August 6, 2020

For 48 Hours only: Listen to replay of Gafni/Nabhaniilananda Dialogue

Note: We received the following letter from Dada Nabhaniilananda following CWS Director Marc Gafni’s dialogue with him. Acharya Nabhaniilananda normally called “Dada”, is a senior meditation instructor of Ananda Marga, an authority on Yoga philosophy, a published author and a popular musician.

Hi, Dada here…

The replay of Marc Gafni’s interview is online at:

http://www.ImaginalWorld.com/Marc

Marc Gafni speaks with great passion and insight about thev subject of Evolutionary Mysticism, and our Unique Self.

He is a true spiritual visionary who has dedicated many years to the development of a World Spiritual culture, open to all.

I found his concept of ‘dual citizenship’, whereby an individual follows their own faith that they grew up with, but also embraces a set of universal spiritual values that unite all humanity, both appealing and practical – a bit like being able to communicate in two languages.

I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

There’s a whole lot more in this information packed interview, and you can still listen! But you’ve only got 48 hours to check it out:

http://www.ImaginalWorld.com/Marc

You will want to listen to this. Check out the replay of this amazing interview with Marc Gafni that we’ve made available for you. Remember, it’s only going to be online for the next 48 hours, so listen right away!

Also, check out the Special Offer that Marc Gafni put together for everyone on the call.

http://www.ImaginalWorld.com/Marc

I’m so grateful to all of you who are participating in the Imaginal World Teleseminar. Please check your email for details of the next interview.

Until then,

Sincerely,

Dada

P.S. Listen to Marc Gafni’s replay to find out more about the special offer:

http://www.ImaginalWorld.com/Marc

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

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

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

Marc Gafni and Dada Nabhanillananda

On December 4 at 9 a.m. PT, Dr. Marc Gafni will be in dialogue with Dada Nabhanillananda, known as the Yoga Dude — a teacher, yoga activist and musician, on his free Imaginal World teleseminar series, “Creating a World Based on Love.” Marc and Dada will explore Unique Self enlightenment and diverse facets from Marc’s award-winning new book, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment. Tune in as well for special offer of a one-time-only curated set of Marc’s wonderful teaching resources.

You can check it out and sign up here:

http://www.imaginalworld.com/love/marc/invite/

Acharya Nabhaniilananda normally called “Dada”, is a senior meditation instructor of Ananda Marga, an authority on Yoga philosophy, a published author and a popular musician. In 2011 his song “The Love Remains” was a finalist in the prestigious Song of the Year International Songwriting Contest.

Dada was born in New Zealand in 1955 of English parents. During his early life he studied classical music and poetry. At the age of 11 he started composing music for the piano, and his teachers had high hopes of him becoming a concert pianist. However, during his time as a University student he developed a deep interest in Eastern mysticism. In 1975 he left his native land for Australia, and later Nepal and India where he studied the disciplines and philosophy of Yoga and Meditation within sight of the Himalayas, and was ordained as a Yoga Monk in 1979.

Dada plays melodic folk rock in the style of Simon & Garfunkel or Cat Stevens. He sings about spiritual experiences and ecological or human rights issues, and derives many of his ideas from myths and legends of different cultures. His early musical influences include folk singers Donovan and Don Mclean, and 70’s bands Yes, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Genesis & Santana. Dada’s immersion in eastern mysticism adds a deeper dimension to his music, giving it a lasting quality.

Dada has been recording and performing since 1984, and has played on every continent save Antarctica. He frequently appears at ecological protests or alternative festivals where his songs and audio-visual presentations about the environment are always well received.

Marc Gafni and Charles Randall Paul: The Roots of Individuality

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

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

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

Listen to the audio: [Read more…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the audio and read a partial transcript:

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A partial transcript of the dialogue follows:

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

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

He says to God, “Test me.”

God says, “I don’t think so.”

David says, “Test me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the entire dialogue:

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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…]

The weekend of loving outrageously

The Center for World Spirituality is pleased to share a spontaneous artistic creation inspired by a recent event of ours in connection with Shalom Mountain. John Tarcza tells us that a “wild idea started to stir and evolve uncontrollably” in him while editing audio recordings from the weekend. He combined a few minutes of reflections by Marc Gafni with music (Erik Satie Gnossienne No. 1, Buddha Bar remix) … and created this wonderful combination. John has graciously allowed us to share it with you.

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Enjoy!

The one thing we all know is true
Every one of us in the room
Is that we live in a world of outrageous pain, outrageous pain
Beyond imagination

The world’s an outrageously painful place
And the only response to outrageous pain
Is outrageous loving

So I want to invite everyone to actually do a reset on intention
And to actually play one step larger
And say if you dare, if I dare,
That I want to be a lover
For the sake of the evolution of Love
Boldly, clearly, the evolution of Love
Depends on me

[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…]

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…]

World Spirituality Unplugged: “What’s love got to do with business?: John Mackey and Marc Gafni in Dialogue, Part 1”

World Spirituality Unplugged is a regular new column on this website which will feature highlights from the Center for World Spirituality’s substantial audio and video archives which are more relevant than ever before. The short clip posted here (about 5 minutes) features an excerpt from a dialogue between John Mackey and Marc Gafni, recorded in 2010 for the Future of Love Teleseries, an online event for which CWS was a co-sponsor.

Marc Gafni, as you are well aware, is the Director and Scholar-in-Residence for the Center. John Mackey is the Chairman and CEO of a $4 billion Fortune 500 company. Mackey was named the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2003. John is a strong believer in FLOW principles, including free market principles and empowerment management.  He is also one of the most influential advocates in the movement for organic food. Whole Foods was the first grocery chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. [Read more…]

Unique Self Dialogue: Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni, Part 1

The Center for World Spirituality is very pleased to present a new dialogue series on Unique Self featuring Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni. In this first clip (about 26 minutes), Marc and Ken each offer their own introductions to the Unique Self concept. Thereafter they discuss some of the contemporary context of the teaching which sets the stage for the conversation to follow.

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.

Marc and Ken began discussing the idea of perspectives and Unique Self back in 2004. For more context, see Intellectual History of Unique Self and Unique Self Timeline. Marc originally sourced the notion of enlightenment plus perspective in Hebrew mystical texts and Ken brought to bear the postmodern and post-postmodern notions of perspectives. From this emerged one of the core Unique Self formulas that Ken refers to in the beginning of this dialogue. For both Marc and Ken, perspectives were foundational. Together, in a series of groundbreaking conversations, they clarified and evolved the Unique Self teaching.

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

The Five Great Awakenings ~ by Dr. Marc Gafni

Marc GafniBy Dr. Marc Gafni

The following is a condensed excerpt from the forthcoming volume Your Unique Self: The Democratization of Enlightenment.

There are five great awakening of the human spirit. Each level of awakening is to a deeper and more expanded sense of identity and consciousness.

1) Prepersonal to Personal Awakened Self. The first great awakening takes place when the human being emerges from the slumber of immersion in the Great Mother. In the dawn of human existence, the separate self has not yet emerged. This self was, to varying degrees, identified with nature and the immediate environment with no sense of an individuation. At this level, there is no sense of larger frameworks of time beyond the immediacy of the present moment or present day. This is awakening to separate self, or level-one personal. You experience this awakening in your life in the beginning of your journey as your baby self awakens to an individuated identity as a separate self ego. This is the move from the prepersonal to the personal. It might also take place when you free yourself from any pre-personal context, such as a cult or a family system which crushes individual emergence. One expression of this awakening crystallizes in Hebrew mysticism, which affirms the human being as a homo imago dei, a separate dignified self, rooted in the divine, possessed of infinite dignity, value, and adequacy. [Read more…]

Unique Self and Levels of Consciousness with Don Beck, Katherine Woodward Thomas, & Marc Gafni

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

 

[Read more…]

Obstacles to Unique Self with Don Beck and Marc Gafni

What are the obstacles to realizing your Unique Self? As one makes the leap from True Self to Unique Self, what are some of the common pitfalls spiritual practitioners encounter along the way? And how can we navigate these obstacles more skillfully and with more discernment? In this audio dialogue between Don Beck, Founder of Spiral Dynamics and Dr. Marc Gafni, spiritual teacher and founder of iEvolve, Marc explores with us the many obstacles one may cross on the Unique Self journey.

 

[Read more…]

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…]