Posts Tagged: Essays and Articles
First Principles & First Values: Toward a Universal Grammar of Meaning in a Time Between Worlds
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From the Failure to Participate in the Conspiring of Reality to Conspiracy Theory: On the Failure of Eros, First Principles, and a Portal to Evolution’s Next Step
by Dr. Marc Gafni
This article is an edited Transcript from One Church – Episode 189 – May 24, 2020. You can watch the whole episode on the Watch page of the One Church Website. One Church: Many Paths, One Mountain is a project of our sister organization, the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.
Read below or download the article here:
The Great Conspiring of Reality:
What Do Conspiracy Theories Get Right?
On every news channel in the world in the last six or seven weeks, the conversation is around one thing. The conversation is around conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory has moved from the periphery of culture, from its fringe to its center. Why has conspiracy theory moved from fringe to center, at this particular moment in time? And why do we need to talk about it, why does it matter? In newspapers in Asia and in Europe and in South America and in Africa, all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, why is conspiracy theory in the mainstream media the lead item? Why is it so critical for us to understand this?
Because it’s actually speaking to something unbelievably important. The sensemaking that we need to do is to understand this in the largest light. The sensemaking that’s being done around conspiracy theory, there is some truth, there are some good things being said, but it’s so shallow, almost insipid, pallid. Neither the conspiracy theorists don’t understand the mainstream media, the mainstream media doesn’t understand the conspiracy theorists. Both of them dismiss each other. It’s an expression of the larger polarization, the larger culture war.
Why are we attracted to conspiracy theory? Why is it driving the click bait structure of the virtual world? What is attractive in it? Where is the allurement? Where is the attraction? That’s the deep question. Anyone who believes every conspiracy theory is a fool. Anyone who doesn’t believe any conspiracy theories is also a fool, perhaps a greater fool.
Corona: A Crisis of Imagination, A Crisis of Intimacy
by Dr. Marc Gafni and James Bampfield
>>> Download a PDF version of this article by clicking HERE <<<
>>> Download a PDF version of this article by clicking HERE <<<
A crisis has swept over our planet. As the virus has woven itself into the fabric of society, so have many aspects of our ordinary lives unraveled. We may be in fear about our health and that of our dear ones. We may find ourselves locked down at home, we may have found that our work has ground to a halt. Almost certainly, many of our plans have disintegrated like sandcastles in the oncoming tide. This wind of collective change is probably the strongest many of us in the developed world have felt in our lifetime.
Life feels different. The world feels a different place.
Instability and uncertainty are here to stay for a while.
In times of crisis, there are two equally important responses.
The first is immediate and practical: help and protect those most affected. Attend to the frontline of suffering and disruption.
Acknowledge and feel the hardships round the world, acknowledge the privileged bubble in which many of us live – just having a garden is a massive bonus right now. Do what we need to do, take social responsibility.
The second imperative of a crisis is to make sense of it and learn from it. Crisis is an ‘evolutionary driver.’ Crisis is a potential birth. If we look at the way evolution has worked in all domains – biologically, psychologically, culturally, politically, economically, spiritually – it has often taken a crisis to precipitate the next level of development.
Short Notes on Sense Making in Crisis
By Dr. Marc Gafni
>>> Download the Full Paper HERE <<<
Note from the Editor: This article is based on the transcript of an oral talk given by Dr. Marc Gafni towards the end of March, 2020 as well as a longer article by Dr. Marc Gafni. The original talk is found here:
>>> Download the Full Paper HERE <<<
Sense Making in Crisis
As I churn through an inbox filled each day with articles, questions, and commentary about the Corona virus, I see the incredible range of our response. I read about health care workers risking their lives to save the dying, and friends sharing recipes and cocktails on Zoom, and everything in between. I say this with no judgment—there is no one way to respond to such a crisis. But whatever our response, most of us are asking what sense we can make of the meteorlike (but actually well-predicted) arrival of Covid-19 in our presence. The crisis reveals our lack of a map, and the need to articulate a new one. We need a shared story that includes but is underneath all our experience, no matter how varied. This is a time for sense making, both personal and collective. A shared story includes a sense of where we are—a shared universe story, together with who we are—a shared narrative of identity, and what we should be doing—a shared ethos.
Decentralized Sense Making
We need this because we live in a moment of decentralized sense making. We cannot rely on the government, the universities, the press, or the religious institutions and the alternative churches of the human potential movement in its New Age varieties. There is wisdom in each of those, but they are as fragmented as our sense of larger patterns and larger worldviews is fractured. We need to find our way back to a vision of goodness, truth, and beauty, based on the best information in the interior and exterior sciences that we have available to us. By exterior science I mean the hard and soft sciences with their measurement, experimentation, and data collection. By interior sciences, I mean the validated gnosis interior experience—the world of spirit, feeling, and inner wisdom. Together they are teaching us where we are, who we are, and what needs to be done in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The Realization of Unique Self
We are in a powerful moment of evolutionary reset. We have the potential now to redefine our identities as humans. The central knowing that is crystalizing in this evolutionary moment, sourced in the interior sciences, is that each of us is a Unique Self, with a unique perspective, quality of self and capacity for action. Our Unique Self is not simply our talent as separate monadic units. According to the best of the interior and exterior sciences, we are each—not fundamentally apart but rather—part of the larger whole of existence. But we are distinct parts. Each of us are unique emergents of the entire system. We are unique configurations of the larger field of life and consciousness. And therefore, we each have a unique gift to give that is needed by the whole. That is our core identity.
Blessed by Unique Self Heroes
This understanding of identity has not yet emerged into society. But more people are recognizing that we are not cogs in a production machine, nor merely a monadic separate self in a win-lose success struggle but rather—I am a Unique Self—had not yet emerged into society. The separate self identity still dominates culture almost entirely. But with the crisis of Covid-19 we have been blessed with so many heroes, Unique Selves in action every single one of them. Heroes, like poets, are often several steps ahead of culture. And as Unique Self the first response that our sense making demands is unique action. That is what it means to be the hero of your own life.
In the face of tremendous tragedy and urgent need we have seen so many people step up to give whatever unique gifts they have. They are not waiting for direction from others—they are putting their lives on the line and supporting others in every way possible. They are doctors coming out of retirement, they are teenagers delivering food, they are neighbors staging a drive-by birthday party complete with horns and balloons, they are sewing masks, they are applauding health care workers every night from their balconies, they are telephoning people who live alone, they are sending money to first responders and restaurant workers who lost their jobs. This is beautiful to experience, and tells us everything about one major thread of human nature—our inherent capacity to align with goodness and love even at great risk to ourselves. That makes sense only if we feel our identities to be unique and needed expressions of the large field of consciousness and love, not separate selves essentially alienated from the whole.
The immediate steps in sense making take place in the context of actions like these. The very first thing that needs to be done is to heal the sick, to have enough ventilators, to have enough beds in hospitals, to protect those who work in them, to make sure that everyone has access to basic necessities as we face a new economy.
On The Moral Phenomenology of Participating in The Evolution of The Cosmos
Social Justice and Superorganisms
A contribution for the roundtable discussion of David Sloan Wilson’s, Does Altruism Exist. Summer, 2015.
Zak Stein, Marc Gafni, Barbara Marx Hubbard
The Center for Integral Wisdom & The Foundation for Conscious Evolution
The New Paradigm Is Old Hat
Heterodox evolutionary discourse has long entertained the emergence of what Wilson calls superorganisms. These are emergent phenomena that functionally integrate lower-order organisms as parts, lessening within group selection pressure, making the many into one, and thus fostering the evolution of a new organismic totality. Over the years this idea led many to suggest the (inevitable?) emergence of some kind of new evolutionary event—a superorganism of humans. Wilson is interested to argue that, now, with new evidence, we finally really know that, for example, cooperation can have an impact on evolution via group selection, even as it seems counter intuitive to cooperate at the level of individual selection. Moreover, the dynamic systems and evo-devo researchers have been on to something: emergence often works via symbioses and “cooperation,” especially at the cellular and ecosystem levels. This provides a new and better platform for understanding human ethical and moral action in evolutionary terms.
We strongly support these directions and expansions in mainstream evolutionary science. We would only like to note here that heterodox evolutionists have already spilled a lot of ink about the role of morality, self-consciousness, and group-consciousness as a factor in evolution. This tradition has spent more time looking into the implications of evolutionary thinking for the self-understanding of the species, and less time working with models of mechanisms and exteriorities. So the question of whether altruism exists has not been as important as questions about the many forms of selfless behavior, as well as the higher levels of moral development individuals can attain while “becoming a part of something larger than themselves.”
In particular, the focus has been on this question: What would it really mean for our humanity if we become swept up into a superorganism, as if becoming cells organized for the benefit of some larger organelle? This is a profoundly important ethical question, and it tends to evoke, when asked, a religious or spiritual state of mind.
Some us who have been actively asking such questions have also sought to refine the phenomenology of moral consciousness associated with evolutionary emergence in human groups. The key focus is how to strike a balance between what Wilson calls (unfortunately) “selfishness” and “altruism.” We call them autonomy and communion. Too much of either and any group is pathological. Too much communion and you get a kind of totalitarianism or coercive fascism. Too much autonomy and you get narcissists and rouges, lawlessness and violence (like the wolves of Wall Street Wilson laments). These are the kind of phenomena studied in the field of conscious evolution, where the evolution of human consciousness itself is taken as both object and subject.
>>> Read more <<<
Spiritually Incorrect: Some Remarks on the Teacher-Student Relationship by Dr. Marc Gafni
– in Response to an Invitation of the German “Integrales Forum” in 2011
Thank you for your kind invitation to comment on the Integrales Forum position paper in regard to teacher-student relations. First let me congratulate you on this paper, which serves to initiate this important conversation. This topic is a worthy one in need of urgent address on many levels. Let me also commend your excellent deployment of the Integral framework in discussing these issues. It is the use of the Integral framework that allows for this discussion to hold the necessary complexity, multiples perspectives, and nuance that it deserves.
In broad terms, I agree with your conclusions in terms of the need for some essential standards in regard to spiritual teachers. Clearly we are all aware of the most horrific abuses that take place in the context of some pre-personal cults, as well as of some of the more subtle forms of psychological manipulation, financial dishonesty and sexual abuse that take place in these same contexts under the fig leaf of the teacher-student relationship for the sake of the dharma. To protect the potential victim and shield the powerless from the whims of the powerful is a core obligation of any community.
At the same time, as you indicate in your paper, much discernment is needed in this conversation to assure that the teacher-student function is upheld. For indeed, without this teacher-student function, both the transmission of wisdom as well as the personal and collective enlightenment of the interior face of the cosmos would be severely impaired. The teacher-student function is essential for these evolutionary goals.
Dr. Zachary Stein’s New Paper: Love in a Time Between Worlds
On the Metamodern “Return” to a Metaphysics of Eros
What is the world?
What is my mind?
Can I really know love?
Can I really know what is out there, what reality actually is?
How do we move humanity forward at this time of great existential crisis?
These are questions Zachary Stein asks in his paper Love in a Time Between Worlds: On the Metamodern “Return” to a Metaphysics of Eros as he turns the reader’s attention towards a metamodern metaphysics, or a new way at looking at reality.
Metamodern being the era of time we are now in where we are aware of the scope of the crises we face together and we are aware of the lack of a powerful cultural narrative.
“The term metamodern is used simply to describe the structure of what is emerging “after postmodernism;” it points out the new personalities, cultures, and theories that are able to critique and integrate the insights of both the modern and the postmodern.”
Metaphysics being the stories we tell about ourselves and about the universe.
“Believe it or not, there are metaphysical systems that survived postmodernism and popped out of the far end of the 1990’s with “truth” and “reality” still intact. These include object-oriented ontology and dialectical critical realism, among others. Metaphysics can be practiced after Kant and Darwin only by theorizing beyond what is thought of as acceptable in postmodernism and late-stage capitalism, as I discuss in the first section below.”
Cosmo-Erotic Humanism, as is expertly detailed in A Return to Eros, by Kristina Kincaid and Marc Gafni, is a species of metamodern metaphysics, or, simply put, we need to embrace telling the most ultimate stories about ourselves, and about the universe. If we don’t do that, we will stay stuck in hyperobject problems, problems that are huge objects, extended over mass space and time, and effecting us all the time, like global climate change, racism and ineffectual politics.
From respecting science as an indispensable form of knowing, to seeing that science is always contextual and truth always tentative; that reality always holds deeper truths, to a systems view of life, to panpsychism, that consciousness is everywhere in the universe and “as real” as matter and space, Stein opens the door for us to personally more deeply enter into these big questions in our own lives and communities.
>>> Download the Paper Here <<<
Reimagining Humanity’s Identity
Responding to the Second Shock of Existence
Paper by Academic Director of CIW Zachary Stein & President Marc Gafni Published at World Future Review.
Abstract: Foreshadowing arguments from the forthcoming book, Towards a New Politics of Outrageous Love, this paper suggests that humanity is in the throes of a species wide identity crisis, precipitated by a broadening awareness of our impending self-inflicted extinction. This growing awareness that humanity is responsible for its own fate and the fate of the planet is referred to as the second shock of existence. The second shock has spawned a great deal of discussion about the need for revolutions in technological, economic, and ecological infrastructures, yet this focus on exteriors addresses only half the picture. Comparable revolutions of our interiors must also take place—radical transformations in the very structure of our consciousness and species-wide self-understanding. This is a call for attending to the interior dimensions of the current global crises, recommending in the strongest possible terms that tremendous energy and resources be rechanneled into planning for the vast educational reconfigurations facing humanity in the coming decades.
Keywords: Global crises; Integral Theory; Human Identity; Unique Self Theory; Cultural Evolution
Because of the current state of copyright law we only provide a pre-publication draft of this paper. There are bound to be errors that were corrected as the manuscript went through to press, so please track down the published version before citing any of this material or contact us for permission.
Stein, Z. & Gafni, M. (2015). Reimagining humanity’s identity: responding to the second Shock of existence. World Future Review. 7(1) 1-10. [pdf]
From the paper:
Today, in the maelstrom of post-modernity we are collectively facing the second shock of existence*, which is the realization that the survival of the entire human race is in danger.Moreover, we now face this second shock—this awareness of the mortality of the species—precisely because of the actions that followed in the wake of the first shock. Our attempts to build a world that would insulate us from death have brought us to a point where we must now face death on a scale that is almost unimaginable. The more perceptive among us know that it is our own actions that brought us to this point, and we know that it is only by our own actions that we might avoid the apocalyptic scenarios that haunt our collective imagination. Nothing defines our era more than the dawning awareness of the possibility of the self-inflicted extinction of the human race.
We suggest that, in fact, the second shock of existence is an important, necessary, and world-historical millstone in the evolution of consciousness and culture. The first shock made us aware that death threatens the meaning of each individual’s existence; the second shock teaches that self-inflicted extinction threatens the meaning of the whole species’ existence. Just as the first shock was necessary in furthering humanity’s mature and complex relation to the universe, so the second shock is necessary as a further impetus toward greater maturity and complexity. However, whereas the first shock served to separate us from nature and each other, the second shock will serve to reunite us with the natural world and weave the diverse strands of our now fragmented global culture into a common humanity. The second shock is awakening us to the patterns that connect all of humanity as part of a common destiny, a destiny intimately tied into the future of the biosphere. The second shock is a deepening of humanity’s awareness of its place in the universe; it results in the dawning awareness of our profound ethical obligations as the sole stewards of humanity and the planet.
Humanity is now in a situation where we recognize (for the first time, really) that our ability to exploit nature is profoundly limited—we have run up against very real physical boundaries to our continued existence. At the same time, in some sectors, there is a dawning realization that we are already in possession of an unlimited resource—the power of human creativity and innovation, a realm in which there is no scarcity. The tensions between these two realities—dangerous scarcity alongside inspiring plentitude—define our age. It is an age in which heaven competes with hell for a chance to be born. Culturally, this has given us two camps: the pessimists and the optimists, both focused on the state of our techno-economic-ecological exteriors. Techno-Optimists see a future in which our current techno-economic systems are salvaged, re-designed, and made increasingly scientific, efficient, and profitable; we will avert ecological disaster by creating a hyper-scientific, human controlled Heaven on Earth. Pessimists see these very attempts at continued scientific control and economic growth as the problem, sensing that the technologically wrought future they yield will give us more of what we’ve already had for nearly a century: a techno-economic system that decimates communities and ecosystems, and that will eventually degrade the Earth until the biosphere is simply unable to sustain life. Both pessimists and optimists focus on external systems, processes, resources, technologies, and economies. When they speak of crises they refer to broken or scarce things (broken ecosystems, unhealthy food, toxic air, failing schools, etc.). When they speak of innovation, they mean the creation of new and better things (healthy forests, organic food, new energy technologies, fresh air, good schools, etc). The future is in the balance for both camps, no doubt, and they both set their focus on the impacts of science, with a focus on sustainability and the physical continuity of life as we know it.
*The term Second Shock was coined by Mauk Pieper, see Pieper, M. Humanity’s Second Shock and Your Unique Self. (Independent Publishing, 2014).
Zak Stein on the Global Crises of Measurement
Whose Measures, Whose Future?
The post-modern world is overrun with measures and standards. And although we may not realize it, much of the anomie and injustice of the post-modern lifeworld is a result of the proliferation of measures and standards. Today we do not face the pathology of the “one-dimensional man” who is distorted to fit into one or a few abstract standards (although in some places and institutions, we still face that). The post-modern condition involves the fragmentation humanity, a multi-perspectival personality, refracted through a prism of standardized differentiations and mass-customizations…. Here is more footage from the ITC. The whole video can be purchased through the Meta-Integral Foundation.
I’ve placed the relevant excerpts from the paper below: Stein, Z. (in review). Desperate measures: the global crises of measurement and their meta-theoretical solutions. Paper prepared for the 4th Biannual Integral Theory Conference, Sonoma, CA. July 2015. [pdf] [pdf_slides]
Global Crises of Measurement: Whose Measures, Whose Future?
To help gain an overview the situation with regards to post-modern planetary measurement infrastructures, I’ll follow a common trope in critical meta-theory, from Habermas (1973) and Bhaskar (1993) to Harvey (2014), and talk in terms of a series of crises. What follow are best understood as crisis because they are systemic, endemic, and signal a need for deep structural transformation (in the strictly Wilberian (1995; 1999; 2006) sense of the term, as a need for vertical structural transcendence and reorganization). All of these crises are interconnected, ricocheting between the system and the lifeworld, and around the quadrants and planes of social being. I cannot detail each of the six crises here due to limitations of space, so I offer only overviews and allusions.
Economic crisis: poverty, inequality, and econometrics
It has been known for some time that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a simplistic misrepresentation of the health of any national economy; it is also a poor index of cultural modernity, human rights violations, and democracy (Sen, 1982). Yet GDP continues to be discussed in a serious manner and continues to drive national economic agendas. Similarly, most representations of profit, the so-called bottom line, are also gross simplifications of what makes a company valuable. In both cases a simplistic quantitative index is use in summary, and in place of richer qualitative analysis, or even just a more complex quantitative analysis with multiple parameters.
From Deconstruction to Reconstruction: Marc Gafni and the ‘Unique Self’ – A White Paper by Kathy Brownback
In her recent white paper from January 2014 Kathy Brownback, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy at the highly respected Phillips Exeter Academy, discusses how the Unique Self teaching goes to the heart of the deepest questions that students have asked her throughout the years. In her words:
Most likely you’ve asked yourself some of the same questions I’ve been asked by […] students:
- “People keep telling me to be myself, but I don’t really know who that is. I feel pulled in so many directions.”
- Do we have free will, at all? Or are we totally determined by our genes, and conditioned by our environment?”
- “Why, in the midst of all they have, are so many people angry and dissatisfied? Can I hope to avoid this? Why is there so much addiction? Why depression, among people who have so much to offer?”
- “I haven’t found any kind of God I can believe in, yet I somehow feel there is something more to life. Your thoughts?”
- “Are science and religion looking at the same world? They seem so contradictory. Your husband is a physicist. Do you argue about this?”
- “Is there such a thing as truth? Is there anything I can be certain of?”
- “Do you think life has some kind of point, or meaning? Or is it, as Shakespeare said, ‘a tale told by an idiot’? It really feels that way. Then all of sudden, even though I have no real answers, the feeling goes away.”
She also asks what role contemplative practices should play in education and academic life and what they might have to do with the study of science, or the humanities and the arts. Should they have a place in the curriculum?[Read more…]
The World is a Waiting Lover
The Story of Krishna
We’re going to finish with a holy story that I will read you from my heart, from the mirror of the heart. It’s the great story of the goddess Radah.
You know that many mortal women make love to Krishna, and Krishna is the sensuous God, the child, the lover. He was often caught stealing butter. He would walk among the villages in the hot, moist, Indian land, and he called the women to join him for an afternoon of lovemaking. Age didn’t matter, the rolls of the belly didn’t matter, gray hair or black hair didn’t matter, curve of the breast didn’t matter, marital status didn’t matter. Krishna loved all women and all men, and Krishna wanted to be loved in turn.
Stream Audio here and read further below:
New Article on "Loving Your Way to Enlightenment"
Working on our exciting new Web-Plex that is soon to be launched, we have just published a brand-new article by Annie Lalla & Marc Gafni about the spiritual path of “Loving Your Way to Enlightenment.” It will be a part of our new World Spirituality Portal as well as the book project by Chahat Corten Loving Your Way to Enlightenment which organizes Marc Gafni’s World Spirituality teachings on love as both the path and goal of spirituality.
And don’t miss Annie Lalla and Marc Gafni teaching at Kripalu Retreat Center on June 6-8, 2014 on Loving Your Way to Enlightenment: The Path of Outrageous Love – A weekend workshop with Marc Gafni & Annie Lalla: Through a set of powerful teachings, insights, meditative transmission, movement, chant, and partner work, Marc Gafni and Annie Lalla explore the path of the outrageous lover and teach you how to ignite the experience of outrageous love within yourself.
Loving Your Way to Enlightenment
by Marc Gafni and Annie Lalla
We have killed all the Gods except for Aphrodite. Aphrodite is the goddess of True Love. True Love is the altar before most of us still worship. Our new sacred credo is “I love you.” Our true sacred credo is usually revealed when the stakes are the highest—at our moment of death. When planes hit the World Trade Center and people had a few seconds to live, they called home and recited the credo, I love you.
And yet somehow our spiritual world of practice has become separated from our world of love. Our enlightenment studies seem to often point us beyond personal love, which is viewed as the realm of attachment and separate self.
It is for that reason that we want to invite you to a new spiritual path: The path of Loving Your Way to Enlightenment.
Enlightenment is knowing your true nature. Your true nature however is not just one taste as some are wont to say. It is two tastes. In Yoga terms we might say that your true nature is Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is being. Shakti is becoming. Shiva is your deep sense of being. It is the deep impersonal unchanging essence that lives in and as your deepest identity. Your Shakti nature is more connected to the dynamic dance of becoming. Shakti is the love intelligence that lives awake in you and as you. The impersonal enlightenment of Shiva may be available sitting in meditation alone. But if you awake to the realization that your true nature is personal Shakti love, then just sitting meditation will not get you there. This is not the personal before the impersonal but the personal beyond the impersonal. You will have to awaken to your true nature as personal love. Or said differently you have to “love your way to enlightenment.”
Read the whole article here>>>
Unique Self and the Future of Medicine
Our Board of Directors members Venodhar Rao Julapalli, M.D. and Vinay Rao Julapalli, M.D., F.A.C.C. have written an exciting white paper about Unique Self and the Future of Medicine and we have just published it on our website.
There is a dire need for the integration of the art, science, and morality of medicine. This paper explores the deep implications of the Unique Self in integrating medicine. Co-authors and physicians Venu and Vinay Julapalli call on their extensive understanding of the promises and pitfalls of modern health care to reconceive the practice of medicine. The paper provides the framework to evolve medicine through the emergent Unique Self insight. At stake is no less than the future of how we care for ourselves and each other.
Read the introduction and download the whole article here.
The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 6
Two Faces of All That Is
This is the animating impulse that moved eastern spiritual teaching, motivated by love, to seek to free you from the illusion of separate self. Their great mistake was to jettison Uniqueness along with separateness by conflating the two in a way that was both unnecessary and wrong. This confusion of separateness and uniqueness forgot that you could be both part of the whole and a distinct part at the same time. The recovering of that memory is essential to healing the fractured and broken self. The dignity of the part can be held even as your are connected to the whole. You are part of the seamless coat of the universe. Seamless, but not featureless. You can transcend your exclusive identification with your part nature, the ego, even as you identify with the larger whole. But that does not mean that your unique part nature is absorbed in the whole. Rather, it is integrated in the seamless coat of reality without compromising its unique features.
The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 5
God in the First Person:
“All at once I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant, I thought of fire and immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the next I knew that the fire was in myself. Directly afterward there came upon me as sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Among other things, I did not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not composed of dead matter, but is on the contrary, a living presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life. It was not a conviction that I would have an eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal, that the cosmic order is such that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world, of all worlds, is what we call love, and that the happiness of each and all is in the long run absolutely certain.”
God in the Second Person addressing man:
I will be united with you in marriage forever
I will be united to you in marriage through justice and righteousness
I will be united with you in marriage through overflowing love and compassion
I will be united with you in marriage in complete trust
And you will erotically know the divine
Hosea the Prophet: 2: 21- 23
Only someone who lacks both of these realizations can identify all that is as merely a process or impulse. Realization teaches that the all that is expresses as a process or an evolutionary impulse, but that God is process plus personal, not process minus personal.
The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 4
It is precisely this fellowship of prayer and prophecy, which we might refer to as the second face of God. In this pointing out instruction, God in the first person would be the face of god you feel flowing through you in meditation. God in the third person would be the face of God reflected in your radical amazement at the wonder and infinite intelligence displayed in every nook and cranny of existence. God in the second person is in the mystery of the encounter between God and Man. A relationship of intimacy is revealed between the finite and the infinite. All of the infinite power, glory, and intelligence of the first person and third person of the divine were felt and revealed as relationship in the second encounter between the prophet and God. The precise flip side of prophecy is prayer. In their essence, they are the same. Both are expressions of the fellowship between man and God. The difference is simply this. In prophecy, God initiates and God invokes. In prayer, man initiates and man invokes.
The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 3
The sense of peril resulting from direct contact with the divine ground has nothing to do with any ideas that the people are sinful or the god wrathful. It is more like the famous question of the Bhagavad Gita: “Suppose a thousand suns should rise together in the sky,” what would happen to our reality? How can the individual hope to survive contact with Source? Source incarnates all the energy and power in the Cosmos and infinitely beyond.
Presence by its very nature overwhelms all individual existence.
This strange and awesome paradox is resolved not by theory, but in the very experience of the encounter itself. The living presence of the divine “which is the suchness and substance of all that is” not only IS but is also FOR man. The person experiences an overpowering concern, in which they are held, cared for, recognized, and loved–within the very encounter itself. So the paradox of the encounter is that it is, on one hand, overwhelming and at the same time radically affirming. The individual is rendered powerless, almost lifeless before the divine, even as the individual is enlivened and empowered.
The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 2
The most powerful expression of this realization is in the prophetic encounter with the divine mystery. This encounter runs like a thread from Abraham and Sarah to Moses, Miriam, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the larger legions of prophecy. As America’s second president John Adams has already noted, the best of everything Western man knows about freedom, love, ethics, and responsibility emerges from the great encounter between the finite and the infinite.
The Encounter with other marks the emergence of the pre-personal slumber. The baby encounters other even as the emergent human being who experiences his separate self turns to other. The encounter–relationship–is born as the central dynamic of human existence.
The God of the Encounter: The Glory of the Personal, Part 1
(part 1 of 6)
The realization of the personal which has been derided as the separate self or ego is so important that I want to ask you to enter this even more deeply with me. You need to feel a sense of this realization in your own being. You need to feel the love and care implicit and explicit in the loving personal address of the Cosmos.
There is clear a moment in where you will need to move beyond separate self and realize the underlying unity of all that is as the seamless coat of the universe. You will need to trance-end the merely personal to realize the next station on the road to your enlightenment. This will engender in you a profound love. It will open your heart in a radical and unconditional way. It will move you beyond alienation into full integration and power.
Some Observations on the Changing Quality of Individual and Group Expression from the Sacred Vessel of the New Human/The Unique Self
Unique Self Essay by Julia Press, M.S.W.
Let me begin by telling you that until about a month ago, I had not known of Marc Gafni. My husband introduced me to Marc's Internet videos on Unique Self. With enthusiasm he told me that Marc was saying so many of the things I have been bringing forward to our gathering community. Upon watching the videos, the joy that burst forth from within me was beyond description. I immediately sent away for YOUR UNIQUE SELF and RADICAL KABBALAH, Books 1 and 2. I feasted on these sacred writings on each of the following three weekends. Page after page, Marc was describing the very experiences and understandings that have unfolded over the years of my own being's evolution and in my work midwifing souls on the path of consciousness. I felt I had known Marc for years. For me, there is the added nectar of Marc's saturation with Kabbalah which has been and is in great part my own portal and path into the deep mystical realms of understanding and living life.
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