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May 28, 2023

The Current World Conditions and Challenges Need a World Response with Dr. Marc Gafni

For the first time in the history of the planet, a World Spirituality is utterly possible and utterly necessary. A World Spirituality is one that transcends – that ends the trance of any particular religion, or particular nationality. A World Spirituality is one that weaves together the best medicines of every great system of spirit and knowing into a larger whole. A World Spirituality is one in which we understand that “that which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.”

This vision of a World Spirituality is possible today because the current world conditions and challenges we face as global citizens needs a world response. The Center for World Spirituality invites you to join the evolutionary movement to create a shift in consciousness known as Spirit’s Next Move. Welcome to our shared Center for World Spirituality.

Dr. Marc Gafni holds his doctorate from Oxford University and has direct lineage in Kabbalah. He is a Rabbi, spiritual artist, teacher, and a leading visionary in the emerging World Spirituality movement. He is a co-founder of iEvolve: The Center for World Spirituality, a scholar at the Integral Institute, and the director of the Integral Spiritual Experience, as well as a lecturer at John F. Kennedy University. The author of seven books, including the national bestseller Soul Prints and Mystery of Love, Gafni’s teaching is marked by a deep transmission of open heart, love and leading edge provocative wisdom. Gafni is considered by many to be a visionary voice in the founding of a new World Spirituality and one of the great mind/heart teachers of the generation.

We live in a context where many of us have outgrown traditional forms of religion. This means that pre-modern, ethnocentric versions of our world’s traditions no longer have the capacity to meet our modern and postmodern needs. The integrative space of a World Spirituality allows our great religious traditions to evolve from ethnocentric to world-centric, and even to kosmocentric consciousness. World Spirituality allows us all to move forward together, beyond the limitations of traditional religion, while still embracing all of the valuable insights and gifts of the past.

That’s why we are delighted to invite you to World Spirituality Annual Practice Retreat of Love and Activism – Evolutionary Integral Relationships with Dr. Marc Gafni, Sally Kempton, Terry Patten, Warren Farrell, Mariana Caplan, Decker Cunov, Dustin DiPerna, & Marcy Baruch, July 17th – 24th in Berkeley, California.

Our annual practice retreat of love and activism is itself an example of World Spirituality practice: it is designed to engage you cognitively, inter-personally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We will employ a balance of theoretical and experiential, as well as individual and group, learning sessions—all woven together into a vital, comprehensive, and balanced awareness.

We will also focus on helping you develop and strengthen your own World Spirituality practice. Each day will consist of deep engagement in dharma (spiritual teachings), practice, and experiential and relational exercises, including:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer Reloaded
  • Chant & Kirtan
  • Yoga, Psyche, & Movement
  • Sacred Text Study: An Integral Approach
  • Practice of Enacting a “Higher We”

Register with a friend to receive an even deeper discount!


  1. maryann moon says:

    Yes, yes, yes!! A World Spirituality is necessary! – there’s an awakening from the dark
    trance of negativity which includes war, oil drilling, unawareness of the sacred nature
    of this planet, surely a blessed gift from a Divine Creator. We’re ready and it’s very
    exhilarating to contemplate the idea that Spirituality is a healthy, responsible and blessed way to proceed from this day forward !!

  2. Beautiful Marc. Nice one to share with others.
    Its the necessity that needs to be underlined yes? Without a solidly grounded spiritual base humanity cannot hope to successfully address the unprecedented life or death challenges currently facing us as a species.
    Good to see you looking well. Take good care of yourself!

  3. I question whether the qualities of a “world spirituality” as Gaffni has defined it, would really help human evolution. He claims that ALL knowledge is available to us in science, religion, medicine etc. because of the internet but this is not true because knowledge is constantly changing in which new theories are always replacing old ones. And the internet contains just as much disinformation as information; as knowledge emerges so does new ignorance. He seems to place emphasis on our current times as being the peak of evolution but this merely comes across like a sells pitch in which to gain “followers” for “his” movement, a desire of all false gurus, who elevate the time in which they live as their main “selling point”. Real gurus teach others to lead themselves, not to join a movement “underneath” them, regardless of any time. The whole point of evolution is that it is open-ended; there is nothing more special about this time in history than any other in a time-bound relative sense; only the ego would see otherwise in its efforts to prevent real spirituality which requires much more humility than that. There are higher consciousness than “worldcentric,” according to Gravesian research, which merely describes the final levels of 1st tier consciousness, in which 2nd tier is beyond. For people to feel that they are a part of something so “ultimate” encourages rationalizations and stuckness rather than true growth in which one confronts his real shadow and dark side and ego-based intention. Real higher consciousness realizes that it is NOT the HIGHEST.

    The Bottom Line: When people try to get rid of their differences (agency) for the purpose of communion, what usually ends up happening is a very superficial engagement, that encourages inauthenticity and censorship, where people have to sacrifice independent and individual thought to adopt the views of the leader. For example, I highly doubt that World Spirituality will allow this post to be published and if so I will be pleasantly surprised. But usually movements like this are geared towards anti-intellectualism in which discernment and critical thinking (higher cognition) are seen as threats rather than as important developmental endeavors (i.e Wilber’s cognitive line). If people go “too deep” in dialogue and analysis, real differences in opinion, intention, worldview might arise that can cause conflict for some as everyone has a unique structure of consciousness, different life experience, different intention etc. People want everyone to think and feel the same way in order to feel secure and strengthen their ego and not deal with conflict but the path to this is MORE span and LESS depth. Conflict does not exist within our differences but within the dualistic structure of consciousness itself. So depth and questioning in dialogue is commonly discouraged in these type of movements because most people can’t handle conflict or difference in opinion and worldview (as traits of 1st tier consciousness, 98% of humanity), regardless of how enlightened they proclaim to be. Subjective feelings are prioritized, which lead to fusion, undifferentiating, assumptions and at worst stupidity. People are then not allowed to analyze or “tease apart the threads”.

    While Gaffni feels that what he is offering is new, to me it is old in that it follows the same template that all movements have throughout history: a leader and followers thinking that they are the answer to everyone’s prayers bringing the new social order and the more “big“ (global) the movement the more ego payoff for the leader. Gaffni simply has more sources to draw from but quantity is not necessarily quality. To me what makes this less of REAL open-ended evolutionary approach and more of a closed-ended revolutionary approach is that the focus is on the group, specifically “his” group rather than the Individual. As Wilber says, individual’s evolve but groups do not (check out Integral Spirituality around p.153). Groups form, peak and then decline, separate, mutate, change over time, members come and go, (if you don’t know this try starting a group on your own) … while people hold onto the image of the perfect group, the reality never lives up, as everyone has a different vision of utopia, our attachments to the group eventually become crushed over time and some groups end up feeling like enslavement as our unique opinion is blasphemy…we try to create a new group and a new group or join a new one and a new one… Ultimately life wants us to direct our energy inward in which we do not depend on a group, a movement, or exterior thing to bring about our evolution. Thank you for taking the time to read this! I’m curious to see how much of this gets included or excluded by others!

    • Jana, If as you suggest, Ken Wilber has asserted that groups do not evolve, he was certainly not talking about cultures. To suggest that only individuals evolve is totally at odds with the Integral paradigm. You are negating the lower quadrants, the ‘we’ quadrants. And as far as your perception of Marc and the world spirituality movement is concerned , it is clear that you are simply not in touch with Marc’s teachings on this or anything! If you take the time to listen to some of the dialogues between Marc and Ken or listen to Marc talking about the Unique Self you will hopefully come to see that an honouring of diversity, depth and inclusivity is central to his teachings.

  4. MLB(Marty) says:

    Jana: just read this post and I am so glad you’ve sparked this discussion. The formulations around “Social Holons” have always felt weak to me – and there are few discussions about that. We use the integral human-based holon view and project it out onto groups – which is baseless. Groups are complex heaps – and it is key that they have culture, beliefs, myths, agreements, infrastructures, and measurements as a means to hold them together – they are not holons – or at best, holons Jim, but as we know them.

    Your bottom line makes sense and in particular the emphasis on the aversion to conflict. The ego contractions around conflict are often indicative. I note here also for Gillian – Gillian, I was curious and interested in our responses until this: “…it is clear that you are simply not in touch with Marc’s teachings on this or anything!” That is the contraction and the challenge of conflict – to know that Jana is insightful, talented, loving, and aware – even as you disagree with her. Jana’s contribution was thoughtful, considered, and principled. It deserves more – but that apparently emotional response shows up the threat to ego. What if Jana is right about Marc’s views? Does that negate him or the fine work of World Spirituality? It does not, so let’s include Jana and her important questions without making her “other”.

    Our questioning and critical reasoning partners well with our ecstatic revelations – if only to honor the history of so many great spiritual leaders and their ecstatic followers who lost their way. Thanks be to the power of reason – especially here in this rich inter-subjective soup we live in called “culture” and “group”. I believe Jana is pointing to the LR as well. Guide, move, measure, monitor, feedback, correct, etc, – systems. This blog is a bit of that – if we use it well. Perhaps there are other forms as well for drawing out the discussion, allowing conflict to arise as it will. Otherwise, the soup becomes glue.

  5. Hi Gillian,

    This response is only for this video not for any other Gaffni’s teachings, to clarify my context. (I’ll get into the “unique self” another time.)

    Here is the quote from Wilber to clarify my reference:
    p.151 Integral Spirituality

    “individual holons go through mandatory stages, social holons don’t. There are simply no invariant structure-stages for groups, collectives, or societies.”

    I am not denying the importance of relationships as these go beyond the groups we are identified with (unless everyone we know is part of that group which is highly unlikely, good luck if this is a goal, lol!); I am merely pointing out the faulty thinking (i.e. social holons [Marty]), elevation (thinking we are the peak of evolution) and ego needs, self-importance, security of being a follower that are involved in membership to a group, especially one that makes such great claims. I am looking at the structure of a group movement NOT the surface traits that have in fact evolved over time.

    How can we become aware of our ego needs and attachments when we are identified with the grandest of the grand ushering in the grandest of the grand with others who are the grandest of the grand. (Of course all this is achieved in membership to World Spirituality). Does this really promote real self-awareness and the humility necessary to evolve?

    From a “levels” perspective, to me the desire for world spirituality through social movements is indicative of GREEN motivations, which is certainly not the peak of evolution and has been for the last 50 years, described as “communitarian, egaltarian, and consensual, by Spiral Dynmamics on p.264 and “susceptible to group-think…supportive of collective decisions and actions extreme,” on p.266, “the need to fit in and feel accepted my overwhelm the person’s willingness to disagree…” and “the community grows by synergizing life forces; artificial divisions take away from people” p.260. Green is group-oriented and there is nothing wrong with that, but to elevate Green as the peak of evolution is exactly what will prevent Green from evolving (check out Boomeritis).

    On the other hand, YELLOW (2nd Tier) is described by SD: “one begins to look at the group objectively, yet with concern. There is no deliberate rejection of belonging, but the need to be part of something is fading.” on p. 273 and “the interactive universe is becoming more intriguing than autonomy or even community.” on p.274, “I am my own person, accountable to myself, an island in an archipelago of other people,” on p. 275

    I hope no one takes offense to this, I am simply quoting the great books and research that have helped us define integral, evolution and higher levels of consciousness, as our common context in which to communicate. Without the correct understanding of these theories, our application may suffer. And the paradox is that the correct understanding does involve evolution over time if the SD statistics are true (only approx. 1% is at 2nd tier).

    Thanks Marty for the spirit of your thread that reveals a very healthy feeling-context, a rational poetry to compliment my dryness, lol, a real taste of community!


  6. … and here we come to the really touchy, sticky, uncomfortable point that nobody wants
    to talk about:

    The difference between
    2. BELONGING to a so-called INTEGRAL CULTURE.

    There are very clear markers to 2nd tier, integral consciousness, and those markers
    are central to potentially enacting integral theory in its fullness, without partiality,
    confirmation bias, cognitive fallacies, and plain old rationalization.

    Simply, 1. has a high price: evolution in consciousness, intellectual virtues, willingness
    to find out where one has gotten bad data, and/or formed inaccurate conclusions based on
    their data, and/or ‘gotten stuck’ to a perspective that may have been ‘right’ at one point
    (appropriate to ever-changing life conditions), but that no longer is due to contextual
    shifts and new data arising.

    On the other hand, the price of entry for 2. is showing up consistently and ‘vibing’
    adequately so as to not become excluded.

    Clearly, the interesting perspective that Gillian has expressed has demonstrated:
    A. an apparent unwillingness to research the source quoted (complete with page number)
    for Jana’s assertion of Wilber himself stating that collectives do not ‘evolve’,
    B. an assertion of her own that “To suggest that only individuals evolve is totally at odds
    with the Integral paradigm. You are negating the lower quadrants, the ‘we’ quadrants.”
    Actually, what Jana did was to CONTEXTUALIZE the lower quadrants, using Kenny’s
    own words, NOT ‘negating’ them (although that MAY have been how it FELT to her,
    which is both regrettable and understandable).
    C. Then Gillian appears to have become passionate (emotional) about her perspective,
    and as Marty so gently pointed out, projected shadow onto Jana, as the voice of
    confirmation bias is extremely consistent: “If you don’t agree with me, you either just
    don’t know, or you are wrong.”

    PLEASE hear me that I am not trying to disparage GIllian here at all (in fact I’d bet that
    she is fun to hang out with, lovely and intelligent! That’s actually very normal in the
    integral sub-culture, in my experience), just pointing to my central and first point in this
    One must function at 2nd tier or above to inhabit an integral consciousness, which has
    clear developmental and behavioral markers, including an un-natural (seemingly, to 1st
    tier consciousness) tendency to question and deconstruct one’s own perspectives and
    opinions, being open to ALL VALID TRUTH (the heart of true integral), NOT merely
    being open to those carefully selected truths that reinforce our pre-existing notions,
    and ‘make us look thin’, lol!

    To me, Gafni very effectively SELLS the rhetoric of his agendas; world spirituality, the
    unique self, etc., and has apparently overcome his extremely public display of personal
    psycho-sexual issues of abuse and shadow (hey, nobody’s perfect, but this stuff was out

    In my personal opinion, Gafni does an incredible thing, a real intersubjective feat of
    mastery: He is somehow able to dumb down his content and context, and miraculously
    leaves people feeling as though they have been elevated! WOW! I’m always surprised
    at which distinctions he conveniently ‘leaves out’, but many of them are precisely the
    kinds that might arouse the main thrust of this post; the distinctions between individual
    stage acquisition on the path to becoming a better “I”, and mere social acceptance into a
    collective “we”.
    Anyway, that’s just my opinion, as I stated, and I don’t know the guy at all, some of my
    personal friends DO know him well and like him very much; “I’ve got no dog in this
    fight”, lol! (dog lovers: don’t get riled up, I love dogs too! It’s just an old expression!)

    What does that tell me? What extraction of meaning do I come away with from this?

    Gafni is very intelligent and very adaptive, (eventually) copes very well, and is quite
    smooth socially.

    What does ANY of that have to do with true spirituality?

    That’s NOT an attack, believe it or not, that IS a serious question, for those
    not ‘possessed’ by bias against it.
    Seriously, if we have learned anything from history (genealogy, which pathological green
    hates, and healthy green eventually integrates on the path to 2nd tier), it is that some of
    the darkest hearts put on the robes of faith in order to move forward in their agendas
    (BTK was an elder in his church, Jim Jones, the list goes on forever… AND I AM NOT
    trying to imply that Gafni is anywhere near their levels of evil, or manipulative skill, for
    that matter).
    Anyone still reading? LOL!

    “Humor is the instinct for taking pain playfully.”
    Max Eastman

    “Interestingly, Karl Popper points out that progress in knowledge results more from
    efforts to find fault with our theories than from efforts to prove them.” “… You get to
    be right about your beliefs, that’s why it’s important to start examining them.”
    Dr. Van K. Tharp (both)

    “You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down
    the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from
    the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket.
    The friend said to the devil, ‘What did that man pick up?’ ‘He picked up a piece of
    Truth’, said the devil. ‘That is a very bad business for you, then’, said his friend. ‘Oh,
    not at all’, the devil replied, ‘I am going to let him organize it.’”
    Jiddu Krishnamurti

    Helpful links, for those so interested:

    I sincerely hope that my expression of authenticity, honesty and objectivity has not
    offended anyone; we’re all human, and I’ve got a shadow too! Just ask Jana and Marty,
    they WILL confirm that fact with intersubjective anecdotal testimony and exterior

    correlates, LOL! <3 "I just calls 'em likes I sees 'em."
    … and I'm also open to being called on my stuff, too.
    Love and best wishes to all y'all! <3

  7. Eliot- thanks for your differentiation between the qualifications for joining a “spiritual” group and actually evolving one’s consciousness. So different indeed.

    Yes, to join a group, one just needs to know how to stroke the member’s egos and agree with everyone’s perspective.

    …but to actually evolve; that’s a whole other story and not dependent on the group, as the first level of 2nd tier, Yellow, is detaching from the group needs of green to become completely autonomous and independent (the beige of 2nd tier)…then groups come back into play at turquoise but no longer for ego needs, no longer with the delusions of what the group can actually achieve (after being slammed with the realism and “no bullshit” of Yellow).

    Ironically, when people evolve out of their group’s resonate mode, they get rejected, if the group is 1st tier! So sometimes evolution can manifest as exclusion to the group not inclusion, as lower levels will always reject higher levels.


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