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March 21, 2023

Discerning the Patterns that Connect, Dr. Marc Gafni

Discerning the Patterns that Connect

Summary: In the excerpt below from his June 2011 TEDxSinCity talk “Your Unique Self: The Future of Enlightenment,” Dr. Marc lovingly draws our attention to the shared story of World Spirituality emerging at this moment in intellectual history. What we yearn for and already share, in spite of the many ways we focus on what divides us, are the deep structures of meaning we can know first-hand—in our first-persons—and that we can reveal using the Eye of the Spirit.

Excerpt from TEDxSinCity, June 2, 2011

The profound need that we have is to live in a story that’s real, to live in a story which hasn’t been deconstructed. To live in a metanarrative in which we actually understand in some profound way that that which unites us is so much greater than that which divides us. To live in a shared context of meaning, when through the virtual realities that we all live in, there’s a kind of metanarrative. There’s a kind of shared depth of meaning structures that actually create a global commons—not only of industry, not only of capitalized globalization, not only of commerce, but a global commons of deep structures of meaning.

And, out of that impetus, we began this vision of unfolding World Spirituality. What a world spirituality is at its core is a reclaiming of a shared vision, a yearning to identify: what are the patterns that connect? A yearning to understand: what are the depth structures that actually unite us?

…[A] world spirituality is not interfaith. It’s not interfaith. Interfaith was very lovely when it started. It was beautiful, it was respect, it was honor. But, it lacked a deep engagement in the depth structures of Spirit. Someone once said that interfaith—and I can say it this way because I’m a rabbi, I get to say it—was when Jews who didn’t believe in Judaism got together with Christians who didn’t believe in Christianity and discovered they had a lot in common. So, there was something very kind of pallid about it. You know, the opposite of the holy is the superficial.

Then, we had the perennial philosophy, and the perennial philosophy on which Ken and I both cut our teeth is basically the shared depth structures of all the great traditions as that which should guide us. But that shouldn’t guide us. Why not? Because the great traditions are beautiful, they’re holy, they’re stunning, they’re sacred, they’re deep, but they’re premodern. They’re premodern. So, if we’re going to actually be guided by the shared depth structures of premodernity, we’ve made a regressive move. We’ve gone backwards. A world spirituality has to integrate the best and deepest insights of the premodern, the modern, and the postmodern. And, we have to weave those together in a vision that actually allows for a shared story that we can transmit and hold and live in.

And, it’s not that the story knows everything. There’s so much we don’t know. We hold the uncertainty. We dance the mystery. But there’s also that which we know. That which we actually can taste, we can feel, and we know it not because we have faith. We’re not interested in faith. We know it not because it’s a dogma that someone has told us. We know it because we have first-hand, first-person experience after having done experiments of Spirit…. We’ve gathered the results. We’ve checked them with the community of the adequate, which is precisely the scientific method. And, we’ve revealed, using the faculty of the Eye of the Spirit, a shared story, which actually is one that can unite us.

About Marc Gafni

Marc Gafni is a visionary scholar, philosopher, and wisdom teacher. He is teacher-in-residence and co-initiator of the Center for Integral Wisdom. He is the leading theorist and teacher of Unique Self enlightenment, an emergent post-postmodern wisdom lineage which builds on his national bestseller Soul Prints, winner of the Nautilus Award for Best Spirituality Book, as well as the highly acclaimed Your Unique Self (2012) and Radical Kabbalah (2012), which is based on his doctoral dissertation at Oxford University.

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