March 30, 2020

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah, Part II

(c) 2013 satit_srihin

©2013 photo courtesy of satit_srihin

In this three-part essay, excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. 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 destiny unrealized.

From Part I: “Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point:  I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts.” [Read more…]

Wisdom for your Week: Chant as a Practice of Fullness

(c) 2011 photo courtesy of markuso

©2011 photo courtesy of markuso

In this short introductory video for this week’s wisdom of our week feature, Dr. Marc Gafni introduces us to the ways that chant is a practice that enacts, invokes, and accesses the Enlightenment of Fullness.  The Enlightenment of Fullness is a term he coined in 2009-2010 to describe an emergent property of World Spirituality. Here, he introduces chant by describing the parallels between it and classical silent meditative forms. Meditation is a practice of emptiness that frees us from the conceptual mind, liberates us from ego, and grounds us in True Self. The Enlightenment of Fullness—accessed through chant—emerges out of the ground of emptiness and the ground of being. However, in the end, as Marc says here, both the emptiness and fullness are one.

[Read more…]

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…]

The Three Great Skills of Loving: How to Love Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

marc-gafni-100x100Sally-Kempton-100x100

 

Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton workshop at Pacific Coast Church

Everyone of us wants to be a lover. We want to love the people in our lives. We want to love ourselves. And we want to love the world. But, what does it really mean to live as a lover? And is love something we can practice?

In this workshop, we’ll explore three powerful and necessary skills that let us receive and give love–in any and all circumstances. Powered by Marc’s revolutionary insights and concept-busting humor, Sally’s gift for bringing meditation alive, and Marc and Sally’s shared capacity for heart-to-heart transmission, this workshop will be illuminating, heart-softening, dynamic and fun.

Where: Pacific Coast Church, Pacific Grove, CA
When: Sunday, April 14, 2013 1:00PM to 4:00PM
Cost: $50.00 at the door

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

 

Dr. Russ Volckmann and Dr. Marc Gafni Dialogue on Leadership and Unique Self

Russ Volckmann

Dr. Russ Volkmann and Dr. Marc Gafni will discuss “Unique Self and Leadership” on Monday, April 1, at 6:00PM PDT (9:00PM EDT). Free.

Register here: http://uniqueself.com/welcome-friends-of-russ-volckmann/

The term “integral leadership” was first used (in the 1980s) by Ken Wilber, who has written 30 books on integral theory. A comprehensive way to consider Integral Leadership is to view it as a perspective (or understanding) of the entire arena of leadership studies and the myriad practices of leadership (in all their forms). This perspective or understanding is accomplished through an integral frame of reference that draws on the two interrelated fields of integral studies and practice.

Thousands of persons interested in integral theory and/or leadership theory have been exposed to the notion of integral leadership, and hundreds have attended conferences, trainings, and certification programs to learn about it. Russ Volckmann is the Editor of the flagship peer-reviewed journal, Integral Leadership Review, bringing his depth of knowledge and Wisdom to the evolution of Integral Leadership literature.

Russ writes:

“In my work and teaching, I have worked with clients and students to examine the clarity of their thinking, and how to work toward being more impactful, proficient and aligned with what matters most in their work. As an organization development consultant and executive coach for over 30 years, I hope to discuss with Marc how his approach in Your Unique Self can contribute to our ongoing conversation about leadership, individually and collectively.”

Russ has scheduled a Special Publication of Integral Leadership Review to consider Leadership in the context of Unique Self. Marc is thrilled to be invited to this participation with Russ in both the Dialogue and the Special ILR Publication.

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)

 

 

Monterey Peninsula Events March 15 – April 5

shalom_march2013We have two exciting teachings on the Peninsula coming up on March 17 and April 5.

Marc and Sally are now in the third class in their series of nine monthly classes at Pacific Coast Church, “Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: Living the Way of the Lover.” Last month, Sally shared her wonderful wisdom on Hindu feminine deities based upon her newest book, Awakening Shakti, and led us in a deeply warm contemplation and communication with our Inner Beloved.

On this Sunday, March 17, Marc will be returning from teaching at the Wisdom School of Shalom Mountain, and leading us along the “The Path of Outrageous Love.” Deep Loving Your Way To Enlightenment flyer for March 17thanks to Dr. Bill Little and the staff and members of Pacific Coast Church. (click flyer to enlarge)

We are delighted that Marc has been invited to share an evening hosted by The Pilgrim’s Way Bookstore on Friday, April 5th, 7;00pm, with the talk held across the street at the Carmel Art Foundation, on Dolores between 5th and 6th. The title of the evening talk is “The Seven Levels of Pleasure in Unique Self-Realization.” Life is meant to be pleasurable, and we will explore Pleasure as Spiritual Practice. Marc’s recent book, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, won the 2012 USA Best Book Award in the General Spiritual category.

Your-Unique-Self

USA Best Book Seal 2012

News from Shalom Mountain after Evolutionary Tantra Weekend

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The Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain: The Seven Tastes of Sexing, March 7-10, 2013

This event on Evolutionary Tantra was held last week at the Wisdom School, co-founded by Shalom Mountain and the Center for World Spirituality, which is the locus for Marc’s teachings on the east coast of the United States.

This was the 10th Wisdom School that has gathered in the last several years, each one with its own theme and exploration of a particular dimension of Enlightenment. Each Wisdom School is dedicated to the practice of evolving the Source Code of Consciousness in a particular area of spiritual practice or enlightenment inquiry. This Wisdom School shared the same theme as the recent program held at Venwoude Retreat Center in February, The Seven Tastes of Sexing. The Shalom Mountain retreat was led by Dr Marc and facilitated by two close friends and students in the private study circle, Jeff Hilliard and Shelly Reichenbach. Jeff and Shelly are Shalom Mountain leaders and have been studying closely with Marc at the Wisdom School for a long period of time.

Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain Developing Unique Expression of Unique Self Processshalom_march2013

Jeff Hilliard and Tom Goddard are leading the development of the Unique Self process, in its particular expression at Shalom Mountain. Jeff, Tom, Nance and Marc, along with a group of leaders, are very excited to be actively engaged in developing the first Unique Self process led by Shalom leaders. Marc has taught Unique Self extensively over the last few years at Shalom Mountain, and is now working together with this fabulous leadership group of teachers in transmitting the dharma and empowering Shalom to take up the Unique Self teaching in their own gorgeous Shalom fashion.

Reporting on Stunning Tantra Teachings in Holland

haertmeditation_markgafniNews from The Seven Tastes of Sexing program at Venwoude Reteat Center, Feb 8-10, 2013

We are delighted to report that The Seven Tastes of Sexing Tantra Weekend (Feb 8-10, 2013) at our retreat center in Holland, the Venwoude Retreat Center, was simply stunning. Marc taught eight major dharma sessions with exercises and intimate move teachings offered beautifully by Leon Gras and Sujata van Overveld. Sujata and Leon did a wonderful job deepening the space through the practice of intimate moves, taking the dharma and making it embodied and alive and breathing in the very cells of all the participants.

Marc transmitted a dharma that he has been working with for the last four years which provides what we think is the most advanced dharmic understanding of the nature of sexuality. venwoude_winterMarc outlined eight major forms of sexing, and led us on an embodied visionary journey to access the unique contours, tastes and substance of each of these forms of sexing. The net result of this tantric immersion was a profound transformation of the nature of the sacred sexual experience for every one of the participants.

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.

Sex & Spirit: Wisdom of the Spiritually Incorrect

divine-erosBy Marc Gafni

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

If you stop to think even for a short moment, you realize that sex really is the great mystery of our lives. Two groups, however, suggest very different approaches to sex, and both of them are wrong.

One powerful group of forces is arrayed in culture to prevent us from getting sex. They tell us that sex is somehow wrong, immoral, or sinful. Even when we think we have gotten free of them, they pop up again inside our hearts or heads, wagging their fingers disapprovingly. And they remind us constantly of all the trouble sex has gotten the world into — from the Trojan War to the Clinton/Lewinsky drama. Not to mention the trouble it has gotten you and me into—emotionally, psychologically, personally, professionally, and physically. You have to admit that the sexual conservatives have a point. If you want to keep life simple, clean, and orderly, forgoing or limiting your sexual experience might be an excellent choice. If you like spiritual exercises, take a few minutes to list all the times sex has gotten you into trouble.

Lots of conventional moralists and organized religion fall into this category. Religion wants to affirm love and passion as virtues but to divorce them entirely from sex. So moralist religion works hard to erect boundaries that will protect us from the pitfalls of sex. Yet while we all know that sex requires some discipline, and that context and commitment count, most of us know in our hearts that the moralists are wrong, and that sex is ultimately—and overwhelmingly—good, and not merely a side benefit of achieving loving relationship.

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

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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)

 

From Sex to Super-Consciousness: Unique Self and the Future of Love

evolver1Marc Gafni and Adam Gilad in Dialogue
Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 12pm San Francisco • 3pm New York • 8pm London

Unique Self: “To be awake is to be a lover: alive, aflame and open as love. Therefore, at its heart, to be a lover means to be willing to participate in the transformation of consciousness.”

Sex is play. Sex is surrender. Sex is profound and dangerous and exhilarating discovery – of our truest selves and the selves of our lovers.

After all, the ancient Hebrew mystics didn’t say, “And Adam banged Eve.” They wrote, he “knew” her.

How can your sexual self be the crucible of knowing yourself anew? Of knowing your lover with both profundity and lightness, with both fierceness and the tenderness of a newborn’s touch?

Sex can be entertainment, distraction, obsession — or it can be revelation of our truest selves, our most infinite consciousness. Through our bodies touching, we can touch the divine.

And we can feel – when we drop our anxieties, our bills, our status, our egos – what we can be as human in the act of “becoming.”

Few speak on this subject with Adam Gilad’s remarkable insight and infectious enthusiasm. The 50,000 followers of Adam’s dating and relationships newsletter already appreciate his unique mix of global wisdom traditions, spiritual cheekiness, advanced education and expansive practices. His legendary audio trainings and special programs cover topics like: learning the “language” of the other gender; cultivating a dance of the sexes rather than a battle; playing the spectrum of sexual polarity; and always, always, always, opening to fearlessness in self-awareness, self-evolution, compassion, forgiveness and really good wine.

[Read more…]

Free Dialogue on Feb. 21: Rob McNamara and Marc Gafni

RobMcnamara_0The Center for World Spirituality is pleased to share with you a letter we received from Rob McNamara, an author, performance coach, psychotherapist, and professor based in Boulder, Colorado. Rob’s book, Strength to Awaken, An Integral Guide to Strength Training, Performance & Spiritual Practice for Men & Women (2012) is a definitive work which is reshaping the integral spiritual approach to embodiment and physical fitness.

Dear Friend,

In my work and teaching, I am committed to helping people resolve their persistent painful limitations to become more powerful, proficient and aligned with what matters most in life. Becoming more elegant and aligning yourself with your largest excellence is the most important action we can take right now. Creating, refining and stabilizing your larger abilities as a human being is my passion.

That is why I’m confident that you will love this free dialogue with myself and Marc Gafni, one of the most brilliant minds in spirituality today. We will be discussing the rich intersection of our books Strength to Awaken and Marc’s new book Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment.

strength-bookThis Free Call is this Thursday, Feb. 21st at 6pm PT / 9pm ET. To join us reserve your place as soon as you are able:

>>> RESERVE YOUR PLACE

Our call will be about an hour long. This conversation will highlight some of the central teachings Gafni’s new book outlines and we will explore fitness and spirituality in a way that simply is not available anywhere else. We will close with a short Question and Answer session to field some of the biggest questions you have regarding spirituality, awakening and it’s intersection with strength, fitness and embodiment.

Looking forward to connect!
Rob McNamara
author of Strength To Awaken and The Elegant Self

PS: You can get Your Unique Self HERE and Strength To Awaken HERE if you haven’t already.

Our Unique and our Authentic Self (Tom Steininger and Sonja Student in Dialogue; Translated by Kerstin Tuschik)

WakingUp-225Note: The following article is an English translation by Kerstin Tuschik of an article by Tom Steininger and Sonja Student regarding perspectives of a new spirituality for our times. It was first published in the German magazine EnlightenNext Impulse

TOM STEININGER: Of late we have spoken a lot about the Authentic Self and the Unique Self. [The Authentic Self teaching is widely associated with spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen among others and the Unique Self teaching with Marc Gafni and his book Your Unique Self.] This discussion is about how we can find a new understanding of spirituality in the 21 century. Is there also a new self-perception emerging through this new spirituality, a new spiritual self-concept?

SONJA STUDENT: Yes, at first we realize that in a new spirituality the evolutionary perspective plays a very important role. In the spirituality of today it is not only about realizing the timelessness or the primordial ground of being. In our inside we have to attend to other dimensions as well. This exceeds the classical terms of enlightenment. In these matters we cannot rely exclusively on the mystical traditions or the great world religions any longer. This is why the Integral Theory says that it is not only about waking up, but simultaneously about the process of growing up. We have to take care of becoming adult and developed personalities as well.

TS: Yes, we need both. The mystical teachings are about waking up, enlightenment. Many integral or evolutionary interested people forgot how important the dimension of the Absolute is, how important transcendence is. This dimension however takes center stage in all the traditional, mystical paths. In the East one speaks about the experience of Being, in Buddhism about the emptiness, the Christian mystics called it the direct experience of God. [Read more…]

Ethics is an erotic expression of our deeper divinity

imgres-4If we come to understand that ethics is an erotic expression of our deeper divinity, we are truly moved to the ethical. For at that point we realize that it is an expression of our deepest selves, a  response to the call of our own voice. Ethics, to be compelling and powerful, must be an expression of your erotic divine nature and not a contradiction to it. So when the prophet insists that God and the God within you is beyond nature, and can therefore act ethically against nature, they are referring only to your first nature, not to your deeper second nature. Your deeper nature is God.

The marriage of the erotic and the ethical, when it takes place not merely intellectually but in all of your being, makes you the greatest of lovers.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

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: Swords – On Thrusting and Receiving

imgres-5By Dr. Marc Gafni

The symbol of the line is the sword. In biblical Hebrew the actual word for  sword, often a phallic expression, is cherev. The sword and the lance are male symbols of thrusting forward, combat and conquest. The goal of the sword is to affirm which line (sword) is higher in the hierarchy. The sword is goal-oriented. It does not have conversation; instead, it takes control. The sword cuts  through and analyzes. The sword is the discriminating intellect which divides, categorizes and conquers.  Clearly the sword/line is both a powerful force of the spirit as well as a scourge.

The circle is not about thrusting forward. It is about receiving. In the sexual image the circle always receives the line’s forward movement. Whatever position one might take, it is always the circle which must receive the line. The circle listens, opening herself up to receive the line. She is able to absorb the line’s thrust – develop it, unpack it, and give birth to something entirely new. [Read more…]