Welcome to…

…the world of Conscious Eros, Creativity and Relationships.

In this portal, we are talking about human awakened aliveness that creates contact, connection, and intimacy. This awakeness brings us erotically alive, meaning that we are participating in our own self-creation.

The new Holy of Holies is the Song of Songs, a great love story. You are the artist of your life, the canvas on which you weave Eros in the unfolding of your story and make contact in a relationship.

We realize we stand at a new moment at a new crossroads in the history of love. We are awake, conscious, not just receiving our roles. We walk the way of the artist, and become self-creators of our own love.

You are invited to find your way into the section on Relationships.

You can step into the Embodied Arts Project.

You are welcome to become a conscious contributor to the section on outrageous love: the Outrageous Love Letter Portal and the Outrageous Acts of Love Portal.

You’re invited to become a conscious contributor, a conscious creator of the Future of Love.


Sexuality

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.


Pleasure

© 2011 photo courtesy of Sura Nualpradid.by Dr. Marc Gafni

In the erotic, we are invited to the sanity of pleasure, to the realization that the world is not indifferent to us but actively and even desperately seeks our deepest pleasure. To be sane is to know reality. Insanity is a rupture with reality. The erotic sexual remembers us to the infinite pleasure which is the truth of all that is. Love is the only way to live that is not insane.

Everything in your life will always betray you. The only way through betrayal is to totally surrender to be lived by God as God. It is not enough to be loved by God. God’s love still leaves us lonely. It is only when we are lived by God that the crisis of our identity is solved. There is no place devoid of the divine. God is the place of this world appearing as all and in all and through all. Anything less then total surrender is a painful denial of reality. Not to surrender is not only brutally painful. It is insane. It is just this very erotic surrender that is modeled by the sexual.

Pleasure is not comfort. Comfort is Pseudo-Eros. The false homes we hide in and the castles we build on the shifting sands of pain and betrayal. Seeking comfort comes from fear. We seek to be comfortably numb so that we can forget our death.

The only way to realize pleasure is to let go of comfort. To die to fear until you know in your heart that your pleasure is so much larger then your fear. The Buddhists called it “Big Mind” and “Big Heart.” The Kabbalists called it “Big pleasure.”

It is so big that you cannot even feel where it stops. You need to feel farther than your small pleasure to enter large pleasure. Infinite bliss and grace is already here. The sensual opens us to die in that bliss and live in that grace.

How pathetic and sad it is when we get lost in the several pathetic thrusts of sex with the spastic release they offer instead of breathing through sex into the endless love that is always there and desperately awaits our presence. So often we use relationships not to crack us open but to hide in comfort and the illusion of safety and protection.

Relationship is merely another form of bondage if your love is not larger than your cult of comfort. Most people call commitment that which is only a contract of fear.


Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #24 – Pleasure: Delusion or Divine

from Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni

©2012 photo courtesy of domdeen

Money, power, and pleasure, when experienced at the level of ego, appear separate from the divine field and trap you in the clutches of grasping and striving. When experienced from the level of enlightened consciousness, money, power, and pleasure are expressions of your Unique Self touching the divine. Pleasure from the place of Unique Self is experienced as a divine caress reminding you that the world is sane and good. Ego pleasures feel narcissistic, and solidify the coiled contraction into small self. They never satisfy; you are constantly driven to get more and more, and someone else’s pleasure makes you feel your own lack. The same pleasure experienced from the consciousness of Unique Self expands your heart and consciousness into the love-intelligence, love-beauty, and love-pleasure of All-That-Is. You are satisfied by even the simplest pleasure, and you delight in the pleasure of others.

Similarly, power and money grasped by the ego seek to support the false belief of the separate self that it will live forever. Power and money are used to accumulate goods you do not need, and to acquire superficial control over others in order to assure yourself that you are valuable and worthy. Money and power experienced from the consciousness of Unique Self are gracefully and skillfully deployed with delight for the greater good of all beings.

Separate from the divine field, money, pleasure, and power appear as foolish and even grotesque identity enhancers for the ego. This becomes radically apparent whenever we encounter death. The ego is confused. It fails to discern between separateness and uniqueness, and so the goods of existence are hijacked to serve its own impossible goal of survival—separate from the larger field of love-beauty-pleasure-intelligence from which it was never separate and never can be separated.

Correct intuitions that are hijacked and misapplied by the ego are contextualized and reclaimed at the level of Unique Self. These include eternity and the finite goods of the world, the goodness of pleasure, the divine aspect of power, and more. All of these are reclaimed without grasping at the level of Unique Self.

Further Discussion:

One of the things Dr. Marc teaches us to recognize about pleasure is that it is not pain’s opposite. In fact, he teaches:

The opposite of pain is comfort. To achieve pleasure you must be willing to bear the discomfort of being displeasing to yourself, of feeling worthless, inadequate, depressed. It is only by sitting in the pain that you can find the pleasure. (p. 282 of Unique Self)

In a great video series on pleasure, linked here, Dr. Marc discusses how decadence, generativity, pain, pleasure, and comfort are woven together in our society in a way that keeps us locked in pursuit of addictions and pseudo-eros. To reframe our relationship to pain and access true pleasure, we have to be willing to give up some dimension of our comfort for a time (1st principle of pleasure link), which is known as delayed gratification of our desires. Then, we have to be willing to develop the skills and make the effort to reach unique pleasure.

To follow these pleasure teachings is to avoid becoming “comfortably numb” in the lyrics of Pink Floyd. When we realize that skill and effort and delayed gratification are required for our greater pleasure, we avoid the decadence and degeneration of endlessly pursuing just our comforts, which bring us pseudo-pleasures. “All pleasure dances with pain,” Dr. Marc says here,“If I avoid pain, I’ll achieve comfort. Then, I’ll wonder at the end of my life why didn’t I ever get any pleasure?”

Marc also says in this same video entitled “The Opposite of Pleasure is Comfort,” “Decadence is the belief that pleasure and pain are opposites.” When we are in decadence (“de-cadence”), we have lost the cadence or flow of our lives and reality. When we degenerate (“de-generate”) through an addiction to comfort, we enter a place where we are not creating and engaging in self-creation.

Not only is true pleasure a return from the pseudo-eros of mere comforts, but we also find that we have a Unique obligation to experience pleasure. Further, pleasure is an invitation into our own hearts. Here is an excerpt about that invitation as part of our enlightenment from a joint teaching by Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton in 2010 on the Yoga of Pleasure.

We often don’t realize the connection between pleasure and enlightenment. Yet one of the secrets of true spiritual growth is to move into, not away from, our deepest sources of pleasure.

Pleasure is the natural doorway into spirit. By knowing your own pleasure, and how to explore and expand it into its divine source, you can enter directly into the truth. When we are cut off from the depth of our pleasure, we are also cut off from our own heart, and our own truth.

The tantric traditions understand that all pleasure comes from and leads into a divine source. They unfolded a yoga of pleasure and a path to transformation based on recognizing and entering deeply into subtler and subtler levels of enjoyment. As we learn and practice the yoga of pleasure, we awaken to the heart of our own joy, we begin to find the real pleasure that reveals itself in every moment of life—even the tough moments.

We all experience levels of pleasure, and at every level, there is a way to go deeper. From the physical pleasure of eating, dancing, or using your body well, to the subtler joys of love, creativity and service, to the ultimate pleasure described by the sages, we can learn how to make pleasure a path to the heart. For more on this teaching, such as details on the five levels of pleasure and the full 13 principles of pleasure, watch this video-series:

This truly life-changing teaching will show you how pleasure is a genuine option for you that can be identified and derived from all five levels, which are listed below:

The Five Levels of Pleasure

  1. Physical World Pleasures
  2. Love and Relationship Pleasures
  3. Living a Great Cause, Living for Meaning, Working for an Ideal Pleasures
  4. True Self Pleasures—the pleasure from participating in the oneness of all that is.
  5. Living your Unique Self and Story Pleasures—the pleasure of being and becoming and of realizing your Unique joy, gift, obligation, and responsibility.

Consider:

  • When is a time that you have tried to be more comfortable in your life and avoid pain?
  • When is a time that you have been willing to delay gratification in order to reach a unique pleasure in your life?

Creativity

John Mackey and Marc Gafni Discuss Creativity and Unique Self

Conscious Capitalism meets Your Unique Self

In this first video discussion of a seven-part series, both authors of exciting new books, these two visionary leaders meet to discuss how their ideas can make an impact on people’s lives in a way that matters. Specifically in this video, John Mackey and Marc Gafni explore the creative impulse that drives our lives’ highest expression and purpose. They discuss how, whether in business innovations or moments of play, we can enter flow and access the freedom where we feel those nagging questions of life’s ultimate meaning and purpose fall away in the lived expression of Unique Self. As Marc Gafni says in this video, “We are all artists. We all have a tapestry. The process of self-creation, of creating the tapestry of my life is the highest form, not only of purpose and of ability, but of delight. It’s the place where purpose meets delight.”

Join the two visionary authors in conversation…

Marc Gafni: The first idea I’ll throw out… is creativity, the big idea of creativity. What is it, why does it matter?… Creativity coming at you, John Mackey:

John Mackey: Ok. Well, I think creativity is at the essence of what it means to be a human being. I think if you get into the deepest core of what it means to be a human, it’s creativity. Creativity and love. We’ll talk about love later, I suppose. But, if you look at children, they are amazingly creative. They’re imaginative. They haven’t had that creativity rejected or turned off. And, so, I think we are happiest when we are being creative in some form or fashion. There are many ways express creativity–not just in traditional ways through music and fine arts and filming and things like that, photography. But, business can be a form of creativity. Play is a form of creativity. We can bring that into our lives in many, many different directions. I think it’s particularly important in business. A word that’s a synonym for creativity in the business world is innovation. The companies that are most innovative, such as in Apple computer, which is a highly innovate company, or Google, tend to become highly successful. I think that’s one of Whole Foods’ markets. For a food retailer, we’re a very innovative, very creative company.

Marc Gafni: Yeah, creativity… Let’s just start there. I mean, you talk about creativity is the place where you’re happy. Right? And, part of the big question we all ask, why am I here? The meaning of life? When you’re in the middle of a creative flow, that question doesn’t exist. It’s gone.

John Mackey: No, it’s gone. I mean, everything’s gone because when you’re in the creative flow, you are in the flow, you are in the moment. You are creativity manifest.

Marc Gafni: You are there. I like the second thing you said as well, which is so important. Because when we talk about creativity, everybody thinks about third grade art class. There I was in third grade art, and it didn’t quite work. For me… Mrs. Parrish. Third grade art class was a disaster. And, so, I thought for a long time, well, I guess I’m not creative because, you know, art is about doing that classic arts thing. And, then you begin to realize as you get older, it’s just such an exciting revelation, that we’re all artists. And, that we all have a tapestry. And, the process of self-creation, of creating the tapestry of my life is the highest form, not only of purpose and of ability, but of delight. It’s the place where purpose meets delight. I’m creating. I’m on-purpose. I’m delighted. The question of the meaning of life falls to the way-side, and I’m expressing reality in a way that no one else can. I’m the creative face of reality, of all of reality. The place where what people sometimes call God or Source or All-That-Is or the Ground of Being, or whatever you want to call it, or just reality, a nice neutral word, is created, playing, for me. And, that’s an incredible sense of both purpose and delight.

John Mackey: I think the highest form of your creativity is the creation of your Unique Self, your individuality. In a sense, your life is your greatest work of art, and we should approach it that way. Friedrich Nietzsche, it’s one of his insights, that we can create ourselves; and therefore, once we become aware of that, we become responsible for it. And, we have an obligation or a responsibility to create the most authentic self that we can possibly be.

Ken Wilber on Kosmic Creativity

This video was recorded in preparation of the Integral Spiritual Experience 3 on Kosmic Creativity.

Welcome to the Conscious Eros, Creativity, and Relationships Portal.

Watch the video and read the summary below:

When someone asks you if you are a creative person, most people think of the fine arts. Of course, classical artists are an expression of creativity, but a very limited one. Creativity is the revealed manifest nature of essence. We have actually evolved our understanding of creativity.

In the old world, we thought God created the world in six days and then stepped. Now we have evolved your understanding, now we say that the personal God force – the personal face of the evolutionary process – initiated the world in a big bang. We now know scientifically that creation myths were speaking of something real: a singularity, a moment of radical emergence.

Creativity initiated by source goes on. There is a ceaseless creativity within the cosmos itself. As Whitehead liked to say, one of the three features of reality is the creative advance of novelty. In every second newness is born. Creativity is the nature of reality itself.

The one thing we know about ultimate reality is that it is creativity. Why is there something rather than nothing? Creativity. It is the manifest face, the revealed quality is essence. It is something happening now. When you awaken to your own essence, you awaken to your own creativity. Your life is embodied art.

You are a unique letter in the cosmos scroll writing a unique story in your sacred autobiography. You are responsible for the artistic tapestry of your own life. Self-creation is the ultimate creative act of the human being. And it needs to contain within it your unique creative gift.

Whether we are coming from a secular perspective, an Eastern religious perspective, or a theistic perspective where there is a creator God who we are invited to imitate God, so too are we ceaselessly creative. Creativity is the core of who we are, not just to have more complexity but more truth, goodness, and beauty.

Stroke the first stroke on the canvas of your life. Create ceaselessly with radical delight.

Our journey as evolutionary artists is a dance of creativity

Multicolored Ink Drop by posterizeby Marc Gafni

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

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

Do you know that creativity is your birthright?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and Yetzirah

Looking for more on the wisdom tradition that aligns you with your deepest creativity?

In a three-part excerpt from the long version of Soul Prints, Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same.

As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print or Unique Self destiny unrealized.

Yetzer and Yetzirah: Raising the Primal Sparks of Creativity and Passion

by Dr. Marc Gafni
from The Way of the Dragon in the long Soul Prints.

Part I.

In biblical spirituality, information about God is relevant for one reason only. Information about God is information about us.

We are commanded to be little Gods – to imitate God. Just as God stood at the abyss of darkness and said let there be light, so are we commanded to stand at the abyss of our darkness and say let there be light. A little bit of light dispels so much of the darkness.

Further, just as God is a creator – creating, sculpting, painting, composing a gorgeous physical world – so, too, are we invited to create, to sculpt, to paint, and to make music.Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created.

And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why?

The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankl).

In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point: I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts.

In my earlier twenties, I attended for a short time a prestigious drama workshop in Greenwich Village in New York. When we would be preparing for a murder scene in a play, we would do exercises to help us access the murderous rage lurking untapped in the corners of our souls. I cannot create drama about murder without unlocking the murderer in myself.

To create anything – and certainly for the ultimate creation, the creation of myself – I need to be able to access the most primal passions of my being. Herein lies the attraction and the danger. My primal instincts when not integrated into my fully developed self are often not channeled properly and can potentially destroy worlds.

Witness Germany. My mother, who was there, told me almost every day as I was growing up that the same people who gassed Jews in the morning, listened, with great primal passion, to Mozart in the evening.

In response to this psychological reality, Biblical myth spirituality taught: “Who is heroic, he who is (Kovesh) conquers his Yetzer.” And if the price is also to sacrifice certain forms of creativity, so be it. Better to be moral, holy, and not creative, than creative and immoral.

And yet having to choose between the primal passion of creativity and morality is far from satisfying!

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Contents1 John Mackey and Marc Gafni Discuss Creativity and Unique Self1.1 Conscious Capitalism meets Your Unique Self 1.2 Join the two visionary authors in conversation…2 Ken Wilber on Kosmic Creativity3 Welcome to the Conscious Eros, Creativity, and Relationships Portal.4 Our journey as evolutionary artists is a dance of creativity5 Enlightenment of Fullness — Yetzir and

Pleasure

by Dr. Marc Gafni In the erotic, we are invited to the sanity of pleasure, to the realization that the world is not indifferent to us but actively and even desperately seeks our deepest pleasure. To be sane is to know reality. Insanity is a rupture with reality. The erotic sexual remembers us to the