The Greatest Story Ever Told
with Barbara Marx Hubbard & Marc Gafni
Listen to the Audio Series with Barbara Marx Hubbard & Marc Gafni above.
Or listen to and read the transcripts of the twenty Audio Sessions in this Series!
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In the words of CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni:
We’re here to tell the story that is the best understanding we have, integrating the best wisdom of all the traditional period of the entire modern period and the entire postmodern period. Integrating all that wisdom into one narrative stream.
What is the best universe story available to us today?
Why does that matter? It matters because we live inside of our story, but our story’s not just a creation, it’s a discovery. It’s a revelation of the best wisdom we have about the nature of reality, and what our place is in that story.
We’re interested not just in a theoretical universe story, but how are we personally implicated in that story? Knowing the story that I live in tells me why I’m alive.
Who are you? You are an irreducible, unique expression of the love, intelligence and love beauty, that is the animating and initiating eros of all that is, that lives in you, as you and through you. That never was, is or will be ever again other than through you lady Barbara. As such, Barbara has and Marc has and… Every single person listening, each of us has an irreducibly unique perspective, and we have an irreducibly unique taste which is our unique quality of intimacy. That irreducibly unique perspective and taste and quality of intimacy manifests our unique capacity to give our unique gift, and our unique gift addresses a unique need. A unique need in us and a unique need in our circle of intimacy and influence that can be addressed by us and us alone, by no one else that ever was, is or will be, ever in history of reality.
Giving that unique gift and being that unique self, right, it’s about the giving of the gift and it’s the being, the incarnating of our unique quality of intimacy, that is the eros and telos of our lives, it’s the kilos and the eros of our lives. To live a telerotic life is to be incarnating your unique self but with one more step. As part of the unique self symphony, as part of the larger context, right, the great unique self symphony which is the basic structure of a new politics of evolutionary love.
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Co-Initiated and Co-Founded by Barbara Marx Hubbard & Marc Gafni
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by Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
This blog post is based on a deep dive private study session I did in the Dharma of the Center for Integral Wisdom, the dharma of Unique Self, World Spirituality, and Evolutionary Eros, that I am studying and being initiated into by Dr. Marc Gafni, who is my teacher, my friend, my colleague, the co-founder and President of the Center of which I am the Executive Director.
In the first part of our session we talked about the innate modesty of the enlightened person.
The highest person, the highest Rebbe, the highest master is the one who can hold confidentiality. That is the nature of enlightenment. Not all must be shared. You might know great wisdom but you do not need everyone to know that you know.
The initiate into an esoteric tradition is the one who can keep a secret. He keeps the wisdom that he or she knows a secret. The word esoteric comes from the Hebrew word seter which means hidden. Keeping a secret means to live in the mind of God.
“Normal people,” when asked to keep a secret, will only tell two people… who will then tell two people… which is why there are no real secrets in the world anymore.
To live an enlightened life means to become essentially self-referential, to not be dependant on the passing fads of the frivolous because you do not have a grasping need for that extra hit of attention you get from telling a secret. You can be wise, do good, and change the world but you do not need to tell everyone.
That is the major teaching of the Eastern traditions. Enlightenment means that you are one with everything. There is no outside. So why would you need anything from anyone else. The very notion of there being anyone else outside of you is already a sign of your unenlightened state.
That is certainly true. Yet, the complete opposite is also true.
If you really get the nature of Enlightenment and you are in relationship with another person, that other person is all of reality just as you. So, when this person doesn’t call or doesn’t write back or is rude to you, it is not just your ego getting hurt by another ego. It is all of reality doing that to you.
To love from that place means to wait breathlessly for the other person to call or write. It is to empathize and feel and care so deeply, so completely that it hurts. From that place you want to share everything.
How is it possible that both of these are true?
In the Eastern traditions that is often seen as the dialectic of the absolute and the relative truth.
Absolute truth means that there is no other. It means to be totally self-referential. Absolute Love is a state of Oneness that is impersonal because there is no person left. There is only One Self that is No Self. There is no outside. And because of that there is no inside either. Inside and outside don’t even make sense.
Relative truth however is all about relationship. There are parts that are in relationship, that are attracted to each other, and that form greater wholes that are parts of an even greater whole… ad infinitum. Relative Love is all personal. It is about communion. It is about giving up your autonomy to become part of a greater whole.
However, in our Unique Self World Spirituality lineage of evolutionary mystics, we maintain that these two truths are one in the Mind of God. These are no absolute and relative truths that are in fact mutually exclusive opposites, but these seeming opposites live in a dialectical tension within the Absolute. The distinction between absolute and relative truth, absolute and relative love is a false dichotomy. It comes from a logical mind that cannot hold paradox.
Love in this dialectical sense is both absolute and relative, personal and impersonal. It is not only communion, nor is it just the autonomous state of All-Oneness. Love is exactly the sweet spot between autonomy and communion. It is the space in between – the space in between the Cherubs on top of the Ark in the Holy of Holies of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, as we call it in our lineage.
It is station 3 of the three stations of love that move from falling in love, through falling out of love, to falling in love again at a higher level that transcends and includes the first two… or from submission, through separation, to sweetness… from pre-personal oneness, through personal autonomy, to a communion or intimacy, in which both partners don’t lose their distinctness.
In dialectical thinking, the first two stations act like thesis and antithesis that seem mutually exclusive. Yet, at a higher level the dialectical tension is solved (not dissolved) into a new synthesis.
Real intimacy or communion are only possible between partners that are not separate but distinct. That goes further than the whole-part relationship that is often used in the two truths doctrine with the absolute being the ultimate whole, while the relative is built from wholes that are also parts of a larger whole and so on.
In Marc’s teaching the partners are not only parts of a greater whole. Rather, they are unique expressions of the whole that offer a unique perspective, a unique taste, and a unique intimacy into the whole, while also being animated by it.
This is a principle that goes all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain, which is what Dr. Marc Gafni means when he talks of the intimate universe, the evolutionary Eros, or that reality is relationships.
The Intimate Universe at the Most Basic Level
An example of that on a subatomic level became obvious to me through my study of physics earlier in my life. Looking at it tells me something about reality at the very basic level.
Humanity is facing extinction level crises in not one but in multiple and distinct sectors. That alone could throw us into a personal crisis of overwhelming dimensions—without even beginning to take into account the many crucial personal existential challenges most of us face in our own lives.
How can we possibly look seriously into the face of global existential risk, manifest as extinction level threats and be motivated and energized into the joy of our lives? That is the question that Marc addresses in this very moving video.
How does Existential Risk become the catalyst to profound joy and awakening into the Outrageous Love we are capable of instead of shutting us down? That is the invitation that we all stand for at the Center for Integral Wisdom.
CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni has recorded a half hour video, where he shares some of the thinking that emerged from many of the great conversations during and after our CIW board meeting:
- How do we live with and constructively respond to the existential risk we live in?
How can we use it to motivate us instead of shutting us down?
How can we make fear conscious so it enlivens instead of paralyzes us?