September 21, 2020

Top 10 rules for building a unique Online Presence

Sunglasses

Photo Credit: Brigitte Deisenhammer

Note: Adapted from content originally published in December 2011 on Awake, Alive & Aware.

Scientific research has tentatively suggested that how a person shows up online actually is very much like how they show up in real life. The same mannerisms and tics, values and qualities of character, personality traits, etc. And if you have lots of friends and are very social in the real world, you tend to also make many virtual friends, too. So we must give some credibility to the hypothesis than when we are talking about your “Online Presence” we are actually talking about a part of yourself — that part appearing, as the Integral Theorists say, in the Lower Quadrants. Put simply, your Online Presence is really YOU.

And yet there are few guidelines telling us how to navigate the waters of social media, blogging, website and to really claim our online “self” as truly part of us. There are few guides, in any case, that really grasp deeply the interpenetration of psyche and cyberspace, philosophy and Facebook, temperance and Twitter. So several months ago, I attempted my own guide for myself to follow in helping my Unique Self show up more often than my False Self.

1. I Will Not Distract Myself. I will not use social media as a distraction to keep me from doing more pressing work in the world. I will recognize that moment when it becomes a distraction because I will begin to feel that I am procrastinating on something that is more enlivening and rewarding but which requires delayed gratification.

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Brett Thomas writes: “Kickstarting a Movement: A Call for Integral Leaders”

Kickstart

Photo Credit: JPC24

On Integral Post, Brett Thomas writes a post which is the most important blog post I’ve seen in a long while: “Kickstarting a Movement: A Call for Integral Leaders.”

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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:

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The Narrative of Conscious Business (By Marc Gafni)

Meditator

By Marc Gafni

Cross-posted from Spirit’s Next Move.

Marc Gafni recently participated as a guest scholar at the Conscious Business Conclave at Esalen. Here is an excerpt from Marc’s reflections on the urgent priority of articulating a narrative of Conscious Business. In Marc’s words, there is no World Spirituality that does not include the spirituality of the workplace.

The world of business is becoming one of the great cathedrals of spirit. Businesses are becoming places in which meaning can be created, in which mutuality begins to happen, in which intimacy and trust become core values, in which the expression of one’s unique self as part of a larger context becomes a reality.

Capitalism is the force that has lifted humanity out of poverty through voluntary exchange. Communism tried to life people out of poverty through coercion, but wound up killing 17 million collective farmers in the Ukraine and countless millions elsewhere. Business has lifted more people out of poverty than any other force in history. That is so shocking and so powerful that it makes you sit up in your chair and say “Oh my God! Could it be that evil corporations are actually responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other single force in the history of consciousness and the history of the planet?”

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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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Olivia Fox Cabane: mindfulness is a key to being more charismatic

By Joe Perez

In “How To Reverse Your Hard Wiring For Distraction,” Olivia Fox Cabane says that personal presence is one of the three keys to cultivating charisma. She excerpts from her book, The Charisma Myth:

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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

What Do I Mean By “Answering the Call”?

Horn BlowingBy Marc Gafni

Recently people have been asking me what I mean by the phrase, “Answering the Call,” which I have been talking about so often during my talks about the democratization of enlightenment teachings in these past years. So when I woke up this morning, before I was fully awake, I jotted down a couple of words on this topic…

Once you understand that your uniqueness is not a historical accident but an intentional expression of essence, then your realize that enlightenment is a genuine option for every human being. Including You. When you realize that your Unique Self is the God having a You experience, everything in your experience of your life changes.

Once you understand that your uniqueness is not the haphazard result of your cultural social or psychological conditioning, but all of these are necessary conditions for the emergence of the personal face of essence which is You, your essential experience of your life transforms. You move from a desperate need to escape your life to the radical embrace of your life.

When this happens, fate is transformed to destiny. Desperation becomes celebration. Grasping becomes purposeful action and resignation becomes activism. The contracted smallness of your frightened suffering self becomes expanded joyful realization of Your Unique Self. At such times, the irreducible human uniqueness of every human being is the invitation to enlightenment. For the full and authentic expression of your uniqueness living in the world as God’s verb, that is, essence living in you, as you and through you, is the essence of enlightenment.

It is from this place that you Answer the Call. It is from this place that you give the world your desperately needed Unique Gifts, those endowments that derive from your Unique Self. This is what I mean when I talk about Unique Self enlightenment.

Unique Self Enlightenment

Unique Self enlightenment is a genuine possibility and therefore responsibility for every human being. For there is no separation in essence. Every unique expression of essence is part of the seamless coat of the universe. Seamless but not featureless. Failure to clarify the contours of your Unique Self is not a failure of the contracted ego but a failure to love God. For to love God is to let God see through your eyes. Through the unique perspective of essence which is You.

Realizing Your Unique Self and giving your Unique Gifts is the evolution of love which is the evolution of God upon which the future of God depends. There are two key steps involved.

Firstly, you clarify your realization to know that you are not a separate self but a True Self, inseparable from the All.

Secondly, you realize that your True Self has a Unique Perspective. True Self + Perspective = Unique Self. Your Unique Self is able to address a Unique Need that can be addressed by no one else in the world that ever was, is or will be other then you. No one has the capacity to address this unique need in that the way that you are able to do. This is your Unique Gift.

In sum, your obligation and joy in being alive is to clarify your Unique Perspective, realize your Unique Self and give your Unique Gift. This is how you Answer the Call. Transforming your awareness of self to unique Self-consciousness is the change in your life which changes everything.

Democratization of enlightenment therefore does not mean that everyone is enlightened but rather that a full expression of authentic unique essence is a genuine possibility and therefore a genuine delighted obligation for every living being. In other words, it is the joy and responsibility of Answering the Call.
Photo Credit: C. Young Photography

Daily Wisdom Post: Soul Print Hints

A word in the Zohar used for those souls who are living their story is lechisah, meaning “whisper.”  To live your story is to be able to hear the intimate whisper of divinity erotically caressing your life.  We are all recipients of cosmic love notes.  Paul Tillich reminds us that we can only hear through the love that listens.  Buber captured the spirit of biblical myth when he wrote, “To live means being addressed.”

To live one’s story is erotic in the resonance of its melody and the fullness of its canvas.  The world, when we are in our story, is no longer empty.  The soul is not here just pay back karmic debts.  It has a contribution to make from the depth of its infinite specialness.  Through making that contribution a human being feels ful-filled.  That is the eros of living one’s story.

The universe is full of whispers, and they are talking directly to you.  And here is the paradox–the more you act as if you are being addressed, the more you will be. The world is filled with soul print hints.  It may be the lyrics of a song, a sign on a building, an old friend you meet after years of not seeing each other, or a book that grabs your attention and demands to be read.

Each person has their unique talent, pleasure, obligation, form of silliness, and pathology.  These are all personal soul print hints that direct you toward living your story.

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Pages 243, 244

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

Crisis of Imagination, by Dr. Marc Gafni

The greatest crisis of our lives is not economic, intellectual, or even what we usually call religious. It is a crisis of imagination. We are getting stuck on our paths because we are unable to re-imagine our lives differently than they are right now. We hold on desperately to the status quo, afraid that if we let go, we will be swept away by the torrential undercurrents of our emptiness. The most important thing in the world, implies wisdom master Nachman of Bratzlav, is to be willing to give up who you are for who you might become. He calls this process the giving up of pnimi to reach for makkif. Pnimi, for Master Nachman, means the old familiar things that you hold onto slavishly, even when they no longer serve you on your journey. Makkif is that which is beyond you, which you can only reach if you are willing to take a leap into the abyss.

Find your risk, and you will find yourself.  Sometimes that means leaving your home, your father’s house, and your birthplace and traveling to strange lands.

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Three Steps to God: Awakening Your Evolutionary Creativity… by Dr. Marc Gafni

… and Reclaiming the Higher Obligation and Joy of Your Life

by Dr. Marc Gafni

Notes on an Emergent World Spirituality based on Integral Principles.

Hi Friends, I am writing you from the road. Traveling, meetings to unfold the World Spirituality movement based on integral principles, teaching, and much more. I am delighted to be alive and to be writing to you.  I am thinking a lot of these days about how to  harness the fire of your Evolutionary Creativity.

Here are some thoughts about creativity which come from deep within the Source Code of our emerging Integral world view. What a delight and privilege it is to participate with you in the evolution of consciousness. What a wild and holy privilege it is to have this conversation with you. One of the things this blog will make clear is the trajectory of emergence from Unique Self to Love to Evolutionary Creativity.  As we connect the dots, the eros and ethos of the Great World Spirituality Awakening story comes into view. So here we go……. [Read more…]

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.

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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.

World Spirituality Retreat: Day 3 – Growing Up: Going Deeper to Make a Difference

by Leyna Roget

We’re still at that settling in stage of the retreat, which makes our morning yoga/meditation courtesy of Mike Brabant a refreshing, group energy bonding experience. Not to mention, a little comedy with your down dog never hurts, as we fan out our palms into ‘alien hands’ for stability. Marcy Baruch greets us this morning, appropriately setting the tone for togetherness with her melodic words, “I am the space behind I am…we are the space behind we are”. While we sing to honor many voices, this intimate retreat is as much a challenge to individual purpose, and in so embodies the third principle of world spirituality: growing up.

John Welwood initially coined the term “growing up” in his book Toward a Psychology of Awakening in reference to becoming psychologically whole. Marc Gafni explains, in the model of world spirituality, this description of growing up is more synonymous with our understanding of the awakening or ‘waking up’ stage. Therefore, growing up means the ability to move through higher and higher structures of consciousness in our life. As we age we organize and understand our experience of reality through a lens, our consciousness. For example, a child will have a distinct way of connecting the dots of self and experience in this world, versus an adult. Consciousness as a structure progresses from egocentric (limiting outlook to focus mainly on oneself), to ethnocentric (identification with the needs of a specific group), to world-centric (valuing the needs of humanity). Thanks to Terry Patten’s presentation of the next stage as “cosmocentric” (empathic identification and compassion for ALL that is), I’ve just had my consciousness blown open beyond the constraints of our natural world. Ironically, many religious texts operate from a love for the cosmos perspective, but the authoring person(s) is still bound to their egocentric view so the narrative shows up through a popular ethnocentric lens.

Being a Sustainable Human Presence

Growing up is about being an awakened form of consciousness in this world, “the next expression of the human race, the homo-noetic”. What I appreciate more than anything is how no-nonsense Patten is about telling us grow up, and own up to our call as spiritual practitioners. We must honor a sustainable human presence and be “authentic to the health of the fabric of the whole human system”. Everyone is capable of breaking through to an epic life purpose, as long as they are willing. “It’s about getting right with God and the call to exemplify greatness…When we tune into the profoundly good news of our divine nature, we begin towards oneness, and concurrently discover an urgency to care for humanity with love and activism”. Every person, in their individuality, has the ability to fill in the gaps towards elevating humanity to a functioning system of interconnectedness. This feels like a YAHTZEE kind of moment!

Answering the Call of Ecstatic Love

Living in a cosmocentric consciousness is about more than just being a global citizen. Marc Gafni illustrates this point beautifully with a discussion on the concept of obligation. The Hebrew translation for obligation is “ecstatic love”. This expression of love beyond limits is how we embody the seamless (but not featureless) source code of the world. When we perceive a cosmocentric existence, it is as though we experience the world as living in us. For many in a relationship with power, the message of obligation centers on what is “right” as opposed to what is centered on love and unity. It is the demand for to fulfill an obligation that often discourages authentic action. Gafni suggests that we must reclaim power as an expression of truth and change the dimension of obligation to be innate to our awakened unique self AND evolutionary urgency. It’s quite simple, obligation is created out of genuine need, recognition of a need, ability to meet the need, and seeing oneself as the only one able to meet that need. Therefore, obligation as a stage of developmental consciousness is actually embodied in our essence. Our waking up and growing up to our purpose is really to love ecstatically. Whether you understand your cosmocentric quest as a public or private practitioner, the shift of our internal structures in living in a state of ecstatic love (or obligation), has a dramatic affect towards creating shifts in the lives of others, and the heart of the cosmic source code.

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.”

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Too Busy?

By Sally Kempton

I’ve dropped in on a yoga class with a popular teacher in Los Angeles. The room is full of slim blonde yoginis, moving like synchronized swimmers through a vinyasa series. Fifteen minutes into the sequence, the teacher calls the class together to demonstrate some subtle alignment details. Half the women in the room move forward. The rest turn on their cell phones and begin checking their messages.

Those women could have been doctors on call, or moms with young kids at home. But I suspect that they were victims, like so many people I know, of the Internal Busyness Syndrome—the breathless, stress-addicted feeling of having way too much to do and way too little time to do it. Internal Busyness, a complex of internally generated thoughts, beliefs, and bodily responses, can certainly be triggered by an especially busy day or a lot of competing demands. But unlike External Busyness, which is the more straightforward but often unavoidable state of having a lot to do, Internal Busyness doesn’t go away when your tasks are done. That’s why it’s so insidious. External busyness—the admittedly challenging pressure that comes from juggling a demanding job, children, financial worries, health issues, and all the tasks of running your life and household—can be managed. It can even be a yogic pathway, if you know how to practice with it. Internal Busyness, however, manages you.

So when people tell me “I’m so busy I can’t find time to practice,” I always ask them which kind of busyness they’re distressed by: the External or the Internal. One tip-off that you might be suffering from the Internal Busyness Syndrome is this: When you don’t have an immediate task that has to be done, when you have a moment that could be devoted to taking a few quiet breaths or just spacing out, do you ever find yourself still spinning internally, wondering what you’ve forgotten to take care of? That’s Internal Busyness.

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What Do You Do with Difficult People?

By Sally Kempton

Fran’s cottage on the Oregon coast should be the perfect meditative retreat. The only worm in her apple is Larry, her landlord, who lives on the property. Larry is an acerbic critic of just about everything—the government, the art world, drug companies, and Fran. He can’t believe she’s so clueless about simple practical matters. Only an idiot, he tells her, would plant petunias without putting gopher wire around them, and that’s just for starters.

Yes, he’ll bring her groceries from town, and help her diagnose the weird noises in her car. But he also walks into her house uninvited, and doesn’t understand why she minds. After all, they’re neighbors, aren’t they?

It’s not that Larry is a bad guy, and Fran knows him well enough to know that he’s harmless. But nonetheless, she feels crowded. She doesn’t want to move, yet her landlord’s presence hangs over her house like a dark, critical cloud. Worst of all, his irritability magnetizes her own irritation, so she often finds herself talking to him in the same harsh tone he uses with her.

As a conscious person doing her best to follow a spiritual path, Fran feels ashamed of herself for not knowing how to deal with Larry. You might feel that way too, when difficult people show up in your life. Yet the truth is that few of us ever get through life without encountering—often in our intimate personal space—more than one person who is staggeringly difficult for us to handle. Whether it’s a manipulative friend, a prickly co-worker, an absent-hearted lover—some form of relationship stress seems to be part of the package we signed up for when we enrolled ourselves in the school that is life on this planet. If we don’t have a few challenging people in our lives, we’re probably living on a desert island.

So, how do you deal with a situation like Fran’s without moving away, being harsh or wimpy, or putting that person out of your heart? How can you explain to your friend who keeps enlisting you in service of her dramas that you don’t want to be part of her latest scenario of mistrust—yet still remain friends? How do you handle the boss whose tantrums terrorize the whole office, or the co-worker who bursts into tears and accuses you of being abrupt when you’re just trying to get down to business?

More to the point, what do you do when the same sorts of difficult interpersonal situations keep showing up in your life? Chalk it up to karma? Find ways to resolve them through discussion or even pre-emptive action? Or take the truly challenging view – the view held by Jungians and many spiritual teachers–that these people are reflecting your own disowned, or shadow tendencies? In other words, does dealing with difficult people have to begin with finding out what you might need to work on in yourself?

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Creativity as Unique Expression – Dialogue Dr. Marc Gafni with Alex Grey

How do our unique perspectives of the world color our relationship with beauty, creativity, and transcendence? Join Alex Grey and Dr. Marc Gafni for a cutting-edge dialogue on Creativity and Unique Self.

Alex Grey has become one of our most iconic and immediately-recognizable artists, and somewhat of a poster-boy for a genuinely integral approach to art, life, and spirituality.  Many of his prolific works have been featured and reproduced all over the world, ranging from magazine covers, party flyers, and blotter acid to high-profile album covers for Tool, David Byrne, the Beastie Boys, Nirvana, and Michael Hedge.

In this discussion, Alex shares his own personal path to Unique Self, describing how his creative process is directly informed by an intimate realization of radical and unqualifiable emptiness, combined with his unique and irreducible perspective of the world.  Alex talks about how his passion to create springs from an almost Bodhisattva-like yearning to serve, and how this devotion to service is one of the defining characteristics in the emergence of Unique Self.

Only by cultivating a path for ourselves that honors the paradoxical simultaneity of emptiness and perspective can we discover the real potential of our artistic gifts.  In Alex’s case, this path has allowed him to fully and fluently express a deeply personal vision of the universal—illuminating a spiritual anatomy that is common to all of us, but uniquely recognized and rendered through Alex’s distinct perspective.

Whether you are an artist trying to carve out your own creative path, or just a casual admirer of beauty in its many effulgent forms, you will not want to miss this intimate and insightful discussion!

Alex Grey, a renowned visionary and spiritual artist and author of The Mission of Art. In the foreword to The Mission of Art, Ken Wilber stated: “Alex Grey might be the most significant artist alive. One of his most well known works is the Sacred Mirrors series of 21 life-sized paintings, taking the viewer on a journey through body, mind, and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, dying, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth and nursing.

Dr. Marc Gafni holds his doctorate from Oxford University. He is a rabbi and an iconoclastic teacher of Kabbalah and World Spirituality. He is the director with Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton and Diane Hamilton of the Integral Life Spiritual Center and core founder and faculty member of iEvolve: Global Practice Community. He has written seven books, including the national bestseller Soul Prints, and The Mystery of Love, an exploration of the relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the sacred. Gafni’s teaching is marked by a deep transmission of open heart, love and leading edge provocative wisdom. Gafni’s path of personal evolution, in both the agony and the ecstasy of what he calls “sacred autobiography,” woven together with profound reverence and reading of sacred texts have formed the context for his teaching. It is from this place of broken-hearted humility, radical joy and sacred audacity that he teaches. Gafni is considered by many to be a visionary voice in the founding of a new World Spirituality.

[Read more…]