Integral Project Development: a way to consciously and actively participate in the Evolution of LOVE

By Kerstin Tuschik

So, alright: Let's talk about Love!

For me, Love has always been the One force that moves the whole universe: the mysterious drive behind the big bang, the cosmic glue that linked elementary particles to atoms, atoms to molecules, molecules to cells, cells to organisms, up and up the evolutionary spiral until we get to human beings. And of course it doesn't end here, but continues to expand our consciousness and drives our social and cultural development as a species as well as on a very personal scale.

Love for me is another name for God.

Yet, if all of this is so, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do people kill each other in wars about their respective worldviews? Why do more than 900 million people suffer from hunger worldwide while we are throwing food away, and we would technically be able to supply everyone with enough food? Why”¦? (Fill in your favorite Why here!)

The evolution of Love depends on us! God depends on us!

Growing up – responsibility for the creation process

The childhood of humanity is over, collectively we have approached adolescence with all the chaos this brings, and at least some of us are starting to grow into adulthood. Growing up here means to become conscious co-creators, partners of God, of Love, of evolution, and of course this also brings increased responsibility. Our actions and non-actions have an impact on All-That-Is. Let's not become paralyzed by this, but do our homework to learn to master the creation process”¦

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Whenever we keep eros confined to one narrow frame of being, while de-eroticzing the rest of the picture – the Shechina remains in exile. Sex is only one of the places where we exile the erotic. There is a wonderful Balinese saying which goes something like, “We do not have art – we do everything as beautifully as we can”. When we build ugly cities where beauty is abused and people are depersonalized and then build a beautiful art museum, the Shechina is in exile. We exile the eros of beauty to the constricted precincts of formal art.

The same is true of music. Music is not limited to symphonies or rock concerts. We are all musicians and life is overflowing with music. Remember the Broadway show “Stomp”? There was no dialogue; it was all music and dance. The catch was that no musical instruments were used. The instruments were adapted from the fabric of everyday living. Pots, pans, brooms, sinks, faucets, garbage can lids, bottles, bags, newspapers, hands, feet, virtually every part of the body – all of these became instruments of music. The implication is stunning; what we usually do is limit art to formal work by people we call artists, just as we limit music to formal instruments. Formal music and art need to model the erotics of sound and beauty in all of our lives and not just in their narrow provinces. Music and art need to pervade all of living. Every moment is a canvas and is possessed of its own melody.

Rumi knowingly instructs us:

Let the beauty that we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the Ground.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@ievolve.org

Art Museum

On a discussion of Emerging Integral Art and Aesthetics, a comment by Fareed Artist:

We can also experience states of consciousness where the phenomenal world which forms, truly appears as an illusionistic art-working. We find that Divine Reality is always ever present. Is speaking through all of us, to each of us. Yet for some reason, that presence leaves our consciousness, it passes, and we forget the colors of truth. It is as if we are walking by the most wondrous of all artistic creations, and talking on our cell phones. We don’t recognize the God is right before us.What we find beautiful is that feeling of wholeness, transcendent re-contextualization, that is felt in the heart, and then so in the mind. That is called exquisite beauty, and is transformative. It may speak to us alone, or may be talking to all of us at once, or to each person, one person at a time. It causes us to feel and thereby see, all of life as continually and significantly meaningful. In fact it is always there.It is experienced. It is the most erotic of gifts. It is the ecstasy of love, being lived, within life and death.

Death then, no longer is a matter of importance, as it is held in that exquisite state of beauty. So it is then, most beautiful, most complete and most whole – as in the end of a song. In this way too, our actions are divinely meaningful, as a worship of all-ness, casting no thing aside.

It is this state of being that is captured, signified in a work of art, or the gesture of a master, for our small minds, so that we can know that big mind, in all her unfathomable, ever changing complexity.

Beauty can be formed from that which we feel is un-harmonius and alienated. Rather, that which is believed to be alienated, can be known in the real. We must learn to turn that pain into life. This is the truth in art.

That it is all of its parts, and is greater even than the sum of all its parts. That it is whole, perfect, even in its separateness, in darkness, in its limitation of delusion. That it is all illusion. It is all art.

(Inspired by Marc Gafni – Spiritual Teacher)

Photo Credit: Rita Willaert


By Joe Perez

Here's an item in the news today plus a short exercise.

In "Why We Can't See What's Right in Front of Us," Tony McCaffrey of the Harvard Business Review gives us an explanation for why we can't see the obvious:

The most famous cognitive obstacle to innovation is functional fixedness ”” an idea first articulated in the 1930s by Karl Duncker ”” in which people tend to fixate on the common use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic overlooked the possibility that the iceberg could have been their lifeboat. Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long. Titanic was navigable for awhile and could have pulled aside the iceberg. Many people could have climbed aboard it to find flat places to stay out of the water for the four hours before help arrived. Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships, people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg (plus the fact that it would not sink).

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Dancers in Australia

Photo Credit: Oude School


By Marc Gafni

Do you know that you are the evolutionary artist of the next stage of your life and the life of the world?

Do you know that personal creativity is your doorway into the creativity of the Kosmos?

Do you know that creativity is your birthright?

Do you know that higher consciousness is naturally more creative and less fearful?

Do you know that what you create through your mind, heart and body transforms all of us and all of life?

This is a truth of dramatic importance: Each of us is participating in a great dance of creativity. Our journey as evolutionary artists involves every aspect of life ”” from the words we choose to the love we make. And that journey begins when we recognize how our own creativity is actually an expression of the evolutionary love-intelligence of all that is. The Vedic and Tantric traditions of Hinduism, the Sufis sages, and the philosophers of Kabbala reminded us that divinity is creativity. The Buddhist sages have invited us to the liberated free-functioning creativity of the compassionate Bodhisattva. The Judeo-Christian teachers have invited us to imitatio dei to be like God, even to be as God.

Just as the great love-intelligence emanates worlds out of its own being, we are invited to turn into our own center, and find that world-creating source within ourselves. From there, we can become co-creators of a transformed world.

You are creative because consciousness is inherently creative. The mysterious Eros that animates and drives the evolutionary unfolding is at this very moment creating and recreating all of reality anew in every moment. That Eros, which lives in you, as you and through you, acts creatively through you the moment you give your consent to it.

It is our delight and obligation to answer the call to evolutionary creativity ”” and its fulfillment.

The next great movement of evolutionary love is waiting for you ”” for each of us ”” to identify and manifest your unique creativity. It is asking you to recognize yourself as the artist of your life, and then to broaden your artistry until you are creating in the service of All that Is.

Are you ready to respond to the great invitation and obligation to evolutionary creativity, in the service of our own evolution, and the evolution of all that is?

If you are then you have begun to wake up and that is simply fucking awesome!


Thor

By Joe Perez

Whatever your taste in movies, it's hard to deny that Hollywood does a brilliant job of selling comic books to the world, illuminated with dazzling computer-powered, imagination-dazzling on-screen effects. Many adults find these action packed movies to be a guilty pleasure, and we ponder whether they have a redeeming educational or morally transcendent worth beyond a day's entertainment. Given their prominence and durability, let's hope that they do.

The first thing I want to say about The Avengers, Josh Whedon's latest superhero summer blockbuster, is that it at times provoked in me surprising delight. The interactions among Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye were intriguing in unexpected ways. These superheroes each inhabited their own excellence, their own uniqueness, with superb effortlessness ... and they frequentlly argued, fought, and learned how to get along.

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Stuart DavisBy Joe Perez

Last month, I engaged in dialogue with Stuart Davis, a contemporary American musician, actor, and stand-up comic. With over 10 full-length music albums to his credit, including the brand new Music for Mortals, Davis has bravely brought depth and spirituality into popular culture -- including the topics of God, sex and death -- crafting them into lyrical and memorable pop songs.

This is the first of a three-part series of posts. In this section of the interview, I speak with Stuart about the topics of the future of Integral, spirituality, celebrities and popular culture.

Part 1: The Future of Art and Integral

(or: What if Kim Kardashian Endorsed World Spirituality Tomorrow?)

Joe Perez: As an introduction to this interview, let me say that I did a board retreat for the Center for World Spirituality last month [February] and met a couple of dozen of people contributing to World Spirituality in different fields working in this area that nobody even knows about. The more I am exposed to that, I think, there really seems to be something bubbling up in the world right now. And then there is the article by Terri [Patten] and Marco [Morelli], “Occupy  Integral!” that people are talking about”¦ Did you read that?

Stuart Davis: I think I did read that, a couple weeks ago.

Joe: Their basic idea being that there is something about Integral that hasn't completely entered the cultural consciousness yet, and so there's a discussion around what needs to happen, where are we at, what is this moment, and how can we best rise to the potential of the moment. What's your take on all that, Stuart?

Stuart: I couldn't agree more for starters. To go back to the initial, for me when this first started, the passion about integral entering the public consciousness at large, however you want to frame that, let's say crossing over the threshold into something that's bigger than our own private club, whatever that means in different domains. When I first encountered Integral, I encountered something that many people probably do, and I didn't realize what it was. But when you get that initial hit of Integral and you begin to crackle alive in that regard, you have this sense, almost tactile, not just an idea or a promise, but you can feel it in your gut. And that promise is Integral taking its place and inhabiting its portion of the body of humanity, growing, being a truly emergent, novel dimension coming to life. And we all sense that.

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Sunglasses

Photo Credit: Brigitte Deisenhammer


Note: Adapted from content originally published in December 2011 on Awake, Alive & Aware.

Scientific research has tentatively suggested that how a person shows up online actually is very much like how they show up in real life. The same mannerisms and tics, values and qualities of character, personality traits, etc. And if you have lots of friends and are very social in the real world, you tend to also make many virtual friends, too. So we must give some credibility to the hypothesis than when we are talking about your "Online Presence" we are actually talking about a part of yourself -- that part appearing, as the Integral Theorists say, in the Lower Quadrants. Put simply, your Online Presence is really YOU.

And yet there are few guidelines telling us how to navigate the waters of social media, blogging, website and to really claim our online "self" as truly part of us. There are few guides, in any case, that really grasp deeply the interpenetration of psyche and cyberspace, philosophy and Facebook, temperance and Twitter. So several months ago, I attempted my own guide for myself to follow in helping my Unique Self show up more often than my False Self.

1. I Will Not Distract Myself. I will not use social media as a distraction to keep me from doing more pressing work in the world. I will recognize that moment when it becomes a distraction because I will begin to feel that I am procrastinating on something that is more enlivening and rewarding but which requires delayed gratification.

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Monkey Face

By Joe Perez

One of the most interesting puzzles of science today is to be found in primatology research. Primate researchers have been stymied to explain why the faces of monkeys are so amazingly, disconcertingly unique. Could the answer to this riddle lead us into greater understanding of the significance of human uniqueness and all of culture?

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Our Names writ, writ in Kosmic scroll,
Our cosmic names turn and turn,
Books they are written in, burn and burn,
Ever Our Names are writ, rewritten.

”” Joe Perez


Nick Georgiou:

My art is inspired by the death of the printed word. Books and newspapers are becoming artifacts of the 21st century. As a society we're shifting away from print consumption and heading straight towards full digital lives. My sculptures are products of their environment ”” both literally and figuratively. As often as I can, I use local newspapers to add authenticity, and the form the sculpture takes is a reflection of the personal connection I feel to that particular city.

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Whirling Dervish

From Marc Gafni‘s Your Unique Self:

The creative process that mysteriously moves from nothing to something is the God-impulse. To live as your Unique Self means to align yourself with that process, with the ecstatic evolutionary impulse that initiated the kosmos, with the ecstasy of God, which re-creates all of reality in every second of existence.

Are you ready to respond to this invitation, to offer yourself to the infinite love intelligence that wants desperately to show up in the world through and as you?

Photo Credit: neil banas

The Kabbalists were often referred to as mistaklim or chozim, roughly translated as the Looker or Seers.  To get a handle on what that might mean, just imagine how we feel when someone looks at us with erotic, loving eyes.  We feel energized, uplifted, and embraced.  We become more vibrant, audacious, and alive.  We feel safer in the world.  The sense of alienation, separateness, and loneliness of our empty days and painful nights seems to lift.

The more steady the loving gaze is, the more we can steady ourselves and chart our direction and purpose on the path of being.  It begins with the loving eyes of mother and father–our first lovers–and continues throughout our lives.  Love’s eyes sustain us, nourish us, and connect us to the essential aliveness that courses through the universe.  Being seen makes us alove and alive.  The same is true of God.  The gaze of the mystic sustains and even “creates” God.

Once a few years back, my son Yair walked into the room. He sat and started playing with his Gameboy.  I began looking at him, but really looking, perceiving him, loving him, with all my heart pouring out through my eyes.  I was seeing every beautiful detail of his being as he sat there innocently playing.  Suddenly he started singing. Yair singing?!  A rarity.  Could it have been from my love pouring out in his direction?  He got up and sort of danced his way out of the room.  Yair dancing?!

Well, proper scientific data it is not.  But it was enough for me. It was exhilarating!  Since then I have done this practice in a thousand different places–in streets, lecture halls, pubs, churches, libraries and synagogues.  As a result, the world has been much more full of singing and dancing.  I realized that a loving gaze can transform reality.  We call this in formal theology imatatio dei, the imitation of the divine force.  Just as God looked lovingly into the darkness and there was light, just as God’s gaze made it good, so too can our loving perception transform darkness into light and chaos into harmony.  Try it!

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Pages 125, 126

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@centerforintegralwisdom.org

Listen to this free audioclip by Dr. Marc Gafni from his Erotic and Holy audio series.

The breakthrough to the other side happens in every facet of existence. It happens in an erotic conversation, when time stands still. To be engaged erotically, means the same as to be holy: being in the inside of an event.

The Maggid of Mezritch, a great Hassidic master once said, "If you can hear yourself talking, sit down"! That is the exile of speech, Galut Ha-dibbur, in Hebrew. In this speech is the Goddess Divine, Shekinah. The exile of the divine is when you can hear yourself talking, because you stepped outside.

The Zohar, the book of Aramaic Hebrew mysticism says "a river flows from Eden" - to be in that river is to be in the flow, which is exactly the Eros space. In another Kabbalist story, Hanoch the cobbler stitches his shoes, and the text say "the heavens begin to move and transform." What is he doing when he stitches his shoes? Nothing else, but stitching his shoes. He is totally one with that action: he is in the inside of it, and so he becomes the Shekinah, the erotic itself. The divine is in exile, when the inside and the outside are disconnected.

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“This movement of love and Eros, which is visible in third person from the simplest cellular level to the most advanced human level, is at all times felt in the second person as love. In the realized human being, love breaks out.  This is, finally, love revealed. Because evolution is the constant increase of complexity””paralleled on the interior by the constant increase of consciousness, whose inner relational quality is love””in the evolved human being who has reached the level of self-transcendence, the operation of love itself breaks into consciousness and becomes a prime motivator for individuals.”


Your Unique Self
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 120

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at support@centerforintegralwisdom.org.

... 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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On Saturday, May 7th, the brand new Center for World Spirituality House Band is going to rock the house, raise the roof, seep into your soul, and burst open your heart!

The songs and stunning vocal delivery of Jami Lula have moved tens of thousands worldwide. As Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles can attest, “Jami Lula is a rock star for God. His music is more than a shiver-inducing experience in sound, it is inspiration itself and an offering just to you.”

Percussionist David DiLullo will be bringing rhythms from around the world into this “First Saturdays” Service & Celebration. Using drumming and guided meditation to transform the mind, body, and spirit, “more than a drum circle” describes David’s capacity for bringing people directly into the presence of the Global Heart that connects us. As Marianne Williamson experienced, “Dave’s drum circles are a perfect way to get out of your head and into your heart!”

Fronting the emergence of this musical world-spirit endeavor is artist Marcy Baruch. A lifelong lover of the question “What is it to know, embody, and unfold the Divine,” she is known for infusing live concert spaces and human-yearning places with songs and a voice that make people “want to weep, pray, and make love.” Her song “This Inner Space” won the emPower Music & Arts Posi Award in the Healing category in 2009. Writes producer Steve Avedis, “You have got to hear this woman. Her voice drew me in right up front with its silky-smooth quality. She is like no one else I have ever heard.” Marcy Baruch, Jami Lula, and David DiLullo are thrilled to be joining forces as a part of “Spirit’s next move,” in this “yearning to articulate a World Spirituality that is rippling across the globe in the hearts and minds of tens of millions of people.”

More about the music: On May 7th, between 6 – 10 p.m., we will hold you in song after meditation with Mariana Caplan, raise the rafters in chant during Marc Gafni’s presentation “GOD is a Verb,” and allow the evolutionary impulse of love to rock on in concert after experiencing Decker Cunov’s intersubjective practices. The Center for World Spirituality’s “First Saturday” Service & Celebration will be held in San Francisco’s new East Bay practice center. The Voice Loft in Emeryville is the perfect intimate space to hold the depths of such an occasion. Space is limited. To register, to view the evening’s updated schedule, and for directions to the Besler Building, which include the access code as well as parking information, click here. Would love to be at the event but live in another city, state, or on another continent? We’ve got you covered! Join in with others around the world online through the complimentary webcast stream. We are truly connected, and look forward to celebrating with you!

With Love,

Marcy, Jami, and David

Marcy Baruch is a lifelong lover of the question, What is it to perceive, embody, and unfold the divine? Her work as a musical artist invites listeners into spaces of communion and grace. As a vocal coach of ten years, she brings a highly skilled awareness of the body’s sound-making mechanisms to her support of speakers and singers who wish to merge with, and emerge as, the full, life-affirming resonance of their unique voices.David DiLullo is the founder of Global Drum Circles (www.GlobalDrumCircles.com), the largest activity of its kind. Marianne Williamson calls Dave’s drum circles “the perfect way to get out of your head and into your heart.” Dave was the percussionist on Ann Licater’s “Doorway to a Dream,” awarded Native American Album of the year and one of Amazon’s Best Albums of 2010. He brought world percussion to “No Place Like Home,” winner of the Billboard World Song Contest. David is the music director at Center for Spiritual Living in San Jose.In 1987, Detroit native Jami Lula moved to Los Angeles and attended Musicians Institute (MI) in Southern California. By the spring of 1989, Jami joined the staff of MI where he continues teaching voice, songwriting, stage movement, creativity workshops and performance. His soulful eclectic groove musical quartet LULA obtained much recognition, leading him to his current solo career. Also his contribution as a featured soloist with the choir group TAG through the Agape International Center of Truth serves as an extension of Jami’s commitment to inspiration through music.

Get a Taste of Your World Spirituality House Band


World Spirituality Service & Celebration

GOD is a Verb

Saturday, May 7th Ӣ 6pm Р10pm Ӣ Emeryville, CA

Click here for EASY DIRECTIONS to the EAST BAY

Join your World Spirituality guides Marc Gafni, Mariana Caplan, Decker Cunov, Dustin DiPerna, Marcy Baruch, Jami Lula, & David DiLullo for an intimate and deep evening of practice, love, and relationships as we explore GOD is a Verb. Can’t make the live event? No problem, we’ve got you covered. Just click here to gain access to our complimentary webcast stream. We’re so passionate about World Spirituality, Relationships, and Love that we don’t want you to miss a single moment!

How do our unique perspectives of the world color our relationship with beauty, creativity, and transcendence? Join Alex Grey and Dr. Marc Gafni for a cutting-edge dialogue on Creativity and Unique Self.

Alex Grey has become one of our most iconic and immediately-recognizable artists, and somewhat of a poster-boy for a genuinely integral approach to art, life, and spirituality.  Many of his prolific works have been featured and reproduced all over the world, ranging from magazine covers, party flyers, and blotter acid to high-profile album covers for Tool, David Byrne, the Beastie Boys, Nirvana, and Michael Hedge.

In this discussion, Alex shares his own personal path to Unique Self, describing how his creative process is directly informed by an intimate realization of radical and unqualifiable emptiness, combined with his unique and irreducible perspective of the world.  Alex talks about how his passion to create springs from an almost Bodhisattva-like yearning to serve, and how this devotion to service is one of the defining characteristics in the emergence of Unique Self.

Only by cultivating a path for ourselves that honors the paradoxical simultaneity of emptiness and perspective can we discover the real potential of our artistic gifts.  In Alex's case, this path has allowed him to fully and fluently express a deeply personal vision of the universal””illuminating a spiritual anatomy that is common to all of us, but uniquely recognized and rendered through Alex's distinct perspective.

Whether you are an artist trying to carve out your own creative path, or just a casual admirer of beauty in its many effulgent forms, you will not want to miss this intimate and insightful discussion!

Alex Grey, a renowned visionary and spiritual artist and author of The Mission of Art. In the foreword to The Mission of Art, Ken Wilber stated: "Alex Grey might be the most significant artist alive. One of his most well known works is the Sacred Mirrors series of 21 life-sized paintings, taking the viewer on a journey through body, mind, and spirit. The Sacred Mirrors present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. After painting the Sacred Mirrors, he applied this multidimensional perspective to such archetypal human experiences as praying, meditation, dying, kissing, copulating, pregnancy, birth and nursing.

Dr. Marc Gafni holds his doctorate from Oxford University. He is a rabbi and an iconoclastic teacher of Kabbalah and World Spirituality. He is the director with Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton and Diane Hamilton of the Integral Life Spiritual Center and core founder and faculty member of iEvolve: Global Practice Community. He has written seven books, including the national bestseller Soul Prints, and The Mystery of Love, an exploration of the relationship between the sexual, the erotic, and the sacred. Gafni's teaching is marked by a deep transmission of open heart, love and leading edge provocative wisdom. Gafni's path of personal evolution, in both the agony and the ecstasy of what he calls “sacred autobiography,” woven together with profound reverence and reading of sacred texts have formed the context for his teaching. It is from this place of broken-hearted humility, radical joy and sacred audacity that he teaches. Gafni is considered by many to be a visionary voice in the founding of a new World Spirituality.

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