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…]

The Center for Integral Wisdom and our core Dharma of Unique Self, Outrageous Love, and the Evolution of Love have been featured and reviewed in the media. Here are some examples:

Mackey and Marc Gafni on Outrageous Love and the Center Featured in Science of Mind

ScienceOfMind-May2015-coverMGDr. Marc Gafni & John Mackey shared their innovative views in the May issue of Science of Mind magazine, on sale now at Barnes & Noble!

Kudos to Science of Mind for putting together such a great collection! The article on Marc is well done, highlighting his important new work and teachings on the dharma of Outrageous Pain and Outrageous Love.

Electronic versions at the moment are only available to subscribers of Science of Mind.

The Entrepreneur Fitness Podcast with Brandon Epstein “Discovering Your Unique Self”

Physical Fitness l Mental Fitness l Emotional Fitness | Spiritual Fitness

Marc Gafni and podcast host Brandon Epstein explored “Discovering Your Unique Self.” The conversation was a deep dive into Unique Self & Outrageous Love.

Check out the podcast here>>>

Brandon Epstein also featured Marc’s work in his new eBook Zen Dude Fitness.

Stevo’s Book Recommendations: Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism (2014) – by Marc Gafni

Marc Gafni’s book Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter was recommended by Stevo’s Book Reviews on the Internet in the May 2015 list. Steve Brock has been well-known in the book industry for over 30 years, and his recommendations are read by over 200,000 people a month.

Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter by Marc Gafni

Buy SELF on Amazon!

Another Review of Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter

Paul R. Smith, author of Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve, wrote the following review:

When I look at the ten thousand books on spirituality, mysticism, and evolutionary religion in my library, I can tell, at a glance, without looking at titles, which ones were most helpful to me. They are the ones with Post-it notes sticking out from the top, marking pages that I found quite valuable. Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism by Marc Gafni is one of those few dozens with numerous colorful sticky notes flaming out from its top edge. Gafni’s previous book, Unique Self, was a breakthrough opening in understanding the Self in relation to union with God. This book continues by focusing on an opposing popular postmodern view of self and pointing out the crucial differences. With laser-like insight Gafni lets his view remain the only one I can joyfully endorse as an integrally-informed Christian mystic and scholar. This book shines with radiant luminosity and spiritual depth.

Buy on SELF Amazon!

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 6)

Two Faces of All That Is

This is the animating impulse that moved eastern spiritual teaching, motivated by love, to seek to free you from the illusion of separate self. Their great mistake was to jettison Uniqueness along with separateness by conflating the two in a way that was both unnecessary and wrong. This confusion of separateness and uniqueness forgot that you could be both part of the whole and a distinct part at the same time. The recovering of that memory is essential to healing the fractured and broken self. The dignity of the part can be held even as your are connected to the whole. You are part of the seamless coat of the universe. Seamless, but not featureless.  You can transcend your exclusive identification with your part nature, the ego, even as you identify with the larger whole. But that does not mean that your unique part nature is absorbed in the whole. Rather, it is integrated in the seamless coat of reality without compromising its unique features.

[Read more…]

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 5)

God in the First Person:

“All at once I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant, I thought of fire and immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the next I knew that the fire was in myself. Directly afterward there came upon me as sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Among other things, I did not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not composed of dead matter, but is on the contrary, a living presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life. It was not a conviction that I would have an eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal, that the cosmic order is such that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world, of all worlds, is what we call love, and that the happiness of each and all is in the long run absolutely certain.”

~R.M. Bucke

God in the Second Person addressing man:

I will be united with you in marriage forever

I will be united to you in marriage through justice and righteousness

I will be united with you in marriage through overflowing love and compassion

I will be united with you in marriage in complete trust

And you will erotically know the divine

Hosea the Prophet: 2: 21- 23

Only someone who lacks both of these realizations can identify all that is as merely a process or impulse. Realization teaches that the all that is expresses as a process or an evolutionary impulse, but that God is process plus personal, not process minus personal.


[Read more…]

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 4)

It is precisely this fellowship of prayer and prophecy, which we might refer to as the second face of God. In this pointing out instruction, God in the first person would be the face of god you feel flowing through you in meditation. God in the third person would be the face of God reflected in your radical amazement at the wonder and infinite intelligence displayed in every nook and cranny of existence. God in the second person is in the mystery of the encounter between God and Man. A relationship of intimacy is revealed between the finite and the infinite.  All of the infinite power, glory, and intelligence of the first person and third person of the divine were felt and revealed as relationship in the second encounter between the prophet and God. The precise flip side of prophecy is prayer. In their essence, they are the same. Both are expressions of the fellowship between man and God. The difference is simply this. In prophecy, God initiates and God invokes. In prayer, man initiates and man invokes.

[Read more…]

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 3)

The sense of peril resulting from direct contact with the divine ground has nothing to do with any ideas that the people are sinful or the god wrathful. It is more like the famous question of the Bhagavad Gita: “Suppose a thousand suns should rise together in the sky,” what would happen to our reality? How can the individual hope to survive contact with Source? Source incarnates all the energy and power in the Cosmos and infinitely beyond.

Presence by its very nature overwhelms all individual existence.

This strange and awesome paradox is resolved not by theory, but in the very experience of the encounter itself. The living presence of the divine “which is the suchness and substance of all that is” not only IS but is also FOR man. The person experiences an overpowering concern, in which they are held, cared for, recognized, and loved–within the very encounter itself. So the paradox of the encounter is that it is, on one hand, overwhelming and at the same time radically affirming. The individual is rendered powerless, almost lifeless before the divine, even as the individual is enlivened and empowered.


[Read more…]

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 2)

The most powerful expression of this realization is in the prophetic encounter with the divine mystery. This encounter runs like a thread from Abraham and Sarah to Moses, Miriam, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the larger legions of prophecy. As America’s second president John Adams has already noted, the best of everything Western man knows about freedom, love, ethics, and responsibility emerges from the great encounter between the finite and the infinite.

The Encounter with other marks the emergence of the pre-personal slumber. The baby encounters other even as the emergent human being who experiences his separate self turns to other. The  encounter–relationship–is born as the central dynamic of human existence.

[Read more…]

by Dr. Marc Gafni

(part 1 of 6)

The realization of the personal which has been derided as the separate self or ego is so important that I want to ask you to enter this even more deeply with me. You need to feel a sense of this realization in your own being. You need to feel the love and care implicit and explicit in the loving personal address of the Cosmos.

There is clear a moment in where you will need to move beyond separate self and realize the underlying unity of all that is as the seamless coat of the universe. You will need to trance-end the merely personal to realize the next station on the road to your  enlightenment. This will engender in you a profound love. It will open your heart in a radical and unconditional way. It will move you beyond alienation into full integration and power.

[Read more…]

Excerpt of the Essay by Dr. Marc Gafni:

In their 2013 ITC conference presentation, Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton will explore “Integral God: Sacred Activism and Falling in Love with the Divine.” To explore this, they will consider two models of self in evolutionary mysticism and why these models matter. Both models emerge at the time of important updates to the source code of enlightenment. The first update is the understanding that all of reality, including spirit, is evolving, and this is a shared understanding of both Unique and Authentic Self teachings. The second update to the source code of the enlightenment teachings can be understood as the emergence of the awakened personal function, and this is a key area of divergence between the Unique and Authentic Self teachings. Read more in this excerpt from the introduction of the essay :


Unique Self and Authentic Self in Context:

Marc GafniWithin the Integral context, two ways of thinking about self have emerged which are distinctive both in their shared contours and significant distinctions. One framework or model has been called Authentic Self, and the other, Unique Self.[i] Their implicit assumptions suggest both a shared worldview and subtle but important distinctions in their vision of the ideal homo religiousus. These distinctions are foundational with vast implications in virtually every dimension of life, and therefore, need to be laid out with clarity and precision. Each suggests a different understanding of what it means to wake up from the narrow identity as a separate self or ego self into a more enlightened and correct identity as, respectively, Authentic or Unique Self.[ii]  Both the Unique Self and Authentic Self models locate themselves within the context of classical mystical enlightenment teaching. Neither emerges from a western flatland paradigm which views the self as an isolated and discrete unit, or what has been called a skin-encapsulated ego. For both Unique Self and Authentic Self, the first major step towards enlightenment is the realization that the person is not merely an ego or separate self, but rather that the person’s true identity is their absolute, essential, or true self.[Read more…]

From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni.

(c) 2013 photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong

©2013 photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong

The isolated ego is the root cause of murder, war, and virtually all human suffering. The ego feels its own fragility, its limits, and its ultimate powerlessness. As a result, the ego grasps for ways to assert power and experience aliveness. This causes the acting out of all forms of shadow. When you deconstruct your mistaken identity with the separate-self ego, and instead identify with your distinct path in the seamless quilt of the Uni-verse, the fear dissipates and the love returns. When the contraction of ego uncoils, your Unique Self experiences all of the good—personal love, responsibility, compassion, ethical action, activism, and all the rest—that you previously thought was accessible only through your assertion of a separate self.

The choice between personal love and immersion in True Self is a false choice. There is no contradiction between them whatsoever: The West—motivated by love and the desire to end suffering—affirmed the separate self because it thought this was the only way a person could gain the goods of the encounter, namely personal love, responsibility, contact, intimacy, accountability, compassion, and care. This was a mistake; all of those goods may be realized through the encounter between two Unique Selves who are not separate from each other, but consciously part of the same seamless coat of the Uni-verse. Personal love does not require two separate selves.

Further Discussion:

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Marc Gafni’s writing on the relationship between personal or relative love and absolute love.  As he says above in this distinction, “The choice between personal love and immersion in True Self is a false choice.” Elaborating on this further, Dr. Marc says:

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global_12950747The Houston Integral Consciousness Meet-up Group is meeting on Thursday, March 7, for a discussion of Marc Gafni’s Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment. According to their Meetup.com page:

We had such a lively discussion amongst group members, we decided to continue discussing Marc Gafni’s book, Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment again…

All are welcome…

Cheryl Norris, an organizer of the group, says this meeting is the second on the topic of Unique Self following an “awesome” initial meeting this week in which “fun was had by all (big grin).”

The Houston group had studied different evolutionary teaching on the nature of self including the teaching of Evolutionary Self which are based on the original teaching of Authentic Self. For a number of reasons the learning felt incomplete, she said. One of the group members read Marc Gafni’s Your Unique Self and felt that it addressed some of the key concerns. A lively conversation ensued.

Marc looks forward to talking more deeply with the study group to understand the important distinctions between Unique Self and Authentic Self. Some of these issues were discussed in part in a dialogue between Andrew Cohen and Marc Gafni published in an article in the Journal of Integral Theory & Practice (6:1).

There have been a number of discussions of Unique Self and Authentic Self, and here references to a  a few of them. There is the aforementioned dialogue between Marc Gafni And Andrew Cohen, a related article by Zach Stein, a blog post by Chris Dierkes, and information about a dialogue between Mike Wombacher and Dustin DiPerna on Evolutionary Spirituality and Unique Self. Another important recent conversation is a dialogue between Tom Steininger (representing Authentic Self) and Sonja Student (representing Unique Self), published in the German magazine EnlightenNext Impulse and in a version published in English translation on Spirit’s Next Move, the CWS blog.

WakingUp-225Note: The following article is an English translation by Kerstin Tuschik of an article by Tom Steininger and Sonja Student regarding perspectives of a new spirituality for our times. It was first published in the German magazine EnlightenNext Impulse

TOM STEININGER: Of late we have spoken a lot about the Authentic Self and the Unique Self. [The Authentic Self teaching is widely associated with spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen among others and the Unique Self teaching with Marc Gafni and his book Your Unique Self.] This discussion is about how we can find a new understanding of spirituality in the 21 century. Is there also a new self-perception emerging through this new spirituality, a new spiritual self-concept?

SONJA STUDENT: Yes, at first we realize that in a new spirituality the evolutionary perspective plays a very important role. In the spirituality of today it is not only about realizing the timelessness or the primordial ground of being. In our inside we have to attend to other dimensions as well. This exceeds the classical terms of enlightenment. In these matters we cannot rely exclusively on the mystical traditions or the great world religions any longer. This is why the Integral Theory says that it is not only about waking up, but simultaneously about the process of growing up. We have to take care of becoming adult and developed personalities as well.

TS: Yes, we need both. The mystical teachings are about waking up, enlightenment. Many integral or evolutionary interested people forgot how important the dimension of the Absolute is, how important transcendence is. This dimension however takes center stage in all the traditional, mystical paths. In the East one speaks about the experience of Being, in Buddhism about the emptiness, the Christian mystics called it the direct experience of God.

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Dr. Marc Gafni:

Evolutionary Spirituality is making an important contribution. My teachers are all evolutionary mystics, a term that's been used in the academic scholarship of Hebrew mysticism. Evolutionary mysticism is the sense that I am participating in the evolving All, the evolving process.

In Part 11 of the Unique Self Video series, Marc describes the important role he sees for evolutionary spirituality as well as its potential pitfalls.

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An excerpt from Part 10 of the Unique Self Video series:

World Spirituality incorporates both the operating system of integral Spirituality, its pointing-out instructions, and clearly incorporates the evolutionary dimension of Evolutionary Spirituality. What World Spirituality seeks to do at every level of consciousness is offer a full expression of living””body, heart, mind, and soul””at every level of consciousness at its own level. At its highest level of consciousness””Kosmocentric consciousness, in which I feel identified with all sentient beings””I've identified with the Divine perspective that lives as my Unique Self. I feel responsible for past, present, and future.

Marc Gafni:

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"You don't win an Oscar by playing someone else's part in the play. You win the Oscar by playing your part to perfection." ”” Marc Gafni, in the ninth segment of the Unique Self Video series.

Watch the video:

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With the launch of UniqueSelf.com, a wide range of dialogues have been published which cumulatively situate Unique Self within the context of Integral Spirituality and Evolutionary Spirituality. Over the next several months, Spirit's Next Move will be highlighting this new material and inviting commentary and discussion.

Andrew Cohen and Marc Gafni, two of our most influential teachers of enlightenment, engage the nature of spiritual realization in an excerpt from “Authentic Self and Unique Self,” published in the March 2011 issue of Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. Additionally, in the 2011 “Future of Love” teleseries (audio provided at the bottom of the page), the discussion of these important topics continues.

Perhaps no topic in contemporary spirituality is more discussed than the nature of enlightenment and how it relates to the modern, post-modern, and emerging integral world.

Andrew Cohen is one of the most influential figures in the dialogue, bringing wisdom that is defining a movement called Evolutionary Spirituality, which identifies essence with the evolutionary impulse itself and issues a powerful call to shed limited identifications of the self. Cohen breaks from classical enlightenment thinkers in his description of spiritual realization as constantly evolving.

Marc Gafni, co-founder of CWS and the most influential voice defining Unique Self Enlightenment, offers a view of enlightenment which overlaps and also differs from Cohen's vision in important respects.

Two of their public dialogues are now published on UniqueSelf.com.

Listen to the audios and read a partial transcript:

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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

Marc GafniBy Dr. Marc Gafni

The following is a condensed excerpt from the forthcoming volume Your Unique Self: The Democratization of Enlightenment.

There are five great awakening of the human spirit. Each level of awakening is to a deeper and more expanded sense of identity and consciousness.

1) Prepersonal to Personal Awakened Self. The first great awakening takes place when the human being emerges from the slumber of immersion in the Great Mother. In the dawn of human existence, the separate self has not yet emerged. This self was, to varying degrees, identified with nature and the immediate environment with no sense of an individuation. At this level, there is no sense of larger frameworks of time beyond the immediacy of the present moment or present day. This is awakening to separate self, or level-one personal. You experience this awakening in your life in the beginning of your journey as your baby self awakens to an individuated identity as a separate self ego. This is the move from the prepersonal to the personal. It might also take place when you free yourself from any pre-personal context, such as a cult or a family system which crushes individual emergence. One expression of this awakening crystallizes in Hebrew mysticism, which affirms the human being as a homo imago dei, a separate dignified self, rooted in the divine, possessed of infinite dignity, value, and adequacy.

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The Unreasonable Nature of Spirit

by Andrew Cohen

Dear Integrales Forum,

Thank you for inviting me participate in your brave efforts at both opening up and convening such an important conversation. This is a conversation that MUST take place if we're all going to find a way to move forward together””a way to move forward that at least a significant number of us will feel comfortable and good about. This is obviously a very complex and challenging subject, made that much more difficult because of the fact that culture is evolving and we are all, as individuals, striving to evolve within and as the leading edge of that culture itself. I read carefully your position paper and found myself for the most part in agreement with your points. In fact, most of the relevant questions that face us all right now, you brought up and explained with the unique clarity of the integral perspective. Therefore, because I am fundamentally in agreement with you, I don't think it is necessary for me to cover the same territory that you have. What did occur to me was to make some additional points that I feel are important to include in the picture””points that will I hope enrich and deepen the dialogue that you have already started.

First of all, I need to state openly from the very beginning that my perspective on this subject is entirely biased by a wholehearted embrace of an evolutionary worldview. Also, my thoughts and opinions come from an unapologetic position that declares first and foremost that Spirit, or that which is Absolute or non-relative, is always higher. And it is from that perspective that the world of relative (but not unimportant) distinctions are seen.

Part I

Integral Spirituality and the Absolute

The glory, majesty, and incalculable significance of an integral worldview is that it is able to include multiple perspectives in its embrace of just about any subject without diminishing important distinctions. This is a stunning (and ultimately world-changing) capacity that no lesser philosophy has so far been able to accomplish. My own cognitive life has been so enlightened by the integral lens that it's now hard for me to remember what the world looked like before I began to see through its remarkable clarity. It is a truly vast perspective that always insists upon the inclusion of the multi-dimensional complexity that the real world of self, culture, and cosmos is always made up of.

But as our colleague and integral mentor Ken Wilber has so often stated, every great leap forward also brings with it a whole new set of challenges and problems. The integral perspective not only requires but also demands a high level of cognitive development and a capacity to embrace rational thinking with a degree of intensity and commitment that is way above average. One of the great strengths and one of the tell-tale signs of the enlightened thinking of human beings who are truly integrally informed is their dazzling capacity to embrace multiple perspectives simultaneously, while remaining grounded to an unusual degree in their own higher human qualities. And this is almost always because of their advanced abilities for self-reflection and self-reflexivity.

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