer into the company’s interconnected sphere. Leyna creates new outlets and sustainable community events that invite the public to interact with iPM.

Finding Your Courage

By Sally Kempton

My understanding about courage was transformed by a conversation with an ex-Special Forces guy I met in the late 1980s.

Scott (a name I’ve given him because I can’t for the life of me remember his real one) had spent 20 years as a covert operative profiled for hyper-dangerous missions. He was a real-life version of a Nelson DeMille character–one of those guys who spent his life sneaking into Soviet embassies in places like Cambodia to steal secret papers. Then the Cold War ended, and he went home to someplace like Pennsylvania. There, he discovered that his formerly hard-drinking parents had gotten sober, joined AA, and wanted Scott to go to Al Anon, the 12-step program for relatives of alcoholics.

“What you have to realize,” he told me, “is that in all my years in the Special Forces, I’d never been physically afraid. I loved danger, and I was really good at it. Guys like me have what the Marine Corps psychologists call throwaway lives, meaning the person doesn’t really care whether they live or die. But when I walked into that meeting, I was so terrified that I couldn’t stay in the room.”

[Read more…]