The Universe: A Love Story Video Series – 1 The Universe: A Love Story

New Series with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni

Watch this second in a series of 10, beautiful videos, with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni. In this piece they discuss why the Universe really IS a Love Story and what that means. You can also read the transcript below:


Marc: Barbara, here we go.

Barbara: The Universe: A Love Story. What does that mean?

Marc: The Universe: A Love Story. What does that mean? And it is so wildly important to realize as we’ve talked about so often, but at this moment in time what we understand is that the Universe is not a fact, the Universe is a story. Now, let me just I’m going to begin by just unpacking that sentence and I’m unpacking it not to inform Barbara that she’s been living it for fifty years, but just to kind of share with each other and we’re starting this conversation from the beginning. Tabula rasa. You know? No assumptions, just kind of laying out for each other and for you piece by piece what is the most exciting information, transformative information which not only changes the way you look at the world in a fundamental way, but the way you act, the way be in the world in a fundamental way.

Every once in a while there’s some piece of information that changes the way we look at the world, but not the way we live in it. Sometimes there’s a piece of information that changes the way you live, but not the way you actually look at the world. This information changes both. So here we go. The Universe: A Love Story. The Universe is not a fact, it’s a story. So let me unpack what we mean when we say that.

As recently as Einstein, Einstein thought the Cosmos was eternal. There’s an eternal Cosmos. It’s unchanging. Five hundred, a thousand years ago it was pretty clear that not only the physical Cosmos is eternal, but the biological Cosmos is eternal.

There were people before Charles Darwin who talks about evolution, who had evolutionary theories. Evolution was in the air when Darwin wrote and there are earlier evolutionary indications in thought, but still overwhelming mainstream of thought both the sciences that existed and in the world of spirit and the world of literature, the world of art assumed as an absolute given that the world was in eternal. The nature of the world was eternal; both the physical world and the life world. Do you get what we mean by that? The physical world is rocks and stones and planets and galaxies. By the biological world we mean anything that has life from amoeba to human beings. So the assumption was these are just facts. These exist.

Now the nature of the universe was it’s a given, it’s a fact, it’s not going anywhere, and the general understanding was that a God who lives outside the Universe decided to create it and that happened in six twenty-four hour days. Let there be a moon and there’s a moon. And we’re not going to talk about that right now, but that was just a given in reality. Along comes the evolutionary idea and evolution says the world’s not a fact, it’s a story. Meaning, the world is going somewhere. It has a direction. It has telos. Now don’t phase out on Latin words, my friends. A couple of Latin words are always fun. Telos from that has direction in the evolution means that the world started. We call it Cosmogenesis at a particular time, but it’s going somewhere. It has direction.

The world has evolved. It’s changed. The world’s gone through stages of evolution and those stages start with Cosmological evolution, right? We’ve got Cosmological evolution, planet sun stars, biological evolution life, and then cultural evolution which is the evolution of ideas, the evolution of consciousness, how do human beings think about things in the world?

So the early caveman and woman not only had tools that were different than our tools, but they thought about things differently. There wasn’t a lot of democracy for example. There wasn’t a big feminist movement. There wasn’t basic ideas of human rights, the intrinsic rights of every individual. All the ideas that we take for granted in much of the world of course didn’t exist. So ideas once the human beings came on the scene, ideas evolved. That’s cultural evolution.

Now if you track this whole story, Barbara and I are about to make a wild proposition which we think is based on the best evidence we have available today which is that this trajectory, simple word, this arrow, this direction of evolution, this evolutionary story of the changing world has a plot. There’s a plot to the story and the plot to the story is love. The story is a love story. The Universe is not a fact, it’s a story. The Universe is a love story. And in these few minutes we’re going to just fill in a little bit of what that means. So I’m going to turn now to Barbara just to begin filling that in.

Barbara: Well it was amazing to me how we discovered this. It was only in the sixties that some scientists heard the background radiation of the first explosion or flaring forth. They said it was like the first breaths of the Universe beginning. However that mystery began, and it is a total mystery, it was perfectly designed.

Marc: Right. The big bang.

Barbara: The big bang for energy, matter, and life to form. And that whisper was discovered by our scientists and they called it Cosmogenesis. The Cosmos had a Genesis and it has been evolving, it is evolving through us, and it will be evolving based on what we do. When I first heard that, I was so thrilled.

A lot of people didn’t notice it. But what I felt is that if the Universe started with a big bang and it has been evolving towards ever greater consciousness and complexity and potentiality, somehow I was in it. In other words, I must be also evolving and you’re evolving and we are evolving and the world is evolving and the doors opened up for my mind. A feeling stuck and wondering where I was going and what I was doing I got a clue from the Universe where I was going. Because apparently, from that big bang, up through billions and billions of years, the Universe had a direction and the direction you can see it from single cells to multi-cells to animals to humans to us was ever-greater awareness, ever-greater consciousness, ever-greater freedom to choose to destroy or create. And it looked to me like we are the story in person. So I began to really research this story of evolution as the story of ourselves evolving.

Marc: Beautiful, beautiful and we’re going to get back to so much of what Barbara said in future podcasts, but one of the things that we’re going to do because we’re madly loving you is we’re going to take this piece at a time and you’ll be with us for…we’ll be with you, we’ll be with each other Universe willing for a long time; at least the next year we’re going to be talking about this and every week we’re going to unfold another piece of it.

So I’m going to go back to the Genesis, to the beginning. So when we say the Universe is a love story, it’s a story that is to say it’s moving somewhere. It has a plot. Now where is it moving? So Barbara, you just said so beautifully, where’s it moving? So what do we simply know about evolution? Evolution is the movement from simple to complex.

We’ve got an amoeba. An amoeba is simple; lots of beauty and dazzling gorgeousness in amoeba. But relatively simple compared to a dog. But a dog is more complex. So the movement of evolution from an amoeba which is single celled to then multi-cellular organisms, then early plants, then more advanced plants and then early animals and then mammals up through to human beings; from neural nets to neural chords to ultimately to a frontal cortex and you don’t need to know all those words. Just detract the general movement of evolution from simple to complex.

Now if you notice, it’s not just that the movement is from simple to complex, it’s from less consciously or less overtly loving to more consciously, more overtly, more clearly, more availably, obviously loving. How do you know? Well let me say it simply. When was the last time you saw a person that had a pet amoeba? There’s not a lot of pet amoebas around. Why aren’t there pet amoebas? There aren’t pet amoebas because there’s not an easy exchange of love with amoebas. So amoebas function. They’re enormously successful from an evolutionary perspective, but you wouldn’t have a pet amoeba because there’s no exchange of love. There’s less consciousness. An amoeba’s less conscious than a dog.

Now let’s track this for a second. So the more complexity we have, the more consciousness we have. A dog is more conscious than an amoeba. Now a dog’s also more loving than an amoeba. A dog can give love. You can embrace a dog, you can do puppy love. We call it puppy love because puppies are loving and dogs are loving in a fascinating set of ways.

As a matter of fact, I had a dog for a period of time who was deeply in love. It was a female dog with the male dog next door. Both were neutered so it wasn’t for sexual reproduction. And my dog would always save the best bone for the dog next door. Two times the dog next door was attacked. My dog got involved to help that dog and my dog was wildly loving to me. Very different than a dog eat dog world, which is described by the bad readings of evolution which don’t really take good science into account.

So if you track this, let’s say it really simply. The evolution, the trajectory, the arrow of evolution is from simple to complex. Simplicity/complexity, but on the inside of complexity you always have consciousness. So it’s from less consciousness to more consciousness. A dog is more conscious than an amoeba. But the inside of the consciousness is love. The inside of consciousness is love. So the dog is more loving, more overtly and obviously choosing love than an amoeba. So the movement of evolution is the movement from simple to complex, the inside of complexity is consciousness, and the inside of consciousness is love. Now that’s pretty wild.

Barbara: There’s something that I’d like to add to that. That the complexity is consciousness. When you think about what complexity means, let’s say you have fifty trillion cells operating as you to make the complex person that you are. Now, I have fifty trillion cells. I’m not noticing…

Marc: To make the very complex person that you are.

Barbara: I’m not noticing even one of them doing this. So within this complexity is organizational genius of separate parts coming together by attraction to do specific things within each creating a new being. And so the word complexity hardly describes…

Marc: It’s so beautiful.

Barbara: Or even the word consciousness that what’s causing this complexity and consciousness is so greatly mysterious that you have to say divine intelligence of some sort is operating to create this ever-greater complexity, ever-greater consciousness, and ever-greater love because the parts that are making up our bodies have to be attracted to each other to do their part or you wouldn’t stay together for a minute. You’d just go poof. You would disappear.

Marc: Alright. This is so important. So there’s definitely…

Barbara: Love is holding all those pieces together. This is what we’re saying.

Marc: Does everyone get what Barbara said? Because this is great. So Barbara is saying that not only is the movement of evolution from an amoeba to a dog to a human being for example, more and more complex and more and more loving. A human being, being more loving than a dog and believe me, I love dogs, but human beings build hospitals. Human beings are able, at least have the capacity of course for more destruction, but they also have the capacity to stand at levels of chosen love that the animal world can’t yet stand in; building hospitals being a great example. Taking care of all who are sick; taking care of all those who are sick and helpless who are not in our immediate family. So the human being has for many evolutionary perspectives the most expanded possible circle of love.

But Barbara is adding a second thing, a second dimension of the Universe: A Love Story which is that the dog has more interior love happening in her or his essence than the amoeba because the dog is more complex. And Barbara, tell me if I’m reflecting this back correctly because it’s such a beautiful and key- when you say complexity, you don’t capture it. Complexity means this enormously dazzlingly elegant designed… designed by the interior intelligence of reality itself.

If the word divine by the way doesn’t work for you, skip it. We don’t want to get lost in word games.

It’s an intelligent Cosmos that manifests the dazzlingly intricate and gorgeous complexity of interconnectivity happening within the dog that’s much higher than interconnectivity happening in the amoeba. But then when you get to the interconnectivity happening within Barbara Marx-Hubbard, fifty trillion cells, that’s love. That’s what Barbara called attraction. There’s an attractive force happening inside that’s holding it all together in this dazzling interior Eros which is this organizing principle of a symphony which defies imagination in its unspeakable and unbearable beauty and again held together by love. And, every single part is unique. Oh my God, oh my Goddess.

Barbara: Every single cell seems to know what its part is. In other words, what its unique part to make an eye, to make an ear, to make a thumb, and every one of them is unique. Now this is such a miracle.

Marc: So there’s this mad love story taking place within us while we’re talking about love in every second.

Barbara: Maybe the cells are getting it too.

Marc: The cells are getting it for sure and we’re going to come back and talk about the cell forgetting. This is the end of our first week. We just began, but you begin to get a hint of what we mean when we say the Universe is a love story. Thank you Barbara. I love you.

Barbara: It’s a story.

Marc: Do you love me?

Barbara: I do, of course.

Marc: That’s so good. I was like going to wait to I was going to say it off camera for real. Love you all. Thank you so much. Next week. Love podcast two.

Do you want to learn more?

You can do so by studying our 9-week, self-paced Online Video Course with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Daniel Schmachtenberger:

Becoming a Future Human:

Changing the Source Code of Reality

A Gift and a Call to Play Your Full Role in the Birth of a New Humanity

Who 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 Becoming a Future Human <<<

The Universe: A Love Story Video Series – 0 Intention

New Series with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni

Watch this first in a series of 10, beautiful videos, with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni. In this piece they set their intention for the series. You can also read the transcript below:


Marc: Hi. My name is Marc Gafni and I’m delighted to be a father, a partner, a beloved, a lover, a student, a studier and the President of the Center for Integral Wisdom. And one of our deep partners is Barbara Marx Hubbard who’s here with me today.

And Barbara and myself are engaged in an adventure that we’d like you to join us in and we believe that it’s the greatest planetary adventure of this time and the most urgent and pressing need of this time. And a great adventure always addresses a great need. And the great need is to know who we are, to set our context, to understand where we’re from and where we’re going. The name of this series is

The Universe: A Love Story, Evolutionary Love podcasts.

And in these conversations, Barbara and I will be talking to each other having out loud in the public realm conversations that we’ve had in private many, many, many times. We’ll also be having a conversation with you. Your comments, thoughts are welcome. Send them in. We’ll share them. Sometimes we’ll be looking at the camera, sometimes we’ll be looking at each other, but we’re all involved in the conversation together. And we’re going to take nothing for granted. There’s going to be no jargon. Anything we say, we’ll explain. We’ll unpack the pieces of it so we’ll all be able to follow with lots of ease and spaciousness and grace.

What are we about to do? We’re about to unpack together the plotline of the mystery; the mystery of existence. The mystery will remain a mystery but the plotline will tell us somewhat of what we want to do, how we want to be, how we want to live, how we want to laugh, how we want to cry, how we want to love in the midst of this mystery. This is an orienting compass, an invitation, a guide, a sacred text for our time that we’re here to unpack with radical delight and joy together with you. So let me introduce my partner in the endeavor, in this moment, Barbara Marx Hubbard. Barbara.

Barbara: Marc thank you for inviting me to do this fabulous adventure with you. I think everybody knows that my life has been dedicated for all these years to discover the meaning of our new power is good. Where is the human race going? And I asked this question when we dropped the bombs on Japan. But now, when we’re facing a crisis that could either lead to devolution or the evolution of our whole species, the answer to the question that we’re raising becomes crucial.

It’s not just academic, it’s not just poetic, it’s actually existentially vital. So I am delighted to be exploring with you The Universe: A Love Story as a mystery story that every single one of us is a mystery in it. But maybe this will reveal something to everyone who’s listening; that inner mystery, that inner impulse, that inner creative drive that we have. What does it mean and where are we going? It’s going to be an adventure.

Marc: What an adventure. What an adventure and I couldn’t think, Barbara, of anyone better to engage and embark on this adventure with and when you engage in an adventure, your partner’s the most important. So being together here with you is just a radical delight.

Barbara: It is.

Marc: It’s a radical delight and we want you to know that we’re going to be reaching deep into every form of wisdom available to human beings today on the planet Earth. This is not going to be a kind of made up, fanciful, conjectured, poetic metaphor. We’re going to look at the physics of love, the physics of interiors if you will.

Usually with physics, the laws of physics talk about exteriors; the exterior world. But there are if you will, laws of interiors. There are physics of interiors. There are physics of love.

And the exteriors: the sciences. The interiors: poetry, art, transformation, all speak and address ultimately the same reality because there is one reality. It’s all ultimately part of the same whole.

And so we’re going to be really opening our hearts and wildly rigorous at the same time. We’re going to talk about chaos theory and complexity theory and enlightenment science and attachment theory and more and more and more. But all in the very simple and direct way of understanding when we gather all the wisdom available to us at this moment in history, what does it tell us? And what we think it is, what it tells us is that the Universe is a…

Barbara: Love story.

Marc: It’s a love story driven by evolutionary love and concerned radically with the evolution of love. What that means is the most urgent and pressing invitation and need of our lives. So let’s take off. Here we go.

Barbara: Let’s do it.

Marc: Let’s do it.

Do you want to learn more?

You can do so by studying our 9-week, self-paced Online Video Course with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Dr. Marc Gafni, and Daniel Schmachtenberger:

Becoming a Future Human:

Changing the Source Code of Reality

A Gift and a Call to Play Your Full Role in the Birth of a New Humanity

Who 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 Becoming a Future Human <<<

Marc Gafni on Evolutionary Love

An unedited first draft text from forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid

Law Two: The Law of One Love: Outrageous Love is the One Love

Insight Two:

Ordinary love is a human sentiment. Outrageous Love is not a mere sentiment, it is the very heart of existence itself. Outrageous Love is not a purely personal human experience. Outrageous Love is the inner core of reality and the driving force of evolution. The Universe feels and the Universe feels love. Outrageous love is the One Love in which all other love is sourced.

The Action:

Awakening to One Love. Awakening to Your Inner Outrageous Lover; Sourcing your Love in One Love which is Outrageous Love. Sourcing your Love in the Love which is your Source.

Ordinary Love is a human sentiment. Outrageous Love is not merely a human sentiment but the very heart of existence itself

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. We have shared this sentence with a thousand audiences around the world from diverse cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic strata. It always moves something deep in the space and awakens the room to a new possibility. It is the possibility for you to awaken as an outrageous lover.

Even though the listener is not yet clear what it means, the energy of the sentence awakens the sacred thrill of possibility. The outrageous love manifesto is about why these simple words are the single most powerful two sentences that we can deploy in order to evolve our consciousness and transform our lives and our planet, at this particular moment in history.

In the old great books on spirit there would be a single verse or a sutra, which began the book. These might be called sacred sentences. The rest of the book would be a profound explanation and meditation on that core sentence. In a similar manner this entire book will be an explanation of these transformative sacred sentences. When these words land in a room there is an intuitive though still inchoate feeling in the room that outrageous love points to a deeper reality than the ordinary emotion with which we usually associate love. We have talked law one about the consciousness that is evoked by the words Outrageous Pain. Now we turn to the words Outrageous Love.

Ordinary love is weak and highly circumscribed. Virtually everyone closes their heart. We limit our love. Our love lists are very short. They are limited to our close circle of intimates. And even in these close circles where we open our hearts, something in the love itself still remains closed. The love feels contracted and broken in some profound way. It certainly does not feel outrageous. Why is this so?

Spiritual teachers like the Buddha, Lao Tse and others have long taught us that we close our hearts because we are trapped in the contractions of ego. People get lost in their narcissistic self-absorption. People need to awaken into the One we are told. There is some great wisdom in this. But people are naturally much better than that. We are not natural narcissists. Our true nature is spacious and free with our hearts wide open. The primary reason we close our hearts is because we have experienced outrageous pain in our lives. Part of our outrageous pain comes from personal wounds. But an even larger part of our outrageous pain comes from collective trauma, the wounds we see all around us. Mass suffering. Sometimes our outrageous pain is conscious. More often than not it is unconscious. The pain seethes beneath the surface of our ordinary and ordered lives. Ordinary love cannot hold or transform outrageous pain. Outrageous Love is source itself. Only Outrageous Love can hold and transform outrageous pain.

We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. But at this early point we first turn directly the core question. What is Outrageous Love? What is the difference between ordinary love and Outrageous Love? We have engaged this issue in depth in the introductory chapters but we will revisit the core distinctions in the context of the laws of love.

Ordinary Love: At the level ego self you can only access ordinary love. This is the love that seeks ego-centric security and comfort. It is the love that lives in the limited confines of your personality. Your personality might also be referred to as your ego self or your separate self. Your separate self is conditioned by your social, psychological and cultural contexts. Ordinary love is weak precisely because it is sourced in the separate self of a single individual. It is not bad. It is simply limited. When you evolve beyond your exclusive identification with ego self to true self you begin to be in contact with the larger field of existence. You realize that your true nature is your true self which is the one self in which we all participate. An exterior physical manifestation of this largest context of One Self has been called the Zero point field in physics. Another exterior expression of the dynamic nature of the One Self is what the cosmologists at the Santa Fe Institute referred to as the fifth force of the universe. But seen from the interior this fifth force and zero point quantum field are the urgency of Eros, and the field of outrageous love.

When you awaken to Outrageous Love, the field becomes alive and active in your personally. You awaken as in irreducibly unique expression of the outrageous love intelligence. Unique Self, which we will unfold in law three, is the portal to Outrageous Love.

Outrageous Love: There is only one heart and one love. This is the love that is source itself. Bengali mystic Tagore said, “Love is not mere sentiment, it is the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.” The ancient Shamans would say to a person before a journey of awakening, “may you find your heart in this journey and may you discover that your heart is the one heart.” The great philosopher of science Alfred North Whitehead referred to evolution as “the gentle movement towards God by the gentle persuasion of love.” Christian mystic Dante talked about “the love that moves the sun and the stars.”

All of them were pointing to the truth of what we are calling Outrageous Love. They were pointing to two different dimension of outrageous love. Outrageous love is both the ground of being and the motive force of becoming. Being and becoming refer to two different dimension of all-that-is.

Being is the underlying eternal ground of existence that lives beneath the flux and turbulence of reality. It may be imaged by the silent depths of the ocean floor as contrasted with the storming wave of the surface. Neuroscience has documented the effectiveness of meditation which is a way of accessing this eternal and spacious ground. It is characterized by a sense of absolute freedom, expanse and often is described as silence. Sitting in silence is one of the ways to access the ground of being. There is an urge to merge with the ground of being which lives strongly in every human being. This is often expressed as the need for deep rest, peace and tranquility.

The quality of becoming is very different. Becoming is dynamic flux and turbulence, creative tension and constant transformation. It is characterized not by the urge to merge but by the urge to emerge. Its auditory quality is not silence but raucous tumult and transformative noise. Its interior feeling is not spacious peace but some combination of ecstasy and urgency, what one might call ecstatic urgency.

When Tagore points to what we are calling outrageous love as the core quality of the interior face of the cosmos he is referring to love as the ground of existence itself. The inner nature of eternity and being is outrageous love. When Dante and Whitehead refer to what we have termed outrageous love they are pointing towards the quality of dynamic evolutionary quality of becoming. The nature of emergence and becoming is outrageous love. These are the two tastes of essence, being and becoming. Both partake of outrageous love.

Outrageous Love is not the pallid strategy for ego security that so often masquerades as love. We have referred to that form of ego love as ordinary love. Outrageous love is source itself. The same love that moves you to make contact and connect with other is the love that moves the sun and the stars. It is the love that moves quarks to become atoms and atoms to become molecules. It is the evolutionary love, that initiated the big bang and that both drives and animates all of existence. When you awaken to a lived experience of this knowing you begin to be able to access Outrageous love as the core aliveness and motive power of your life. It is outrageous love that poet Dylan Thomas points towards when he evokes “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, Drives my green age, the force that drives the water through the rocks, Drives my red blood.”

Another name for Outrageous Love is what the mystics called Source. When we access the source, we are capable of love in any and all situations. We are able to live fully alive and radically empowered in every dimension of our lives. In other words, we become capable of Outrageous Love.

Open any book on love and you will find the same answer to the question of “What is Love?” “Love is an emotion.” Moreover love is considered to be a human emotion. Love is understood to be a human emotional experience in reaction to some form of outside stimuli, person, place, idea or thing. However this is precisely wrong on all three levels. Love at its core is not merely an emotion, it is not merely human and it is not merely a reaction.

Ordinary love is a human emotion and a reaction, whereas Outrageous Love is source itself. Ordinary Love is merely a reactive emotion. Outrageous love is not a reaction at all. It is the action of perceiving. A ball hits the wall. In reaction to the impact the ball bounces off the wall. Very quickly however the energy of the reaction peters out. The ball ceases its motion. An emotion is energy in motion, in reaction to outside stimuli. Because it is in reaction, the emotion, energy in motion, comes to a rest. Ordinary Love inevitably withers and dies. That is simply its nature. The feeling and the power that derive from Ordinary love never last.

Outrageous Love is at core a perception and not an emotion. Perception is a capacity of consciousness that only deepens over time if we keep cleansing our doors of perception. Instead of love growing stale and eventually disappearing which is the inevitable trajectory of ordinary love, Outrageous love invites us to a path where love grows ever more powerful, passionate, vital and erotic in the fullness of time. It is only Outrageous Love which has the sustaining power to transform our personal lives.

Outrageous Love is not the dogma of a particular religion. It is not the belief of a specific spiritual form. It is a fully accessible lived truth. Like all great truths it is revealed through scientific experiment. In the introductory chapters we talked about the distinction between dogma and dharma and how science works. You do an experiment. You produce a result. You repeat the experiment and produce the result again. You then have people, who do not know each other, what science calls double blind conditions, consistently repeat the same experiment. You check to see if they all get the same results. You then check your experimental process and its results with the greatest experts in that field of knowledge. If it is all confirmed you have produced genuine knowledge. This is true in the fields of physics, chemistry, calculus and pretty much all of the great fields of study that make up modern scientific knowledge.

This is true however both in what we might call the physics of outer space and in the physics of the inner space. Both inner and outer space have their own nature and natural laws and both are revealed through experimentation. We know that outrageous love is the inner nature of the reality because great experiments in spirituality have been conducted by the most subtle and speculative heart-minds that ever lived for thousands of years. They used empirical experimental methods to reveal their truth. These methods included rigorous sustained Zen meditation, Kabbalistic practice, Christian mystical prayer, sacred ceremony, Shamanic ritual, the practice of the prophets and masters in all the generations and much more. They did not know each other.

In the last one hundred years or so we have gathered the results from all these experiments. They all came to the same scientific conclusion. The interior face of the cosmos is love. The universe feels and the Universe feels love. Not ordinary love which is an interpersonal emotion between human beings. But Outrageous Love which is the love that moves all of reality to higher and higher levels of contact. The same love that moves you to reach beyond your loneliness to make contact with another being is the love that moves the sun and the stars. These key distinctions between ordinary and Outrageous Love, critically empower your awakening as an outrageous lover.

The good news is this. Human beings can access Outrageous Love. You can move beyond weak, sentimental ordinary love, which is limited by your social, cultural and psychological conditioning. You can access Outrageous Love as the motive force in your life. You can awaken to your true nature as an Outrageous Lover. This is what it means to align with your true nature and to awaken to your essence. There is a direct transformative practice, which will take you there. This is the writing of Outrageous Love Letters. The Outrageous Love Process, the path and practice of writing Outrageous Love letters. We will unfold this practice in law five.

Step Three:

Outrageous Love is the Evolutionary Eros, the Universal force of desire, allurement and transformation. To awaken as outrageous love is to awaken as the evolutionary impulse.

Law Three: Outrageous Love is Evolutionary Eros: Eros is Desire.

Your deepest desire is evolution’s desire. At the root of all your desire is the will to make contact, grow and transform. Attraction is the inner mechanism of Evolution. Evolution is the emergence of higher and deeper levels of connection, growth and transformation. Outrageous Love is the initiating and animating Eros of all that is.

To understand what it means to awaken as Outrageous Love we want must understand what I will call the law of one love and evolution. This law might also be called the law of desire. This is the third law of outrageous love. The first dimension of this law is that reality is moving in a direction. Reality desires. Desire moves towards a desired result or object. Reality evolves. This law picks up not on the eternal taste of being but on the evolutionary taste of becoming.

The essence of the third law has three distinct dimensions. The first that the motive force of evolution is outrageous love. Some of the early thinkers like the meta-theorist Charles Pierce, who identified this quality and referred to it as evolutionary love. This is the love that is the motive force of evolution. This is the Eros or what the cosmologists sometimes referred to as the fifth force that drives the entire process. Beside the four classical forces of reality, the gravitational, electromagnetic, nuclear and the strong and the weak there is a fifth force, a universal initiating and driving Eros, what we have called Outrageous love. The second dimension of the third laws is the evolution of love itself. Not only does outrageous or evolutionary love drive the process but the process itself is the evolution of love.

Love itself is not merely an eternal quality of being but a dynamic and therefore evolving property of becoming. The movement from absolute dictatorship by the king invested with divine authority to democratic government is for example a clear example of the evolution of love. More people are cared for, recognized and honored in a democracy than is even imaginable under an absolute dictatorship. That higher level of love is not capricious. It is not based on the whim of the ruler. Rather this more evolved version of love is written into the system itself.

Outrageous Love is identified not merely as an interpersonal human sentiment but as the ultimate truth at the heart of reality. Outrageous love is the initiating and animating Eros of all that is. It is the evolutionary Eros itself. Said differently, desire is the initiating force of evolution itself. Love is sometimes too tepid a word. Love which marries Eros and desire is what we mean by Outrageous Love. The basic realization emergent from the integration of mysticism, emergence theory, supported by the leading edge of object relations theory and social anthropology, is that Evolution is Love in Action. The Eros of evolution is the love intelligence and love beauty at the heart of reality itself.

Some evolutionary mystics referred to the quality that we are calling outrageous love as Teshuka which might be loosely translated from the Hebrew as desire. This refers not to superficial desire but to the desire, which lies at the heart of reality. Paradoxically however all superficial desires when traced back to their source are revealed to be expression of the One Love, Eros or Desire itself. When you ask yourself not only what you want, but also what do you want by wanting what you want, the answer is almost always want or desire itself. You want to experience the fullness of being alive which comes together with want and desire.

In this sense the movement of Evolution is the movement of desire itself. From this perspective we sometimes refer to the law of One Love and Evolution as the law of desire.

Outrageous love as the core expression of spirit is very different then what Spinoza referred to as a “mythological external god demanding obedience.” Rather outrageous love both initiates and animates our evolving, intelligent elegant universe.

Insight Three:

This law is also sometimes called the law of desire. The first dimension of this law is that reality is moving in a direction. Reality desires. Desire moves towards a desired result or object. Reality evolves. Reality desires.

The second dimension of this law is that the motive force of evolution is Eros or what we have called Outrageous love.

Said simply reality has both Telos, direction and desire as well as Eros, an awakened quality of radical creativity and aliveness. The third law of love states therefore that we live in what might accurately call, a telerotic universe. Outrageous love is the initiating and animating Eros of all that is. It is the evolutionary Eros itself. Said differently, desire is the initiating force of evolution itself. Eros is identified not merely as an interpersonal human attraction but as the ultimate truth at the heart of reality. It is evolutionary impulse itself.

Love is sometimes too tepid a word. Love includes Eros and desire. That is what we mean by Outrageous Love. Outrageous love is not pallid polite or conceptual or intellectual. Outrageous love is dripping, pulsing and demanding. It is characterized both by spaciousness and freedom as well as by ecstatic urgency. In this sense the movement of Evolution if the movement of desire itself.

The Action:

Awaken to the recognition that your root desire is evolutionary desire. At your core you are Love in Action.

The new reality fact that we did not know just a very short time ago – that reality evolves – is the change that changes everything. We are living in a particular time in history, we’re living at the beginning of the 21st century.  We’re living at a time where the whole idea of evolution, which is largely synonymous with creativity and transformation is changing the way we think about our role in the cosmos in the most fundamental of ways. .

Science is revealing to all of us unequivocally that we all have been created by an evolutionary process. It had a beginning in time. It’s a process that’s definitely going somewhere.

This is the good news–that liberates us and sets us free when we embrace an evolutionary worldview. This is the truly good and liberating news: We are part and parcel of a process that had a beginning and is definitely going somewhere.

The whole notion that we’re actually going somewhere is a new idea for most people. The realization that the universe is not a static place, that the cultural context that we emerged with is not static, is a dawning awareness whose full revolutionary implications need to consciously assimilated.

Even though many educated people are aware of the fact that we’re part of an evolutionary, developmental creative process that’s going somewhere, that information, for most of us, hasn’t truly been internalized.

Most of us are seeing our own experience and seeing the world around us within a lens that doesn’t really appreciate, that each moment is revealing or giving rise to an opportunity for creative advance, what Whitehead famously called the creative advance of novelty. This was for Whitehead as well as for the mainstream of evolution science, a defining characteristic of reality.  In my own understanding of this truth, I find myself in a state of ever-deepening appreciation about the significance of that fact.

The ego or the Separate Self tends to see its own inner experience in the world from the perspective of being trapped in a static place, a static inner psychological space, and a static worldspace.

Even if we may technically know that the Kosmos is in motion, our psychological orientation in relationship to our personal experience, and also in the way we see the world, is that we tend to project the outdated perspective of unchanging or static on the world around us.

When we know that we are part of a process that’s going somewhere, the most exciting thing we can possibly do is to get with the program or the process that has created us.

We need to begin to interpret our own personal human experience in the context of cultural evolution. The first step in doing that to really embrace at a very deep level the profound fact that we’re part of a process that’s going somewhere.

And I think that the step that I think needs to be taken, the most exciting and the most spiritually and culturally relevant step that needs to be taken is for all of us as individuals to step out of the position. We need to move beyond the classic spiritual position in which we are the witness we assume as the observer, as the mere passive observer of experience, of our inner experience, of what’s happening within our own inner psychological worldspace and what’s happening in the world around us. We need to really to step into the process that’s going somewhere.

If we are going to step into a process that’s going somewhere, we, in a sense, have to get going.

The place we have to get going from is at the deepest level of our being and becoming. For most of us our experience of consciousness is localized at a particular place, within a particular body-mind form, personality space. Though we see ourselves moving in the realm of time and space and place and location, inwardly the psychological and psychic space of location that we tend to see the world from, is often one that is perceived as being static.

When we really awaken to the realization that the process is going somewhere – through deep and profound contemplation and spiritual practice – what happens is that we will fall out of this static position. We begin to actually consciously embrace, surrender, accept and literally begin to embody that evolutionary movement that we were merely bearing witness to as separate from self. We move from identification with the separate self to identification with the evolutionary impulse itself awakening

This is what we might call evolutionary mysticism. At the core of it is the embracing the evolutionary Eros – primordial creative drive or force in the universe as the essence of my identity. It is this embrace that sets us free.

All of manifestation emerged in the great flaring forth that has become the creative process. The evolutionary process is the creative process. In the deepest understanding of the greatest realizers in human history, from Plotinus, to the Vedic Sages to the Kabbalists, this creative process is motivated by source. Source self-limits its infinite nature into matter. Then it gradually evolves from matter to body. Life emerges out of matter. From life emerges mind. With mind and thought, come this ever-evolving and ever greater capacity for interiority, self-reflectivity. And with self-reflections come the great gift for each and every one of us, a measure of freedom, and more precisely a measure of freedom to choose. The greatest gift that we’ve all been given, by the evolving universe, is a measure of freedom to choose.

As we evolve culturally from traditional to modern to postmodern, through Integral stages of consciousness and cognition we begin to gain a capacity to see all of our human experience and all of the experience that’s happening in the world process around us, as being part of a Kosmic process of unfolding. We gain the capacity to see all of that, every aspect of our inner and outer experience, everything that’s happening in all its totality from the perspective of the process. We begin to see this is all one process. It’s one Kosmic process that we’re actually bearing witness to and participating in at the leading edge.

As we’re bearing witness to process, which is unbelievably enlightening, it begins to dawn on us that as we awaken beyond our social, cultural and psychological conditioning, we have a degree of freedom to choose. We begin to realize that actualizing the measure of freedom to choose becomes potentially the ultimate act of creativity. , of our power to create for the individual. This expresses itself in two ways. First it our choice manifests as self-creation, the transformative process of self-realization and awakening when we begin to choose beyond the limits of our old patterns and wounds. Second we awaken as the leading edge of the cosmos, as outrageous love itself, choosing for every higher levels of love, care and commitment.

And so what begins to happen then is that we awaken to a new level of insight. We begin to appreciate – and I think I can say this – the inherently sacred significance of the fact that the creative process has given us a measure of freedom to choose. We are dazzled by the realization , that in ever more consciously exercising that measure of freedom to choose, we find ourselves coming closer and closer to the – to put it in theological terms – you could say the creator, or we could say the energy and intelligence that initiated and animates the universe.

When we talk about God in evolutionary mysticism we are knowing God as the energy and intelligence that created the universe- and remember the God you do not believe in does not exist. That simply means that we’re not referring to any kind of mythical notions of a spiritual being that exists only outside or beyond the process. – When we begin to see from the perspective of process – that is to say the energy and intelligence that initiated this process that’s going somewhere, we are seeing from God’s perspective.

As we liberate our own consciousness from unconscious identification with biological drives, survival drives, cultural perspectives and values that are no longer relevant, we liberate and cultivate our own capacity to make choices that express ever and ever greater freedom.  We begin to understand then that the energy and intelligence that initiated and animates the universe or God or that one without a second, is gaining – through our own developing and increasing measure of freedom. The energy and intelligence is gaining a more profound ability to affect the creative process through our own individual choices and actions here in the world around us.


As human beings are liberated from a fundamentally survival orientation in relationship to life and to the human experience, the capacity for evolution or conscious creativity is why we’re here. This becomes a self-evident truth of awakened experience.

It begins to dawn on us that we’re not merely here to mate and to procreate. We are here to co-create. As culture has evolved, as these basic survival needs are being met for more and more human beings met, we begin to identity more and more with the  evolutionary or creative impulse or dynamic that has been the engine that’s given rise to culture. We awaken to the certain knowing that this evolutionary creative drive, the drive towards innovation exists in and as us. This is the drive to emergence.

Emergence is one of my favorite words, because emergence points to the miracle that greater complexity emerges from lesser complexity. A completely new whole emerges which is vastly greater and deeper than the sum of its parts.

Nobody seems to be able to explain how such a miracle can happen. How can that which is more complex arise out of that which is less complex? How does emergence emerge?

Everywhere from the gross level of matter to the most subtle movement of highly evolved consciousness, there is a movement, an Eros – which is a movement or an energetic drive towards emergence.

When we liberate ourselves at least to some limited degree from unconscious drives and life motives –motives that are fundamentally materialistic, motives for acquisition, or motives that about the glorification of the self or narcissistic motives we find that there is a mysterious tug or pull of a higher motive that drives us to participate in the human experience.

That tug is to create the conditions within us, and hopefully within us and around us, that we will actually be able to become creative engines in which and through which the energy and intelligence that created the universe can give rise to potentials that never existed before. This is the evolutionary or creative motivation to give rise to that which never existed before.

This happens when we awaken beyond the compulsion of fundamental survival materialistic or narcissistic motivations. To that precise degree we become free and therefore alive and are delighted by our ability to give rise to potentials that never existed before.

To the precise degree that we wake up and get free will be the degree that the energy and intelligence that created the universe leave its mark through our existence, through our presence here in this world in the course of our individual lives. .

To the degree to which we have liberated ourselves so that the creative process can flower and flow freely and profoundly in and through us in such a way that will actually have results, will have a real effect on the world process, on culture, and ultimately in the Kosmos as a whole, to that precise degree do our lives taken on super charged meaning and Eros. It is the radical commitment to that degree of liberation which is the hallmark of the outrageous lover.

The outrageous love realizes that I am the energy and intelligence that created the universe. I am here to create the universe, not merely to preserve it, but to create it. Creativity in this case means giving rise to that which is new, to that which never existed before. This is a critically new source of spiritual self-confidence, a source of confidence in really being alive which is so needed at a time in the world process that is existentially confusing and it can be frightening and overwhelming.

A lot of people really aren’t really sure exactly how to come to terms with the ever greater complexity that the world process seems to be manifesting. How do we deal with the speed of information and the growth of our population and the global threats that confront us? It can be very overwhelming and also quite intimidating.

So awakening to this motivation that’s inherently creative, awakening to this evolutionary impulse or creative impulse, becoming conscious of the energy and intelligence that created the universe, we realize that its nature, which is our own true nature as this creative drive, this Eros is overwhelming, ecstatic positivity.

This creative erotic evolutionary impulse is not an abstract idea. We find it in our first person experience all the time. At the first level it appears as the sexual impulse, as the biological imperative to both make contact and to procreate. The scientists ask for the technical information on how the universe works. The mystics want to know how the universe feels. How do the energy and intelligence that created the universe feel? The first place to experience how God feels, to feel the evolutionary Eros of the cosmos, the ecstatic evolutionary impulse is in the sexual impulse, the drive to make contact and the biological command to procreate. What does it feel like? It feels like ecstatic urgency, ecstasy and urgency.

At the next level, locate this evolutionary creative impulse, this Eros in the mysterious human drive, compulsion to innovate, to give rise to that which is new. Human beings as a species are driven, at an ever greater speed and intensity, to give rise to that which is new. We’re driven, and the nature of the drive towards innovation, the inner feeling of this drive is an ecstatic urgency.

At an even deeper level there is a drive towards transformation. This includes at its core a drive towards, consciousness, towards greater interiority. All great spiritual heroes throughout history were men and women who were driven, to awaken at a level of consciousness. What was driving them, it was that same ecstatic urgency.

The nature of that ecstatic urgency is one big Yes. Outrageous love is always screaming Yes!

When we realize that the nature of Eros, the nature of the energy and intelligence that created the universe is one big Yes, is one big affirmation which is shouting Yes as it creates, it’s a source of enormous relief and spiritual self-confidence. We awaken as outrageous love when we realize that what’s driving this entire process is overwhelmingly positive.

It doesn’t mean that everything that happens within the process is positive. As we all know evolution meanders, our negative choices impact the process and catalyze all kinds of wrong turns in the Kosmos as a whole. We even know that some galaxies fall out of formation and stop evolving, and we know that there are all kinds of natural disasters within nature, and we know that in human cultural history there have been and continue to be horrendous falling back to primitive and dark motives.

But when we realize that overall arc of the process is the evolution of love, that real development, is occurring in ever quadrant of reality then we are overwhelmed and overjoyed. . That is when we shout out YES.

On the Nature of Eros

Eros has four major qualities.

Eros is the experience of being on the inside and not on the surface.

Eros is the experience of fullness of presence.

Eros is the inner experience of the yearning force of being. This is the evolutionary Eros or desire that we referred to above.

Eros is the experience of wholeness. It is the direct knowing of the interconnectivity of the all with the all. Every part is a whole unto itself and part of a larger whole at the same time. Nothing is separate or apart. Everything lives within a larger context. In the original Hebrew the word Yichud, connotes both absolute individuality and absolute unity. The realization of mystical knowledge is called Sod Ha-Yichud. Literally this phrase is usually translated as the “secret of unification.” It implies however something more subtle and stunning than a kind of mystical absorption. It suggests the absolutely paradoxical identity between distinction and oneness. The part and the whole are one. More than that, the part yearns for the whole even as the whole yearns for the part. This is the interior pathos of the universe who exterior structures are described so elegantly in general systems and chaos theory. Nothing is apart. Every part, everything and everyone is nourished from and contributes to, the field of outrageous Love.

Eros and Pseudo Eros

One of the core qualities of Eros to which we alluded above, is fullness of presence. Presence is the opposite of emptiness. Emptiness is an interior quality of being that we all recognize. There is no one among us who has escaped the meeting with emptiness. Emptiness is the experience of being in the hole. It is the feeling that in some essential way you are not whole. It would not be mere exaggeration to suggest that “life is what you do with your emptiness.” Life is what we do when we are in the hole.

Denying our emptiness is a primary strategy for coping with it. We buy, buy, buy hoping the hawked elixirs might finally fill us and yet the emptiness lingers.

This is the great paradox of emptiness. Sadly, in our society human beings are defined as consumers and not lovers.

The first way to approach emptiness is must be not to fill it but to simply be mindful of it. Just sit in the hole. Paradoxically you can only access the fullness of being if you are willing to stay in the emptiness long enough to find your way. The path to Eros is filled with detours to pseudo Eros, but they are all dead ends. When we are so desperate for fullness, when the emptiness hurts too much, these detours seduce us off the path, often spinning us to painful places where we never wanted to go. We cannot bear the emptiness. We cannot stay in the hole and wait for it to fill with the natural fullness of our own Eros. The pain is too great to bear. So we move to fill the hole with all sorts of detours, which take us away not only from our destination but from our destiny.

Addiction is, at its root, the inability to stay in the emptiness. So we rush to fill the emptiness with whatever gives us the quickest hit of pseudo Eros. Pseudo Eros is virtually always addictive. Pseudo Eros has many disguises—unconscious sex, food we do not want to be eating, mindless gossip, superficial pubic acclaim, bad drugs, addictive work, all of these pretend to fill our emptiness but never sate us. Ordinary love is pseudo Eros, Outrageous Love is Eros.

Eros moves all of reality. Eros is the movement to higher and deeper levels of mutuality, recognition, union and embrace. We refer to this as the evolution of love.

Some leading edge thinkers have talked about the gradual emergence of an empathic civilization. Society moves through its different structure stages of consciousness to higher and higher degrees of empathy.  The great Hebrew mystics[1], followed by the German idealists and then by meta-theorists like Charles Randall Peirce traced evolution’s purpose as the gradual emergence of higher and deeper levels of the good, the true and the beautiful.

Jean Gebser’s life work is about showing from the beginning of human life we have moved gradually but clearly to higher and higher levels of care and connection. Literally dozens of developmental thinkers have traced different dimensions of this evolutionary trajectory of love. It is not that it is a straight line.

As Michael Murphy likes to say, evolution meanders. But the telos is clear. The simplest way to say it is in showing the movement from more and more expanded circles of felt love and concern to which we referred to briefly above.

Society begins with dawn man’s egocentric consciousness. That means really simply that the felt sense of care and concern is for me and my people. My people might include my woman or women (as was more often the case for Neanderthal man) and for the small clan. These were my survival band.

As evolution continued a new consciousness was born. This might be called ethno- or socio-centric consciousness. This means that I have an actual felt sense of love, of care and concern and connection not only to my immediate survival clan but to my larger tribe or people. This is a big leap forward. My circle of love has expanded. Love itself has evolved its nature. It is no longer limited to your survival group. What this means is that the nation or tribe feels responsible to care for its members. This might express itself in providing food and shelter for its members. It might express itself in empathetic interest in the lives of its members. It might express itself in the willingness to sacrifice even life itself for the sake of the safety and continuity of the tribe. In their healthy form these are noble expression of love.

All love like every other qualities and experiences can be distorted and appear in shadow form. Love of a parent to child for example when it crosses boundaries into the sexual is destructive and shadow form of egocentric love. Love that expresses itself as a mafia like loyalty to brothers in murder and mayhem is a twisted egocentric love. Love that says that when you are not part of my tribe you are not deserving of love and are deserving of God’s wrath are twisted forms of ethnocentric love.

But when love evolves in its natural, whole and healthy forms the Telos of reality is fulfilled and the Eros of existence is deepened. Part of the nature of Eros is Telos. Eros means the fullness of interconnectivity, mutuality, aliveness, and embrace. Telos means moving in a direction. Telos engenders Eros. When you are going somewhere there is a part of you which feels more alive. Your steps quickens, a palpable excitement arises in your heart. You feel clear, confident and energized. The ecstatic urgency of becoming enlivens you. Eros is deepened by telos. The universe is not only alive. It is going somewhere. And its Telos makes it more erotic.

The next unfolding in the evolution of love along this particular line of development is the move from ethno-centric to world-centric consciousness. In this evolutionary movement you awaken to a felt sense of love and care for all human beings on the planet. This consciousness is very recent in the world. Its sources are as old as the bible which makes the revolutionary assertion that every human being is formed in the image of God.

This was a momentous revolution in consciousness which introduced the felt sense of universal human solidarity into the world. It was radically ahead of the tribal center of gravity which dominated consciousness at that time[2]. This world-centric sense did not begin to have global impact beyond a miniscule elite until the twentieth century. It is still not the primary mode of consciousness on the planet with up to seventy percent of the world still being defined by some of the shadow of ethnocentric consciousness. But love has clearly evolved. There are many hundreds of millions of people on the planet, possibly up to two billion who have powerful world-centric consciousness. In a recent public dialogue our dialogue partner talked nobly about “saving American lives.” A visible shudder went through the auditorium. The idea that American lives were somehow more valuable or more lovable than other lives violated the core consciousness of the crowd.

A fourth evolution of love is the movement from world-centric to cosmo-centric consciousness. This means that your felt sense of love and concern is not only for all human beings but for all sentient being. And then as your cosmo-centric consciousness expands you realize that the split between sentience and non-sentience is artificial. In a profound sense we are locating in a sentient–that is to say–a living universe. All of reality is governed by the intelligent laws of mathematics and physics. All of reality self-organizes and moves towards higher and higher levels of complexity. All of reality is in the constant dynamic motion of evolution and new creative emergences. The experience of love and concern for all of reality is the lived experience of cosmo-centric consciousness. This is but one of the myriad pathways of the evolution of love. Outrageous Love is not merely eternal as the old poets suggest. Outrageous Love is evolutionary.


[1] The Hebrew mystics are for the most part what Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen and myself termed proto-evolutionary. The three of us had a wonderful long private dialogue in 2011 on the relationship between Kabbalah (Hebrew mysticism) and evolutionary thought. I shared text after text with them of kabbalists who were speaking in clear evolutionary terms which included the evolution of the manifest God. Ken was surprised and disappointed that this key strain did not show up in Huston Smith’s seminal work on the great religions. It is however also true that biological evolution in the classic Wallace and Darwin sense was unknown to the earlier Hebrew mystics. In this sense we are therefore calling them proto-evolutionary.

[2] And of course other elements of the biblical narrative participate fully in the tribal level of consciousness.

Iris Benrubi & Marc Gafni at the Passion and Intimacy Summit 2015: Outrageous Love

Iris Benrubi, Simply Success, interviewed Marc Gafni as part of her “Passion and Intimacy Summit.”

After the interview, Iris wrote:

Marc Gafni is brilliant. He is a visionary thinker and wisdom teacher that shares on this magnificent interview what love is really about and how you can create something outstanding with your partner…..and he calls it Outrageous Love. You learn the 3 Mistakes people make in love and gives us strategies we can begin right now to create more love and more passion in our lives ….and I’ve already started one of his strategies and I love the difference it’s made in my life.

Some of what you’ll learn is:

  • The relationship between love, romance and infatuation
  • How outrageous love is different than ordinary love
  • What loneliness is truly about and what you can learn from it
  • The abundant love that’s available to you if you’re open to it……  and how to get it!
  • What the 2nd chapter in the book of Genesis says about love
  • What your “soul print” is and it’s purpose

Watch the video interview:

Conscious Eros Gems

The Universe: A Love Story Video Series

New Series with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni

Watch this first in a series of 10, beautiful videos, with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni. In this piece they set their intention for the series. You can also read the transcript here.

View the latest parts of the series>>>

The Evolution of Love

Guiding Inquiries:

  • In an evolving universe, and in our evolving lives, what is the future of love and relationship?
  • As you evolve personally, how do you tap the great depth and fire locked inside each of your relationships?
  • How do you turn your relationships into the ultimate spiritual practice?
  • What startling insights and possibilities come alive for you when your relationships are seen through an Integral evolutionary context?
  • How do your relationships—your friendships, romantic partnerships, organizational encounters, and spiritual connections—help raise your level of consciousness as an individual? And how do you help raise others?
  • What is your totally unique way of being in relationship and what unique practices should you be doing to make your relationships even better?
  • What do the great wisdom traditions reveal about the “second person of spirit”—and how do we move beyond myths of the traditions while living more of the meaning?

Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni on The Future of Love

In 2009 Marc, Ken and other Integral leaders initiated the Integral Spiritual Experience. The topic of the first event was Unique Self and the second event was the Future of Love. Marc’s intention in initiating this Integral conversation was to turn the Integral Lens towards the twin topics of Love and Self. An accurate understanding of self–the best answer to the question of Who Are You–and a new vision of Love beyond the narrow popular understanding are key contributions to evolving the source code of culture. The following three presentations were part of the Future of Love dialogue series leading up to the second Integral Spiritual Experience. The first two dialogues are between Marc and Ken and the third is a presentation by Marc as part of that series.

Listen to the first dialogue here:

Listen to the 2nd dialogue here>>>

Listen to Marc’s presentation here>>>

Ervin Laszlo & Marc Gafni on Evolutionary Love

Ervin Laszlo is a Hungarian philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, originally a classical pianist. He is the Founder and President of The Club of Budapest, Director and Co-Founder of the Ervin Laszlo Institute for Advanced Study (ELIAS) and of the Laszlo New-Paradigm Leadership Center (Italy)… He is the author or co-author of fifty-four books translated into as many as twenty-three languages, and the editor of another thirty volumes including a four-volume encyclopedia.

Listen to this audio dialogue between Ervin Laslo & Marc Gafni here:

For more audio dialogues on Love, click here>>>

Some key teachings by Dr. Marc Gafni on the Evolution of Love:

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?

Are you ready to play a larger game?


The Erotic & The Holy

by Dr. Marc Gafni

Reality is Eros.

Eros is the full aliveness of reality living awake in every moment.

Eros has four faces; Eros is to enter the inside of the inside of every moment of every encounter of every situation. Eros is to experience the fullness of presence in every dimension of reality. Eros is to participate in the yearning force of being which is experienced as the ecstatic evolutionary impulse awakening in you, as you and through you. Eros is wholeness, the lived truth of the inner connectivity of the all with the all.

The sexual is a model for the erotic.

The sexual models, in its most epic forms, what it means to live erotically in all of the non-sexual dimensions of our life. The sacred sexual is our teacher, our guide.

Tantra, in Sanskrit, meaning to expand, is the expansion of erotic living, beyond the sexual, into every facet of reality.

Eros is life itself, awake, alive, aware, activist, perfectly still and madly in love.


John Gray, Warren Farrell & Marc Gafni: Unique Self and the Evolutionary Man and Woman

In this dialog, Dr. Marc Gafni engages with Dr. John Gray and Dr. Warren Farrell in a lively discussion on the critical implications of the Unique Self teaching for the next stage of evolution. Particularly, they focused on how Unique Self changes what it might mean to be a man, and what it might mean to be woman.

Listen to their dialogue:

For more audios on Conscious Eros, see here>>>

One Love

Watch Marc Gafni’s keynote speech “One Love” at the second Integral Spiritual Experience:

For more videos on Conscious Eros, see here>>>


by Marc Gafni

At this key time in history we are called to evolve and embody Love, Sex and Eros! The sexual is the ultimate spiritual master. Deep understanding of the sexual is the ultimate guide to accessing the spirit in every dimension of our reality. To be a great Lover — an Outrageous Lover in all facets of your being — you must listen deeply to the simple yet elegant spirit whisperings of the sexual.

Studying the sexual is also a model for all of your life whether you are in a committed relationship, whether you are polyamorous, whether you are single, whether you are hetero, gay, straight, bisexual, whether you are young or old.

At this key moment in history we are called to evolve our practice and embodiment of the erotic sexual.

We yearn – in our deepest hearts – not to take but to give, and in that giving to deeply receive. Sexuality is the model for this, because there one single act contains within it both giving and receiving. The same is true, however, in all of our relationships. Every interpersonal relation is an iridescent web of exchange. We each have a piece of each other’s story. A lover’s exchange is when I invest myself in our relationship sufficiently – that over time I share with you the piece of your story which I carry with me, and I receive from you the piece of my story that you carry with you. It may be an idea, an experience, a perspective, a song, a moment of intimacy or a thousand other possibilities. The nature of the world is that every significant meeting we have is choreographed in order to return to us a precious missing piece.

Watch Stuart Black and Marc Gafni in a recent dialogue about The Future of Love and Sex

Stuart Black has been Director of the New York Institute of Core Energetics since 1989. He is the author of A Way of Life: Core Energetics, is an instructor in the international training classes, and has been leading groups for over 25 years. Stuart has been a teacher of the Pathwork in Mexico and in Phoenicia, NY, where he was both a member of the Board of Directors and spiritual leader of the Pathwork Studies program. He has been an instructor to both faculty and students of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.

Lines and Circles

Watch Dr. Marc Gafni giving a talk on “Lines and Circles” at the final David d’Angelo program, “Love: The Final Chapter” (Dec 2014), where he was a featured speaker. This was a special men’s conference exploring what it means to live an inspired life and be in full integrity with oneself, and with each other – evolving love, relationship, and culture itself.

His second talk was on Evolutionary Love>>>

Imago, Unique Self, & the Crying God

Harville Hendrix, Helen LaKelly Hunt, Lori Galperin, & Marc Gafni

Watch and listen to this gorgeous dialogue between four masters of their respective fields in the process of evolving the teaching of Unique Self, Unique We, Couplehood, Imago Therapy, and Unique Self Recovery.

Part 1 of the Dialogue:

For the whole dialogue, click here>>>

Harville HendrixHarville Hendrix is a contemporary psychologist who co-founded Imago Relationship Therapy, along with his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt. Harville Hendrix was born in 1935 in Statesboro, Georgia. He was an ordained Baptist minister before he completed his BA at Mercer University in Georgia, in 1957, and his BD from Union Theological Seminary in 1961. He went on to receive both an MA and PhD in psychology and religion from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. Hendrix serves as a therapist, educator, and pastoral counselor. He has spent the last two decades practicing and teaching his own form of marriage and relationship therapy known as Imago Relationship Therapy in collaboration with his wife.

Helen LaKelly HuntHelen LaKelly Hunt (born 1949) is a daughter of H. L. Hunt. She is founder and president of The Sister Fund, which describes itself as “a private women’s fund dedicated to the social, political, economic, and spiritual empowerment of women and girls.” She currently lives in New York with her husband, Harville Hendrix, a self-help author. Hunt was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, which cited her as a “[c]reative philanthropist who has used her own resources and others to create women’s funding institutions.”

Lori GalperinLori Galperin  is a clinician, writer and teacher who began her 27 year career working in the area of sex & marital therapy. Training at Masters & Johnson Institute, she eventually became co-director, co-founded the first inpatient sexual trauma program in the country, and ultimately established and clinically co-directed three such programs. Her work spanned diverse populations including incest families, sex offenders, victims of sexual abuse and individuals struggling with sexual addiction.

Marc GafniDr. Marc Gafni is a philosopher, public intellectual and wisdom teacher. He holds his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, rabbinic certification from the chief rabbinate in Israel, as well private rabbinic ordination. He is also ordained and holds a doctorate in religious science. He is the initiating thought leader, together with Ken Wilber, of World Spirituality based on Integral principles, as well as the leading theorist and teacher of Unique Self Enlightenment. He is the director of Center for Integral Wisdom (formerly World Spirituality), a think tank he co-founded in 2011 with Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton, and Mariana Caplan (now also joined by Lori Galperin) which is creating a body of work to evolve the source code of human existence.

For more video dialogues on Love, see here>>>

Ken Wilber on Eros

An Excerpt from Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution

EROS AND THANATOS (pp. 243-244)

That which was dis-membered must be re-membered. This re-membering or recollecting or re-uniting is the Path of Ascent, which, Socrates says, is driven by Eros, by Love, by the finding of greater and greater union—a higher and wider identity, as we have been putting it. By means of Eros, says Socrates, the lovers are taken out of themselves and into a larger union with the beloved, and this Eros continues from the objects of the body to the mind to the soul, until the final Union is re-collected and remembered.

Eros, as Socrates (Plato) uses the term, is essentially what we have been calling selftranscendence, the very motor of Ascent or development or evolution: the finding of ever-higher self -identity with ever-wider embrace of others. And the opposite of that was regression or dissolution, a move downward to less unity, more fragmentation (what we called the self-dissolution factor, tenet 2d).

And here I will give one last comparison: Freud, it is well known, finally came to see all psychic life governed by two opposing "forces"—Eros and Thanatos, which are usually referred to as sex and aggression, although that is not the final way that Freud defined them. In An Outline of Psychoanalysis Freud gives his final statement: "After long hesitancies and vacillations, we have decided to assume the existence of only two basic instincts, Eros and the destructive instinct. The aim of the first of these basic instincts is to establish ever greater unities—in short, to bind together." There is no mistaking the meaning of that: it is pure Eros. "The aim of the second is, on the contrary, to undo connections and so to destroy things. In the case of the destructive instinct we may suppose that its final aim is to lead what is living into an inorganic state [matter]. For this reason we also call it the death instinct.''

Freud, of course, was severely criticized by virtually everybody, including his own followers, for proposing the death instinct (thanatos), but clearly it is exactly what we have in mind with the self-dissolution factor. It is simply the impulse to move to a lower level in the holarchy, and its final aim is therefore insentient matter, exactly as Freud said.

But the only point that I wish to emphasize is that even Freud—one of the West's greatest psychologists, and certainly its archantimystic—found that human misery could be reduced to a battle and disharmony between the Path of Ascent and the Path of Descent, as it appears in each of us. As is well known, Freud found no solution to the discontent, and remained profoundly pessimistic about the human condition.

Precisely because Freud did not, like Plato, carry Ascent to its conclusion in the One, he had no way whatsoever to unite it with a radiant Descent into the Many. No way, that is, to unite Eros and Thanatos—to unite the way up and the way down—to overcome their eternal strife.

Freud clearly and accurately saw Eros; he clearly and accurately saw Thanatos; and perhaps more clearly than anybody in history, he saw that so much human misery is and always will be a battle between the two, and that the only solution to our suffering is a union of Eros and Thanatos—and yet there is precisely nothing Freud could do about it. There he was stranded, and there he left us stranded.

Lacking the unifying Heart, the unspoken One, that joins Ascent and Descent in the everlasting Circle of Redemption and Embrace, Freud simply remained as one of the many, and certainly one of the greatest, of the fractured footnotes to Plato.

SPIRIT-IN-ACTION (pp. 355-361)

Schelling is lecturing to an amazing audience, but amidst so much noise and bustle, whistling, and knocking on the windows by those who cannot get in the door, in such an overcrowded lecture hall, that one is almost tempted to give up listening to him if this is to continue. During the first le ctures it was almost a matter of risking one's life to hear him. However, I have put my trust in Schelling and at the risk of my life I have the courage to hear him once more. It may very well blossom during the lectures, and if so one might gladly risk on e's life—what would one not do to be able to hear Schelling?

I am so happy to have heard Scbelling's second lecture — indescribably. The embryonic child of thought leapt for joy within me when he mentioned the world "actuality" in connection with the relation of philosophy to actuality. I remember almost every word he said after that. Here, perhaps, clarity can be achieved. This one word recalled all my philosophical pains and sufferings.—And so that she, too, might share my joy, how willingly I would return to her, how eagerly I would coax myself to believe that this is the right course—Oh, if only I could!—now I have put all my hope in Schelling.

—SØREN KIERKEGAARD ,  letters from Schelling's Berlin lectures (1841)

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775 - 1854) was born at Leonberg in Wurttemberg, and, always something of a boy wonder, was at age fifteen admitted to the University at Tubingen, where he became friends with Hölderlin and Hegel (both were five years older). He began publishing in his late teens and, though younger than Hegel, was the senior partner in their period of collaboration at Jena (where, in 1798, he was appointed to a chair at the age of twenty -three; his writings had already won commendation from Fichte and Goethe; he had Hegel called there in 1800).


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Unique Self Evolutionary Relationships

By Marc Gafni

There’s something I call Unique Self evolutionary relationships, what we called in the Soul Prints book “soul print encounters.” In a genuine Unique Self encounter, we each hold a piece of the other’s story. The ethical obligation implicit in the encounter itself is to return to the other Unique Self that we are meeting the piece of their story that we are holding. That’s very deep.

The words are signifiers. They are pointing to this sense that we are interdependent in a very profound way. There are accentuated points of interdependence. There are people we are more dependent on than other people. Not the people we often think. Not the people who are paying our rent or providing me with a job although that may be. They are people who are part of our story, and they are holding a piece of our story because they’re helping us to enact our lives because they hold a piece of insight about our story. So a Unique Self encounter is when our stories intermesh, intertwine, and we recognize that we are each part of each other’s story and holding a piece of our story.

We’re holding a piece of each other’s story. It’s a meeting that’s not about manipulation or mutual gain. It’s beyond win/win. It has that dimension, but it’s the creation of a larger story in which each person gives the other a piece of their story that is missing and a larger narrative emerges. That’s a Unique Self encounter. That’s an ethical obligation. In other words, the ethical obligation is to give the exchange of gifts that are demanded implicitly of the encounter. It can’t be legislated by any formal canon or convocation or magisterial authority. Rather, it can only be legislated by the internal command of the Unique Selves themselves, and through discernment they are able to recognize the part of each other’s story that they are holding and give that gift as the highest obligation of essence. That’s what we mean by obligation. That’s exciting.

Let’s say that I meet someone, and that person had a difficult relationship with their father. He never recognized them clearly; they were systematically mis-recognized by their father, and that experience was brutal. Then I meet that person. Then we start to work together in a collegial context, or an employee/employer context, or a love relationship, and I give that person some dimension of critique, offered in a loving and beautiful way. Now that person I gave the critique to is furious with me. Why? Because contact hasn’t been made.

That person is now projecting onto me or constellating in me the experience of being wounded, systematically mis-recognized, emotionally brutalized, by her father. That’s so deep in her woundology structure that when she meets someone who is similar in certain external respects to her father, that unfinished business with her father comes between us having a genuine Unique Self encounter.

We haven’t had a Unique Self encounter because our two uniquenesses haven’t touched. In order for our uniquenesses to touch, we have to disambiguate, clarify the distorting prisms. it has to be me and you talking, me and this particular person, a man and woman, having a direct contact; and direct contact can only happen when I step out of a trance. I’m lost in a pain-trance. I’m in pain over my unfinished business with my father. I’m in pain over being brutally and systematically mis-recognized, so therefore in my encounter with Marc I’m not able to have a Unique encounter with Marc. Our two Unique Selves don’t kiss because every time we meet it’s through the prism of my ancient pain with my father. That’s the second principle which we talk about at great length in the book.

Unique Self encounter requires contact. Lots of encounters don’t require contact. We can partner on a project, we can laugh, drink, and never have contact. Contact in a utilitarian way doesn’t require contact. But in a Unique Self encounter in which we are trading each other’s story, that requires contact. Unique Self changes and re-visions the entire arena of relationships as it does almost every arena. In that way, I think it’s fair to say that Unique Self is psycho-active. When you come into contact with it, it transmutes, reorganizes, recognizes, and re-deepens every field that it encounters.

The text above is based on a transcript of a dialogue between Marc Gafni and Joe Perez originally published on

The Whole/Part, Autonomy/Communion Paradox is Finally Clarified

In the teaching of Unique Self, the whole/part, autonomy/communion paradox is finally clarified. The Unique Self teaching allows us to create right relationship between whole and part, autonomy and communion. This right relationship is the absolute key to joy, creativity, meaning and peace.

The separate self is an illusion. Every separate self is really part of a larger whole. To realize oneself as part of a larger whole is to be sane. This is the ultimate communion. At the same time, the part is not absorbed in the larger whole, but is a distinct, unique part with reality and dignity. The unique part has its own Eros and eternity, which is precisely the Unique Self. This is the ultimate autonomy.

Perception is Love

The Kabbalists were often referred to as Mistaklim or Chozim, roughly translated as the Lookers 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 that tarred 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 the mother – our first lover – 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.

Indeed Israel for the Kabbalists is not merely a national group. The very word Israel is far more profoundly translated from the Hebrew as ‘The one who sees God’. Love is Perception. Perception is creation. That is the power of the original appearance of the perception word Ra’ah in biblical myth. After every stage of the unfolding creation process in Genesis the text reads “God saw and It was Good”. Mystic Luzatto reflects virtually the entire Kabbalistic tradition when he reminds us that the motive force for creation is divine love God saw that is was Good could be re-read as God loved – perception is love – and brought the world into being.

Iris Benrubi & Marc Gafni at the Passion and Intimacy Summit 2014

Iris Benrubi, Simply Success, interviewed Marc Gafni as part of her “Passion and Intimacy Summit.”

After the interview, Iris wrote:

Marc Gafni’s interview blew me away. He had so much to share about spirituality and he truly knows his stuff. You’ve got to watch this interview because I’m sure he’ll challenge you on some of your beliefs and thoughts! I even took over 5 pages of notes! He’ll also teach you how to awaken your ‘faculty of LOVE’, to create a more powerful love over time and his vision of What’s Possible!

Some of what Marc will also share with you is:

  1. How “I love you” has changed meaning
  2. What the Dalai Lama said to Marc about his idea of LOVE
  3. Distinction between ‘I love you’ and the emotion of LOVE
  4. Dimensions of early love
  5. The software of LOVE and how to access it from SOURCE
  6. What the 20th century definition of healthy spiritual love is
  7. How to define your values to make your relationship work
  8. The best Sex scene
  9. How to honour your partner sexually
  10. The concept of Divorce with GRACE

Watch the video interview:

The Evolution of Love

Guiding Inquiries:

  • In an evolving universe, and in our evolving lives, what is the future of love and relationship?
  • As you evolve personally, how do you tap the great depth and fire locked inside each of your relationships?
  • How do you turn your relationships into the ultimate spiritual practice?
  • What startling insights and possibilities come alive for you when your relationships are seen through an Integral evolutionary context?
  • How do your relationships—your friendships, romantic partnerships, organizational encounters, and spiritual connections—help raise your level of consciousness as an individual? And how do you help raise others?
  • What is your totally unique way of being in relationship and what unique practices should you be doing to make your relationships even better?
  • What do the great wisdom traditions reveal about the “second person of spirit”—and how do we move beyond myths of the traditions while living more of the meaning?

Some key teachings by Dr. Marc Gafni on the topic:

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?

Are you ready to play a larger game?

All of life is about intention – where are you going? The power of intention is the power to shift and transform virtually everything.

As long as our focus is on our own life and we are merely asking: "What can I get out of life?" and not  "What is the enormous gift I can put into it?", we haven’t yet set an intention that is aligned with the deepest nature of reality.

At the Center for Integral Wisdom, our intention is no less than to participate in the Evolution of Love. We are experiencing what that feels like and are waking up with our intentions aligned with that purpose coming from a profound realization about the nature of reality itself.

In the world today we look around and see that we’ve made love small. We have exiled love to a particular transient emotion that takes place between particular human beings of a particular gender within a particular legal context. It’s a pitiful concept.

In our CIW Think Tank, we have an understanding that love is an expression of a much deeper source. Actually love is the animating Eros, the intelligence of all reality.

Love is infinite perfection at a particular moment in time which explodes into manifestation. Before the Big Bang, we could say there was quiet and bliss. However, in the deepest reading from the Eye of the Spirit, there is no-thing, the unmanifest, and then: Outrageous Love. Nothing gives birth to something.

The universe has four physical forces: strong, weak, thermonuclear, electromagnetic – but what moves them (not in the physical sense, but from the inside of the inside)?

Our deepest understanding is that it is Eros or Love itself – the fifth force, which Dante called the love that moves the sun and the stars.

As we wake up and grow up, as we show up in our lives, we become the clearest and most powerful vessels. We are participating in the evolution of love, evolving our consciousness.

That’s not a fanciful story, it’s the deepest take on reality that we have right now.

Are you ready to play a larger game?

You are invited to participate in the Evolution of Love.


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The Erotic & The Holy

by Dr. Marc Gafni

Reality is Eros.

Eros is the full aliveness of reality living awake in every moment.

Eros has four faces; Eros is to enter the inside of the inside of every moment of every encounter of every situation. Eros is to experience the fullness of presence in every dimension of reality. Eros is to participate in the yearning force of being which is experienced as the ecstatic evolutionary impulse awakening in you, as you and through you. Eros is wholeness, the lived truth of the inner connectivity of the all with the all.

The sexual is a model for the erotic.

The sexual models, in its most epic forms, what it means to live erotically in all of the non-sexual dimensions of our life. The sacred sexual is our teacher, our guide.

Tantra, in Sanskrit, meaning to expand, is the expansion of erotic living, beyond the sexual, into every facet of reality.

Eros is life itself, awake, alive, aware, activist, perfectly still and madly in love.

The following article is adapted from Dr. Marc Gafni‘s audiocourse The Erotic and the Holy.

The fall of the temple symbolises the exile of the Erotic energy. Where did it go? The erotic is exiled in the sexual! We have to understand, that the sexual models the erotic, but it doesn’t exhaust the erotic.

The Four Noble Truths of Eros:

The Sexual Models the Erotic in four major ways. In each of these ways a major face of the eros is modeled in the sexual. The goal of tantra, which in Sanskrit literally means to expand, is to expand these qualities in our lives beyond the merely sexual into every arena of our lives. The goal of tantra is to live erotically in all of the non sexual dimensions of being.


The first is the way of interiority. It is in the sacred positions of the erotic sexual entered and received as the highest form of practice, embraced as surrender to love, that all the false positions we covet in life are revealed as the paltry fare of pseudo Eros. A fare which leave the soul parched and desperate for true nourishment. It is in the erotic sexual that we are most obviously invited to fully abandon the superficial games of fractured ego and fragmented identity, enter the interior castle of reality. It is only on the inside of reality that your heart is set free and you are able to see deeper then the flatland of surface vision. Eros is Interiority modeled by the sexual.


The second is the way of Presence. The erotic sexual invites us to a realm which we do not recognize easily in our daily struggles to prove that we exist. In the erotic sexual existence is a given. We feel beyond feeling to the deepest feeling where our existence is radiant and alive- obviously not in need of explanation. It simply and joyously is. Eros is our opening to the fullness, alive and alove presence, that always is, always will be and always is. This opening is modeled by the sexual.

God is Shechina. Shechina in many Zoharic passages means Presence or Eros. Eros is Presence. The Shechina is always present, alive in and as everything. Most people never enter the healing expanse of the Shechina which is all around and in them because they are contracted into false hopes. They are building edifice complexes to the survival of their brand. They are lost in the superficial pleasure which is mere sex.

One can have sex one’s entire life and never ravished open to Shechina. So people settle for a family and white picket fence not as manifestation of Shechina but as protection against the emptiness of a life in which they are never lived by God. One can either die open to God, to Ayin, to Sunyatta, in the fullness of the erotic sexual and in every minute of existence, or spend life running from your petty death which can never be outrun. Life means to be fully present without clinging to past, resisting the present or grasping for the future. In such a life eternity is realized.

You can either be present as love or be absent and suffer. In Hebrew mysticism, exile is called “Egypt.” “Mitzrayim Egypt” literally means the place of narrowness, the place where you heart closes. When you close you suffer. Israel is called Merchavim, the wide place, the vast expanse, the place where you open. Redemption is opening in love. It is the sexual that models this opening for us. There is really only one choice to make, to open and live or close and die. Openness is presence. Closure is absence.

If you close, if you clench your fist to hold on to your comfort you will be betrayed. Everything you know as your life will one day disappear. To have is to close. To be is to open. To be or not to be is to open or to close. To be a human having or a human being. To be always and ever alive or already dead.

Can you feel it as you read. You can, can you not. The love and openness pouring through you, arousing you to cry out in rapture. And you must do this even as you suffer; and at some point the suffering will yield to tears and then to bliss. “I am open,” you must cry out. Take me God. Take me now.

Let yourself open all the way and know that only then, in your radical openness and vulnerability are you safe. Protect your balls and they will be crushed. Again the sexual models the erotic which is the holy.

If you get lost in Egypt, in the narrow images of your constructed reality you will never touch joy and never experience rapture. You can either die to Shechina in ecstatic pleasure moans of ecstasy, or whimper, die and rot in the earth. Teaches the Hassidic master the Maggid of Mezritch, late in this life, revising his earlier ascetic dharma, ‘If you only feel the Shekina in the arousal of your sex then you are already dead. If the arousal of your sex ravishes you open to God you are being born.’ Sex models the fullness of presence. The lover in Psalms says to the God who is the all, in what for the Kabbalists is understood as a blatantly sexual moment, “Open for me your gates…I will enter them…I will moan your praise.” The sexual models the erotic. Love is beyond limitation. Limitation is death and love is death to be born. Love without limitation and be surrender absolutely and your will be born to your true ecstatic nature.

In the erotic sexual we show up, we are present in ways we barely even imagine possible in the routines of our daily pettiness. Every gesture, every caress, every shiver of our body, every fleeting touch is invested with the infinite love fullness of alive presence.


The third way is the way of wholeness. In the erotic sexual we realize that we are so much more then pathetic egos encapsulated in skin which will one day rot under the earth. We realize that invisible lines of connection weave of in an awesome and gorgeous tapestry of wholeness which is holiness. The wholeness of reality expressed in the interconnectivity of being glimmers in the fabric of our sensual couplings. Subject and object laugh when they remember their apparent alienation. In the sensuality of their laughter which embraces all paradox and nullifies all illusion, wholeness is achieved as subjectivity and objectivity dissolve into oneness which is love. Eros is the realization of wholeness modeled by the sexual.


The fourth way is the way of yearning. In the erotic sexual we are invited, even driven to taste of the sweet nectar of this wholeness which heals all of the painful splits, through the magic of yearning. We yearn to merge with other knowing that it is in the union that full rapture and ecstasy wait. Eros is the participation in the yearning force of being seeking to realize itself for the sake of itself. Once again the sexual models the erotic.


As we have said, the model for being an erotic lover – in all facets of our existence – is the sexual. I see you and you are gorgeous, magnetically dazzling, to me. I yearn for you – all of me wants to break down and dissolve the barriers between us, to enter the inside, where the world stands still for a moment, and I am inside the chrysalis of all reality. You-nified.

Since being a lover is modeled on the sexual, we understand that love too is a perception. Moreover, love is a Perception-Identification Complex. I perceive the infinite specialness, the God point in you, and identify that highest point in you as the Real You.

In the understanding of the quantum spirit, I understand that my perception not only discloses a reality that exists, it actually brings this particular reality into existence. “I love you” means both “I perceive you in your beauty” and “You become even more beautiful under my gaze.” Remember, love is a verb. So just as when I shine shoes, they become shinier, when I love you, you become lovelier.

Built into our spiritual hardwiring is a great desire to realize the beauty and divinity that is our birthright. The experience of falling in love is a true perception of this. It allows us a glimpse of union; of what life might be when the thick walls of ego dissolve. We understand, nevertheless, that those walls will always be raised again.

Though but a poetic paradox, it is true that that which is razed, will be only raised again. Ego separation will, sooner or later, always snap back into place. It is precisely at this time, that the real work of loving begins. We seek, by doing the work, to reclaim the heights we glimpsed in the initial ecstasy. Those heights, and even greater ones.

Eros & Ethics

"Every Breakdown of Ethics is sourced in a Breakdown of Eros." ~ Dr. Marc Gafni

What does that mean?

Aren't we used to thinking of Eros and Ethics as opposites?

Aren't the newspapers full of people following their Eros at the expense of Ethics with often disastrous outcomes?

Take a moment to remember how we have defined the Qualities of Eros as

  • Being on the Inside
  • Fullness of Presence
  • Interconnectivity and Union
  • Participating in the Yearning Face of Being

Even though Eros can have a destructive Face, the most destructive in most of our lives is what Marc Gafni calls the Pseudo-Eros.

For more on Pseudo-Eros read this 3-part serie on our Unique Self Website.

Echoes of Emptiness: The Erotic and the Ethical

An Excerpt from The Mystery of Love by Dr. Marc Gafni Image-Portal05-All-In-for-All-Life

The arena where emptiness - non-erotic living - is most destructive is in the ethical. Every ethical failure comes from the absence of eros. It is the inability to stay in the experience of emptiness that moves people to ethical violation. All crimes are in some sense crimes of passion. But this is really a misnomer. What we mean is that all crimes are rooted in the fear of passion’s loss! We cannot imagine what life would be like without the eros that we stand to lose.

Joel finds out that his wife is having an affair. The betrayal opens up the void within. Afraid that if he confronts her she will leave, he slowly becomes a workaholic to dull the pain. Work for Joel has become pseudo eros.

Or take Susan, who was verbally and physically abused by her mother. Never able to claim the dignity of her anger she became gradually disempowered as a person. As an adult, she is constantly furious at her children, often lashing out brutally at them. She seeks to assure herself that she is still alive and powerful. For Susan, her displaced anger at her children is pseudo-eros.

Or more mundane examples. We cheat on income taxes because we think that the extra money will paper over some of the fear of life. Money becomes pseudo-eros.

Or we exaggerate our accomplishments because we are afraid that our real story is insufficient to fill the void. Self aggrandizement is pseudo-eros.

All of our inappropriate behaviors that violate our values are really us crying out, “Pay attention to me – I exist”! All forms of acting out are pseudo-eros. Life is about walking through the void. Every time we walk through and not around the void we come out stronger. Every time we are seduced by pseudo-eros, ethical breakdown is around the corner. There is no ethics without eros.

The biblical myth text describes the pit into which Joseph was thrown by his jealous brothers: “The pit was empty, it had not water,” reads the story. But isn’t this redundant ask the students. If it had no water, don’t we know that it was empty? The master replies, this was an emptiness which bred evil. “Water it did not have, snakes and scorpions it did!" Emptiness always breeds in its wake ethical collapse. Of course, the real pit at play in the biblical myth is not simply a pit in the Earth. The pit is in the ground of being of Joseph’s brothers. It is their own gaping sense of emptiness which makes them envy Joseph so. It is their inability to walk through their own pit (void) that moves them to project a pit in the world in which they would cast their brother. The snakes and scorpions come from the unacknowledged emptiness of the brothers.

No, Joseph is not perfect, but when we respond to a person viscerally, it virtually always tells us more about ourselves than the person. The brothers’ own felt emptiness – their pit – moved them to the murderous rage of attempted fratricide. You see, up till this point in the book of Genesis one son has always been chosen as the inheritor of blessing. Abel was chosen over Cain. Shem over Ham and Yefet. Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esav. The brothers were convinced that Jacob their father was going to likewise choose Joseph over them. Joseph’s existence called into question the integrity of their stories.

When the value and dignity of our stories are called into question we brush up against the emptiness. The inability to walk through the emptiness to the fullness is the source of all ethical collapse. Ethics without eros is doomed. It is only from a place of fullness of being that we can reach out in love to others.

The first step to love is always self-love. If you don’t fill yourself up with love then you have precious little to dole out. As long as my love is not rooted in my erotic matrix, the inside of my fullness, it is doomed to fail. I will have to rely on an ethical source outside myself in reference to which I must always be a sinner. No one is ever able to consistently follow external rule sets that seem to violate our inner desire. However, if ethics well up from the inside, if we are at the center, then sin is not disobedience, but the violation of human well-being. In the end all ethical failure is a violation of eros – your own or someone else’s.

For a deeper inquiry into the relationship between Eros & Ethics download this excerpt from the forthcoming new version of Mystery of Love: "Circles & Lines – The 3 Stages of Eros & Ethics:"


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Qualities of Eros

Interiors, Face, and the Reconstruction of Eros

By Dr. Marc Gafni

Summary: The four faces of eros, described by Marc Gafni in this excerpt from Mystery of Love (2003), are 1.) being on the inside, 2.) fullness of presence, 3.) desire, and 4.) interconnectivity of being. As Marc describes, with its mystical role in these four expressions, the face itself is the truest reflection of the erotic. In the flow of eros, we access the experience of being on the inside of God’s face, which Marc explores here through the Temple mystery of the sexually entwined cherubs atop the Ark who are positioned face to face; the Hebrew word “panim,” which means “inside, face, and before;” and the erotic experience of having a true face-to-face conversation. This significant passage from Mystery of Love invites you to embody the erotic—which is modeled but not exhausted by the sexual—more deeply in your own life.

Eros has many expressions. Each expression is hinted at in the temple mysteries. There are four faces of eros which, when taken together, form the essence of the Shechina experience. In this essay, we will explore the erotic understanding which forms the matrix of the secret of the cherubs and informs every arena of our existence. As we shall see, at the very heart of Hebrew tantra was a very precise and provocative understanding of the relationship between love, sex, and eros. This will open us up to a whole new understanding of our sexuality and will show us the way to erotically reweave the very fabric of our lives in more vivid patterns, sensual textures, and brilliant hues.

The First Face of Eros: On the Inside

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The cherubs in the magical mystery of Temple myth were not stationary fixtures. No, these statues were expressive, emotive. They moved. When integrity and goodness ruled the land, the cherubs were face to face. In these times, the focal point of Shechina energy rested erotically, ecstatically, between the cherubs. When discord and evil held sway in the kingdom, the cherubs turned from each other, appearing back to back instead of face to face.1 Back to back, the world was amiss, alienated, ruptured. Face to face, the world was harmonized, hopeful, embraced. Thus, face to face in biblical myth2 is the most highly desirable state. It is the gem stone state of being, the jeweled summit of all creation. Face to face, to be fully explicit, is a state of eros.


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