by Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
A couple of days ago, many of us returned from the fifth annual Mystery School with Dr. Marc Gafni in Holland. Still basking in the aftertaste of it, we are in the process of integrating it all into our bodies and our lives.
At the Center for Integral Wisdom, our mission is to evolve the source code of culture by evolving the memes and distinctions that govern both our personal and collective lives. The Mystery and Wisdom Schools are our Dharma labs for the new distinctions that we are developing and learning how to deploy into culture to evolve the source code.
As our Academic Director Dr. Zachary Stein has stated so beautifully in a previous blog-post:
“Across the centuries, mystics have convened mystery schools on the edges of civilizations and worldviews. Intentionally small and remote, peopled with trusted initiates, these schools have been the storehouses of innovations in consciousness, sourced in ancient traditions, guided by a memory of the future. Off stage and out of sight, a few have always been preparing seeds for planting in the compost of the rapidly degenerating culture of the so-called civilized.”
Mystery School is where we come together as evolutionary mystics, the Wheel of Dharma turns, new dharma is coming down, SHE dances, and we can literally feel the source code shift.
Mystery School is not a personal growth seminar. And yet, paradoxically, personal transformation happens at much higher rates than at any personal transformation event. All of us committing to evolving the source code of culture, to the conscious evolution of the all, is exactly what fuels our own transformation with the power of the all.
Once we realize that we are not separate from, but unique embodiments of, the Evolutionary Impulse it all starts to make sense.
As long as it is about MY transformation, I separate myself from the all and I am narcissistically lost in ego. Once I begin to serve the evolution of the all, that same impulse becomes alive in me and my own transformation becomes a byproduct of the evolution of the all.
When you read my testimonial below and the ones of my colleagues linked to at the end, keep in mind that they are written with great delight from within the energy of the Mystery School. They are not 3rd person accounts but rather 1st person mystical testimonials.
Each year at the end of the Festival we say: This cannot get any better! And then it does get better. And OMG, we did it again! This was the most awesome Mystery School of Love EVER!!!
Deepest bow to CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni, our dharma teacher, who opened the space again and again, every morning, every moment with open heart, penetrating insight and clarity, deep humility, devotion, purity, and holy audacity. He has been more humble, devoted, pure, open, and audacious than ever, serving the dharma, serving the Goddess, serving the collective field and the awakening of every single human being in the room and on this planet while dancing with us to the end of love, the end of shame, and the leading edges of culture.
How can you become a beacon of light and love in the midst of all the pain you face – both yourself and the pain you see in the world?
How can you become a beneficial healing presence on the planet?
These are the questions that we need to answer in order to create a Politics of Love and an Integral Planet.
In the video below, CIW President Dr. Marc Gafni shares a daily practice from his tradition called participating in the pain of Eros in exile. What that means is that you open yourself up to the pain of the world without becoming dysfunctional.
That means you plug into the portal of pain in a way that’s powerful rather than impotent.
In this mystical practice that Marc Gafni transmits in his video, you open up to the pain fully for 5 minutes a day. You might do it by getting silent, bringing to mind images of pain, and letting your mind dwell in it. You might do it by reading a newspaper article.
By opening yourself to the pain fully for a limited amount of time, you realize a deep mystical knowing: When you enter the pain, you find yourself participating in the sweetness of the Divine.
The alive personal intelligence of All-That-Is is both the infinity of intimacy and the infinity of pain. The Divine pain is infinite. In this sacred practice, you are entering into God’s heart and are participating in the pain of the personal Eros of All-That-Is. In that participation, an infinite sweetness emerges.
Yeats wrote of this sweetness, in the understated but raw Eros of his verse:
When such as I
Cast out remorse
So great a sweetness fills my breast
We can dance and we can sing
We are blest by everything
And everything we look upon
When you step inside, you are blessed by everything. The contraction melts away and you feel the aliveness and awakeness of the feminine Goddess Divine – the personal embrace of the loving intelligence of the universe.
You have the power to love and dance and sing and create.
You are empowered to become a beneficial healing presence on the planet.
Enjoy this video by Dr. Marc Gafni:
What would our world look like if we looked at our leaders as the potential Outrageous Lovers that they already are, instead of looking at them through the lens of suspicion and mistrust?
That does not mean that we abandon healthy skepticism, fact checking, or any of that. It does mean a shift in perception, in which we look for the highest in a person and through the potency of that perception, we call people to actually be their most noble self. For in truth that is the deepest yearning of every human being.
I shared this thought in a several talks at Evolutionary Church and in other forums and in a series of tweets over the last couple of weeks.
Here are the tweets as well as links to the last evolutionary churches. We would love to see you there.
Evolutionary Church Replay
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.
In October 2016, a powerful Unique Self Tantra Training Program starts at our CIW Partner – The Institute of Integral Evolutionary Tantra – that offers profound personal growth through an in-depth experiential and conceptual learning matrix.
The program is a combination of the ancient art of Tantric wisdom traditions, the best of Integral and Evolutionary Theory, along with cutting edge transformative embodiment practices.
Wake Up to your Outrageous Lover, become an Outrageous Eros Practitioner, and support others in full bodied erotic living.
The Institute of Integral Evolutionary Tantra in New York City is led by CIW Board Member Dr. Kristina Kincaid. IET teaches, coaches and mentors individuals to take the next step in self-transformation. IET was created to develop cutting edge Leaders, Projects and Initiatives of conscious collaboration in the world. IET understands that in order to respond to the challenges that face our planet today, it is imperative to create a WE-space, where we as individuals and individual systems realize that enlightened consciousness is beyond ego, and is the essential next stage of self-transformation.
For more information go to www.IntegralEvolutionaryTantra.com or call 1-917-734-2197
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).
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)
We at the Center for Integral Wisdom – together with leading thought leaders and change agents – are dedicated to transform and evolve the source code of culture through application of Integral principles.
In our Activist Think Tank, we articulate, evolve and deliver a new, Integral narrative for living – which transforms each individual, culture and life itself – creating a world of Outrageous Love, through Outrageous Love. Our mission is to love outrageously, live outrageously, and create an extraordinary world.
Some of the core memes we have articulated are the memes of Unique Self and Evolutionary Love.
“We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is Outrageous Love.” – Marc Gafni
Outrageous Love is not ordinary love but Evolutionary Love.
Since the publication of Your Unique Self in 2012 by Dr. Marc Gafni and Integral Publishers, the teaching has evolved further into a coherent concept of how Evolutionary Love and the emergence of the Unique Self Symphony allows us to not only articulate a new Politics of Outrageous Love but to solve every problem that we are facing as humanity grows into the new stage of what Executive Board Member Barbara Marx Hubbard has come to call Conscious Evolution.
To give you an update on the newly emergent teaching on Evolutionary Unique Self, Outrageous Love, and the Unique Self Symphony, see our blog-series on UniqueSelf.com.
Here is the first part:
The Law of Feeling and Healing
The Law of Feeling and Healing, while simple in explanation, is quite profound. As the gateway to a seemingly impossible evolutionary shift, this law is our access to the divinity and untold amounts of love, joy, and connection.
Fifty years ago, God was experienced by the great realizers and religions as both all knowing and all potent and powerful. Only God knew of the immense pain in the world. Today, boundaries around knowledge cease to exist and images of unbearable suffering penetrate our hearts, bodies and minds hourly. Consequently, there is an enormous amount of Promethean talk about humans becoming God-like with the power we wield. Ignoring the fact that such talk does not take into account the infinite power of cosmos, these erroneous conversations forget divinity is not merely the infinity of power but also the infinity of pain. As our power of knowledge increases so does our awareness of the depth of suffering. In one way, we are potent like gods; we have the never previously known ability to acquire depths of understanding and graphic detail about the horrific pain happening across the planet. Yet, while we know an enormous amount about the reality of suffering around the globe, we experience ourselves as impotent. We feel powerless. Unlike the gods, we are rendered powerless to heal the hurt surrounding us. For most of us, the only way we are capable of responding is to close our hearts.
The Gap Between Feeling and Healing
Enlightenment teachers of all stripes say the reason we close our hearts is because our coiled ego clenches in a self-centered contraction. I don’t think so. We do not close our hearts—at least not primarily—because we are bad, asleep or narcissistic. We close our hearts because the gap between our ability to feel and our ability to heal is simply too great to bear. It is so hard to open our hearts when they have been broken so many times.
These broken hearts of ours hold outrageous pain. When our hearts break we become wounded and contracted. It becomes exceedingly scary to open our hearts again. We are afraid it will bring a pain that we simply cannot bear. Our wounds are further funded by the essential contraction of being a limited, fragile and mortal being. Our mortality itself is enough to break any awake heart. But the grief is not merely from our personal heartaches. We have more direct access to pain through unmediated images of horror and information about mass suffering than any previous generation in history. Our hearts are broken exponentially every time we log in. Facebook and Twitter offer us instant updates on happenings in every nook and cranny of the world. The moment we turn on CNN we see sickening videos from Syria, Congo and so many other crisis points. When we connect we feel utterly devastated. We also feel utterly helpless. We have never seen so much suffering and been so unable to heal it.
The Center for Integral Wisdom team wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!
There is so much that we at the Center are grateful for this year, from the many friendships around the world and the Outrageous Love we all share to the projects, large and small, that we have completed or are still in full swing:
Our WebPlex launch
The Pleasure Map course and its first live class with people engaging pleasure on whole new levels
An awesome board meeting in March
Books, courses, and activist projects in play
Talks and workshops given at conferences or churches, our in-depth Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain, and the 8-day Summer Festival of Love in Holland
- And so much more…
On a global level, the outrageous pain seems to grow more and more intense with millions of refugees fleeing from war, hunger, and violence, ongoing terror in many places around the world, as well as the quiet desperation of loneliness and disease. With that we are even more committed to fulfill on the mission of the Center: to articulate, evolve and deliver a new, Integral narrative for living – which transforms each individual, culture and life itself – creating a world of Outrageous Love, through Outrageous Love.
“The only response to outrageous pain is Outrageous Love,” as CIW Co-Founder Marc Gafni reminds us. This starts with resisting “the gravitational pull of UnLove” in our personal relationships and turning them into authentic Unique Self encounters.
“To enter a Unique Self encounter, you must resist the gravitational pull of UnLove. You must identify as part of the larger field of love. You experience yourself as part of the seamless coat of the Universe. This is the source of your authentic power. This will allow you to receive hurt inflicted by others as a wound of love and not as an insult. You wear your hurt as a battle scar in your struggle for love. You bear it with pride and dignity. You are freed from the compulsive need to inflict pain on the one who hurt you in order to prove you exist. You know you exist because you are in divine communion, that is to say, identified with the larger whole beyond your particular part nature.
The trance-ending of ego into Unique Self-realization is animated by the quality of love. Love motivates and manifests the spontaneous action of care and compassion. Egoic self-contraction is the quality of fear. Fear motivates and manifests the reactive rituals of egoity.
To live and act as love means to keep your heart open through the pain of heartache and hurt.
To live and act as fear means to allow the pain to close your heart. You can practice love by practicing opening your heart even when you feel hurt.
Rather than turning away, closing down, and striking out, you keep your heart open. This will help you act skillfully instead of reacting clumsily in these situations.
When you practice opening as love moment to moment in the face of the hurt, the power of the past weakens. Old wounds are in the past. If you open your heart in the present, time after time, the power of the past recedes.
You will probably always feel the pain when you meet UnLove in relationship. But you do not need to feel the closure, which deadens your heart and your life force. You can continually practice love rather than closing down into UnLove. You can feel your self-contraction and choose to change the way you react.
You are not a victim of your past. When you stop either ignoring or overdramatizing past events, you also stop unconsciously using life trauma from the past to avoid giving the depth of love that is yours to give in the present moment.
The pain of the past may have come to you through another. Your present reaction is yours. You are doing it. You must assume responsibility for your own complex of reactivity. Reactive emotion and reenactment do not need to be a fact of your nature. You can take your armor off. You can unguard your heart and trust yourself to live and love from an intense armorless vulnerability. This is the safest place from which to live.
For some people, especially those with fortunate childhood circumstances, opening through hurt is not so hard. For others, it may be the work of a lifetime. For all of us, it is perhaps the most important work we can do for our own love and freedom, and the love and freedom of the others in our lives.
To be weak in love is to exclusively identify with your separate self, which is always already insulted and empty with craving.
To love is to know that we are all lost and found in the same reality together. To love is to stay open in gratitude and joy even as you know that love breaks your heart.”
Marc Gafni, Your Unique Self
From our hearts to yours, we send you love and light this Thanksgiving season.
In deep gratitude and evolutionary partnership,
The CIW Team
An unedited first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid
The way to awaken as an Outrageous Lover is the practice of writing Outrageous Love Letters. The ultimate awakening of the Outrageous Lover is the realization that your life itself is an Outrageous Love Letter. This path and practice will be fully described in the Outrageous Love Process in last section of the book.
Outrageous love is awakened through the practice of writing outrageous love letters. Evolution becomes conscious to itself through your awakening to the realization that your life itself is an outrageous love letter. You are a messenger that forgot your message. Your message is You! You awaken by remembering that you are the personal face of the evolutionary impulse. Through your own evolution of consciousness you participate in the evolution of love.
To awaken as an outrageous lover is to become intimate with reality itself. You recognize that you are living in an intimate universe in which you are seen, witnessed, addressed and called. You are called to realize that existence needs you as an intimate partner. Reality needs your service. Your Outrageous Acts of Love become the text of the Outrageous Love letter which is your life.
Your life is your Outrageous Love Story. Living your life as an Outrageous Love letter comes from the realization that all of existence needs your intimate witnessing and partnership.
By awakening as the evolutionary impulse and activating your capacity for outrageous acts of love, you come into intimate union with the universe, and the universe comes into intimate union with you.
Watch and listen to this beautiful first part of a 10-part dialogue with Ervin Laszlo and Marc Gafni in Tuscany on the topic of Evolutionary Love–envisioning a new Renaissance that will take us to the future.
In the dialogue they share about the Second Shock of Existence, the New Renaissance, Evolutionary Love, and Unique Self Enlightenment as well as cutting-edge topics like super-coherence, self-organization, and the Unique Self Symphony.
You can watch the whole dialogue here if you have subscribed and are logged in to the Premium Membership.
As a gift to you, we offer you the first key part of the dialogue for free here:
Marc opens the space with this:
- After we have killed all the gods except for Aphrodite, although we worship at her altar of love, we have lost the meaning of the word love.
- “I love you” is our sacred word but we have forgotten what it truly means.
- If we begin with a reconstruction of love and its actual meaning, maybe from there we will develop a super-coherent vision of the patterns that connect.
Ervin then sets the stage for the rest of the conversation:
- Love IS reconstruction. We need to reconstruct because the world is falling apart.
- Love is the longing to become one.
- We need unity in diversity and Love is that element of unity. It is what holds it all together.
- It is there in the quantum world, the simplest systems, the planets… What makes a system whole is the sense of belonging of its parts.
- In the sentence “I love you”, the YOU means everybody and everything.
- Evolutionary Love is the love of reconnecting, of rebirthing the world, of becoming part of it.
Enjoy the first part of the dialogue for free here:
Sign up for the Premium Membership for only $15/month or for $129/year (a savings of $51!), and get streaming access to the rest of this dialogue and the entire archive of Integral Wisdom content, containing videos and dialogues exclusively offered through the Premium Membership.