Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment Part 3

Not denying the ego -
but evolving beyond the exclusive identification with ego.

Following part 3 of the Democratization of Enlightenment Video Series is Part 3 of “Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment.” This paper was originally published in the October 2012 issue of Integral Leadership Review; its publication on our Patheos.com blog is the first time it has been seen online.

1.
The Democratization of Enlightenment – Part 3:
Who does a World Spirituality address?

 

2.
Three Steps to the Democratization of Enlightenment

(Part 3 of 3)

By Marc Gafni
Originally published in print, in the October 2012 issue of Integral Leadership Review.

Continued from Part 2

There is however a much deeper core cause which is preventing Enlightenment from catching on. The deeper reason is that people intuitively sense that there is a fundamental flaw in the teaching of Enlightenment itself. Or at least in the Enlightenment teaching presented by virtually all Enlightenment teachers.

You see people feel like Enlightenment is about realizing that you are not separate but part of the One. Which is true. But if I am indivisible from the one, the inner voice asks, then where am I? If we are all True Self and the total number of true selves is one, then what happened to me? If Enlightenment means, as all the teachers seem to be saying, to move beyond separate self and realize that you are True Self, then what happens to my sense of being an individual? Moreover what happens to my super strong holy desire to be an individual? So again, the Enlightenment teachers say that the desire that moves you towards individuality is really a function of the ego, which needs to be transcended. But I feel special! the seeker
says somewhat embarrassedly. Feeling special is a trick of the ego – the teacher virtually always responds. And then teacher continues by saying, If you move beyond your story, beyond your ego, the delusion of being special will disappear.

The problem is that we all think we are special. And that deep down this does not seem to be a delusion of the ego. There seems to be some core first-person perspective truth to this assertion, which is felt in some form by virtually every living being. So here is the really good news. We are all special. That deep human intuition is telling the truth. By special I mean unique. Each one of us is a Unique Self. And I am not referring to uniqueness at the level of separate self-consciousness. Rather when you wake up beyond separate self you realize that your true self is The True Self. But the realization of true self is not the endgame of Enlightenment. Enlightenment itself is evolving. We now realize that there is another great step of Enlightenment beyond True Self. You actually wake up a second time and realize that your True Self sees through its own Unique Perspective. Every True Self sees through a unique set of eyes. Your Unique Perspective is the expression of your Unique Self. Unique Self is the awakening beyond True Self.

You see – and this is a big deal – Enlightenment teachings show you that you need to move beyond separate self which is the source of all suffering. But the assumption is always made – wrongly – that separate and uniqueness are somehow identical. If you move beyond your separate self that must mean that you leave your uniqueness behind. This is the implicit assumption or explicit assertion in virtually all Enlightenment teachings.

But it is not true. This mistake is based on a false conflation between separateness and uniqueness, which are actually two different qualities. You need to transcend your separate self to be liberated from suffering. You realize that you are True Self. True Self has no preferences and no perspective. This is the first step towards Enlightenment. It is literally a mind-blowing step. But it is still only a step. In your second step you awaken to the realization that ultimately Enlightenment always has a perspective. Your perspective. Your True Self awakens more deeply and realizes that it is Unique Self. Your Unique Self, which is True Self seeing through your irreducibly unique perspective. Your Unique Self is the personal face of essence that lives in you, as you, and through you. Your Unique Self is God having a Marc experience. Your Unique Self is reality Godding through you. Your Unique Self is the song only you can sing, the poem only you can write. Your Unique Self is your irreducibly unique way of loving, laughing being and becoming that is yours and yours alone. The realization of your Unique Self informs you that the singular constellation of sacred evolutionary synchronicities that formed you, have never and will never, ever occur again. This however is not uniqueness on the level of the ego, which is pre-True Self. Rather it is the realization of radical uniqueness, which emerges on the other side of true self. True Self + perspective = Unique Self.

At the level of Unique Self you are totally and absolutely special. You are irreducibly unique, unlike any other. Depression is replacability. Joy is a byproduct of living your Unique Self. Loneliness is your inability to share your Unique Self with another person. Sometimes this is because they are unable to receive your Unique Self. In other words, it’s a reception problem. Occasionally your loneliness is because you lack the right words to articulate your Unique Self. It’s a communication problem. But more often then not you are lonely because you do not really know your own Unique Self. You are disconnected from the singularity that is you. It’s an identity problem.

You spend most of your time trying either fit into the larger crowd {ego} or trying to melt/meditate into the One. {True Self}. The truth of the matter is – your genuine enlightened realization – is that you are Unique Self.

Sometimes the clearest way to get all of this is to simply think in terms of a puzzle piece and a puzzle. If you are at the level of separate self-consciousness then you think you are a puzzle piece and that there is really no larger puzzle. There is only you. A puzzle piece without a puzzle. If you are at the level of True Self-consciousness, then you think there is only a huge one-part puzzle. Although there seems to be lines marking unique puzzle pieces you believe that those lines are only an illusion. This is what is classically termed Enlightenment. In the evolution of Enlightenment however we now understand that there is a third and higher level of consciousness. This is the level of Unique Self Enlightenment. At this level you realize that you are a unique and distinct puzzle piece and that your puzzle pieces fits perfectly through its unique contours into a larger puzzle. You realize that you are part of the seamless coat of the universe but that the coat is seamless but not featureless.

It is the belief that becoming enlightened means losing your Unique Self that has prevented Enlightenment from going mainstream. Even though Enlightenment is the most precious gift, which can liberate you from unnecessary suffering, people would rather suffer than lose Me! Even though Enlightenment is most desperately needed evolution of consciousness to insure humanity survival, people avoid it because they sense they would have to lose their identity. And that – you feel – would be wrong. And you are right and the classic Enlightenment teachers are wrong. You do not need to give up Uniqueness in order to merge with the One. Quite the opposite. There is no True Self that does not see through a unique set of eyes. Enlightenment is not the loss of uniqueness but rather the clarification of the unique face of essence that lives as you, God having a YOU experience.

The true end game of Enlightenment is Unique Self Enlightenment. This happens when you clarify the distortion of the ego. This does not happen by evolving beyond the ego. That will never happen. This is the final mistake of Enlightenment teaching, which we need to point out. You never evolve beyond ego. This denial and demonization of the ego is not helpful. It simply makes the ego hide out more cleverly. There is nothing more deadly then disowned ego. Communities which disown ego are often run by shadow ego elements, which can never be clarified and owned because they are always denied.

The goal is therefore not to evolve beyond ego but to evolve beyond exclusive identification with ego. The way to accomplish the evolution beyond exclusive identification with ego is to expand your identity and not deny your ego. This is the first momentous leap of Enlightenment, which takes you from separate self to the great-embodied insight that Your True Self is The True Self. And – let’s say it again for the last time – the total number of true selves is one. At this stage you have moved into what is classically called impersonal Enlightenment. Which is totally awesome. You have left the personal in the form of personality behind and have joined the impersonal Enlightenment fellowship. This is the level of true Self.

And then you awaken ever more deeply. You realize that your Enlightenment has perspective. Your perspective. You awaken to your higher individuation. This is your individuation beyond ego. You realize that you are a unique expression of essence. Your Unique Perspectives births your Unique Gifts. Giving your unique gifts is the unique obligation and delight of your life.

 

Okay let’s try and wrap it up here. We have taken three major steps towards the democratization of Enlightenment. First, we have shown that Enlightenment is sanity and hence a necessary commodity for every human being and not just for elites. Second, we have shown that the realization of Enlightenment is not a denial of individuality but rather the embrace of the higher individuation beyond ego, namely Unique Self. This allows for the affirmation of the core human intuition of specialness and uniqueness, just not at the level of ego but at the level of Unique Self. Third, we have undermined the denial of ego so prevalent in Enlightenment teaching by pointing out that you never evolve beyond ego rather you evolve beyond the exclusive identification with ego. Ego then is given its rightful place in the developmental scheme even as it is dethroned from its position of tyrant. These are the three core moves necessary to open the door for the democratization of Enlightenment. And the democratization of Enlightenment is the Spirit’s next great move, utterly essential both for our survival as a planetary civilization and as holy individuals.

About Dr. Marc Gafni

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