Introducing the Center for World Spirituality’s new blog with a global vision based on Integral principles

An Enlightenment of Fullness for the rising dawn of the 21st century

Spirit’s Next Move is moving!

Thank you for visiting, a spot which has been the home of the Center for World Spirituality’s new blog for the past several months. As part of our organization’s web presence reorganization, we have moved the contents of this blog and will no longer be posting here.

You can find the new Spirit’s Next Move daily blog, better than ever, on the Center for World Spirituality’s main site at You can find new daily material on the left sidebar of the site. Thanks once again for sticking with us … we look forward to seeing you on the new site!

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 11): How to Accomplish the Democratization of Enlightenment

By Marc Gafni

“How? How do we accomplish the democratization of enlightenment? The how… The answer to the how question is two-fold. One is intention and the other is practice. Intention means, “I intend towards enlightenment.” My intention in practice is not merely to obey the rules, not merely to satisfy my egoic need to be part of the whole, hot merely to be in alignment with the law.

My intention is to realize the true nature of my Identity and to have my goodness, my virtue, my love, my passion and compassion emerge naturally, spontaneously, organically from my true essence. I am actually commanded by my essence, and the command of my essence, the invitation of my essence, the Eros of my essence is far more powerful and transformative than any externally imposed command.

So the beginning is to set my intention towards my enlightenment, but not in the narcissistic, narrow way; the pursuit of a spiritual materialism, but rather to set my intention in love is to realize my true nature for the sake of the all…”

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 10): What is Democratization of Enlightenment?

By Marc Gafni

By Marc Gafni

“Now let’s begin to understand what we mean by the democratization of enlightenment. Once we bring Eastern and Western enlightenment into a higher integral embrace by disambiguating the confusion between separateness and uniqueness and therefore integrating the best intuition, insight and spiritual breakthrough understanding of both Eastern and Western enlightenment then we can have a genuine conversation about the democratization of enlightenment.

Every human being is a Unique Self. Every human being is a True Self. Every True Self is unique. There is no True Self in the manifest world which is not unique. Once we embrace uniqueness again as the expression of individuation, meaning the individuated expression of True Self, the personal face of essence, that is you, God’s signature written all over you, is God appearing in you as you, that’s Unique Self, we’ve removed the counter-intuitive sense of enlightenment which creates an obstacle and stands between the average human being who experiences their uniqueness and can’t understand an enlightenment teaching which tells them to reject their uniqueness.

Now we understand that the average intuition, the normal teaching of the human being which embraces uniqueness is correct and the enlightenment teaching that tells the human being to leave uniqueness behind because it conflates separateness and uniqueness is incorrect, at best partial…”

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 5): Three Images of World Spirituality

By Marc Gafni

“Let’s try to envision World Spirituality for a second. Let me suggest three images. The first would be an orchestra, a great symphonic orchestra, in which every instrument is playing its music. From the diversity of instruments, what is yielded is a great symphony. In the premodern world, the religions believed that their instrument was the music. But the postmodern world has taught us is that the instrument is the critical context that shapes the music, the texture, the sound, the tonality of the music, but the spirit is not the surface structure. Spirit is the depth. And all the instruments are playing music. From the diversity of this music, of the instruments, comes the symphony…”

“We’re all just walking each other home.”


By Joe Perez

“We’re all just walking each other home.” ― Ram Dass

For Ram Dass, the story of the spiritual journey as a walk home among friendly people is an important one.

It’s a story that resonates with me more since I turned 40 than earlier in my life, when I would have been more likely to say, “We’re all choosing our own adventure.”

Journey from the Source to the Unknown Self — the great adventure of Life — is also an important story, no disrespect intended to Ram Dass.

The return journey from the Unknown Self to the Source — homeward-bound — is equally important.

These are also what I call the Two Prime Directions of Love, the outward, other-directed drive of Eros, and the inward, same-directed drive of Agape.

My own story about the spiritual life is it’s hard to make universalizing statements about life such as “We’re all just walking each other home.” We are both coming and going, giving and receiving, reaching outward and falling back. We are generally caught in time, and yet we also can recognize a timelessness to existence.

We’re all just walking each other home?


We’re certainly telling stories to each other about what it means to be a human being and have a life worth living. We are also certainly examining those stories in relationship to one another, you listening to me, I listening to you. And it’s in the telling and re-telling of useful, memorable, and true stories that we find ourselves — stories as paradoxically unique and as universal we all are.

Photo Credit: moriza

The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 4): Who does World Spirituality address?

By Marc Gafni

“Who does a World Spirituality address? If we discern carefully, World Spirituality is transformative to the four major types of people in the world. First, there are the hundreds of millions of people who are post-traditional. They’re the people who can no longer locate themselves within a great tradition, a classical religion. Their experience, the way they’ve been brought into the world, their cultural exposures are such that they can’t locate themselves in a religion or a great tradition, and yet they are profoundly engaged and extremely compelled by Spirit…”

Exploring the Unique Self and beyond …. Searching for God’s place (Part 3)



By Hans Jecklin

This post continues from Part 2.

On my walk around the old pitoresque city of Fribourg, I suddenly got struck by an inspiration: The old images of God have been de-mistified long ago — I started to talk in my head – but many of us still experience a fear of being judged or even punishment by an unconscious authority that is being projected to the outside of ourselves: if it is not God whom we fear, it is society with its threat of exclusion, if we do not fit expectations.

But where could we imagine or locate God or — if we prefer — that all-encompassing force of eternal love and wisdom that is the origin of all that is? I believe to know a spiritual map with only “my” Unique Self and the Prior Unity of all cosmic potentials between myself and the ONE. But there is no room for God, especially if I understand my experience of the ONE as merely the state of oneness at the edge of that huge black (w)hole from which the cosmos manifests and where it might collapse into in a far ahead future; maybe manifesting a new cosmos on the backside of the hole?

And if I imagine a creative pulse from matter to antimatter between the two sides of the black hole, it would be logic — according to the law “as above so below” — that not only the tiniest particles of matter, or my energy centers, but also galaxies and the cosmos all live in (or even: from) this pulsation of expansion and contraction. This image of an all-inspiring cosmic breath is present in most ancient cultures around the planet, but it also exists as a vision for those cosmologists that expect the expansion of the universe to reverse at its culmination — in millions or billions of years — into a huge contraction. The bigger the organism the longer must be the time spans of out — and in breath: a cosmic day of Brahma lasts according to the Hindu knowledge 4,320,000,000 (4.32 billion) solar years; whereas at the quantum level pulsation happens in immeasurable time fractions.

Can we imagine God as a presence beyond the widest in- and out-breath, beyond unimaginable dimensions of trans-cosmic galaxies? With the whole “creation” breathing in a holarchy of pulsations from the seemingly eternal down to the tiniest?

While these imaginations  take place, I realize that — even while walking — I  have changed in a different state of consciousness. And I suddenly perceive the picturesque  old town of Fribourg. sitting on top of the cliff above the Saane river canyon as a kind of theatrical stage set or even as a doll house, I used to play with as child. The state that has taken me in is huge, of absolute grandeur. And it is at the same time so real and intense that I must have stumbled over a dimension I had not known before. God — or trans-cosmic intelligence in whatever form — has found me again, as an unquestionable REALITY. I feel being part of a great pulsation that breathes me and vibrates on all subtle levels from spirit to vital.


The Democratization of Enlightenment (Part 1): Introducing Evolutionary Mysticism

By Marc Gafni

“Why now? Why is a World Spirituality based on Integral principles which has as its core the democratization of enlightenment, which is the natural emergent of the Unique Self consciousness, why is it a possibility in a way that it never was, and why is it an urgent necessity in the way it never was?”

Exploring the Unique Self and beyond …. Dialogue and Guidance (Part 2)

Child in Light

By Hans Jecklin

This post is continued from Part 1.

Whenever I wish to enter into dialogue with the Unique Self or ask for its guidance, I first feel an impulse to bow to its all-encompassing wisdom and love. It seems important for me to always remember that the Unique Self is not a useful tool of my ego but that I am its manifestation at this moment, with a determination to become an ever more transparent instrument of its unique potential.

When I thought about writing this blog in the middle of the night, I had a vision of the eternal and undivided ONE from which all potentials and probabilities ready to manifest as and in this cosmos keep arising from moment to moment; my Unique Self being one single aspect of what I understand as Prior Unity of all manifestation. Allowing myself to be taken in by this vision, I immediately experience a state of absolute stillness, like having come home.

Experience has taught me to understand all energy centers, regardless of their spiritual tradition or school, as projections of the Unique Self, whereby each center filters out the information that it needs to function. The higher up in or beyond the human body, the finer or more subtle is the information received, whereas downwards — also beyond the body — the energy becomes ever more dense. This is why I like to connect through a vertical column — either within the backbone as Kundalini or through the middle of the body according to other traditions — the most subtle above with the most dense below.

As to the densest region, I used to take the center of the planet into my vision, but lately I had the impulse to ask for a connection to the most dense level of the cosmos, which might be, according to the findings of a young physicist, Nassim Haramein and his Resonance Project, a giant black (w)hole from which the cosmos keeps constantly arising and which might contain all information for the universe to manifest. The resulting energy proved to be extremely powerful, at least to me, and I needed a steadfast and warm heart to slowly attune to its intensity. There is a great strength, but be aware!

Likewise, I now like to see the energy centers functioning as doors between the manifest world and “their” black (w)holes. This makes deep sense for the adapted Tonglen practice I had picked up from a video by Sally Kempton at the Integral Institute: Breathing in all incoherence from situations in the outside world through my heart chakra, directly into the black (w)hole at its back side, and breathing out the coherent information from the back to the situation in front of me. It seems important to me to always surrender such activities to my Unique Self, trusting its love and wisdom to exactly bring into effect the quality and quantity of energy that the situation or the person needs.

To surrender to the Unique Self — our own and that of the person we might be working with — is not new to most healers. I had to learn early that the other’s Unique Self will always have the final decision on what might be healed and what not, regardless of my intentions. In spiritual coaching, wonderful results were experienced, when I asked the client to write his wish for understanding, transformation or healing on a piece of paper as an intent addressed to her or his Unique Self and then radically let it go out of the mind; no thought activity should then distort the coherence of what may be happening by the grace of the Unique Self.

It even seems to me that the space between out- and in-breath where all activities come to a stand-still is the best moment for communion to happen. I consciously use the word “communion” rather than “communication” because I do not believe that the information is traveling from here to there; it seems much more likely that all happens in a space of non-locality, so to speak of Prior Unity (or a black (w)hole?). Local or distant healing: there is no difference under this perspective.

This for today; with more to come!

Photo Credit: Mara ~earth light~

Perspectives as Post-modern Revelation


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.”

Our conclusion in World Spirituality teaching however, is not that of the post-modern deconstructive thinkers who were among the champions of this insight. Deconstruction wrongly assumed that when perspective is revealed to be part of the process of meaning making, there is no longer any real meaning. Rather, when we understand perspective, we understand that every culture and every great tradition of spirit has its own Unique Self.

Perspective reveals a plentitude of meaning and not a dearth or death of meaning. All cultures perceive essence, but each unique perspective gives a particular resonance and cast to essence. Loyalty to one’s religion and culture is not, therefore, (as modern and post-modern fashions sometimes suggest), primitive or fundamentalist. It is rather partially true, in that it is how my culture is intuiting essence.

The pre-modern mistake was the failure to realize that every religion has a particular perspective, and therefore not to realize that no religion can claim that its intuition of ultimate truth is the only truth. Now that we understand that every great tradition and culture perceived essence through a particular perspective, we can avoid the tragic mistake of deconstructing the traditions as meaningless.

Instead, we understand that every tradition is a particular perspective, a particular instrument in the symphony of spirit that is indeed making sacred music. All of the perspectives come together to create a symphony. And at that point, there is the possibility that the followers of each tradition can begin to realize that their particular religion is not the music but an instrument of the music.

The Kabbalists foreshadow our post- postmodern World Spirituality reconstructive project. Nothing is true, says post-modernity, because everything is contextual. For the Kabbalists, foreshadowing World Spirituality teaching, the opposite is correct. When you fully inhabit your unique perspective you become Source. You not only speak the word of God You incarnate the word of God.

World Spirituality based on Integral Principles, including the first principle of Unique Self, understands that Uniqueness reveals essence through a particular prism. Perspective creates not a dearth of truth, but a magnificent kaleidoscope of truth. Every authentic insight deriving from Unique Perspective is true but partial. No part is reducible to the whole but no part stands alone. It is this insight of Unique Self that is the foundation of the great reconstructive project, which is Spirit’s Next Move.

Photo Credit: Jason A. Samfield

In defense of the Qur’an (from a World Spirituality perspective)


By Joe Perez

Today on the Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan asks his readers a fair question, crudely stated:

“If there is an argument for why the Quran is so good, please bring it forward. I’ve read the Quran several times and it’s not that good. In fact, it’s conspicuously bad as a moral map, and a spiritual map. You can wander blindfolded into a Barnes & Noble, and the first book you pick off the shelf will have more wisdom than the Quran. The Quran is uniquely barren of wisdom relevant to the 21st century. It’s got a few good lines about patience and generosity, and the rest is just vilification of the infidel,” – Sam Harris. Can any readers counter?

To which I responded today:

Dear Andrew,

The Qur’an is a classic of world spiritual literature far exceeding the disposable drivel that you will pick off the shelf in the vast majority of the books at a Barnes & Noble. I would have thought you know this and could have written a defense yourself. In any event, as non-Muslims, there are many people better qualified than you or I to give a defense of the Qur’an’s merits as a guide to Islamic life and culture.

My own defense as an enthusiast of a world-centric spirituality enthusiastically inclusive of Islam would start with the observation that a classic is to be judged not by reference to its compatibility with the New Atheist mindset of a small minority of people in early 21st century America (i.e., Sam Harris and his readers), but by its enduring influence over well more than a millennium. The claim that the Qur’an is “so good” begins by noting that many millions of people have for many centuries thought it so good, and that in a world of constant cultural evolution it is hermeneutically garbage to assess their aesthetic and spiritual opinions crudely by certain contemporary standards.

You can’t throw the Bible out as barren of wisdom because it sanctions social practices we find offensive today, and you can’t judge spiritual depth simply by how frequently a text enjoins virtues such as patience and generosity. You need to judge the Qur’an more holistically and as a mystical vision, not a self-help tome spouting chicken soup platitudes nearly everyone today will agree with.

At the same time, I want to go beyond saying that the Qur’an is important historically and also claim that the Qur’an is worthy of reading as a spiritual guide for people today … if one does the difficult work of attempting to enter into the prophetic and mystical mindset of Muhammad whose visions and divine communications form the book’s essence. I take into account — as many non-fundamentalists do — Muhammad’s human fallibility and historic/cultural contexts (which leads to many statements that our own cultural worldspace rightfully holds as objectionable), and see it as an ingenious expression of a vision of a completely Integral Universe, one in which there is no secular (i.e., godless) realm, but every facet of existence is harmoniously in sync with every other facet, and the core of that essence is Love. This is a deep and timeless truth that is lost on Sam Harris.

It is also important to note that for Muhammad, every syllable, sound symbol, number, and even the shape of every Arabic letter is a meaningful representation of the Divine, in an aesthetically orderly expression … and the Qur’an’s esoteric nature is one that has inspired Sufi mystics such as Rumi and Hafiz to deep realizations of inner divinity. The Qur’an continues to inspire Muslims and non-Muslims today who are interpreting the scripture not literally (fundamentalists) or merely metaphorically and poetically (progressive religionists) but as a sacred expression of evolving cultural wisdom and mystical realization (integral thinkers) to which everyone in the world is called.

Much love,

Joe Perez

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.

The Queen asks the Mirror in the famous Snow White legend, Mirror on the Wall, “who is the fairest of them all.” And of course there is My Fair Lady. To be fair then is also a quality of aesthetics.

This reminds us that a lack of fairness is not merely an issue of justice but also an issue of beauty. Goodness and integrity are beautiful. To be unfair is not only a violation of justice, it is to be ugly.

All too often in the spiritual world fairness is seen as a practical obligation and an ethical value. And it is that as well. But it is so much more than that.

When someone — anyone — is treated unfairly, a kind of sordid ugliness is born into the world. It can be papered over with a thousand popular albeit numbing spiritual platitudes. It remains just as ugly.

In a forthcoming book (Radical Kabbalah, 2012) I trace the original texts in Hebrew mysticism that talk of the goddess, especially in the work of one pivotal Hasidic master. From a careful reading of that the entire Eros of the goddess is really about justice. The erotic passion of the goddess in Hassidic teaching is about the radical erotic commitment to fairness.

It is in that sense that some of the minions of the goddess in this world are sometimes called fairies. A fairy is a gentle yet sacred and seductive incarnation of the goddess. The fairy is both fair and fair. Beautiful and just. Any good devotee of Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle knows is that to believe in fairies is to give them life. If we would chant Tinkerbelle’s mantra, “I do believe in fairies I do, I do,” fairies come to life as integrity and beauty are once again united and made manifest in the land.