The Difference Between Ordinary Love and Outrageous Love

Watch this awesome dialogue between Nijole Sparkis and Marc Gafni from her awesome interview series "Heal the Shadow in Your Relationships 2!" Read the beautiful introduction Nijole wrote in her email to the participants of this series announcing this interview:

Heal the Shadow in Your Relationships 2 video series

Click here to learn more about this powerful interview series!

GET BLOWN OPEN to the irreducible unique expression of Love Intelligence awakening as YOU. The clarion call to Shadow integration is much more than just knowing that you have drives that are darker than you want on the front page of the New York Times, and being aware of it. Shadow integration is actually an expression of profound enlightened consciousness.

Beloved cutting edge wisdom teacher Dr. Marc Gafni says your Shadow is your unlived life. And when you don’t live part of your life, you lose a critical dimension of your own Life Force. When you lose your Life Force, your energy devolves, your whole system protests & says “Give me back my essence!” Live your story! Live the missing piece of your story. And when you don’t do it, your system acts out. It acts out with Shadow qualities - pettiness, anger, contraction, rage, jealousy, or promiscuity which violates your own interior values.

Dr. Marc shares with us:

  • The huge distinction between Shadow and Shadow qualities
  • How the Oneness of the Universe may be seamless, but not featureless
  • A live case study of how to follow your Shadow back to the Light!
  • The solution for women who attract abandoning or non-committal men
  • The solution for men who attract non-receptive or angry women
  • The difference between love, romance, and infatuation
  • How to live from Outrageous Love rather than Ordinary Love

... and so much more!

You CAN re-connect with your True Self, be nurtured by your aliveness, and create LONG love lists!

Wishing you Blown-Open, Outrageous Love,

Nijole (Neola)

P.S. Some of what I LOVE about Dr. Marc Gafni: He has inspired many, comforted the afflicted, and afflicted the comfortable. He reflects back to people their most gorgeous selves, shares teachings of love, pricks egos, and calls others, by his very being, to truth and integrity. For some Marc is a teacher, for others a spiritual friend, for still others a spiritual artist, and for still others a revolutionary catalyst of social change and evolution. Marc Gafni’s teaching is filled with love of people, love of God, and love of all of creation. It is also scholarly, hip, serious, deep, funny, profound, sometimes startlingly original, and always invested with the intent to transmit not only insight but also, and especially, an open heart.

Enjoy the interview:

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from No Boundary by Ken Wilber

It should be apparent by now that shadow projection not only distorts our view of reality “out there,” it also greatly changes our feeling of self “in here.” When I project some emotion or trait as shadow, I still continue to perceive it but only in a distorted and illusory fashion””it appears as an “object out there.” Likewise, I still continue to feel the shadow, but only in a distorted and disguised fashion””once the shadow is projected, I feel it only as a symptom.

Thus, as we have just seen, if I project my own hostility toward peo­ple, I will imagine that people are harboring hostile feelings for me, and thus I will begin to feel a creeping fear of people in general. My original hostility has become my projected shadow. So I “see” it only in other people and I feel it in myself only as the symptom of fear. My shadow has become my symptom.

[Read more…]

Naked Female On Rocks Facing Lightening by Victor Habbick

©Victor Habbick, www.freedigitalphotos.net

 “Any part of your story that you do not live,
lives in darkness”¦
part of your story is in shadow.
To come home you must recover and
embrace the memory of your fullest self.
Until the story of your life is lived
you will go on yearning for it.”
Dr. Marc Gafni in Your Unique Self


It is so exciting to be on this journey together with all of you, our readers and participants in courses and retreats, my wonderful colleagues and friends, and my beloved teacher and friend Dr. Marc Gafni, who has invited me to team up with him in this sacred endeavor of writing this series of articles, which will ultimately become a book, as well as in this holy adventure of Integral Wisdom, World Spirituality, and Unique Self.

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Awakening

by Marc Gafni

Carl Gustav Jung offered a profound direction in understanding shadow. His core teaching, drawn from many sources, is that we cannot be whole human beings without recognizing and incorporating our shadow energy. Jung has an expression that he uses constantly to express this idea: “In the Shadow is the Gold.” By this, he means to say that most of what is valuable in the human personality””the gold””can be mined only from the shadow. But what does that mean, and why should it be so? It is to this all-important question that we now turn our attention. We will seek to fundamentally evolve what shadow means and how shadow work is done! At this point, I am going to unpack directly from the original tantric sources a radical new teaching on shadow integration.[Read more…]

imgres-7The members of the Zohar’s holy fellowship are called “Those who turn darkness to light.”

It was their profound engagement in their personal darkness which was the matrix for their radical creativity, their light. Zohar is only revealed through the prism of one’s soul print. All creativity wells from this place. In this spirit we understand Rilke’s advice to the Young Poet: “Go deep into yourself and how deep is the place from which your life flows.”

Not all of us are soul printed to write the book of the Zohar. But all of us have the creative potential to write a book of life that shines. That creative potential is our divinity. When we say God is one, we mean original. When the Hebrew mystic experiences herself as part of God it can only be through the path of her originality.  God is an original and can’t stand imitation.

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Erotic and the Holy




A life well lived does not mean a life without mistakes. It means making mistakes in the right direction. A famous Talmudic passage re-read by my teacher Mordechai Lainer of Izbica says roughly as follows “One cannot follow the direction of one’s life until one first fails in pursuing that very direction.” Or in another passage, the Talmud itself writes, “The wicked falls once and does not rise, the Master falls seven times and rises each time again”.

Failure and falling is part of the process. Our response-ability is  is a constant process of  Teshuva.  Teshuva means literally to return.

In the language of R. Kuk,

“Man has forgotten himself, When he remembers himself he must gather the fragments of his soul from their exile, he must return to himself, to his essential I, and when he returns to himself, at that very moment, he will have returned to God.”

Dr. Marc Gafni
The Dance of Tears

Photo © by John Inglis

Is it a bad idea to suggest that "lightening up" could be a good thing for someone suffering?

Some say it can be shame-inducing. Robert Augustus Masters, the passionate psychotherapist, author, and teacher of spiritually deepening practices, has made a terrific contribution to the discussion of an integral psychotherapy. Notwithstanding the many times I find his short writings on Facebook to be insightful, today I want to offer a counterpoint. One of Robert's major themes is the importance of not escaping the dark, shadowy side to human life in favor of a superficial escapism. He even coined the influential term "spiritual bypassing" for the phenomenon of using spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, and unresolved wounds.

But is this emphasis too partial? Yesterday he wrote on his Facebook page:

Advising others to “lighten up” or be more positive can be shame-inducing, however nicely we might do it. What if they need to stay with their hate or despair or depressiveness for a while? How can we be sure that they'd be better off getting away from such states as soon as possible? Perhaps at such times we are ”” through our contact with their endarkened condition ”” starting to feel more in touch with such states in ourselves, and want the other to get away from their “darkness” so that we don't have to feel our own.

That's pretty heavy. Hey, Robert, lighten up, buddy! Just kidding!

What he says is true, but it is just as valid to say that advising others to "stay in heaviness" or embrace their negativity can encourage stuckness in useless emotional entanglements, a backhanded way of encouraging *ourselves* to feel such states. The flip side of "spiritual bypassing" is "shadow wallowing."

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Conventional understandings of the shadow (the term first used in psychology by Carl Jung to describe the unconscious) leave many students of psychology befuddled or confused. Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni have charted groundbreaking perspectives on shadow which deepen our awareness of what it means to be human and how we can lives more fully conscious lives. Wilber's contribution, described in Transformations of Consciousness as well as other books, connects shadow to issues in the navigation from one fulcrum of consciousness to the next. Gafni's contribution, articulated in Your Unique Self, describes shadow as a distortion of Unique Self or an unlived part of one's unique story.

Listen to the dialogue and read a partial transcript:

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Unique Self mystics in the old Aramaic texts spoke of two paths, itcafya and ithapcha.

The higher path is called ithapcha, which means “to transform.” In the language of the mystics, it means to transform “the bitter to the sweet.” The bitter is not erased or diluted, however. The bitter becomes the pointing-out instruction for the sweet. Ithapcha is the way of the dragon. It is far more that just making peace with your “dark side.” It is the transformation of identity, which is an act of memory. You remember that you have forgotten. You have forgotten that you are Source.

In the language of one Unique Self mystic, the master Abraham Kook:

The primary transformation
Which reveals the light in the
darkness
Is that a person returns to himself
To the root of his soul
And that in itself
Is to return to God
Who is the soul of all souls. 

Dr. Marc Gafni
Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment (p. 282).
Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.

Why have so many people, especially spiritual teachers, resisted the idea of Unique Self? What are the implications of Unique Self for shadow work? And how are these two questions related? The answer may be connected to a failure to hold paradox.

Ken Wilber and Marc Gafni explore these topics in this part of their Unique Self dialogue (a 12-minute clip from a conversation recorded in September 2012). The answer which emerges is that, in Marc's phrasing, there is a failure to discern the difference between egoic disassociation and disidentification. In spiritual traditions which "bash the ego," there is a risk of losing one's ability to make out the shape of the "individuated essence of the divine mind-heart which lives in you and as you."

In Ken's formulation, there is a failure to understand deeply "the infinite nature of the genuine Self and its unique nature appearing in each individual."

Listen to the audio and read a partial transcript:

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In the ongoing Unique Self video series, Part 15c gives us an overview of history of the terminology of "wake up, grow up, etc." as used today in World Spirituality. Tracing the terms back to John Wellwood, Gafni also discusses why this information is important.

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The Unique Self video series continues with a brief reflection on the role of Unique Self within the foundational principles of World Spirituality. Marc Gafni says:

Your highest growing up is Unique Self. You lighten up by following your Unique Shadow back to Unique Self. Love is in 2nd person a Unique Self perception, and in 1st person you live as live but live uniquely as love, and in 3rd person you are the unique expression of all love-intelligence of All-That-Is...

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In the next video in the Unique Self series, Marc Gafni summarizes World Spirituality as follows:

At the core of World Spirituality teaching is what's been called wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, and open up. That's the whole teaching.

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Integrity and balance are two of the fruits of doing your shadow work, says Sally Kempton in “Me and My Shadow”:

Your unconscious shadow attitudes, inescapably, become the lenses through which you look at life. Refusing to “own” a shadow tendency just makes you less conscious that it is distorting your perspective. Because inevitably, when you can’t see something in yourself, you project the quality onto someone else, either judging or admiring the quality in them.

This is just one reason why shadow work can be so revelatory, and so life changing. Just learning to recognize your shadow can transform your relationship to other people and yourself. You’ll have an easier time accepting constructive feedback once you’ve recognized that it’s your perfection-obsessed inner critic who’s beating you up, and not the person who’s trying to give you a useful critique. Even more important, when you do your shadow work, you’ll find that it can dissolve many of your negative feelings about yourself””feelings like shame and unworthiness, or the sneaking suspicion that you’re not the person you pretend to be. It also becomes easier to notice and let go of unconscious behavior patterns like being deceitful with your coworkers, blowing up at your mother, or choosing romantic partners who tend to take advantage of you. Shadow work, if you do it authentically, lets you begin to unpick the threads of your negative samskaras.

Often, people who have engaged in shadow work exhibit a high degree of balance, tolerance, and self-acceptance. They tend to have high integrity, in the sense that they don’t say one thing and do another. Their ethics are not undercut by their unconscious impulses, emotionally charged projections, or negative habit patterns.

As you, too, begin to acknowledge your disowned traits and do your shadow work, you’ll catch glimpses of what genuine inner balance feels like. For instance, when you find yourself feeling envious of a friend’s success, instead of resenting them, you will be able to use the feeling of envy to look to how you can step up to your own potential. Or you’ll no longer feel so much resistance to getting on the mat, because having seen into your inner rebel, you’ll be able to negotiate a practice schedule that is free-form enough so the rebel feels less restricted.

Sally Kempton is active in the leadership of the Center for world Spirituality and also participates in our Wisdom Council.

Read the entire article…

Photo: spatulated

In today’s Daily Wisdom post, spiritual teacher and writer Sally Kempton offers her perspective on shadow work, one of the five principle practices in World Spirituality (called “lighten up.”)

Jung, whose work was influenced by his reading of Eastern sources, called the shadow “the person you’d rather not be””” the opposite of your conscious personality. He coined the term “shadow” to describe qualities that some yogic scriptures categorize as the kleshas (literally, causes of suffering). These are qualities that a key yogic text, the Bhagavad Gita, rather dauntingly describes as “demonic.” In other words, all the selfish, primitive, egoic, violent, lazy, entitled, aspects of yourself.[Read more…]

Workout

Photo Credit: jontunn


By Kristen Ulmer

This may surprise you, but discipline, perseverance, setting an intention, drive, the will; all those celebrated states usually taught by sports coaches, are completely outdated. Same with goal setting.

Here's why. I remember having to perform a difficult ski photo shoot while still recovering from an injury. I wanted to maintain status and sponsors so I “sucked it up” “did it anyway” “refused to give up” “pushed through the pain and fear.” Sounds powerful right?

Such willed effort is fine in a pinch: I skied great that day, but here's the problem: doing something I didn't feel like doing was the first step toward future burn out and ultimately resenting my sport.

There's a better path.

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DeerBy Marc Gafni

There is great danger in both in the New Age idolization of state experiences and the excessive premium that much of the Integral community places on complex levels of cognition. As I have pointed out in many teachings, higher levels of cognitive complexity do not a better human being make. It is not by accident that we rarely see posts in the blogs of persons at higher stages of development about kindness.

Kindness is a value that all to often is relegated by writers and thinkers to the lower levels of amber (AQAL) or blue (Spiral Dynamics Integral) consciousness. It rarely appears as a value in many Integral contexts. Or worse still it is given lip service even as it is ignored in practice when the real gods of cognition and power are worshipped.

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By Marc Gafni

Your state, in this case a mystical state, is always interpreted through your level of consciousness.

Hurt is a state. This is a huge insight. You need to really take it in.

Hurt is not an objective reality that gives you license for cruelty under the cover of “I was hurt.”

Hurt is a state, and it is interpreted through your stage or level of consciousness. As you evolve, your relationship to your wounds naturally shifts. More than any other single barometer, what you do with your hurt reveals to you and others your genuine level of consciousness.


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The technology for shadow integration is love. Shadow causes a transformation of identity.  Love is the evolutionary force that transmutes shadow to light.

The inner magic and mechanism of love makes it the ultimate technology of Unique Shadow transformation.  The nature of that magic and mechanism is an essential sacred understanding necessary for your Unique Self enlightenment.

In order to integrate your shadow, your unlived life acting out and demanding attention, a transformation of your identity must occur. The key Aramaic phrase used by the Unique Self masters to describe the nature of this path is be’chavivut talya milta, “It depends on love.”

Your Unique Self
(In Press)
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 265

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

The Unique Self is the Eros, the life impulse that drives us forward. Shadow is Eros turned around against itself. By integrating your shadow, you are liberating the trapped life energy of your Unique Self. Your life energy is not generic. It is your life energy. The portal to your energy is none other than your Unique Self. Your most persistent shadow- structure is also your most abundant wellspring of energy and life. The reclaiming of life energy happens through shadow integration. Thus, the tantric masters of the left-handed path saw shadow integration as a process of revelation by which the previously hidden Unique Self””the secret mystery””manifests as inspiration and Eros.

Your Unique Self (In Press)
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 252

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