Transmitting the Unique Self Symphony of Love

symphony2
Recently Marc Gafni and Sally Kempton led a celebration of spiritual teaching and Unique Self Dharma at the 5th annual World Spirituality Retreat at Esalen. Kerstin Zohar Tuschik is providing a paraphrased summary of some of the teachings on the blog of the Center for Integral Wisdom. Part 3 of 4 includes these offerings:

Marc Gafni: “There is not only a covenant between God and the children of Israel but also a covenant between the children of Israel and their children and their children… a covenant between the generations. Israel are ‘those who wrestle with God.’ That is us. Every generation is responsible for the evolution of consciousness. It is our turn now.”

The transformation of the all includes our own transformation: If you work your issues just for yourself, transformation is difficult to achieve. If you work your issues for the sake of the evolution of love, that changes the entire game. The energy you now have available for your own transformation is huge. It is fueled by the evolutionary impulse itself that is living in you, as you, and through you.

But it doesn’t stop there. Seeing someone living their Unique Self, we cannot help but fall in love with them. That doesn’t mean we will engage them in a romantic sense, but it will inspire us and others to live their Unique Self as well.

That is what creates what Marc calls a “Unique Self symphony.”

And he reminds us: “I am not supposed to heal the whole thing. I am here to play my instrument.”

And that is exactly what closes the gap between “our ability to feel and our ability to heal.” This gap is what all too often causes us to close our hearts, feel paralyzed, and continue “business as usual” instead of doing what we need to do to heal the corner of the world that is ours to heal.

If we trust our ability to heal a dissonance or pain, we can allow ourselves to fully feel it. We can keep our hearts open, give the gifts of our Unique Self, and engage in the Sacred Activism that is ours to engage in.

Read the entire post, “An Outrageous Love Story”.


Photo Credit: haglundc via Compfight cc

An Integrative Approach To The Holidays

iciclesBy Joe Perez

In this week’s podcast, Jeff Salzman tackles topics including the beauty of icicles and his new approach to holiday gift-giving, from an integral vantage point. He writes:

One of the hallmarks of integral thinking is that evolution moves forward by differentiating and integrating. Atoms differentiate into elements and integrate to create molecules. Cells differentiate into muscle, liver, blood, etc. and integrate to become an organism. So it is with culture and consciousness. Ambivalence arises as a muddled mess of knowing too much, and differentiates into its component ideas and feelings, often polar opposites, which are then integrated into a bigger, wiser more flexible view.

As evolutionaries we notice that the holidays evoke a set of negative feelings that hold that religion and materialism are what’s wrong with the world; and they evoke a set of positive feelings that hold that love and generosity are what will save it.

Rather than have to figure out which one is right and which one is wrong, or to live in the approach/aversion ambivalence of one view polluting the other, we realize that the way forward is to see the truth of both views fully in a bigger, more flexible space of awareness that can accommodate contradiction and paradox. “Out of the dimness, opposite equals advance”, wrote Whitman.

The advance Whitman is talking about is into a new synthesis of the polarities, a new realization that takes into account the best of both views and acts accordingly.

So that’s the theory. Here’s the practice, at least the one I’m using to make the holidays make more sense to me this year. As always I want to be part of the fun of giving and receiving gifts, but I don’t want to just buy things for people. I want to enjoy the spirit of love and peace, but I don’t want to be blind to people and critters throughout the world who have neither.

So for many people on my shopping list, I am making a donation to an organization that is doing some good in the world.

Jeff also writes on the movie Interstellar, saying it is a “movie told from all four quadrants” and a “work of integral art”. Read the full article.

I also shared a few thoughts on the movie, and concur completely that it is an outstanding work of integral art. That’s the buzz I’ve seen out on the social media of integralists as well. It’s really something when a Hollywood big-budget blockbuster gets this close to challenging the dominant ethos. You can tell it’s gold when scientific materialists write damning reviews of the movie on science-minded blogs for taking Love too seriously.


Photo Credit: [nosamk] KMason photography via Compfight cc

Kerstin Zohar Tuschik: Unique Self Dharma Goes Mainstream

gafni-at-s3s
At the Center for Integral Wisdom (CIW) website, Web-Scholar Zerstin Zohar Tuschik shares her experiences at the recent Success 3.0 Summit, coinitiated by CIW. After dropping the names of many of the most notable preenters, she claims that the summit met its goal of “articulat[ing] a new, transformative vision of conscious living, innovation, and social impact and to create a new definition of Success that can lead humanity into the future.”

The key to the unfolding success story, she says, was the ability of Marc Gafni and others to generate a sort of “second simplicity”. Kerstin writes:

It was gorgeous to see the many ways the Dharma of Unique Self, Eros, Outrageous Love, and World Spirituality, that Dr. Marc Gafni has been articulating and outrageously transmitting for the last several years, has played a role in this amazing happening.

Most of the speakers started to use the 6-word Mantra Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up. Dr. Marc Gafni, Visionary Scholar, Wisdom Teacher, and Co-Founder and President of CIW, brilliantly transmitted these thought forms in his opening speech. He suggested that every generation needs to participate in the evolution of consciousness. And:

“It is our turn. We are here to articulate an ethics of success that is rooted in Outrageous Love. Outrageous Love demands a new vision of success.”

He also introduced one of his key terms, the word Second Simplicity. Second Simplicity is what he calls the Simplicity that comes after Complexity. After having really grasped the complex concepts, we can get to a stage where we can express them in a compellingly simple way–thereby reaching people from all stages of consciousness.

While many of the concepts Marc brought into the space carry a lot of complexity–which became obvious to everyone listening to the basic introduction Ken Wilber gave in his keynote address–Marc transmitted them in a way that people can grasp intuitively without even knowing or understanding the depths of the teaching. And yet, all of the complexity is embedded into his Second Simplicity expression of the teaching….

The words Unique Self and Outrageous Love could be heard all over the Summit, used by speakers and attendees alike.

Read the full article.

Economic Growth As A Moral Imperative

poor-672x372
Note: The following post was originally published on January 16, 2012, on Joe-Perez.com.

Some recent studies have focused attention on the apparent fact that money does not buy happiness (or at least, that happiness tends to “max out” when one’s annual income reaches about $75,000 a year). On the Big Think blog, Will Wilkinson pleads for economic growth as a moral imperative:

…Kahnemann and Deaton have found that while life satisfaction, a judgment about how one’s life is going overall, does continue to rise with income, the quality of subjective experience improves until an annual income of about $75K and then plateaus. They conclude that “high income buys life satisfaction but not happiness [i.e., subjective experiential quality], and that low income is associated both with low life evaluation and low emotional well-being.”

What’s average world income? About $8K per year! The typical experience of a human being on Earth is “low life evaluation and low emotional well-being” due to too little money. How many times does global GDP need to double in order to put the average person at Kahnemann’s $75K hedonic max-out point? Three and change. But life satisfaction ain’t worth nothin’, and it keeps rising. And, of course, rising income doesn’t just correlate with rising happiness, but with better health, greater longevity, more and better education, increased freedom to choose the sort of life one wants, and so on. If it’s imperative to improve the health, welfare, and possibilities of humanity, growth is imperative.

via Why Economic Growth Totally Is Imperative.

If this is about right, then the greatest moral and existential dilemma of our time could be put succinctly: How can we triple global GDP more than three times to maximize universal happiness, health, longevity, education, freedom, and so forth…without destroying the planet for other species or future generations in the process?

If enlightenment means an end to suffering not just on an interior subjective level but in all dimensions of our existence and for all people, then evolution has got some serious work to do.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Integral worldview to our modern discourse is its ability to explain why the solutions offered by the left and right to address global economic inequality are inadequate.

Change must happen not only in collective structures (left) or individual values and behaviors (right), but both together. And the essence of that change is getting out of the way of Love.


Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc

The iPod Of Spirituality?

ipod-672x372
By Joe Perez

Note: The following post was originally published on December 13, 2011, on Joe-Perez.com.

I love this article about the 5 chief lessons Tony Fadell, formerly of Apple, learned about introducing new products. Now he’s invented the “iPod of thermostats.” If Brett Thomas is correct about integral needing to become more like Apple to reach its next breakthrough moment, and I think he is, then World Spirituality (by whatever name) can benefit from learning all of these lessons.

LESSON #1 Reintroduce a product //Apple is credited with creating new markets, but that oversimplifies the feat. What Apple really did was let people interact differently with products they already knew. That’s why Fadell saw so much promise in thermostats: 10 million are sold every year, but only 11% of users actively program them to save energy. “People treat it like a light switch, adjusting it manually 1,500 times a year,” Fadell says. “What we’re doing is making them think, Yes, there’s got to be a better way.”

LESSON #2 Build up slowly //Fadell has plans for a full thermostat ecosystem–multifunction, iOS-like software upgrades, connecting with lots of devices. But for now, he’s just offering the ability to control it from any laptop or mobile device. That’s because Apple taught him to go slow: Let people understand and buy into the device, then build a world around them step by step. “If we’d come out with the iPhone of home-energy management, people would just get confused,” he says.

LESSON #3 Design for one function // The thermostat, like the iPod, is controlled by one large circular dial–and not just because people like whirling their fingers. “You have to think, What are people going to do with the device 99% of the time? Make sure every detail supports that main interaction,” Fadell explains. “The iPod is about scrolling through long lists with one hand, and a thermostat is about dialing the temperature up or down.”

[Read more…]