– in Response to an Invitation of the German “Integrales Forum” in 2011

Thank you for your kind invitation to comment on the Integrales Forum position paper in regard to teacher-student relations. First let me congratulate you on this paper, which serves to initiate this important conversation. This topic is a worthy one in need of urgent address on many levels. Let me also commend your excellent deployment of the Integral framework in discussing these issues. It is the use of the Integral framework that allows for this discussion to hold the necessary complexity, multiples perspectives, and nuance that it deserves.

In broad terms, I agree with your conclusions in terms of the need for some essential standards in regard to spiritual teachers. Clearly we are all aware of the most horrific abuses that take place in the context of some pre-personal cults, as well as of some of the more subtle forms of psychological manipulation, financial dishonesty and sexual abuse that take place in these same contexts under the fig leaf of the teacher-student relationship for the sake of the dharma. To protect the potential victim and shield the powerless from the whims of the powerful is a core obligation of any community.

At the same time, as you indicate in your paper, much discernment is needed in this conversation to assure that the teacher-student function is upheld. For indeed, without this teacher-student function, both the transmission of wisdom as well as the personal and collective enlightenment of the interior face of the cosmos would be severely impaired. The teacher-student function is essential for these evolutionary goals.

[Read more…]

Watch and listen to this 14-minute video, the third 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 it, Ervin Laszlo introduces the concept of love and entanglement through physics, while Marc unpacks evolutionary love and its place in structures and society. Watch previous posts from this series, The New Renaissance, & Love as an Erotic Force, or The Second Shock of Existence.

Enjoy the third part of the dialogue here:

Ervin Laszlo introduces the concept of love and entanglement through physics:

  • Love is first expressed in this universe when particles emerged in the big bang. There were particles of matter and antimatter. These particles when they collided annihilated each other, the surviving particles are now the substance matter. What did these particles do? Hydrogen nuclide looked for a companion, the electron, which started rotating around the nucleus of the hydrogen nuclide. This formed the Hydrogen atom. The Hydrogen atom picks up another electron, and becomes Deuteron. Gradually these atoms themselves relate among each other and form to create further unions and integrations of more complex forms and life emerges out of non-life.
  • The way in which every particle is related and sensitive to one another is called entanglement.
  • Einstein didn’t believe entanglement when he tried to split an atom in half and project the other half further away, thinking that he would measure the two separately bringing in new results. It turns out the other particle felt when the first half was being measured, changing the result. This flabbergasted the science community. Every element of the natural world is related instantly to every other element. Information is instant, and much more direct than physics originally thought.
  • Entanglement is universal, is present in us, in our consciousness, because it’s part of our cosmic heritage. It’s part of the symphony of love.
  • In a coherence system every part is sensitively interconnected with every other part. New life wouldn’t be possible without coherence between cells, acting as one, so to speak. We are an integration of different cells, working together to create a symphony, a living organism. If any part of this unit breaks, we have disease.
  • There’s a need to rediscover this connectivity within us, outside of us. We have to recognize that we’re a part of these ongoing wholes, otherwise we cannot survive ourselves.

Marc Gafni unpacks evolutionary love and its place in structures and society:

  • Evolutionary love is not ordinary love. What we’re describing here is awakening to the true nature of reality, an interconnected evolutionary love that lives at every level of reality. The human being can adopt this love in one of two ways, an egoic way – a disguise for the separate self seeking security – or awaken and realize love is living in me and I am an irreducible unique part of the larger whole, and I awaken to that reality as my actual consciousness otherwise known as enlightenment.
  • The universe has an interior, a prehension, allurement and entanglement that lives at the quantum level and the macroscopic level.  This attractive force moves up and down reality. We’re not saying reality is an entangled system of interconnected “its”. Reality emerges from an erotic force, which connects everything and that force comes alive in us when we awaken (enlightenment).
  • The second shock of the existence (See the Second Shock of Existence post here) requires an evolution of self. A transformation of identity beyond the separate self, to be an enlightened unique self is to realize there’s no externalities.
  • The evolution of consciousness that responds to the second shock of existence we can call the democratization of enlightenment, enlightenment becomes democratized and the evolution of enlightenment from true self to unique self begins the symphony of love.

>>> You can watch the whole 10-part dialogue here <<<

In their dialogue, Ervin Laszlo and Marc Gafni 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.


If you like the dialogue, you may be interested in our online course “ Becoming a Future Human”

Becoming a Future Human, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marc Gafni, Daniel SchmachtenbergerWho do we need to become in order for humanity to make it though its current dangerous technological adolescence and to create a world that is truly commensurate with our full human, scientific, social, spiritual, and technological capabilities? If you are here to embody your unique gift fully for the benefit of all life and play your role as a steward of the cosmos and the birth of a new humanity, then welcome! This course is for everyone that knows humanity is at the brink of an epochal shift, that believes we can create the world the great sages knew was possible, and that wants to be a part of co-creating that world together.

>>> Learn more about the course here <<<

Watch and listen to this 15-minute video, the second 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. Listen to the first part here.

Enjoy the second part of the dialogue here:

Marc Gafni introduces the first and second shocks of existence:

  • The first shock of existence is the emergence of separate self. We move from hunter/gatherer, whose concern is survival in a small clan to early horticulture, the emergence of the human being. The emergence of separate self confronts the human with death, and culture unfolds to confront death.
  • After we evolve through 7 culture ethics (instinct, early farming, mythological, industrial, informational, and post informational) the second shock of existence unfolds: The second shock of existence is the awareness of the potential death of the species (vs. death of the individual). We’ve out-used our resources in terms of our core fuels.
  • How do we move forward from this? A fundamental shift in our consciousness.

Ervin Laszlo talks in depth about the creation of the individual and their place in society:

  • From the observer’s viewpoint, this world is falling apart because the discovery of self during the renaissance era. A transition from roles in society that had individuals such as kings and heros with communities that were designed with roles (those who pray, those who fight, those who rule)  has now come to such lengths that everyone is an individual. We serve the individual, the individual becomes dominant. Your role or place in the larger community is secondary.
  • The individual has no particular place and is supreme in this model. The individual becomes expressed in the seeking of power, wealth, and satisfaction. This has lead to a coming apart of natural relationships that create a community.
  • Looking at it through the lens of system theory, you could say you’ve sub-optimized the system. The individual parts of the whole can not all be the greatest part.
  • We must recover our oneness, our unity within a larger whole, to meet evolutionary love. In a way that doesn’t give up our personality or self but integrates the self in a larger whole. We can support both at the same time.

Marc Gafni Summarizes:

  • The individual lives within the context of a larger whole. The mass flowering of the individual happened in the renaissance. The self emerges, then gradually gets decontextualized. The self must validate their existence and they do this through consuming (wealth, power), while losing their connection to the larger context, leading to emptiness, which leads to more consumption.
  • The system begins to pull apart with depleted energy, depleted resources, and disconnection from the larger context. We’re looking to recover the larger we-space while reclaiming the individual within the larger system.
  • The individual remains a unique expression of that system, with unique dignity and unique creativity, which paradoxically becomes the currency of connection, not separation. My Unique Self, that’s part of the larger context, serves the larger context in love and the larger context loves and holds me in return.

>>> You can watch the whole 10-part dialogue here <<<

In their 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.


If you like the dialogue, you may be interested in our online course “ Becoming a Future Human”

Becoming a Future Human, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marc Gafni, Daniel SchmachtenbergerWho do we need to become in order for humanity to make it though its current dangerous technological adolescence and to create a world that is truly commensurate with our full human, scientific, social, spiritual, and technological capabilities? If you are here to embody your unique gift fully for the benefit of all life and play your role as a steward of the cosmos and the birth of a new humanity, then welcome! This course is for everyone that knows humanity is at the brink of an epochal shift, that believes we can create the world the great sages knew was possible, and that wants to be a part of co-creating that world together.

>>> Learn more about the course here <<<

Watch and listen to this 10-minute video, the 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.

Marc Gafni opens the space:

  • 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 Laszlo 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 here:

>>> You can watch the whole dialogue here <<<

In their 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.


The Evolution of Love Course ImageThe Evolution of Love: Activating Evolutionary Relationships & Unique Gender

An 8-Week Online Video Course with Dr. Marc Gafni

The Evolution of Love, Relationships, & Gender in 8 Steps

  1. Session 1: The Principles of Transformation, The Evolution of Love, & The 3 Levels of Relationships
  2. Session 2: Unique Self & Unique Self Symphony, Love Languages, The Six Big Bangs, & The Emergence of Evolutionary Relationships
  3. Session 3: From Man/Woman through Genderqueer to Unique Gender – Lines & Circles All the Way Up & All the Way Down
  4. Session 4: Light & Shadow, Hierarchy & Status, & the Beauty of the Line
  5. Session 5: The Universe: A Love Story – Entering the World of Lines
  6. Session 6: Take Responsibility for Your Own Arousal & Embrace Your Unique Risk
  7. Session 7: The World of the Circle: Enlightenment Is Intimacy with All Things
  8. Session 8: Potent Precision, & Spacious Expansion: The Higher Integration of Lines & Circles – Liberation from Loneliness through Evolutionary Relationships

>>> Learn More about The Evolution of Love <<<

USE Logo White Background Final LargeThis workshop will introduce the Unique Self Emergence Process through practices that are immediately applicable in your life. You will leave this intensive with a clear map to guide your own Unique Self emergence, one you can work with immediately. By engaging in a series of core practices, participants will gain an embodied experience of the three states of consciousness that characterize the journey from Separate Self to Unique Self. You will also gain a vision for how the Unique Self Emergence Process might be used to facilitate emergence in individuals, couples and groups.

In this two day workshop you will:

  • learn the basic principles of the Unique Self Teachings.
  • explore how Integral Theory, Developmental Psychology, the Enneagram, neuroscience, as well as the ancient and modern spiritual traditions, are woven into the process
  • discover how the USEP’s core practices facilitate the journey from Separate Self to Unique Self.

Join us in an experience that will open your heart & imagination to the creative possibilities of the process.

Barbara-AlexanderWHO: Change Agents (coaches, therapists, consultants, spiritual directors & clergy) who are interested in the USEP and in the certification program that begins in January 2018.

WHEN: Friday September 22nd from 9:30 am – 9:00 pm and Saturday September 23rd from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

COST: $40.00, which includes snacks & lunch

RETREAT FACILITATOR: Barbara Alexander and a team of certified USE Facilitators

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION:  September 13, 2017

>>> For more information <<<

>>> For a downloadable flyer <<<

>>> Register <<<

Venu-100x100Dr. Venu Julapalli, CIW Board Member as well as founder and president of Integral Gastroenterology Center, P.A., an active private practice in gastroenterology in Houston, Texas, is writing an amazing blog-series both on Medium and his personal blog about Conscious Medicine about the tenets of what he calls Health 3.0.

Health 3.0 is of course very much related to what he and his brother Dr. Vinay Julapalli, in collaboration with the Center for Integral Wisdom and Dr. Marc Gafni, have called Unique Self Medicine.

In his blog, Dr. Julapalli writes about the problem of medicine:

In one way or another, we all sense that our approach to our health is flawed.  But we are not as conscious about this as we could be, from both the patient’s and the doctor’s perspectives.

He then offers the following plan:

[Read more…]

Idea Seed Banks, the “Nous Arc,” and the “Great Library”What do we need to give “our children” so they can prosper and grow into their highest potential—even though we don’t know what kind of challenges they will face in their lives?

That’s the real question underlying this beautiful talk by our Academic Director Zak Stein.

Watch and listen to this fascinating thought experiment:

What would be a “seed bank” of ideas that—if preserved—would allow us to recreate civilization from the ground up, in case humanity survived some sort of an apocalypse?

Playing off of Noah’s Arc, Zak calls it the “Nous Arc.”

Engaging in this thought experiment a bunch of questions arise:

  • Who gets to decide what should be in there?
  • What should be the content of this “Great Library?” or in other words:
  • How can we assure that we give the next generation everything they need?

The Need for Meta-Theories

In order to engage these questions, we need Meta-Theories. What are Meta-Theories?

While theories take the world as data, Meta-Theories take theories as data. Meta-Theories norm the norms of discourse.

Listen to this exciting 20-minute talk and learn:

  • What a new legitimate model of teacherly authority and intergenerational transmission could be
  • How our image of the ideal human looks like that we can teach into
  • Why we need a theory of Cosmos and Self
  • Which educational environments we need to create—in contrast to the informational environments that are stressful for most nervous systems

Enjoy the talk:


What would our world look likeby 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.

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response is #OutrageousLove. @realDonaldTrump is an Outrageous Lover. https://bit.ly/2hDOkDv

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response is #OutrageousLove. @HillaryClinton is an Outrageous Lover. https://bit.ly/2hDOkDv

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response is #OutrageousLove. @BarackObama is an Outrageous Lover. https://bit.ly/2hDOkDv

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response is #OutrageousLove. @SarahPalinUSA is an Outrageous Lover. https://bit.ly/2hDOkDv

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response is #OutrageousLove. @MichelleObama is an Outrageous Lover. https://bit.ly/2hDOkDv

The only response to outrageous pain is #OutrageousLove. All of our hatred is unfulfilled Outrageous Love. https://bit.ly/2hDOkDv

Evolutionary Church Replay

December 10>>>

Register for Evolutionary Church Here>>>

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.

Read more…

*The term Second Shock was coined by Mauk Pieper, see Pieper, M. Humanity’s Second Shock and Your Unique Self. (Independent Publishing, 2014).

Listen to this 15 minute meditation on the 5 Big Bangs and the Evolution of Love, excerpted from the course, Awakening Your Unique Self, by Dr. Marc Gafni.

Barbara Rosson created the slide show with pictures and music. Here is what she wrote us:

When I did the AYUS transcription, I started seeing things.

Here’s a glimse of what I saw…

Watching it still makes me cry for joy, even after seeing it over and over and over!

Enjoy!

The goal of an “integral psychology” is to honor and embrace every legitimate aspect of human consciousness by embracing what is true in each of them. This portal on the Center for Integral Wisdom multi-plex presents an integrative view of consciousness, psychology, and therapy.

The rise of an Integral Psychology is one of the greatest invitations of the century. It draws on pre-modern, modern, and postmodern psychological models to find patterns which are healing, transformational, and integrated in a model that includes mind, soul, and spirit.

The psychological models also include interior and exterior distinctions, levels or structures of consciousness, typologies, and states of consciousness. Integral Psychology is the understanding that we have this great new source of wisdom in the world which emerged.

There has been a huge contribution to thought in the past couple hundred years with Freud but also with our new understanding of the human mind which says that we hold in our conscious selves what we make unconscious, including the early drivers (wounds) that shape our personality and deconstruct the vital eros within us.

Integral Psychology offers maps, each of which offer a set of healings or techniques to return the human being to fuller human existence, a more effective being and becoming.

Each of the 11 or 12 major schools of psychology has a somewhat different map of existence, of the human mind, and distinct suggestions for what the best method is for transformation. What Integral psychology seeks to do is to recognize what is true in each of these seemingly exclusive models. Specifically, it recognizes that each of them is true but partial.

Each school of psychology speaks to and addresses a different level of human existence or consciousness. All of them are healing and need to be integrated into the healing wisdom of humanity.

In trying to evolve a global ethic for a global civilization, we need to integrate them into a seamless psychological model that includes all the elements of mind, soul, and spirit. Likewise all the interior and exterior dimensions must be included.

Finding the best practices of all the schools of psychology is one of the great invitations of this century.

In the Integral Psychology portal you find media, essays, and blogs on Unique Self & Psychology, Unique Shadow, Integral Psychology, and much more. Enjoy!

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.

Read more about our mission here>>>

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.

[Read more…]

By Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D.

“Culture is a gadget; it’s something we inherit. And you can fix it the way you can fix a broken oil burner.” – KURT VONNEGUT

I started this blog after the shootings at Umpqua College in Oregon. I realized that to discuss the “source code” that underlies our delusional gun culture I would first have to offer a Unique Self Psychology “take” on culture in general. As Kurt Vonnegut’s words remind us, the contents of culture are not a destined reflection of human nature. Culture is a gadget that can be fixed by human nature once the ocean of culture we are swimming in becomes an object of awareness.

As I write this I am realizing that the phrase “object of awareness” is drier than a California reservoir. I’ve been using the phrase “object of awareness” for years in my writing about psychology. Time for a change. Making culture (or anything) an object of awareness doesn’t take the fun out of it like the dryness of the phrase implies. In that spirit I have made up the word “psychaflower” to denote making something an object of awareness as in “I psychaflowered my anger in therapy” or “As a culture we are psychaflowering our attitude toward marriage equality.” Isn’t that more fun? It’s sort of like the grammatical difference between a scientific discussion of urgency in mammalian reproduction and watching the neighbor’s dog try to hump the mailman’s leg. And of course what is psychaflowered can be pollinated but more on that later. Now that I’ve invented a wonderful new word (unlikely to show up in peer-reviewed journals anytime soon), back to business (or “busyness” if you prefer).

Unique Self Psychology begins discussion of “mental illness” by outlining what is meant by “mental.” In my last blog I offered a Unique Self Psychology description of “mind” that includes not only self-awareness, but our embodiment (including all the neuroscience bells and whistles), our environment, our interactions with others and of course our culture. “Mental” also includes our field of awareness and the things that arise in our field of awareness – the things we can psychaflower. Psychaflowering offers not just understanding but a toy chest of ways to change what was psychaflowered (again, fun everywhere you look!).

That which a “people” agree to focus on in large part form our various “cultures.” “Culture” is an artifact of what a “people” choose as important from things arising in their field of awareness. They may then psychaflower that which they have said is important or simply go with the flow on psychological autopilot. Mind you the default position in all of us for this process is autopilot. We usually have to practice observing, questioning and ultimately psychaflowering. We only begin to master our awareness some years after we are born and by then we have been bathed in the cacophony of what our “people” considered our “culture.” Occasionally one of our people will be good at teaching us to psychaflower cultural assumptions that have been foisted on us but this is usually pure luck if it happens (though many of us were blessed with a “crazy” Aunt or Uncle or laughed at and questioned everything).

A very funny (funny as in “ha-ha” and as in “strange”) thing about culture is that it is reified in 20th -21st century psychologies. This leads to both irony and suffering. Here is an experiment you can do: go to a psychology conference and sanctimoniously invoke the word “culture.” Within minutes you’ll have a strange collection of graduate students and assistant professors groveling at your feet (really – try this – it is amazing). They can’t explain this reflex of course because they have not psychaflowered their conception of culture – they have merely turned it into a monstrous god who rules their intellect with all the compassion of a rabid groundhog. So in Unique Self Psychology we begin by slaughtering this “Golden Calf” (or “Plastic Groundhog” if you like) of culture. We do it humanely of course, like cruelty-free beef where all cows go to Disneyland before going to the butcher.

From a Unique Self Psychology perspective, culture is an artifact of humanness that can range from a rich, fulfilling context for growth to a dung heap of aggression, repression and cruelty. The only “given” or destiny about culture is that humans will create cultures as surely Republican politicians will pray before first kickoff of the Super Bowl. By psychaflowering our culture we become aware of the source code underlying it. We are then free to pollinate the psychaflowered source code so that it increasingly produces cultural artifacts that guide each person toward their Unique Self. These cultural artifacts are the “blossoms” of a Unique Self source code and become increasingly concerned with the preservation of life rather than the ruthless control of life.

Now having established (I hope) a basic understanding of source code in relation to culture, my next blog will specifically examine what a people have to believe to allow a parade of senseless gun violence and mass killing. And of course I will discuss what the source code would have to be for people to believe that a senseless parade of gun violence is inevitable. I will also discuss how 20th and 21st century psychologies do little to dissuade such atrocities. I will not, however merely “muckrake.” I will then go on to discuss how a Unique Self Psychology can liberate each of us from the bleak vision of mental health forged in the 20th century. In this vision, as Alan Watts wrote, mental health is the state of mind you are in driving to work Monday morning. A Unique Self Psychology vision of mental health is more akin to the afterglow of sexual embrace or the laughter of children playing senseless games. I will discuss how this vision of mental health, and the cultural artifacts that promote it, can be written into the source code of our species and how this can alleviate so much of the senseless suffering related to things like gun violence.

Read More by Elliott Ingersoll on his CIW Unique Self Psychology and the New Enlightenment Blog

Our Board of Directors members Venodhar Rao Julapalli, M.D. and Vinay Rao Julapalli, M.D., F.A.C.C. have written an exciting white paper about Unique Self and the Future of Medicine and we have just published it on our website.

Credit: http://www.glsciencesinc.com - /images/Word_Collages/

Credit: http://www.glsciencesinc.com – /images/Word_Collages/

There is a dire need for the integration of the art, science, and morality of medicine. This paper explores the deep implications of the Unique Self in integrating medicine. Co-authors and physicians Venu and Vinay Julapalli call on their extensive understanding of the promises and pitfalls of modern health care to reconceive the practice of medicine. The paper provides the framework to evolve medicine through the emergent Unique Self insight. At stake is no less than the future of how we care for ourselves and each other.

Read the introduction and download the whole article here.


This white paper, "Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment," by Marc Gafni suggests that the Democratization of Enlightenment is the evolution of an enlightened society, with Enlightenment defined as knowledge of one's own True Identity. Accordingly, three conclusions are drawn: First, that enlightenment is sanity and hence a necessary ingredient for all individuals, not merely for elites. Second, attaining Enlightenment does not involve denying individuality, but grasping a key distinction between separateness and uniqueness. Third, the goal of enlightenment is said to be not the evolution beyond ego, but beyond exclusive identification with ego. After these three findings, the Marc Gafi suggests that the Democratization of Enlightenment is essential both for individual mental health as well as planetary survival.

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By Marc Gafni

Artist Claudia Kleefeld is not the first person to see the symbol of the spiral as being a portal to a vision of a coherent cosmos. She is original in that she is a first-rate, old-master-style artist with thirty years of training, who paints the spiral as an expression of an Eros of certainty that asserts the utter meaningfulness, depth, and order of the cosmos. Kleefeld’s paintings emerge from her own opened eye of the spirit and speak directly to the higher spiritual intuition of her viewers. Finally, Kleefeld is unusual in that she is part of an emergent form of art, which seeks to reveal the enchantment of a cosmos ”” a cosmos that is good, true, and beautiful.

I am delighted to present an article which celebrates the work of Claudia Kleefeld, one of the brightest shining lights in the universe of art today. My new article, “Post-postmodern Art: A Return to Belonging,” is now published in the latest issue of Parabola Magazine.

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