Every human being has a story that possesses irreducible and infinite value.
This is the premise at the heart of Dr. Marc Gafni’s Unique Self teachings. Deeply rooted in the wisdom of the ancient spiritual traditions and informed by modern psychology, the Unique Self teachings maintain that expressing one’s own unique story within the greater whole is each person’s birthright and unique obligation.
The Unique Self Emergence process is change technology that draws on the Unique Self teachings, Integral Theory, and our emerging knowledge of how the brain works to retrain itself. Based on the recognition that all of creation is going through an evolutionary process that is animated by Spirit (God, the Ground of Being, Essence – called by many names), this process consciously taps into that creative power as it lives in us and through us to help us grow and evolve into the fullness of our Unique Selves stories.
If it is true that each of us possesses a unique story of infinite value, then what happens to us? Why do most of us do not live up to our full potential? The answer is that we humans develop a case of mistaken identity. Spiritual masters from across the traditions have been saying this for centuries.
The normal course of psychological development result in the belief that we are separate individuals. Unless and until we connect with source we continue to see ourselves as what Alan Watts famously called, “skin encapsulated egos.” One of the tragedies of today’s world is the polarization between those people whose connection to Source is ethnocentric (“ours is the only way”) and those who have walked away from the spiritual traditions, in the mistaken belief that they are all operating from this ethnocentric worldview. This has left many people who have closed their hearts to those who are not like them on the one hand, and others who are cut off from from a spiritual connection and sustenance.
This condition of separation is what each of the world’s religious traditions, in their own unique way, address. They use different language and sometimes different approaches, but each invites us to discover the truth that there is no separation, there is no “other,” for we are in fact a True Self and, (this is important), the total number of true selves is One!
This is what it means to Wake Up to the reality of our True being. Eastern religious traditions often refer to this as “enlightenment”, or True Self realization.
This is wonderful as far as it goes, but the Unique Self teachings take another step from there.
If it is true that our being is known in True Self and the total number of true selves is one, then how come this idea of enlightenment hasn’t become more popular in the world? We have an intuition that there is something wrong with that. As Marc Gafni likes to say, “Of course there’s something wrong with that, it has taken creation 13.8 billion years to make Sam, or Zion, or Nathaly, why on earth would we want to get rid of them and see them absorbed into the One?” It just doesn’t feel right. Something is missing.
This is “enlightenment” from the perspective of the Eastern traditions, but Western enlightenment has always come at these issues from a different angle. In the West the “Enlightenment” was all about individual freedom, individual self-actualization. At one level the two seem diametrically opposed, but this does not have to be the case.
What happens if we transcend both of these traditions but include each in our understanding of human conscious development? Surely, it is correct to say there is only one True Self. It is essential for us to realize that we are not separate selves, skin encapsulated egos. But it is equally true that each one of us has a unique perspective on that one True Self. Each one of us is a unique expression of that One. We are each a Unique Self. Alfred North Whitehead spoke of the “seamless coat of the universe,” Marc Gafni says, “Yes, the coat of the universe is indeed seamless, but it is not featureless!”
This is tricky business of course. For thousands of years both Eastern and Western mystics have shown us how clever we can be at fooling ourselves into thinking our separate self is our enlightened self. It is true that the separate self is relentless in its pursuit to keep hold of our lives and unless we are able to dismantle the separate self we remain cut off form the Source of all that is. But we mustn’t deny the irreducible beauty and value of each and every Unique Self in creation! Each one of us is infinitely valuable. No one is extra!
What we have come to understand then is that we are in reality a Unique Self, a unique expression of the love intelligence of the universe. Now, just as the religious traditions each have their own way of describing that reality of our Being, so each points to the ways in which we must become who we truly are. This is what it means to Grow Up and when we grow up as unique expressions of the animating power of the universe, we are co-creating from our unique perspective. Let’s be clear here! It is NOT the separate self that is engaged in this evolutionary work, it is the Unique Self, which emerges from True Self that is engaged in this work.
So how do we go about helping people to live more and more stably in their Unique Self? That is the work of the Unique Self Emergence Process. Our process involves four distinct yet interconnected steps that facilitate ones’ uniqueness to blossom and grow. We will describe these steps in detail in Part Two of this blog post, next week.