This beautiful eulogy was given by Dr. Marc Gafni during our Evolutionary Church Memorial. The written version below is taken from the lightly edited transcript. For the video of the service scroll all the way below.
Introduction by Dr. Marc Gafni
Every week we’ve been doing Evolutionary Church with Barbara and Lisa and myself and thousands of us from around the world. It’s been the heart and the throb of where we’re going and the vision we want to articulate together. Barbara and I loved Evolutionary Church. We started 131 weeks ago, and every week we would write a code together, and we’re now in Evolutionary Church.
For those of you who are wondering what to expect, there’s going to be two memorial services.
Barbara said to me, “Marc, when I pass, have a memorial service at church and have then a big evolutionary party. So, at that evolutionary party we are going to see lots of Barbara’s work and Barbara’s clips, and now we’re in church and we’re going to follow the order of church. …
Today in place of the sermons, I’ll gently and humbly offer a eulogy to Barbara, and all through we’re going to be resonating with Barbara, who’s here with us.
Just a few days ago, we heard Barbara say, “I declare the continuity of consciousness.” So, Barbara, right in this moment we declare with you the continuity of your consciousness and know that you’re here with us.
Last Friday night I was talking to Barbara about the code for the next day, but then by the next morning I called and Barbara wasn’t vocal and they didn’t quite understand why. I asked the nurse to put her on the phone. They held the phone to her ear, and Barbara said, “Marc,” and she was excited about church, and then she wasn’t able to speak afterwards. Ultimately, she went into a coma and wasn’t able to wake up and began her transition, but Barbara’s not silent. Her silence in this moment is not a silence of absence. It’s a silence of presence, and it’s up to us to carry that torch.
Barbara’s passing the torch and it’s every single person in this church today that is invited to their, what Barbara called vocational arousal. In order for each of us to light the world on fire with that teaching, with that message, with that aliveness, with that Barbara-ness, and in that, Barbara then shifts now not to silence of absence but to silence of presence. Barbara’s going to become more present in her continuity of consciousness, more available, more alive, more impactful than even ever before.
So as we enter, I’m going to ask everyone just to write three words in the chat box, “Barbara inspires me.”
We actually feel Barbara here. Barbara inspires me. Barbara, can you feel that, love? Feel that everybody. Barbara inspires me, It’s not silence of absence. We’re actually triumphing over death, and the triumph over death was one of Barbara’s deepest heart’s desires, and we’ll talk about heart’s desire. Barbara inspires me. Feel that, feel that just ripple. Let’s lift that like a prayer to the sky. Barbara inspires me.
Barbara was, I believe, the greatest evolutionary storyteller of our time. Barbara was the feminine co-creator. She thought beautifully. She had a clear and sharp and wonderful mind, and anyone who’s read Evolutionary Synthesis, which is about 45 pages, she wrote in 2007 that we’re going to actually reissue, you’ll see the clarity as she gathered thoughts and extensively cited and wove the thoughts together. But Barbara’s essence was to inspire. Barbara told the evolutionary story. Barbara became the campfire. Barbara became the Word. She was the Logos.
Barbara inspires me, and in mysticism and all the great traditions we say that the challenge of death is that a person becomes non-dynamic. They become static. They can no longer influence and impact, which is why in mysticism what we do is, in order to give the person, and in this case, the great leader, the great visionary, the wondrous woman who passed, to give our Barbara, our beloved Barbara, the strength, the energy to take the next step in the journey of the continuity of consciousness. She’s turning to us now and she’s saying “Activate me.” She’s saying “Let me impact you so that I’m fully alive.” So when we write “Barbara inspires me,” it directly impacts and affects all the worlds, upper and lower, and it supercharges, if you will, it animates Barbara’s consciousness to take the next steps. Barbara inspires me. We’re ready to be impacted.
Enjoy this beautiful Video Tribute to Barbara Marx Hubbard
It was part of the Evolutionary Church Memorial for Barbara on April 13th – Created by the Executive Producer of Evolutionary Church and Executive Vice-President of the Center for Integral Wisdom Lisa Witter. If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, click here.
Eulogy by Dr. Marc Gafni
Could we be eulogizing you?
Barbara, you were so not ready to go. You were not done. You were in your 90th year. You are an evolutionary force of nature.
Here we are about to speak your eulogy. I promised you an evolutionary party, and so we’re going to have a big evolutionary party eulogy. Now we’re in church that you loved so much.
Let me begin with a word from my teacher, Barbara, that we spoke about so many times, Dr. Soloveitchik. He spoke about eulogy, drawing deeply from the lineage of the mystics, who said that eulogy is not a whitewash. Eulogy is not pretty words as Hafiz says, when he mocks eulogy.
Eulogy is two things. One is we ask your forgiveness, Barbara. We’re here to ask your forgiveness and we’re asking your forgiveness for not having fully recognized you, not having fully seen you, for somehow taking for granted that we could call you and that irrepressible, gorgeous, relentlessly alive, infinitely positive voice would always be there. It’s almost like we lived in this beautiful home on the ocean, but the ocean was just there, and we stopped quite seeing it. So we ask forgiveness.
Two, in the teaching of the mystics, in eulogy and the days after Barbara’s passed, as her spirit’s, in the continuity of consciousness, is both fully with us and moving beyond the world, in this moment, there is the last opportunity in this lifetime to liberate the person who’s passed, to liberate Barbara, from loneliness.
To be lonely means to not be able to, as Barbara would say to me always and to so many of you, “Take the lid off.” We all know the phrase. Barbara would say, “I want to go the whole way in this lifetime.” Barbara was looking for the place to go the whole way.
So we’re here to liberate you from loneliness. And Yes, Barbara was lonely. We’re all lonely in so many different ways.
I want to start there because that’s what we do in eulogy. We ask for forgiveness and we move, Barbara, to see you.
What’s our code for today? To love is to know. Love’s not merely an emotion. Love is a perception. Love means I see you. To be a lover is to see with God’s eyes. Barbara and I talked so often, what does it mean to be an evolutionary lover? An evolutionary lover is not sexual or romantic. An evolutionary lover is one who sees with God’s eyes, who sees with evolutionary eye.
We’re here today, Barbara, to love you and we’re here to know you. With total humility, it’s the end of the code, to know that also in some deep way you were a mystery. We love you in the unknowing and the cloud of unknowing. We hold you with such reverence and such respect. Barbara, I want you to feel, we all want you to feel the respect, the infinite respect that we’re holding you in right now.
I want to talk a few words, Barbara, with your permission, about this continuity of consciousness. We’re going to do it by capturing your consciousness, and capturing, in the best way we can, to liberate you from loneliness – in the tradition of the mystics – by recognizing you.
I’m going to start personally, with your permission, everyone. This will be, perhaps, a little bit surprising. Let’s start personally. Personally, I ask forgiveness, myself, for not being able to meet you in all the ways you wanted to be met. I did my best, we all did our best, but I know there are ways that I wasn’t able to meet you. Please forgive me for any way… and I speak for all of us here. My I is a We. For any way that any of us, each of us individually, didn’t call or didn’t show up the way you might have wanted us to. Oh my God.
Two, I want to talk about the gift that you gave me. When I say me, I don’t mean to me, Marc, I mean actually all of us, inn different ways, who worked closely with Barbara. Barbara gave us the gift of recognition. When I would speak to Barbara, I felt fully recognized. We’re all lonely because we’re systematically mis-recognized. Barbara was able to see someone and to be radically generous in her recognition.
If we can say to Barbara now, anyone who knew Barbara, “Thank you for recognizing me.” That’s a huge thank you. Thank you for recognizing me.
When Barbara recognized you, you could rest. I thank you, Barbara. Thank you for your generosity in recognizing us and giving us a place to rest in the full hearted recognition. When Barbara recognized you, there was nothing stingy. Barbara lived generously. It was a full on, gorgeous recognition that you could hold. That recognition that you received from Barbara would become the strange attractor for the rest of your life. Thank you for recognizing us. That’s number one.
Number two, we talked about Barbara as as an evolutionary evangelical. Barbara WAS the good news, but it was more than that.
Here’s number three: Barbara was an evolutionary mystic, if I can use that term. Barbara was an evolutionary mystic in the truest term. What Barbara sought to do was not to merge with the quality of eternity, the quality of being. Barbara would seek to rest in being, or what she loved to call essence. Barbara sought to merge with becoming, with the evolutionary impulse itself.
Where Barbara and I met was in the sentence, “I am evolution. I am evolution in person.” I came to that sentence through the lineages, the lineage mystics. Barbara came to it through Teilhard, and Bucky Fuller, and Aurobindo, and Jonas Salk, and as we met in the Dharma. That sentence was, “I am evolution. I am evolution in person.” I ask and invite all of us, as Barbara, we are Barbara’s continuity of consciousness, to write and feel together, “I am evolution in person.”
I can’t imagine anything making Barbara more ecstatic. Barbara, you’re with us. You’re watching the chat box as you did every single week for 131 weeks. I am. Just feel that joy, Barbara, feel it and let it lift you up, love. Can you just let it lift you up? Can you receive that? Oh my God, Barbara, that’s you. “I am evolution in person. ” Barbara Marx Hubbard. Continuity of consciousness, Barbara, love.
Let’s go to number five, Barbara, when you were evolution in person, it wasn’t a phrase. You and I often did what we called Holy of Holies. We would go to the inside of inside or what you would love to call the Heart of the Hub of the Wheel. The Heart of the Hub of the Wheel, the Holy of Holies, a word or term from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. the inside of the inside, the deepest of the deep.
In that place we would talk about transformation. We would talk about very deep questions. We would talk about you. We would talk about your deep desire for the blessing of the Father. Louis Marx, your dad, Toy tycoon, 1955, Cover Time magazine, and everyone’s heard Barbara tell the story of being with President Eisenhower. Did you ever wonder why Barbara at 16 was talking to President Eisenhower? As she told me, Louis, her dad was a key financier and campaign person for Eisenhower, and good friends with the president and all the generals. Barbara grows up in this place. She says to President Eisenhower, “What is the meaning of our power?”
But now Barbara said, “Now I want the blessing of the Father.” We tried to disambiguate, to separate between, what’s the evolutionary impulse and what’s the desire for the blessing of the Father. We did that Barbara in your 90th year. You said to me, “Marc, I want to grow. I want to transform.” We would do this for each other. Barbara said, “Show me, point out to me something that I can’t see, and I will transform it.”
My friends, how many human beings at 30 say that? How many at 40? Do you imagine the greatness of human being? Who says I am evolution person, but not as a slogan, not merely as a declaration, but as actually the mandate of her own personal life. Barbara sought to transform literally every day. Every day. She never stopped evolving. She was utterly committed. That’s number five, her radical commitment to actual transformation. That’s gorgeous.
I’ve never seen it in my entire life in a person with a world stature, with an ability to rest on her laurels and in the goodness of her accomplishments who said “No, no. No, no, no. Actually I’m not getting older. I’m getting newer.”
Therefore when, in the last four years, Barbara and I communicated, at least four times a day, often in long, complex, important letters from Barbara, she would say, “I’m getting newer.” Then she would tell you with this gorgeous excitement, lots of what we talked about yesterday. Not because she was repeating it, not because she’d forgotten she said it. She remembered very well that she said it.
She was telling that again because she actually felt the newness of the day. She felt, what did she call it? Regenopause. She felt, “I’m completely renewed. This day is utterly new. I’m going to meet this day with all of my vitality, and with all of my energy, and I’m going to take whatever fate threw at me today, and I’m going to transform it into destiny. I am going to BE transformation.” Barbara WAS transformation.
Remember when she would say, “I’m getting newer”? And she would laugh. Everyone knows Barbara’s very particular laugh. It was this great laugh when she would say something enormously serious, and she would laugh. She would laugh to punctuate that which had most gravitas. As the feminine co-creator, her language, she would laugh just to open up some spacious space when she had said something incredibly profound.
Number seven, I want everyone to get this, because this is part of the liberation from loneliness that is the promise that the mystics give, and that we’re giving to Barbara. It’s our most valiant attempt in this moment, in our first eulogy. Barbara was not radically positive because that was her nature. She wasn’t doing what our dear friend John Welwood, who also just passed – and Barbara and I talked about him as in his passing – called a spiritual bypass. Barbara wasn’t spiritual bypassing.
Barbara actually, and Barbara spoke about this in public many times – she spoke about her depression, when she lived in Connecticut, and how she went to a therapist – you’ve all heard the story – Barbara actually dealt with and engaged the emptiness. She engaged the void. She engaged depression throughout her entire life. Not a clinical depression in the formal sense, but the sense of feeling the depth of the void.
Barbara wasn’t radical positivity because it was a blithe cheeriness. It wasn’t a spiritual bypass. Barbara actually faced the void down every single day. Barbara never avoided a-void-dance. Barbara walked through the void every single day. In that sense, in so many senses, but I want to add the ones that are unknown, so we can walk through the void with Barbara every single day.
Barbara understood this notion that to confess is not merely to confess your sins, but to confess your sins is actually just the beginning. Actually, I confess my greatness. Barbara confessed her greatness every day, but not as an egoic act. It wasn’t an egoic declaration. It’s what we would call here in evolutionary church, a Unique Self declaration. A declaration of the personal face of the evolutionary impulse, alive and awake as Barbara.
Barbara was committed to her greatness, unabashedly. Again, in this most gorgeous way, Barbara had a genuine humility. It was the humility of knowing that I can speak my greatness. That I’m committed to model for people what it means to go the whole way in this lifetime.
I’m absolutely sure, Barbara, I hear you whispering in my ear, so I’m going to say what Barbara asks to be said. Let’s invite everyone to write in the chat box, “Inspired by Barbara, I confess my greatness.” Barbara’s awake, alive. The continuity of consciousness is happening right here, right now, in front of us. “Inspired by Barbara, I confess my greatness.”
If you want to know the essence of Barbara, Barbara, you were, you were divine, in the sense of Barbara, you were the possibility of possibility. Barbara just corrected me in my ear. She said, “Marc, why you saying you were?” I apologize, Barbara, again.
Barbara, you are the possibility of possibility. Your continuity of consciousness lives with us in this moment. We see you. We recognize you. We love you madly.
Do you know how Barbara would talk to you? I’m sure hundreds of people right here have had that experience. She would hold your hand and say, “Hold my hand. Let’s be together.”
Number eight, the next quality of Barbara I want to point to is that Barbara was not just a radical revolutionary. Barbara actually lived in the eternity that resides in the moment. What do we mean by that? Barbara says in my ear, “Explain to them, Marc. They didn’t quite get what you meant.”
So here’s the explanation. You remember having a conversation with Barbara? She’d sit with you. You might’ve been at a conference, at a convention. You were sitting in a chair. She’d enter into that conversation, and she would move to seduce you. When I say seduce you, to charm you, Barbara and I laughed about this, not seduce you in an unholy way, to inappropriately break an appropriate boundary; but to seduce you in the language of the mystics, which means to seduce you to break the boundary of your smallness to confess your greatness – in the words of the Song of Songs, which Barbara, I studied together: Divinity seduces us to our greatness.
Barbara seduced us to our greatness. She charmed us. She charmed Bucky Fuller. but in the most beautiful sense of charm, the holy magical sense. She charmed Jonas Salk. She charmed, her first husband, Earl, and her second husband, Sydney, who were so vital, each one of these huge figures. She charmed me. She charmed all of you, but charm in the most beautiful, holy wondrous sense. She seduced us to our greatness in the fullness of her recognition.
Now Barbara, now it’s your turn. We asked you, the biggest gift you could give us now, is to let us in this moment, liberate you from loneliness. Know that we see you, that we love you madly. The only way to be sane, we would say to each other, is to love madly. We love you madly. We see and we know you. To love is to know and to know is to love. We feel you. and we feel your presence, alive.
What’s the deepest confession you can make? Barbara and I wrote in the last couple of years, Wheel 2.0. Barbara did this gorgeous, with John Whiteside – John actually etched it on a napkin at a restaurant, Barbara told me – this wheel of co-creation, which is this gorgeous tool for social synergy and social synergy is just actually another word for intimacy.
As Barbara would say: How do we join needs and resources to create a larger intimacy, a larger social synergy that can actually unleash the full creative potential that can take us through the 11th Hour across the precipice? That’s Barbara.
In this wheel of co-creation, we created a wheel of co-creation 2.0, which we did on another napkin in Portland, and we’ve taught it over the last two years… and at the heart of the hub of the wheel, we placed together, over lunch – we were drinking wine and everyone knows Barbara loved wine at about four o’clock in the afternoon – she would have two, three glasses completely unfazed, I would have two sips. I couldn’t get any farther – we placed desire at the heart of the hub of the wheel. Desire.
We’ve exiled desired to its beautiful, but merely sexual expression, but actually, for the evolutionary mystics, desire, becoming is desire. When the un-manifest manifests reality and says, “Yes” that’s a desire. The desire is not just to revisit the past, not just the eternity of the present. The desire is to invoke the memory of the future.
Barbara, you were an evolutionary throw forward. You were yourself, a memory of the future. You incarnated that. So we put at the heart of the hub of the wheel desire and we developed a practice, which is at the heart of the hub of the wheel now in wheel 2.0, is confess your greatness by knowing your heart’s desire.
Here, Barbara would add something critical. She would say, and she said it in her language. “Your heart’s desire, your yearning,” Barbara said, “I realized that’s not pathology. That can’t be solved by recovering the memory of the past. My yearning is the divine yearning. My deepest heart’s desire is the divine desire – not any desire, not pseudo desire, not pseudo Eros, but my deepest heart’s desire is God’s desire. That’s what Barbara was so excited about.
We placed it at the heart of the hub of the wheel, and we did it together by joining genius. Here’s the last piece.
Barbara was madly excited about moving from, her phrase, joining genes to join genius. To move from joining genes to joining genius means that we actually access and hold together a shared desire. And in a completely different set of teaching in a different language, before I met Barbara – and then we merged them together with joining genes to joining genius – we speak of the move from role mate to soul mate to whole mate. Role mate, we’re raising the kids, we’re raising the family to survive and thrive. Soul mate, we look deeply into each other’s eyes and we begin to see each other. To love is to know.
Then whole mate means we don’t just look at each other and see each other and anyone who knows Barbara knows that Barbara lived whole mate-ness. To be a whole mate means not just to look deeply into your eyes. Whole mate’s not just about personal fulfillment. Whole mate is when we look together at a shared horizon. To love is to know is not just to love is to know YOU. It’s not just the story of your wounds and the story of your trauma. But to love is to know, to be a whole mate is to be in service of the whole together, to join genius, not just to procreate and join genes. Barbara’s phrase is to join genius and to co-create – to move in our shared expression from role mate to soul mate to whole mate.
Barbara’s greatest passion, and she spoke it over so many years – we must have talked about this a thousand times, and each time was new because we got newer each time: The passion that drives human beings to come together in sexuality actually is transcended and included, but sometimes just transcended – we leave sexuality behind. We can actually, as brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends, we can become whole mates – beyond sexuality to what I call Eros, to what Barbara calls supra-sexuality. Supra-sexual co-creation means I’m a whole mate. We’re not joining genes at all. There’s overpopulation. There’s an explosion.
What we need to do is join genius. The passion to join genius to co-create will actually unleash the infinite potential and creativity of the human being to look into the face of the abyss and take us to the next level. It will birth the new human and the new humanity.
We’re going to close. I want to close with this. This is the last thought, the last offering, and a prayer.
Oh my God, friends. Oh my God. Let’s open our hearts. Let’s see Barbara’s image. So we can just meditate with Barbara and on Barbara in the best way we can.
Barbara, you were a blazing light in this world. The wild stallions that moved you were yoked to the evolutionary impulse itself. Evolution, Barbara, was awake and is awake as you in person Reality delighted and delights in having a Barbara experience in the continuity of consciousness. Barbara, you felt the ecstatic urgency of the evolutionary impulse moving through you all the time.
Barbara, you took the pain of the void and turned it into the joy of evolutionary activism. You took fate and you turned it into destiny time and again and again. Barbara, you were the greatest evolutionary story teller of our time. Barbara, you dreamed of social synergy, of the peace room, of the office for the future. You incarnated a vice-presidential bid, a historic speech at the Democratic National Convention. You are the great fount speaking the word of conscious evolution. All of these were vehicles that you audaciously, creatively, manifested for the impulse and as the impulse.
Abraham Maslow and Bucky Fuller and Jonas Salk, and so many more, including this writer, and so many of you listening, you charmed us all. You recognized us all. You inspired us all. You called us forth with you.
Friends, in this moment, let’s feel it together. Let’s know it together. The continuity of consciousness is true.
We are with you now, Barbara. One heart, our hearts with your heart, One love, our love is with your love. One desire, our desire is with your desire.
Barbara, you’re surrounded and held in radical evolutionary intimacy. We are together. Yes, there are those who say that there may be a time when Homo sapiens turn their attention from each other, and lose themselves in the illusion of separation when death triumphs but this is not that day, friends. This is not that day. We are with you on this day. We are celebrating your life. We are recognizing you. We are inspired by you. We are honoring your deepest intention, the intention of the love intelligence for all of us to find our heart’s desire.
Yes, Barbara, you spoke about the possible dystopia, love. There may be a time when Homo sapiens descends into dystopia and we forget that we’re the love intelligence of the cosmos, evolution in person. This is NOT that day. We’re with you, Barbara. We’re inspired by you. We’re impacted by you. We’re holding you in the evolutionary integrity and delight of all of our holy time together, each one of us.
Yes, there are those that say that there may be a day when we forget that we live in a world of outrageous pain, and the only response is outrageous love. But my friends, this is NOT that day. This is not that day. This is the day in which we introduce the new human and the new humanity: Homo amor universalis, Homo amor.
Barbara and I spoke about this almost every day. Our friend, Yuval Harari wrote about Homo Deus who bio-hacks his way to immortality and most of humanity becomes not exploited but irrelevant. Barbara and Zak and I, we talked about Homo amor. We birthed together homo amor.
Barbara used to call it homo universalis. I called it homo amor. One day we spoke right before church and said, “Let’s call it homo amor universalis.” Then several weeks later we said, “You know what? It’s homo amor.”
Homo amor answers the question of who are you. Who are you? I am Homo amor. That was Barbara’s greatest dream and her next years were dedicated and committed to actually articulating it. We were going to do it together, and we’re still going to do it together. Barbara and myself and every single one of us here, and all of us together, we are going to birth Homo amor, evolution in person.
Homo amor asks and responds to the question, Who are you? I am Homo amor, but what does it mean to be homo amor? Homo amor knows the answer to the question of who are you?
Barbara, let’s say this together. Every word we did together. You’re the irreducibly unique expression of the love intelligence and love beauty that is the initiating and animating Eros and energy of all of it is, that lives in you as you and through you, that never was is or will be ever again, other than through your heart’s desire.
When you confess your greatness and you find your deepest heart’s desire, you’re able to access your unique perspective and to give your unique gift, which is desperately needed to address a unique need in your unique circle of intimacy and influence, that can be addressed by no one that ever was, is or will be other than you alone. And whenever we got to this point, Barbara would say, “And you write your name in the noosphere as you confess your greatness and give your gift, which is your deepest heart’s desire.”
Barbara, we love you. We love you madly. Feel our love. We love you madly. We miss you. Barbara, we miss you. Barbara, we’re going to pick up the torch. We’re going to light the world on fire with Homo amor. We’re going to light the world on fire.