Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 9. Unique Self and evolutionary we-space – section 2

Let me tell you a story. It’s about a sailor who goes to Tahiti with a friend. He is desperately looking for a wife. The tradition at the time was that you would negotiate with a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. He sees a woman who he thinks is beautiful. His friend doesn’t exactly agree.

The tradition was to sell the most beautiful women for nine cows. The father offers his daughter for three cows. The sailor insists on paying nine cows, despite the father’s objections. The sailor remains in Tahiti. Fourteen years later, the friend returns and he sees the most stunningly radiant woman he’s ever seen and his breath is taken away.

She is his friend’s wife. In conversation, the woman says that her husband called her a “nine cow girl,” and it made her into a “nine cow girl.”

Unique Self is the realization that every human being in their own special way is a “nine cow girl.” You don’t win an Oscar by playing someone else’s part in the play. You win the Oscar by playing your part to perfection. When a person begins to know that they can live their fullest truth and beauty, they begin to radiate that depth to the center of the community.

The community emerges the wisdom needed to evolve us to the next level of consciousness. It emerges from a community of “nine cow girls,” each complementing each other as puzzle pieces—seamless features of the universe.

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 10. Integral, evolutionary and world spirituality

Unique Self and Evolutionary Spirituality are profoundly related. In truth, World Spirituality transcends and includes Evolutionary Spirituality. That’s the way that my close friend, integral mentor, and good friend Ken Wilber said in a call that Ken and I and a third leading figure in the Evolutionary/Integral world had—that’s how he framed it.

Evolutionary Spirituality is the emphasis on the evolutionary impulse, as Barbara Marx Hubbard says.

Integral Spirituality is a set of pointing-out instructions which allow us to make distinctions, help us make discernment in spirit, between pre-personal and trans-personal, between states of consciousness and stages of consciousness, between levels of development and lines of development, between four quadrants, between different typologies. Integral is an operating system of integral pointing-out instructions. It points out something about the nature of enlightenment, something you already know that’s there, that is always already present in you, that is enlightenment.

Integral as I’m talking about it is pointing-out instructions in first, second, and third person. First person—reality and enlightenment; second person—relationship and reality and enlightenment; third person—relationship, reality, and enlightenment. One of the pointing-out instructions is precisely the distinction between these.

Integral spirituality is an operating system of integral pointing-out instructions in first, second, and third person. Evolutionary spirituality is the emphasis on identifying with the evolutionary impulse and living with the evolutionary impulse that lives within you and through you, not ego.

World Spirituality incorporates both the operating system of integral Spirituality, its pointing-out instructions, and clearly incorporates the evolutionary dimension of evolutionary spirituality.

What World Spirituality seeks to do at every level of consciousness is offer a full expression of living—body, heart, mind, and soul—at every level of consciousness at its own level.

At its highest level of consciousness—Kosmocentric consciousness, in which I feel identified with all sentient beings—I’ve identified with the Divine perspective that lives as my Unique Self. I feel responsible for past, present, and future.

At every level of consciousness, there will be an expression of World Spirituality. At its highest level, World Spirituality lives in an evolutionary context. It is an expression of evolution awakened to itself.

World Spirituality calls every human being to live as an evolutionary Unique Self—a Unique Self who lives in an evolutionary context and feels the unique evolutionary impulse which is your Unique Self, which is the personal face of essence. It’s a popular movement. It seeks to make the fullness of enlightenment available as a genuine option to every human being. It includes the evolutionary impulse imperative. It is based on the operating system of integral spirituality and it moves outwards. It develops a whole new set of teachings – Unique Self teachings, democratization of enlightenment teachings, and others – and begins to become an essential feature of the public culture. It becomes a place where people at every level of consciousness can identify and begin to enact at their level of consciousness a World Spirituality.

Proponents of Evolutionary Spirituality—some are close friends—talk about evolutionary spirituality as being at the leading edge. That’s important and good. World Spirituality may be a leading edge expression—Spirit’s next move—but it is meant to embrace not only the leading edge, but it’s meant to become a democratized genuine option for every person at their level of consciousness.

So this begins to give you a sense of the relationship between Evolutionary Spirituality, World Spirituality, and Integral Spirituality, from my perspective where I’m sitting as one of the leadership group in the enactment of World Spirituality. It’s an ongoing conversation. This holy trinity—World, Evolutionary, Integral Spirituality—has a different unique gift to give to the conversation, and they all influence each other.

If we can all move beyond egoic branding issues—which I think everyone across the board is doing in all three of those systems—then we experience ourselves as part of the evolutionary process, as personal unique irreducible essences (from my perspective). When we apply appropriately Integral principles and discernments, we will create a movement of spirit which will completely reshape—in the most positive, enlivened, loving, ethical, compassionate way—all of tomorrow.

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 11. Unique Self and evolutionary spirituality

Evolutionary Spirituality is making an important contribution. My teachers are all evolutionary mystics, a term that’s been used in the academic scholarship of Hebrew mysticism. Evolutionary mysticism is the sense that I am participating in the evolving All, the evolving process.

It might be fair to say—and we actually coined this term in a beautiful phone conversation between myself, Ken Wilber, and Andrew Cohen—we were talking about the relationship between the earlier evolutionary thinking in Kabbalah and evolutionary spirituality, and we called Kabbalah a kind of proto-evolutionary spirituality. At the time when the great Kabbalists were writing the key evolutionary tracts—the later phases of the Zohar in the 13th cenury, the key teachings of Luria in the Renaissance, the notion of the evolving biosphere wasn’t in play. There are glimmers of the idea in the most esoteric of texts, but there was no empirical evidence for it and it wasn’t really in consciousness at all. It came into consciousness in the hundred years before Darwin, and Darwin crystallizes it and it explodes into public culture as one of the four great ideas of the last 200 years. So clearly evolution itself is evolving. We are understanding that all levels of reality are evolving.

The notion that there is an evolution of divinity itself is a core feature of Lurianic thought. My colleague in Jerusalem, who wrote a fantastic doctorate on Luria, quotes Nikos Kazanzakas to summarize Luria’s doctrine of the evolution of God: “We are the saviors of God.” What he means is that God is evolving. There’s something new that is being created that didn’t exist before. There’s an evolution of divinity.

From a non-dual, Lurianic, Kabbalistic perspective, from the interior face of essential reality – the human being is an inextricable part of the divine. There is no separation. The human being participates through his or her own evolving in evolving the divine consciousness. That idea is a core idea. As a trained Kabbalist who has received and drunk from the lineage of Kabbalah, the notion of an evolutionary context is core to what you might call my mental furniture. It’s an absolute given.

And clearly evolution evolved through Darwin—and people like Aurobindo and de Chardin and Abraham Kuk—write extensively on this notion of the evolving nature of reality, the evolving nature of Spirit. Kuk and Aurobindo are parallel figures, one in Kabbalah and the other in Hinduism. De Chardin emerges in their wake. They deepen the idea. Once you have the evolution of the biosphere at play, the game changes.

Having said that, having recognized the evolutionary moment, let me point out the limitation of some of the ways that Evolutionary spirituality has expressed itself in the world.

First: in its initial expression in Fichte, Schelling, Hegel— that school of German Idealism—actually produced vision of the world which in some sense became a kernel of the worst forms of oppression that were ever created. The dialectical materialism which comes out of Hegel becomes in distorted form a kernel of both communism and Nazism, and the two manage to kill hundreds of millions of non-combatants in the most brutal of ways. They elevated the process above the person. The impersonal evolutionary process—awakening to it—became the essential movement in a human being’s awakening, and, that is to say, the least problematic.

The second we lose the irreducible dignity of every individual human dignity, and it is sourced in their uniqueness, we’re in trouble. It’s a slippery slope into the most brutal forms of human depravity. So I’m hesitant when I hear ways in which evolutionary spirituality is championed in the world in ways in which the impersonal seems to trump the personal, where the process seems to trump the individual human being. My lineage tradition that I am sourced in is wary. There always needs to be a dialectical tension between the infinite value, dignity, and adequacy of the individual and the infinite adequacy and dignity of the community. They need to be in play with each other.

Part of the dharma of Unique Self is to realize that you can never lose sight of that unique human being. Of course let’s be clear. The same way that the doctrine of Unique Self can’t take responsibility for the hyper-narcissism of the Western world, the hyper greed of certain capitalistic expressions (not genuine capitalism, but what John Mackie has called crony capitalism, which is run on greed, which is run on insane hyper-narcissistic inflation), because it’s a distortion … obviously you can’t hold Evolutionary Spirituality responsible for its own distortions. Each one needs to be wary of its own shadows.

[Concludes with a story.]

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 12. The Unique Self Book

It is awesome to be here with you, and I am delighted beyond delight to invite you to acquire the Unique Self book. It’s available on this website and through Integral Publishers—Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment.

I want to give you a sense of what you’ll receive in the book. It’s some 22 or 23 chapters. Each chapter is a process of awakening. The book is designed not as a mere individual download – though there is a lot of dharma teaching there – but it is designed as a psychoactive process, a transmission of Unique Self Enlightenment, Unique Self awakening.

In the book we unfold the key dimensions of the Unique Self dharma: the awake, alive, living organism of the teaching that lives in you and acts in you and transforms you. That’s part one. There are seven chapters on the core new enlightenment teaching: Unique Self as the change that changes everything.

In part two of the book, we move into the distinctions between ego and Unique Self. We outline 25 essential distinctions –again, not as an informative list, but as a series of psychoactive and transformative instructions that allow you to feel into and make those distinctions in your life. So you will be able to identify when you are living from Unique Self and when you are living from ego, and it changes everything.

And then three: we identify the eight stations of Unique Self, so you can find your way to identifying and living your Unique Self.

Four: then we unfold and develop the relationship of evolutionary spirituality – living and identifying with the unique impulse of evolution that lives in you, as you, and through you – which changes your life.

Five: we talk about the relationship between eros and Unique Self: how eros and Unique Self play together.

Six: there’s a section on what it means to live your story, how to write your sacred autobiography, and how to transcend loneliness specifically through living and acting your Unique Self.

Seven: love and joy and Unique Self—a re-working of what it means to be a lover. You’ll have a wonderful time with those chapters.

Eight: two chapters on shadow and Unique Self which completely shift our understanding of shadow. One shadow work teacher said it completely shifted her understanding. And seven laws of love—the transformational elixir in following your Unique Shadow back to your Unique Self.

Nine: in great depth, sexuality and Unique Self. We outline seven kinds of sexing and a unique form of tantric sexuality which is Unique Self sexuality.

Ten: we talk about the seven laws of evolutionary Unique Self relationships. We call them Unique Self encounters.

Eleven: we talk about Unique Self as the form of parenting. It changes the source code of parenting.

Twelve: we talk about Unique Self and its relationship to malice, and how the desire to destroy the Unique Self of another destroys relationship.

Thirteen: Unique Self and death, mortality.

Each one of these dimensions is a kind of enlivening process, a catalytic and psychoactive process which changes how you are in the world.

Finally, there are three more components. First, there is an extensive set of footnotes. You can skip them. If you are a theory person, they will give you an idea of the relationship between Integral Theory and Unique Self. If that doesn’t live in your life, skip it. But if you are an Integral person, it’s thoroughly discussed.

Second, there’s a section on Unique Self and World Spirituality – how they are emerging together in the world.

Third, you have a beautiful invitation for you to live your Unique Self, which is the essence of the whole thing. As Trungpa wrote, we come to speak dangerous words. I ask only that you listen dangerously. Blessings and total love to you on your journey to your Unique Self.

Unique Self emerges from my teaching over the last 20 years, a deep meeting between my teaching and Integral Theory, many many conversations between Ken and myself, fructified, amplified, and deepened by an inner circle of other teachers who brought their own gifts to bear, and now Unique Self belongs to no one. It’s the teaching of tomorrow, which will take each one of us.

Find your way on this radical path to personal enlightenment.

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 13. Intellectual and social history of Unique Self teaching

My colleague and friend Joe Perez asked me to share a little bit of the intellectual and social history of Unique Self with you, and I’m glad to do so.

Unique Self emerged about 25 years ago when I first began what I call the Soul Print teaching. I was delighted and privileged to put out a book called Soul Prints: Your Path to Fulfillment and a PBS special. The PBS special was horrible. The book was really good.

The book was the crystallization of the teaching which began in 1986 in Delray Beach, Florida, where I was an Orthodox rabbi, and I was speaking to about 500 people. I was teaching about the laws of Sabbath which are exciting and compelling and important, but somehow I couldn’t give the gift I wanted to give them. Somehow the sentence emerged – fell as grace: I said that you have not only a finger print, but you are a soul print. You have a Unique Gift to give in the world. You can actually feel the energy or subtle field or inner space change.

Everyone kind of woke up, and we knew something had happened. Ever since then, I have worked on developing on an understanding of Soul Prints.

Soul Prints emerges from my lineage tradition in Kabbalah. Today I don’t teach in that tradition. It informs me, it defines me in my cellular structure, but I teach in this new lineage which is World Spirituality – which is awesome and beautiful and exciting and delightful and a privilege and honor. It exists in certain moments in esoteric Christianity, Arabian Sufism. I kind of took it from the air, as it emerged that day in 1986; and I went back to see who else in the intellectual history might have felt and thought in this way, and for the next 15 years it was core to the teaching I did in the world.

And it spread in different ways. At some point, Sounds True did a Soul Prints workshop … and Simon and Schuster did the Soul Prints book and PBS did the Soul Prints special. So it began to find its way into the world.

In Soul Prints, I use the term “Unique Self.” There are two ways we talk about the soul print and/or Unique Self – one, the soul quality of the individual; second, as the unique expression of All-Oneness. We use it in both ways in an undiscriminating way in the book. That’s the first level.

The second level is the work I was privileged to do with Mordecai Lainier of Izbica. I never met him. He became my lineage teacher. He died in 1848, but I was able to, honored to, and invited to by grace merge with his teachings. A year or two later, I moved to Jerusalem and met a circle of people who were influenced by a neo-Hasidic singer, whose favorite book was the Teaching of Mordecai Rainier of Izbaca.

Over the years, I had a tempestuous complex relationship with his teaching and at some point accepted him as my teacher. In 2002, I went to Oxford University. Around this time, 2003, I wrote the core of my doctoral dissertation – about a thousand pages – on Mordecai Rainier of Izbica. I submitted it and it was approved in 2008. Now that teaching, which I call Radical Kabbalah: Unique Self and Non-Dual Humanism – is being offered as a two-volume work in the summer of 2012 from Integral Publishers. That’s the second stage of the work.

Third. At some point, I begin a series of conversations with Ken Wilber who gloriously and prophetically, and with a visionary sense, initiated the Integral Spiritual Center. The ISC was for a couple of years a kind of Camelot. We came and delighted in each other, and in the exchange between different lineages. Although the term was never used there, World Spirituality was birthed in the ISC – it was the notion of trying to create a trans-path path which transcended and included all the lineages in a higher vision of what a contemporary spirituality might look like.

In 2003 – 2005, Ken and I had a series of conversations about Soul Prints, the term Unique Self in Soul Prints, and about perspectives. In Kabbalah, when a person clarifies their perspective, they speak the Word of God. I wrote Ken a long letter after a conversation at his loft about how your clarified perspective creates new God or new Torah in Kabbalah. Out of that comes this wonderful formulation by Ken: True Self + Perspective = Unique Self.

Ken and I then evolved this Unique Self teaching … At some point in 2006, Ken invited me to give a Unique Self / Soul Print teaching at ISC. Ken suggested in a phone conversation that we identify Soul Prints both as soul prints and as Unique Self—because it is a more neutral term which doesn’t get lost in the potential misunderstanding of soul, which one might understand as the spiritual nature of separate self, which is the spiritual nature of the manifest; whereas Unique Self is also unique expression of the unmanifest. It’s True Self + Perspective = Unique Self.

I was delighted to answer Ken’s invitation to teach Unique Self to a group of 40 or 50 spiritual teachers at ISC in February 2006. That seeded Unique Self in the world in a particular way. An enormous amount came out. Genpo Roshi and I had a delightful time in that particular space. Genpo brought Unique Self into his Big Mind teaching. His colleague and student, Diane Hamilton, a close friend of mine, began facilitating the voice of Unique Self in the Big Mind process, and what came together was a wonderful and rich exchange. When Genpo published his book on Big Mind, there was a section on Unique Self as a critical evolution of the Big Mind teaching. Big Mind by itself is what we might call True Self—what Kabbalah calls expanded consciousness.

Big Mind is contrasted with small self. Usually you would facilitate the voice of small self and contracted ego with Big Mind. What Genpo and Diane began to do is, after receiving and encountering the Unique Self teaching, they began to facilitate in the 1st person the Unique Self voice as “the apex of the triangle,” meaning you have small self, Big Mind, and the apex in Unique Self. This is the nature of influence. I was profoundly influenced by Diane’s deep soaking in Buddhist teaching and through Genpo and Big Mind and his deployment of the voice dialogue process as a Big Mind process. It shaped different dimensions of how I looked at the world. And Unique Self had influence on this Buddhist teaching. That was the grace that was invoked by Ken at the ISC.

That’s one place Big Mind began to have impact in the world.

I remember Sofia Diaz talked to me beautifully about how it shifted something profound for her in her own process. John Kesler incorporated Unique Self in his teaching on polarities and the stillpoint between polarities which has had influences in the world specifically at Pacific Integral in Seattle where John’s been a formative force.

I could go through ten or fifteen other people…

Then what happened is the Integral Life Practice book – a beautiful book put together by Terry Patten, Marco Morelli, Ken Wilber, and Adam Leonard –which added a chapter at the end on Unique Self as an emergent teaching from the ISC. Unique Self began to find its way directly into the Integral conversation.

In this stage of development, together with Robb Smith, Diane Hamilton, Sally Kempton, we initiated the Integral Spiritual Experience. Together with Ken Wilber, we chose the topic of the first experience as Unique Self. Because I was privileged to be catalytic in that conversation, I chose the Unique Self conversation. So 500 people gathered from 35 countries to talk about Unique Self.

In the teacher’s meeting leading up to the actual event … a document emerged from Robb and Diane and myself and Ken and Sally, called an Integral View of Unique Self, which has since been significantly evolved and updated and incorporated into the footnotes of the Unique Self book. Integral became a home for the Unique Self teaching. Unique Self, in essence, became a new chapter in Integral Theory.

First stage is Soul Prints, second stage is Unique Self and Non-Dual Humanism (my doctoral work at Oxford), and the third stage is the infusion of Unique Self and the Integral world in which Unique Self becomes a Next Chapter. That has its final or deepest expression in Integral’s academic journal. Sean Hargens kindly invited me to be the guest editor of a volume on Unique Self. It has seven or eight articles all around Unique Self. I wrote two articles; one is a classical academic article on the core theory and the other is a lineage article based on the Hebrew mystical sources. Zach Stein wrote a wonderful article which among other things compared the Unique Self teaching with the Authentic Self teaching. Dustin DiPerna wrote a lovely article independently developing the idea of the Unique We.

And all sorts of things began to emerge. JoAnna Hunt together with her partner Laura did a weekend in which they took the eight stations of Unique Self which are core to the Unique Self book and did an entire weekend for their coaches based on the eight stations of Unique Self. The teaching has found its way far and wide.

There’s been a sharpening. At least five sets of dialogues…mine, Ken’s, this emergent teaching, Andrew Cohen’s teaching (which emerges from a different strain of Authentic Self). Andrew and I did a separate dialogue. When Andrew came to Israel in 2005, we did a dharma dialogue on the nature of uniqueness and we have clarified our positions and have had seven, eight, or nine exchanges, and finally did a recorded dialogue in the Future of Love series.

There was a second conversation that Zach Stein did on the relationship between Unique Self and Authentic Self. Sonja Student, who is head of the Integralist Forum in Germany, in March or April of 2012, did a dialogue on the relationship between Unique Self and Authentic Self. On the Beams and Struts website, Chris Dierkes wrote a great article comparing Unique Self and Authentic Self. Dustin DiPerna and Michael Wombacher did a fantastic dialogue on Unique Self and Authentic Self in the summer of 2011. That’s just five offhand.

There’s a lot of conversation in the broader Integral / Evolutionary communities trying to clarify that these are important distinctions. Both Unique Self and Authentic Self speak about individuation beyond ego. But there’s a different cast or quality to the teaching. They both inform each other. That gives you a sense of the play of Unique Self teaching.

The other place that Unique Self is influencing and dancing and dialoguing is outside of the Integral world.

Eben Pagan and I have had some fantastic dialogues about Unique Self – at least 10 different times – and that’s coming to play in the way that it is. We’re developing together a teaching called Actualize that is speaking to an entirely different audience.

We’re writing a book called Answering the Call, which is a more popular book, one designed to speak to a broader spectrum of consciousness. Ultimately, it’s our belief that Unique Self will seed the potential of a genuine democratization of enlightenment. Joe Perez, who has been a career coach for many years, is going to use Unique Self …

In Holland, we’re working on developing a new Tantra in which Unique Self sexing is at the core.

I’m working with Richard Schwartz. We’re going to put out a paper on Unique Self and internal family systems. We’re going to influence each other in a delightful way.

I’m working with John Mackey on a paper on conscious capitalism and Unique Self. There’s an enormous amount happening.

We’re working on a new shadow process based on Unique Self teaching. This is just to give you a sense of the excitement. I’m going to give you just a couple of snapshots of the future.

Lori Galperin has galvanized a group of therapists at the Castwood treatment centers and they are developing Unique Self modules that are going to be developed for chemical dependency, eating disorders—the entire world of treatment—a Unique Self process.

In the world of business, I am speaking to a number of key people – Wyatt Woodsmall, Richard Barrett, John Mackey – about how Unique Self might be a practical application.

In the world of spirituality, we’re developing a Unique Self process which will have its virgin voyage in November 2012. We’ve already given two Unique Self online courses in 2010. Now we’re going to create a Unique Self process.

Lastly, I’ve had wonderful conversations with Laura Wood and Zach Stein and Clint Fuhs about what it means to create a Unique Self Index, a metrics which measures Unique Self. It’s not a simple process. We’re beginning to think about that.

We’re beginning to see a catalytic lode stone of World Spirituality teaching which will be added to, evolved, energized, by many people. It’s the initial catalytic offering. Everyone is going to help shape it in appropriate ways. We’ve put together the core dharma into the world and it can find its way.

And I hope that gives you a sense of the emergence of Unique Self, the catalytic role that it’s been able to play already in the last six or seven or eight years…. and of its deep history, the enormous potential for its future in creating a world in which everyone knows that they are living uniquely.

That’s what it’s about. The notion that every human being is an irreducible unique essence, has a story that is worth receiving. No human being’s story can be reduced as a means to another person’s story, and when we live that, and when that becomes part of the source code of consciousness, then and only then we will begin to have moved towards a world in which we can really love each other outrageously. Love is the ultimate Unique Self perception.

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 14. Unique Self and levels of consciousness

Unique Self from an Integral perspective, Unique Self and levels of consciousness.

Let’s draw an Integral distinction between states of consciousness and stages or structure-stages or levels of consciousness, which are words that are used interchangeably in Integral Theory.

A state of consciousness is usually transient, though not always. I want to add that there’s a strong claim in Kabbalah and Sufism that there are some states which once sustained leave a lasting and irreversible impression. However, for the most part, they are ephemeral. They come. They give you a deeper, wider view of the true nature of reality, and they recede.

These states can be positive or negative. You can have a drunken state – and this is neutral, an orgiastic state. They leave some form of permanent or non-permanent memory.

A stage or structure-stage or level of consciousness is talking about a unique developmental stage or structure that exists over different lines of development. So if we are talking about motor development, there’s the structure stage before you learn to ride a bike and after you learn to ride a bike.

I have a young son, Zion, who is 20 months old. I have watched him develop over the last 20 months who is being raised by his awesome mother Marianna with some help from me.  Every time I can see him he can do something new. He gains a new skill that he didn’t have before. Those are structure-stages of development. You can have a musical line of development or emotional line of development or moral line of development.

For example, along the moral line of development, there’s talk among Kohlberg’s students in Integral Theory of four core levels or structure-stages or stages of moral consciousness: ego-centric consciousness, where my felt sense of concern is really just for me and those who help me survive; then you expand, transcend and include, and you widen your felt sense of concern to include your entire group or tribe, which is called socio-centric or ethno-centric consciousness; then you transcend and include, you retain your sense of loyalty to your inner group and yourself, but now your sense of felt love, caring, and concern expands and includes all of humanity.

You have a worldcentric level. And then at level four it expands again to cosmo-centric consciousness where your felt sense of caring and concern expands to all sentient beings, and even blurs the distinction between sentient and non-sentient beings, and even blurs the distinction between past, present, and future, in which you also realize a heightened level of moral consciousness in which you also realize your full identity with the Godhead. That’s an example of structure-stages of consciousness. And there are different systems, developmental systems, that identify different ways of telling the story of structure-stages of consciousness.

Famous among them is a system developed by Clare Graves and expanded by his students, Chris Cowan and Don Beck, which color codes the levels of consciousness. Susanne Cook-Greuter has done some fantastic work, and there have been conversations recorded between Susanne and myself, which were published. Don Beck has done important work in the Spiral Dynamics system. Jane Lovinger, Bill Torbert, Robert Kegan, Jenny Wade… there’s a whole school of probably a hundred different developmental theorists dating back to Baldwin and Pierce who trace the structure-stages of human development.

So there are states and stages. Stages, once attained, are permanent. They don’t go away. Each stage is permanent. You can’t skip a stage. You have to go through all the stages.

What is Unique Self?

The core way we refer to Unique Self is as both a unique structure-stage of consciousness and a state of consciousness. Primarily it’s a specific structure-stage of consciousness that comes online as a natural spontaneous expression of living into your uniqueness at higher levels of consciousness. Of course knowing about Unique Self might be one of the things that spurs you, causes you to grow up to higher levels of consciousness. It’s the transmission, the teaching, and study of Unique Self  that is one of the things that awakens you.

When you awaken, grow to higher levels of consciousness (in one system it’s identified as violet and another it’s yellow), Unique Self comes online in a big way.

At what stage of consciousness  does it begin to come online? For Don Beck, it’s yellow, which is the beginning of second-stage consciousness. And for Susanne, her term for the emergence of second-tier consciousness is Construct-Aware, and even before, you have the beginning. Unique Self comes online as a natural expression of self at these higher levels of consciousness. In this sense, Unique Self is a demarcating feature of second-tier consciousness, the higher structure-stages of consciousness. That’s one expression of Unique Self.

What’s also true is that when you awaken to True Self – your classical enlightenment – you also realize that your True Self only sees through a unique set of eyes, and you realize that your awakened state of True Self is actually a state of Unique Self. That realization takes place in second-tier consciousness….

Three. Unique Self exists as a reality all the way up, and all the way down. It is always true. Uniqueness is the nature of form. But uniqueness doesn’t awaken to itself until the higher stages of consciousness. Evolution is always happening. But only recently – after physical evolution, which is followed by biological evolution, which is followed by cultural evolution— evolution begins to waken to itself and become conscious. Unique Self is always true. Uniqueness is always the nature of self and all sentience. However, when Unique Self awakens to itself you have a higher evolutionary emergent of conscience, which is why we’ve called it A New Chapter in Integral Theory (which is the title of my article on the same in JITP 6:1).

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 15a. Wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, open up

At the core of World Spirituality teaching is what’s been called wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, and open up. That’s the whole teaching.

And I want to talk to you about what each of those means.

Wake up means to move beyond narcissistic self-involvement with your own contracted story. Most people live lives around their contracted self, thinking about the petty details of their story. They are their own self-context. But when you wake up, you wake up to a deeper truth. You wake up to the truth that I am not merely a skin-encapsulated ego.

I am sitting here with my friend Eric. If I said my name is Eric, he would think it was a joke. But if I keep doing it for an hour, he calls my good friend Chahat and says he’s insane. He think’s he’s Eric. Then Chahat says I’m really insane. To be insane is to not know your identity. To actually think that I’m only a skin-encapsulated ego, separate from All That Is, and to not know that my True Self is THE True Self, Essence, inextricable indivisible part of All That Is, not to realize that all the love-intelligence of the All flows through me, but to think that I am apart … that is to be asleep. So to wake up is to wake up to the true nature of reality, to blow up your mind as a separate mind, alienated, and to wake up to your enlightenment.

That’s the first step: waking up as True Self.

In World Spirituality, you can adopt or deploy any number of practices which will be outlined in the World Spirituality practice book – which I am co-writing with Tom Goddard – 10 major practices for this bucket of wake up practice.

The second major dimension of World Spirituality is grow up.

Growing up means to grow up to higher levels of consciousness. For example, at one level of consciousness, I might have a magical interpretation based on bloodlines and magical relationships between people, the clan, and the Earth which gives me protection (legitimate but partial insights). But by itself, a magical interpretation of the world is insufficient. At a higher level, I might move to a mythical interpretation. And then I might move to a rational interpretation of reality when I move beyond identifying myself by my membership in a particular church but I am governed by universal principles, and then I might move from there to a perspective which is far more multi-cultural, which recognizes the unique contributions of every culture and honors them in a new way, and then I might move to an integral consciousness in which I take the best of every level of consciousness and integrate it at a higher level, the best of pre-modern, modern, and post-modern consciousness and integrate it and act at a higher level.

Or, in moral development, you go from ego-development to ethno-centric to world-centric to cosmo-centric. Those are expanding or ascending levels of moral consciousness.

To grow up is to grow to higher levels of consciousness, emotional consciousness—actually measured development in all lines—the most important being moral development. I might also develop cognitively. Piaget measured those lines of development. I might develop to higher stages of leadership. The core growing up is to grow to higher levels of consciousness in an ever deeper view of the world: from magic to mythical to rational to pluralistic to integral. Each of those represents a higher level of consciousness.

How? We are now developing new practices that allow you to grow up. In the World Spirituality practice book, we are developing growing up practices.

The third facet of World Spirituality practice is show up. To identify your Unique Gifts. To fulfill your Unique Obligation. To see through the eyes of God in your Unique Perspective. Of course these are related because when you wake up as True Self at world-centric and above you realize that your True Self is unique. But doing the work to clarify your unique perspective, gifts, and responding to your unique needs, that’s the work of show up.

Lighten up, number four, is shadow work. It’s to identify the unique way you mess up—how to follow your unique shadow back to your Unique Self. Everyone has a unique wound, and when you identify it this allows you to bring your Unique Self back online. So we identify practices in the World Spirituality practice book both for showing up and lightening up.

Finally, there’s open up: to open up as love in the world as an embodied self. Your sensuality. Your sexuality. In whatever is for you the right committed context for love and sensuality and the full range of emotion to express itself. Here, again, there is a series of understandings and technologies. There is a teaching that I have developed from my lineage tradition called the three stations of love. There is understanding the nature of Love as perception, giving, and openness (the trinity in understanding the nature of love). There are the three faces of Love: love in the first person (living as love), second person (being in love with other), and third person (love as the Eros of evolution, the love that moves the suns and the stars which moves atoms to become molecules…) Within open up, there are three trinities: the three faces of love, the three means of love (giving, opening, perception), and the three stations of love (falling in love, individuation, and re-falling in love). … Submission, Separation, and Sweetness.

Wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, open up. These are the core structures of World Spirituality teaching. The names aren’t that important. They’re labels to allow someone to hold easily the teaching. The teaching comes from two core places: Unique Self teaching and Love teaching, which I’ve developed over the years with wonderful interactions with many people, and Integral Theory. They come together to form the matrix of World Spirituality practice which is exciting and fantastic.

In each of these five buckets, you need practices. Each person is going to do different practices. At different times in a person’s life they might focus on a different area. There is a profoundly Unique Self dimension. You actually wake up to your unique eyes which is the full awakening. You grow up into Unique Self. You show up as Unique Self. You lighten up by following your Unique Shadow back to Unique Self. And Love is a Unique Self perception; you live uniquely as Love; you are a unique expression of the love-intellligence of All-That-Is.

Unique Self is the animating teaching of all five and you begin to see how Unique Self and Integral Theory come together in this larger frame. That’s the cornerstone of World Spirituality practice.

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 15b. Wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, open up

Wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, open up: these are the core structures of World Spirituality teaching.

The names aren’t that important. They’re labels, lovely branded labels, to allow someone to hold easily the teaching.

The teaching comes from two core places: Unique Self teaching and three stations of Love teaching, which I’ve developed over a number of years, and Integral Theory. They come together to form the matrix of World Spirituality practice.

In each one of these five buckets, you need practices. Each person is going to define, as it were, their own “religion.” – the practices they choose. Different grow up practices, different lighten up practices, etc. At different times in their life, they might focus on different areas. All of the teachings revolve around Unique Self.

Your highest growing up is Unique Self. You lighten up by following your Unique Shadow back to Unique Self. Love is in 2nd person a Unique Self perception, and in 1st person you live as live but live uniquely as love, and in

3rd person you are the unique expression of all love-intelligence of All-That-Is.

Unique Self is the animating teaching of all five – and you begin to see how Unique Self and Integral Theory come together in this larger frame. That’s the cornerstone of World Spirituality practice.

Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Part 15c. History of the terms ‘wake up, grow up’, etc.

Let me share with you a brief intellectual history of the labels of wake up, grow up, show up, lighten up, and open up.

The wake up/grow up distinction is sourced to John Welwood’s book, Psychology of Awakening, and I thank Sally Kempton for the reference. John really develops this; he makes a break between the awakening dimension of the spiritual line of development, waking up to classical True Self / no-self enlightenment– and growing up, which is doing the psychological work, which is psychological maturation. There’s waking up and growing up. John’s teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of Naropa University, when he would talk about the “jewel and lotus” teaching in Buddhism, he would say the mantra– meaning grow up. The jewel and lotus means wake up, so in essence Trungpa was saying grow up. Really you can source this in some sense [of] wake up, grow up in Trungpa’s insight [as] coming from the East that we need to do both kinds of work.

There are two different lines of development. The mother of my son and dear close friend, Marianna Caplan, is a protégé of Welwood, and she does real work with people on these two different lines of development.

Ken Wilber, a colleague of John’s, either in discussion with John or independently, moved into this distinction between wake up and grow up, and deployed the distinction extensively. Ken used it slightly differently. He uses wake up like John, but he uses grow up to refer specifically to levels of consciousness. Of course, levels of consciousness per se – developmental theory– is all of developmental theory. Awakening is the great traditions. We’re taking the developmental traditions and the great wisdom traditions.

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Marc Gafni on Unique Self – Intro: Devotional Heart Chant

Enjoy and chant along: