The Boy Crisis Meets A Return to Eros – A Dialogue between Dr. Warren Farrell & Dr. Marc Gafni – Part 2
Join Dr. Marc Gafni as he explores our primal need to be needed, the uniqueness of identity, The Boy Crisis and the #MeToo phenomena in the light of our much needed return to eros.
In this video, you will learn…
- How we as human beings die when we don’t experience ourselves as being fundamentally needed
- About the power, gorgeousness and universality of sexual energy and desire – and how we are all a part of #MeToo
- About the demonization of male desire
- That uniqueness is a core structure of reality and reality intends uniqueness
- What happens to boys when their desires are shamed
Enjoy the video here:
As human beings, and this is absolutely critical, we die if we don’t have something in the world which calls us and requires our attention, if we don’t experience ourselves as being fundamentally needed. We have an enormous amount of neuroscience on the importance of being genuinely needed in the world.
The Boy Crisis Meets A Return to Eros – A Dialogue between Dr. Warren Farrell & Dr. Marc Gafni – Part 1
Join Dr. Warren Farrell as he gives a picture of The Boy Crisis, its connections to school shootings, and his vision of where we can infuse hope and wisdom into the #metoo movement.
In this video, you will learn…
- Why boys are falling behind girls – especially in reading and writing – in all sixty-three of the largest developed nations.
- How plastics in our water causes girls to develop more quickly and boys to develop even more slowly.
- How boys are pushed toward pornography early in life.
- How society systematically sets up men and boys to see themselves as disposable.
Enjoy the video here:
Warren Farrell is spending his life thinking about men and women. This intimacy with the science around boys’ lives brings him painfully face-to-face with the increasing challenges boys face.
When he started seeing the results of PISA, the international exams for high schools, come in, he saw in all sixty-three of the largest developed nations boys were falling behind girls – especially in reading and writing – the biggest predictors of future success in developing countries.
The existential risks we are facing “are not different in kind, but they are different in magnitude and speed,” says Daniel Schmachtenberger in a recent podcast—called the 2050 Podcast, The No Fluff Podcast about the Big Picture, Positive Impact & Life Purpose. The exponential tech we created cannot “be put back in the bag,” so we need to create what he calls “anti-rivalrous environments that make us safe stewards of the level of power that exponential tech brings, or the human experiment completes.”
In a more poetic way he elaborates further that exponential tech is bringing us the power of Gods. Now we have to have the love, prudence, and wisdom of Gods to guide us.
Daniel says that creating an anti-rivalrous environment has never been done and there are a few prerequisites that need to be built into the prototype system:
- We need to make sure that the system doesn’t incentivize harm.
- The prototype needs to be big enough, so it can be a close-loop system—meaning it needs to be something like a city-state.
- The system needs to be anti-fragile and autopoietic.
In order to create it, we need to tap into a different sense of our humanity, says Daniel.
How Do We Create a Unique Self Symphony?
This new sense of our humanity is what we at the Center for Integral Wisdom and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution call the new human, Homo Amore Universalis, that is enacted by all people realizing their Evolutionary Unique Selves and coming together in a Unique Self Symphony.
Learn more about how to create a Unique Self Symphony in our 5-part video series “The Power of a Unique Self Symphony” on MarcGafni.com:
How can we create “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” that Charles Eisenstein alludes to in lots of his work? How do we co-create a world that works for 100% of humanity, as Buckminster Fuller has called it?
From Sexual Ethics to Sexual Eros Part 4
Let us give two very simple examples of the body’s knowing: diets and sexual partners. New diet books proliferate, with dozens of them being published every year. Every new diet claims to have cracked the code to easy weight loss. The well-known fact, however, is that diet books have a minimal impact on people. People cannot regulate the most visceral function of the body—eating—based on external rules. The truth is that we do not need diet books. The law of the body always knows when you have had enough to eat and what kinds of foods you should be eating. But when the wisdom of the body is drowned out in the din of our busy lives, we turn to diet books. The diet books almost inevitably fail us if we do not first reconnect to the erotic ethics of the body.
To hear the voice of the body, we need to become proficient in our discernment between Eros and pseudo Eros. Let’s say we feel hurt by some event in our lives. We fall into the hole. We are afraid to stay in the hole, so we seek to fill the emptiness with pseudo Eros. We reach for a Baby Ruth candy bar. We get an immediate rush of sugar. It is damaging to virtually every system in our body. Our consumption of sugar violates our Eros. Candy bars are pseudo Eros. But you do not need a diet book to tell you that. Just feel the experience in your body after one, two, and then three candy bars. When we deny the truths of the body, we begin to read diet books, in all the arenas of our lives. Our Eros becomes blocked, and we lose access to the living divine presence that flows through us.
In the second example, we consider our sexual partners. With whom should we have sexual relations? There are many relationship and religious books that answer this question. But actually, in order to know whom to have sex with, we need only to access the truth of our bodies. Our bodies know perfectly the distinction between sex that is an expression of our vitality and sex that is a violation of our vitality. Relationship books or laws governing sex will not get you there.
The Rejection of Body Absolutism
But that does not mean that diet books or ethical books are unnecessary. Akiva writes, “If the Torah would not have been given, we would have learned all wisdom from the Song of Solomon.” We have cited this Tantric teaching several times in order to open up the radical wisdom of the body. But that does not in any sense imply that we want to revert to the body as our sole source of ethics. The Secret of the Cherubs rejects a kind of body absolutism in which the body becomes the sole Holy Grail. This rejection of naive body absolutism is essential for three primary reasons:
In the body there are states of profound expansion that yield great wisdom. This is the natural state of the body when the character armor is shed and the force of the divine flows unobstructed.
From Sexual Ethics to Sexual Eros Part 3
The old split between body and soul that lies at the heart of Western civilization has not healed or transformed our world. There is a better way to live. Imagine a world in which we called the courtesan a sacred intimate and the great enlightenment implicit in the sacred secrets of the body became known to every man and woman, young and old. What if a new sexual humanism began to teach us what it means to live in Eros in all dimensions of our lives?
The principle we just articulated—that all failures of ethics have their source in a breakdown in Eros—reminds us just how vital a return to Eros is. There is only one choice at this crucial juncture in history: love or die. Love outrageously, or die. It is not enough merely to love one’s family. We must participate in the evolution of love. This happens when we realize that love is not an ego strategy for comfort. Real love is outrageous, not merely sweet human sentiment but the very essence of existence itself. Outrageous love is the evolutionary love that animates and drives the self-organizing universe. Outrageous love is Eros, suffusing and driving all reality.
Love in the Body
Sex is but love in the body. In Hebrew Tantra, the body is not merely a vessel to hold the light. Rather, it is the highest form of light. In the image of Hebrew Tantra, at the moment of the world’s inception (called “cosmogenesis”), a divine shaft penetrates the divine circle, and vessels are formed that hold light. The light is too intense for the vessels. In a defining primordial event, the vessels shatter. Some of the light from the vessels returns to its original source in the Godhead. Some of the light descends downward, where it becomes trapped in the shards of the broken vessels. This is taken to mean that hidden in our physical world of embodiment—which is a world of broken vessels and broken hearts—there is light that can be liberated by the one who has attained mastery.
From Sexual Ethics to Sexual Eros Part 2
In sexuality we are all vulnerable. To be a great lover in the sexual, technique is woefully insufficient. Genuine sexual Tantra has nothing to do with circulating the energy up your spine through practiced breathing. Genuinesexual Tantra is about making love with an unguarded heart. This requires radical vulnerability. Authentic sexual Tantra is about merging your heart with your yoni and phallus. Yoni and phallus are not merely exterior forms of genitalia. They are qualities of being that live in every man and woman. It is only from that place that you can be vulnerable enough to risk being ultimately fierce and ultimately tender. It is only from that place that you can risk sexing your partner open to God or letting your partner sex you open to God.
Both of these wonders require your total surrender. The ethics of the sexual is the ethics of vulnerability. You have to be willing to let your partner witness both the surrender of your power and your surrender to your power. Your small self and contracted ego disappear in erotic sex. In sex Eros, we bypass ego and access our most sacred, scared, and secret selves.
A new vision of human possibility emerges from our vulnerability. “Sex is ethics” means that we are radically loyal to the vulnerability aroused by our sexing. We are loyal even after the ego rushes back in, eager to reassert its dominion. Loyalty means that we do not—years later—tell a different story in which we negatively revise our experience of the sexual. Sex that was beautiful, mutual, and vulnerable cannot ethically be recast as predatory or abusive. Regret is not rape, just as arousal is not consent. That is a violation of the Holy of Holies. Remember the two teachings of Akiva: “All the [biblical] books are holy” and “The Song of Solomon is the Holy of Holies.” The sexual love song is the Holy of Holies. To falsely narrate a sexual experience or to break sexual boundaries without invitation is to violate the Holy of Holies.
From Sexual Ethics to Sexual Eros Part 1
We recently had dinner with a colleague who has written some significant work on Eros. It is far more nuanced than virtually anything else out there. In general, we think her work is studded with insight, and we are delighted to recommend it. However, we believe she makes two important mistakes that need to be addressed in the spirit of public debate because they are so impactful in terms of how we experience our lives.
First, she collapses the sexual and the erotic. For her, Eros is a term that for the most part refers to the sexual. She is talking, however, not about banal sex but about what is often called great sex. By Eros she means sex that is, at least on some level, hot and deep. She then makes a very dramatic claim: that Eros by its very nature is transgressive. With this we take exception. The nature of the erotic (including the sexual) is subversive but not transgressive. The difference between these two positions is vast.
Transgressive means to violate an appropriate value or boundary. Subversive implies the intentional subverting of cultural values or boundaries for the sake of a higher vision. Transgressive undermines that which should not be undermined. Subversive is revolutionary, undermining that which needs to be overthrown. The difference is subtle but highly significant.
Our colleague is somewhat of a sexual anthropologist. She looks at the practice of sexuality and finds that what is most alive in people’s sexual lives involves transgression—by which she means transgression of the cultural mores held by society or even by the people themselves. Of course, that is exactly the point we were making in the previous chapter. But we would argue that transgression is not the ideal state of the sexual but what one might call the unconscious or shadow expression of the sexual. It is descriptive of the fall of Eros. The goal is to move from the unconscious to the conscious, from shadow to light. When we liberate Eros, we are able to access the aliveness of transgressive sex in the context of our committed relationships of whatever nature they might be. The way to do so is to restore temple consciousness—that is to say, a world in which sex is not transgressive but subversive.
Sex is subversive in that it points to an order of being beyond the conventional. Ordinary reality involves pragmatic surface relationships in which each person looks out for his or her own self-interest. The basic social contract of society is built on precisely such notions of individual self-interest and civil interaction. Sexuality models the possibility of breaking the boundary of the superficial to enter the deep. Sex, in its ideal form, subverts the “normal” order of society.
CIW Board Member Kristen Ulmer has written a fantastic book: The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead.
Listen to her talking to CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni about her book, her own relationship to fear, and her (r)evolutionary approach to cope with fear in our lives.
In their dialogue, they also talk about what Marc calls Kristen’s sacred autobiography:
“How did you, Kristen Ulmer, in your experience of things, how did you come to be the person that the world needed to write this book?”
Here is the amazon description of the book:
We all feel fear. Yet we are often taught to ignore it, overcome it, push past it. But to what benefit? This is the essential question that guides Kristen Ulmer’s remarkable exploration of our most misunderstood emotion in The Art of Fear.
Once recognized as the best extreme skier in the world (an honor she held for twelve years), Ulmer knows fear well. In this conversation-changing book, she argues that fear is not here to cause us problems—and that in fact, the only true issue we face with fear is our misguided reaction to it (not the fear itself).
Rebuilding our experience with fear from the ground up, Ulmer starts by exploring why we’ve come to view it as a negative. From here, she unpacks fear and shows it to be just one of 10,000 voices that make up our reality, here to help us come alive alongside joy, love, and gratitude. Introducing a mindfulness tool called “Shift,” Ulmer teaches readers how to experience fear in a simpler, more authentic way, transforming our relationship with this emotion from that of a draining battle into one that’s in line with our true nature.
Influenced by Ulmer’s own complicated relationship with fear and her over 15 years as a mindset facilitator, The Art of Fear will reconstruct the way we react to and experience fear—empowering us to easily and permanently address the underlying cause of our fear-based problems, and setting us on course to live a happier, more expansive future.
Enjoy the Dialogue and Read the Transcript Below:
Hello Kristen Ulmer.
Hi Marc, how are you?
I am delighted to hear your voice and delighted to be here with you for this long awaited dialog.
This is Marc Gafni. I am privileged to be the president of the Center for Integral Wisdom. Kristen Ulmer is both a dear friend, a board member, and a world leader in authority on the subject of fear.
We’re here, Kristen, to talk about, after we did an initial dialog, I think it was four months ago on our new book, Return to Eros, which is about reframing and evolving love in culture and articulating a new [sexual 00:00:52] narrative and a new narrative of Eros, we’re now coming full-circle in to understand, what’s the first step? In a certain sense we did the second step first. Return to Eros is about reclaiming Eros, re-eroticizing our lives on every level: innovation, creativity, sexuality, and transformation. But there’s something that stands in the way, and then that which stands in the way is fear. [See the dialogue below.]
It’s the hidden fears of our lives that are often hidden even from ourselves, and you have spent your life engaged in this topic. I remember when we were doing work together a decade ago as you were winding down the first phase of your skiing career, and me being Jewish told you that, “We only just buy ski clothes, we would never go down any of those mountains you go down.” Oh my god, no way. But you were one of the people in the world that created extreme skiing. You were the best woman extreme skier in the world for, I think, many years, and faced down fear of an incredible magnitude, literally the fear of death that goes with some of these beyond imagination, James Bond runs dropped in by a helicopter. You literally spend your life staring into fear.
Then you continued with an intensive process of zen training and zen buddhism with my colleague and friend and your teacher and friend, [inaudible 00:02:28]. And then you began to integrate those two, to integrate what you had studied in psychology, your expert practitioner status and living in the face of fear, your zen training, and really brought these different parts together into what I would call a new whole, a new synergistic emergence, a new evolutionary offering that never existed before. And that brought you to write your book which is just a great, great, great gift.
The center was actually excited to help facilitate the publication of the book through Adam Bellow and Harper Collins. Oh my god, congratulations, what a huge gift. Tell us the name of the book!
First of all, thank you for the amazing introduction. I don’t think I’ve ever had an introduction quite like that before so well done.
My book is called, The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead. Pay particular attention to the subtitle, Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead, because I actually don’t teach that fear is a holdback. It’s actually our reaction to fear, or our unwillingness to deal with our fear in an honest way, that’s what holds us back, not the fear itself.
Beautiful, great. A great distinction. Fear is what is, it just is, and how we react to it, how we engage it is what can be a deadly obstacle.
Let’s maybe … Kristen, we’ll talk maybe about 20 minutes so that people can get a sense of just the depth of this or at least a taste of the depth as they go in order of the book.
Let’s maybe begin, if it works for you, with what we call in our distinction, “Sacred autobiography.” How did you, Kristen Ulmer, in your experience of things, how did you come to be the person that the world needed to write this book?
by Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
This blog post is based on a deep dive private study session I did in the Dharma of the Center for Integral Wisdom, the dharma of Unique Self, World Spirituality, and Evolutionary Eros, that I am studying and being initiated into by Dr. Marc Gafni, who is my teacher, my friend, my colleague, the co-founder and President of the Center of which I am the Executive Director.
In the first part of our session we talked about the innate modesty of the enlightened person.
The highest person, the highest Rebbe, the highest master is the one who can hold confidentiality. That is the nature of enlightenment. Not all must be shared. You might know great wisdom but you do not need everyone to know that you know.
The initiate into an esoteric tradition is the one who can keep a secret. He keeps the wisdom that he or she knows a secret. The word esoteric comes from the Hebrew word seter which means hidden. Keeping a secret means to live in the mind of God.
“Normal people,” when asked to keep a secret, will only tell two people… who will then tell two people… which is why there are no real secrets in the world anymore.
To live an enlightened life means to become essentially self-referential, to not be dependant on the passing fads of the frivolous because you do not have a grasping need for that extra hit of attention you get from telling a secret. You can be wise, do good, and change the world but you do not need to tell everyone.
That is the major teaching of the Eastern traditions. Enlightenment means that you are one with everything. There is no outside. So why would you need anything from anyone else. The very notion of there being anyone else outside of you is already a sign of your unenlightened state.
That is certainly true. Yet, the complete opposite is also true.
If you really get the nature of Enlightenment and you are in relationship with another person, that other person is all of reality just as you. So, when this person doesn’t call or doesn’t write back or is rude to you, it is not just your ego getting hurt by another ego. It is all of reality doing that to you.
To love from that place means to wait breathlessly for the other person to call or write. It is to empathize and feel and care so deeply, so completely that it hurts. From that place you want to share everything.
How is it possible that both of these are true?
In the Eastern traditions that is often seen as the dialectic of the absolute and the relative truth.
Absolute truth means that there is no other. It means to be totally self-referential. Absolute Love is a state of Oneness that is impersonal because there is no person left. There is only One Self that is No Self. There is no outside. And because of that there is no inside either. Inside and outside don’t even make sense.
Relative truth however is all about relationship. There are parts that are in relationship, that are attracted to each other, and that form greater wholes that are parts of an even greater whole… ad infinitum. Relative Love is all personal. It is about communion. It is about giving up your autonomy to become part of a greater whole.
However, in our Unique Self World Spirituality lineage of evolutionary mystics, we maintain that these two truths are one in the Mind of God. These are no absolute and relative truths that are in fact mutually exclusive opposites, but these seeming opposites live in a dialectical tension within the Absolute. The distinction between absolute and relative truth, absolute and relative love is a false dichotomy. It comes from a logical mind that cannot hold paradox.
Love in this dialectical sense is both absolute and relative, personal and impersonal. It is not only communion, nor is it just the autonomous state of All-Oneness. Love is exactly the sweet spot between autonomy and communion. It is the space in between – the space in between the Cherubs on top of the Ark in the Holy of Holies of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, as we call it in our lineage.
It is station 3 of the three stations of love that move from falling in love, through falling out of love, to falling in love again at a higher level that transcends and includes the first two… or from submission, through separation, to sweetness… from pre-personal oneness, through personal autonomy, to a communion or intimacy, in which both partners don’t lose their distinctness.
In dialectical thinking, the first two stations act like thesis and antithesis that seem mutually exclusive. Yet, at a higher level the dialectical tension is solved (not dissolved) into a new synthesis.
Real intimacy or communion are only possible between partners that are not separate but distinct. That goes further than the whole-part relationship that is often used in the two truths doctrine with the absolute being the ultimate whole, while the relative is built from wholes that are also parts of a larger whole and so on.
In Marc’s teaching the partners are not only parts of a greater whole. Rather, they are unique expressions of the whole that offer a unique perspective, a unique taste, and a unique intimacy into the whole, while also being animated by it.
This is a principle that goes all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain, which is what Dr. Marc Gafni means when he talks of the intimate universe, the evolutionary Eros, or that reality is relationships.
The Intimate Universe at the Most Basic Level
An example of that on a subatomic level became obvious to me through my study of physics earlier in my life. Looking at it tells me something about reality at the very basic level.
On A Return to Eros
In this translineage conversation, Sianna Sherman, Sally Kempton, and Dr. Marc Gafni talk about how they each view Eros, Shakti, radical aliveness and how we can go about embodying this sense of allurement in our lives.
Sianna Sherman is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher, evocative storyteller, and passionate speaker at conferences and festivals throughout the world. She is the founder of Rasa Yoga, Mythic Yoga Flow®, and co-founder of Urban Priestess® – a platform that serves the empowerment of women. She was featured in Yoga Journal as one of the 21 top teachers shaping the future of yoga. Sianna has a unique ability to touch the human heart through story, transmission and devotional practice. As a globetrotting yogini, she leads high-vibration gatherings, teacher trainings, workshops, sacred site retreats and pilgrimages as an offering of Love. Sianna is an innovative, visionary spirit with a deep devotion to Soul Alchemy, and her teachings are a true convergence of science, mysticism, art and yoga. Her vision is to serve for the Benefit of All Beings & awaken magic into the world!
Sally Kempton teaches meditation as a process of inner exploration, in which we learn to integrate heart, mind and body in order to experience our natural state of wisdom and love. Sally also offers a wide variety of classes on yogic wisdom texts, as well as hands-on, contemplative practices for moving through psychological obstructions, understanding the intricacies of inner life, and how to apply spiritual principles to relationships, work, and life in our time. Students say that her classes create an atmosphere of support and joy that allows deep exploration. “Sally’s classes are deeply transformative,” a student says. “Her guidance is gentle and loving, yet challenging in all the right ways. She brings yogic teachings out of the books, and into real life in a way that makes it totally practical.” Though Sally offers many courses for beginning meditation students, she is also regarded as a ‘teacher’s teacher’, whose approach inspires long-time practitioners to free themselves from routine meditation practice, and move deeper.
Dr. Marc Gafni is a visionary thinker, social activist, passionate philosopher, and author of ten books, including the award-winning Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, the two-volume Radical Kabbalah, the recently-published Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter, and Tears: Reclaiming Ritual, Integral Religion, and Rosh Hashana. Marc Gafni holds his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. He teaches on the cutting- edge of philosophy in the West, helping to evolve a new “dharma,” or meta-theory of Integral meaning that is helping to re-shape key pivoting points in consciousness and culture. Together with Dr. Kristina Kincaid he authored the recently published book A Return to Eros that is the topic of this dialogue.
Oh, my God, welcome, it is so good to be here with you Sally, Sally Kempton and Sianna, Sianna Sherman. Two goddesses incarnate, and teachers and transmitters and what an absolute delight to be with you. We’re here to talk about Return to Eros, which is so critically crucial exciting, delighted, honored to be with you. Sally, I turn to you.
Okay, so the first thing I think we need to establish is exactly what is Eros? Maybe Marc you could give us any definition of Eros that really goes to the heart of it, just so everyone will be on the same page in this conversation.
Fantastic. Thank you, Sally. When we speak of Eros, we’re talking about something which is core to reality. Eros existed for at least 12 billion years before there was sexuality. We know that. Eros is the experience of radical aliveness, moving towards ever greater contact, and ever larger wholes. That sentence, which is birthed over 20 years is the nature of reality, the experience of radical aliveness, moving towards ever greater contact and ever larger wholes. That basic movement is the nature of reality itself. One could actually say, since God is reality and reality is God, God is Eros. Reality is Eros. God’s not only Eros, God’s Eros, right? That actually shifts everything.[Read more…]
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
God Is Eros: Seven Tastes of Sexing with Marc Gafni
In order to create the bright future that we yearn for, we need a bold vision of the deepest and most Outrageous LOVE that will prompt us to “be and become” the greatest possible version of ourselves.
The key to our joy and personal fulfillment is to engage erotically in all areas of our lives…
Discover the Secret of Eros in Order to…
- Experience pleasure, adventure, and freedom in your life
- Live passionately in your life, all of your relationships, and the work you do in the world
- Return to innocence but on a whole new level
- Cultivate an enlightened sexuality that enhances your ability to live more powerfully in all areas of your life
- Receive the power to live epically & be powerful in the face of challenge
Dr. Venu Julapalli, CIW Board Member as well as founder and president of Integral Gastroenterology Center, P.A., an active private practice in gastroenterology in Houston, Texas, is writing an amazing blog-series both on Medium and his personal blog about Conscious Medicine about the tenets of what he calls Health 3.0.
Health 3.0 is of course very much related to what he and his brother Dr. Vinay Julapalli, in collaboration with the Center for Integral Wisdom and Dr. Marc Gafni, have called Unique Self Medicine.
In his blog, Dr. Julapalli writes about the problem of medicine:
In one way or another, we all sense that our approach to our health is flawed. But we are not as conscious about this as we could be, from both the patient’s and the doctor’s perspectives.