INTEGRAL UNIQUE SELF
Numerous dialog partners have contributed to the unfolding of the Integral phase of Unique Self of which Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton and Diane Hamilton were the primary. In 2011 Ken Wilber called Gafni’s Unique Self a “new chapter in Integral theory”.
- January 2006 — Ken Wilber convened a gathering of some fifty leading spiritual teachers for a series of trans-lineage meetings at the Integral Spiritual Center (ISC). In a call with Marc before the meeting, Marc and Ken agreed to prioritize Marc’s term “Unique Self” over “soul prints” in his presentation so that the Unique Self teaching would not be confused with the separate-self/soul teaching of exoteric Western religion. Dr. Marc and Ken Wilber felt it important to move, in the Integral world, from the term “soul prints” and its third-person, metaphysical implications, to the term “Unique Self,” which more readily expressed the first-personal realization in post-metaphysical terms. This was key in facilitating the emergence of Unique Self as a new chapter in Integral Theory.
- 2006 — Ken Wilber invited Dr. Marc Gafni to give a featured address to the spiritual teachers attending the ISC gathering on the nature of Unique Self enlightenment. This was a key moment in Unique Self’s emergence in the broader spiritual community. Many teachers wrote letters afterward saying that the Unique Self teaching significantly evolved their own understanding and experience of enlightened consciousness. Gafni and Wilber in their dialogues significantly sharpened the distinction between egoic individuality and post-egoic individuality. In the months after ISC, a number of teachers who were moved by the Unique Self realization began to incorporate it into their teaching, including Genpo Roshi, Sofia Diaz, John Forman, Diane Musho Hamilton, Sally Kempton, John Kesler, Vidyuddeva, quietly literally dozens of others.
- 2006 — Genpo Roshi and Diane Hamilton were also pivotal in the full transition in the Integral world from the term “Soul Prints” to the term “Unique Self.” At some point after ISC, Genpo Roshi and his student Diane Musho Hamilton began to evoke Gafni’s unique self realization in their Big Mind Process [ rooted in Hal and Sidra Stone’s voice dialogue work]. Unique Self was correctly understood by Genpo who had participated in the unique self teaching at Ken’s Integral Spiritual Center where this core point was unpacked – as the apex of separate self and true self. And the unique self voice for several years became central in the Big Mind Process. Diane Hamilton, in multiple conversations with Gafni played a pivotal role in clarifying the Unique Self teaching.
- 2006 — Andrew Cohen and Dr. Marc Gafni shared a public teaching in Tel Aviv in early 2006. At this point, Cohen rejected Uniqueness, saying “there is no such thing as a Unique Spiritual Experience,” and Dr. Marc took strong issue with Andrew in an important exchange in their recorded debate. Through subsequent email correspondence and conversation, Cohen and Gafni gained greater clarity on the similarities and differences of their respective enlightenment teachings.
- Later, in 2010, Cohen and Gafni would sit for a formal dialogue on the distinctions between Unique Self and Authentic Self, as part of the Future of Love series hosted by iEvolve and Integral Life. Their position remained far apart.
- 2007 — Dennis Genpo Merzel, creator of the Big Mind process, which combined Western psychology and Zen, sees the publication of Big Mind Big Heart (Big Mind Publishing), a book which incorporated the Unique Self and the Unique Self term teaching into its framework. Genpo Roshi in a gracious written note and over dinner in Salt Lake City in 2008 explicitly thanked Marc for the Unique Self teaching, which he heard at ISC 2 and integrated into his Big Mind book and teaching. Dr. Marc thanked Genpo Roshi for the Big Mind voice dialogue process, which he incorporated into parts of his work.
- 2008 — Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard, and Marco Morelli saw the publication of Integral Life Practice (Integral Books), which included a chapter entitled “Unique Self,” directly derived from the Unique Self presentation at ISC, which Terry (who authored the Unique Self Chapter) attended.
- 2008 — Dr. Marc Gafni, Diane Hamilton, and Sofia Diaz established an organization, iEvolve: Global Practice Community, which intended to create a worldwide community of practitioners of an evolutionary spirituality with Unique Self as one of the key teachings.
- 2009 — Dr. Marc wrote material which formed the basis for the first formal unique self book, – until that time Marc had been teaching it and discussing it in oral presentations and conversations. The book is titled Your Unique Self , the Radical Path to Personal Enlightenement (Integral Publishing).
- Dec. 2009/ Jan. 2010 — Unique Self further evolved the Integral space when Dr. Marc was privileged to initiate and co- lead an effort, together with Ken Wilber, Robb Smith, Diane Hamilton, and Sally Kempton, to reinvigorate the public practice space of the Integral Spiritual movement. The focal point of the effort was a series of annual Integral Spiritual Experience (ISE) programs/workshops. Because Unique Self had by that time begun to emerge as a new chapter in Integral Theory, the event’s inaugural gathering (ISE1) revolved around the teaching of Unique Self. In a series of dialogues with Lama Surya Das, Jean Houston, Alex Grey, and other luminaries, the teachings gained wider currency and acceptance. Dr. Marc wrote the core text for the Unique Self Teaching into the ISE program material that was distributed to teachers and participants. The material was then edited and sharpened by Clint Fuchs and Diane Hamilton. The Unique Self book was not yet published.
- Jan. 2010 — In the keynote address at ISE1, Dr. Marc Gafni suggested that the emerging movement must transcend and include the Integral world as it had been narrowly defined. It was in this keynote that he coined the term World Spirituality and put forth the vision that the order of the day was to evolve and articulate a “World Spirituality based on Integral principles.” This keynote effectively began the latest recension of the World Spirituality movement. It unknowingly dovetailed with a theme of Ken Wilber’s throughout SES, the search for the guiding parameters of a true World Philosophy. The vision of a new world spirituality brought Ken and Marc even closer together both personally and in terms of vision.
Unique Self and World Spirituality
- Dec. 2010/Jan. 2011 — The second annual gathering of the Integral Spiritual Experience (ISE2) put the spotlight on Love, using centrally the “Three Stations of Love” teaching that Dr. Marc developed in connection to Unique Self. This model emerged for Dr. Marc from the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov which was naturally aligned with a key developmental model which is core to developmental studies. Deepak Chopra, Coleman Barks, Krishan Das, David Darling were among those who absorbed the three stations of love, Eros and Unique Self teachings at this gathering. Creativity, the topic of the third ISE, was initiated jointly by Dr. Marc and Diane Hamilton. In a key dialogue while preparing for ISE 3, Marc Gafni, Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen clarified the role of Unique Self and creativity. This was further clarified in a pre-conference dialogue with Diane Hamilton, Marc Gafni and Alex Grey.
- 2011 — The Integral Spiritual Center evolved into The Integral Life Spiritual Center (ILSC), prompted by Dr. Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber, in partnership with Diane Hamilton and Sally Kempton. The Integral Life Spiritual Experience further evolved into the Center for World Spirituality, co-initiated by Gafni and Wilber primarily. Ken Wilber played a pivotal role as a leading voice in the wisdom council at the Center for World Spirituality, and as a key initiating partner in the formation of the center. At the Center a World Wisdom Council was created with the participation of key world thought leaders in multiple disciplines including Robert Kegan, in education, and representatives from all the major thought disciplines.
- 2011 — Marc Gafni taught Unique Self to graduate students participating in programs related to Integral Studies at John F. Kennedy University. Hosted by the Chair of the Department, Sean Esbjorn Hargens, Dr. Marc delivered a keynote address at a JFK intensive which helped to solidify the importance of Unique Self teachings for the development as a critical new chapter in Integral Theory.
- 2011 — The Journal of Integral Theory and Practice(JITP), a peer-reviewed academic journal on Integral Theory and its application, devoted an entire issue to Gafni’s Unique Self Theory. In this issue, Dr. Gafni was the guest editor and wrote two core articles on Unique Self, one on the core Unique Self teaching, and the other on earlier lineage sources for Unique Self, within the Hebrew lineage tradition. Included in these articles is a dialogue with Dr. Suzanne Cook Greuter, locating Unique Self in the developmental context, as well as a key article by Dr. Zak Stein, which compares Gafni’s Unique Self teaching with Andrew Cohen’s Authentic Self teaching. There is also an article by Dustin Diperna locating Unique Self in the wider context of a particular dimension of Integral theory.
Comparing the Thought of Andrew Cohen and Marc Gafni.
- 2011 — Dr. Marc gives a widely acclaimed TEDx talk on Unique Self at TEDx Las Vegas, which brings him into close collegial association with Eben Pagan and Wyatt Woodsmall, while introducing him also to Dave Logan. Eben and Wyatt join the board of the Center for World Spirituality, and Dave joins the CWS Wisdom Council.
- Jan. 2012 — Chris Dierkes publishes an article on the Beam and Struts Ezine website, “Unique Self, Authentic Self, and The Flavor of Embodied Enlightenment,” fruitfully comparing Dr. Marc’s Unique Self teaching with Andrew Cohen’s Authentic Self teaching.
- Feb. 2012 — At the second annual Board Retreat of CWS, over two dozen attendees chartered an expanded and renewed vision for World Spirituality based on Integral principles and sharpened the role of the organization as a think tank committed to evolving the source code of human existence in our time. Unique Self is a lodestone in that core vision.
- May 2012 — A leading recovery/treatment center convenes a group of ten therapists to design a Unique Self treatment modality, to be implemented and formally measured and tested at the center. This team is led by Lori Galperin in collaboration with Dr. Gafni and the effort is termed Unique Self recovery. The effort is ongoing is will soon produce a key text by that name for the recovery and mental health communities.
- May 2012 — Integral Publishing takes the lead in launching the Unique Self Integral teaching in the world. Russ Volkman and Keith Bellamy of Integral publishers commit to publishing the Unique Self library.
- May 2012 — A team is initiated by Dr. Gafni – to develop with him a Unique Self process which is to be launched online as part of a new Unique Self telecourse. There were proto two Unique Self courses offered prior to the new course and process, which were offered following Integral Spiritual Experience 1 in 2009-2010.
May 2012 — Dr. Marc has initial conversations with Zak Stein, Lori Galperin, Laura Wood, Richard Barrett and others about developing a Unique Self Index., that is to say a metrics which might point towards Unique Self.
- June 2012 — Integral Publishing published two academic volumes of nearly 1,000 pages called Radical Kabbalah. Part I: Unique Self and Non Dual Humanism and Part II: The Teachings of Mordechai Lainer of Izbica. These works, as noted earlier, contain key material which forms one of the primary lineage sources for Unique Self theory. Unique Self is the key topic of part one. What Ganfi would later call in the Unique Self book, Unique Shadow is the key topic of part two, entitled Unique Chisaron, or lack in the Kabbalistic terms of Lainer.
- Sept., 2012 — Integral Publishers published Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, the first book devoted to the Unique Self theory.
- At the end of the book, there’s a special essay co-authored by Wilber and Gafni, on Evolutionary Love, which is the early ground for the later evolutionary love teaching that was to be unfolded in later years.
- 2013 — Awakening Your Unique Self tele-course and practice community is offered for the first time to wonderful reviews by students. Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up, and Participate in the Evolution of Love telecourse follows the course with great success. Course participants step forward to take more active roles in the CWS community. Brett Thomas is the visionary behind the creation and execution of the courses. Cindy Lou Golin, long-time Integral theorist participates in creating unique self exercises. Dr. Marc Gafni writes and delivers the course.
- Sept. 2013 — Integral Theory Conference (ITC). Dr. Marc delivers an academic paper comparing the two models of self in evolutionary mysticism: Unique Self and Authentic Self.
- Fall/Winter 2013 — Integral Publishers publishes a second book titled Self, two models of self in evolutionary mysticism. The book focuses on ten core distinctions between Dr. Gafni and Cohen’s models of Self and why the differences matter so much.
- Unique Self Religion: The Self book also discusses the larger context of Unique Self in culture and particularly points to what Gafni refers to as the Unique Self of every spiritual tradition. Here Gafni articulates a vision of the unique self of religions which allows for a uniqueness beyond universalism, as the key ground for a world spirituality. Particular religions are understood to be participating in a larger ontological pluralism where their uniqueness is accentuated and celebrated as their unique quality of divine-human intimacy and not as a premodern relic from a pre-universal era. This set of insight is essential for the genuine emergence of any significant world spirituality and thus form a significant global shared story.
- Fall/Winter 2013 — Dr. Marc invites, Master ICC (Integral Coaching Canada) Coaches Barbara Alexander and Claire Molinard to collaborate on developing a coaching methodology rooted in the Unique Self Theory, leading to a 9-month Unique Self Coach certification program for coaches and change agents.