Do you want to increase your ability to receive pleasure and deepen your intimacy in all your relationships? Would you love to have the courage to love fully with an open heart, and be in action according to your Unique Gifts?

To do this, the key is to align with your sacred feminine life force—your Shakti.

Unfortunately, our fast-paced, busy lives can leave us depleted, burned out, and disconnected from this essential source of energy, passion, creativity and delight…

That’s why we’re excited to share an online event that CIW co-founder Dr. Marc Gafni is a part of, called The Shakti Summit, a free online event taking place July 8-9, 2015.

The Shakti Summit – July 8-9
You can sign up for free here!

Dr. Gafni will be joining some wonderful colleagues — including host Lisa Schrader and inspired teachers such as Sai Maa, Jeff Brown, CIW leader Sally Kempton, Sheri Winston and others — who will share their takes on how you can live the wisdom of the feminine face of essence by accessing the Shakti fire that is available to you.

During this summit, you’ll also learn how to:
• Speak your truth, set boundaries and ask for what you want
• Revison your relationship to sexuality
• Learn to embrace your embodiment and heal old body-image issues
• Fuel your creative gifts with sacred erotic energy
• Discover the joy of living each moment as sacred

Register for The Shakti Summit now — and learn to embrace your Shakti as “the primal life force of the feminine face of God.”

To listen to Dr. Marc Gafni’s teaching during The Shakti Summit 2015 on Outrageous Love and a new vision for the Masculine and the Feminine Beyond Venus and Mars, click here>>>

This is part 4 of this series. Click here for part 1, part 2, and part 3.

The practice of writing Outrageous Love Letters is modeled by the Song of Songs, written, as they say, by the great lover King Solomon. It is the practice of Rumi… and Hafiz.

It is also a hidden Chassidic practice that was lost in the Holocaust when most of the Chassidic Masters were killed. Marc has recovered this practice from what he calls the “Inside of the Inside.”

Having engaged this practice myself on a regular basis I can attest that it radically trains our love muscles.

[Read more...]

This is part 3 of this series, click here for part 1 and part 2. The following passage is a paraphrased summary of some of this weekend’s teachings.

Changing the Game: a New Outrageous Love Story

“The only community of people that has ever changed the story, is a community of people coming together and saying: We are going to love each other outrageously,” said Marc Gafni during the 5th annual World Spirituality Retreat at Esalen 2014 and “There is not only a covenant between God and the children of Israel but also a covenant between the children of Israel and their children and their children… a covenant between the generations. Israel are ‘those who wrestle with God.’ That is us. Every generation is responsible for the evolution of consciousness. It is our turn now.”

The transformation of the all includes our own transformation: If you work your issues just for yourself, transformation is difficult to achieve. If you work your issues for the sake of the evolution of love, that changes the entire game. The energy you now have available for your own transformation is huge. It is fueled by the evolutionary impulse itself that is living in you, as you, and through you.

But it doesn’t stop there. Seeing someone living their Unique Self, we cannot help but fall in love with them. That doesn’t mean we will engage them in a romantic sense, but it will inspire us and others to live their Unique Self as well.

That is what creates what Marc calls a “Unique Self symphony.”[Read more...]

This is the second part of a series. For part 1 click here.

As a lover of this trans-lineage World Spirituality Dharma that Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton wove together so beautifully during this Retreat and that is both deeply rooted in the age-old Wisdom Traditions and in the Integral Framework, I am always fascinated by how Marc weaves his magic again and again, how the Dharma stays fresh and alive and unfolds into ever more clarity and depths. And it was a pleasure to see Sally teach and get her transmission as well.

So, for starters, what is this Dharma we are talking about?

The following passage is a paraphrased summary of some of this weekend’s teachings.

First of all, Dharma is not Dogma. It is the best take on reality we have, based on pre-modern, modern, and post-modern insights, weaving together what we know about the patterns that connect.

Marc Gafni’s two sentence Dharma of this weekend:

“We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.”

So, what is the difference between ordinary love and outrageous love? Why doesn’t love do what it is supposed to do? Why doesn’t it have the healing powers we intuit it should have?

[Read more...]

The 5th Annual World Spirituality Retreat with Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni “Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: The Path of Outrageous Love

After a truly magical trip along the Pacific Coast from LA to Big Sur, with Elephant Seals, Sunshine, and last but not least my dear friends Liza Braude-Glidden (CIW Board Member, Scholar and Senior Teacher for Unique Self) and her husband Reed, we arrived there early enough to wander around a bit and see the myriads of Monarch Butterflies and a stunning sunset. Yes, Esalen IS a magical place.

Yet, the best was still to come.

Seeing these two master teachers, Dr. Marc Gafni, Co-Founder, Lead Scholar, and President of CIW, and Sally Kempton, Co-Founder, Vice-President, and Senior Fellow of CIW, teach together, “Two Tastes of the Same Voice” as Marc said so beautifully, was what I would call Third Tier Magic. They gorgeously modeled for us how two strong teachers from different lineages can come together, make room for each other, and teach together.[Read more...]

An Esalen Weekend with Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni, November 21st-23rd

Dear Ones,

Loving Your Way to Enlightenment is an annual weekend workshop that Marc Gafni and I do each autumn at Esalen. Though the topic is always love, each workshop is different, and each is a unique combination of talks, discussions, partner work, chanting, and of course, meditation. This year, the theme is the multi-leveled experience of love as the union of masculine and feminine–both in our inner world, and in the structures of our experience of the many forms of personal and transpersonal love.

We’ll discuss the masculine and feminine as inner principles, and how they function uniquely in each of us. We’ll access the inner Beloved as a personal archetype and as a form of the inner Self. We’ll unfold the principles of subtle Eros as a cosmic principle and as a personal experience. We’ll open the powerful evolutionary field of mutual awakening through dialogue and partner meditation. We’ll meditate deeply, invoke deity energies, and chant.

And, most of all, we’ll awaken our hearts.

My co-leader, Marc Gafni, is a dynamic and inspired teacher of evolutionary wisdom, a scholar of Jewish mysticism, and a master of chant. He has a gift for empowering community, opening hearts, and creating innovative paradigms that give us new ways of looking at our experience. And, he’s funny.

[Read more...]

Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart, Oct. 18-20, 2013

Click to Flyer Enlarge

Please join Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni at Esalen October 18-20 for an astonishing weekend experience of Evolutionary Love Practice.

There are two practical inquiries that will sit at the core of all of our sacred play:

What does it take to live your life in love?
What does it mean to be lived as love?

The 4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat
“Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”
October 18-20

During this weekend, we (Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni) promise to help you discover some real answers to these questions, which are rich with potential to transform the rest of your life.

Back in the 70s, a little book called The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment swept the spiritual world. Its message was simple: Enlightenment does not require heavy effort and asceticism. It only requires that you choose love in all circumstances. Making this simple insight alive and real in your life is the change that changes everything.

We each individually realized this insight during times when we were searching for light in the complexity of our own lives, and something deep within us recognized that choosing love in all circumstances is the secret. We also both knew that just deciding to love in all circumstances is not enough.

You can’t just decide to love. You need to find out how to kindle love in yourself. You need to practice love. You need to understand the different forms and levels of love. And you need a way to keep kindling your love-core ”” through meditation, through chant, through contemplation, and through “outrageous acts of love” that change not only your relationships, but you yourself.

That’s what this weekend retreat – Falling in Love with the Divine – is about: Loving Your Way to Enlightenment.

[Read more...]

To register for our Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain Retreat Center, October 10-13:
“Evolutionary Intimacy and the New Enlightenment”: (more information below)

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To register for our 4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat, October 18-20:
“Falling in Love with the Divine – Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”: (more information below)

Register Now Icon JPG
Venwoude Summer Festival of Love 2013 © Chahat Corten

Venwoude Summer Festival of Love 2013 © Chahat Corten

The Center for Integral World Spirituality is a vibrant community of Virtual Presence and Evolutionary Love Gatherings. We share tremendous Holy Purpose in bringing Unique Self teachings into the world. The Eros that unites us is grounded in simple truths of Unique Self teachings with which we all deeply resonate.[Read more...]

“Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”

October 18-20, 2013

Buddha Sunset

Photo by CIW Board of Trustees member and Managing Director Steve Raymond

Prepare to transform your relationship to the divine!

Two of our beloved and transformational World Spirituality heart and wisdom masters and teachers will merge their gifts to help you unfold your own secret heart-tantra. Awakened Heart meditation teacher and author Sally Kempton joins Dr. Marc Gafni, Unique Self author and Kabbalistic lineage holder, for this ecstatic and unique offering at Esalen. Last year, we were joined by many outrageous lovers, some seeking expression for the divine through their primary love partnerships and some seeking to deepen their own heart mysteries for themselves. Esalen is situated on the breathtaking Pacific Coast, and the organic, healthy offerings there will rejuvenate your body, heart, spirit, and soul as you fall in love with the Divine and awaken to your soul’s destiny. Register soon for this wonderful retreat/workshop before it fills up![Read more...]

(c) 2011 Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

©2011 Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

The ego is angry at what is done to it. It very rarely feels the same outrage at what is done to someone else. The Unique Self is not merely outraged against injustice done to its own person; it is hurt and outraged by any and all injustice. The ego often fights large causes of injustice as a way to bolster its grandiosity. Unique Self fights the battles of injustice in its own backyard, even when there is potential collateral damage to its own power and status.


Further Discussion:


One of the things this distinction reminds us of is the importance of responding to real hurt in the world.  In one call from the Living Beyond Complexity telecourse Dr. Marc Gafni co-taught with Clint Fuhs, Nicole Fegley, and Zak Stein, Marc spent one entire phone call expounding upon the “problem of evil” in the world, also referred to as a “theodicy.”  In the course of the call, he explained that the level-three response to enormous suffering in the world is to cry out “Why?” in pain, to feel the pain, and to question the injustice behind it, which is part of the tikkun, or fixing, of the injustice.  In one of his earlier manuscripts entitled Uncertainty, (a book that will be rereleased along with his manuscript for Certainty), Marc explores the Talmudic teaching on this.  An excerpt of that discussion is reprinted below from the chapter entitled “The Path of Wrestling”:


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By Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles


When the ego’s heart breaks, then the heart closes and contracts. When the Unique Self’s heart breaks, the heart opens through the pain into greater love. For your ego, the interior face of the kosmos is at best a concept. For Unique Self, the interior face of the kosmos is the infinity of intimacy.







Further Discussion:


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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

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

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...]

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.

what-do-i-wantDaily Wisdom from Sally Kempton’s Awakened Heart:

In this wild new year, I’ve been finding that asking the right question is even more useful than making a resolution. Here’s one I’m working with: ‘What do I really want?’ I notice that when I ask the question deeply, moment to moment, the answers are often surprising. What your personal, historical self wants is often different than what your impersonal self–the soul–wants. What your heart wants is often different than what you think you should want. So, asking this question at deeper and deeper levels can help you recognize the pull of the soul’s longings, while also honoring the wants of the personality-self. As you keep asking the question, and bringing to consciousness the different layers of longing inside you, they begin to integrate.

See more updates from Sally on Facebook.

Michael Phelps wins in the men's swimming 200m individual medleyFrom Sally Kempton’s Awakened Heart:

Someone asked me to write something about appropriate effort–effort that doesn’t involve struggle. Here are a few thoughts, and I’d love to hear what others have to say.

Appropriate effort starts with clarity of intention. The intention will create directionality to what you do. Once you’ve made the intention, notice the objections and doubts that come up, and ask yourself, “Can I let them go?”

Notice the resistance. Notice the stress. Notice the expectations, hopes, fears. Keep asking, “Can I let this go?”

Ask for help from the invisible world. Learn to sense the slight shift in the field when your request is received.

Then do what you have to do, with full presence. Presence is the secret. When you’re making effort with full presence, your effort has a feeling of inevitability and power.

For me, the secret of acting with appropriate effort is to ask myself, “If this were the last act of my life, how would I want to do it?” That question always brings me into full presence, without fear for the outcome. It lets me bring my whole self into what I’m doing–and savor the process.

From Sally Kempton’s “What is Love?”:

Individual Love

All of us, throughout our lives, constantly do what I did project onto other people and things the feelings of love that actually come from within. “It was the music,” we say. “It was Ned (or Sarah, or Jeannie). It was the surf! It was my teacher’s presence!” Yet the yogic view is that all of our experiences of human love are actually glimpses of the Great Love. (“God’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,” Rumi wrote. “It hides within these, till one day it cracks them open.”) It is only when love gets filtered through the prism of the human psyche that it begins to look specific and limited. It becomes veiled by our thoughts and feelings, and we start to think that love comes and goes, that we can feel it only for certain people, or that there’s not enough love to go around. We can’t help doing this.

Our senses, mind, and ego, hardwired to give us the experience of separateness and distinction, set us up to think that love is outside us, that some people and places and things are lovable and others are not, and furthermore that love has different flavors: mother love, romantic love, love of movies, love of nature, compassionate love, sexual love, love of the cozy feeling of being under the covers at the end of a long day.

[Read more...]

November 9-11, 2012
Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA
Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart
Weekend Workshop with Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton

This is a weekend of heart-awakening practice–powerful teachings and methods for opening up your hidden capacity for relationship to the Beloved–both within yourself, in the people in your life, and in the world.

It’s been said that the path of love is the easiest of all paths to enlightenment. Relational spiritual practice–devotion–has been part of every spiritual tradition. There are skills to be learned if we want to walk the path of love, and we need to know how to apply them not only in ecstatic moments or times of intimate connection, but also in the moments when love seems far away and difficult to access.

Through talks, meditation, chanting, partner practice and contemplation, we’ll unfold a series of practical steps to an awakened love practice.
Click here to register.

By Sally Kempton

From “What is Love?”

Love as Absolute

Love with a capital L: That’s the Great Love, love as the source of everything, love as radical unity. At this level, love is another name for Absolute Reality, Supreme Consciousness, Brahman, God, the Tao, the Source that vast presence the Shaivite tradition sometimes calls the Heart. The yoga tradition often describes Absolute Reality as satchidananda meaning that it is pure beingness, present everywhere and in everything (sat), that it is innately conscious (chit), and that it is the essence of joy and love (ananda).

As ananda, the Great Love is woven into the fabric of the universe, which of course also puts it at the center of our own being. Most of us get glimpses of the Great Love at some time in our lives perhaps in nature, or with an intimate partner, or in the moment of bonding with our children. We remember these experiences for years afterward, often for the rest of our lives. We remember their numinosity, the feeling of deep connectedness they give us, and the fact that even when the love we feel seems inspired by someone or something in particular, it has a profoundly impersonal, universal quality. And sometimes, the Great Love hits us unveiled, as it were, and changes our lives.

It happened like that for me one November evening in 1970. I was sitting with a friend in my living room, listening to a Grateful Dead album, when without warning, an overwhelming experience of joy welled up in me. The state sprang up seemingly out of nowhere, a sensation of tenderness and ecstasy that seemed to ooze out of the walls and the air, carrying with it a sense that everything was a part of me.

This experience inspired a burning desire to get back to it and ultimately became the motive for my spiritual practice. At the time, however, I did what most of us do when we get a glimpse of unconditional tenderness: I projected my inner experience onto the person I happened to be with and decided (rather disastrously, as it turned out) that he was the love of my life and the mate of my soul.

Join Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni in one week at Esalen Institute for “Falling in Love with the Divine.”