Towards a New Narrative of Identity: First Principles of Unique Self Realization
EVERY PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE for their own awakening. In the same way every generation is responsible for its own evolution of consciousness. There is a covenant of partnership between generations. Each generation commits to contribute its own unique insights to the ongoing transformation and evolution of consciousness. At its core, consciousness is love—the evolution of consciousness is therefore nothing less than the evolution of love. If you then realize that God is synonymous with love, you begin to understand that the evolution of love is no less than the evolution of God. God is the infinite. The infinite is the intimate. God is the infinity of intimacy.
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.
Consciousness = God = Intimacy = Love.
Love is the spiritual technology operating through you as the expansion and transformation of identity itself. Enlightenment is no less than the ultimate transformation of identity, permanently widening and deepening the radius and depth of your love.
I come from a tradition of evolutionary mysticism. Evolution is the creative impulse inherent in the kosmos, to unfold toward ever higher levels of complexity, consciousness and goodness. The great teaching of my mystical lineage, confirmed by my own realization, is that the motive force of evolution is love. To awaken is to know that, as Dante put it, love moves the sun and other stars. As the new biology and physics are beginning to implicitly suggest, love is the interior kosmic force that animates and drives the evolutionary impulse. Love is the strange attractor, the allurement that holds the Uni-verse together. Alfred North Whitehead said that evolution is really the gentle movement toward God by the gentle persuasion of love.[i]—and sometimes far from gentle.
This book intends to unfold the teaching of Unique Self. What is your Unique Self? Unique Self is the individualized expression of the love-intelligence that is the very Eros of evolution and that lives as you. To realize your Unique Self then is your contribution, your gift, to the evolution of love— which, as we have already seen, is no less than the evolution of God. It would therefore be fair to say that to awaken as your Unique Self is to participate in the future of God. It is no small thing to participate in the future of God.
[i] It is worth mentioning that the idea of love as an evolutionary catalyst can be traced to the great American philosopher Charles S. Peirce and his famous essay “Evolutionary Love,” [The Monist 3 (1893): 176–200]. Peirce offers one of the first and best post-Darwinian evolutionary metaphysics, and his ideas foreshadow much of contemporary complexity, chaos, and dynamic- systems theorizing. But his vision, unlike that of most disciplines, was of a universe with depth, and one moving toward love. He was an important Integral progenitor. (According to Zachary Stein in his article “On the Normative Function of MetaTheoretical Endeavors” [Integral Review 6, no. 2C (July 2010): 5–22], “Peirce [articulated] a broad evolutionary vision of the universe where the strivings of humanity are continuous with the evolution of the kosmos. It was a sophisticated and empirically grounded evolutionary ontology where all events are semiotic processes that co-evolve toward increasing complexity, autonomy, self-awareness, and possible harmony. Peirce’s pansemiotic evolutionary theory was a unique [postmetaphysical] view insofar as it was explicitly offered as a hypothesis amenable to correction in light of forthcoming empirical data. It greatly influenced Whitehead and continues to intrigue and inspire scholars in the physical and biological sciences and philosophy.”)
This understanding of evolution allowed Peirce to bring his overarching normative concerns about the trajectory of academic discourses in line with a venerable philosophical tradition that articulated the radical significance of humanity’s cultural endeavors in terms of a cosmic evolutionary unfolding. Ultimately, Peirce, with a look in Kant’s direction, envisioned humanity as capable of multitudinous self-correcting intellectual and ethical endeavors, which ought to result in an ideal communication community coterminous with the kosmos. In this postmetaphysical eschatology, the ideals of harmonious love between all beings and unconditional knowledge about all things stand as goals to be approached asymptotically. With this thought, Peirce rearticulates a philosophical motif that can be traced back through Emerson, Schelling, and Kant to the obscure cipher of Böhme’s mystical Protestant religiosity and its ancient Hebraic and Neoplatonic roots.
Evolutionary love is later a major motif in the world of Teilhard de Chardin and in many of the contemporary evolutionary thinkers who write in his wake. Notable among them is the work of Brian Swimme, who writes in the wake of Thomas Berry and who speaks of the allurement that is the very glue of the Uni-verse. The contemporary understanding of love at the cellular level augments the understanding of the great traditions, some of which also saw love as the primary motivating force of the kosmos. This is the primary position of the Kabbalists, such as my lineage teacher Lainer of Izbica, rooted in Luria and in the earlier Zoharic texts, as well as of many Christian thinkers like St. Thomas and Dante, who talks of l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stele, the “love that moves the sun and the other stars.” For St. Thomas the “dynamic pulse and throb of creation is the love of all things for the infinite” (Huston Smith, 78). Spiritual teacher and scholar Sally Kempton points out that in the Hindu text of Spanda-karikas and other major texts of the Kashmir Shaivism and other Indian traditions, love is described as the intrinsic motivator of the substance of creation. A text called the Maharthi Manthari describes how Shakti, the creative power of the divine, leaping forth in her own bliss, manifests this universe as an expression or even an outpouring of love.
Ken Wilber writes about Your Unique Self:
DR. MARC GAFNI’S INTEGRAL UNIQUE SELF TEACHING IS SEMINAL. What you hold in your hands is a radically exciting and ground-breaking book that will change forever not only how you think about enlightenment, but how you understand, from a post-metaphysical perspective, the very nature of human life itself. The Unique Self work is magnificent, and it belongs among the “great books.” It offers what may arguably be one of the most significant contemporary evolutions of enlightenment teaching. Unique Self brings together East and West in a higher integral embrace of stunning implications. Unique Self is a pivotal step toward an authentic Enlightenment.
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