This beautiful eulogy was given by Dr. Marc Gafni during our Evolutionary Church Memorial. The written version below is taken from the lightly edited transcript. For the video of the service scroll all the way below.
Introduction by Dr. Marc Gafni
Every week we’ve been doing Evolutionary Church with Barbara and Lisa and myself and thousands of us from around the world. It’s been the heart and the throb of where we’re going and the vision we want to articulate together. Barbara and I loved Evolutionary Church. We started 131 weeks ago, and every week we would write a code together, and we’re now in Evolutionary Church.
For those of you who are wondering what to expect, there’s going to be two memorial services.
Barbara said to me, “Marc, when I pass, have a memorial service at church and have then a big evolutionary party. So, at that evolutionary party we are going to see lots of Barbara’s work and Barbara’s clips, and now we’re in church and we’re going to follow the order of church. …
Today in place of the sermons, I’ll gently and humbly offer a eulogy to Barbara, and all through we’re going to be resonating with Barbara, who’s here with us.
Just a few days ago, we heard Barbara say, “I declare the continuity of consciousness.” So, Barbara, right in this moment we declare with you the continuity of your consciousness and know that you’re here with us.
Last Friday night I was talking to Barbara about the code for the next day, but then by the next morning I called and Barbara wasn’t vocal and they didn’t quite understand why. I asked the nurse to put her on the phone. They held the phone to her ear, and Barbara said, “Marc,” and she was excited about church, and then she wasn’t able to speak afterwards. Ultimately, she went into a coma and wasn’t able to wake up and began her transition, but Barbara’s not silent. Her silence in this moment is not a silence of absence. It’s a silence of presence, and it’s up to us to carry that torch.
Barbara’s passing the torch and it’s every single person in this church today that is invited to their, what Barbara called vocational arousal. In order for each of us to light the world on fire with that teaching, with that message, with that aliveness, with that Barbara-ness, and in that, Barbara then shifts now not to silence of absence but to silence of presence. Barbara’s going to become more present in her continuity of consciousness, more available, more alive, more impactful than even ever before.
So as we enter, I’m going to ask everyone just to write three words in the chat box, “Barbara inspires me.”
We actually feel Barbara here. Barbara inspires me. Barbara, can you feel that, love? Feel that everybody. Barbara inspires me, It’s not silence of absence. We’re actually triumphing over death, and the triumph over death was one of Barbara’s deepest heart’s desires, and we’ll talk about heart’s desire. Barbara inspires me. Feel that, feel that just ripple. Let’s lift that like a prayer to the sky. Barbara inspires me.
Barbara was, I believe, the greatest evolutionary storyteller of our time. Barbara was the feminine co-creator. She thought beautifully. She had a clear and sharp and wonderful mind, and anyone who’s read Evolutionary Synthesis, which is about 45 pages, she wrote in 2007 that we’re going to actually reissue, you’ll see the clarity as she gathered thoughts and extensively cited and wove the thoughts together. But Barbara’s essence was to inspire. Barbara told the evolutionary story. Barbara became the campfire. Barbara became the Word. She was the Logos.
Barbara inspires me, and in mysticism and all the great traditions we say that the challenge of death is that a person becomes non-dynamic. They become static. They can no longer influence and impact, which is why in mysticism what we do is, in order to give the person, and in this case, the great leader, the great visionary, the wondrous woman who passed, to give our Barbara, our beloved Barbara, the strength, the energy to take the next step in the journey of the continuity of consciousness. She’s turning to us now and she’s saying “Activate me.” She’s saying “Let me impact you so that I’m fully alive.” So when we write “Barbara inspires me,” it directly impacts and affects all the worlds, upper and lower, and it supercharges, if you will, it animates Barbara’s consciousness to take the next steps. Barbara inspires me. We’re ready to be impacted.
Enjoy this beautiful Video Tribute to Barbara Marx Hubbard
It was part of the Evolutionary Church Memorial for Barbara on April 13th – Created by the Executive Producer of Evolutionary Church and Executive Vice-President of the Center for Integral Wisdom Lisa Witter. If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, click here.
Eulogy by Dr. Marc Gafni
Could we be eulogizing you?
Barbara, you were so not ready to go. You were not done. You were in your 90th year. You are an evolutionary force of nature.
Here we are about to speak your eulogy. I promised you an evolutionary party, and so we’re going to have a big evolutionary party eulogy. Now we’re in church that you loved so much.
Let me begin with a word from my teacher, Barbara, that we spoke about so many times, Dr. Soloveitchik. He spoke about eulogy, drawing deeply from the lineage of the mystics, who said that eulogy is not a whitewash. Eulogy is not pretty words as Hafiz says, when he mocks eulogy.
Eulogy is two things. One is we ask your forgiveness, Barbara. We’re here to ask your forgiveness and we’re asking your forgiveness for not having fully recognized you, not having fully seen you, for somehow taking for granted that we could call you and that irrepressible, gorgeous, relentlessly alive, infinitely positive voice would always be there. It’s almost like we lived in this beautiful home on the ocean, but the ocean was just there, and we stopped quite seeing it. So we ask forgiveness.
Two, in the teaching of the mystics, in eulogy and the days after Barbara’s passed, as her spirit’s, in the continuity of consciousness, is both fully with us and moving beyond the world, in this moment, there is the last opportunity in this lifetime to liberate the person who’s passed, to liberate Barbara, from loneliness.
The Boy Crisis Meets A Return to Eros – A Dialogue between Dr. Warren Farrell & Dr. Marc Gafni – Part 3
In this discussion between Marc Gafni, Warren Farrell, and the board members of the Center for Integral Wisdom we explore answers to several evolutionary questions such as:
- How do we eliminate male disposability?
- What impact has the charter school movement had on the boy crisis?
- Do you find a different number of women who are willing to be a champion for men, than willing to be a champion for boys?
- Kids that do the mass shootings are disproportionately white, is that fair to say? And if so, what do you think of that?
- Men and women desire each other and we seem to have gotten to the point where men are asked to hold all of the desire in society. How did we get out of balance?
Enjoy the video here:
A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive
– On Sex, Love, and Eroticism in Every Dimension of Life, from Drs. Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, reveals the radical secret tenets of relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the holy. They reveal what Eros actually means and share the ten core qualities of the Erotic, which are modeled by the sexual. These include being on the inside, fullness of presence, yearning, allurement, fantasy, surrender, creativity, pleasure, and more.
A Return to Eros shows why these qualities of the erotic modeled by the sexual are actually the same core qualities of the sacred. The relationship between the sexual and the erotic becomes clear, teaching you how to live an erotically suffused existence charged with purpose, potency and power.
To be an Outrageous Lover—not just in sex but also in all facets of your life–you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant whisperings of the sexual. This book will forever transform your understanding and experience of love, sex, and Eros.
with Dr. Marc Gafni
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 the ideal companion to our think tank book A Return to Eros by Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid.
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.
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?
We Cannot Do It Without You
In order to create a better world, a world in which there is freedom and justice and dignity for the lives of all humans and sentient beings, we need a new narrative of reality. We need a new story that’s not only compelling, but accurate in both the exterior and interior sciences.
At the Center for Integral Wisdom, we have identified five key areas that create the framework for this new story. When each of these keys become activated within the individual and within society, we believe that new potentials within humanity will emerge. These new potentials will give birth to viable and sustainable solutions for a new way of living in symbiotic relationship with each other and with the planet.
Key 1: Activate a New Identity
The only thing that affects long-term, sustainable change is a genuine transformation of identity that happens through proven insights about the true nature of ourself and the true nature of Reality. This set of interrelated insights, grounded in both interior and exterior sciences, allows us to link together pieces of information that didn’t previously make sense, and to suddenly gain profound understanding of how we fit into a new whole. Our personal identity up-levels to what we call our Evolutionary Unique Self. Activating a new identity is the prerequisite for the activation of new potentials in humanity.
Key 2: Activate a New Evolutionary Universe Story
While pre-modernity and modernity gave us a vision that drove personal transformation, innovation and progress, postmodernity has failed to give us anything more than a laundry list of the shortcomings of its predecessors.
The result? We find ourselves lost, personally and collectively – unable to effectively move towards a future that promises outcomes comparable to what we saw emerge from the Renaissance: a complete transformation of consciousness which birthed a new set of human potential within every sector including the arts, sciences, spirituality and medicine.
We find ourselves faced with a perilous future – the potential for devolution of our species and the planet unless we’re able to activate a new vision of reality… right now.
Our new narrative is one in which reality isn’t a fact, it’s a story whose creative source is the Evolutionary Impulse, and each of us is personally implicated in the story. With this realization, we’re able to take decisive action with our creative gifts because we know there are needs within our circle of intimacy and influence that only we can fulfill.
Key 3: Activate New Practices
Practices by themselves don’t create change. Practice in and of itself doesn’t work unless we have game-changing insight into the nature of who we really are and into the nature of reality and our place in it.
Within that new framework, we must then activate a new set of sustained practices that reinforce the resonant frequency of those insights so that they become part of our personal and collective consciousness.
Some of these new practices include:
- Evolutionary Prayer
- Outrageous Love Letters
- Embodying Distinctions of the 5 Selves
Key 4: Activate a New Map
Our current maps of reality no longer work for us because they don’t accurately describe the territory that we’re experiencing. In the last decade we’ve experienced a quantum leap in our capacities and potentials in every sector from science and technology to education, medicine and the arts and spirituality. We’ve become a global community of people who can connect – in an instant, with a mobile phone or lap top computer – to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
But we don’t have a map that accounts for where we’re at on the Evolutionary spiral, much less a map that integrates all the information we’ve gained from looking back at our past spirals. And we don’t have a map that shows us where to locate our unique genius within a new vision of reality or that allows us to find others to join our geniuses to create what we most want to give. Which is why so many people have felt lost.
The Wheel of Co-Creation 2.0 is one map that we can begin using to locate ourselves within the story of creation and harness the creative potential of the collective.
Key 5: Activate A New Community
In every generation there are people at the leading edge who come together in communion, each holding a piece of the new consciousness. When the consciousness is held in this sacred space, it becomes the mechanism for evolution. Evolutionary Church has become one such community.
Our work at the Center is as much ecstatic as it is urgent and essential.
With these 5 Keys, we are bringing forth the necessary framework for awakening new potentials within humanity in order to co-create a world worth saving.
We are radically committed to this work, and have been able to continue because of the outrageous love and support we have received over the years from community members like you.
We are deeply grateful and have made the infographic below to show you exactly how you have re-sourced (as we say in Evolutionary Church) our projects since the beginning of the Center in 2011 through your contributions.
Help Us Resource the Center for Integral Wisdom! Your Donation Makes a Difference!
Or Donate the Old Way by Making Your Check Payable to:
The Center for Integral Wisdom
PO Box 702
San Anselmo, California 94979-0702
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.
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
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
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.
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.
He then offers the following plan:
CIW Board Member Peter Fiekowsky is the founder of the Healthy Climate Alliance and a voice for possibility and action in a world going off the tracks. As an accomplished physicist, entrepreneur, and expert in language and brain science, he is developing pathways to achieve futures that humanity wants. His current project is giving our children a healthy climate, which he says can be accomplished by 2050.
At CIW, we know that for a bold vision like this we need to shift the collective consciousness. We need to evolve not only individually but as a culture. We need to evolve not only at the surface but at the deepest level possible (what we call the source code).
That’s why we are excited to announce this new blog-series by Peter Fiekowsky, where he links his scientific perspective with the discussion of memes and distinctions we are so passionate about at the Center.
Here is the first post in his series called Humanity Inventing Its Future:
Are Religion and Art Critical to Restoring the Climate?
“Would we have a better chance of giving our children a healthy climate if we set a goal of doing that?”
I have asked that question dozens of times, and have never gotten a “Yes”. I have also never gotten a “No”. I get stunned silence every time.
Scientists then respond, “It’s too expensive”, while economists say, “It’s impossible.” And then they stop. They implicitly agree that we have an obligation to give our children a healthy planet, and then they absolve themselves by saying it’s too expensive or just impossible. I would say that too–wouldn’t you?
We are excited to announce the upcoming premier of a documentary called American Visionary about our beloved CIW Co-Chair Barbara Marx Hubbard and her life’s work at Illuminate Film Festival, where she will also receive a special award.
Enjoy the Trailer here:
Also, watch the epilogue to American Visionary that Barbara recorded very recently, where she talks about the new phase of her life that has just started.
She says that in this new life phase, in her quest for what we can do to shift this world from devolution to evolution, she isn’t working alone any longer.
She has joined Dr. Marc Gafni and the Center for Integral Wisdom in a series of seminal projects.
The main project is called: The Planetary Mission: To Connect Co-Creators World-Wide on the Internet. It is hosted by the Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.
Some of the Sub-Projects are:
- The Office for the Future at the United Nations as well as at local and regional levels.
- The Great Library in Collaboration with Dr. Marc Gafni, Dr. Zak Stein, Daniel Schmachtenberger & other Thought Leaders to Develop the Books, Teachings, and Teaching Materials which influence the Source Code of Our Culture toward Ethical Evolution.
- An Event in 2018 to celebrate what’s working in the world
- The Planetary Awakening Accelerator, a year-long program together with Lisa Engles and Marc Gafni to accelerate our personal, spiritual, social, and creative potential toward participating in a Planetary Awakening in Love.
Watch the Epilogue here:
That’s the real question underlying this beautiful talk by our Academic Director Zak Stein.
Watch and listen to this fascinating thought experiment:
What would be a “seed bank” of ideas that—if preserved—would allow us to recreate civilization from the ground up, in case humanity survived some sort of an apocalypse?
Playing off of Noah’s Arc, Zak calls it the “Nous Arc.”
Engaging in this thought experiment a bunch of questions arise:
- Who gets to decide what should be in there?
- What should be the content of this “Great Library?” or in other words:
- How can we assure that we give the next generation everything they need?
The Need for Meta-Theories
In order to engage these questions, we need Meta-Theories. What are Meta-Theories?
While theories take the world as data, Meta-Theories take theories as data. Meta-Theories norm the norms of discourse.
Listen to this exciting 20-minute talk and learn:
- What a new legitimate model of teacherly authority and intergenerational transmission could be
- How our image of the ideal human looks like that we can teach into
- Why we need a theory of Cosmos and Self
- Which educational environments we need to create—in contrast to the informational environments that are stressful for most nervous systems
Enjoy the talk:
Enjoy this beautiful introduction and story by Dr. Marc Gafni from our recent CIW Board Retreat:
The Story of Levi Isaac of Berdichev Told by Dr. Marc Gafni
from the book Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni
When you fail to hold the personal, you may begin to engage in manipulation or possibly even psychological abuse. When you begin to see yourself as aligned with the process, which was the great teaching of Hegel, you may inadvertently give birth to the worst evils of Fascism, Communism, and Nazism, all of which were very heavily influenced by Hegel’s teaching that demanded that the individual must awaken and identify with the great evolutionary process of divine unfolding in absolute spirit. In Hegel’s powerful clarion call to align with the ecstatic impulse of historically unfolding evolutionary God, the holiness of the individual was somehow crushed in all the grand rhetoric, with devastating results for God and humans. The process must always remain personal.
For me it was always the Hasidic master Levi Isaac of Berdichev who radically reminded me of the primacy of the personal even when in the throes of evolutionary ecstasy. Levi Isaac was once leading the prayers at the close of Yom Kippur services. Yom Kippur is a fast day and the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar. The twilight hours at the end of the fast are filled with potency. According to the evolutionary mystics of Kabbalah, the enlightened prayer leader, during that time may potentially enter the virtual source code of reality and effect a tikkun; that is, effect a momentous leap in the evolution of consciousness for the sake of all sentient beings, in all generations. This is precisely what Levi Isaac—greatest of all enlightened evolutionary prayer leaders—was doing on that Yom Kippur. Night had already fallen, the fast was officially over, but the ecstasy of Levi Isaac was rippling through all the upper worlds. All beings held their breath in awe of the evolutionary power of Levi Isaac’s consciousness. All of reality was pulsating with him towards an ecstatic evolutionary crescendo. Just as the great breakthrough was about to happen at the leading edge, Levi Isaac spotted out of the corner of his eye an old man who was thirsty. The fast had been very long and the old man needed to drink. So in the midst of his ecstasy, Levi Isaac brought the whole evolutionary process to a halt. He immediately ended the fast and personally brought the old man a drink of water.
Enjoy this beautiful excerpt on Truth and Laughter from our recent Sacred Retreat.
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As are millions around the globe, CIW Board Member Tom Goddard was trying to find his way through the density of this week. He found and slightly edited this beautiful text by Marc Gafni and started to share it with friends and family – then on his blog “The Integral Company.”
He starts out with Marc’s famous lines:
“We live in a world of outrageous pain.
The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.”
And finally ends with:
“…an outrageous social vision, in which each person committing their unique outrageous acts of love participates in enacting a Unique Self Symphony that has the capacity to heal the entire story. An emergent politics of outrageous love begins to take form before our eyes. A politics of outrageous love that is as practical as it is lyrical.”
It seems like more than ever we need to hear this message of hope. More than ever we need to know that we can do something… that we are needed by all-that-is… that we can co-create the beautiful world that we yearn for… a world that works for everyone.
Let’s close with R. Buckminster Fuller:
„There is a young world very ready to embrace a one world revolution to create a world that works for 100% of humanity.”
At the Center for Integral Wisdom, our intention is no less than to participate in the Evolution of Love.
In the world today we look around and see that we’ve made love small. We have exiled love to a particular transient emotion that takes place between particular human beings of a particular gender within a particular legal context.
In our CIW Think Tank, we have an understanding that love is an expression of a much deeper source. For us, love is the animating Eros, the love-intelligence and love-beauty of all reality.
As we wake up and grow up, as we show up in our lives, we become the clearest and most powerful vessels for that love. We are participating in the evolution of love by evolving our consciousness and emerging as our Evolutionary Unique Self.
Are you ready to play a larger game?
You are invited to participate in the Evolution of Love.
Watch our beloved Co-Board Chair Barbara Marx Hubbard and CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni as they explore the Mysteries of the Evolution of Love:
This film was made in November 2015.
Responding to the Second Shock of Existence
Paper by Academic Director of CIW Zachary Stein & President Marc Gafni Published at World Future Review.
Abstract: Foreshadowing arguments from the forthcoming book, Towards a New Politics of Outrageous Love, this paper suggests that humanity is in the throes of a species wide identity crisis, precipitated by a broadening awareness of our impending self-inflicted extinction. This growing awareness that humanity is responsible for its own fate and the fate of the planet is referred to as the second shock of existence. The second shock has spawned a great deal of discussion about the need for revolutions in technological, economic, and ecological infrastructures, yet this focus on exteriors addresses only half the picture. Comparable revolutions of our interiors must also take place—radical transformations in the very structure of our consciousness and species-wide self-understanding. This is a call for attending to the interior dimensions of the current global crises, recommending in the strongest possible terms that tremendous energy and resources be rechanneled into planning for the vast educational reconfigurations facing humanity in the coming decades.
Keywords: Global crises; Integral Theory; Human Identity; Unique Self Theory; Cultural Evolution
Because of the current state of copyright law we only provide a pre-publication draft of this paper. There are bound to be errors that were corrected as the manuscript went through to press, so please track down the published version before citing any of this material or contact us for permission.
Stein, Z. & Gafni, M. (2015). Reimagining humanity’s identity: responding to the second Shock of existence. World Future Review. 7(1) 1-10. [pdf]
From the paper:
Today, in the maelstrom of post-modernity we are collectively facing the second shock of existence*, which is the realization that the survival of the entire human race is in danger.Moreover, we now face this second shock—this awareness of the mortality of the species—precisely because of the actions that followed in the wake of the first shock. Our attempts to build a world that would insulate us from death have brought us to a point where we must now face death on a scale that is almost unimaginable. The more perceptive among us know that it is our own actions that brought us to this point, and we know that it is only by our own actions that we might avoid the apocalyptic scenarios that haunt our collective imagination. Nothing defines our era more than the dawning awareness of the possibility of the self-inflicted extinction of the human race.
We suggest that, in fact, the second shock of existence is an important, necessary, and world-historical millstone in the evolution of consciousness and culture. The first shock made us aware that death threatens the meaning of each individual’s existence; the second shock teaches that self-inflicted extinction threatens the meaning of the whole species’ existence. Just as the first shock was necessary in furthering humanity’s mature and complex relation to the universe, so the second shock is necessary as a further impetus toward greater maturity and complexity. However, whereas the first shock served to separate us from nature and each other, the second shock will serve to reunite us with the natural world and weave the diverse strands of our now fragmented global culture into a common humanity. The second shock is awakening us to the patterns that connect all of humanity as part of a common destiny, a destiny intimately tied into the future of the biosphere. The second shock is a deepening of humanity’s awareness of its place in the universe; it results in the dawning awareness of our profound ethical obligations as the sole stewards of humanity and the planet.
Humanity is now in a situation where we recognize (for the first time, really) that our ability to exploit nature is profoundly limited—we have run up against very real physical boundaries to our continued existence. At the same time, in some sectors, there is a dawning realization that we are already in possession of an unlimited resource—the power of human creativity and innovation, a realm in which there is no scarcity. The tensions between these two realities—dangerous scarcity alongside inspiring plentitude—define our age. It is an age in which heaven competes with hell for a chance to be born. Culturally, this has given us two camps: the pessimists and the optimists, both focused on the state of our techno-economic-ecological exteriors. Techno-Optimists see a future in which our current techno-economic systems are salvaged, re-designed, and made increasingly scientific, efficient, and profitable; we will avert ecological disaster by creating a hyper-scientific, human controlled Heaven on Earth. Pessimists see these very attempts at continued scientific control and economic growth as the problem, sensing that the technologically wrought future they yield will give us more of what we’ve already had for nearly a century: a techno-economic system that decimates communities and ecosystems, and that will eventually degrade the Earth until the biosphere is simply unable to sustain life. Both pessimists and optimists focus on external systems, processes, resources, technologies, and economies. When they speak of crises they refer to broken or scarce things (broken ecosystems, unhealthy food, toxic air, failing schools, etc.). When they speak of innovation, they mean the creation of new and better things (healthy forests, organic food, new energy technologies, fresh air, good schools, etc). The future is in the balance for both camps, no doubt, and they both set their focus on the impacts of science, with a focus on sustainability and the physical continuity of life as we know it.
*The term Second Shock was coined by Mauk Pieper, see Pieper, M. Humanity’s Second Shock and Your Unique Self. (Independent Publishing, 2014).
From Zak’s Blog:
Social Justice and Educational Measurement is part philosophy of education and part historical-critical narrative of standardized testing practices in the United States. It represents years of reseach and collaborations with some of the greatest minds in the field of education. The book seeks to provide valuable frameworks and practices for teachers, students, and parents, as well as educational activists, scholars, and policy makers.
Here are some blog posts where I excerpt various sections of the book:
Read Barbara Marx Hubbard’s and Marc Gafni’s recent articles on our website where they are speaking out for the Evolution of Public Culture.
In Barbara’s words:
One of the most dangerous problems we face in the world is extremism on behalf of belief. In many cases, extremists convince themselves that another faith or political system or individual is ‘evil’, and that they are justified in destroying them by any means necessary. We see this tendency, with tragic consequences, in the political sphere. We are now seeing it the so-called spiritual world. People who claim to be apostles of higher consciousness see no problem with trying to destroy others without due process, open dialogue, non-violent communication or the possibility of resolving differences with compassion, forgiveness and healing. Even more problematically they often hide their hidden agendas under the veneer of victim advocacy. The spiritual world is not exempt from malice. Malice, as Milan Kundera reminds us, “must never admit of itself so it must always plead other motives”.
This kind of behavior is terrorism. Violence of this sort is very hard to respond to creatively without becoming a terrorist yourself. Yet we have to say NO! to terrorism of any kind, including our own.
Marc addresses in his article “how such a cyber-jihad campaign is done:”
1) You dredge up old stories—some outright false, some merely distorted—and make contact with your target’s old enemies, angry ex-wife, ex-students and professional rivals with axes to grind and hidden agendas, in order to get them to support your campaign.
2) Using loaded words like ‘sociopath’ and or ‘pedophile’ without any evidence as to their accuracy, you begin seeding a series of false or distorted allegations about your target around the web.
3) You might even go so far as to claim, as Stephen’s close allies have, that this so-called sociopath has occult or demonic powers. That way, anyone who associates with him can be said to be under some kind of spell, and anyone who wants to hear his side of the story is warned that they might be affected by his ‘demonic’ energy.
4) You then enroll a group of your friends and colleagues, by telling them that you are protecting ‘future victims’. You point to personal testimonials, none of which have been cross-checked for facts—just as, in the old witch trials, unreliable personal testimony was used to ‘prove’ that someone was a witch.
5) In a short time, using the tools of social media, you have formed an internet mob. Now it is nearly impossible to tell that most of the statements you have made about your target are grossly untrue. And, you have a contemporary Witch Trial by Internet – the modern form of a Salem Witch Trial.
You have crowd-sourced a witch hunt.
They both address in detail the specifics of the cyber-attack against Marc and the Center. And they both conclude with their hopes and wishes to find “a higher level resolution” and to meet “face to face, in a facilitated context whose intent is to create truth and reconciliation. That would require people being willing to admit having borne false witness, made false complaints and more. Everyone in the system—including myself—would need to hear each other and own their own responsibility for their part in the contribution system that led to this very moment. This is a context in which neither myself or my colleagues nor Stephen and his colleagues would be “on trial”; rather, it would be a place to give up being right and seek genuine transformation and peace. We could model this for ourselves and for the larger culture.” (Marc Gafni)