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 SpiritsNextMove.net, 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 www.iEvolve.org. 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 Daily Wisdom: Perception as Creation

By Marc Gafni

The language of God is man. We are not just God’s messengers, we are God’s language and voice, the means by which she shares her message. This idea becomes a little easier to access in light of quantum physics. One of the essential mind-bending breakthroughs in quantum physics is that the observer is part of the experiment. That is to say, the perceiver influences the outcome of the experiment. Said more broadly, perception not only observes reality, it creates reality. To say that love is perception is therefore to say that love – far more than a mere emotion- is erotic creative force which in-forms all of being.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

How a consciousness practice can replace willpower and give you freedom

Women's fitness

By Kristen Ulmer

This may surprise you, but discipline, perseverance, setting an intention, drive, and the will, as usually taught by sports coaches, are completely outdated. Same with goal-setting.

Here’s why. I remember having to perform a difficult ski photo shoot while still recovering from an injury. I wanted to maintain status and sponsors so I “sucked it up,” “did it anyway,” “refused to give up,” and “pushed through the pain and fear.” Sounds powerful, right?

Such willed effort is fine in a pinch: I skied great that day. But here’s the problem: doing something I didn’t feel like doing was the first step toward future burn out and ultimately resenting my sport.

There’s a better path.

Let’s say you don’t feel like going the gym but force yourself to go anyway. Sound familiar?

Picture a hose. All day long feelings and experiences flow through that hose. In this case ‘should I go to the gym?’ shows up. Next comes ‘no I don’t want to!’

Now picture you’re a corporation made up of 10,000 different employees. The mind is one of these employees. Throw in determination or a fitness goal and the mind becomes very clever at suppressing any employee who gets in its way, in this case; ‘No I don’t want to.’

She puts duct tape over ‘No’s’ mouth and throws her down the basement stairs. You trot off to the gym feeling victory over perceived ‘negativity.’

The mind does this enough times and guess what? The employee of ‘No I don’t want to’ isn’t taking the abuse quietly. She isn’t dying in the basement. She’s fighting back, plotting, building strength, having to do her job in a covert, pathological way and will even scream now in order to be heard.

Your hose is now kinked, and a war has started. You are now at war with your self. And you can’t see it because it’s being carried out in your subconscious.

But you can feel it. Repressed experiences and emotions remain in our systems and run our lives covertly, sometimes for decades or even lifetimes. They come out in the most disruptive ways — straining our relationships, causing injury, showing up as disease and body aches. They pinch off the possibility for happiness to enter. Over time you become burned out. All because the mind and the will refuse to be intimate with anything negetive ot working against a master plan.

What if, instead you had a consciousness practice, where you could first see how the mind and all her buddies act as slave drivers. To see it is to stop it. Stop that war. In today’s evolutionary world, next you welcome your emotions and experiences as they flow through the hose, and this way your mind instead sets you free.

What would you do with that freedom? Could you just listen to the wisdom of each moment as it flows through the hose, rather than crack a whip?

If I could go back and feel that pressure to ski injured over again, I would have honored fear and pain instead, and chosen my ‘No.’

How about you? When you think you should go to the gym and ‘No’ shows up, would you let her be this time? If so, she’ll only speak for about 15-40 seconds before she’s gone and another employee shows up.

It might even be this time: Yes.


Photo: Edson Hong

Don’t ever turn to stone. Take a leap to learn new things.

By Kristen Ulmer

People ask me all the time why I started Ski to Live.

I want to tell you a story about my past you may find shocking. It explains why I started these evolutionary mindset ski and snowboard camps, and also illustrates the next top mindset tip.

When I was 22 years old I was competing in local Utah mogul competitions and generally coming in last place. Heck, I hadn’t even owned a pair of ski pants until two years prior — just competing in anything was a big step.

That summer, while my fellow competitors trained on snow at expensive camps at Mount Hood, Whistler or even South America, I decided to take a trip to Asia by myself. For 5 months. To work on my self esteem.

I had two rules on this trip. I made these rules because I realized my self worth was entirely based on the fact I was pretty, and could ski well. I realized I wasn’t going to always be pretty, or always ski well, and I thought I’d better find a way to build a more solid personal foundation.

My rules where this:

1. I would make myself as ugly as possible: wearing coke bottle glasses instead of contacts, not washing my hair and wearing frumpy clothes.

2. I was not allowed to tell anyone I skied.

On that trip, I volunteered for Mother Teresa’s House for the Destitute and Dying in Calcutta, India. I was robbed in the Philippines by a group of 30 scam artists and forced to leave the country at gun point. I almost lost my right leg to gangrene in Nepal. The challenging but magical summer ended and I came home.

The first mogul competition that next season was a special event for the entire west against the best technically trained mogul skiers in the country. I felt funny just being there. But I didn’t come in last place like usual. I won. I killed it, actually.

Within one single year, I then made it on the US Ski Team. That same year I also filmed 3 ski movies, and was subsequently named by four different ski magazines the best woman “extreme” skier in the world.

Here’s the math: I became world class at two different sports, in one year, without a single drop of technical training. I’d never had any technical training actually.

That trip forever changed my life and how I saw myself. We all hear mindset is everything in sports. Well, I know it because I lived it.

THAT’S why I started these camps. Now I teach it.

Tip #6 is this: shake yourself out of your comfort zone, take a bold step away from what’s familiar, and try something new. And I don’t just mean skiing with your boots unbuckled for a run.

Look to the infinite world and get creative! Shave your head for a cause. Wear tap shoes to the grocery store. Take a year off your sport to study Taoism. Get a cat instead of a dog.

It’s hard, I know. The biggest addictions we have in society aren’t drugs, alcohol or sex. Our biggest addiction is to who we believe ourselves to be. Those beliefs and habits are hard to crack. It’s rare when anyone truly expands outside the stone rock of their comfort zone.

But please, take a leap. Don’t ever turn to stone. Be an open, empty, upright cup ready to receive new teachings, to learn new things.

Because when learning happens, magic happens.


Photo Credit: thriol

Daily Wisdom: Inside, Outside

Blindfolding

By Marc Gafni

From my book, The Mystery of Love:

Love is all about insight–in-sight.  It is the ability to see in, to the inside of the inside, to the Holy of Holies that is your lover.  Eros is being on the inside.  Thus, love is an erotic perception of the highest order.  Naturally you have to move way beyond sexual seeing.  Sex only models eros.  To be an erotic lover you have to understand that “what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

When something is far from you, you have to open your eyes really wide to see it.  As it gets closer you squint your eyes, when it gets really really close, you close your eyes.  Seeing with closed eyes is when we perceive way beyond seeing.  The adjective close and the verb close are the same word.  Closeness–intimacy–higher vision–all happen when we close our eyes.  We move beyond sight and invite the other faculties of perception to guide us.  Smell, sound, touch, and taste all become alive in a deeper way when we close our eyes.


Photo Credit: presta

Welcome Tony Robbins, Claudia Kleefeld, Mark Schwartz, Richard Schwartz, Bill Little, Lori Galperin, and Charles Randall Paul

Wisdom Council

By Joe Perez

The Center for World Spirituality is delighted to tell you about the newest members of the Center’s Wisdom Council, our amazing group of advisers and dialogue partners.
The new members are:
  • Richard Barrett is founder and chairman of the Barrett Values Centre and an internationally recognized thought leader on values, culture, leadership and consciousness. An author, speaker and social commentator on the evolution of human values in business and society, he is also a Fellow of the RSA, a United Kingdom-based enlightenment organization.
  • Lori Galperin, MSW, LCSW initially earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and later completed her graduate degree in Clinical Social Work at Tulane University. She is an accomplished contributor in the fields of marital and sexual dysfunction, sexual compulsivity, sexual trauma, dissociative and eating disorders. Lori lectures nationally and internationally on these topics and has authored various journal articles and book chapters.
  • Claudia Kleefeld holds her Bachelor of the Arts from University of Southern California, Los Angeles and a postgraduate degree from The Byam Shaw College of Art. She is a painter and photographer incorporating sound, photography, video, the spoken word and written word into her work. She makes art that considers humanness, examining the voice of the individual as it correlates with the external world.
  • Dr. Bill Little received his PhD in Physics from Georgia Tech in 1969 and was teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey where he first heard about Religious Science. He returned to New York to continue his Ministerial studies and before long he came back as the Minister at the Monterey Church where he remained until 1987. In 1989, at the request of many friends and supporters, he began Pacific Coast Church. Dr. Bill was awarded a Doctorate in Religious Science in 1986. Also, just for fun, he teaches mathematics at Monterey Peninsula College.
  • Charles Randall Paul is president and chairman of the Foundation for Interreligious Diplomacy, an organization promoting and facilitating communication between people experiencing conflicts inspired by religious differences. He has an M.B.A., Harvard University and a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago, Committee on Social Thought.
  • Anthony Robbins is a world authority on leadership psychology, peace negotiator, humanitarian, strategic advisor to world leaders, successful entrepreneur, honored business strategist, award-winning speaker, internationally best-selling author, authority on peak performance, and innovator in psychology and intervention. His nonprofit, the Anthony Robbins Foundation, provides assistance to inner-city youth, senior citizens, homeless, and feeds millions of people in countries all over the world.
  • Dr. Mark Schwartz, Sc.D. earned his doctorate in Psychology and Mental Health from Johns Hopkins University and is a licensed psychologist. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Schwartz has achieved international recognition for his contributions in a variety of clinical arenas, including the treatment of intimacy disorders, marital and sexual dysfunction, sexual compulsivity, sexual trauma and eating disorders.
  • Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and author who has pioneered the application of systems concepts of family therapy to this intrapsychic realm. Dr. Schwartz co-authored, with Michael Nichols, Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the U.S. He founded the Center for Self Leadership (CSL), which has evolved a comprehensive approach for working with individuals, couples, and families.

Protest as Prayer (Part 10): God’s Emotions

God emotions

By Marc Gafni

This post is continued from Part 9.

To go one step further — God feels the pain of the sufferer through the agency of human beings who feel the pain of other. God feels, not only but also through, human agency. We are God’s emotions.

Based on this understanding a number of mystical writers provide us with the vocabulary to re-think the idea of God’s Kingship. It was with this quandry that I introduced the problematics of God-language in a world that suffers. How can we call God King?

Borrowing a text from the Songs of Songs, early Hasidic writers describe God as a “King bound in chains.” God may be King but he is bound — waiting to be redeemed. The image of a King bound in chains refers to the Shechina in exile.

In light of this tradition we can now understand the ostensible proclamation of Gods Kingship — “Hamelech” which begins the morning prayer service of the Jewish high holy days. If it is interpreted simply as a declaration of God’s kingship then it is profoundly difficult to understand. For, as we noted at the beginning of our discussion, King means more than just relationship. Kingship is an expression of control. Kings rule overtly. They are not hidden. Kings decree and the decrees are obviously implemented.

If God is King and his desire is for Good (God =Good) then it is difficult to understand how we can declare God’s kingship in a world ravaged by distended stomachs and unparalleled brutality. If God loves truth, and truth means that our theological language needs to be true to our experience of God in this world, then we cannot yet declare God to be King.

Indeed I believe that the cry of “Hamelech” at the beginning of the Liturgy is not a declaration by the human being of God’s Kingship. It is far more profound. It is a human cry pleading with God to be King. “God,” cries out the human being, “reveal yourself as King!” It is a plea for the redemption of world. Deeper still, it is a human plea for the redemption of God. Echoing in Hamelech, however, is a second voice of overwhelming power.

“Hamelech” is the cry of Shechina, of God, re-sounding through the mouths of human beings.

The Shechina cries out to the assembled congregation – “Please, I beg of you, Let me be King … I am caught, bound in chains, free me, redeem me!”

Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs

Deepak Chopra on Growth

Growth

“Growth is the willingness to let reality be new every moment.” — @DeepakChopra

Photo Credit: Elephant wearing striped pants

Protest as Prayer (Part 8): Ten Sefirot

Sefirot

By Marc Gafni

This post is continued from Part 7.

An early Kabbalistic text, Bahir, declares that there are ten levels which link the world of the divine with the world of man. Each one of these ten levels of divine presence represents another dimension of God in our world. They are referred to as the Ten Sefirot. When we perform a commandment, says Luria, we participate in one of these levels of the divine.

Indeed the mystical writers point out that the word ‘Mitzvah’ has more than one meaning. Simply of course it is man’s commandment. The human in doing a mitzvah is thus seen as responding to a divine command which comes from outside the human being.

There is however a second sense of the word Mitzvah. It means Tzavtah — to be together with. When one performs a mitzvah one literally merges with divinity. One is together with God. In the mystical understanding, each Mitzvah moves me toward merger with a different Sefira, a different level of divinity. However, says Luria, we are only able to participate in the lowest seven levels. The human being, trapped in mortality, can never touch the highest three levels of divinity in this world. And yet one word can reach the heights. Ayeh.

Ayeh in Hebrew has three letters, alef, yod, hey. Alef, says Luria, is the letter that represents Keter — the divine crown, the highest sefirah – the level of divinity in the world. Yod represents Chochmah — wisdom, the second highest level. And Hey is Binah — intuitive understanding, the third highest level. When the human being cries out to God in uncertainty — ayeh — he expresses the highest three levels of divinity and in so doing reaches beyond his mortal limits to touch “the highest.” Luria affirms that the expression of uncertainty in God does not contradict spirituality, but rather is the highest expression of the human search for divine connection.

Ayeh — where are you — the ultimate uncertainty — is then the highest level of religious authenticity!

Photo Credit: Neon23

Helen Keller on Human Nature

Eagle Eye

“As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.” — Helen Keller

Photo Credit: mvos18

Protest as Prayer (Part 7): The Second Ayeh Story

Sacrificial Lamb

By Marc Gafni

This post is continued from Part 6.

The pinnacle of Ayeh cries out in the biblical story of the binding of Isaac. Isaac turns to his father and asks, “Ayeh? Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Many commentators recognize that in asking this question Isaac is beginning to understand the nature of his silent journey with his father. For three days he has walked beside his father in tense silence, and now without even meeting his son’s eyes, Abraham asks the servants to stay behind as the two of them climb the mountain alone. Laboring up the incline with the kindling weighing heavily on his back, noticing the knife and firestone in his father’s hand, Isaac feels a terrible darkness approaching. Can his father truly be intending to hurt him? When Isaac speaks we feel the shattering inside, the destruction of the child within, the death of the child’s innocence: ‘Father!’ – he says – and father answers, ‘Yes my son.’ ‘Here are the firestone and the wood; but where – ayeh – is the lamb for the burnt offering?’

For the Ishbitzer Isaac’s Ayeh is the embrace of God in uncertainty.

“Ayeh?” Isaac cannot suffer the uncertainty in silence. A child at the beginning of his life’s climb through uncertainty, Isaac’s question reaches the highest place.

Kabbalist R. Isaac Luria comments on this word ayeh — where is God — in the liturgy of Shabbat, when we paraphrase the text in Isaiah and say, “Ayeh mekom kevodo? — God, where is the place of your involvement in the world?”

Just as ulai has become our indicator of deep uncertainty in biblical text, so ayeh can be seen as the code word for the deepest questioning of the justice of God.

Protest as Prayer (Part 6): The Ayeh Stories

This post is continued from Part 5

By Marc Gafni

R’ Nachman, I would suggest did not originate this understanding of Ayeh — rather it emerges out of a tradition of Biblical ‘Ayeh’ stories.

In the book of Judges, a messenger of God comes to Gideon at a time in which Israel has suffered greatly at the hand of the Midianite nation. The messenger of God offers certainty to Gideon: “God is with you, hero of valor,” and Gideon rejects this pat offer of security: “You tell me that God is with us? Then why is all this…” He cannot even give it a name. The silent questions ring out in the spaces between the words: ‘Why has all this suffering, why has all this pain, defined our lives for so many years? Why are men killed? Why are children orphaned?’ And the text goes on: “‘Ayeh’- where are all of his great wonders of which our Fathers told us, saying God took us out of the land of Egypt. And now, God has abandoned us.”

Gideon the Judge, in the tradition of Abraham, turns to God and says, “Does the Judge of the entire world not do justice?” Gideon the Judge challenges God, challenges the messenger and challenges the message. The divine response seems unclear, enigmatic and troubling; but also powerful, inspiring and deeply directive. God answers Gideon: “Go with this strength of yours and save Israel … behold, I have sent you.” (Judges 6: 12-14)

What “strength” is God referring to? I would suggest, and at least one Midrash implicitly supports my reading, that God meant: ‘Go forth with the power of your uncertainty.’ God is confirming that if Gideon has the ability to doubt that this is the best of all possible worlds, this means he shares a common moral language with God. The wrestling with God in itself implies messengership on behalf of the divine: “Behold, I have sent you.” God confirms the Chassidic tale that initiated this chapter: to grapple with God is indeed to touch God, and to enter into the wrestling ring is to be a representative of all Israel, to plead redemption for all the world.

Gideon says to God’s messenger: “Where, ayeh, are all of His great wonders?” — echoing Moses’ and Abraham’s uncertainty about God’s dealings in the world.