... and Reclaiming the Higher Obligation and Joy of Your Life

by Dr. Marc Gafni

Notes on an Emergent World Spirituality based on Integral Principles.

Hi Friends, I am writing you from the road. Traveling, meetings to unfold the World Spirituality movement based on integral principles, teaching, and much more. I am delighted to be alive and to be writing to you.  I am thinking a lot of these days about how to  harness the fire of your Evolutionary Creativity.

Here are some thoughts about creativity which come from deep within the Source Code of our emerging Integral world view. What a delight and privilege it is to participate with you in the evolution of consciousness. What a wild and holy privilege it is to have this conversation with you. One of the things this blog will make clear is the trajectory of emergence from Unique Self to Love to Evolutionary Creativity.  As we connect the dots, the eros and ethos of the Great World Spirituality Awakening story comes into view. So here we go.......

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Your Unique Self: Giving Your Gift ”” Dr. Marc Gafni -- Audio Transcript

Bert Parlee: Marc has an incredible breadth of wisdom and knowledge, not only in the spiritual traditions, but his doctorate is from Oxford, he's a scholar, speaks various languages, and the way he weaves stories, drawing from all streams of life that he brings into his very embodied organic teaching style. Welcome Marc.

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by Sally Kempton

In my late 20s, as a recovering existentialist in the midst of a life-crisis, I came across  he Bhagavad Gita, and read for the first time Krishna's wordson dharma. You probably remember the situation: the warrior-prince Arjuna, paralyzed by confusion at the prospect of having to kill his kinsmen in a war, begs his friend and teacher, Krishna, for help. Though Krishna's response touches on every essential aspect of the inner life, from how to meditate to what to expect when we die, the lines that struck me were these: "You are a warrior," Krishna tells his pupil, "your svadharma, your personal duty, is to fight. Therefore, stand up and do battle. Better your own dharma badly performed than the dharma of another done perfectly."

Is it possible to read that sentence without asking yourself the question "What is my dharma?" I felt that I'd suddenly found words for a question I'd been trying to formulate my whole life. I made my living as a writer””was that my dharma? I'd just begun serious spiritual practice””was that my dharma? I had a life-long aversion to the conventional rules of society””was that a sign that I was out of line with dharma, or simply that I followed a dharma that was uniquely mine? Was there really, as Krishna's words seemed to imply, a blueprint for right action, perhaps lodged in my DNA, that could provide my own personal path to truth? Was that the clue to the question that had confused me for most of my life, "What am I really supposed to be doing?"

Years of practice have convinced me that there is such a thing as personal dharma, and that unless we're in touch with it, we're out of touch with our real source of strength and guidance. When we are inside our dharma, spiritual growth seems to happen naturally. When we aren't, we feel stuck and stymied not just in our work and relationships, but in our inner life as well.

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by Leyna Roget

Terry Patten is a firecracker of a teacher, and yet every bit of the exuberant knowledge he imparts on us is lined with love. For him, integral living is about formulating a commitment to the social framework of humanity through raw honesty and integrity. Patten leads us in a series of yogic moves to enter into the sacred space of our bodies. Our three body centers (head, heart, center) are the three faces of God through which we can awaken to the ”˜I AM-ness’ of the divine and one another. We tap each limb of our body alive and our mind and heart follow.

Patten has such a poignant way of recognizing the mind-body connection as integral to realizing our full life force – individually and collectively. Through ”˜involution’ our human, personal experience is accessed and is able to evolve, because really, our ”˜involutionary given’ is that we are human AND humanity. With the birth of the cosmos, the big bang (or ”˜holy yes’ as Patten puts it, haha) “evolution is a single story line that unites all of human knowledge”. Maybe the big bang knew what it was doing because once we came to be complex forms of life we were able to see the process by which we came to be. So, evolution has become self aware through us, and we are witnesses to our involution of self. Think about the universe having the gift of life, but not realizing it until billions of years later. Now think about your birth and being written a check by the universe, totaling the infinite sum of your worth to the world, and now, to be present means cashing it in yourself for all you have always been worth. OMG.

It wasn’t enough for Patten to be enthusiastic in his delivery, there was a certain amount of tenacity to his urging us to “make a contribution, be a part of that which is a healthy human adaptive response to this moment”¦anything less than that is unacceptable and you know it in your heart”¦you have to find a way to validate your own existence”. Amen. What’s the first step to validating our BEING-ness? “Be willing to feel all of it un-buffered, and be seen in it” – in that gritty, scary, revealing, shameful, beautiful, honest, unique you.

Patten gets to the heart of this breathtaking dialogue by asking, “what does it take for us to be real with one another”¦to touch and be touched”¦to be trustworthy?” This leads us into a series of group exercises that entreat us play and share in a space of vulnerability, with interpersonal communication anchored in love. We sit intimately close, in circles of four people. Being utterly present, we take rounds to concisely address a single question or statement: How are I feeling? … What is something that will allows others to know me better? ”¦ What I’m ashamed of is ”¦ The tension I’m living with is ”¦ A commitment I’m willing to make right now is”¦ Wow. What a remarkable exercise in letting down your guard and TRULY getting to know people! We connect through these fears, evolutionary questions, and the desire to take our “involution” seriously.

I’ll forever cherish the challenge to take a chance with presence by “being dangerously real” and “listening with a beginners mind”. We are reminded to author and narrate our divine reality. Patten’s invigorating approach to human / humanity wholeness is energizing. What happens matters, what you do matters, in this moment – own it!

Leyna Roget networks with community organizations and businesses to introduce the inspiring stories of Planet Progress and the developing works of iNDIGO PROjECT MEDIA. She captures on and off camera images for Blog posts, Twitter updates, and various other engaging platforms to bring the viewer into the company’s interconnected sphere. Leyna creates new outlets and sustainable community events that invite the public to interact with iPM.

by Leyna Roget

We’re still at that settling in stage of the retreat, which makes our morning yoga/meditation courtesy of Mike Brabant a refreshing, group energy bonding experience. Not to mention, a little comedy with your down dog never hurts, as we fan out our palms into ”˜alien hands’ for stability. Marcy Baruch greets us this morning, appropriately setting the tone for togetherness with her melodic words, “I am the space behind I am”¦we are the space behind we are”. While we sing to honor many voices, this intimate retreat is as much a challenge to individual purpose, and in so embodies the third principle of world spirituality: growing up.

John Welwood initially coined the term “growing up” in his book Toward a Psychology of Awakening in reference to becoming psychologically whole. Marc Gafni explains, in the model of world spirituality, this description of growing up is more synonymous with our understanding of the awakening or ”˜waking up’ stage. Therefore, growing up means the ability to move through higher and higher structures of consciousness in our life. As we age we organize and understand our experience of reality through a lens, our consciousness. For example, a child will have a distinct way of connecting the dots of self and experience in this world, versus an adult. Consciousness as a structure progresses from egocentric (limiting outlook to focus mainly on oneself), to ethnocentric (identification with the needs of a specific group), to world-centric (valuing the needs of humanity). Thanks to Terry Patten’s presentation of the next stage as “cosmocentric” (empathic identification and compassion for ALL that is), I’ve just had my consciousness blown open beyond the constraints of our natural world. Ironically, many religious texts operate from a love for the cosmos perspective, but the authoring person(s) is still bound to their egocentric view so the narrative shows up through a popular ethnocentric lens.

Being a Sustainable Human Presence

Growing up is about being an awakened form of consciousness in this world, “the next expression of the human race, the homo-noetic”. What I appreciate more than anything is how no-nonsense Patten is about telling us grow up, and own up to our call as spiritual practitioners. We must honor a sustainable human presence and be “authentic to the health of the fabric of the whole human system”. Everyone is capable of breaking through to an epic life purpose, as long as they are willing. “It’s about getting right with God and the call to exemplify greatness…When we tune into the profoundly good news of our divine nature, we begin towards oneness, and concurrently discover an urgency to care for humanity with love and activism”. Every person, in their individuality, has the ability to fill in the gaps towards elevating humanity to a functioning system of interconnectedness. This feels like a YAHTZEE kind of moment!

Answering the Call of Ecstatic Love

Living in a cosmocentric consciousness is about more than just being a global citizen. Marc Gafni illustrates this point beautifully with a discussion on the concept of obligation. The Hebrew translation for obligation is “ecstatic love”. This expression of love beyond limits is how we embody the seamless (but not featureless) source code of the world. When we perceive a cosmocentric existence, it is as though we experience the world as living in us. For many in a relationship with power, the message of obligation centers on what is “right” as opposed to what is centered on love and unity. It is the demand for to fulfill an obligation that often discourages authentic action. Gafni suggests that we must reclaim power as an expression of truth and change the dimension of obligation to be innate to our awakened unique self AND evolutionary urgency. It’s quite simple, obligation is created out of genuine need, recognition of a need, ability to meet the need, and seeing oneself as the only one able to meet that need. Therefore, obligation as a stage of developmental consciousness is actually embodied in our essence. Our waking up and growing up to our purpose is really to love ecstatically. Whether you understand your cosmocentric quest as a public or private practitioner, the shift of our internal structures in living in a state of ecstatic love (or obligation), has a dramatic affect towards creating shifts in the lives of others, and the heart of the cosmic source code.

Leyna Roget networks with community organizations and businesses to introduce the inspiring stories of Planet Progress and the developing works of iNDIGO PROjECT MEDIA. She captures on and off camera images for Blog posts, Twitter updates, and various other engaging platforms to bring the viewer into the company’s interconnected sphere. Leyna creates new outlets and sustainable community events that invite the public to interact with iPM.