Michael Beckwith, Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni: Touching the Face of Tomorrow

Dr. Michael Beckwith is the Founder and Spiritual Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center, a trans-denominational spiritual community whose Sunday services in Culver City, California regularly draw 4,000 people. In his own words, “My aspiration is that every individual who is touched by the vibration of Agape is inspired to cultivate a heart of love as wide as the world.”

Rabbi Marc Gafni, now President of the Center for Integral Wisdom was then the Founder and Spiritual Director of Bayit Chadash, an international holistic movement rooted in, though not limited to, the Jewish Tradition. As Rabbi Marc shares, Bayit Chadash is “A new home for ancient souls.”

Rev. Michael begins the dialogue by sharing some of the history of Agape, as well as a few memorable anecdotes from his college years. It was, after all, as a young man studying psychobiology that his spontaneous recognition of “the Presence” first appeared—not to mention a host of other things that you wouldn’t want to tell your professor about. Now, decades later, Rev. Michael is redefining the term “higher education,” and he goes on to give some of the latest updates about the brand-new Agape University.

Rabbi Marc then turns the dialogue towards love. As he shares, the popular notion is that love is something that “happens to you”—like getting hit by lightning. Going on, he introduces the Kabbalist notion that love is not simply an emotion that happens to you, but is a deep spiritual perception that one can enact. Specifically, Reb. Marc is referring to a very high form of love, where one can perceive the nondual interconnectivity of all things, and all persons. As he points out, not only can this perception spontaneously drop upon you—”arousal from above”—but it can be actively engaged through practice (thereby transforming a state experience into a stage competence).

Ken takes a moment to situate the conversation in a kind of broader theoretical (AQAL) framework. As he explains, one of the great contributions of postmodern thought was its understanding that there is no such thing as perception, only perspectives. In the manifest world, there is no such thing as “pure perception,” because all perceptions are necessarily situated in the perspectives of the sentient beings in which those perceptions are arising. And, not only can one take a first-, second-, or third-person perspective on any given occasion, but the level of development of the individual taking those perspectives will fundamentally determine what the content of that occasion will be. Bringing it back to the current conversation, if someone isn‘t able to perceive, say, Divine Love, it‘s because they either aren’t open enough to access that perception as a state, or they aren’t developed enoughto access that perception as a stage.

Make no mistake about it, these three souls are exploring today’s spirituality; and in so doing, are touching the face of tomorrow. From the leading edge of Spirit’s own unfolding, an edge that appears to be nothing less than integral, what does it mean to describe the contours of Spirit?

Touching the Face of Tomorrow. Part 1. Perspectives, Perceptions, and Loving God.

Touching the Face of Tomorrow. Part 2. The Many Domains of Ministry.

Touching the Face of Tomorrow. Part 3. The Three Faces of God.

Stream the audios here:


Ken Wilber & Marc Gafni: A Political Pilgrimage to Your Highest Self

In this passionate dialogue, Rabbi Gafni, who is talking to us by phone from Israel, sets the context by relating the fact thatthree of his young son’s friends have recently been killed in “the mother of all conflicts”: the horribly sad and impossible situation that is the Middle East today.

Rabbi Marc and Ken outline numerous dimensions of the conflict. On what might be called a “horizontal” level, there are what Samuel Huntington called “the clash of civilizations,” or the conflicting cultures with th eir disparate histories. On a vertical level, there are the different stages, waves, or levels ofdevelopment that also seem to be involved. The capture of Saddam Hussein highlights,but does not change, these fundamental issues.

Of the many different and legitimate scales of vertical development, Marc and Ken make reference to Spiral Dynamics and a few of its colorterms, including: red (egocentric, power drives), blue (mythic orders, fundamentalist religion, traditionalist), orange (modern, rational-scientific), green (postmodern, sensitive self, cultural creatives, multicultural), and yellow (beginning of integral or comprehensive and inclusive). It is not necessary to know all the details of any of these developmental models in order to appreciate this dialogue, but if you would like a short introduction to Spiral Dynamics, please see “What Is Spiral Dynamics Integral.”

After discussing the impact of all of these dimensions on the Mid-East conflict, Rabbi Marc suggests a simple but profound gesture: a political pilgrimage from Ur to Jerusalem, sponsored by Integral Institute and Bayit Chadash, that would both represent, and call attention to, the radical necessity of an integral approach to this incredibly complex and difficult conflict.

A useless gesture, or the beginning of a new way toapproach a conflict where all other approaches have dramatically failed? Listen to this moving dialogue and see what you think. But one thing is certain: this is indeed the mother of all conflicts, and if we cannot find a way to gain insights into its deepest contours, then the future not just of the region, but the world, is in doubt.

Stream the audios here:


Michael Zimmerman & Marc Gafni Unplugged

In this dialogue Michael Zimmerman, a transmitted Zen Sensei and former Chief Justice in Utah, and Marc Gafni explore the right relationship between ethics and enlightenment.Usually two camps present themselves: those concerned with ethics and those with enlightenment. And they rarely seem to understand each other.

In this dialogue, Marc Gafni and Michael Zimmerman, emerging from the Kabbalistic and Zen traditions respectively, look for a higher integration of these two primary goals of human endeavor – ethics and enlightenment.

Stream the audio here:


Jerry Judd & Marc Gafni dialogue 2012

Listen to this dialogue between Shalom Mountain Founder Jerry Judd and Shalom Mountain Wisdom School Teacher in Residence Marc Gafni.

Stream the audio here:


Jerry Judd & Marc Gafni dialogue 2011

Listen to this dialogue between Shalom Mountain Founder Jerry Judd and Shalom Mountain Wisdom School Teacher in Residence Marc Gafni.

Stream the audio here:


John Kesler & Marc Gafni Unplugged 2

The following dialogue is between Marc Gafni and Integral Philosopher and esoteric Mormon mystic and theologian John Kesler.
This is the second in a series of dialogues which will explore the relationship between Inner Mormonism and Inner Judaism.

Stream the audio here:


John Kesler & Marc Gafni Unplugged 1

The following dialogue is between Marc Gafni and Integral Philosopher and esoteric Mormon mystic and theologian John Kesler.
This is the first in a series of dialogues which will explore the relationship between Inner Mormonism and Inner Judaism.

Stream the audio here:


Vidyuddeva & Marc Gafni Unplugged: Spiritual Practice of Sacred Conversation

Marc Gafni and Vidyuddeva represent respectively the Kabbalistic, Hebraic, and Buddhist traditions. They seek in these dialogues to forge a common language of spirit, one which might invite, inspire, and guide the seeker on the path of his or her own exploration.

In this dialogue, they talk about the Spiritual Practice of Sacred Conversation.

The intention of the dialogues is also to model what genuine spiritual conversation might feel like, sound like, and look like. This is dialogue – not debate. Conversations are rooted in a deep matrix of love and respect, which is nonetheless rigorous, real, demanding, and deep.

Stream the audio here:


Vidyuddeva & Marc Gafni Unplugged: Rules for Rule Breaking

Marc Gafni and Vidyuddeva represent respectively the Kabbalistic, Hebraic, and Buddhist traditions. They seek in these dialogues to forge a common language of spirit, one which might invite, inspire, and guide the seeker on the path of his or her own exploration.

In this dialogue, they explore together the Rules for Rule Breaking.

The intention of the dialogues is also to model what genuine spiritual conversation might feel like, sound like, and look like. This is dialogue – not debate. Conversations are rooted in a deep matrix of love and respect, which is nonetheless rigorous, real, demanding, and deep.

Stream the audio here:


Gershon Winkler & Marc Gafni Unplugged

In this unplugged dialogue, Rabbi Gershon Winkler and Marc Gafni engage in what they have called “Tango Talmud”–which is their way of modeling a study partnership in sacred text study.

Gershon Winkler is a widely recognized scholar in the fields of Jewish law, lore, theology, and mysticism. A descendant of a scion of rabbis originating in Judea, Rabbi Winkler has devoted much of the past two decades to writing and teaching about the lesser-promulgated wisdoms of Judaism and to Hebraic scriptural interpretation. He has published fourteen books since 1980, four of which have seen several printings and two of which were banned. His most recent works include: Decalogue: Facts and Fallacies of the Ten Commandments, The Judeo-Christian Fiction, Daily Kabbalah: Wisdom from the Tree of Life, and Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism.

Gershon was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and educated in Orthodox Jewish communities both in the United States and Israel. Ordained in Jerusalem by the late Rabbi Eliezer Benseon, Founder and Dean of Yeshivat Bet Yosef-Novoredok, Rabbi Winkler considers himself non-denominational and is a charismatic teacher whose lifestyle is as unconventional as is his mindset. His non-mainstream exploits have won him media recognition, including a Front Page feature in the Wall Street Journal, a segment on the PBS TV series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and detailed coverage in Israel’s Ha’aretz, Chayyim Acherim Magazine, as well as The Jerusalem Post. A widely-sought teacher, he has lectured and served as Scholar-in-Residence at colleges and universities, and for ecumenical and Jewish retreats across North and Central America, Europe, and Israel.

For eight years he served as the rabbi for Congregation Har Shalom in Missoula, Montana, and for just as long as itinerant rabbi for four Jewish communities across West Virginia, including the Hillel Foundation at West Virginia University and two federal prison camps, including the now-famous “Camp Cupcake” in Alderson, West Virginia. A father of four and grandfather of eight, Gershon has for more than 25 years balanced his public life as a renowned teacher with an anonymous home life nestled deep in remote wilderness regions across the U.S..

Stream the audio here: