This is an almost unedited and unplugged version of Dr. Gafni’s conversation from the previous weeks of One Mountain, Many Paths broadcast. Thus, the style of the piece is the spoken word and not a formal essay. Dr. Marc Gafni explains the movement from our perspective to God's perspective through the three core Levels of Reality and the Five Practices of Loving.
Love is not merely an emotion. Love is perception. Evolutionary Love is not merely an emotion. Evolutionary Love does not mean ordinary Love, it means love that’s the heart of existence itself. It’s the love, that drives the evolutionary process. Evolutionary Love is the Eros that causes subatomic particles to come together into atoms, atoms into molecules, molecules into macromolecules…all the way up the evolutionary chain, ever deeper contact, ever greater intimacy, ever greater wholes.
That same love lives in us when we are looking into each other’s eyes and we are saying, “Oh my God, I love you madly.” It’s the same love all the way up and all the way down. So that love is not just an emotion, it’s a perception. This does not mean that love does not feel. Of course love feels. But the feeling is not free floating and random. The emotion is not just random energy in motion. Rather the emotion emerges from the perception. And then the perception deepens the emotion. There is a constant limbic loop in the global brain, and in our own brains between the limbic system of cosmos, the emotion, the feeling, the cognition, and the perception.
It is in the space between them, in the relationship between perception and emotion, in the play between them, that love arises.
Reality is relationship. Reality always emerges from the space in between distinct parts and processes.
Love is not merely emotion. Love is perception.
The Evolutionary Lover sees with God’s eyes. The Evolutionary Lover sees with Evolutionary
Eyes. Evolutionary Eyes are God’s eyes.
To deepen perception is to deepen love. To deepen perception is to expand perspective. When we try to step out of our narrow perspective and take the evolutionary perspective, we’re seeing with evolutionary eyes.
In the great lineages of meaning making, the art and practice of love is called: the movement from our side to God’s side.
To move from our perspective, which is generally narrow and myopic, to God’s perspective, to the evolutionary perspective, is the great art and practice of love.
The Five Practices of Loving:
The practices of loving are the practices of perception.
Each form of practice, what the lineage often calls Hitbonnenut or contemplation, is a different form of perception. Each form of perception generates a different quality of feeling or emotion.
1.A first form of loving — love as perception — is to look at the entire evolutionary story, to see it unfolding in front of us and to realize that we are not separate from it. We are a direct expression of the evolutionary unfolding. Quite literally, we are Evolution.
We actually see the unfolding of evolution — what we have called the Four Big Bangs — and locate ourselves directly in the evolutionary story. We have studied this trajectory, practiced it and envisioned it many times over the years. In the Unique Self process we developed at the Wisdom School at Shalom Mountain, this was a key process over the course of a decade.
What emerges from this practice is a direct self knowing:
I am evolution. I am Evolutionary love. I am a unique configuration of Evolutionary Love. I am a unique configuration of Evolutionary Desire. You are evolution. You are evolutionary love. You are a unique configuration of Evolutionary Love. You are a unique configuration of Evolutionary Desire.
This perception generates intense self-realization. It is a realization rooted in self-recognition. This self-recognition generates a feeling, a wondrous feeling of peace and allurement to oneself and to one’s fellow. We feel at home with ourselves and with our Beloveds. We are allured to ourselves, to our life and to the lives of others.
2. A second form of loving — love as perception — is the capacity to see the contemporary reality in which we live, to see underneath the surface of short term demands and anxieties, and see the bigger picture. See around the corner, understanding how things are connected to each other. Seeing historical sweeps of events and how they cascade from each other in waves of causation. Then seeing how to respond to the existential challenges presented to us in this moment of history. Challenges which we cannot ignore without self terminating. All of that is love as perception. All of that is part of what Rumi meant when he demanded we be intoxicated, mad lovers of the “friend”. Mad lovers of She, of God, of Reality.
Our practice of realizing the nature of existential risk and how we must respond, becoming “Tailors of Eros”, weaving a new world story, seeing the patterns and evolving the source code of consciousness and culture, all of this is the art of the mad lover who cannot help herself but love madly. For she is madly in love with She, with thee, with we, with all of it.
3. A third form of loving- love as perception — is what we have called before “True Self loving.” True Self is the recognition that we are not separate from each other or from anything. True Self is the scientific recognition, interior and exterior sciences, that there is no such thing as an individual. Indeed Einstein was right when he wrote that the individual, or what we often call here the Separate Self is an optical delusion of consciousness. I do not exist independently of everything. There is quite literally no me without plankton on the ocean rocks, or without certain worms in the depth of the ocean, or without particular insects in the forest. We literally do not exist without everything. I am nothing without everything. There is no thing that is not part of everything. That is the perception of love.
4. A fourth form of loving — love as perception — is to let one’s heart be blown open by seeing the radically dazzling intentional nature of reality, in its unimaginably precise and creative complexity. To even vaguely begin to approach the insanely unimaginable beauty of the process of photosynthesis. The cellular processes of mitosis and meiosis. The creation of life and the growth of a fetus from gestation to birth. The atomic and cellular processes involving untold trillions of cells, with more neurons in your brain than stars in the sky, and atoms beyond what we can grasp in numbers, in shocking co- ordination, and life breathing purpose. Then one cannot but faint in the ecstasies of Erotic love. And this is a love, aroused by seeing reality naked in all of our glory. We are aroused to pulsing, throbbing tumescent ecstasy by direct perception of reality.
5. A fifth form of loving is to see the Beloved. And it is only when you see the beloved, that you can feel the beloved.
Because love is a perception at its core. It’s a perception that generates emotion.
When I see you, I fall madly in love with you. I see your beauty. I see your infinite specialness. I’m dazzled. I place my attention on you.
The perception of love is the placing of attention. When I place my attention on you, I see you. In the original Hebrew of many of the lineage sources the word for paying attention is Sim Lev, literally to place your heart. To pay attention is to place your heart. Wherever you place your heart you love. Where you pay attention you place your heart and you bloom open that which you see. And you are bloomed open at the very same time.
When I see you, I am loved open by your beauty, When I see you, you are loved open by my perception. When I place my attention on you, you are seen.
And the horrific feeling of being unseen, of being mis-recognized melts away for a moment. And then for another. And another. That is what lovers do for each other. And we must all be each other’s lovers. Our love lists are too short.
We must trust each other to love.
The lover writes the Beloved:
“My love, I know your heart is always open to me.
But sometimes I don’t see it.
And sometimes I see it but cannot feel it.
The Beloved writes back to the lover:
“To truly love you I must trust you to open your eyes again and again. To love is to See. I must trust you to see and to connect your seeing to your feeling. Love is a perception emotion continuum, a virtuous circle between loving and feeling. In love we cannot rely on yesterday’s feeling or seeing. I cannot love you today only because I loved you yesterday. I must love you anew, day by day and night by night. Love is a choice. It is the choice to open my eyes again today. It is not that yesterday disappears. Yesterday’s love stays inside of us — each new day is radically new even as it builds on all the previous days, birthing the new possibility of today which is to love more greatly and deeply than we ever have before.”
“It hurts badly when you keep your eyes closed. To love is to trust, I trust you to open your eyes, again and again.
I trust you to open your eyes and see me.
I trust you to open your eyes and see me seeing you.
Feel me feeling you”.
Love is a perception at its core
Love is a perception that generates emotion so, therefore, there’s great hope in love. Because perception can be trained. We can choose love. And that is the greatest source of hope.
The universe sees and the universe sees love. The universe feels and the universe feels love.
You are the universe in person seeing.
I am the universe in person seeing.
We are the universe in person seeing.
Seeing generates feeling and feeling generates seeing, but we’ve got to start with perception because you can train perception through practice. Personal human love is a Unique Self perception
Three Core Levels of Reality
Personal [Level One]
Impersonal Process [Level Two]
The Higher Personal [ Level Three]
Beyond personality is process. And beyond process is the higher personal.
So to see you means not just to see your personality. Or your talents. Or your enneagram type or to know your past. That is love for sure. It is level one personality loving and it is wondrous and necessary.
Then I see even deeper and see you as essence. That is level two. It is impersonal in the sense that it is beyond your conditioned personality. I see your beauty in essence. I see your consciousness in essence. The whole field of beauty and consciousness and desire glimmers radiantly in you.
But then I move beyond the process or what we might call the impersonal. And I see you uniquely. The personal beyond the impersonal. The higher personal. Level three. Unique Self beyond True Self. I see your irreducibly, unique greatness. I see your irreducibly unique beauty.
Lovers Elicit the Confession of Greatness of the Beloved
When I see you, I elicit your confession of greatness. When evolutionary lovers look into each other’s eyes, they see their own greatness.
That’s what it means to be a lover.
You’re an Evolutionary Lover if people see greatness in your eyes. Every one of your beloveds should see their greatness in your eyes.
Our Love Lists Are Too Short
And as we said above. Our love lists are too short.
Your beloveds should be many.
This is not a conversation about sexual love — that’s a different and important conversation. This is about being Outrageous Lovers in your heart — in the sense of letting yourself be blown open by the indescribable beauty of the people all around you.
The Four Exiles of Love:
We exile love four times over. First we exile love from the Kosmos to only the human realm. Second we exile love in the human realm to only one person. Third we exile love with that person to only one form of love which is the romantic form of love. Fourth we exile romantic love to only one form of romantic love, that’s infatuation. Or we exile love to parent love for only our children and no one else’s children. And we try to save all of our insuperable urgent need for love in these small boxes of loving.
Our love lists are too short. We must expand our love list. We have to become who we already are in our essence — Outrageous Lovers, Evolutionary Lovers, unique expressions of the evolutionary Eros and desire come alive in us.
We’ve got to see each other with God’s eyes.
When you look at my face, when I look at your face, I’ve got to see my greatness.
My face has to elicit your confession of greatness.
Personal human love is a Unique Self perception.
Personal Self Love is a perception of one’s own Unique Self.
One cannot be an Evolutionary Lover with these forms of perception alone.
Evolutionary Love requires a perception of the entire evolutionary process and our place within it. That’s what it means by seeing with evolutionary eyes and taking God’s perspective. This is the moment of Eros, where we come together and we create a Unique Self Symphony.
The key is, we have to train our perception to become Evolutionary Lovers and then take our place in the Symphony, committing our Outrageous Acts of Love, because it’s only committing those Outrageous Acts of Love that trains our perception.
A Short Cash Practice:
Hijacked by Temporal Myopia
I want to end our conversation today with a short cash practice. By a cash practice I mean that you can do it right now and it will have immediate and dramatic results.
We have temporal myopia. Temporal means time. Myopia means narrow vision. We have time myopia. We only see what’s right in front of us, right now. For many aeons that kind of vision supported life. We poured our resources not into dreaming about the future or fretting about the past, but into surviving, living and loving right now. But the result of that quality of being, drawn into the now, is that we are deeply challenged when seeking to widen our perspective.
We’re hijacked all the time emotionally. We’re constantly limbically hijacked for short-term value. We addictively watch lots of Netflix instead of good documentaries. We read easy books instead of deep books. Even though we’ll feel much better over the long term, if we read deeply. If we study deeply, we’ll feel much better. If we join and participate and build, we’ll feel even better. But we don’t. The reason we don’t is because we get hijacked by temporal myopia. So we can’t see.
So this week check out what you are doing for short term value. And cut off for one week anything in your life that has short-term value but long term harm. Do that for only one week of your life and you will change your life in radically significant and shocking ways. You will open yourself up to depth, joy and love well beyond what you currently imagine to be real. The universe sees and the universe sees love. The universe feels and the universe feels love. And you are the Universe. The Universe yearns to feel love uniquely through you. The Universe urgently and desperately desires and needs to feel love uniquely through your eyes. For you are God’s unique eyes.
So we’ve got to move from our perspective and take God’s perspective. To be a lover is to see with God’s eyes. Evolutionary Eyes are God’s eyes and God’s eyes hold evolution and invest evolution. To be a lover is to see with God’s eyes.
In the fall we will be publishing a book, which is part of the Great Library that unpacked these themes of CosmoErotic Humanism in depth. Together with dear friend and colleague Zak Stein and the entire gang of thinkers, scholars, creators, and ontological activists, each more profound and wondrous then the next, the men and women that form the Office for the Future, and it’s sister structures, One Mountain, The Center for Integral Wisdom and Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Foundation for Conscious Evolution, we are deep in this conversation together. Join us please. Here is how you do it.
[This blogpost is almost all direct quotes from Dr. Marc Gafni collected from the raw transcript of the featured clip below, which is created from the free weekly broadcast of One Mountain, Many Paths, happening live every Sunday at 10 am PT]
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