From Mystery of Love by Marc Gafni:

The greatest crisis of our lives is neither economic, intellectual, nor even what we usually call religious. It is a crisis of imagination. We get stuck on our paths because we are unable to reimagine our lives differently from what they are right now. We hold on desperately to the status quo, afraid that if we let go, we will be swept away by the torrential undercurrents of our emptiness.

The most important thing in the world implies wisdom master Nachman of Bratzlav, is to be willing to give up who you are for who you might become. He calls this process the giving up of pnimi to reach for makkif. Pnimi, for master Nachman, means the old familiar things that you even hold on to, even when they no longer serve you on your journey. Makkif is that which is beyond you, which you can reach only if you are willing to take a leap into the abbys.

Find your risk and you will find yourself. Sometimes that means leaving your home, your fathers’ house, and your birthplace, and traveling to strange lands. Both the biblical Abraham and the Buddha literally did this. But for the Kabbalist the true journey does not require dramatic breaks with past and home. It is rather the journey of imagination.

“If I don’t live on my edge, I lose my aliveness. If I don’t take my Unique Risk, I will take risks that are not mine to take.” – Marc Gafni at the Summer Festival of Love 2015

Words of Appreciation from the Summer Festival of Love

After the Summer Festival of Love, some of the contributors shared their experiences in a private email thread. We are happy to have their permission to share these Outrageous Love testimonials with you!

Dr. Kristina Kincaid, Director of the Outrageous Love Project at the Center for Integral Wisdom and the Director of the Integral Evolutionary Tantra Institute in New York City, wrote this Outrageous Love Letter about the Festival:

Hello Outrageous Lovers!

I had the profound honor and wild pleasure of participating with a most astounding team of Holy Rockstars standing audaciously together supporting Marc as the Living, Breathing, Alive, Aflame, Awakened, Dharma as he liberated Eros, in front of a crowd of over 250 people! WOW!

This is not a polite essay or an endorsement, but a mystical testimony…

Read the whole first part here>>>

Read the second part here>>>

We are pleased to be able to share with you the inspiring poem below, written and submitted by Shalom sangha member and energy healer Cerridwen following the Shalom Mountain Wisdom School in Livingston Manor, NY, October 10-13.  Dr. Marc Gafni, Wisdom Teacher in Residence at Shalom, unfolded teachings on Pleasure, Addiction, and Eros at this retreat, and the sangha celebrated together the Outrageous Love dharma. Cerridwen says the retreat experience moved her closer to this draft of her poem.

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(c) 2010 Salvatore Vuono

©2010 Salvatore Vuono

In the final installment of this three-part essay below, which is excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity. We transform them into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized.

From Part I: "Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point:  I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts."

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(c) 2013 satit_srihin

©2013 photo courtesy of satit_srihin

In this three-part essay, excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized.

From Part I: "Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point:  I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts."

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Brain Design By Cogs And Gears by MR LIGHTMAN www.freedigitalphotos.net

by MR LIGHTMAN


from Dr. Marc Gafni‘s Your Unique Self.

Ego imitates. Unique Self is original. Your ego is trapped in imitation. For the ego is, by its very definition, in limitation. Limitation leads to imitation. So the ego is always living the life of limitation based on imitation, which leads to mindless competition. Your ego is in constant competition, which leads to compulsive comparison and dissatisfaction. Originality, which is a quality of Unique Self, freed from the tyranny of comparison, is by its nature both urgently creative and self-satisfied.

Your ego never thinks an original thought. Originality emerges from your Unique Face, which is evoked by contact with your Original Face. “Original Face” is the Buddhist way of describing the experience of sustained contact with the eternal, transcendent Ground of Being. Originality gives birth to action beyond reaction. Your Unique Becoming emerges from your immersion in Being.

We are excited to announce a transformational 10-week Unique Self telecourse that starts April 24th!


For further discussion: Here is what some famous people have said about originality.

“The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.” ~ Arthur Koestler

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” ~ Herman Melville

“The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

What is YOUR take on it? Where does originality show in your life?

Where do you already live from your original face? From your Unique Self?

What do you like about it? What seems to be difficult?


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section – here or on our Facebook page.

Looking for more on the wisdom tradition that aligns you with your deepest creativity? In a three-part excerpt from the long version of Soul Prints, Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print or Unique Self destiny unrealized.

You can view Part II of this essay in full by clicking here>>

You can view Part III of this essay in full by clicking here>>

Yetzer and Yetzirah: Raising the Primal Sparks of Creativity and Passion

by Dr. Marc Gafni
from "The Way of the Dragon" in the long Soul Prints.

Part I.colorful
In biblical spirituality, information about God is relevant for one reason only. Information about God is information about us. We are commanded to be little Gods – to imitate God. Just as God stood at the abyss of darkness and said let there be light, so are we commanded to stand at the abyss of our darkness and say let there be light. A little bit of light dispels so much of the darkness. Further, just as God is a creator – creating, sculpting, painting, composing a gorgeous physical world – so, too, are we invited to create, to sculpt, to paint, and to make music.
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actualize_peopleActualize: The Source Code of Success

We are delighted to report that the Actualize event, “Actualize: The Source Code of Success,” led by Eben Pagan and Marc Gafni this past January 23-27, 2013, was itself a smashing success. Eben said, “At this event, we were able to take things to the next level.”

Participants reported deep experiences of awakening, evolution, and transformation. A field of meaning, entrepreneurial creativity and deep dharmic insight were woven together in what turned out to be an event that surpassed all of our very high expectations in preparation for this gathering.

Eben brought to bear his profound understanding of entrepreneurship, creativity, and marketing. Eben entered the stage, gathered the tribe, and gave deep transmission as the great pragmatic philosopher that he is. Marc transmitted deep structures of new evolving consciousness”¦maps of Pleasure, maps of Self, and a vision of Outrageous Creativity and Outrageous Love. Marc and Eben’s teaching literally danced together in a higher integration, producing a dazzling experience of interior awakening, a vision of the patterns that connect, and a glimpse of what might be yet to come in the evolution of consciousness.

Two major themes ran through the entire event. The first, in Eben and Marc’s language, “Actualize is a memory of the future.” This was a theme returned to again and again. Accessing the memory of our potential future as the strange attractor drawing us to the evolution of our Highest Self.

The second theme articulated by Marc and Eben was the Democratization of Enlightenment, and the Democratization of Greatness as the next step in the evolution of Love. It was a great event, and the ripples are still now being felt wide and far, all over the globe, with new creative projects being born, new relationships formed, and new seeds of emerging consciousness planted in the fertile soil of Actualize.

Here is a glimpse into the mood and community>>>actualize

Many people have asked whether there will be an Actualize event next year. Our answer”¦ It’s too early to tell. It might not be called “Actualize” because we never do the same thing twice, but there will be a next step. The tribe will gather again to take the next emergent step required, demanded and invited by the evolution of Love.

imgres-5By Dr. Marc Gafni

The symbol of the line is the sword. In biblical Hebrew the actual word for  sword, often a phallic expression, is cherev. The sword and the lance are male symbols of thrusting forward, combat and conquest. The goal of the sword is to affirm which line (sword) is higher in the hierarchy. The sword is goal-oriented. It does not have conversation; instead, it takes control. The sword cuts  through and analyzes. The sword is the discriminating intellect which divides, categorizes and conquers.  Clearly the sword/line is both a powerful force of the spirit as well as a scourge.

The circle is not about thrusting forward. It is about receiving. In the sexual image the circle always receives the line’s forward movement. Whatever position one might take, it is always the circle which must receive the line. The circle listens, opening herself up to receive the line. She is able to absorb the line’s thrust – develop it, unpack it, and give birth to something entirely new.[Read more…]

imgres-7The members of the Zohar’s holy fellowship are called “Those who turn darkness to light.”

It was their profound engagement in their personal darkness which was the matrix for their radical creativity, their light. Zohar is only revealed through the prism of one’s soul print. All creativity wells from this place. In this spirit we understand Rilke’s advice to the Young Poet: “Go deep into yourself and how deep is the place from which your life flows.”

Not all of us are soul printed to write the book of the Zohar. But all of us have the creative potential to write a book of life that shines. That creative potential is our divinity. When we say God is one, we mean original. When the Hebrew mystic experiences herself as part of God it can only be through the path of her originality.  God is an original and can’t stand imitation.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy




imgres-5God is waiting for us to give up the imitations in our lives so that we can receive the real thing. Imagine what would happen if we really opened up to the knowledge that there is a force holding things together without our being in control. What if we surrendered to that force and allowed it to guide us in our lives? What if we stopped to realize that the planet is constantly supporting our lives?

The very air we breathe – unless we interfere with the natural systems – is constantly made available to our lungs by plants and ocean plankton through an incredible process of photosynthesis. The universe is consciously supporting us and breathing life into our souls at every moment. For the Hebrew mystic, creation is not a one-time event. It is instead a continuous process, hinted at by modern quantum physics, in which the universe recreates itself in love at every second.

This essential giving up of control does not mean that we do not expend enormous effort and energy in trying to chart our destinies and repair the world. It does mean that we need to do so in a way where we understand that even as we labor mightily, we know that it is simply not all up to us. Knowing that, we consciously invite the universe to partner in our efforts, breathing its life and energy into and through us.

The spiritual process of giving up control is called by the Hebrew mystics bittul. Usually, this is explained as self-nullification to God. In reality, it means something quite different. Rather than abnegation, it is a way of making ourselves transparent to God. We give up lower self control because we desire the higher divine self to flow through us. This is the experience of eros modeled on the sexual. We can access it in creativity, prayer, sexuality, study and any other arena of life in which we are willing to be lovers.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

The story of evolution is the story of creativity, which is the story of Unique Self. Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber draw many key connections in this segment of their Unique Self audio dialogue conducted in September 2012. The dialogue begins with Ken Wilber's storytelling about the nature of creativity from a cosmo-centric perspective. This builds to the amazing insight that Unique Self is actually the creator of the past and the driver of the future. More parallels and equations follow in due course.

This clip is a 24-minute excerpt which follows immediately from Part 5. The transcript below tracks the flow of the conversation on creativity up to the point at which Unique Self is equated to choice.

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God is the possibility of possibility – limitless imagination. The first of the ten commandments is “I am God.”  When this God is asked to identify himself, He responds, “I will be what I will be.” That is, ”˜You cannot capture me in the frozen image of any time or place. To do so would be to destroy me.’ It would be to violate the second commandment against idolatry. Idolatry is the freezing of God in a static image. To freeze God in an image is to violate the invitation of the imagination. It is to limit possibility.

The Temple modeled after the Biblical myth tabernacle in the desert is the product of imagination. In a wonderfully paradoxical set of mystical texts, Bezalel, the master craftsman of the book of Exodus, receives no clear blueprint from God or Moses on how to build the tabernacle. And yet he builds it in accordance with “God’s will.” For the Kabbalists, this is a hidden allusion to the power of holy imagination to intuit cosmic truth.

When the mystics suggest that Bezalel is “taught by God,” they speak in code. The artist is “wise of heart,” “filled with the spirit of wisdom, intuition and intimate understanding.”  All of these draw their inspiration from the breath of divine imagination.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy

By Marc Gafni

Artist Claudia Kleefeld is not the first person to see the symbol of the spiral as being a portal to a vision of a coherent cosmos. She is original in that she is a first-rate, old-master-style artist with thirty years of training, who paints the spiral as an expression of an Eros of certainty that asserts the utter meaningfulness, depth, and order of the cosmos. Kleefeld’s paintings emerge from her own opened eye of the spirit and speak directly to the higher spiritual intuition of her viewers. Finally, Kleefeld is unusual in that she is part of an emergent form of art, which seeks to reveal the enchantment of a cosmos ”” a cosmos that is good, true, and beautiful.

I am delighted to present an article which celebrates the work of Claudia Kleefeld, one of the brightest shining lights in the universe of art today. My new article, “Post-postmodern Art: A Return to Belonging,” is now published in the latest issue of Parabola Magazine.

[Read more…]

Whenever we keep eros confined to one narrow frame of being, while de-eroticzing the rest of the picture – the Shechina remains in exile. Sex is only one of the places where we exile the erotic. There is a wonderful Balinese saying which goes something like, “We do not have art – we do everything as beautifully as we can”. When we build ugly cities where beauty is abused and people are depersonalized and then build a beautiful art museum, the Shechina is in exile. We exile the eros of beauty to the constricted precincts of formal art.

The same is true of music. Music is not limited to symphonies or rock concerts. We are all musicians and life is overflowing with music. Remember the Broadway show “Stomp”? There was no dialogue; it was all music and dance. The catch was that no musical instruments were used. The instruments were adapted from the fabric of everyday living. Pots, pans, brooms, sinks, faucets, garbage can lids, bottles, bags, newspapers, hands, feet, virtually every part of the body – all of these became instruments of music. The implication is stunning; what we usually do is limit art to formal work by people we call artists, just as we limit music to formal instruments. Formal music and art need to model the erotics of sound and beauty in all of our lives and not just in their narrow provinces. Music and art need to pervade all of living. Every moment is a canvas and is possessed of its own melody.

Rumi knowingly instructs us:

Let the beauty that we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the Ground.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

The truly great dancer – like all lovers- flows with the fullness of being. She trusts the universe. She knows she will always fall right so she allows herself to fall into the erotic rhythm of life. To do so she must first empty herself to receive the flow.

The word ”˜dance’ in the original Hebrew is mehol. It has two virtually opposite meanings. Mehol is etymologically identical with the word hallul which means empty. From here springs the Hebrew word mehila –forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from the ability to empty myself to receive the full wonder, complexity and imperfection of another. Mehol however also means halah – fullness – used in the biblical myth text to describe the erotic fullness of a pregnant woman.

The Erotic and the Holy

Marc Gafni

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

One of the places where we overcome alienation and step inside to an act of surrender is the sacred realm of music.  Eros cuts through ego and touches essence.  We feel alive and totally present in the fullness of our longing.  Mastery in song and music takes place precisely at the point where radical discipline and control are transcended.  At the intersection between control and surrender the singer or musician gives herself up, allowing herself to be played by the universe.  It is of course not an accident that an essential component of the Temple service was music.  The biblical myth text reads, “If you are searching for Shechina” then come to the Temple with its symphony of holy song.  Through music from exotic instruments and songs that opened the heart, the people were aroused to the erotics of desire and personal surrender.

Mystery of Love
Marc Gafni
Page 165

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Dancers in Australia

Photo Credit: Oude School


By Marc Gafni

Do you know that you are the evolutionary artist of the next stage of your life and the life of the world?

Do you know that personal creativity is your doorway into the creativity of the Kosmos?

Do you know that creativity is your birthright?

Do you know that higher consciousness is naturally more creative and less fearful?

Do you know that what you create through your mind, heart and body transforms all of us and all of life?

This is a truth of dramatic importance: Each of us is participating in a great dance of creativity. Our journey as evolutionary artists involves every aspect of life ”” from the words we choose to the love we make. And that journey begins when we recognize how our own creativity is actually an expression of the evolutionary love-intelligence of all that is. The Vedic and Tantric traditions of Hinduism, the Sufis sages, and the philosophers of Kabbala reminded us that divinity is creativity. The Buddhist sages have invited us to the liberated free-functioning creativity of the compassionate Bodhisattva. The Judeo-Christian teachers have invited us to imitatio dei to be like God, even to be as God.

Just as the great love-intelligence emanates worlds out of its own being, we are invited to turn into our own center, and find that world-creating source within ourselves. From there, we can become co-creators of a transformed world.

You are creative because consciousness is inherently creative. The mysterious Eros that animates and drives the evolutionary unfolding is at this very moment creating and recreating all of reality anew in every moment. That Eros, which lives in you, as you and through you, acts creatively through you the moment you give your consent to it.

It is our delight and obligation to answer the call to evolutionary creativity ”” and its fulfillment.

The next great movement of evolutionary love is waiting for you ”” for each of us ”” to identify and manifest your unique creativity. It is asking you to recognize yourself as the artist of your life, and then to broaden your artistry until you are creating in the service of All that Is.

Are you ready to respond to the great invitation and obligation to evolutionary creativity, in the service of our own evolution, and the evolution of all that is?

If you are then you have begun to wake up and that is simply fucking awesome!


Path in Woods
By Marc Gafni

From The Mystery of Love:

The trees are part of the Goddess’s erotic manifestation. The central symbol of much of the ancient pagan cult in biblical Canaan was the Ashera tree. The Ashera is the feminine earth goddess erotically expressed in the image of the Ashera tree. In a wonderful phrase of Keats, “Even as the trees that whisper round the temple become soon as dear as the temple self.” For the pagan, the hills were literally alive with the sound of music. Nature is the music of divinity undressed to the human ear. Every hill, brook, tree, and blade of grass was invested with its own divine muse.

Our Names writ, writ in Kosmic scroll,
Our cosmic names turn and turn,
Books they are written in, burn and burn,
Ever Our Names are writ, rewritten.

”” Joe Perez


Nick Georgiou:

My art is inspired by the death of the printed word. Books and newspapers are becoming artifacts of the 21st century. As a society we're shifting away from print consumption and heading straight towards full digital lives. My sculptures are products of their environment ”” both literally and figuratively. As often as I can, I use local newspapers to add authenticity, and the form the sculpture takes is a reflection of the personal connection I feel to that particular city.

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Whirling Dervish

From Marc Gafni‘s Your Unique Self:

The creative process that mysteriously moves from nothing to something is the God-impulse. To live as your Unique Self means to align yourself with that process, with the ecstatic evolutionary impulse that initiated the kosmos, with the ecstasy of God, which re-creates all of reality in every second of existence.

Are you ready to respond to this invitation, to offer yourself to the infinite love intelligence that wants desperately to show up in the world through and as you?

Photo Credit: neil banas