September 24, 2021

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #18: Responsibility or Excuse

File With Excuses Word by Stuart Miles

©Stuart Miles, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego very rarely takes substantive responsibility. When the ego attempts to take responsibility, it creates a painful, virtually unbearable contraction in the self. So the ego becomes the master of the excuse. The Unique Self is able to take responsibility spontaneously, lightly, and with full gravitas. The Unique Self holds with equal measure of gravitas and ease its own responsibility and its rightful anger at injustice. Usually, the ego advises the other person to “take responsibility,” while the ego itself wallows in the real and imagined offenses that it has suffered.

 

 

Further discussion:

Just hearing words like responsibility or obligation often lets our ego contract in pain and sometimes anger. From our separate selves the idea of taking responsibility often seems like pure impertinence. Finding the balance between taking the right measure of personal responsibility and being gentle with ourselves seems to be an important issue for most of us. [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #17: Justice or Injustice

(c) 2011 Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

©2011 Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

The ego is angry at what is done to it. It very rarely feels the same outrage at what is done to someone else. The Unique Self is not merely outraged against injustice done to its own person; it is hurt and outraged by any and all injustice. The ego often fights large causes of injustice as a way to bolster its grandiosity. Unique Self fights the battles of injustice in its own backyard, even when there is potential collateral damage to its own power and status.

 

Further Discussion:

 

One of the things this distinction reminds us of is the importance of responding to real hurt in the world.  In one call from the Living Beyond Complexity telecourse Dr. Marc Gafni co-taught with Clint Fuhs, Nicole Fegley, and Zak Stein, Marc spent one entire phone call expounding upon the “problem of evil” in the world, also referred to as a “theodicy.”  In the course of the call, he explained that the level-three response to enormous suffering in the world is to cry out “Why?” in pain, to feel the pain, and to question the injustice behind it, which is part of the tikkun, or fixing, of the injustice.  In one of his earlier manuscripts entitled Uncertainty, (a book that will be rereleased along with his manuscript for Certainty), Marc explores the Talmudic teaching on this.  An excerpt of that discussion is reprinted below from the chapter entitled “The Path of Wrestling”: [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #16: Yes or No

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

©2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

 

Your ego is always contracting and saying, “No.” Even when your ego says, “Yes,” it is only because it is afraid to say, “No.” Your Unique Self is always expanding and saying, “Yes.” Even when you say, “No,” it is only to make room for a more authentic “Yes.”

 

Further Discussion:

The following is excerpted directly from Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment (pp. 357-59), Chapter 25, “Say Yes”:

In Hebrew the word “yes”—kein—means “integrity.” Yes is the ultimate affirmation of our integrity. The question of your existence is whether you can say Yes to the unique destiny and adventure that is your life. That is self-love! From the place of ego you remain perpetually unsatisfied. Located in Unique Self, everything fills you. [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #15: Bigger or Smaller

Baby's Hand Holding Mother's Finger by gubgib, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©Baby’s Hand Holding Mother’s Finger by gubgib, www.freedigitalphotos.net 

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

When you are in ego, people feel smaller when you walk into the room. They feel invisible before you. The result is that they feel depleted and in danger. When you are in your Unique Self, people feel bigger when you walk into the room. They feel seen by you. They feel your desire to love and give to them.

 

 

Further discussion:

Don’t we all recognize that? Somebody walks into a room, and we immediately feel smaller? And in somebody else’s company we feel great, empowered, seen, and loved?

But why is this so? Aren’t those feelings of smallness and our dependency on other people’s acknowledgement related to our own bad self-esteem, as much of the New Age popular psychology makes us believe? [Read more…]

Distinction between Unique Self and Ego # 14: Authentic Friendship or Pseudofriendship

2011. Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici.

©2011. Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici.

By Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

When you are in ego, you might help friends who are successful and even friends who are down, as long as it does not threaten your position. But you are not capable of truly delighting in your deepest heart in a friend’s large success. When you are in Unique Self, your deepest heart delights in your friend’s success, even if there is nothing in it for you at all.

 

 

 

Further Discussion:

When two Unique Selves are in friendship or any kind of interpersonal relationship, significant transformation often awaits them, whether that means gaining deeper insight into themselves or being change agents for each other and sharing a purpose together in the world. This potential for transformation we sense in through the other may at first feel threatening to us because we could be drawn to a Unique Self who holds or demonstrates in some way a missing piece of our personal story. We intuit the missing piece, such as a talent he or she can help us nourish or see in ourselves, and it can often be painful for us to rise to the full invitation of this gift until we are ready to receive its message. In an article on the CWS website on Unique Self relationships, Dr. Marc Gafni writes: [Read more…]

Betrayal or Loyalty – Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #13

Heart Rotto by Idea go, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©Heart Rotto by Idea go, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego betrays. The Unique Self is loyal. When you are in your ego, and things go bad, you are willing—in your fear—to betray virtually anyone. Your ego is easily identifiable by the shallowness of its integrity. If you live in Unique Self and things go bad, you find your way, through thick or thin, to a deeper center of spirit.

 

 

 

 

Further discussion:

Betrayal: Isn’t this something from the soap operas on TV, but not something that we would ever do to another person? Can’t we all just relax and say: look at how advanced I am in living my Unique Self?

On the other hand: Haven’t we all had experiences where we felt betrayed? How do we react when we feel betrayed? [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #12: Victim or Player

By Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

"Worried Young Woman On Bed" 2012. Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

©2012 “Worried Young Woman On Bed” Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici 

In your ego, you cling to every petty detail of your story. You never let go of any of your wounds. Your mantra is “I hurt, therefore I am.” Therefore, your ego can never wholeheartedly forgive. If it does, the ego’s forgiveness is a tactic, not a sacrament. Your Unique Self forgives freely without giving up your own truth.

From the evolutionary context of your Unique Self, you realize that you have a Unique Gift to give to All-That-Is. You are animated, driven, and drawn by that larger vision and obligation. This allows you to place your wounds in a larger perspective. Your Unique Self is not a victim. It is an audacious player in the Great Story of the evolution of consciousness. This larger perspective allows you to begin to let go of the story of your wounds. As it is replaced by the greater story of your Unique Self, delight and obligation begin to emerge.

From the place of your Unique Self, you are able to intuitively balance your outrage at injustice with an intuition about when to give up being right and move on. Because you are able to give up being right without giving up your core identity, it becomes infinitely easier to forgive.

 

Further Discussion:

As Dr. Marc reminds us, life is what we do with our hurt, which means that we can choose to be victims or we can choose to be players in the evolutionary context. In Your Unique Self, Marc writes, “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. When you feel hurt, the masks of piety and the guises of liberation from ego are stripped away, and your naked heart is revealed to yourself and those with eyes to see” (426). [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #11 – King or Servant

Fallen Leader by podpad, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Fallen Leader by podpad, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

Ego is the servant pretending to be a king. You are avoiding stepping into your Unique Self for fear of being a king. Your ego thinks it is God but does not really believe it, so your ego insanely tries to make itself the God it knows it is not. Your Unique Self knows it is God, so it acts in the world with majesty, audacity, and grace.

 

 

Further discussion:

We can take a lot of different perspectives on today’s issue. Let’s try on a couple of them. [Read more…]

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #10 – Authentic Freedom or Pseudofreedom

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

Your ego is a slave that wants to be free. Freedom is the quality that we call autonomy. Your ego, however, understands and experiences freedom/autonomy as freedom from external influence. Only then does ego feel free to do what it wants. Unique Self is free. Unique Self understands and experiences freedom as the freedom to live your Uniqueness and give your deepest gifts in the world.

When you feel yourself demanding your egoic freedom, stop for a moment and feel into it. Do not cover over the emptiness that lies at the root of your desire for freedom and autonomy. Feel into the emptiness. Feel into the hole.

For example: Perhaps you are in a relationship that you want to leave. You are chafing to get out of the relationship. But as you contemplate this, stay in the discomfort that you can palpably feel—which lies at the root of this desire. For now, do not give the feeling words. Instead feel the quality of the vacuity and emptiness that arouses the desire.

If you stay in it long enough, the emptiness will begin to fill up with being and presence, with your Unique Being and Presence.

(c) April 2011 Courtesy of Graur Codrin

(c) April 2011 Courtesy of Graur Codrin

What happened?

You have discovered that the root of your desire to be free from another was your disconnection from your own personal essence, your Unique Self. When your Unique Self filled the hole, the desperate desire you felt to leave the group—or the marriage or the job—faded away. That does not mean that you should necessarily stay in the marriage or the job. It does however mean that you will make the decision from a grounded place of full presence as your Unique Self, and are therefore far more likely to make the right decision.

 

Further discussion: Three Steps in to the Distinction

“This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them anew each day.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [Read more…]

Eros or Grasping: Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #9

Eros Cupid Statue London by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Eros Cupid Statue London by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

 

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego is not erotic. Unique Self lives in Eros. To live in Eros means to live with fullness of presence and with a felt sense of wholeness. It is to yearn urgently and ecstatically, without grasping and to experience interiority, the feeling of being on the inside. This is the experience of Unique Self. The ego lives with the feeling of always being on the outside. It fragments, grasps, and never shows up fully present to other. Unique Self lives in Eros.

 

For further discussion:

What is Eros? And what does it mean to live an erotic life?

Well, clearly: It is not sex! [Read more…]

Open Heart or Closed Heart – Distinction between Unique Self and Ego #8

By Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles

 

When the ego’s heart breaks, then the heart closes and contracts. When the Unique Self’s heart breaks, the heart opens through the pain into greater love. For your ego, the interior face of the kosmos is at best a concept. For Unique Self, the interior face of the kosmos is the infinity of intimacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Discussion: [Read more…]

Joy or Fear: Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #7

Multicolored Ink Drop by posterize, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by posterize

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

The Unique Self is in joy. Joy is the natural by-product of living your Unique Self story. The ego is rarely happy and often plagued by an underlying feeling of fear, deadness, or depression. The happiness that the ego does experience is of a heavier and less richly textured quality than the joy of the Unique Self. The joy of the Unique Self is lighter and freer, often verging on the ecstatic.

 

For further discussion:

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” ~ Erich Fromm

Joy has become front and center in our everyday psychology. And we often feel that there is something wrong with us when we don’t feel happy all the time. The pursuit of happiness is even one of our constitutional rights.

But what do we mean by that? And why is joy called a by-product here if it is that important? [Read more…]

Ego or Unique Self Story – Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #6

From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni

ID-1005646Enlightenment requires your ability to discern between your ego story and your Unique Self story. Your separate-self egoic personality has needs. It wants to make itself feel secure. So your ego tells you a story about yourself that makes you feel safe, valuable, and worthy. The inability to feel safe, valuable, and worthy is a devastating experience for the ego, one it will ward off at virtually all costs. So the ego hijacks everything that happens to you, and everything that you do, into a story about its own goodness, value, and worth.

The ego has a simple if ingenious mechanism for doing this. It disguises its ambition, its drive for power, or its insecure grasping, and converts them into narrative material that supports its own positive self-image. This is how the separate-self ego story develops. It is this story that teachers of True Self correctly tell you to leave behind when they say, “To be enlightened, you must let go of your story.” [Read more…]

Enough or More: Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #5

Tree In Blossom by dan, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by dan

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

Your ego thinks that there is never enough to go around. It always needs more to feel like it exists at all. Your Unique Self knows that it is enough. Your Unique Self knows that there is enough to go around.

Your Unique Self strives for more, not to fill the emptiness but as an expression of the fullness of its being—bursting forth as the evolutionary impulse of the kosmos.

 

For more on distinctions between ego and Unique Self, check out the upcoming Unique Self telecourse starting April 24.  This is a not-to-be missed course on the new spiritual book and teaching that everyone is talking about!

 

 

For further discussion: [Read more…]

Imitation or Originality: Distinction between Unique Self and Ego #3

Brain Design By Cogs And Gears by MR LIGHTMAN www.freedigitalphotos.net

by MR LIGHTMAN

 

from Dr. Marc Gafni’s Your Unique Self.

Ego imitates. Unique Self is original. Your ego is trapped in imitation. For the ego is, by its very definition, in limitation. Limitation leads to imitation. So the ego is always living the life of limitation based on imitation, which leads to mindless competition. Your ego is in constant competition, which leads to compulsive comparison and dissatisfaction. Originality, which is a quality of Unique Self, freed from the tyranny of comparison, is by its nature both urgently creative and self-satisfied.

Your ego never thinks an original thought. Originality emerges from your Unique Face, which is evoked by contact with your Original Face. “Original Face” is the Buddhist way of describing the experience of sustained contact with the eternal, transcendent Ground of Being. Originality gives birth to action beyond reaction. Your Unique Becoming emerges from your immersion in Being.

We are excited to announce a transformational 10-week Unique Self telecourse that starts April 24th!

 

For further discussion: Here is what some famous people have said about originality.

“The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.” ~ Arthur Koestler

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” ~ Herman Melville

“The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

What is YOUR take on it? Where does originality show in your life?

Where do you already live from your original face? From your Unique Self?

What do you like about it? What seems to be difficult?

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section – here or on our Facebook page.

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part I

Looking for more on the wisdom tradition that aligns you with your deepest creativity? In a three-part excerpt from the long version of Soul Prints, Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print or Unique Self destiny unrealized.

You can view Part II of this essay in full by clicking here>>

You can view Part III of this essay in full by clicking here>>

Yetzer and Yetzirah: Raising the Primal Sparks of Creativity and Passion

by Dr. Marc Gafni
from The Way of the Dragon in the long Soul Prints.

 

Part I.colorful
In biblical spirituality, information about God is relevant for one reason only. Information about God is information about us. We are commanded to be little Gods – to imitate God. Just as God stood at the abyss of darkness and said let there be light, so are we commanded to stand at the abyss of our darkness and say let there be light. A little bit of light dispels so much of the darkness. Further, just as God is a creator – creating, sculpting, painting, composing a gorgeous physical world – so, too, are we invited to create, to sculpt, to paint, and to make music. [Read more…]

Action or Reaction: Distinction between Unique Self and Ego #2

from Dr. Marc Gafni’s Your Unique Self.

Lightbulb (c) 2012 Courtesy of Master Isolated Images

©2012 Courtesy of Master Isolated Images

Ego reacts. Unique Self acts. Your ego is constantly in reaction to outside stimuli. It never thinks a spontaneous thought. It rarely acts because it is moved to do so by a freely arising thought or desire.

Unique Self is moved to action by the power and joy of its own authentic original impulse.

We are excited to announce a transformational 10-week Unique Self telecourse that starts April 24th!

 

Further discussion:

For an example of this distinction at work, view Dan Pink’s summary of motivation science through this link. Pink describes how researchers have found over and over that contingent or extrinsic motivations, which appeal to the ego, block original thought, while intrinsic motivations, which appeal to the Unique Self, lead to more innovative solutions to difficult problems.  Pink explains that across cultures people are motivated by:

–autonomy–the desire to direct our own lives,

–mastery–the desire to get better and better at something, and

–purpose–the desire to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Unique Self is the route to the deepest and truest expression of all three.

Special or Not Special – Ego and Unique Self Distinction #1

Hummingbird by Christian Meyn, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Marc Gafni  from  Your Unique Self

Your ego thinks that you are special because you are better or worse than other people. Your Unique Self knows you are special because you are yourself. For the ego, “special” means “better than.” For your Unique Self, “special” or “different” means distinct and free from any comparison or point of reference. Your specialness is your spontaneous experience of your essence.

 

For more distinctions between Ego and Unique Self listen to and watch the minicourse.

 

For further discussion:

Everybody has his or her own way of feeling special in the sense of ego specialness – every type, every level of consciousness. For some it might even be the belief that everybody else is special except me. Basically all those patterns are based on the insecurity: Does my life count at all? Do I have a right to exist if I am not more or better than…?

Going through the spiral dynamics model we find a couple of those “specialties”:

1. Beige: I am more vital and physically stronger than you.

2. Purple: I am closer to the spirits and the inner circle of the family or tribe than you.

3. Red: I am more powerful.

4. Blue: I am more righteous and closer to the Absolute.

5. Orange: I am more successful.

6. Green: I am more sensitive.

7. Yellow: I am more knowledgeable and developed.

8. Turquoise: I am more connected to the Whole and the Evolutionary Impulse.

 

Consider:

Watch these tendencies in yourself today.

And also recognize when your Unique Self shows up: When firmly anchored in the inherent specialness of our own essence, our Unique Self, we can relax, sink into Being, and allow the other person to BE as well. Then we immediately fall in love and awe when we look into each other’s eyes and faces, really recognizing our shared essence as well as each other’s absolute unique specialness.

Please share your thoughts and experiences on this in the comment section – here or on our Facebook page.

For more information on Spiral Dynamics and Unique Self, see the dialogue between Don Beck and Marc Gafni.

 

Daily Wisdom: Greater is the Light That Comes from the Darkness

Awakening

by Marc Gafni

Carl Gustav Jung offered a profound direction in understanding shadow. His core teaching, drawn from many sources, is that we cannot be whole human beings without recognizing and incorporating our shadow energy. Jung has an expression that he uses constantly to express this idea: “In the Shadow is the Gold.” By this, he means to say that most of what is valuable in the human personality—the gold—can be mined only from the shadow. But what does that mean, and why should it be so? It is to this all-important question that we now turn our attention. We will seek to fundamentally evolve what shadow means and how shadow work is done! At this point, I am going to unpack directly from the original tantric sources a radical new teaching on shadow integration. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: I NEED YOU

imgres-1Still more daring is the assertion of divine dependency on man which is made in the Talmudic masters audacious  interpretation of a verse in the prophet Isaiah, “You are my witnesses says the Lord, and I am your God.” Explain the masters, “when you are my witnesses I am God, and when you are not my witnesses I am not God.”

The key gift the lover gives to the beloved is to need the  beloved. And the converse. The gift of the beloved to the lover is to allow herself to need her lover. And of course the roles of lover and beloved are forever interchanging between the partners. This is the great gift of love for it fills the most basic and essential need of the human being; the need to be needed.

It is in being needed that we realize our humanity.  In being needed by God we disclose our divinity as well. There is no more ultimate need than to be needed by God. There is no more ultimate human dignity than to need and be needed by God.  What the mutuality of the covenant teaches us is that our need of him is but an echo, a reflection of his need of us. The great goal of spiritual work is turn God’s need – not into a merely human obligation – but into a genuine human need.  In doing so the human paradoxically begins to realize his divinity.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears
(page 379, in press)

 

 

Daily Wisdom: “Through my flesh I vision God.”

imgresA second source of authority for the Bible is spoken of best by that greatly afflicted mythical figure, Job. Job tells us, “Through my flesh I vision God.”  (Or, as nineteenth-century poet John Keats reformulated Job’s insight, “I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination.”)  For the mystical reader of biblical myth, to “vision God” is to understand being, for God and being are one.

Kabbalists read Job’s words with a pronounced emphasis on the word my.  “My flesh” means not only my physical form, but also the body of my life experience, my heart’s affections, and my imagination.  The verse is thus taken to mean that we access the epic of being through the drama of the psyche.  Each of us can access the psyche only through our singular psyche–that is, through our unique story.

Radical truth is to be found, albeit paradoxically, in radical subjectivity–in the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.

 

Dr. Marc Gafni
Soulprints