Center for Integral Wisdom Documents in Development

Scholars at the Center for Integral Wisdom are conducting research and co-creating publications which can help to chart the course for the next step in the emergence of humankind. Some of our authors have traditional academic credentials and others are independent scholars and thinkers who bring unique perspectives to bear, often informed by real world involvement in putting insights from World Spirituality into practice.

Note: Dr. Marc Gafni is involved at different levels in many of these projects, ranging from being the lead author, co-author, or at times simply writing an introduction to frame the topic in terms of the larger world spirituality conversation.

The following white papers and extended essays have been or are now being actively developed at the Center for Integral Wisdom think tank:

Unique Self and the Future of Medicine (Dr. Vinay Julapalli and Dr. Venu Julapalli)

There is a dire need for the integration of the art, science, and morality of medicine. This paper explores the deep implications of the Unique Self in integrating medicine. Co-authors and physicians Venu and Vinay Julapalli call on their extensive understanding of the promises and pitfalls of modern health care to reconceive the practice of medicine. The paper provides the framework to evolve medicine through the emergent Unique Self insight. At stake is no less than the future of how we care for ourselves and each other.

Reimagining Humanity’s Identity: Responding to the Second Shock of Existence

Paper by Academic Director of CIW Zachary Stein & President Marc Gafni Published at World Future Review.

Abstract: Foreshadowing arguments from the forthcoming book, Towards a New Politics of Outrageous Love, this paper suggests that humanity is in the throes of a species wide identity crisis, precipitated by a broadening awareness of our impending self-inflicted extinction. This growing awareness that humanity is responsible for its own fate and the fate of the planet is referred to as the second shock of existence. The second shock has spawned a great deal of discussion about the need for revolutions in technological, economic, and ecological infrastructures, yet this focus on exteriors addresses only half the picture. Comparable revolutions of our interiors must also take place—radical transformations in the very structure of our consciousness and species-wide self-understanding. This is a call for attending to the interior dimensions of the current global crises, recommending in the strongest possible terms that tremendous energy and resources be rechanneled into planning for the vast educational reconfigurations facing humanity in the coming decades.

Keywords: Global crises; Integral Theory; Human Identity; Unique Self Theory; Cultural Evolution

Because of the current state of copyright law we only provide a pre-publication draft of this paper. There are bound to be errors that were corrected as the manuscript went through to press, so please track down the published version before citing any of this material or contact us for permission.

Stein, Z. & Gafni, M. (2015). Reimagining humanity’s identity: responding to the second Shock of existence. World Future Review. 7(1) 1-10. [pdf]

*The term Second Shock was coined by Mauk Pieper, see Pieper, M. Humanity’s Second Shock and Your Unique Self. (Independent Publishing, 2014).

Zak Stein on the Global Crises of Measurement: Whose Measures, Whose Future?

The post-modern world is overrun with measures and standards. And although we may not realize it, much of the anomie and injustice of the post-modern lifeworld is a result of the proliferation of measures and standards. Today we do not face the pathology of the “one-dimensional man” who is distorted to fit into one or a few abstract standards (although in some places and institutions, we still face that). The post-modern condition involves the fragmentation humanity, a multi-perspectival personality, refracted through a prism of standardized differentiations and mass-customizations….

Here is some footage from the ITC together with the relevant excerpts from the paper. The whole video can be purchased through the Meta-Integral Foundation.

Between Unique Self and Authentic Self: Why It Matters (Dr. Marc Gafni)

This paper compares the core Authentic Self model offered by Andrew Cohen in Evolutionary Enlightenment and the audio series Awakening to Your Authentic Self as well as other core material, which the core Unique Self model developed by Marc Gafni (JITP 6:1) and Radical Kabbalah. The purpose of this paper is to contrast and compare the implications of these two models and to lovingly critique the potential pitfalls which might emerge from core applications of the Authentic Self model. This paper has evolved into the book Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter. Buy Now>>>

Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment (Dr. Marc Gafni)

This paper outlines the necessity of enlightenment consciousness at this particular moment in the emergence of globalization in all quadrants of reality. It outlines three core moves which evolve the nature of our understanding of enlightenment and opens the door to potential democratization of enlightenment. The paper outlines why the ability to enact the democratization of enlightenment is a critical evolutionary step with critical positive implications.

Prayer and the Personal God: A Pointing-out Instruction (Dr. Marc Gafni)

This paper points to the quality of the personal as a quality of essence. It develops a new pointing out instruction which allows the practitioner to access in first-person perspective the experience of prayer. Together with this paper, there will be a recorded guided meditation which similarly gives the practitioner direct and unmediated transmission of being held by the quality of the personal often referred to as the Mother or the Father. This paper seeks in brief form to reintegrate the post-mythic personal God into the spiritual consciousness of the leading edge. Read “The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal” here.

On Post-Postmodern Art (Dr. Marc Gafni, 2012)

This paper, developed for our think tank, was also published in Parabola magazine in November 2012. The article examines the art of one modern pastor, Claudia Kleefeld, as a model for World Spirituality themes emergent in post-postmodern art. Particularly the paper shows this form of art expressing a new post-metaphysical vision of patterns that connect, a universe animated with Eros and intelligence.

Somatology | The Study of the Mysterious Paradoxes of Unique Self (Lawrence Gold)

Too often, people get entrapped or confused by the whirl of words and abstractions of spiritual teachings not easily connected to personal experience. Zen Buddhist practitioners know this pitfall — confusing the “finger pointing at the moon” with “the moon”, itself. The solution to this problem lies not in the mind, but in the body-sense, which includes feeling and movement, mind and intuition, and which is the living matrix of all expressions of consciousness available to humans. This piece integrates the teachings of Unique Self and of Somatics, linking the languages of spirituality, science and philosophy to immediately accessible and recognizable personal functions. Welcome to Earth. Read the White Paper Here.

The Future of the Holy: From Sex to Eros (Marc Gafni, 2012)

In this paper, Gafni compares Kabbalistic and other wisdom traditions with regard to sex and Eros. He concludes that contrary to classical religion and much of psychology, Hebrew tantra insists that sex is integrally related to love and eros.

The World Spirituality Unique Self Vision of Dharma, Lineage, Students and Teachers (Kerstin Tuschik)

From the abstract:

In this article, I want to elaborate on the concept of “Dharma, Lineage, Transmission, and the Student-Teacher Relationship” in the specific way these words are used in my World Spirituality community and specifically by the initiating teacher of the community, Dr. Marc Gafni. Marc has infused the word “Dharma” with a series of meanings which have become self-evident in our community. Because Marc has not yet written about his expansion upon the meaning of “Dharma” for the broader public, I have felt that it is necessary to do so.

The Unique Self teachings that Marc has brought into the conversation are now changing the way that enlightenment is experienced and taught around the world. In my perception, the power, love and clarity of his teaching and transmission of Unique Self enlightenment has been so profound that now, in many enlightenment circles around the world, Unique Self thinking under a host of names is virtually a given. And that although ten years ago, Unique Self Dharma was still unheard of in the enlightenment world. While this (often unconscious) adoption of the core teaching of Gafni’s Unique Self Dharma is an excellent achievement and a necessary and gorgeous step for a cogent meme to become mainstream, I find it—for the many reasons that I will discuss in this article—very important to give honor to Marc Gafni’s original inseminating work and transmission as well as to the lineage(s) that he is part of and whose wisdom he is embodying and evolving.

I, myself, have come a long way from studying cognitive concepts and maps, methods of self-transformation and healing, to studying and embodying a comprehensive dharma. The insights and discoveries I want to share with you in this article have also occurred along with the transition from being a devoted and passionate student of the Dharma to becoming more and more a teacher and lineage-holder of the Dharma myself. Specifically, I have been teaching, sharing and representing Unique Self Dharma in the German-speaking world, which in turn has deepened my own studies. So, let me share the frameworks that I have encountered and that have worked or not worked for me in relation to the teacher-student-relationship and in relation to the “Dharma.” These discernments are I believe critical for what my teacher Dr. Marc Gafni calls the “post-postmodern integral reconstruction project” which is so profoundly needed in our post-postmodern world.

Unique Self and Levels of Development (Rob McNamara)

The original paper was called Transpersonal Psychology and Unique Self and was submitted for publication to the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice (JITP) 6:1. Because of space limitations in that volume, it was published online as an Integral Institute position paper.

Here is a little excerpt:

Feel into the specific point with which your body-mind rests right now. Only you stand as the timeless unchanging Divinity known as your specific unfolding and evolution of Becoming. To inform, guide and possibly facilitate the stability and evolution of your own Unique Becoming we will next consider this Integral Yoga from a psychological perspective. We will go on a journey through Susanne Cook-Greuter’s conventional and post-conventional stages of ego development.

As you read, practice inhabiting these perspectives as a means of clarifying the evolving nature of your Unique Self and how you can participate with greater fullness in the integral yoking of Being and your Becoming.

Ego development provides a lens through which you can feel and see how perspectives, needs and directed actions towards meaningful ends transform and evolve into ever greater expressions of Embodied Fullness. At each stage of ego development you will briefly explore functional capacities and the state-stage expressions of the Unique Self. As you read, bring awareness as to where you are reading from. Notice how the stages through which you have progressed through can be felt, related to and clarified. Take note of what attracts your curiosity and what invites greater insight into your your integral yoga of the Unique Self. Finally, you may want to notice the ego stages that you have yet to developmentally establish and feel into the pull of your own evolutionary unfolding.

You can read the whole article on

Your Unique Entrepreneurship: Evolutionary KinshipTM, Entrepreneurship, and Unique Self (Liza Braude-Glidden)

Board Member and Scholar Liza Braude-Glidden is the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Culture and Sustainability.

An Excerpt:

Marc Gafni’s Unique Self teaching brings my practical day-to-day reality into deeper coherence with my essential passions. In one of our private sessions, Marc dictated a Summary of his meta-perspective on Unique Entrepreneurship. This white paper on Entrepreneurship is the first chapter of my upcoming book, Evolutionary KinshipTM, In it, I use the metaphor of alchemical elixirs that continues throughout the book to craft a seven-process model of unique entrepreneurship. In the process I unpack Marc’s Summary. I embed the seven productive processes in an allegory of winemaking:


Unique Self invites you to take your own stand, not someone else’s. Taking your own stand means responding uniquely to each connection in your business life, your playful life, and your personal life. No one else can tend and harvest the unique vines of connection that you cultivate. Through Evolutionary Kinship each of us engages our exploding connective capacities from a firm place: Unique Self. You move beyond your separateness and realize your unique expression of love intelligence.

Unique Self Recovery (Lori Galperin)

This paper will describe innovations to the dominant recovery models emerging from their integration with the Unique Self model. The paper will suggest Unique Self as a primary healing model in areas such as clinical dependency, twelve-step, eating disorder treatment, and trauma therapy.

The Unique Self Renaissance: The Essential Role of post Postmodern Art in Co-Creating World Harmony (Louis Parsons)

From the abstract:

Historically, fine art has been at the forefront of every cultural revolution; from cave painting, to the Renaissance to Modernism to Post Modernism. It is one of the the most powerful ways that we have to tell the human story.

With the rise of Post Modernism and the deconstruction of universal truth, mainstream art has lost its soul. Its got stuck. At best, its become facile, pretentious and meaningless.

Combine this with a radical thought: The Unique Self Teaching has a very real possibility, for the first time in the history of man, to make enlightenment truly global. Enlightenment and creativity are two sides to the same non-dual truth: We are the artists of our own lives. We each have a unique symphony of light that is our unique responsibility to shine into this world. As we do this, we express our essential music in the Global Unique Self Renaissance that ushers in evolving world-wide harmony… and ultimately heaven on earth.

I believe that a rising school of Art, known as Unique Self Expressionism has an essential role to play in creating a visual language to that not only democratizes enlightenment, and creativity…. but globally manifests heaven on earth, in a dramatic shift from global dischord to global harmony.

The central difference between this art movement and all of the previous ones is this: We can co-create this art movement entirely consciously, and found it on the very best of all previous art movements in such a way as to serve the consciousness of mankind at every level.

I use some of my own art (Unique SelfScapes) to illustrate the dissemination of this truth. I also layout the principles for this new school of art, sound a clarion call to other Unique Self Artists, and point to how a Unique Self Renaissance can be founded upon creative principles.

I conclude with asking the question, “What art does mankind need now to take us to the next level of evolution?” This includes a surprising re-weaving of art, human development and techno-economic development in the form of Conscious Capitalism (art becoming life, and life becoming art) that is the hallmark of the Unique Self Renaissance.

Unique Self and Leadership (Maureen Metcalf & Co-Authors)

This paper will define Unique Self Leadership and explore the key elements. Because leadership are such broad topics, we chose to use the Innovative Leadership model created by Maureen Metcalf, Belinda Gore, and Mark Palmer as the foundation for defining the Unique Self Leadership model. We are seeking to answer the following question: What would the leadership, and ultimately the world, look like if a significant percentage of our leaders considered the evolution of the divinity of all beings in their process of their decision making? While some leaders may do this on occasion, very few have integrated this perspective as any kind of regular practice. As we envision such a world, we can begin to imagine the enormous potential in having an integrated Unique Self infusing spirit into leadership. Using the model of Innovative Leadership as the foundation, we identify how Unique Self leadership can be realistically implemented in leadership development and organizational transformation. Because many leaders work in traditional organizations that may not be open to Unique Self or other spiritual explorations, we recommend you use the Innovative Leadership Model and associated tools to implement as a companion to Unique Self Leadership.

When someone embarks on the spiritual journey of developing Unique Self and is, thereby, learning to transcend the smaller, less spiritually infused individual self, many of the qualities critical for leadership will develop concurrently. This is not to suggest that spiritually developed people are particularly suited to organizational leadership—it may not be the best use of their Unique Self and they may not be attracted or drawn to this form of service. However, most leaders do not engage in the unfolding of Unique Self. Nevertheless, without the presence of spiritual maturity as a foundational quality in leadership, we find that organizations become stagnant and do not express their capacity for embodying the consciousness needed to deliver desired business value and support the realization of social ideals.

According to Marc Gafni, “Unique Self mystics have taught for over a thousand years that every human action should be preceded by an affirmative statement of meaning: ‘I do this act for the sake of unifying and evolving divinity’ When every significant action you take is for the sake of the All, infused with a profound awareness of evolutionary context, you stop reacting from ego and begin acting from the place of a powerful evolutionary integrity.”