“When it was recommended that I do a podcast with Rabbi Dr. Marc Gafni, I knew nothing about him. I dove straight into his body of work and my life will never be the same. This is perhaps the most paradigm shifting podcast I have ever recorded. It tells the tale of the greatest love story of all–the story of the cosmo-erotic universe Herself. In this paradigm shifting masterclass, we learn how a force he calls Eros is the fundamental substrate of creation all the way down to the first principles of subatomic matter. Gafni’s wisdom stretches back deep into the secrets of the Temple of Solomon and the mystic Kabbalist tradition. Our conversation touches a wide range of topics, including the nature of the Goddess, the democratization of enlightenment, and rewriting our sexual narratives.”
Dr. Marc Gafni and James Bampfield speak about Enlightenment and Intimacy in this beautiful conversation. “Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”
In this video Dr. Marc Gafni explores The New Universe Story, Narrative of Unique Self, Ordinary Love and Outrageous Love, What is Unique Self Symphony and The Erotic and the Holy.
What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity’s ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?
ON VALUE, THE UNIQUE SELF, AND COSMO-EROTIC HUMANISM
For episode 39, Layman meets with Marc Gafni to talk about his thoughts on an emerging World Spirituality, grounded in ritual and practice; the need for an integral orientation to encourage “dual citizenship,” embracing a global spirituality while also preserving and developing historical religious traditions; spirituality as the ground of value for human becoming; Marc’s notion of the Unique Self and its relationship to enlightenment; cosmic history as intimate conversation; and Marc’s recent work with Zak Stein on developing a Cosmo-Erotic Humanism. Dr. Marc Gafni is a visionary thinker, social activist, passionate philosopher, and author of ten books. He is the co-founder of The Center for Integral Wisdom, and a rabbinic lineage holder in Bible, Talmud, and Kabbalah. He self-describes as a “citizen” of both Integral World Spirituality and classical Hebrew practice. He has been an editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice on issues of Integral spirituality and a faculty member of J.F.K. University. In 2014, Dr. Gafni co-initiated the Success 3.0 Summit and Rise Up movie, with John Mackey and Kate Maloney whose method and movement is to bring together key thought leaders and change-agents to collaboratively evolve a bold new Integral vision of Success, rooted in the entrepreneurial values of Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up, and Evolutionary Love.
Layman Pascal is joined by Dr. Marc Gafni, the co-founder of the Center for Integral Wisdom and the author of multiple books and essays on integrative spirituality and spiritual activism. Marc presents his vision of what a planetary politics could and should be, and together they explore the question of AI and the enormous challenges manipulative algorithms pose not only to informed voting, but to sensemaking in general; the emergence of techno-feudalism; the problems with voting protocols rooted in rivalrous dynamics, and the possibilities for liquid democracy or a synergistic democracy; the viability and role of nation states in a globally interconnected and interdependent society; the dynamics of intimacy, and the importance of shared first principles and a shared story; and much more.
Dr. Marc Gafni is a visionary thinker, social activist, passionate philosopher, and author of ten books. He is the co-founder of The Center for Integral Wisdom, and a rabbinic lineage holder in Bible, Talmud, and Kabbalah. He self-describes as a “citizen” of both Integral World Spirituality and classical Hebrew practice. He has been an editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice on issues of Integral spirituality and a faculty member of J.F.K. University. In 2014, Dr. Gafni co-initiated the Success 3.0 Summit and Rise Up movie, with John Mackey and Kate Maloney whose method and movement is to bring together key thought leaders and change-agents to collaboratively evolve a bold new Integral vision of Success, rooted in the entrepreneurial values of Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up, and Evolutionary Love.
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…]
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.
Watch this teaching by Dr. Marc Gafni as our special gift from our Online Course on Reclaiming Eros:
Some of the themes Marc Gafni covers in this video:
- The lineage of the “Einstein’s of Consciousness”
- King Solomon, his wives, and the Temple in Jerusalem
- The Raiders of the Lost Ark – The Ark of the Covenant
- The Practice of Jewish Yoga
- The Talmudic Story of the Poisoned Cookies
- Temple Consciousness and Sexuality
- Eros in Exile
- Reclaiming Eros = Reclaiming Temple Consciousness
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.
Eros is the principle of aliveness and magic inherent in all of reality. Something infinitely real animates everything. Reality is realness, which is another way of saying Eros or aliveness. Everything radiates an intense aliveness. The intensification of aliveness is the natural result of living an erotic life. Most people have had the experience of visiting a place and finding it vibrating with aliveness, color, and immediacy. Some years later they may visit the same place again and find it drab and dreary. Most likely it is not the place that has changed, but the person. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. When your eyes are alive, then the hills are alive. When your eyes are asleep, then even the most beautiful vista is deadened.
Our lives are a search for passionate aliveness. Our lives are a search for Eros. We remember well Eros lost. Until we are able to recover Eros, we are filled with an inconsolable longing that can be healed by no external balm.
We hunger for the depths of aliveness, for it is only from those depths that we are capable of love. It is only in the quivering of aliveness that we are capable of being all we can be. That is what it means to be holy. The opposite of holy is not unholy. The opposite of holy is superficial. The holy is the real. We long for what is real. That is why we yearn with all of our being to return to Eros.
When we talk about Eros or the erotic, we suffer from any number of confusions. There’s an important relationship between the erotic and the sexual, but as we said above, they’re not the same thing. Eros is the essential aliveness of reality—it’s the experience of being on the inside. Like when you’re running and at some point you break through and you’re in the zone or the inside of experience.
There is a fullness of presence in Eros and a feeling that your yearning participates in the evolutionary yearning of being. In Eros you have a felt experience that you are not separate; you experience your own interconnectivity with the larger context, with the wholeness of it all. All blessings flow from Eros. The goodness of life, the color in a black-and-white world, and all ethics flow through the channels of Eros. The loss of Eros is the failure of ethics. Creativity, intimacy and relationship, politics, economics—nothing moves without the erotic. When there’s a disconnect from Eros, systems begin to break down both in the world of the personal and in the world of the collective.
When you feel fully alive, when you are in Eros, there is no question about the meaning of life. When you are in Eros, there is no question about the essential goodness of life. When you live in Eros, life is self-evidently meaningful and obviously good. Here is an example of how sex models Eros: when you are on the edge of orgasm, you are on the inside of life—yearning, totally present, ultimately connected, lost in the experience, and yet most radically your unique self. When you are in Eros, you have no questions about the meaning of life. You are life.
At the edge of sexual explosion, you do not stop in the middle to contemplate philosophical issues or life’s meaning, nor do you question the natural goodness of life. You are fully alive and fully in. In fact, those five qualities—living on the inside, fullness of presence, yearning, wholeness and interconnectivity, and the experience of your unique identity—are the first five of the twelve faces of Eros that we will be exploring in this book. “Sex models Eros” means that sex models the experience of being on the inside, fully present and connected, deeply yearning, and ultimately yourself, in every facet of your life.
From an unedited draft of the forthcoming book A Return to Eros by Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Kristina Kincaid
Align with the evolutionary impulse that is the inherent Eros of reality and become part of your evolutionary community at Evolutionary Church.
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…
Spring has arrived, and we are excited to announce our 3rd Annual Mystery School, and our 1st Annual European Integral Wisdom Conference, both to occur during the week of our Summer Festival of Love at the Venwoude Integral Practice Community in Holland, the week of July 26 – August 2.
Being a scholarly think-tank, we do like to exercise a certain amount of restraint in describing our events, but honestly, we are still carrying the “Holy Buzz” from the Summer Festival and Mystery School of last year. We have received enthusiastic reports from all participants throughout the year, and clearly, the Summer Festival of Love has become a signature event for the Center for Integral Wisdom. Promotional Flyer here—>
Last year, 150 participants attended, filling all of the accommodations. This year Venwoude has promised room for 200 participants, and an early registration is recommended. Register here—>
With Marc Gafni leading, our previous Mystery Schools have attracted many participants from all over Europe and the Americas, contributing to the expansion of our European Center for Integral Wisdom faculty. Our faculty members in both Europe and the Americas are vital links in evolving the source code of human consciousness in all of our cultural and professional spheres.
What is the right relationship between the experience of sex and the experience of pleasure? How does sex relate to power, love, fear and enlightenment? What does arousal have to do with divine aliveness, and how does the desire to dominate and to surrender alternate, in a whole and powerful way, with the desire for radical mutuality?
When I was first exploring these questions, there was no one to guide me through different forms of sexing. There was no one to tell me that the force of energy moving through me was sacred. No one said to me that sex is the force of evolutionary eros awake and alive in you. No one talked to me about the relationship between love, sex and eros. Really no one talked much about sex at all.
Please join Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni at Esalen October 18-20 for an astonishing weekend experience of Evolutionary Love Practice.
There are two practical inquiries that will sit at the core of all of our sacred play:
What does it take to live your life in love?
What does it mean to be lived as love?
The 4th Annual World Spirituality Retreat
“Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”
During this weekend, we (Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni) promise to help you discover some real answers to these questions, which are rich with potential to transform the rest of your life.
Back in the 70s, a little book called The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment swept the spiritual world. Its message was simple: Enlightenment does not require heavy effort and asceticism. It only requires that you choose love in all circumstances. Making this simple insight alive and real in your life is the change that changes everything.
We each individually realized this insight during times when we were searching for light in the complexity of our own lives, and something deep within us recognized that choosing love in all circumstances is the secret. We also both knew that just deciding to love in all circumstances is not enough.
You can’t just decide to love. You need to find out how to kindle love in yourself. You need to practice love. You need to understand the different forms and levels of love. And you need a way to keep kindling your love-core ”” through meditation, through chant, through contemplation, and through “outrageous acts of love” that change not only your relationships, but you yourself.
That’s what this weekend retreat – “Falling in Love with the Divine“ – is about: Loving Your Way to Enlightenment.
We are excited to announce a programming change to start off the weekend workshop, “The Radical Path of the Outrageous Lover.”
On Friday, October 4th, from 7:00-9:00 pm, Stuart Black replaces Warren Moe in the evening dialogue with Dr. Marc Gafni, entitled, “The Future of Love, Sex, and Eros!”
Stuart Black was the Director of the Core Energetics Institute for over two decades and is currently serving as President. He was also the creator of many classic Core Energetics events such as Take A Risk and the Core Spiritual Service.
Mr. Black and Dr. Gafni will spark a spirited and entertaining dialogue on The Future of Love, Sex and Eros!
To be a person of Torah, to be enlightened, is to live from the inside. To be an insider, to feel ”” oh my God ”” I have a place. It’s important that I exist. I am called uniquely to do something in the world that nobody else in the world is capable of doing except myself. The experience of my irreplacability is the beginning of my joy. The experience of my replacability is the beginning of my depression. Life is about finding out, disclosing, revealing that I am an insider.[Read more…]
At this key time in history we are called to evolve and embody Love, Sex and Eros! The sexual is the ultimate spiritual master. Deep understanding of the sexual is the ultimate guide to accessing the spirit in every dimension of our reality. To be a great Lover ”” an Outrageous Lover in all facets of your being ”” you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant spirit whisperings of the sexual.
This event is a co-production with our Teaching Center Institute of INTEGRAL EVOLUTIONARY TANTRA in New York City.
Workshop: Oct 4 – 6, 2013
Fri 7–9 (free evening session)
Sat + Sun 10–5:30
Free Dialogue Evening! LOVE, SEX & EROS
Friday, Oct. 4 from 7-9 pm between Dr. MARC GAFNI
and WARREN MOE, Director, Inst. of Core Energetics
“Evolutionary Intimacy and the New Enlightenment”: (more information below)
“Falling in Love with the Divine – Devotion and Tantra of the Heart”: (more information below)
The Center for Integral World Spirituality is a vibrant community of Virtual Presence and Evolutionary Love Gatherings. We share tremendous Holy Purpose in bringing Unique Self teachings into the world. The Eros that unites us is grounded in simple truths of Unique Self teachings with which we all deeply resonate.[Read more…]
Letter from CWS Board Member and Unique Self Teacher Chahat Corten.
Dearest friends and partners,
How can I even start to describe to you the shower of Grace and Love, Deep Dharma transmission from Spirit via Marc that has happened here last week in the eight days of the second gathering of the CWS / Venwoude Mystery School of Love at Venwoude in Holland.
Some 150 people gathered, indeed from all over the world, to create together a field of Outrageous Love, visioned, held, loved open, and sustained in the most profound and wondrous way by Marc.
There was an unwavering stream of teaching, that was deepened and embodied in many afternoon workshops and musical & dance happenings in the evenings. The level of synchronicity that I experienced between the core morning teachings of Marc, the afternoon workshops, and all the other offerings was so magical that it sometimes took my breath away.
Many of us who have been studying with Marc now for more than three years experienced an enormous deepening in the transmitting of the teaching on the 12 principles of Eros.[Read more…]
The second annual Mystery School of Love has begun and is already in full swing. More than 150 people have come to celebrate with us this year’s theme: “Reclaiming Eros.” Many participants were here with us last year and are excited to be here again!
The festival revolves at its core around Dr. Marc’s several hours of Dharma transmission each morning. In the beginning of the day, spiritual teacher Chahat Corten, a leading luminary at Venwoude and a direct dharma student of Dr. Marc, begins the morning with a day-opening ceremony. Dr. Marc then meets with the twenty or so teachers gathered on the faculty of the Mystery School. Included are leading teachers who are each in their own right bright stars and key leaders of the Venwoude community where Dr. Marc serves as the World Spirituality Teacher in Residence. We will post a bit later a special piece about all the the wonderful teachers, each worthy of note and great appreciation.
The center of the emergence is the field of radical dharma and outrageous love that is woven and rewoven by Dr. Marc. The attendance at the festival has doubled in the last year and we expect that to keep doubling every year. Dr. Marc weaves a field of precise and powerful—truly “source-code-changing”—teaching, which transforms minds and explodes hearts. Dr. Marc’s mind and heart seem to merge as one and he lives for everyone as an overflowing and brilliant weaver of meaning, meta theory and grand narrative—even as he opens up spaces of genuine enlightenment that seem to shift the earth beneath people’s feet. It is an enlightenment teaching pure and simple, and the process is, as Dr. Marc calls it, Loving Your Way to Enlightenment!
To give you a little taste of it, we want to share with you just the first few minutes of Marc Gafni’s opening dharma talk, where he sets the frame by giving us 6 principles and commitments for the upcoming week. This is before any of the real dharma got started—this was the first hello: