September 24, 2021

Center for World Spirituality Mystery School of Love (aka Summer Festival of Love) Venwoude International Retreat Center, Holland

The following video gives you a small taste of the Center for World Spirituality Mystery School of Love (aka Summer Festival of Love) run in partnership with Venwoude International retreat center.

The Mystery School is an annual eight day event which takes place at the end of July and the first week of August. The morning dharma teaching is by Dr. Marc Gafni with an all star team of teachers leading breakout sessions in the afternoon.

The Mystery School is a profound enlightenment teaching intensive where the practices revolve around awakening to what Dr. Marc calls Your Unique Self. This awakening to your true nature and to the sacred activism that is the invitation of your life is rooted in a powerful realization of the unique love beauty and love intelligence of all that is, that lives in you, as you and through you.

Many students report profound enlightenment experiences during mystery schools. Those experiences however are but pointers towards a stable and integrated awakening to your unique self that has the potential to literally change everything even as you deepen and transform from where you are. This is the path of what Dr. Marc calls the evolutionary lover or the outrageous lover. At the core of the dharma is Dr. Marc’s core mantra: We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.

Next Venwoude Festival / Mystery School:  July 27th – August 3rd, 2013
Info here: http://www.venwoude.nl/summerfestival.htm

 

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…]

Words from a San Francisco Dharma Encounter

A San Francisco Dimgres-12harma Encounter:
The Path of the Outrageous Lover

The first San Francisco Dharma Circle met on Feb 24, hosted by the awesome Wendy Yalom. Thirty people packed into Wendy’s living room to begin the first of a regular series of dharma encounters. This is the beginning of an emergent dharma community in San Francisco. The people that gathered were simply beyond wonderful. A deep group of people already connected through earlier bonds of community came to enter with Marc into the dharma of Outrageous Love, one of Marc’s recent core teachings.

“We live in a world of Outrageous Pain. The only effective response to Outrageous Pain is Outrageous Love.” From that starting point, we began a deep examination of the very nature of Enlightenment itself, particularly the Enlightenment of Outrageous Love. Our path, Loving Your Way to Enlightenment, and through an ever deepening unfolding of core of Evolutionary Love teaching and profound practices, chants, exercises and work in dyads, we entered into a space of radical insight, radical love, and radical awakening. It was a gorgeous moment of enlightened Love Consciousness.

One participant wrote afterwards to Marc, “Thank you for the inspiration, for the transmission… you are Rumi.” Marc wrote back, “No, you are Rumi.”

That was the core teaching of the evening: that we all can awaken, to see with God’s eyes, to engage the world as Outrageous Lovers, and to act as the Unique Incarnation of Love Beauty and Love Intelligence that lives as our Unique Self.

Yoga and Psyche Course at Esalen with Mariana Caplan, PhD.

Grounds, People and Property of Esalen Institute

 

 

 

Yoga & Psyche: Psychological Integration Through Yoga
April 12-14, 2013
Esalen Institute, Big Sur
www.esalen.org

Mariana Caplan is a PhD, MFT, SEP, is the author of 7 books including: Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path. She is a psychotherapist in Marin and worldwide, specializing in working with spiritual practitioners who wish to do psychological work.  She is also the co-founder of the Center for World Spirituality. [Read more…]

New book by Sally Kempton explores the transformative power of Shakti

shaktiHow do you live a life of spiritual awakening as well as outer abundance, inner freedom as well as deep intimacy? How do you serve the world selfessly, yet passionately celebrate your life?

A new book, Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddess of Yoga, provides a much needed and immensely valuable perspective.

The sages of Tantra have known for centuries that when you follow the path of Shakti—the sacred feminine principle personified by the goddesses of yoga— these gifts can manifest spontaneously. Yet most of us, women as well as men, have yet to experience the full potential of our inner feminine energies.

When you know these powers for what they are, they heighten your capacity to open spiritually, love more deeply and fearlessly, create with greater mastery, and move through the world with skill and delight. In Awakening Shakti, you will learn how to recognize and invite:

  • Kali, bringer of strength, fierce love, and untamed freedom
  • Lakshmi, who confers prosperity and beauty
  • Saraswati, for clarity of communication and intuition
  • Radha, who carries the divine energy of spiritual longing
  • Bhuvaneshvari, who creates the space for sacred transformation
  • Parvati, to awaken creativity and the capacity to love

With a wealth of meditations, visualizations, mantras, teachings, and beautifully told stories, Awakening Shakti provides a practical guide for activating the currents of the divine feminine in every aspect of your life. [Read more…]

Yoga & Psyche Dialogue Series features Mariana Caplan and Roger Walsh

yoga-psycheSince December 2012, the Yoga & Psyche Dialogue Series has enriched our understanding of Yoga, psychology, and trauma research with insights from Mariana Caplan, Richard Miller, Rick Hanson, Reggie Ray, and other leaders in the field. Produced by Diana Justl for publication on Mariana Caplan’s Real Spirituality website, the dialogues are free. They could open up a new world of understanding for anyone interested in discovering how the practice of ancient yoga integrates with the contemporary Western mind and psyche.

This week, Mariana Caplan dialogues with Roger Walsh, author and psychiatrist. Mariana Caplan writes:

This week our research continues in dialogue with Roger Walsh, an esteemed psychiatrist, author of many books and extensive research, and a highly experienced teacher and practitioner of meditation. I have personally always been fascinated by the relationship of psychiatry to spiritual practice, and the rampant bias people have against medication on the spiritual path, as well as a great deal of shame and secrecy among the many spiritual students and teachers who make use of these medications at various junctures on their spiritual path and path through life. In this dialogue, I talk extensively with Roger on this subject.

[Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: “The Men of Trust call out their Pain to God”

imgres-8Prayer in its Original Face is also a fellowhip between God and man. God meets us as our friend in prayer.

Ephraim of Sudykov writes that we seek God’s intimate friendship even as he seeks our fellowship for we both feel somewhat out of place in the world. We seek God’s friendship in bringing before God the raw cry of human insufficiency and pain. Reading the deep intent of the Psalmist, “I pour out my complaint before you,” the Midrash teaches, “The Men of Trust call out their Pain to God.”

To pray means to turn to God as my most intimate friend and confidant. I pour out before God my true pain and authentic need. I tell God my story in prayer and God receives my story. A child who is hurt runs to his mother. In part the child wants a bandage. But no less the child seeks the presence and intimacy of the mother. The enlightened ones teach that the ancient masters are those who are able to pray like children.

We cry out to God in prayer not to inform him of our need. That would be preposterous. We cry out to God in authentic prayer precisely because we know that God always knows our need. Every human need which is genuine is possessed of infinite value and infinite dignity.

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

 

Daily Wisdom: Frog Song

urlBy Marc Gafni

King David, the biblical author of Psalms, perhaps the greatest spiritual poetry every written, is walking by the river lost in ecstasy. In this state, he cries out, “God, tell me – is there anyone that has ever praised you as much as I?”

At that moment, a frog fantastically exclaims to him, “Be not so proud, David, for I have done more than you. You sing to God on occasion – I sing to God with every croak.” [Read more…]

Your Unique Self: What It Means to Be a Lover … from God’s Eyes

buddha-lilyBy Marc Gafni

Note: The following article appeared in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Common Ground Magazine.

The true nature of your values is always revealed in death. In eulogies, both in what is spoken and unspoken, there is something of the essential nature of your life and loyalties. Sometimes, however, before you die you are strangely privileged to declare where your ultimate loyalty lies.

It was September 11, 2001. The planes had just crashed into the Twin Towers in Manhattan. Victims had moments to use their cellphones. No one called asking for revenge. No one offered philosophical explanations or profound insights into the nature of reality. People did one thing and one thing only: they called the people close to their hearts to say, “I love you.”

“I love you” is our declaration of faith. Implicit in those words is everything holy. Yet we no longer know what we mean when we say it.

It used to mean, “I am committed to you. I will live with you forever.” Or it might have meant, “You are the most important person in my life.”

But it no longer seems to mean that. And when you no longer understand your own deepest declarations of love, you are lost. You become alienated from love, which is your home. Despair, addiction, and numbness become your constant companions.

To read the entire article, download it as a PDF file.

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Daily Wisdom: Longing is the matrix of God’s revelation to us…

imgres-4We long for something deeper; something more, a higher and more noble authenticity. We masquerade in the mask of our wholeness knowing all along that it is but a charade; that we are part of larger whole with whom we yearn to be re-united. A shard of a shattered vessel whose hidden sparks seek to be uplifted and absorbed into the one even as they retain their sacred separate identity.  “As the gazelle yearns after the stream of clear water, so does my soul long after you, my God.”

Kalonymous  Kalman of Piacezna teaches in his book Holy Fire, “in response to our yearning for God, God longs and draws closer to us.” [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: What to write on the tombstone of a self that never existed…

infinity-225From Ken Wilber’s “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

Let [an awakening] start right here, right now, with us–with you and with me–and with our commitment to breathe into infinity until infinity alone is the only statement that the world will recognize. Let a radical realization shine from our faces, and roar from our hearts, and thunder from our brains–this simple fact, this obvious fact: that you, in the very immediateness of your present awareness, are in fact the entire world, in all its frost and fever, in all its glories and its grace, in all its triumphs and its tears. You do not see the sun, you are the sun; you do not hear the rain, you are the rain; you do not feel the earth, you are the earth. And in that simple, clear, unmistakable regard, translation has ceased in all domains, and you have transformed into the very Heart of the Kosmos itself–and there, right there, very simply, very quietly, it is all undone. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: How the Goddess Reveals Herself

shaktiDaily Wisdom from Sally Kempton’s “Awakened Heart”:

When you invoke the goddess, she begins to reveal herself as a subtle Presence in and around you. You sense her in the breath, and she gives you the subtlety to sense the flow of energy in your body. Maybe she lends power to your meditation, or deepens the love in your heart, or manifests as a graceful push to unexpected success in your endeavors. The more you tune yourself to the Goddess, the more you feel her presence empowering your life. The goddess, Shakti, is power itself, the very force that gives life. But, its important always to tune yourself to her liberating face. When there is something important and difficult that needs doing, ask yourself if it is in service of your highest evolution. Ask yourself if it will increase the store of love in you and in the world. Clarify your motivation. Then, ask for help from the Shakti. Ask that her blessing flow through your actions, and enlist even your mistakes to the service of love and healing.

Daily Wisdom: The essential revelation of biblical consciousness is the intimacy of infinity.

imgres-3By Marc Gafni

Prayer is man pouring out his deepest need before God. Philosophers and mystics alike scoffed at this prayer seeking the more pure prayer which pleads for alignment between man and god. Such prayer is surely sacred and noble. The psalmist prays to God “A pure heart create for me God….Take not your holy spirit from me.” Or in another passage the mystic yearning bursts out with full force: “As the deer desperately yearns after the brook of water so does my soul desperately after you O God; My soul thirsts for the living God. When shall I come and appear in the presence of God.”  Or in the Koan prayer of 19th century mystic Shneur Zalman of Liadi as he cries out in prayer;  “I do not want your hell; I do not want your heaven; it is you; you alone that I want.” All of these God in second person prayers whether coming from a dualist psalmist or a non dual mystic Schneur Zalman are an integral part of prayer. Yet none of them replace the core staple of Hebrew spiritual practice; the pouring of the heart’s deepest need before God. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: Shout from the heart of what you have seen, shout however you can.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAKen Wilber writes in “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

The vulgar world is already shouting, and with such a raucous rancor that truer voices can scarcely be heard at all. The materialistic world is already full of advertisements and allure, screams of enticement and cries of commerce, wails of welcome and whoops of come hither. I don’t mean to be harsh here, and we must honor all lesser engagements. Nonetheless, you must have noticed that the word “soul” is now the hottest item in the title of book sales–but all “soul” really means, in most of these books, is simply the ego in drag. “Soul” has come to denote, in this feeding frenzy of translative grasping, not that which is timeless in you but that which most loudly thrashes around in time, and thus “care of the soul” incomprehensibly means nothing much more than focusing intensely on your ardently separate self. Likewise, “Spiritual” is on everybody’s lips, but usually all it really means is any intense egoic feeling, just as “Heart” has come to mean any sincere sentiment of the self-contraction. [Read more…]

Daily Wisdom: The Choir of Creation

imgres-2Lines and circles dance together in the hierarchy of nature. For chains for example are key to every eco-system. A chain is hierarchical, yet it is also made up of interloped circles! The balance of nature means that there is an appreciation for each, at every level. That you can’t be where you are without the other being where they are!

The erotics of interconnectivity however extend beyond the community of human beings. We are not alone on this planet. A wonderful encounter is recorded both in the Zohar and in an ancient Hebrew mystical text called the Perek Shira, the Chapter of SongThe Chapter of Song is a stunning tract which knows to tell that every creature on the planet has its own unique song. Moreover, it cites a sacred text from the Torah as the source of every creature’s song. The implication is radical and beautiful. The Torah, which includes all twenty-four sacred books of the Hebrew Bible, does not address humans alone. Both speak to and express in some mystical way all of creation.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

Daily Wisdom: Spiritual realization carries a terrible burden: an obligation to communicate

Woman shouting from snowy mountain topKen Wilber from “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

And therefore, all of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe, wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout from the heart–perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakeable public example–but authenticity always carries a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability, and shake the spiritual tree, and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacement. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you.

Alas, if you fail to do so, you are betraying your own authenticity. You are hiding your true estate. You don’t want to upset others because you don’t want to upset your self. You are acting in bad faith, the taste of bad infinity.

Because, you see, the alarming fact is that any realization of depth carries a terrible burden: Those who are allowed to see are simultaneously saddled with the obligation to communicate that vision in no uncertain terms: that is the bargain. You were allowed to see the truth under the agreement that you would communicate it to others (that is the ultimate meaning of the bodhisattva vow). And therefore, if you have seen, you simply must speak out. Speak out with compassion, or speak out with angry wisdom, or speak out with skillful means, but speak out you must.

Read the entire article…

Daily Wisdom: Innermost desire is the most important spiritual guide

imgresIn Chassidut the notion of longing became essential to the Chassidic understanding of the universe.  For  my teacher  Mordecai Lanier, Teshuka, meaning innermost desire, is the most important spiritual guide.  In contradistinction to Jewish moments of piety, which tried to use the mind and will to overcome desire, the master of Izbica teaches that stripping away the superficialities to access the innermost desire of our souls is ultimately the only reliable guide on our spiritual path.

Taking this one step further, the great teacher of both  non duality and God in the second person, Levi Isaac of Berdichev, teaches that not only is holy yearning a spiritual guide, but all yearning, all desires, are spiritual guides, for in the end, all yearning is really yearning  for the one.  All roads seek to bring us back to our source.  To our highest integration and one-ness.  And even when on the face of it our innermost desires seem to be for that which is base and not yet holy, a deeper reading of the script of our lives will reveal that in fact, whenever we kneel, we are always on our knees to God.  Whenever we yearn we are ultimately yearning for integration, for one-ness, for divinity.

Dr. Marc Gafni
from: The Dance of Tears
(in press)

Daily Wisdom: The Crying of Union

imgres-1We begin with longing. We give expression to that yearning in tears.  Ultimately, the promise of divinity is that the crying of longing will become the crying of union.  The transformation of the crying of longing, to the crying of union is part of the Tikkun, the ‘fixing’ of tears.  And this is the very process of redemption itself.

Even those who cannot cry however can find their yearning. There is a story of some Chassidim who, in the presence of the Rebbe, were dancing and singing before God, all in great devekut, in great cleaving.  And they were all crying holy tears. There was one among them, however who could not cry. He felt so terrible about this that he ran and got some onions, which he held to his eyes so he too could cry. The master, seeing this, praised his action, saying that it was very precious to God that he wanted to cry. Very often we desperately want to cry but have forgotten the language of tears. We need to be reminded that to long to cry is sometimes as precious as the cry itself.

Dr. Marc Gafni
from: The Dance of Tears
(in press)

 

Daily Wisdom: The world is filled with Soul Print hints

imgres-15In truth every slice of reality in the holographic universe contains all of wisdom. The true Artisan draws wisdom and inspiration from a reality rich and replete in meaning. 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.

British thinker Adam Phillips, in his wonderful work The Beast in the Nursery, understands well the slow and subtle eros of hints.  The artist inside us, he writes, is “all the time on the lookout for material to make a dream with.”  In a series of  pregnant sentences, Phillips writes,  “For Keats, inspiration means being able to take the hint… It is not only a tuned responsiveness; it is also an unconscious radar for affinities; for what speaks to one by calling up one’s own voice.”

There is a self-fulfilling circle: the deeper one enters one’s character and voice, the more whisperings are heard and hints detected. Of course, the wink, the subtle gestures, the tilt of the head, all these are the language of lovers; hints and intimations, the hallmark of intimacy.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

Daily Wisdom: We can only hear through the love that listens….

imgres-16A phrase in the Zohar used for those soul printed souls who are living their story is lechisah, whispers. 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 – We have only to present ourselves and to perceive.” To live my story is erotic in the resonance of its melody and the fullness of the canvas. The world, when I am in my story, is no longer empty. The soul is not just here to pay back karmic debts. It has a contribution to make from the depth of its infinite specialness. It is in the making of that contribution that a human being fills fulfilled. That is the eros of living your story.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

 

Daily Wisdom: Those who turn darkness to Light

imgres-7The members of the Zohar’s holy fellowship are called “Those who turn darkness to light.”

It was their profound engagement in their personal darkness which was the matrix for their radical creativity, their light. Zohar is only revealed through the prism of one’s soul print. All creativity wells from this place. In this spirit we understand Rilke’s advice to the Young Poet: “Go deep into yourself and how deep is the place from which your life flows.”

Not all of us are soul printed to write the book of the Zohar. But all of us have the creative potential to write a book of life that shines. That creative potential is our divinity. When we say God is one, we mean original. When the Hebrew mystic experiences herself as part of God it can only be through the path of her originality.  God is an original and can’t stand imitation.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy