Integral Embrace of East and West, part 1

To take the next step, we need to move towards a higher integral embrace in which we can actually bring the Western and Eastern enlightenment in conversation with each other. When I say Eastern enlightenment, I mean Eastern enlightenment in general, but also certain forms of mystical enlightenment that also appear in the West. But just for shorthand I’m going to talk about Western and Eastern enlightenment as these two basic prototypes.

The way to evolve consciousness, the way to bring Western and Eastern enlightenment into a higher integral embrace, into a higher evolutionary unfolding, to invite a kind of awakening in which both the great goods of Eastern enlightenment and the great goods of Western enlightenment are actually held together, we need to understand and point out an essential mistake. There is an essential fallacy in both the Western understanding of enlightenment and the Eastern understanding of enlightenment. Both of them made the same mistake: a confusion or a conflation of separateness and uniqueness. So let me try and unpack that with you.

On the Eastern enlightenment side of the street, there’s this need, a desire, a powerful invitation, a requirement to move beyond Separate Self, because Separate Self is the source of all suffering. That’s true. So I need to move beyond Separate Self to locate myself in my true nature, and my true nature is that I am a True Self. The total number of True Selves are One, and that’s true. However, what’s not true is that I need to leave my uniqueness behind. You see, in the general way that Eastern and mystical enlightenment is taught, you have to move beyond Separate Self, and so what you have to leave behind is the unique you, which is precisely why people reject enlightenment teaching. Because there’s a sense that if I’m not my Unique Me, my Separate Unique Me, then who am I? Then I don’t exist, and the fear of non-existence is so devastating, so oppressive, that I leave enlightenment teaching behind.

But, actually, you can evolve beyond your Separate Self, beyond your limited self-identification of a Separate Self. You can transcend (you can end the trance) of Separate Self and emerge, not merely as an abstract True Self, part of the One, but as a Unique Self. Unique Self means that you actually realize in your deeper awakening that you are a unique expression of True Self, that every True Self sees from a different angle, that every True Self sees through a unique pair of eyes. You realize that  True Self, which is essence, is actually also personal. True Self essence appears personally, and you are the personal face of essence which is utterly and irreducibly unique. That is to say, when I move from separateness to Oneness I don’t move into a blah zone in which uniqueness, or sharp distinction, is lost. No, actually every True Self in the manifest world is actually a Unique Self, because every True Self, every expression of every facet of True Self sees through a unique set of eyes, has a unique perspective on reality.

So when I move beyond my Separate Self in order to transcend suffering, I realize I am part of the seamless coat of the universe. Then I realize that this coat of the universe is seamless, but not featureless — and its features are your unique expression. You awaken into an enlightened realization that I am – that you are – a unique expression of All-That-Is, that never was, is, or ever will be again. That you and I are the personal faces of essence, that we are a unique letter in the Kosmic scroll unlike any other, with a presence which is unique, which is a Being-expression that is our unique cellular spiritual signature, unlike that of any other that ever was, is or will be. Wow!

To be continued in Part 2

- Marc Gafni

About Dr. Marc Gafni

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