On A Return to Eros
In this dialogue, John Friend & Desi Springer, Founders of the Bowspring Yoga Method discuss with the co-authors of our Think Tank Book A Return to Eros, Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid, the importance of frameworks for a new sexual narrative and the embodiment of Eros.
Welcome, it is delightful to be here with you all. This is Marc Gafni. I’m here with Desi Springer, and John Friend, and Kristina Kincaid, and we are here to do a conversation on the Return to Eros, the new book that Kristina and I are delighted to have just put into the world through our Center for Integral Wisdom, where John, you’re been a board member for a number of years. And, John, you and Desi, Desi, you and John, are now doing this international global community built around this next leading age innovation in embodiment and yoga, the Bowspring Method.
So, maybe, let’s just start. Tell us, Desi, John, John, Desi, kind of a word about it.
Very good. We’re excited about the Bowspring Method as part of an emerging new modeling, a new paradigm that at first, it came out of the modern postural yoga world where four, literally, the last century, in the various styles, it came out of India, and spread through the West, have held a certain modeling, we consider quite patriarchal, very linear, based even on certain bio-mechanical ideas that the skeleton of the human hold the body up, and therefore to make it more upright, and you try to align your spine straight up and down. You pull your tailbone down and pull the top of your head up. This general alignment idea is all over the world.
Well, it was Desi, when I started working with her five years ago and collaborating, she said, “John, you know, have you really considered making the body more curvy?”
I said, “Well, if you do that, you’re gonna get compression in the spine. Believe me I’m an expert of so many years.”
She was very respectful and didn’t really push the argument, but in some time I started to see her point, and through certain evidence that we don’t need to get into right now, that it was, literally, helping my own body and many of our students and clients, not to follow into this modeling of just linearity and straight up and down, and the curviness, what Desi said, when you’re really in this state of true openness, when you are in a state of pure eros, in love, the body is gonna take a natural ecstatic form. If you look at it, it’s not straight up and down. It’s not this linear, like a military position. It’s a curvy, open position, and not just on the front. It’s on all sides so this has been a huge shift for us. We’ve been putting it out. Now, a large part of the modern postural yoga world is even shifting toward curvy, dynamic, functional movement. This is the really rage right now. We’re offering a very organized, systemized method, the Bowspring. That’s what we’re calling it.
Since the beginning of recorded history human beings have been harnessing the environment around us very successfully. Up until this time we have focused outward. We have come to a point, however, where we are beginning to look inwardly and harness ourselves. Human beings are beginning to be more self-observant and are inventing techniques to give us the capacity to recreate ourselves and heal ourselves through various forms of somatic education.
Thanks to Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna we now can overcome negative conditioning that causes us to suffer both bodily and mentally. Because of these two pioneers we now have become empowered to control our own physiology. In his book titled The Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement, Hanna writes of two pioneers in somatic education—F. Matthias Alexander and Elsa Gindler—stating that they confirm the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. They had no other option.
“If Alexander was to improve his stage career he had to find a way to improve his voice. He decided to study himself and diagnose what was wrong. To the end, he used the simplest form of biofeedback device: a mirror. He stood before it and watched his own movements. Eventually he saw that his neck was distorted … that it was a distortion of his throat passage, causing him to strain his vocal chords. This observation of the typical, but unconscious, movements of the somatic retraction was the beginning of the Alexander Technique.
“George Bernard Shaw concluded that the Alexander Technique was the beginning of a far-reaching science. Later Aldous Huxley was to say, ‘Alexander’s technique gives us the things we have been looking for … a method for the creative conscious control of the whole psychophysical organism.
On A Return to Eros
In this brilliant dialogue, Dr. Warren Farrell, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Dr. Kristina Kincaid discuss the newly published Think Tank Book A Return to Eros, the #MeToo Crisis, Shame, Male and Female Role Models, and the much needed new sexual narrative that the book offers.
Transcript of the Dialogue
I am delighted to be here with Warren Farrell and Kristina Kincaid. Kristina Kincaid is my co-author and partner in this wonderful book that’s actually behind Warren there, A Return to Eros. Maybe Kristina will show us a copy of the book as well, awesome. And Warren is a dear friend of ours and a board member of the Center front of wisdom, which is our think tank that’s committed to evolving the source code of culture itself. Both in terms of scientific issues, economic issues, business and relationships, Eros are the social structure and fabric of our society. And we’re in the middle of this incredibly poignant, potent powerful and painful moments, which we’ve been talking about at the think tank for 70 years.
Which is the crisis of sexuality in the culture and the crisis of Eros. Right? The crisis of identity, right? The fact that there’s not a genuine narrative of identity, of purpose. There’s not a genuine narrative of sexuality, we don’t have a real universe story and finally, there’s no narrative of power. So four narratives that are missing, a narrative of power, of identity, of sexuality and a universe narrative. A narrative of meaningful universe itself. And in that absence, right? Every manner of the dogs of hells are loosed, right? Because of course sexuality is the single most powerful force that we meet in our everyday manifest world and yet we live in this world, where postmodernity has deconstructed all distinctions around sexuality.
And yet we sense the centers gravitas. It’s not quite like eating, right? And yet we have no distinctions around this gravitas, we have no rules of consent, we have no narrative of sexuality. And so Kristina and I, had that really delight when the think tank sponsored this project deeply. Right? To actually engage for a number of years and in authoring this book of A Return to Eros. Like it is the radical experience of being fully alive … That’s the full title of A Return to Eros – The radical experience of being fully alive – Sex, love, eroticism in every dimension of life. And in some sense we could say that a return to our Eros is the best response we think available today, to this me too moment.
I and so perhaps Kristina perhaps will begin with you, any thoughts you have on just A Return to Eros in response to me too. A Return to Eros, why it matters to you, right. Your just initial thoughts then we’ll go to Warren, right? We’re just to talk about the book and why the book matters. And why it actually has the capacity and to really change the source code, to really change the conversation. So Kristina.
Today is the first day of Chanukkah and we, the team of the Center for Integral Wisdom with our President Dr. Marc Gafni, want to give you a little gift.
Get a little taste from our Reclaiming Eros Self Study Online Course
Listen to the Story of the Holy Snuff Box
Marc Gafni has also told the Story of the Holy Snuff Box on his blog:
Everybody knows that Holy Beggars hold the world together. Thus would one modern master introduce the following sacred story. Never, never pass by a holy beggar, and they are all holy. Walk across the street. Go out of your way! Who knows who he really is? Who knows what great soul lays hidden in that tattered beggar? You never know… You never know. All you can know that is if someone asks, they must certainly need.
One day a beggar came to see the Holy Israel, Master of the Name. He was angry and depressed. “What kind of a God do you have. I used to be rich – I helped many people. But now look at me – I have lost everything. It’s not fair. How did such a fate fall upon me?!” And with that the beggar broke down into tears.
“Sweet Yossele,” said Israel, Master of the Name. “All the mysteries are in your own life. Think back to Yom Kippur six years ago.”
And now the master Israel had Yossele’s complete attention. For how did he know that his name was Yossele – and how could he know what he had done six years ago? Master Israel continued. “It was a fast day, the holiest day of the year. A day when we pray all day long. People on that day are at their weakest, but also at their highest. You remember, Yossele, that you brought the snuff box to the prayer service?” For although on this fast day eating is proscribed, fragrance is permitted. Often, as in the prayer fellowship I grew up in, snuff boxes would be passed around, to offer fragrance to revive the spirits for prayer.
Imagine being fully expressed with an unstoppable life force that aligned you with the will, the desire, the knowledge and the creative impulse to engage ALL areas of your life full-on; without fear or shame stopping you from moving forward. Imagine the transformative power and positive impact you’d have on your personal relationships and potentially be a major influence in the world.
This is what you will learn and become through taking this 9-week video course, professionally filmed on location during the First Festival of Love in Holland.
Uncover the Secret Powers of Eros in Order to…
- Become fully alive, fulfilled, and at home in your own life
- Live a life of passion, purpose, and integrity to fulfill your most important goals
- Discover a new relationship to sexuality as teaching you how to live erotically in all the non-sexual dimensions of your life
- Enrich not just our personal existence but our whole society
- Find the power to kindle radical Outrageous Love in your life for your loved ones and beyond
- Reimagine your life and all of the reality to create the world that works for everyone
- Find joy, vitality, and success in every area of your life
This course is the ideal companion to our wonderful think tank book A Return to Eros:
It is important to understand that Unique Self Somatology has its roots in ancient Hinduism, yoga, Christianity and the discoveries of Feldenkrais… Clinical Somatic Education is created based on solid science. Ancient Hinduism, though it seems not to be so scientifiic, REALLY IS. It is just that now we have the scientific knowledge and words like neuroplasticity and psychoneuroimmunology to explain what Hindu stories and mythology really meant. Just as Jesus used stories and parables to teach “universal Truths” so did many of the other cultures.
As I explained before, William James wrote volumes about this in the last century but he couldn`t prove. NOW WE CAN!!!
Also carl Jung traveled the world studying many of the various religions. He came to the conclusion that many were teaching the same thing. That being–through various SPIRITUAL SOMATIC PRACTICES we could attain the spiritual consciousness of God–the God within.
Also Ken Wilber has written extensively about this.
In my own tradition, Methodism, John Wesley also wrote about practicing the METHOD to attain this. That is why they are called Methodists.
There is an old Zen saying “There are many paths to the moon”.
Thomas Hanna, the creator of Clinical Somatic Education says in his book The Lyrical Existentialists that modern western somatic philosophy is identical to the philosophy of ancient Hinduism.
In the tradition of the Center for Integral Wisdom we call the HOLY GOAL Unique Self Somatology which encompasses all of the wonderful paths to the holy within and all of the wonderful practices that aid us in reaching our goal. This includes singing, chanting, praying, studying the dharma, yoga, Feldenkrais, somatics and many others.
In the following article taken from Yoga Journal you will get a taste of our various somatic practices (methods) that make new neural pathways in our brains, which transcends the “ego” and transports us into the blissful and erotic Holy–the holy that makes us WHOLE.
For more information, visit:
Good news! Many of our Evolutionary Church attendees have requested an alternative to Paypal to make donations. We are now using the Tithe.ly app for Evolutionary Church offerings and other donations.
***Evolutionary Church is ALWAYS free of charge, and we never turn away anyone because of financial hardship.***
Donations are simply an option for those who feel called to give in this particular way.
Here is the tutorial on how to download the Tithe.ly app on your phone so that you can make your donation:
- Find Tithe.ly in your App Store
- Install it
- Open it
- Search for Center for Integral Wisdom
- Click Give Now
- Add a payment method (if you haven’t already)
- Create your donation and choose a project to donate to
- There is also a possibility to create a recurring donation
Or simply use this link:
On A Return to Eros
In a recent dialogue, Swami Chetanananda (“Swamiji”), the abbot and spiritual director of the Movement Center, a teacher in the lineage of Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, who is a powerful presence and a source of great nourishment for those who come in contact with him and John Friend who has developed two major systems of yoga and is a master and transmitter of the yoga tradition in an embodied form, came together with CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni to discuss the recent book of the Think Tank A Return to Eros.
- Why we so desperately need a new narrative of Universal Eros as it is layed out in the book
- Why it is essential to overcome the fear of our own bodies and fear of our own sexuality that is so deeply engrained in our culture
- Why sexual ethics needs to be grounded in a sexual Ethos
- How this new narrative of Eros results in a new narrative of the sexual that is both deeply grounded in the old traditions and yet evolves way beyond it
Transcript of the Dialogue
Enjoy the Meditation with Dr. Marc Gafni and Read the Transcript Below
Get comfortable. If you are listening to this while you are driving please don’t get comfortable. Anyone else, get comfortable, in a good posture, your back upright, not rigid. Your chest is lifted and open. Become aware of the sensations in your body. Feel your buttocks sitting on the seat. Feel your spinal cord lifting up to the heavens and down, rooted, as axis mundi, as what the Sufis call the pole, into the earth. Your Unique Self becomes the pole between heaven and earth. Feel the sensation of air against your skin, feel your clothes as they sit on your body, feel the air as it moves across your face, feel your muscles throughout your body. Feel your belly.
Be present with the sensations of your body, bring awareness to these sensations and when your mind wanders, gently bring your mind, in a nonjudgemental way, back to center and pick up from where you left off. Become aware of your breath. Feel the breath entering in and out of your nostrils. Feel the warm air, feel the parts of your body that move with the breath, feel your chest rising, your belly expanding and contracting. Feel your abdomen, feel your shoulders dropping.
Noticing, becoming aware, not directing your breath in any way, and stay there for a while, following your breath.
Following is an excerpt from The Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement by Thomas Hanna:
As many of you may already know, Clinical Somatic Education, also known as Hanna Somatics, is based on the findings and discoveries of Moshe Feldenkrais. Feldenkrais called his work functional integration. As such, the improvements that come about are as much psychological as they are physiological.
Somatic education involves the systemic change of the entire human being. The personality, the directions, the intentions of the person are modified. Feldenkrais understood that the human soma is a neutrally organized cybernetic system that is self-adjusting, self-correcting, and self-improving — if that system is given new information with which to interact, and if that system is allowed to become sensorally aware that there are other options than the ways in which it habitually acts. The human soma is self-improving because it has an ancient, built-in bias toward efficiency.
At the Center for Integral Wisdom, we are committed to changing the source code of culture to create a world of Outrageous Love, through Outrageous Love. At the core of that vision and mission is a new, Integral narrative for living that we articulate, evolve and deliver into culture through a set of groundbreaking books, courses, live and online events, and media.
This whole website that we lovingly refer to as our web-plex – because it is actually a whole set of websites – is brimming with exciting media that are conveying this grand narrative to you. Many of these media are totally free of charge to give everybody the possibility to study this important material.
And now we make it even easier for you to access these great teachings. As of now, we make all our free content available without sign up or login necessary.
Just start exploring our website now and you will find hundreds of media for FREE.
Welcome to a Guided Tour through the Web-Plex
Although you now have access to our whole free content throughout all our portals, feel free to sign up for as many Free Offers in as many portals as you like. These Free Offers contain some of our best content that we consider ideal for you to get started. And the best part is that you receive it right into your inbox in easy to handle portions. With your unique login, you will also be able to comment on many of our pages and blog-posts and start a dialogue by doing so.
Also make sure to join us for our weekly online Evolutionary Church with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Lisa Engles.
Sign up for the Premium Membership for only $15/month or for $129/year (a savings of $51!), and get streaming access to the entire archive of Integral Wisdom content both here and on www.marcgafni.com, containing videos and dialogues exclusively offered through the Premium Membership.
For a clickable list of our free and premium media, click on this screen shot here:
Can We Give Our Children a Healthy Climate by 2050?
For CIW Board Member and Founder of the Healthy Climate Alliance Peter Fiekowsky that question can easily be answered with a resounding YES. The more interesting question is of course the question of HOW.
This question can be answered on two levels:
On the first, according to Peter, it is simply a matter of engineering – with solutions already in the making and many more coming – to lower the CO2 levels from the current 410 ppm (parts per million) to 300 ppm in our atmosphere by the year 2050.
On the second and deeper level it is a matter of capturing the public imagination.
According to a recent article on Forbes about him called The Man With The 300 / 2050 Vision, “Peter states…
…that 300X2050 is a second moonshot. We need to set the goal first (3oo ppm) and achieve it, some way, somehow, and very soon, by 2050. All our efforts need to be engineered to that outcome. But Neil Armstrong only stepped on the surface of the moon July 20, 1969 because it captured the public imagination, because there were so many stories to tell along the way, because we were with him, and the scientists of NASA the whole way. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” As a child, I built toy space ships. We played ‘astronaut,’ and followed each satellite and Apollo launch. Now today how do we inform and inspire the world on what will be our most important journey: to a sustainable planet, our gift to all who will follow? The science will be there. The money is there, trillions across the world now sitting on the sidelines. We lack only the political will, which will come if We the People take the lead and are ready to dream as big as we need to, given the scale of the problem — and the opportunity.”
On September 18, Peter Fiekowsky was part of a breakfast event at the UN SDG MediaZone, just outside the UN headquarters in New York City, to announce the launch of the 300×2050 online funding platform and an initiative to identify, fund and achieve a new climate goal—true Climate Restoration.
by Dr. Marc Gafni & Dr. Kristina Kincaid
It was the sensual Persian poet Hafiz who understood the full power of erotic surrender in every arena of life. The ecstatic poem “Tripping Over Joy” transmits something about the power of surrender:
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?
The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.
Loosening the Reins
The one master who saw it as his role to reclaim the erotic at the core of life was the Baal Shem Tov, Master of the Good Name. We have already met this master of Eros in this book, and we will encounter him many more times along the way. The Baal Shem Tov was an eighteenth-century magician, mystic, and healer who founded the movement of spiritual renewal, Hasidic Judaism, that swept Eastern Europe in the 1700s. The story is told of a fateful meeting between Jacob Joseph of Polnoye, a well-known religious master of the time, and the Baal Shem.
The master from Polnoye had apparently heard of the Baal Shem before but had refused to join his ecstatic movement. Then Jacob Joseph heard that there was a lone individual in the marketplace telling stories. His stories were preventing people from coming to the prayer house for morning prayers. He had his attendant summon the renegade storyteller with the intention of severely reprimanding him. The Baal Shem came to him, smoking his pipe.
It’s hard to believe that Evolutionary Church is quickly approaching its 1 year anniversary! Together, with your love and support we’ve initiated a grassroots movement that’s responding to our times of global uncertainty, crisis and breakdown with outrageous love.
We are a virtual, global Unique-Self Symphony of 6,000 people (and growing) who are answering the evolutionary call to create a world equal to our potential… and it’s exciting to feel the depth and breadth of goodness, truth and beauty that’s expressed in, through and as US every Saturday.
Our weekly live broadcasts of Evolutionary Church will always remain free of charge to anyone who wishes to join us! We now have a Facebook Page for Evolutionary Church! Please take 2 seconds to “like” our page here: www.facebook.com/EvolutionaryChurch!
Now is the time to deepen our commitment to a planetary awakening in love through a Unique Self Symphony by giving YOU a home to actively participate in creating a world equal to our potential.
And that’s why we created the Evolutionary Church Collective.
(which will aid in the evolutionary unfolding of homo universalis)
Let me start off by saying that you might think that I am jumping from one subject to another. Since many of us have been conditioned to believe that the body and the mind are separate, we have a tendency to understand things in a certain way. What I will try to do in this paper is to weave these two seemingly separate entities together so that the reader will understand that they are really ONE.
Many of the world’s religions teach that the spiritual journey involves transcending the ego. What is the ego? It is the learned historical self that tyrannizes us. We become enslaved by habits, fixed beliefs and knee-jerk reactions that don’t serve us. When we are under the tyranny of the ego we are enslaved by habitual perceptions and ways of being. These ways of being, which are these habituated patterns of acting, are the somatic structure of what we call personality and character (see Thomas Hanna’s “Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement”). If we understand this, we realize that we are our own worst enemies. When we are under the ego’s control, we are on automatic. We are puppets or automatons. The only way out is so look within.
For a more comprehensive description for what the ego actually is and does, see the book “Your Unique Self” by Marc Gafni. Thomas Hanna also wrote a book about the how the ego tyrannizes us. The title of this book is “The End of Tyranny.” Hanna also writes about how sensory motor amnesia tyrannizes us and causes bodily pain the disease. So, the whole human (SOMA) becomes tyrannized by habits — habituation that enslaves us in every way — body, mind, and spirit. This is known as the false self. It is my purpose in this article to show how we can gain freedom from this inner tyranny that causes so much human suffering. It is also my purpose to show a way out of this suffering through SOMATIC EDUCATION.
by Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
Without any marketing or press, one of our key think tank projects at the Center for Integral Wisdom, A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive – co-authored by Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid – is already #1 New Release on amazon.com in Sacred Sexuality right now. Many of our American friends have already received their copy.
Here is the review I wrote – since I had the pleasure of reading it already pre-publication – which amazon wouldn’t allow me to post:
Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid have written a very important book for our times. The way they talk about Eros, it takes it out of the bedroom and the context of our most intimate relationships into the largest context there is. Eros, as they understand it, is the interior of all the forces of attraction in our universe, the very forces that drive evolution to more and more complexity, more and more consciousness, and the potential for more and more and deeper and deeper love. In human beings, that same Eros manifests as a sense of radical aliveness, creativity, and wonder.
What becomes crystal clear upon reading: It is a failure of Eros that lies at the core of so many of our contemporary collective crises that threaten our very survival as a species. When we repress our sexuality, Eros breaks down, which is followed by a breakdown of ethics. When, on the other hand, we expect the sexual to fulfill all of our erotic needs, sexuality breaks down under the burden it cannot bear.
So, read this book and be amazed of the depth of insight and realization that awaits you by truly engaging its content.
If you feel numbed out and not able to access your full aliveness, read this book.
If you feel shamed about your sexuality and haven’t found a way out of it yet, read this book.
If you are an activist feeling more and more hopeless in your desire to make a real difference in the world, read this book.
If you are a spiritual seeker wondering about the relationship between sexuality and spirituality, this book is for you.
Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
Some Editorial Reviews
“Marc and Kristina are going where few dare to to go and showing us what it means to live a fully erotic life!”
–Dr. John Gray, author of Beyond Venus and Mars
This workshop will introduce the Unique Self Emergence Process through practices that are immediately applicable in your life. You will leave this intensive with a clear map to guide your own Unique Self emergence, one you can work with immediately. By engaging in a series of core practices, participants will gain an embodied experience of the three states of consciousness that characterize the journey from Separate Self to Unique Self. You will also gain a vision for how the Unique Self Emergence Process might be used to facilitate emergence in individuals, couples and groups.
In this two day workshop you will:
- learn the basic principles of the Unique Self Teachings.
- explore how Integral Theory, Developmental Psychology, the Enneagram, neuroscience, as well as the ancient and modern spiritual traditions, are woven into the process
- discover how the USEP’s core practices facilitate the journey from Separate Self to Unique Self.
Join us in an experience that will open your heart & imagination to the creative possibilities of the process.
WHEN: Friday September 22nd from 9:30 am – 9:00 pm and Saturday September 23rd from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
COST: $40.00, which includes snacks & lunch
RETREAT FACILITATOR: Barbara Alexander and a team of certified USE Facilitators
DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: September 13, 2017
by Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
A couple of days ago, many of us returned from the fifth annual Mystery School with Dr. Marc Gafni in Holland. Still basking in the aftertaste of it, we are in the process of integrating it all into our bodies and our lives.
At the Center for Integral Wisdom, our mission is to evolve the source code of culture by evolving the memes and distinctions that govern both our personal and collective lives. The Mystery and Wisdom Schools are our Dharma labs for the new distinctions that we are developing and learning how to deploy into culture to evolve the source code.
As our Academic Director Dr. Zachary Stein has stated so beautifully in a previous blog-post:
“Across the centuries, mystics have convened mystery schools on the edges of civilizations and worldviews. Intentionally small and remote, peopled with trusted initiates, these schools have been the storehouses of innovations in consciousness, sourced in ancient traditions, guided by a memory of the future. Off stage and out of sight, a few have always been preparing seeds for planting in the compost of the rapidly degenerating culture of the so-called civilized.”
Mystery School is where we come together as evolutionary mystics, the Wheel of Dharma turns, new dharma is coming down, SHE dances, and we can literally feel the source code shift.
Mystery School is not a personal growth seminar. And yet, paradoxically, personal transformation happens at much higher rates than at any personal transformation event. All of us committing to evolving the source code of culture, to the conscious evolution of the all, is exactly what fuels our own transformation with the power of the all.
Once we realize that we are not separate from, but unique embodiments of, the Evolutionary Impulse it all starts to make sense.
As long as it is about MY transformation, I separate myself from the all and I am narcissistically lost in ego. Once I begin to serve the evolution of the all, that same impulse becomes alive in me and my own transformation becomes a byproduct of the evolution of the all.
When you read my testimonial below and the ones of my colleagues linked to at the end, keep in mind that they are written with great delight from within the energy of the Mystery School. They are not 3rd person accounts but rather 1st person mystical testimonials.
Each year at the end of the Festival we say: This cannot get any better! And then it does get better. And OMG, we did it again! This was the most awesome Mystery School of Love EVER!!!
Deepest bow to CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni, our dharma teacher, who opened the space again and again, every morning, every moment with open heart, penetrating insight and clarity, deep humility, devotion, purity, and holy audacity. He has been more humble, devoted, pure, open, and audacious than ever, serving the dharma, serving the Goddess, serving the collective field and the awakening of every single human being in the room and on this planet while dancing with us to the end of love, the end of shame, and the leading edges of culture.
By Mary Ann Gray Voorhies
Unique Self Somatology is a path that is not tied to any one culture. The main thrust of the practice is to overcome “bad” habits or habits that do not serve us well. In somatic language this is called habituation. The goal of this somatic learning is somatic freedom. It occurs by reprogramming the whole brain. Clinical Somatic Education is a discipline that helps to reprogram the sensory motor cortex. When the reprogramming of the frontal lobe/neocortex occurs and when both of these disciplines are practiced together, this is called somatology or holistic somatics. The reprogramming of the neocortex is commonly known as growth and spirituality.
I have practiced both of these disciplines and am certified in both of them. Education for Living seminars is a series of workshops that helps to provide somatic experiential learning that leads to more wisdom, self-understanding, love for others, and somatic freedom from automatic knee-jerk behavior. It also leads to freedom from emotional suffering as clinical somatics leads to freedom from physical suffering. My passion in life is to help to spread these two new fields of somatic learning.
Just as Marc Gafni talks about the democratization of enlightenment, I too, envision through the practice of these two somatic disciplines that the process of becoming more healed and whole human beings can happen at a remarkable rate. This freedom from our own conditioning is what Thomas Hanna called THE FAIR STATE. In the article WHAT IS SOMATICS? Thomas Hanna said that somatics is optimal, physical, and MENTAL health. He also says that this is a great leap for mankind and because of the knowledge that we have now, we have landed upon a new continent. In his book BODIES IN REVOLT, he talks about the fact that the human race is evolving and mutating. And it is because of our new somatic understanding that somatology will provide a giant leap for mankind.
by Dr. Zachary Stein – after the 15th and final Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain, which concluded a 10 year cycle
In a popular culture that has re-packaged the great cultural revolutions of the 1960s we have to ask exactly where and what a “counter culture” could be in today’s world. One answer is that the counter culture has gone mainstream, it’s everywhere now—massive numbers are marching for women and the Earth, even more are engaging in political critique and ethical activism on social media. Cultural evolution proceeds via the center metabolizing the periphery; the fringes of culture move to the core. What was a rare view becomes common and identity formation and cultural production follow suit. Whole industries spring up around ideas and practices that used to be tucked away in obscurity. As the mainstream drifts to accommodate and commodify cultural innovations for the masses, true cultural innovation continues underground, as it always has been, articulated first and raw in some place off the map.
Across the centuries, mystics have convened mystery schools on the edges of civilizations and worldviews. Intentionally small and remote, peopled with trusted initiates, these schools have been the storehouses of innovations in consciousness, sourced in ancient traditions, guided by a memory of the future. Off stage and out of sight, a few have always been preparing seeds for planting in the compost of the rapidly degenerating culture of the so-called civilized.
The Catskills seem to be trying to hide Shalom Mountain in clouds and endless back roads, making it feel secluded enough to shout secrets into the air through a megaphone. The mystery school displaces the center of self and knowledge, shifting us to the surrounding realms of imagination, memory, instinct, and revelation. Everything is on the table, as Gafni becomes a trickster, weaving Tantric Kabbalah from ancient texts, modern science, and depth psychology. Paradox and laughter co-emerge in the dissolution of culture-wrought truncations of self, world, and God. Audacious sovereign greets audacious sovereign in a dance of co-empowerment and natural hierarchy. Gafni is repeatedly moved to tears by sacred texts, so much so that a late June thunderstorm is easily felt as God moved to tears by reading the book of Gafni’s life. So much was taught that I might only select one lesson—one from the calm in the morning after the storm.
T’shuvah means literally “to turn” and is usually translated as penitence or repentance, meaning roughly to turn towards one’s sins and mistakes, to understand them, and to fix them. This is exemplified in the tears shed by King David before the profit Nathan, followed by the King’s humble admission, “I have sinned.” He had sinned, and would sin again. David, like others in the line of the Wisdom of Solomon, is identified as one whose greatness is intimately bound up with flaws and error. The finitude, limitation, and darkness of the human being have long been the mystical keys that open the heart of Tantra. We are exactly (precisely nobody but) the ones making mistakes, taking risks, landing in failure, illness, and shadow. Religions are built around the core idea of a fall. From Adam and Eve to maya and samsara, humans are destined to make mistakes and live with them. You and I will make mistakes again and again. On one view this is terrible—the fall is our shame, and it means that no one is innocent, no one is really truly good. On another view—the non-dual view—the fall is great news because everything is grist for the Divine Mill. The Good is not some static absolute innocence of non-action. The Good is making mistakes in the right direction. We can only learn and evolve by virtue of the mistakes we make and how we respond to them.
T’shuvah is a practical answer to the idea that because humanity is destined to make mistakes we are all tragically flawed. T’shuvah is a practice for turning mistakes into insight and transformation. The practice is clear, simple, and could not be any more radical in a broader cultural where mistakes in some areas of life are enough to mark someone as untouchable for life. What could be more radical than a practice allowing for an individual and collective turning toward sin, failure, and mistakenness? We can all lose face together, abandon the moral high ground together, and turn then toward each other before God, seeking only learning and transformation through and within our own and each other’s mistakes. Individually and as a culture we must turn towards our mistakes and thus toward our Unique Selves, which are fumbling toward actualization, making mistakes in the right direction.
Importantly, the situation and dynamics in which we make mistakes have occurred before and will occur again. History repeats itself, both personally and culturally. T’shuvah becomes a kind of mystical fixing when practiced as way of life. By turning towards the dynamic that caused us to fall, seeing it, and committing to change it into something new, t’shuvah liberates the memory of each person and culture, destined as they are always to carve a unique path of mistakes. History itself must be unwound from the trauma of repetition and freed from the faltering stutter of eternal return. Beyond and after the total reciprocal forgiveness of each and everyone there is a new planetary culture that is possible. The mystery school felt like a living visitation from the future of humanity, transformed from the fall, moving up from Eden.
from the Mystery School of Love 2015 and the forthcoming Online Course “God Is Eros”
Some Statements by Dr. Marc Gafni in this video:
Guilt means I did something wrong. Shame means that I am wrong. Shame is the root of all evil.
Click to Tweet:
In best sexual moments, the meaning of life is self-evident.
Sexual shame is the experience that I cannot come home in the sexual.
The start of the Irak war was directly related to our sexual confusion.
The video ends with an invitation to a practice:
Explore how the sexual has influenced your life by writing your own sexual sacred autobiography.
Our theme this year:
- Begin your day with body work and an Evolutionary Satsang
- Open your heart, mind and spirit to Dr Marc Gafni’s teachings
- Choose your afternoon workshop
- Grow and transform