October 28, 2020

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.

Lord of the Rings, the Stanley Cup, and the Virgin Mary – Reflections on the Call by Trevor Malkinson

by Trevor Malkinson

“To refuse the call means stagnation. What you don’t experience positively, you will experience negatively” – Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

In the Hero’s Journey ‘monomyth’ that Joseph Campbell discovered scattered throughout the world’s mythological traditions, the journey always starts with the call to adventure. The hero or heroine, often an average unsuspecting person, is summoned to leave the safe confines of their world and journey into the unknown on a quest they don’t yet understand. In the 20th century, two major motion picture trilogies- Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings– gave epic representations of the hero’s journey, and people flocked to these films en masse. Why are we so drawn to these depictions of the hero’s journey and the adventure of taking up ‘the call’? What exactly is the calling, where is it emanating from, and why are we so attracted to it?  This article is an extended reflection on the nature of the call and how it shows up in our religion, our art, our culture, and perhaps most importantly, in ourselves.

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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.

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