2010. Photo courtesy of jscreationzs.

©2010. Photo courtesy of jscreationzs.

This week’s audio wisdom meditation with Dr. Marc Gafni comes from Week 7 of the Awakening Your Unique Self 10-Week Telecourse, themed “Unique Self: A Paradigm Shift in Loving.” This beautiful meditation, created by Dr. Marc for the course, takes us into the embodied taste of our own openings and closings, teaching us to recognize each moment and our relationship to it.  In this meditation, Dr. Marc says, “Your true destiny unfolds freely when you live every moment open as Unique Self and shine as your unique offering of outrageous love.” So, to become Unique and Outrageous Lovers, we can learn to recognize how love is a “perception-identification complex,” which allows us to see with God’s eyes.  In living from an open rather than closed place, we access our purpose and greatest offerings of love.

Please sit back, relax, and prepare to experience the tastes of living open as love as part of this Wisdom for Your Week offering. You can also access the transcript to accompany the meditation below.

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From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni.

(c) 2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

©2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

The ego lives in the past, thinking it is the present. Therefore, the ego unconsciously confuses past with present. The ego is unable to create intimacy, which means meeting each other in the fullness of the present moment. To make real contact, you must be personal and present. Only the Unique Self can make contact. For the Unique Self, the present moment consciously includes the past and anticipates the future.

The ego confuses the past and the present. When you are confused””thinking you are present in the present while you are actually lost in a past trance””you are unable to act effectively, lovingly, or powerfully in the situation that you are in. And the past remains always unhealed. Several years ago a friend and board member of my organization called me, angry at not being included in a particular email loop. Her anger was full of intensity and flaming aggression, which was vastly disproportionate to the ostensible exclusion from the email loop. I considered asking her to resign from the board, as this was not the first time such an overreaction had occurred. Of course, what was coming up was not her present exclusion, but a very old sense of being excluded. She held this sense of being left out from her early childhood as a girl with four brothers who were better loved by their father.

This inability to discern the past from the present has made her unable to effectively navigate her professional or personal world, because she is always prone to dramatic overreactions that undermine many key relationships. The Unique Self does not confuse the past with the present. When the past comes up in the present, the Unique Self recognizes it for what it is: the past coming up in the present.

The Unique Self then uses the present moment to heal the past. The Unique Self recognizes that the patterns of the past have no true foothold or power in the present.

Further Discussion:

As Dr. Marc says above, the ego confuses the past with the present, and the Unique Self recognizes the difference, escapes the past's dominion, and uses the present moment to heal the past. So, what, then, is the relationship between Unique Self or ego and the future?  Dr. Marc teaches, quoting Gabriel Marcel, that hope is a memory of the future.  He says:

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Sunrise Over The Sea With Pier On The Foreground by tratong, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©tratong, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego is always splitting. It always sees dualities, and it cannot hold paradox or complexity. For the ego, others are either enemies or friends. Actions are either good or bad. The separate-self ego has a very hard time stably holding perspectives other than its own for extended periods of time. The Unique Self can naturally hold paradox. Contact with the transcendent within the large field of divine reality allows for the holding of opposites. Sacred outrage and equanimity live in paradoxical harmony within the Unique Self.


Further discussion:

Here we meet with one of the paradoxes of the Unique Self teachings, which is that we can wake up to realize Unique Self (as a state experience), since it is our very essence, which is always already present, yet, to really live it in a sustainable way, we need to also grow up to higher levels of consciousness and complexity.

How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. (Niels Bohr)

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File With Excuses Word by Stuart Miles

©Stuart Miles, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego very rarely takes substantive responsibility. When the ego attempts to take responsibility, it creates a painful, virtually unbearable contraction in the self. So the ego becomes the master of the excuse. The Unique Self is able to take responsibility spontaneously, lightly, and with full gravitas. The Unique Self holds with equal measure of gravitas and ease its own responsibility and its rightful anger at injustice. Usually, the ego advises the other person to “take responsibility,” while the ego itself wallows in the real and imagined offenses that it has suffered.



Further discussion:

Just hearing words like responsibility or obligation often lets our ego contract in pain and sometimes anger. From our separate selves the idea of taking responsibility often seems like pure impertinence. Finding the balance between taking the right measure of personal responsibility and being gentle with ourselves seems to be an important issue for most of us.

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(c) 2011 Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

©2011 Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

The ego is angry at what is done to it. It very rarely feels the same outrage at what is done to someone else. The Unique Self is not merely outraged against injustice done to its own person; it is hurt and outraged by any and all injustice. The ego often fights large causes of injustice as a way to bolster its grandiosity. Unique Self fights the battles of injustice in its own backyard, even when there is potential collateral damage to its own power and status.


Further Discussion:


One of the things this distinction reminds us of is the importance of responding to real hurt in the world.  In one call from the Living Beyond Complexity telecourse Dr. Marc Gafni co-taught with Clint Fuhs, Nicole Fegley, and Zak Stein, Marc spent one entire phone call expounding upon the “problem of evil” in the world, also referred to as a “theodicy.”  In the course of the call, he explained that the level-three response to enormous suffering in the world is to cry out “Why?” in pain, to feel the pain, and to question the injustice behind it, which is part of the tikkun, or fixing, of the injustice.  In one of his earlier manuscripts entitled Uncertainty, (a book that will be rereleased along with his manuscript for Certainty), Marc explores the Talmudic teaching on this.  An excerpt of that discussion is reprinted below from the chapter entitled “The Path of Wrestling”:

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by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

©2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles


Your ego is always contracting and saying, “No.” Even when your ego says, “Yes,” it is only because it is afraid to say, “No.” Your Unique Self is always expanding and saying, “Yes.” Even when you say, “No,” it is only to make room for a more authentic “Yes.”


Further Discussion:

The following is excerpted directly from Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment (pp. 357-59), Chapter 25, “Say Yes”:

In Hebrew the word “yes”””kein””means “integrity.” Yes is the ultimate affirmation of our integrity. The question of your existence is whether you can say Yes to the unique destiny and adventure that is your life. That is self-love! From the place of ego you remain perpetually unsatisfied. Located in Unique Self, everything fills you.


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Baby's Hand Holding Mother's Finger by gubgib, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©Baby's Hand Holding Mother's Finger by gubgib, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

When you are in ego, people feel smaller when you walk into the room. They feel invisible before you. The result is that they feel depleted and in danger. When you are in your Unique Self, people feel bigger when you walk into the room. They feel seen by you. They feel your desire to love and give to them.



Further discussion:

Don't we all recognize that? Somebody walks into a room, and we immediately feel smaller? And in somebody else's company we feel great, empowered, seen, and loved?

But why is this so? Aren't those feelings of smallness and our dependency on other people's acknowledgement related to our own bad self-esteem, as much of the New Age popular psychology makes us believe?

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2011. Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici.

©2011. Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici.

By Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

When you are in ego, you might help friends who are successful and even friends who are down, as long as it does not threaten your position. But you are not capable of truly delighting in your deepest heart in a friend's large success. When you are in Unique Self, your deepest heart delights in your friend's success, even if there is nothing in it for you at all.




Further Discussion:

When two Unique Selves are in friendship or any kind of interpersonal relationship, significant transformation often awaits them, whether that means gaining deeper insight into themselves or being change agents for each other and sharing a purpose together in the world. This potential for transformation we sense in through the other may at first feel threatening to us because we could be drawn to a Unique Self who holds or demonstrates in some way a missing piece of our personal story. We intuit the missing piece, such as a talent he or she can help us nourish or see in ourselves, and it can often be painful for us to rise to the full invitation of this gift until we are ready to receive its message. In an article on the CWS website on Unique Self relationships, Dr. Marc Gafni writes:

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Heart Rotto by Idea go, www.freedigitalphotos.net

©Heart Rotto by Idea go, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego betrays. The Unique Self is loyal. When you are in your ego, and things go bad, you are willing—in your fear—to betray virtually anyone. Your ego is easily identifiable by the shallowness of its integrity. If you live in Unique Self and things go bad, you find your way, through thick or thin, to a deeper center of spirit.





Further discussion:

Betrayal: Isn’t this something from the soap operas on TV, but not something that we would ever do to another person? Can’t we all just relax and say: look at how advanced I am in living my Unique Self?

On the other hand: Haven’t we all had experiences where we felt betrayed? How do we react when we feel betrayed?

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By Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

"Worried Young Woman On Bed" 2012. Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

©2012 "Worried Young Woman On Bed" Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici 


In your ego, you cling to every petty detail of your story. You never let go of any of your wounds. Your mantra is “I hurt, therefore I am.” Therefore, your ego can never wholeheartedly forgive. If it does, the ego's forgiveness is a tactic, not a sacrament. Your Unique Self forgives freely without giving up your own truth.

From the evolutionary context of your Unique Self, you realize that you have a Unique Gift to give to All-That-Is. You are animated, driven, and drawn by that larger vision and obligation. This allows you to place your wounds in a larger perspective. Your Unique Self is not a victim. It is an audacious player in the Great Story of the evolution of consciousness. This larger perspective allows you to begin to let go of the story of your wounds. As it is replaced by the greater story of your Unique Self, delight and obligation begin to emerge.

From the place of your Unique Self, you are able to intuitively balance your outrage at injustice with an intuition about when to give up being right and move on. Because you are able to give up being right without giving up your core identity, it becomes infinitely easier to forgive.


Further Discussion:

As Dr. Marc reminds us, life is what we do with our hurt, which means that we can choose to be victims or we can choose to be players in the evolutionary context. In Your Unique Self, Marc writes, “Hurt is not an objective reality that gives you license for cruelty under the cover of ”˜I was hurt.' Hurt is a state, and it is interpreted through your stage or level of consciousness. As you evolve, your relationship to your wounds naturally shifts. More than any other single barometer, what you do with your hurt reveals to you and others your genuine level of consciousness. When you feel hurt, the masks of piety and the guises of liberation from ego are stripped away, and your naked heart is revealed to yourself and those with eyes to see” (426).

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Fallen Leader by podpad, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Fallen Leader by podpad, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self.

Ego is the servant pretending to be a king. You are avoiding stepping into your Unique Self for fear of being a king. Your ego thinks it is God but does not really believe it, so your ego insanely tries to make itself the God it knows it is not. Your Unique Self knows it is God, so it acts in the world with majesty, audacity, and grace.



Further discussion:

We can take a lot of different perspectives on today's issue. Let's try on a couple of them.

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by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

Your ego is a slave that wants to be free. Freedom is the quality that we call autonomy. Your ego, however, understands and experiences freedom/autonomy as freedom from external influence. Only then does ego feel free to do what it wants. Unique Self is free. Unique Self understands and experiences freedom as the freedom to live your Uniqueness and give your deepest gifts in the world.

When you feel yourself demanding your egoic freedom, stop for a moment and feel into it. Do not cover over the emptiness that lies at the root of your desire for freedom and autonomy. Feel into the emptiness. Feel into the hole.

For example: Perhaps you are in a relationship that you want to leave. You are chafing to get out of the relationship. But as you contemplate this, stay in the discomfort that you can palpably feel””which lies at the root of this desire. For now, do not give the feeling words. Instead feel the quality of the vacuity and emptiness that arouses the desire.

If you stay in it long enough, the emptiness will begin to fill up with being and presence, with your Unique Being and Presence.

(c) April 2011 Courtesy of Graur Codrin

(c) April 2011 Courtesy of Graur Codrin

What happened?

You have discovered that the root of your desire to be free from another was your disconnection from your own personal essence, your Unique Self. When your Unique Self filled the hole, the desperate desire you felt to leave the group””or the marriage or the job””faded away. That does not mean that you should necessarily stay in the marriage or the job. It does however mean that you will make the decision from a grounded place of full presence as your Unique Self, and are therefore far more likely to make the right decision.


Further discussion: Three Steps in to the Distinction

“This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them anew each day.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Eros Cupid Statue London by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Eros Cupid Statue London by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee


by Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self

The ego is not erotic. Unique Self lives in Eros. To live in Eros means to live with fullness of presence and with a felt sense of wholeness. It is to yearn urgently and ecstatically, without grasping and to experience interiority, the feeling of being on the inside. This is the experience of Unique Self. The ego lives with the feeling of always being on the outside. It fragments, grasps, and never shows up fully present to other. Unique Self lives in Eros.


For further discussion:

What is Eros? And what does it mean to live an erotic life?

Well, clearly: It is not sex!

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By Dr. Marc Gafni from Your Unique Self.

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles

(c) 2012 Courtesy of Stuart Miles


When the ego’s heart breaks, then the heart closes and contracts. When the Unique Self’s heart breaks, the heart opens through the pain into greater love. For your ego, the interior face of the kosmos is at best a concept. For Unique Self, the interior face of the kosmos is the infinity of intimacy.







Further Discussion:

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Multicolored Ink Drop by posterize, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by posterize

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

The Unique Self is in joy. Joy is the natural by-product of living your Unique Self story. The ego is rarely happy and often plagued by an underlying feeling of fear, deadness, or depression. The happiness that the ego does experience is of a heavier and less richly textured quality than the joy of the Unique Self. The joy of the Unique Self is lighter and freer, often verging on the ecstatic.


For further discussion:

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” ~ Erich Fromm

Joy has become front and center in our everyday psychology. And we often feel that there is something wrong with us when we don't feel happy all the time. The pursuit of happiness is even one of our constitutional rights.

But what do we mean by that? And why is joy called a by-product here if it is that important?

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Join us in our response of Outrageous Love to Outrageous Pain

Join us as the Integral World Spirituality Community gathers to talk and act in Response to Outrageous Pain Anywhere and Everywhere in the World.

We live in a world of outrageous pain. Boston, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Congo, Kenya, Jerusalem, Manhattan, Bangladesh. Outrageous pain is everywhere.Broken HeartSquare

The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.

There is an outrageous act of love that the worlds needs from you. No one else but you is capable of addressing that unique corner of Un-Love and healing it into Love.

This is why, in light of the recent tragedies in the U.S., we are holding a special, live, Public Square Phone Event next Tuesday, April 23, with Dr. Marc Gafni and Riane Eisler.haertmeditation_markgafni

Full information here—>

From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni

ID-1005646Enlightenment requires your ability to discern between your ego story and your Unique Self story. Your separate-self egoic personality has needs. It wants to make itself feel secure. So your ego tells you a story about yourself that makes you feel safe, valuable, and worthy. The inability to feel safe, valuable, and worthy is a devastating experience for the ego, one it will ward off at virtually all costs. So the ego hijacks everything that happens to you, and everything that you do, into a story about its own goodness, value, and worth.

The ego has a simple if ingenious mechanism for doing this. It disguises its ambition, its drive for power, or its insecure grasping, and converts them into narrative material that supports its own positive self-image. This is how the separate-self ego story develops. It is this story that teachers of True Self correctly tell you to leave behind when they say, “To be enlightened, you must let go of your story.”

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Tree In Blossom by dan, www.freedigitalphotos.net

by dan

by Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

Your ego thinks that there is never enough to go around. It always needs more to feel like it exists at all. Your Unique Self knows that it is enough. Your Unique Self knows that there is enough to go around.

Your Unique Self strives for more, not to fill the emptiness but as an expression of the fullness of its being””bursting forth as the evolutionary impulse of the kosmos.


For more on distinctions between ego and Unique Self, check out the upcoming Unique Self telecourse starting April 24.  This is a not-to-be missed course on the new spiritual book and teaching that everyone is talking about!



For further discussion:


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thumb_COLOURBOX3022407By Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self

Your separate self is driven by greed. Greed is not the want of anything specific. Rather, it is insatiable want that creates perpetual anxiety. Insatiable want is a structure of the egoic mind, which seeks more and more identity enhancers to confirm its existence. Satisfaction and ego are opposites.

Give the ego everything, and it will not be satisfied. Give the Unique Self anything, and it will be grateful and satisfied. Satisfied, not resigned. Satisfaction emerges from the fullness of whatever the moment brings.

Satisfaction comes from contact with Being and from doing your radical, intense best in the world of Becoming without attachment to outcome. Being is all one, so any moment of Authentic Being gives infinite satisfaction. Becoming is an expression of the evolutionary impulse and not merely of the egoic drive to achieve. So for Unique Self, your very best is always good enough. For your ego, your very best is never good enough. This is why the ego is the source of all your suffering. It always wants more to fill its greed.

Greed, however, is not a root evil. At its core, greed is your ego's distortion of a quality of essence, the quality of pure infinite desire. Infinite desire is the natural expression of the endless creativity of essence.  It is this quality that creates constant yearning, especially the yearning to grow, to create. This yearning, however, lives in paradoxical harmony with satisfaction.

For more on distinctions between ego and Unique Self, check out the upcoming Unique Self telecourse starting April 24.  This is a not-to-be missed course on the new spiritual book and teaching that everyone is talking about!

Further discussion:


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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.