Daily Wisdom: How do you embody nondual wisdom?

From “Walking the Talk: the Principles and Practices of Embodied Spirituality,” by Mariana Caplan:

I was 24 years old when I arrived in India for the first time. I had only a one-way ticket, a change of clothes, my journal, and a small handful of cash. Not an Indian rupee nor a guidebook to my name. My sole intention for that trip was to learn to listen to, and follow, the true voice of the heart. Even at that time I had done enough spiritual practice and psychological work to understand that not every voice that came from within was the voice of the heart. That there were, as Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff taught, multiple “I’s” within each of us. I knew the true voice of the heart had near-doubles, imitations, and even outright sabotaging impostors, as well as sincere but unobjective aspects of the self that did their best to provide spiritual guidance from within but whose voice still did not represent the innermost voice of the heart.

Yet even armed with that awareness, what I could not have appreciated so early in my spiritual search was the immensity of the task before me””that I must learn not only to access the true voice of the heart, but to then integrate that understanding into the body on a cellular level, into the deep grooves of psychological conditioning, into all aspects of daily life. To integrate that nondual source of wisdom into every microfiber of dualistic expression. I could not have imagined then that the mere insight into nondual reality””as awe-inspiring and life-changing as it is””was merely the beginning of the spiritual journey rather than its completion. That I could not and would not be satisfied until I could find a way to integrate that nondual wisdom such that it would gradually transmute all aspects of my experience””from intimate relationships and friendships, to sexuality, to child raising, to my relationship with the environment. I simply could not have known what such an integration would require. How potent and stubborn our mental habits and repetitive thought-forms are; how deeply the conditioning of karma, psychology, and a society based on ignorance, scarcity, and fear had worked its way into the cellular structure of the body. To embody my nondual insight and experience would be no small task.

Read the full article.

How does the word “awake” symbolize enlightenment itself?

By Joe Perez

On Integral Thinkers, I post the first in a series of columns on what I am calling integral phonosemantics. The topic of the first column is the significance of the sound symbolism for the English word "awake." I suggest that the very sound of the word offers us a picture or enactment of the phenomenon of enlightenment.

From "My Philosophy of Life Begins with “Awake-ness”:

Language, I discovered, possesses a wisdom only glimpsed darkly by the New Age books on numerology which promise to tell you how your destiny is determined at birth by your given name. Language is magical, but not in that sort of way. Everything essential about awakeness that I already knew was already available to me simply by listening to the sound of the word broken down into its parts (called phonemes), and then feeling carefully into my body as it pronounced the word. I began to recover lost knowledge of the word by feeling proprioceptively.

The phonosemantics (sound symbolism) of the word “awake” align with the story I will tell you about awake-ness in the English language. The word begins in a neutral /É™/ vowel, in linguistics, schwa, a term meaning that an unobstructed breath is pronounced in the middle of the mouth's vertical axis and the center of the mouth's horizontal axis.

From there, out of absolute neutrality, it finds its “way,” a sound symbol that begins with /w/, the labio-velar approximant consonant, meaning that it is made by articulating with the lips and dorsum, the back part of the tongue. In my comparative studies of sound symbolism in conjunction with a wide variety of cross-cultural maps of subtle energy, I concluded that in terms of the traditional Chinese vocabulary for subtle energy, there is no English vowel more yin than /É™/.

Thus, at the outset, the phoneme connotes something which begins in utter neutrality or formlessness and then begins a process. The sounds are labial (articulated with the lips), which my study of sound symbolism suggests that being at the front of the mouth convey the undertone of beginnings to things. For instance, when /b/, the voiced labial fricative, starts a word it symbolizes such things as “Big Bang,” and “Begin” and “Be.”)

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Daily Wisdom: Unique Perspective – an Absolute Quality of Essence

Every evolved culture and every evolved individual may realize Unique Self when True Self awakens to its Unique Perspective. An early expression of this equation is sourced in pre-modernity in the great teachings of the Kabbalists. For these masters, the sacred text of the Torah is the word of God. Yet, paradoxically, in Hebrew mystical teaching a human being who is deeply grounded in True Self while fully incarnating his or her own uniqueness, also speaks the word of God!

Human insight HOWEVER is considered the word of God and, given the status of Torah, only when it derives directly from the clarified unique perspective of a human being who is connected to the ground of True Self. In this radical teaching the supreme identity between the human being and the godhead is only realized through the paradoxical portal of radical human uniqueness. Irreducible uniqueness, the full inhabiting of unique perspective or voice, is revealed to be an absolute quality of essence.

Dr. Marc Gafni
from:  Perspectives as Post-modern Revelation

Daily Wisdom: First things first

From Ken Wilber’s “A Spirituality That Transforms”:

Even though you and I might deeply believe that the most important function we can perform is to offer auhentic transformative spirituality, the fact is, much of what we have to do, in our capacity to bring decent spirituality into the world, is actually to offer more benign and helpful modes of translation. In other words, even if we ourselves are practicing, or offering, authentic transformative spirituality, nonetheless much of what we must first do is provide most people with a more adequate way to translate their condition. We must start with helpful translations, before we can effectively offer authentic transformations.

The reason is that if translation is too quickly, or too abruptly, or too ineptly taken away from an individual (or culture), the result, once again, is not breakthrough but breakdown, not relapse but collapse.

To read the whole article, see KenWilber.com.

Marc Gafni on Post-Postmodern Art: A New Article in Parabola Magazine

By Marc Gafni

Artist Claudia Kleefeld is not the first person to see the symbol of the spiral as being a portal to a vision of a coherent cosmos. She is original in that she is a first-rate, old-master-style artist with thirty years of training, who paints the spiral as an expression of an Eros of certainty that asserts the utter meaningfulness, depth, and order of the cosmos. Kleefeld’s paintings emerge from her own opened eye of the spirit and speak directly to the higher spiritual intuition of her viewers. Finally, Kleefeld is unusual in that she is part of an emergent form of art, which seeks to reveal the enchantment of a cosmos ”” a cosmos that is good, true, and beautiful.

I am delighted to present an article which celebrates the work of Claudia Kleefeld, one of the brightest shining lights in the universe of art today. My new article, “Post-postmodern Art: A Return to Belonging,” is now published in the latest issue of Parabola Magazine.

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Marc Gafni’s “From Sex to Eros” appearing in Spanda Journal

Marc Gafni was recently featured in Spanda Journal, the peer-reviewed biannual publication of the Spanda Foundation.

The Spanda Foundation offers publications related to “sustainable advancement of peace, knowledge, and understanding.”

Marc’s article, entitled “The Future of the Holy: From Sex to Eros,” begins like so:

“Sex. Is there anything else that so grabs our rapt attention, inessantly pursues us, occupies our daydreams, fantasies, and yearnings? The kabbalists state the obvious: God is trying to get our attention. Now I am not talking about the God who sends good people to burn in hell because they slipped up on one of his impossible demands. nor even the Grandfather in heaven who hands out chocolate to do-gooders. Forget that God. The God you don’t believe in doesn’t exist. Rather, the God that exists for us is the personal erotic life force that courses through reality. The God we believe in is the vitality of eros. The God we believe in is the force for healing and transformation in the world. The God who knows our name. That is the God who so clearly calls out to us that sex is the answer.”

For the entire article, click: SPANDAJOURNAL_C&D2.0_Marc_Gafni.

See: Gafni, M. (2012). “The Future of the Holy: from Sex to Eros”, Spanda Journal, ed. S. Momo, III,1: 131-139.

Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 5 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for Integral Wisdom think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

Implications: A Great Voice Which Does Not Cease

Some teachers have taught that revelation heard long ago at Mount Sinai when God spoke to human beings was an event occurring once in the lifetime of the universe, calling it according to its biblical phrasing, “A great voice which did not continue.” Again, the mystics insist that another reading is possible. In the original Hebrew, the phrase “did not continue” can paradoxically be read as “did not cease.” The voice of Sinai is accessible even after the echoes of the original revelation are long since lost in the wind. The voice of revelation has never ended.

So if the voice still continues, in what form does it live on?

It thrives in the voice of the human being who speaks from the silence. This is what I have termed Silence of Presence. When we listen deeply, we are able to uncover the God-voice within us. We become present in the silence. We are called by the presence–the God-voice within us–that wells up from the silence.

Indeed the entire cultural –spiritual enterprise of the Judaic spirit in the post biblical age is to hear the voice, even in – some would say especially in – the silence. The Biblical age ended when God stopped talking. For the Buddhist, even if one were to assume some notion of divinity – there is clearly no such absurdity as a talking God. For the Hebrew however, the essence of divinity is a talking God. Indeed the Hebrew God of the Bible talks almost endlessly, pouring out 24 books of divinely spoken or inspired word – the Hebrew Canon. What to do then when God stops talking and retreats into silence? In the interpretive reaction to this silence Judaism and early Christianity parted ways. For Christianity the cessation of speech by a talking God could only be a portent of divine withdrawal of favor. They interpreted the silence as a silence of absence. God no longer talked to the Hebrews for he had chosen a New Israel. The post prophetic Hebrews however refused to accept this understanding of God’s silence. This is the silence, not of abandonment they insisted – but of mature love. It is not silence of absence but silence of presence. Imbued with intense and profound religious passion they listened to the silence and insisted that they heard God talking. That speech is the Halachic enterprise, which insists on the radical presence of the divine in every facet of existence. It is only in this sense that we understand the Rabbinic comment after the temple’s destruction, “God’s presence in this world now rests in the four cubits of Halacha”. It is not a statement of dejection or resignation – it is rather the confident commitment of the lover.

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Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 4 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay by Marc Gafni is published as a white paper of the Center for Integral Wisdom think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

Ten Words to Live By

The second biblical myth word symbol of freedom is actually mistranslated into English as the Ten Commandments. The people, so the story goes, having fled Egypt, gather at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Of course, nowhere in the biblical myth is there any mention of Ten Commandments. Here is where the old witty maxim, “Reading the bible in translation is like kissing a woman through a veil,” becomes not altogether untrue. In the original Hebrew, the people receive at Sinai not Ten Commandments but “Ten Words.” Here Voice becomes Word, the articulation of speech. It is the beginning of the vision that follows revolution.

The third word symbol is no less than the word “Messiah.” “Messiah” in the original Hebrew is understood by the Kabbalists, quite astoundingly, to mean “conversation.” Master Nachum of Chernobyl, mystic and philosopher, points out that the Hebrew word for messiah, Mashiach, can be understood as the Hebrew word Ma-siach – meaning “from dialogue” or “of conversation.” His assertion radically implies that the Messiah is potentially present in every human conversation””every mutual act of voice-giving.

All authentic conversation is sacred conversation. The ability to have an honest face-to-face talk in which both sides are true to themselves, vulnerable and powerful at the same time, is Messianic.

Simply put, sacred conversation is the vessel that receives the light of Messiah.

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Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 3 of 5)

By Marc Gafni

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for World Spirituality think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

The Second Stage: from Silence to Sound

The beginning of freedom is the emergence of voice. This stage is expressed both by the initial cry of the Israelite slaves that broke their silence, as well as by Moses’ arrival on the scene. “When Moses came, voice came,” writes the Zohar. Moses does what the charismatic revolutionary always does: he gives voice to the people. Indeed, biblical myth text records the beginning of redemption with the following words: “”¦It came to pass in the course of many days that the King of Egypt died and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage and they cried out and their cry came up unto God.” The enslaved Israelites are received by the presence of God at the point when they move from the dumb silence of the slave to sound which is the beginning of speech, the characteristic of a free people. This “cry” is not an elegantly articulated protest – it is a cry as in the cry of a wolf, or the cry of an infant. It is primal, impassioned, pre-civilized, a howl of protest that makes it into the halls of heaven, heard by God himself.

For the first time the enslaved can express distress. They seek to articulate words that are not yet ready to form themselves on their lips. At this stage of moving toward freedom, we do not yet know how to tell our story. We do not know what we would do with the world if it were given over to our stewardship. We just know that we must protest.

The biblical myth symbol (Leviticus 25) for the transition from slavery to freedom is the primal blast of a ram’s horn. No trumpet of gold, it is rather the rawness of the ram’s horn that captures the slave’s first fitful sounds. The first thing a revolutionary movement must do is sound its ram horn–start a newspaper, set up a radio station, build an internet site. It is not by accident that the fundamentalist and totalitarian states are trying to disallow or severely limit internet access. Freedom’s beginnings are expressed in the first shouts of protest.

The sixties and seventies were such second-stage revolutionary generations. This helps explain why so many sixties hippies became late seventies and early eighties yuppies and then transformed again into the establishment of the nineties. The feeling of distress generated protest – sound and even the first glimmerings of voice–but there was no alternative vision of society to generate “speech.” Similarly, many third world revolutionaries reflect such second stage thinking. Consequently, as we all know, that not a few third world revolutionaries became the leaders of far more repressive regimes than the ones they overthrew. Because they lacked speech to articulate the primal manifestations of voice, they needed to repress all of their own pain, the very distress and disease that initially led to the revolution.

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Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 2 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for Integral Wisdom think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

The First Stage: The Silence of Absence

The aforementioned passage in the Zohar (Exodus 25a) suggests that there are three distinct stages in the continuum from slavery to freedom. The first stage is silence. The second stage involves moving from silence to sound without speech. And the third stage is speech–voice and articulated word.

In the first stage, slavery, we are mute and dumb. We live our lives without ever really crying out. The routines of the everyday deaden our sense of injustice, and our passions atrophy amid the narrowness of Egypt, when all sounds are smothered in our throats. In the biblical myth, the people were silent in the first stage of exile in Egypt. The pain broke their spirits and they became mute–no longer able to even cry out, much less to express the injustices with the eloquence of speech. We all have touched a fraction of that experience when, after a protracted argument, we are so worn down that we lack the strength to protest even the most blatant offenses of those who oppose or oppress us.

In a less familiar reading of the biblical story, Talmudic masters suggest that the slavery in Egypt was not of the usual kind. In fact, the Israelites were successful and prosperous. However, the deadening quality and comfort of their routine had anesthetized the sensitivity to their own wounds of alienation. How many of us suffer and hurt, yet remain fundamentally unaware of our suffering, deadened by the soma pills of the expected, and the narrow straits of success?

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Foundations for World Spirituality: Learning the Language of God (Part 1 of 5)

Editor’s note: The following essay is published as a white paper of the Center for Integral Wisdom think tank. Our Spirit’s Next Move blog is pleased to announce the paper’s availability.

“As the Kabbalists point out, the word Moses spelled backwards is Ha Shem, meaning ‘the name.’ Importantly, Ha-shem in biblical Hebrew also is the most common reference to God’s name. When you respond to your call and realize your soul print, fully becoming your name, you become one with God. When Moses did this, he found his voice, he became a prophet.”

By Marc Gafni

To live your story is to move from a state of slavery to freedom. Slavery is not limited to our old image of the oppressed Hebrew or black slave being whipped by the cruel master. We are all potentially free, just as we are all potentially slaves. Our intent in this brief essay is to at least begin to unpack a core intuition of the Zohar that a free person is a person who has found voice. As we shall see in the very last paragraphs of this discussion the implications of freedom are wondrous indeed!

The Hebrew name for the Passover Storytelling Ritual, which celebrates and reenacts the dynamic movement from slavery to freedom, is Pe-Sach. Renaissance mystic Isaac Luria reminded us that Pe-Sach is a combination of two words Peh, meaning “mouth,” and Sach, meaning “talk.” Pe- Sach, therefore, means the mouth that talks.

One school of Hasidic masters unpacks this idea by defining redemption as the emergence of speech. To move from a dumb and mute existence to a communal storytelling existence is to undergo redemptive transformation. “To be redeemed,” writes one mystic, “is to lead a history-making, storytelling, communing, free existence.” To be in exile is to lack history, tell no story, fail to commune, and exist as a slave, silent.

The most oft cited source for this idea is a stunning passage in the Zohar which describes the Egyptian slavery as the “exile of speech.” In Kabbalah, every biblical nation represents a different organ of the body; Egypt represents the throat. The mystics read the Hebrew word “Egypt” literally as meaning narrowness. The throat is, of course, the narrow, constricted passage between the wide spaces of the heart and mind. The narrow throat, Egypt, is thus the ideal symbol for the exile of speech. Speech remains caught in the throat, in the dark passage, and can’t make it to freedom’s gateway, the mouth. Redemption comes in the birth of the word. In the actual process of your retelling, you reclaim your story. But to be capable of retelling your story you need voice. Redemption then is the process of finding voice.

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Love in Action: Unique Self – Unique Projects

Integral Project Development: a way to consciously and actively participate in the Evolution of LOVE

By Kerstin Tuschik

So, alright: Let's talk about Love!

For me, Love has always been the One force that moves the whole universe: the mysterious drive behind the big bang, the cosmic glue that linked elementary particles to atoms, atoms to molecules, molecules to cells, cells to organisms, up and up the evolutionary spiral until we get to human beings. And of course it doesn't end here, but continues to expand our consciousness and drives our social and cultural development as a species as well as on a very personal scale.

Love for me is another name for God.

Yet, if all of this is so, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do people kill each other in wars about their respective worldviews? Why do more than 900 million people suffer from hunger worldwide while we are throwing food away, and we would technically be able to supply everyone with enough food? Why”¦? (Fill in your favorite Why here!)

The evolution of Love depends on us! God depends on us!

Growing up – responsibility for the creation process

The childhood of humanity is over, collectively we have approached adolescence with all the chaos this brings, and at least some of us are starting to grow into adulthood. Growing up here means to become conscious co-creators, partners of God, of Love, of evolution, and of course this also brings increased responsibility. Our actions and non-actions have an impact on All-That-Is. Let's not become paralyzed by this, but do our homework to learn to master the creation process”¦

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Tears and Transformation: Toward the Redemption of a Crying God

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

Excerpted from Chapters 1, 10, and 11 of Reclaiming Rosh Hashanah: The Dance of Tears (forthcoming, Integral Publishers)

Summary: In this essay, excerpted from Marc Gafni's forthcoming publication Reclaiming Rosh Hashanah: The Dance of Tears, we encounter biblical myth character Rachel and her three levels of tears of transformation: human empathy for the suffering of other human beings, human empathy for the pain of God, and empathy of God for man. These three strands of Rachel's tears form “a sacred circle of nondual love,” according to Marc in this passage. Furthermore, these tears of redemption express a core idea in Hebrew wisdom: “The human being, by engaging the Rachel archetype and entering into the pain of the Shechina in exile, can””through his tears””realize his ontic identity with the Shechina herself, and in this very realization, be aroused to great compassion and achieve redemption.” This excerpt introduces the mystical techniques of the crying of transformation and the transformation of crying. It is by accessing these tears that we offer redemption for a crying God.

In order to fully appreciate the nature of Rosh Hashanah theatre and the dance of tears, it is necessary to point out the implicit distinction between this biblical form of holy day theatre and the concept of theatre inherited by western civilization from ancient Greece. In classical Greek theatre, the operative principle was Aristotle's understanding of catharsis. Catharsis for Aristotle meant the purging of the emotions.

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Marc Gafni’s Visit to Exeter Report by Kathy Brownback

Marc Gafni visits Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH June 6-8

Dr. Marc Gafni flew into Boston on his way back from Holland in early June, and came up to Exeter an hour north to meet with us (Phillips Exeter is an independent boarding school for students with strong academic promise from around the United States and the world). Students in the mysticism class in the religion department, who were nearly all seniors just about to graduate, had read and really liked Marc's unique self teaching and were thrilled to hear that he was coming. When eros is named and separated from the solely sex-shop connotation of “erotic,” they all know what it is and they understand why it is important to expand and reclaim the word.

Marc linked it directly to the electrical thread of uniqueness in their own lives and to their obligation to find and follow it. It means a lot to them not to have this framed as a “head vs. heart” or “mind vs. body” conundrum””in his teaching the two are inseparable and give access to each other. Marc's work speaks to students in a remarkable way””they often seem to have an almost instinctive feel for and response to what he is saying, which does give the sense of an evolutionary process unfolding. I have written about his impact in this class before and will do so again.

Marc also met with a group of faculty members across disciplines””arts, science, religion, literature, language, history-- in a book group that meets every week for conversation on what/how/why we teach and learn. With Marc's visit we focused on the capacity to teach certainty in a post-postmodern world in which truth has been so radically deconstructed that hardly anyone uses the word””except for the passionate but limited attempts at re-construction by fundamentalists in every religion and political philosophy. We discussed the ways that the truths of science can become absolute--often nowadays by default, when the truths of the humanities mute themselves at Exeter and in the larger world.

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Interiors, Face, and the Reconstruction of Eros

By Dr. Marc Gafni

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

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

The First Face of Eros: On the Inside

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

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

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Conscious Capitalism: A Paradigm of Innovation and Transformation

Conscious Capitalist

Conscious CapitalistExecutive Summary

In March 2012 a group of prominent business leaders””including CEOs from Whole Foods, REI, the Container Store, IDEO, and 1800Flowers.com””met at Esalen to promote a more conscious paradigm of innovation, entrepreneurship, and free market capitalism. Building on the platform of ideas already being advocated by the Conscious Capitalism movement, this was the second conference in an annual series at Esalen that is helping to catalyze a new paradigm for doing business, Conscious Capitalism, which advocates simultaneously optimizing the interests of all stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, communities, and the planet, instead of maximizing shareholder value only. Recently, this new business paradigm has been gaining traction, as major companies realize that the conscious business paradigm is not simply a morally uplifting way to do business but actually results in greater economic gains and well”being for all constituents as well. Increasingly, this paradigm is showing that the embodiment of moral and spiritual values in the workplace also gives rise to greater employee productivity and customer loyalty.

In addition, during the second half of the conference the participants discussed new trends in innovation and design. Because governments cannot always solve troublesome social and ecological problems, creative design breakthroughs coming from the private, free market sector are likely to be applied more broadly in society. In particular, the cutting”edge innovation is revealing that open source and group collaborations often result in the smartest solutions that are most likely to endure.

Overall, this conference series aims to restore the nobility of free enterprise, the integration of business with society, and the spirit of innovation as the true cornerstones of capitalism. A more spiritually integrated, value”laden, socially collaborative, and ecologically sensitive””that is, conscious””form of business practice is now emerging. What follows is a summary of some of the best practices and emerging trends

Monday

On Monday morning, the Director of the Center for World Spirituality, MarcGafni, launched the week's conversations by suggesting that the conscious business paradigm is effectively integrating the Enlightenment of the West (individual dignity and free enterprise) with the Enlightenment of the East (mystical apprehension of the transcendent unity of humanity and life). When brought together into a new synthesis, these two Enlightenments reveal that one does not need to be separate from the concerns of others when living out one's Unique Self” (Gafni's term). As Gafni has put it:

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C. R. Paul’s Report on A Conference on Religious Diplomacy In Tehran and Qom, Islamic Republic of Ir (By Charles Randall Paul)

Iran

IranPreamble: The Theory Behind My Going to Iran

It is customary for politicians in the USA to end important speeches with a public prayer: “May God bless America.” It attempts to unite the people in support of a leader's program by signaling a majority consensus of the need for divine assistance to promote liberty and justice for all in a flourishing social order that does not perish from the earth. America is an exceptional place because it has not trashed its ideal of responsible freedom for all people even though it had to be chastened to repent of sins of theft of land from Indians and life from slaves. Americans uniquely have come over time to feel the vital importance of continuous contestation of fundamental religious beliefs and moral values without the majority imposing its belief system by violence or legal coercion (in most cases at least).

Americans, to continue their positive influence, now need to find the faith and courage to publicly ask God to bless The Islamic Republic of Iran and all the peoples in the Holy Land and Everyone Everywhere else too. A god that only blesses America is a deity too small for anyone to seriously worship these days. And we know it in our hearts. We need a strong defense program and a thriving economy and a rebirth of courage to use moral leadership in a cynical world that reduces all actions to acquisition of material power. So we have come to remember (9/11 helped) the third leg of social/political power is collective idealism””the purpose for which we desire to live as a society beyond being free, secure and wealthy.

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Perspectives as Post-modern Revelation (By Marc Gafni)

Prism

Prism

Photo Credit: Jason A. Samfield


By Marc Gafni

Every evolved culture and every evolved individual may realize Unique Self when True Self awakens to its Unique Perspective. An early expression of this equation is sourced in pre-modernity in the great teachings of the Kabbalists. For these masters, the sacred text of the Torah is the word of God. Yet, paradoxically, in Hebrew mystical teaching a human being who is deeply grounded in True Self while fully incarnating his or her own uniqueness, also speaks the word of God!

Human insight HOWEVER is considered the word of God and, given the status of Torah, only when it derives directly from the clarified unique perspective of a human being who is connected to the ground of True Self. In this radical teaching the supreme identity between the human being and the godhead is only realized through the paradoxical portal of radical human uniqueness. Irreducible uniqueness, the full inhabiting of unique perspective or voice, is revealed to be an absolute quality of essence.

In modernity and especially in post-modernity, the early realization of the Kabbalists in regard to the primacy of perspective takes center stage. There is an emergent cultural realization, placed front and center in Integral theory, that perspectives are foundational. But in post-modernity perspectives have to often been used as the key tool of post-modernity's deconstructive project. The sentence used to deny all truth is “that's just your perspective.”

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Every Detour Is the Destination (By Tom Goddard and Marc Gafni)

The Issue

Most, if not all, of us have chapters in our lives that feel like detours, or worse. A bad job, a nightmare relationship, a bout with drink, a regrettable move — sometimes all at once! Such times are characterized by anguish, or anger, or shame, or desperation — again, sometimes all at once.

Perhaps now is one such time. Perhaps a dominant thought these days is “how do I get out of this and move on to a better place?”

Perhaps not. Maybe this is a good time, with only an occasional look back at a particularly bad detour, a reminiscence tinged with shame or remorse. If we can tell the story of such a time, we tell it with justifiable anger or sadness.

Either way, whether the detours are in the rear view mirror or squarely in the here and now, our common reaction is to push them away from our experience. Life would be, or would have been, better without the detour.

The Dharma

But that’s just one level of understanding, and not necessarily the only one, or the “true” one. On one level of consciousness, at the level of separate self ego, it’s true. On a higher level of consciousness, you can hold this at a deeper level. At this higher, or deeper level of consciousness, you can behold the amazing realization that each such detour, no matter how painful, is or was essential to the unfolding, the realization, of my Unique Self.

Every detour is a destination. To know that every detour is a destination is the first step in turning your fate into your destiny.

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What does it mean to be fair?

Snow White

By Marc Gafni

What does it mean to be fair? In one sense being fair means to be just and good. To be fair is to be honest and have integrity.

Fairness implies appropriate weights and measure. To be fair means to give things the right weight and measure accurately.

When my sons were young the phrase that would indicate that they were the most upset or disturbed was the mixed English and Hebrew idiom, "Zeh Lo Fair." It's not fair. When they said that, they were appealing to a universal standard of the good and the just, which has ultimate natural authority.

The word "fair," however has a second meaning as well. To be fair means to be beautiful.

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