The Evolution of Public Culture: Crowd Sourcing a Witch Hunt:
An Eight-Step Guide to Internet Abuse
by Marc Gafni
I am greatly saddened by the necessity of writing this post. Recently, Stephen Dinan called for a boycott against a film, RiseUP, based on my original role in inspiring and galvanizing the movie. In his post, he refers to articles written against me in the last several months. The articles are part of a smear campaign that Dinan and his posse have catalyzed against me for the last five months. If necessary, at the right time, I will do a line-by-line refutation of the major deceptions in Dinan’s article.
In future posts, both in this forum and in others that are now being created I will address, in a direct and personal way, all of the key claims and actors, past and future, in the smear campaign. I have been silent for ten years, thinking that the dignity of silence, forgiveness and moving on to new creativity and contribution would cause the agony of these false attacks to fade away. By their own admission, the perpetrators of the (false) attacks against me ten years ago were shocked that I survived their attempted social murder. Sorry for the trouble folks. I know it is annoying to have to try it again and again. Sadly, they have – and this is well documented – spent much of their energy in the last eight years seeking avenues to complete the deed.
My commitment to integrity and intimacy no longer allows me to be silent. As of this post my decade of silence is over. I will respond fully via video posts, email records, as well as other forms of documentation and analysis to any and all false claims.
I stand fully against sexual harassment in all of its expressions. I stand fully against any form of victim shaming.
I also stand against all forms of name rape. Name rape often happens via false accusations which hijack the victim narrative to hide their own malice. And let me add that you cannot make false accusations and then ask not to be challenged by labeling any challenger a victim-shamer. This is a weirdly inverted form of the old adage, where the son kills his parents and then throws himself at the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. That just not okay in any way.
I also stand against the new form of cyber-bullying which is the orchestrated smear campaign.
For now, however, I want to focus specifically on the meta issues which underlie Stephen’s article, because they are more fundamental.
By his own admission in private emails, and in conversations with his colleagues, Stephen has been a key figure in an organized campaign to destroy my good name. In this, he has deployed the classic playbook of the Big Lie propaganda campaign, and adds to it some new virtual techniques.
To say it simply, Stephen is, in my best understanding, a self-styled jihadist. This phrase in regard to Stephen was coined not by myself, but by Barbara Marx Hubbard’s daughter after interacting with him in my regard. You can read Barbara’s relevant description of these sad events here.
By jihad, I mean holy war, launched by those with who are so fanatically persuaded of their righteousness that they move to destroy all who they deem infidel or heretic.
Stephen is not following the precepts of a particular fundamentalist religion. Far more insidiously, he is self-appointed. He and those attracted to, or aligned with, his vibration of jihadic consciousness are driven to save the world from demonic forces and evil. Conveniently, those that they deem evil or demonic are usually also those who arouse in them the kind of rage and grenvy – greed and envy –that is the source of malice.
Malice is a core feature of reality, which we recognize in the political, business and religious worlds but somehow we sometimes forget that it exists in the New Age Spiritual world as well. Malice is aroused, as Rene Girard reminds us, by those whose essence makes us feel somehow small, those who are professional competitors in some visceral way, as well as those who perhaps play Mozart to their Salieri, or Othello to their Iago.
Like all those engaged in various forms of jihad, Stephen is convinced of his righteousness. He has cast me as the infidel who must be both excommunicated (i.e. “don’t talk to him”) and, for the sake of the good, destroyed. In this distorted internal scenario, Stephen seems to be the self-appointed jihadist protector, protecting the purity of the helpless victims. Key to this process of course is to hide all of your own more base ulterior motives – be they financial, psychological or professional – under the fig leaf of the protector mantle. Let us state this clearly and fearlessly: this is a regressive meme that threatens the very soul of public culture.
Crowd Sourcing a Witch Hunt: An Eight-Step Guide to Internet Abuse
Here’s how such a cyber-jihad campaign is done:
1) You dredge up old stories—some outright false, some merely distorted—and make contact with your target’s old enemies (such as an angry ex-wife, ex-students and professional rivals with axes to grind and hidden agendas) in order to get them to support your campaign.
2) Using loaded words like ‘sociopath’ and/or ‘pedophile’ without any evidence as to their accuracy, you begin seeding a series of false or distorted allegations about your target around the web.
3) You might even go so far as to claim, as Stephen’s closest allies have, that this so-called sociopath has occult or demonic powers. The claim that I am demonic, made both in private conversation and in public posts, has been a major theme of Stephen’s campaign. Psychologists tell me that only such a disassociated projection allows one to make sense of the extremity of the smear campaign. I do not know. Such explanation is beyond the realm of my expertise. However, I do know that the ascription of demonic powers to me allows anyone who associates with me to be said to be under some kind of malevolent spell, and anyone who wants to hear my side of the story is warned that they might be affected by my ‘demonic’ energy.
(For those interested in further sources on this see René Girard’s critical work on scapegoating. See also Wilhelm Reich’s work on the Murder of Eros.)
4) You set up a system where there is no possibility of fact checking and no possibility of transformation. In terms of fact checking, I have invited a fair process of fact checking many times. Such a process would require all parties to take responsibility, including especially responsibility for the results of organizing and leveling false complaints.
I have also invited any individual who feels hurt to engage with me in a mediated process of resolution and transformation. I am not only open but very much want to learn if there is a way that someone feels genuine hurt, for which I owe an apology. Let’s have a genuine conversation in a mediated context and see transformation and healing.
But if you are organizing a cyber-jihad campaign you must endeavor to make sure that there is not a possibility of fact checking, mutual responsibility or resolution. That would defeat the entire goal of the jihad: the destruction of the infidel. Because the infidel is in some sense demonic, no true transformation or resolution is ever possible. The infidel must be killed.
5) You must hide your malice. After all, as Milan Kundera reminds us, Malice must never admit of itself so it must always plead other motives. What are the motives that malice pleads? The perpetrator claims to be rescuing future victims or pretends to be a victim. This is famously referred to in Karpman’s “drama triangle”, or the victim triangle.
The other motives pleaded are that of being a protector. So the next step in the smear campaign playbook is to enroll a group of your friends and colleagues, by telling them that you are protecting ‘future victims’. You establish credibility by pointing to personal testimonials, none of which have been cross-checked for facts—just as, in the old witch trials, unreliable personal testimony was used to ‘prove’ that someone was a witch.
Remember again: Malice must never admit of itself so it must always plead other motives.
It is a shockingly accurate description of the approach that Dinan and his two colleagues have taken in organizing this smear campaign.
6) The next step is to crowd-source your witch hunt. In a short time, using the tools of social media, you form an internet mob. The mob generates likes, tweets, posts, blogs and the like. Credible information no longer matters. In the outpouring of vituperation, it is nearly impossible to tell that most of the statements made about the object of attack are grossly untrue; He or She has become an object. Accuracy and integrity no longer matter much when attacking an object.
You have almost all the key elements necessary to have a contemporary Trial by Internet – the modern form of a Salem Witch Trial. Just one more step is necessary. Victim Voices.
7) A key move in such a campaign is to hide behind what are ostensibly “victim voices”. You gather first person testimonies with emotionally evocative power to front your cause. It is not dis-similar to the mafia using an ostensibly kosher business to cover up for the criminal rackets of murder and extortion. Evocative first person testimonies shift attention from the true ulterior motives of the smear organizers.
First person testimonies are powerful because they evoke emotional resonance. That is why these kind of personal testimonies were so central in the European witch trials that tortured and burned –according to some estimates – tens of thousands of women at the stake.
But of course anyone who is truly involved with working with victims, knows that first testimonies are by themselves not reliable. Just ask any African American family who has a family ancestor that was lynched because a posse of white women claimed that he was sexually in appropriate with them, and they will tell you that first person testimonies can be organized for the sake of murder. Once the horrific demonizing meme of the perpetrating black person with occult powers was set into play, then dozens of white women came out of the woodwork to testify.
That is why, in a rational society, we have evolved post-witch-trials and post-lynch-mobs. We gather evidence, we check for social ties that bind the ostensible victims and look for evidence of collusion and aligning of testimony between the “victims”. We might investigate the influences behind the scenes that are pulling the strings, and check for subtle signs that there is social and psychological pressure or reward at play, influencing the narratives etc.
In the regressive meme of Trial by Internet, however, none of these checks are in place.
The facts of the first person testimonies are never checked or cross-checked. The idea is to create a virtual mob of victim voices, which is orchestrated and manipulated from behind the scenes. In an internet age this is relatively easy to do.
8) Deploying the strategy of the Big Lie: Where there is smoke there is fire
Is it not true that where there is smoke there is fire?
How does it happen that there are multiple accusations against one person? Indeed after closely researching the literature and interviewing a dozen people who are experts in the field, it turns out that the nature of the Big Lie is that it always generates multiple accusations. This lends a veneer of credibility to the smear campaign. This is how the principle of ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ is deployed to support to the Big Lie strategy. However, even slightly more careful scrutiny reveals that the accusers virtually always know each other and have close social, political or communal bonds. They emerge from the same network or have been drawn into the same network via the internet because they all represent disgruntled or offended ex partners, ex business associates, ex lovers, ex wives, ex students and the like. They enter into a kind of group-think in which subtle or not so subtle social reward and pressure move to align their stories and foster collusion, which is easily revealed once a process of cross-checking information and fact-checking is begun.
Let me give you a simple example of how these dynamics emerge. A leader/ teacher/ television personality/ corporate head etc. can work with tens of thousands of people over many years. 95% of the people may have had wonderful experiences. But they are the silent majority. They are living their lives productively, balanced and healthy. There will also often be five or ten percent that respond negatively to any kind of strong personality. They may also be dis-satisfied with their lives, or have any number of interior at issues at play, which are triggered by their meeting with the leader figure. Some amount of triggered folks is particularly probable if the leader is doing work that is edgy or provocative, or that demands a lot for people. If the leader him or herself is not pallid, but is, in his or her own ways edgy, demanding and provocative then it is even more likely to have a small percent of disaffected folks. Usually those people are from the “ex” society, made up of ex partners, ex lovers, ex colleagues or ex students.
As long as there is no crisis of any kind, these voices are in right proportion to the majority of people having positive experiences. But once there is a crisis or trauma in the system – say, for example, the president of a hospital is sued – then victims begin to appear from all periods of the person’s life. Sometimes those victims are real. The powerful person has a genuine shadow side, which for example, could be that he consistently sexually harasses women. If the evidence is checked and that turns out to be true then we must deal with it appropriately.
It is important however to realize that just as often as these stories are true, they are just as often not true. Precisely however because these stories are sometimes true, and because we have seen so many of them in the media over the past two decades, there is a confirmation bias; that is to say, a tendency to believe them.
However they are just as often not true as they are true.
A good friend of mine in South America was sued about a decade back. She had run mental health clinics there for several decades with thousands of employees. When the suit happened, the overwhelming majority of her former employees rallied to her support. But because she is a strong and often demanding figure who calls people out on their stuff, over the decades she has accumulated several dozen enemies. These are former colleagues, staff she has fired, jealous competitors, angry ex lovers and the like. A face group group formed called “victims of Janet”. People reading superficially might assume, that there must some truth to the claims. After all, where there is smoke there is fire. But more accurately, in this case, where there is smoke there is a smoke bomb.
How did this happen. When her crisis – being sued in a very public case- hit the press, the persons pressing the suit – which was based on false claims, organized several dozen victims to speak against her. That is the source of the smoke bomb. They found people who had worked for her at different stages of her career over many decades. This was easy to do through the Internet. It would have been impossible in a pre-internet age. These victims then attempted –via internet attacks to – hijack the narrative of her life. They attempted to them claim that there was a pattern. Of course one of the first lessons of cognitive behavioral therapy is false pattern recognition. You create the illusion of a pattern by mobilizing a horde of victims sharing their public testimony, which to the sloppy and glancing eye of the internet consumer, might seem to evoke a pattern. Careful fact checking often eviscerates the initial seductive mirage of a pattern.
Where There Is Smoke There Is An Ember*
This does not mean that the leader is without responsibility. It might also be true that where there is smoke there is an ember. The leader may well have made genuine mistakes. It is however malice that fans an ember into a fire. It is however malice that attempts to turn mistakes, which take place in the normal arc of human relations, into wildly exaggerated and demonized pathology, which is termed evil, and according to the self appointed jihadist, must be eradicated at all costs. Malice fans an ember into a fire.
The ostensible victims have been in touch, sometimes for a decade or more, aligning their stories. There is a kind of group think victim consciousness which takes over. By participating the victim voices receive many social benefits and potentially avoid social censure within their communities.
Of course all of this is subtle and hidden. Particularly if your playground is the internet you can easily hide all of the back stories that belie the integrity of the victim voice. You can avoid all forms of genuine fact checking, both at the level of deeds-what actually happened, and at the level of motives.
On the surface, in a plethora of internet posts, all you see are brave victims risking reprisal who are breaking the silence. When the stories are carefully checked and turn out to be true according to genuine standards of inquiry, then we have travesty of integrity and intimacy that must be righted. When the stories are not true however, which is no less often the case, then we have no less of a travesty of integrity and intimacy that also must righted. The latter is precisely the case in the crowd sourced witch hunt of Dinan and his colleagues.
*Note: Where there is smoke there is an ember: In most of these stories there is a pattern of behavior that takes place over many years. Beware however of the common mistake of false pattern recognition. The ostensible pattern needs to be properly interpreted. If the issues at play are sexual, the pattern of interaction over many years may be primarily post conventional, with all of the messiness that sometimes implies or the pattern might be predatory. The difference is everything. To ascertain the distinction, there is all sorts of objective evidence that needs to be reviewed. That review is called fair process or integrity.
It is unbelievably painful to me that a group of spiritual teachers and growth movement professionals, who do not know me personally, but who have business relationships or financial ties with Stephen, have been persuaded to lend their names to this campaign without cross-checking the information being purveyed. I am certain however that once all the facts are known, the moral and formal liability of having taken such a stand will become self-evident.
It has also been most disheartening but not as unexpected to see people who have been colleagues who have close ties to Stephen, jump on Stephen’s bandwagon, some from fear, and some from self interest.
I do not know Stephen personally. I have never had a conversation with him, other then a passing hello at a public event. At several points, leaders in the Center have strongly urged Stephen to sit with me, our staff and team and carefully cross check facts and information before acting. They have also strongly urged me to sit with Stephen. Stephen has consistently refused.
I remain open to meeting Stephen directly – face to face, in a facilitated context whose intent is to create truth and reconciliation. That would require people being willing to admit having borne false witness, made false complaints and more. Everyone in the system—including myself—would need to hear each other and own their own responsibility for their part in the contribution system that led to this very moment. This is a context in which neither myself or my colleagues nor Stephen and his colleagues would be “on trial”; rather, it would be a place to give up being right and seek genuine transformation and peace. We could model this for ourselves and for the larger culture.
My colleagues at the Center for Integral Wisdom have responded directly to the smear campaign. Until this point we have only circulated our response to our own community and lists. But in light of Stephen’s rehashing of the same old canards again and again, we are sharing our public response. Following the Board of the Center’s public statement are 55 blog post by Center leaders.
I invite the reader to read each of them. They are short and wise and to the point. In reading them I hope you will actually get a direct sense of the quality of my life, relationships, and the work that we are doing at the Center for Integral Wisdom.
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. Outrageous love is not tepid or lukewarm. It is a fire that both warms and inspires even as it fierce and demanding. For the sake of goodness, truth and beauty, for the sake of my partners, my children and the many people with whom I am deeply in love, I will at the appropriate time respond in depth to every single false claim. I want to do so in a way which seeks not to destroy but to create, not to tear down but to build up, not merely to shout against the darkness but to add light.
Statement from the Center for Integral Wisdom
In response to the current attacks on Dr. Marc Gafni, The Center for Integral Wisdom has released the following statement:
Dr. Marc Gafni is under attack from certain quarters of the religious and spirituality worlds. Based on our careful review of extensive documentary evidence, numerous professional evaluations, and our collective experiences with Dr. Gafni, we fully trust that the claims of sexual harassment and abuse are false.
The Center for Integral Wisdom takes the strongest possible stance against all forms of sexual harassment and abuse. Before any of us became formally affiliated with the Center, we, collectively, carefully reviewed these allegations. We concluded, and reaffirm now, that the claims against Dr. Gafni are either untrue or significantly distorted.
Furthermore, all of us have extensive professional and personal experiences of the most positive nature with Dr. Gafni, regularly observing his goodness, integrity and kindness.
Over the years, Dr. Gafni has offered many times to engage in a professionally facilitated dialogue with the parties involved in making and disseminating these claims. However, these parties have not been willing to meet for mediated resolution in which all parties take responsibility for their part in the contribution system that created these conflicts.
Instead, over many years they have aligned with each other, coordinating their stories and efforts, avoiding forums which would allow for discerning fact checking and mutual responsibility. Given our common desire for peace in the world, it is more then unfortunate that there has not been the opportunity to engage in a productive process of resolution. The agenda of the parties has been to create public campaigns of character assassination intended to discredit Dr. Gafni in his professional and personal life.
If you would like a deeper sense of Marc, his collaborative work and character, the Center’s work, as well as a substantive refutation of the core negative stories on the web, you might want to read some of the posts below, as well as the Facts section on Marc’s personal website. You might also want to peruse the extensive material on the Center for Integral Wisdom website, or just read one of Marc’s books. In the next few weeks and months, Marc and other leaders at the Center will be sharing more specific information, as well as reflections on the larger issues at stake in this conversation.
Please see below for fifty-five blog posts from Center leaders that deal with these issues directly. We would urge any reader interested in deeper understanding and truth to read these posts with care, discernment and an open heart.
You can access the posts by clicking here, or by scrolling down in this post.
The Center for Integral Wisdom
Statements by Center Leadership
1. Steve Raymond
It has been sobering and saddening to me to be witness to an attempted modern day lynching of a man who I have personally experienced to be none of what I see him accused, but conversely, to be a person of extraordinary passion for expanding consciousness and peace in the world through respect and love for each individual soul… for each “Unique Self.”
My personal relationship with Marc was very close when I lived in California. I met Marc through a local church group and then attended a weekend retreat at Esalen led by him and Sally Kempton. For me, the power of Marc’s teachings was hugely heart-opening and spiritually and philosophically rich. A few days after that Esalen retreat, I discovered that I lived only five houses down the street from Marc and his partner Lori. I decided that I wanted to be part of this man’s sphere, and honestly, I had no idea as to the depth and complexity of what I was stepping into.
I found my day-to-day work life accountable to a teacher of profound genius coupled with a near-photographic memory and a deep and diverse formal education and scholarship. He is a man who has an inner drive to bring into the world a dharma that speaks very directly to the hope that our human species might gain the expansiveness of consciousness to course correct from the many destructive trajectories we have created on this planet.
Working closely with a person of such power was not easy for me. I loved it, but it was definitely not easy. I felt profoundly challenged to maintain my own center and my own voice. That was not because of anything that Marc was doing to me. It was my own response to being close in and accountable to a teacher of such focused passion and power. I remember thinking how challenging it would be to be in an intimate relationship with such a person, because even without that complexity, working directly with Marc could be both deeply inspiring and very disruptive to my sense of boundaries.
I found that in every single instance in our personal interactions, Marc immediately respected any boundary I chose to set without a moment of hesitation or question. There were times when my personal wish as to the use of my time and energy greatly inconvenienced him, and yet he would immediately accept my boundary. The strongest protest was one time asking, “Are you sure?”
I was very aware of the past allegations against Marc. Everyone who becomes involved with the Center is told of those allegations and encouraged to do their own due diligence. I try to match my personal experience with Marc… of the love and respect he always showed for me… of his ability to challenge me directly with firmness and respect… and especially that he consistently acquiesced to my personal wishes at inconvenience to him and The Work that drives him always… and I try to reconcile all that with accusations of him being a predator and a sociopath.
My very personal experience with Marc speaks directly against those accusations. Marc could have easily played the guru card with me. Because of my great belief in the dharma he has been bringing forth, I could have been easily susceptible if he had brought coercion, subtle or otherwise, into our relationship. Simply stated, he did not. If anything, he went in the opposite direction, deliberately choosing not to do so.
I have given much thought to this issue of personal boundaries in the presence of brilliance and power. There is a profound gravitas to the energy field of Marc. People are drawn to him. They want his brilliance to rub off. They want his attention. Men want his attention. Women want his attention. They want to get inside his head and heart. Or sometimes, as came to me as a self-realization, they want to be him, and possess the charisma, spiritual teaching power and brilliance that is his gift. But the real lesson is, when encountering a supernova power like Marc, that we each must have personal accountability and responsibility for our own Shadow so that we can truly be our Unique Self … the best version of our highest selves … because absolutely, the times within our global culture need us to do so.
In our walks along the Bay, Marc said to me, “I have learned that whatever brilliance I possess, it is a gift that could be gone in a second. The Center is not about me. If it becomes that, it is a failure.” The people I have experienced through The Center for Integral Wisdom have been wonderful examples of expanding, intelligent loving humanity who embrace that expanding consciousness and love with an adequate philosophical framework to meet the challenges of our times is a life work that is needed and beautiful to embrace. I feel deep Gratitude for my involvement with Marc personally, and for the many excellent people in The Center for Integral Wisdom.
2. Fred Jealous
I am grateful to Steve Raymond for so accurately reflecting my experience of friendship and collaboration with Marc. I am honored to be a member of the circle of people who are standing with Marc in support of him and his very important contributions to making our lives and culture more about love and less about shame and oppression.
Pacific Grove, Ca.
3. Barbara Marx Hubbard
Dear Friends and Colleagues who manifest within ourselves, as best we can, the impulse of evolution as a force of love and creativity for the good of the whole,
I would like you to know that I am privileged to be a member and leader in the evolutionary family that Marc Gafni has initiated.
Marc’s life and work is one of the most inspiring expressions of evolution now working for the good on this planet. He has a genius for understanding, articulating and empowering us to realize and act upon the Impulse of Evolution in our own lives. It is my intention to “join genius” with him and colleagues to further this great effort.
I have spent many hours talking both to him and to those who oppose him. I want to state it in an unequivocal way: I trust Marc. I am moved by his core goodness and integrity even in the most difficult situations where his personal narrative is being hijacked. By some inner strength I notice that far from being destroyed by this attack he seems to be gaining in strength and compassion.
He expresses humility and willingness to forgive and communicate in the face of deep pain caused by this mobilized attack whose stated intention is to destroy his ability to work or teach. This is deadly. It is an affront to democratic values and respect for justice which depend on fairness and open communication.
I contrast Marc’s attitude toward this mobilized attack with the way that his opponents are behaving. Many of Marc’s colleagues including myself have received phone calls and letters saying that our life work and mission is threatened by association with Marc, while direct mediated dialogue which involves fact checking and mutual responsibility on all sides has been denied.
This attack against him and his colleagues is a form of life-destroying social extremism. I believe it springs from a similar hidden and complex source of psycho-pathology as the religious fanatics who would destroy others without any degree of fairness now terrifying the world.
It is a form of Jihad, in which the other, for a complex of motives, is deemed an infidel or witch or sociopath, and then anything can be done to them.
When this began I asked the person who is leading the mobilization and coordination of this effort to “save the world from Gafni” to meet Marc and simply talk with him. I was met with utter refusal.
On the other hand when I asked Marc about meeting with the organizers of the Internet attack, he said to me something like this: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all come together, give up being right, climb down from all our trees and in an act of radical responsibility, and radical grace, and radical forgiveness find our way forward as colleagues and new friends.”
I believe that there should be convened at some point a new symposium as to how our community deals with conflict. Most of the teachers involved in this rejection are offering seminal teachings in doing the exact opposite: non-violent communication, peace-building summits, trips to India, becoming your quantum self, supporting women in becoming goddesses of love, how to love your sexuality, how to Come from the Heart with grace and compassion, etc., etc. Well, let’s apply all this advanced teaching among ourselves when there is a real conflict to be resolved in a better way than exclusion, rejection and condemnation without communication.
Let’s use this situation as an evolutionary driver for us to express more powerfully, with greater love and kindness than ever before, our understanding of the coming stage of evolution through books, teachings, gatherings and events of all kinds.
CIW has an enormous role to play in facilitating and guiding this arising. A superb team of initiators, university presidents, political analysts, technological innovators, psychologists, business leaders, coaches, trauma experts, loving friends has been gathered by Marc. I have been doing similar work — for almost 50 years!! — reaching out to colleagues everywhere who are giving their lives to various aspects of conscious evolution.
I align my life’s work with CIW and all others who are moved to join in engendering a Unique Self Symphony for a Planetary Awakening: Connecting of Co-Creators in Love in our lifetime.
This is a poetic metaphor for an actual possibility — that is connecting people and projects already working, synergizing what is loving and innovative, providing a self-organizing system in the “noosphere,” on the Internet, our new global media, the thinking layer of Earth as Teilhard de Chardin called it. Such a convergence for a shared global purpose could well be a decisive factor in reaching the tipping point from devolution toward evolution.
With love and deep heart’s desire for peace and restorative justice in our community. May we be wise enough to find a better way together.
Barbara Marx Hubbard
4. Adam Bellow
I met Marc Gafni about two and a half years ago when a mutual friend asked me to advise him on his writing and publishing plans. The setting was a small dinner party on the Upper West Side of New York. I knew his reputation, having googled him beforehand. He seemed to be a classic ‘guru’ type – brilliant, charming, charismatic, and highly seductive. So I was appropriately on guard.
Instead, Marc struck me as both surprisingly modest and unusually warm and open. Hardly the sort of outsized and flamboyant personality I’d expected. In a quiet and respectful way, he engaged with each person in turn, then asked us to join him in chanting a brief invocation. Our little group of cynical New Yorkers somewhat grudgingly allowed him to lead us in a rising/falling singsong whose vibrations filled the room and subtly opened and connected us. Within minutes, as he always does, he had turned us from a group of total strangers into the makings of a spiritual community.
A few days later he gave me an overview of his plans to create a spiritual think tank and publish a long list of books, plans which seemed impossibly ambitious at the time. Despite my crowded schedule, I found myself wanting to help—the first of many surrenders I would make to this infectiously appealing, warm, upbeat and energetic man. Marc also went out of his way to explain the scandals in his past, and shared his concern that these old attacks might be renewed at any time, despite his many efforts to resolve them. We agreed that it was probably inevitable and I suggested he write a memoir describing his lifelong relationship with Eros and telling his side of the story.
When I attended Success 3.0 the following fall I was amazed by his rapid progress in launching the Center and convening such a brilliant and accomplished group of people. He had invited me to give a brief talk, but I approached this with some trepidation. After all, I am a conservative book editor. My views were presumably at odds with those of everyone else in the room. How would all these planet-saving New Age entrepreneurs and social activists react to me? But I followed Marc’s advice and spoke for 15 minutes from the heart about my journey from youthful mysticism, through the stark dualism of partisan political debate, towards the midlife goal of integration and wholeness. Afterwards dozens of people came up to tell me how touched they had been by my story. Being honest and open about my inner struggles had allowed them to see past the fear and prejudice that divides us and to grasp who I was in my essence. I also saw how I had been trapped by my own unconscious projection of fear and hostility on them. It was a valuable lesson.
Since then I have worked closely with Marc and his colleagues as the Center expanded and grew, gathering momentum and energy at an amazing rate. Time and again I have seen how Marc brings people forward, as he did with me, and helps them find and express their authentic voice and unique gifts.
Then, without warning, the renewed controversy about his past burst in a perfect storm of rage and bile.
First let me state that I am not Marc’s disciple or student. He is not my teacher or spiritual advisor. My initial interest in him was that of a publisher for a brilliant and original thinker and writer. But we have since become friends, and as someone who knows him intimately, I believe in his goodness and innocence. I have seen how he teaches, writes and thinks, how he inspires and leads, and above all, how he conducts his relationships. Like all of us, he is not above reproach. But I have never seen him harm a living soul. Instead I have been consistently impressed by the love, respect, and loyalty he inspires in all who know him.
In short, I simply cannot square my personal experience of Marc with the distorted, overheated and hysterical descriptions of him that I read online and in otherwise reputable publications. Incantatory words like “rapist,” “pedophile,” or “serial abuser” are flung around by people who don’t know him and refuse to meet or speak with him. To read these accounts is to enter a lurid netherworld of pornographic fantasy. If you believed half of what you read, you would think that Marc Gafni is a sorcerer, an evil witch, a Rasputin-like character who dazzles and seduces and enchants with hidden powers.
Some suggest that Marc’s friends are “in denial,” as though we are blind to the significance of these sorts of allegations or do not take them seriously. As the father of two daughters, I assure you that I do. Nor would the strong, confident, independent women I have met at the Center put up with that kind of abuse from Marc Gafni or anyone else.
Others claim that we are being manipulated by a highly skilled con artist. A charming sociopath who feels no pain and no remorse. A man without a heart, a soul, a conscience. That is not the Marc Gafni I and many others know. And to those who assume they know better, I ask: who would you believe – some self-appointed “expert” who has never met or spoken with Marc (let alone disgruntled ex-partners with an ax to grind), or the evidence of your own eyes, mind and heart? The question is hardly worth asking.
The passions on display here are truly medieval. They are the ancient, ugly, sacrificial passions of the witch hunt, the pogrom and the auto da fe. Marc may not be perfect—no one is. But nothing he is alleged to have done remotely justifies the hate-filled campaign of personal destruction that is being waged against him, his friends and colleagues, and the Center as a whole.
I do not pretend to know where such hateful passions come from. Whether from the internet, society at large, or someplace deep within our own tormented hearts. All I know is, decent people should have nothing to do with them.
5. Warren Farrell
This is to express my unequivocal support for Marc Gafni, D.Phil. as a teacher and visionary leader of the Center for Integral Wisdom. In my work with him as a friend, co-facilitator of content, and Board member of the Center, I find him to be one of the world’s truly extraordinary men. He blends integrity with skills of leadership, vision, creativity, and charisma. He harbors a renaissance intellect and comprehension of history, religion and spirituality–and harnesses that into the hearts and souls of those whose hearts are open and whose souls are wise enough to be deepened.
Marc Gafni is one of the world’s change agents. Virtually all change agents, whether Martin Luther King or Gandhi, will be subjected to attempts at assassination–character assassination and sometimes literal assassination. Unfortunately, the internet has allowed such attempts to be magnified when aimed at a leader’s character. This propensity of people without vision to try to ruin the person rather than challenge the ideas has long been with us. As Mark Twain put it, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” With the internet, a lie can travel all the way around the world while the truth is finding its shoe. In the process, it is easy to lose the message of a visionary leader.
Marc continues to make a commitment to lead; I for one, am making a commitment both to continue co-creating with him and to never allowing myself to be sidetracked by those whose feel it is easier to kill the messenger than create a more visionary and informed message.
Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
6. Kate Maloney
I have known Marc for over 10 years, and have worked with him daily for over two years. Marc has one of the highest levels of integrity that I have ever had the honor to encounter. He has articulated over many decades a core set of distinctions which, together with Integral thought, lie at the heart of the work of our activist think tank and its projects. While he has a brilliant mind, even more remarkable is his sincere love for all people. He is able to connect with moviestars and rockstars in the same way he connects with waitresses or people at the copy shop. I have seen this consistently time and time again. Not once have I ever seen him disrespect anyone – from his colleagues, staff, partners, family, and friends to strangers on the street, and beyond. Said simply, his genius, mind and heart are all in service to loving humanity – moment to moment.
In all of the years I have worked with Marc I have never seen him do anything but empower and encourage the greatness in every person he interacts with. One of Marc’s ‘superpowers’ is his ability to see what is possible for people, beyond what a person might even see for themselves. He not only encourages this greatness in people but provides opportunities for each person to expand and thrive. Marc is fundamentally about collaboration and creation with others. This has been my own direct experience. Marc consistently calls me to greatness and delights in my success. While Marc is most known for being an inspired creator of new thought and distinctions, his secret is that he is not merely a creator but a connector. He is constantly putting people in touch with each other to join their genius together. Our work at the Center for Integral Wisdom is about creating an organization where people can come together to partner, create and collaborate. The Center and our projects are designed to create collaborative work in the world through us coming together and producing results well beyond what any of us can do alone. This is the distinction of what we call the Unique Self Symphony. We all have our strengths, and when we all rise up to do what each of us can uniquely do, that is when we can truly thrive as a global community.
The genius that has come together in the Center is truly off-the-charts. It is a group of global leaders and change agents in all areas of public discourse; from John Mackey and Ken Wilber to John Gray, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Zak Stein, Clint Fuhs, Sally Kempton, Paul Miller, Mariana Caplan, Warren Farrell, Elliott Ingersoll and dozens of other superstar human beings, innovators and leaders. This group of people are completely inspiring, integrous, brilliant, loving and committed. These people have come together with a shared commitment to the transformation of culture through the application of integral principles. With over a dozen of books in progress, events, courses, ongoing dialogues, podcasts and more, we are people who are committed to making a real difference through the work we do TOGETHER.
Of course, it has been upsetting to see this attempted character assassination of a person who I deeply respect, and who is respected by so many. I have personally not experienced any of what he has been accused of. Those of us who know him well find it such an unlikely depiction of someone who we work closely with and is authentically generous and loving to everyone. We understand therefore that the hostility that has expressed itself here is a reflection of those making the attacks and not of Marc.
Unfortunately, many our board members, colleagues and business partners have been aggressively approached directly, and through their employers, colleagues, and organizations, having been sent highly aggressive and even threatening messages to urging us to renounce any affiliation with Marc and resign from the Center. The absolute incorruptibility and integrity of the prominent thought and business leaders who are standing by Marc and the work of the Center, even in the face of being themselves threatened, and in some case experiencing their own financial losses, is beyond inspiring. If you saw the integrity, leadership, boldness, and honorableness I see, you would be moved to tears as I am.
I have talked to one of the key women who are at the core of the complaints against Marc. As a woman, I am truly interested in the healing and honoring of anything that is incomplete – for anyone, with anyone else. I know if we talk about peace on the planet, it starts right here with ourselves. I shared with the woman how Marc respects and appreciates her (which is true), and stated that if he caused her any upset, that was not his intention, and that he was available to connect and hear anything that was unresolved for her. She has had this invitation a number of times before, as this always stands for Marc with anyone. In the moment, she said, yes, she would consider re-connecting with Marc. Marc followed up with an email as well, but the woman never responded. I got that the core of the upset for her was how much she cared for Marc, and was just hurt by not being able to be closer.
While it was initially frustrating to have to manage these defamatory attacks, I soon realized that this is not a distraction from our work — rather this is our work. As a group of people committed to evolving the consciousness of the planet, the only question is how we can bring love, integrity, transformation to this situation. We all claim to stand for peace and transformation on the planet; here is our opportunity to live it.
Business Development & Entrepreneur
Co-Board Chair, Center for Integral Wisdom
7. Chahat Corten
I met Marc Gafni some five years ago. Colleagues invited him to our place, after hearing him speak as the initiator of a big event in California (ISE1).
When I first heard him teach, I quickly got that there’s something very Unique about him. I have been around forever and have seen many teachers at work.
His depth of mind, the original thinker he is, is combined with an enormous loving heart.
He is uniquely able to bring complex material to life in a way that can be really received and understood by a broad range of people. People on various levels of understanding…. and he can totally capture their hearts and minds AND have them in the same room too!! I have never seen anything quite like this in a life where I have seen so many teachers.
I stepped into the board of CIW and we created several events together in which deep thought of the Center for Integral Wisdom gets applies and evaluated. Beautiful and intense events which became very successful in both developing new teachings and in numbers of participants.
And Marc just blows the room open, again and again. Not just with his mind, but with his open heart which is so sincere, powerful and direct. I am amazed and blown away myself each time!
Everybody feels personally addressed and seen.
People feel his love and total commitment for the dharma, the teaching. And next to that they feel seen, he sees them… In honor, in humor and in gratitude for them being there!!
Seeing him work, and prepare minutely for these teachings, reflects totally what I hear, as I am speaking to the hundreds of participants over the years.
I receive story after story of how his teaching and transmission has opened a door for so many people to find more grace, more strength, more depth in themselves! People just love him and feel loved by him.
For myself, I can wholeheartedly say that I meet a constant support for my own empowerment in deepening my unique gifts in this world. You know it’s not about him; it’s about people finding the best in themselves.
I am so proud to be together with such a beautiful and diverse band of people, working in the Center for Integral Wisdom and addressing many important issues at hand.
In CIW I see the great heart, the brilliance and the love of a man who knows how to bring very different people together and from that we truly create an awesome Symphony of Outrageous Love.
I totally condemn and abhor this organized and orchestrated, jealous vendetta / internet assassination on the Center for Integral Wisdom and on the person and the work of Dr. Marc Gafni.
Actually what is being done here is one of the issues that is being brought to Marc – it is a great projection – manipulation driven by a personal frustration.
It has been hard to be silent until now and to watch this absurd and vicious drama unfold. A drama again that has been written with a cleverness and a persistence that gives me shivers of dismay.
I am proud to be part of this post! I am ready to move on with all of us together, proudly move on with open hearts, open minds, full commitment and integrity, ready for the next beautiful unfolding of Outrageous Love.
and co-founder of the
Mystery School of Love,
8. Rev. Samuel G. Alexander
We Have Looked at What You Have to Say and Found Your Position Wanting
The night I heard Marc Gafni preach at ISE 2 I was stunned, moved to tears. Never have I heard someone reveal the horror of the world so clearly and then be able to match that clarity with such an overwhelming sense of hope so that I was left with joy in my heart. The text was alive in his hands. This was good news – something we Christians talk about a lot – but rarely do we reach out over the pulpit and place that gospel in the hearts of those who come to receive. My friendship with Marc grew from that place.
Almost five years ago now, at the time being Chair of Marc Gafni’s Board, I was approached by three women who wanted to share concerns about him. I met with them for two hours. I was deeply concerned for them, and took their perspectives very seriously, seriously enough that I wanted to find some way to hear both sides and give them the opportunity to resolve these issues with Marc in a productive setting. I arranged for them to meet with me, Marc, and a psychologist, something they said they wanted. I was clear with them that I was looking to support them in this effort. I thought, “Finally, we can get some clarity.”
Without skipping a beat, Marc agreed to the meeting. It was clear he wanted the opportunity to work these things through. Contrary to popular belief he is very concerned for those who feel hurt. But after he agreed, the three women backed out of the plan. Their stated reason was that Marc was such an impossibly powerful person that they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere. At the time I was just a man with an open heart who very much wanted to support these women. I presumed the veracity of their story, but in retrospect I realize their characterization of Marc had become so distorted that it simply didn’t make sense of the man I know.
He had become larger than life, a mythic figure, no longer human, a dragon to be slain. In time I discovered that one of these women had been “sharing her concerns about Marc” with anyone who would listen for years and years. She was one of those who supported the false accusations made against Marc in Israel, which Mariana Caplan wrote about in her article, An Unexpected Twist: False Complaints Against Teachers. This woman has deliberately and methodically undermined his relationships whenever she has the chance for that long. It’s so clear now that the two women joining her that day were stirred to action by her practiced interference. More disturbing still, it’s clear that by then she had come to believe her own stories.
It was painful; I had so much wanted to find some resolution for them; I wanted it for Marc too. Confused by it all, and exhausted, I resigned from the Board. In the ensuing years I’ve received nothing but love and a desire for restoration from Marc. I’ve watched from the periphery as Marc has continued to gather a group of people whose defining characteristic is the love they express for one another.
Even in the midst of this attempt at an organized takedown I sat on a conference call last week and listened as each person wondered aloud how we might love this moment open. The attack isn’t just impacting Marc, an entire community has felt it, yet each was wondering how to offer a love response in the face of an organized effort to destroy us? Wow. I heard people talking about shadow – including their own – trying to understand how this might play out and allow for the growth and development of love in the world. I heard people able to hold multiple perspectives. (I mean we are integral, right? We don’t just assume that our perspective is the only correct one, yes?) And Marc, I can’t imagine the pain this has caused him, and yet he’s shown up with a level of grace that can only have come from the love that has fallen into his broken heart.
But what have I heard from those attacking Marc and CIW? I have heard precious little resembling a search for truth or a desire for love to win the day. I hear hateful vile responses from near strangers. So I’m faced with a question: Should I be part of a group that puts love at the center of its relationships or should I be part of a group that has perpetrated an organized take down of someone’s life? A group that attacks other people for the crime of raising issues in support of Marc? What is the position that justifies that? An assumption that the dozens of people who are supporting Marc in this space are all deluded, incapable of reading, discerning and coming to independent conclusions? Can it possibly be that those who attack are so self-righteous as to think that they and only they could arrive at the truth, that they and only they care sufficiently about issues of justice and abuse? The arrogance of that position is terrifying in an “integral” community.
No, those that would attack, and those sitting on the sidelines, need to at least understand that we have looked at what you have to say about Marc and found your position wanting. We reject it, not because Marc is some sort of Sith Lord with the capacity to control our brains, but because we think your position is just plain wrong. We think it is wrong to seek the ruin of someone’s life without due process, wrong to ignore facts that oppose your position, wrong to deliberately stir people to hatred, wrong to justify such actions with an increasingly bizarre array of ill-informed diagnoses, wrong to hide motives for an attack, one that offers no new information, behind the rhetoric of care for the victim. (Don’t any of you wonder how and why all this started?)
So should I be a member of a group that has been doing that, or should I be part of the group that even now is trying to figure out how to love this moment open, wondering who, if anyone might meet us in that space? To tell the truth, my decision is quite easy. I’m rejoining the CIW Board.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Samuel G. Alexander
San Anselmo, California
9. Laura Halsted
In the ten years I’ve known Marc Gafni, I have been struck by how people like to make him a topic of conversation. There’s an electric quality in Gafni that fascinates some people, and inevitably creates envy and disapproval in others. Wherever there is envy, there is the desire to find fault. So people get together and gossip about Marc. They look for reasons why he appears so charismatic, why his ideas can galvanize a room full of people, why his workshops open people’s hearts. And then they look for reasons to believe that his gifts are manipulative or tricky or maybe even evidence of ‘occult manipulation’. They might critique his audaciousness, or his evangelical style of speaking, or the fact that he has had lovers. They might cite moments where he said something that revealed personal ambition, or when he just claimed more space than other people, or seemed to offer intimacy in a way that promised deeper friendship but didn’t pan out.
To look for flaws in outsize personalities is normal, of course. To resent lovers and ex-partners who move on, is equally common. So is projecting one’s own disowned shadow, one’s unlived life. Who among us has not disliked someone else for expressing aspects of ourselves that we fear or dislike? Or for golden shadow qualities that we wish we had the courage to live?
Now, however, the shadow projection has gone way too far. A good man is being literally demonized, painted in colors designed to make his life and work impossible.
As other commentators on this thread have noted, the so-called ”Gafni Affair,” like the persecution and trial of Albert Dreyfus, is in many ways a well-organized and deliberate takedown. It is supported by a group of well-intentioned people with legitimate concerns about charismatic teachers, but also by some whose motives have less to do with truth than with revenge, envy, the desire to tell a dramatic story, and inevitably, shadow projection. In this latter group are some teachers scapegoating a peer for qualities they have disowned, or have suffered from in their own teachers, and now project onto Marc. There are some who have honest critiques of Gafni’s work or lifestyle but whose concerns are being co-opted as part of the demonizing narrative. There are rejected lovers avenging themselves on a former partner, or joining with a couple of other former lovers to recast playful acts in intimate moments as ‘abusive’. You also, inevitably, find dozens of people who never met Gafni (or who know him only slightly) signing onto petitions, assuming that when so many people are saying it, it MUST be true–just as hundreds of thousands of people signed on to the made-up ‘birther’ controversy that claimed Obama to have been born in Kenya.
Here’s what I have come to know about Marc Gafni. He is a genuine visionary, a lover of people, a brilliant, funny, friendly, eccentric and deeply kind-hearted man. He is also sexually unconventional, takes up a lot of space in any room he enters, and has the kind of persuasiveness and charisma that makes some people love him and infuriates others. Some of the latter are having a field day on the Internet, using Gafni’s perceived and imagined flaws to justify their desire to remove him from the Jewish and Integral conversations. Two isolated incidents from his long-ago youth are mischaracterized, turned into a meme, and falsely cited as grounds for believing him to have a ‘long history of sexually abusing underage girls.’ A former collaborator with whom he shared ideas now accuses him of plagiarism. People with no clinical credentials string together rumors and use words from the DSM to pathologize him. Others concede his good qualities in order to sound credible when they denounce him for—what? Not having had a teacher. (Unlike the many contemporary spiritual leaders who claim transmission from a sage who died before they were born?) Synthesizing ideas. (Is there a teacher or thinker who doesn’t?) Being attractive to women and having not always been faithful to one woman. (Are we really going to pretend that male spiritual teachers are generally celibates or faithful husbands?) Having a ‘suspiciously’ outsized level of charisma and persuasiveness. (Have we come to the point where a man’s verbal skills and ability to kindle spiritual experience in others are considered ‘occult manipulation,’ as one writer absurdly suggested?)
To give some examples of the tactics being employed: A teacher, who was not one of the leading speakers at a Gafni-organized event that took place a few years ago, writes about how much better the energy felt at a related event where Gafni was not present. What he neglects to mention was that he himself had taken Gafni’s place as a lead speaker in this other event. Is it surprising that it felt better to him? A ‘journalist’ who has never met Gafni states in a piece in an online magazine: “He is not like other people. He has no conscience.” On what basis does she make this claim? Does a writer who offers her own conjectures as fact deserve to be called a journalist—or a person of conscience?
What causes people to pathologize Marc? I believe that his primary ‘sin’ is an abundance of life-force. His energy is boundless, exuberant, overflowing—and sometimes too big for certain rooms. He creates communities and intimate engagements that sometimes seem to promise more than they can possibly fulfill. He is a persuasive arguer, which can be challenging to people less comfortable with debate. He has a powerful presence, yet is unconnected to any institution, so he is vulnerable to attack from institutional actors. He has, at times in his life, been openly polyamorous. He is ambitious and often over-the-top. His very largeness evokes both false idealization and false demonization. Yet, anyone who knows him well and who looks at him without envy, projection or other agendas would see that, besides intellectual brilliance and relational abilities, his real gift is a genuinely open and loving heart.
In the midst of this firestorm of attack, sane voices need to stop and discern the difference between fact and rumor, to weigh truth and fiction, and to allow this man to continue doing his ground-breaking work, even as he does the soul-searching character work that is required of every one of us.
I’m happy to have the chance to write in support of Marc Gafni.
What I notice in the recent furor about Marc is not only the desire to demonize him in ways that I do not recognize, but to attack anyone who supports him. This was also true of the Harryman blog episode several years ago. The tone is borderline hysterical, as if there were a madman on the loose and we need to protect the good people of the world. If I did not know Marc well I would be quite terrified–certainly the person people are describing is not someone I would want to support. So…if you are among them let me ask you to listen. I’m of sound mind. I know some of you. I don’t see you as an enemy. I am puzzled, however, at how frightened you are, and I wonder–of what?
I wonder if it might be this. Marc is eerily accurate in describing the human condition, particularly with respect to Eros and false Eros. Marc talks about Eros as a fullness of presence, of participating in the yearning force of being and of radical wholeness or interconnectivity. I think we all know that at some level. We all have our private and often furtive ways of recovering a lost sense of aliveness, be it through drugs, sex, compulsive work, controlling others, gossip, pornography, whatever. Most of our mistakes can be private…even our rigid closing off of love is private in its consequences. No one gets in trouble for that. Becoming distant is a non-action, or so it seems.
But Marc refuses to shut down, and he holds out for real Eros. Again, by Eros I do not mean sex, but rather an aliveness and fullness of life itself. He has pushed me to love more deeply, to commit more fully, to take myself and my work and my presence more seriously. There are times I have wanted him to back off, to let me settle for being just a little above average, to hold back on Eros, not to see myself as the contribution to the whole that my life is. But he is right in saying that true Eros is in being who we really are–that is what the unique self means. It has its own energy and aliveness, and none of the other strategies of false Eros can touch it. And I can see that my world needs me–not as some kind of messiah, but as the particular voice and perspective that I bring to every situation. This is a radical statement and for Marc it is true of everyone by definition. In a world filled with depression and addiction in every social class and country, even among high-performing college students, Marc’s work is a lightning bolt.
I have seen him push too hard and try to do too much. I understand that concern. He has learned to rely more on others in recent years and to seek their perspectives more deeply. He is a superb listener and loves to collaborate, and sometimes takes over. I do not know a single strong leader who is not sometimes guilty of that. It is why the prophetic voice is often run out of town. He confronts us. But I know many strong leaders who cannot themselves be confronted, and Marc is not that person. He welcomes strength, and he deeply welcomes strength in women and men. I have experienced that as a woman, and I have seen it many, many times.
I take the charge of emotional abuse seriously. I have known people who fit that description, who ambush people and deliberately humiliate and dehumanize them. Marc’s entire life is opposite to that. Women who become involved with him do so with full agency, and always one risks hurt in relationship. I’ve seen him impatient working on a project, I’ve seen him annoyed. But I have never seen him target someone in anything remotely like the way he is repeatedly targeted–and he could, publicly. He never does. The cruel tone of his accusers betrays their intent —the more shrill they become, the more obvious it is that something else is going on. It is as old as the log and speck story in the bible–we see in someone else what is true-or we fear is true–of ourselves. For anyone trained in psychology or emotional understanding to miss this is irresponsible.
I have many times seen on the internet the whisper that Marc does not have a PhD from Oxford. No doubt Oxford has been asked this question many times. He does have a PhD. It’s publicly documented, along with a beautiful letter from his thesis adviser. Marc is a top Kabbalah scholar. To question this so often is another example of the peculiar urge to destroy.
I do not know how to heal this rift but I ask us all to consider what has happened here. For many, Marc’s philosophy is part of an antidote to so much that is impersonal and life-denying in the world today. In your zeal to protect, do not invent sources of evil. There is enough injustice already. If we truly hope to offer anything to the world, we have to find and model another way to deal with anger and fear–something that embodies honesty and the hope of reconciliation. Otherwise, we are simply driving deeper the ruts that have gotten us–humanity–where we are. For this to come from those who would be spiritual teachers is its own irony. But it points us directly toward the work we need to do, and our own obligation to do it.
I would happily sign this but do not want to provide another interesting target for such a strangely misguided campaign. All of us, on any side of this, have far more essential work to do.
11. LK Littlefield
I’ve worked closely with Marc on projects and with the Center for Integral Wisdom for over four years. I am continually touched and amazed by the caliber of the team, the Board and the community that has gathered. These are some of the most professional, accomplished, open-minded and willing-to-be-vulnerable people I have ever met – for whom honest sharing, curiosity about the other, and clear communication are tantamount.
I first met Marc in a brief public moment, as people filed into a crowded conference room to take their seats. What struck me most was his warmth, and a genuine friendliness that made me feel immediately at ease and welcomed. Eventually, I met Marc again, at a time when I was mired in a lingering sadness and ennui from a recent breakup. I was trying my best to see friends, meditate, exercise, help those in need – to do whatever I could to get myself out of it. Marc’s quality of attention had an unmistakable presencing effect. It awoke me to my own aliveness, and pretty much abruptly shook me out of my slump.
Perhaps it’s this same aliveness that makes Marc so resilient, able to work those long hours, generate new and nuanced thought, all while bringing that special quality of attention to those he loves and serves – even when such unimaginable meanness is being directed at him (like now).
I remember introducing him to a dear friend of mine on Skype who was going through a major financial and health crisis. He and Marc chatted for maybe 5 minutes; afterward, my friend said that, for a moment, he felt like life was beautiful. He was struck by this – how could Marc affect his perception of reality so much?
I think that one aspect of the blessing and power of Marc’s transmission is that its energy wants to fill a vacuum, to add what is missing, to heal what is broken. If there is loneliness, Marc fills it with loving. If there is hopelessness or closedness, he fills it with invitations to recognize and action the beautiful. If there is half-baked or incomplete thinking, he fills it with brilliant dot-connecting. And if there is ambivalence or uncertainty, he gives it direction.
I myself can be easily directed by a strong-willed person. This is not a “problem” per se – it’s also the foundation, in its empowered form, of the gift of conscious merging and co–creation that I can give my beloveds and my collaborators. I honor the people I most admire and trust by letting them influence and impact me – in this way I expand my horizons and grow as a person. At the same time, I can let my boundaries be crossed, in a way that doesn’t work. One of the greatest lessons I learn from Marc ongoingly, is the practice of maintaining my voice and my autonomy (aka my power) in the face of compelling direction from others, at the risk of causing conflict.
On a few occasions I gave up my power with Marc, in much the same ways many of us have, in many of our relationships, throughout our lives. In other words, I didn’t speak up when something mattered to me in our working relationship – same as I’ve done with all the various men and women I’ve given up my power to over the years. On one such occasion involving Marc, I shared what had happened. It was hard for me to do, but once I did, he deeply grokked the dynamic that had played out, deeply apologized – and cried. He cried at not having seen how much this mattered to me, cried at not having been who I had needed him to be. He thanked me for having the courage to keep sharing until he understood – rather than go silent and passive – enabling us to grow together as people and collaborators, and deepen in all the possible ways. During this talk, we both saw each others’ strengths and trustability. There could be true sharing, and true listening. He could let me influence and impact him, just as I have let him influence and impact me.
When I do know my needs, speak up, and set a boundary in work, Marc has never been anything but respectful. He has asked me to push back on every dimension of our work together, with my own voice.
It is MY responsibility to speak up. If there is one demand that Marc has made on me many times, it’s that I own and claim my power as human being.
He has demonstrated he is a space for that; so any reluctance or fear I have is about me, not him. This is the case in all my relationships, and, I think for many of us women and men, this is a great life learning on the road to greater loving and deeper intimacy.
12. Rebecca G.
Imbalance is not rectified by equal misalignment in the opposite direction. Corollary: Justice is rarely dispensed by a blood-thirsty mob. We all know that people genuinely, even routinely victimized were, & still are, silenced by systems arrayed in support of the status quo.
Yet we also know that history is replete with unfortunate denunciations, untrue & comparably harmful.
Enshrinement of the ostensible “victim”(which no one I have met who actually is one wants to be) alongside a presumption of guilt relative to “the accused” (which incidentally abrogates that which the framers of our constitution laid in place with considerable deliberateness) is comparably problematic.
Back to history for a moment – to see if it instructs.
Want your neighbor’s property?
Denounce him to the inquisitors.
They will torture him or her.
No one will stand for them-
for fear of being implicated.
They might subject them to “tests”
-if they live,
it means they are guilty–
& will duly be put to death.
If they die, they are exonerated–
& may rest in peace.
Either way, you can acquire what your own capacities– honestly employed– could not bring you–
that which was not due you–
that which was your neighbor’s.
Jealous of the woman down the way-
Denounce her as a witch.
She’ll burn & you’ll be praised for your “goodness,” “piety,” “courage.”
You might even feel drunk with your new-found power.
There’s no stopping you.
Simply bear false witness against anyone who denies you–anything you desire-
-their family, their associates, their pets.
After all, they deserve what they get for consorting with (not Satan, but) someone you wanted out of your way.
All the while, you can claim to be a servant of God.
Soon, you’ll believe it yourself.
Victimization through decreeing someone else “a perpetrator” in order to move against them is smart, in that it enlists the aid of those, sometimes very well meaning, who, if they knew the actual facts, would never throw in with the accusers.
And now, with trial by Internet, one need never leave the comfort of one’s living room – to annihilate another human being – to paint a picture of him so villainous, that even those who have never met him or her, will recoil in horror & join the crusade.
No one is beyond reach.
Now more to the matter at hand. As a Jew myself, I wonder the following.
How can it be, that a people, so beset by false accusations, for the entirety of their existence — so cautioned by their own God-given laws, never to slander, nor even humiliate an actual wrong-doer – if alternative, less damaging recourse is available – has leaders willing to orchestrate & others willing to collude w/, the execution of a premeditated campaign whose goal is – make no mistake – the utter destruction of a human being?
How many times have people said about the Jews as a rationalization for unconscionable acts: they have too much influence, they are not like us, they ruin our “purity,” they must be, restricted, exiled, eradicated. It seems eerily similar to the smear campaign being waged against Marc Gafni.
Likewise, it seems stunningly incongruous for those who claim to pursue a spiritual path to employ or be party to, tactics more suited to a dictatorship: propaganda + very thinly (if at all) veiled threats to destroy the livelihood and reputation of anyone not on the side of the “dominant regime?”
While claiming that Marc Gafni executes “reprisals” (which those of us who know him well find an odd characterization of someone who will not speak ill of others), self-appointed guardians of the purity of the spiritual have literally sought to impugn, silence & threaten those who would speak out on his behalf, or simply speak on behalf of the facts not in evidence. Facts intentionally omitted in this funded, planned & carefully executed attempted professional take-down.
I do not find any campaign that uses such tactics, or whose goal is ostracism or destruction, consonant with spiritual evolution.
So, what does Marc Gafni teach?
That we are all irreducibly unique, an essential expression of the love intelligence of the Universe.
I have never seen him ostracize, reject or shame anyone–not in all the years of my knowing him well–not in any moment.
How does one gain permission to carry out a murder, with public approval? Paint the target as dangerous, a monster, a threat, and anyone who would stand in the way of his or her destruction, a collaborator.
The God I believe in did not sanction McCarthyism either. And he/she doesn’t sanction this.
Those who are being carried along on this wave of hatred, I would hope might ask questions like: why, all of a sudden are claims being recycled from 30 yrs. ago? Why the proliferation of articles? What was the contemporary event that presumably precipitated?
Might there be ulterior motives being played out under the guise of “saving” those not in danger?
This move against Marc Gafni is not a battle being waged on behalf of good, for women’s rights or for spiritual integrity, no matter what it dresses itself up to resemble.
Noble ends are not achieved through corrupt means nor memes.
13. Daniel Schmachtenberger
Sadly, sexually coercive relationships happen. So do false or exaggerated complaints. Both are abuses of power and both can be profoundly damaging. And can be hard to discern the truth about. This is why we have developed formalized systems of law and due process – otherwise, in the name of being a protector and defender of innocence, it’s quite easy to do exactly the opposite.
The foundation of due process is the presumption of innocence. Blackstone’s famous formulation on jurisprudence ruled that ‘it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent be wrongly condemned’. Thomas Jefferson expanded the ratio to 100 to 1 and helped encode “innocent until proven guilty” as a foundation of our system of justice. John Adams added “It is more important that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world, that all of them cannot be punished…. when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, ‘it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.’ And if such a sentiment as this were to take hold in the mind of the subject that would be the end of all security whatsoever.”
The following pillars of a functional justice process involve the right to a fair trial with fair representation, an adequately trained and unbiased judge or an unbiased jury of peers, veracity checking evidence and a penalty for perjury, the burden of proof resting with prosecution – that must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If guilt is found, the response taken should be proportionate to what actually happened.
These practices pertain not just to criminal accusations and government enforced law, but to any judgement made regarding another human being that has consequence. Especially if being made by a group of people with greater power to act on that judgement.
Sadly, the court of public opinion follows none of these practices. No process for hearing both sides and earnest fact checking. No accountability for intentional misinformation. Guilt is easily believed and exoneration never happens. The trial itself is irremediable punishment. Much more like a mob than a court. And the self-appointing and self-aggregating mob play prosecutor, judge, and executioner in one. If an accusation is believable, whether true or not, it can spread. Especially if there is even a small seed group working to drive it. And the spread adds social credibility making it easier for others to believe and spread without feeling the need to do much of their own due diligence, assuming it already done adequately by others earlier for the meme to get this far. If they do feel the need to do some additional checking, the first step will be an internet search which will yield more corroboration of the same trending viral meme. Even if the person is very thoughtful and not quick to jump on the villainization bandwagon, they are likely to get caught in one of the following logical fallacies:
1. Faulty pattern recognition: They will thoughtfully give the benefit of the doubt that likely some of the allegations are made up or exaggerated but assume that some have to be true – it couldn’t all come from nowhere. They will say things like “where there is smoke there must be fire” and figure enough wrongdoing to be cautious at least. This is actually a form of presumption of guilt without due process.
2. Appeal to authority. Someone they trust or respect wrote something or signed or shared an article. They must have done their research so we can put our energy where they did.
3. Groupthink. This is the same as appeal to authority but the authority is the crowd. That many people couldn’t be wrong.
4. Erring on the side of safety. In lieu of knowing all the facts, let’s err on the side of safety and assume there is danger. That’s better than erring on the other side and possibly condoning or allowing harm. This is another rationalization for presuming guilt. Read Jefferson and Adams above again. This doesn’t factor the harm of wrongful incrimination.
5. Misplaced ‘moderateness’. In lieu of knowing everything, they will assume some is true and some isn’t, as a form of reasonable moderateness and bias away from extremism and towards reconciliatory points of view. Except that when there are actual facts, they matter and should be pursued.
If someone does make it past all those easily believable fallacies, conducts their own fact checking, and does not find guilt…will they have the courage to say so? To a group that has come into existence to act on a guilt they have already accepted? It’s one thing to stand up against a bad guy, along with many others doing so, on the seeming clear side of right, without having to do any due diligence to come to an opinion, with pre-made easy actions to take (sign a petition, share an article, etc.), and no one who will publicly confront you as immoral for doing so. How much harder is it to stand on the other side? Even if true? As is so often the case, the true and the good may not be obvious or easy.
My personal experience with Marc:
• Re plagiarism – I have experienced Marc credit me and others for things he’s learned, more than anyone else I have worked with professionally. This actually stands out.
• Re sociopathy – I have seen Marc apologize and show sadness and remorse. I see him empathize often and genuinely, and extend support at cost to himself, where there is nothing tangible to be gained.
• Re intimate relationships – I know several of his previous partners who are still close friends and allies and respect him and feel respected by him.
• Re ethics and sexuality – I think Marc’s teachings on this topic are profound and offer something otherwise missing to the field ethics.
• Re emotional manipulation – Most of the people that have worked closely with Marc in recent years that I know of feel respected and honored in the connection and because of that, have stayed friends despite social pressure to distance arising from this campaign.
Director, Critical Path Global
14. Zachary Stein
I am not writing because I am a “defender” or “supporter” or “student” of Marc Gafni.
Granted, I know Marc well. I am helping to build the Center for Integral Wisdom think tank along with Gafni, Kempton, Galperin, Maloney, Ingersoll, Farrell, Wilber, Schmachtenberger, Fuhs, and about 10 other scholars. As a group we’ve got over ten books in process and about four nearly ready for press. During this multi-year collaboration I have found Marc to be an incredibly creative writer and teacher, and arguably the best practitioner-scholar of Jewish mysticism on the planet. I also consider Marc a close personal friend, having known him for nearly a decade; I believe we share an uncommon passion for deep philosophical reading and scholarship. I have never experienced Marc as anything other than transparent, generous, and thoughtful.
But this bit of writing here is not exactly about Marc. I would write this for anyone I knew to be in Marc’s position, just as I would also step in to support a perfect stranger if I believed they were being maliciously and wrongly condemned in the court of public opinion. And make no mistake: Marc is being maliciously and wrongly condemned. I write here, and not on Facebook or my own blog, because I am choosing to put my voice beside the voices of others in a curated space, and outside the frenzy of social media pseudo-discourse, which is the focus of my critique here.
Think what you will of Marc; I am not writing to change minds. I have many friends who I may never see eye-to-eye with about him. So be it. I am simply writing to those who are sincerely seeking justice, accountability, and a way forward. Seeking this, however, means that everyone must be treated with a basic level of civility and respect. This is the deeper meaning of phrases like “due process” or “procedural justice,” which imply a basic respect for human decency and fair treatment, even of those we disagree with and seek to punish.
My point here is that we must not dehumanize others—even those we believe to be our enemies, even those we disagree with and seek to punish. This is one of the great lessons of this past century of global warfare, and it is a lesson we must remember in these new days of extremism and violence, when we are tempted again to paint our enemies in masks and to make them inhuman. Unfortunately, the politics of dehumanization are alive and well, and they are even seeping into progressive and new age circles.
Marc and those involved with him (including his alleged victims) have been collectively dehumanized in the recent social media spectacle. This has cut off almost any chance of working toward restorative justice. Restorative justice requires re-humanizing everyone involved, and moving toward truth, communication, and reconciliation. I am not naïve about what this means and I understand that some people have declined requests by Marc to initiate this kind of process. This is made especially difficult because there are some who are putting time, money, and thought into orchestrating a public condemnation of Marc. Their motives are diverse and I wont speculate on them here, but they are fully aware that Marc is not a sociopath, sex predator, or child molester—yet they perpetuate this totally incredible criminalization of him anyway. This kind of vile and manipulative dishonesty is radically dehumanizing and leaves us unable to move towards any forms of reasonable dialogue or truth seeking.
Let me be clear on what I mean here when I use a term like dehumanizing, because the media is so consistently and mundanely dehumanizing that it can be hard to tell when we are doing it ourselves.
I stand opposed to anyone who would blame victims or disempower those who have been hurt or who are vulnerable. My whole agenda in writing this is to get everyone into a dialogue that moves towards restorative justice. So I see it as dehumanizing when even well-intentioned people draw alleged victims into the spotlight to further their own biased agendas. Those who are not victims must avoid using the voices of victims as if they were their own. Self-declared victim advocates have stepped up to bring alleged victims out into the light so they can be exposed, passing their stories around in the media as “chilling proof” and “damning evidence.” Use of first person accounts in this way is not only irresponsible, it runs counter to what genuine and compassionate victim advocacy looks like. Self-appointed moral crusaders are exploiting and dehumanizing those they are seeking to help, and they are driving all parties further away from any kind of moderated dialoguing towards justice and closure.
It is dehumanizing to talk about someone using categories (such as extreme psychiatric diagnoses) that imply the person is lacking basic human traits (such as conscience) and thus suggest the person has no rights to basic dignity and decent treatment. Reading a pop-science book or two and then throwing around psychological diagnoses is one thing. However, when professional therapists, councilors, and coaches openly and irresponsibly apply psychiatric diagnostic categories to people they have barely (or never) even spoken to, they conjure up the long, sad history of psychology’s role in the justification of dehumanizing and oppressive practices. Of all people, those with leanings toward holistic forms of psychology should know better than to casually use categories that have such a long history of misuse. Historically, countless numbers have suffered as a result of inaccurate but legally binding diagnoses, where basic rights are stripped away and a wide variety of treatments can be administered involuntarily, from drugs to confinement (and worse). Similar to being labeled a “terrorist,” psychiatric labels can be used to take away human rights and to place an individual profoundly “outside” of a community’s standards of decency. It is frightening to see a public culture that relishes in the use of psychiatric language and plasters this stigmatizing and divisive discourse on blogs and headlines.
Finally, it is all too easy to dehumanize through the careless objectification others. Just as an example, when speculating about Marc’s behavior, one participant on social media said: “This is fun… glad to be talking about this. It is better than looking at news about global warming or the GOP.” Although probably a joke, this was one of the most heartbreaking comments in the whole thread to me. As the polarized “post-truth” debate raged, the whole thing became a kind of spectacle to some, and people’s lives disappeared into the rest of the celebrity intrigue, dishonesty, and corruption in the news feeds. The actual people involved have been transformed from factual reality into abstract spectacle. Total strangers have been making use of other people’s tragedies simply to fuel personal arguments and agendas and to engage in acts of conspicuous self-display. It has been deeply disappointing and disturbing to see otherwise reasonable people toiling over various different and increasingly lurid accounts, all mixtures of exaggeration, speculation, and pure fiction.
What alarms me most is that this spectacle is the opposite of what will lead towards restorative justice. This is really why I am writing: because I see many who are sincerely seeking justice taking the path of injustice. If you truly want a fair and honorable resolution to this then work towards creating conditions conducive to dialogue, communication, perspective taking, and accountability. It is my hope that a way can be found to move forward in which there are more successful attempts at mutual understanding, civility, and procedures pursuant to justice.
Dr. Zachary Stein
Academic Director, Center for Integral Wisdom
15. Clint Fuhs
Over the past two months, I have received repeated requests to share the summary of an internal report that I wrote for Integral Institute in 2007/2008. It is admittedly with some reluctance that I share this summary report now. My reluctance does not stem from a desire to not share my views on this situation. Rather, it stems from two sources. First, this summary does not contain any of the evidence I reviewed—email records, instant messages, other reports, discussions with Ken and Marc, etc. As such, this summary is merely informational; it cannot be the basis for a dialogue concerning such evidence. Without all parties having reviewed the same information a dialogue cannot take place.
Because of this, I will not engage in a debate of what this report contains. I stand behind my initial conclusions, and new evidence, while accounted for, has not shifted those conclusions. Second, I suspect this will have little positive effect on the current “debate.” Mostly, because the parties to that “debate” do not appear interested in a dialogue or in reviewing actual evidence. They appear to have their minds made up and their primary interest seems to be taking Marc down even as they cloak it in the fig leaf of “saving or protecting” others by getting them to view the situation as they do.
Why release it then? Well, I am reminded that the handful of voices that characterize this “debate” are but a small fraction of the people who have an interest in this situation. Perhaps, there are many more folks who will benefit from reading a set of conclusions based on a review of the facts rather than personal feelings and alternate agendas.
I was present on the day that Marc arrived back in the US from Israel in 2006. I did not know Marc well at the time—I had only attended two of his teachings—but I ended up driving him to the airport. During that drive, I made the decision to move closer – to the person, to the situation, to the mess, and hopefully to a better approximation of the truth. I was working closely with Ken Wilber and had a professional interest in learning more about the truth behind the allegations. Personally, however, moving closer felt like the only appropriate move. If I was, indeed, going to develop and share a personal opinion on the nature of an appropriate response, this was the only move I could make.
Because of this decision, I got access, over a period of a year, to a mountain of data and documentation that only a handful of people have seen and a smaller handful have reviewed. I saw emails between Marc and the original complainants, and I spoke to Ken about the dozens of hours he spent on the phone with the involved parties. I also spoke extensively to Marc about the emails and other documents, along with the nature of the relationships and his decisions. By moving closer, I gained access to a set of information that was far closer to the truth than any of the hundreds of opinions thrown around on the internet presently.
I do not have a personal need for any given person to feel one way or another about Marc. But, I do have a personal need to embody and defend principles of justice and fairness. I also have a need to not contribute in any way to the trial-by-internet of any person, regardless of guilt or innocence. As such, I have not played an active role in the discussions surrounding any person subjected to any such trial. However, in the context of sharing this report, which stemmed from a move closer and not a move away, I will call out a particular subset of parties who have chosen to move away and attack.
Moving away, in and of itself, is not a problem. Everyone has the right to determine with whom they will engage. But, by moving away – i.e. refusing to engage in any form of dialogue or review of primary rather than secondary sources—and attacking you undermine the principles of justice which our roles in this community demand us to uphold—for the sake of collectively evolving such principles and for the sake of simple decency.
To those parties who have moved away and attacked: Your repeated and intentional acts constitute a stark and massive failure of integrity, and they propagate principles that run counter to what you espouse in your work and what is required of you by the leaderships roles you play. Stop trying to drag other people into your fucked up game.
To everyone else, I urge you to engage such people with caution. Develop your own opinions from your own review of whatever data you have access to. And remember that most of you will not have access to the information you need to inform a conclusion that is as solid as you might prefer. Such uncertainty is built into the fabric of an aperspectival universe. I have chosen to work with and engage Marc, and I will continue to do so. I hope others form their own opinions and weigh their chosen actions against both the nature of the information those opinions are derived from and the principles of justice you want to see flourish in this world.
Dr. Clint Fuhs, 2016
16. Leila Grossman
Recently, a few of us, friends of Marc’s, had occasion to watch the 1984 Milos Forman film of the Peter Shaeffer play Amadeus. It tells a story that is curiously reminiscent of what is going on in the current Gafni ‘drama’. The film tells the dramatic and fictionalized tale of how Mozart was subtly destroyed by a rival composer, Antonio Salieri. Salieri was an influential contemporary of Mozart’s in the Viennese court of the Habsburg emperor Franz Joseph. He became obsessively jealous of Mozart’s genius. In the play, Salieri recognizes that Mozart is literally channeling divine music—he calls Mozart’s music ‘the voice of God.’ Yet, this genius is also unconventional in his behavior—he marries a lower class woman, and has no qualms about speaking truth to power, even when it works against him. The religiously inclined Salieri cannot understand (according to the play) why God would so favor a man who doesn’t behave conventionally. He comes to resent that a person who doesn’t share his own religious beliefs and practices should be gifted by what to him is divine inspiration. In his jealousy and resentment, Salieri then sets about to destroy Mozart. He circulates whispers that the composer is not to be trusted with young women, and that Mozart’s librettos (for the great operas like La Nozze do Figaro) exalt revolutionary ideas considered dangerous by the Habsburg monarchy. Salieri’s malicious rumor-mongering works behind the scenes to ensure that the composer is denied opportunities for financial support and freedom to stage his groundbreaking operas. Mozart died, broke and ill, in his thirties.
Watching this brilliant film, I was struck by the parallels with Marc’s story. Marc is a teacher and thinker of radical talent, who often speaks from a state of inspiration. His unconventional character has long been used by envious fellow teachers as an excuse to take him down. The attacks have now moved from ‘whispers’ to outright false statements, in which these ‘rivals’ use their influence to draw others into demonizing Gafni. One of the chief instigators of the current attacks—the organizer of an online petition on Change.org—is a perfect example of a Salieri. A journeyman rabbi and former student of Gafni’s, this man’s gifts are no match for Gafni’s. From here, it seems obvious that he is using accusations of immorality to justify a deeply held resentment of Gafni whose gifts, like Mozart’s indicate a rare degree of connection to higher realms of insight. While this is not the whole story, this is one of the unspeakable truths at the heart of so much of the vitriol that we have witnessed. In our society people are willing to admit greed and even lust. But primal jealousy which eats a person up and moves them to malice inspired action, is always carefully hidden behind noble sounding motives.
The difference between Mozart and Gafni is that Gafni’s supporters are standing with him. They are standing with him not from blind loyalty but because of their extensive personal contact with him and experience of this character.
17. Dr. Kristina Kincaid
When I first met Dr. Marc Gafni four years ago, I was deeply committed to working with women, teaching and leading workshops particularly in the area of sexual trauma and abuse. Helping others heal their sexual wounding had become a deep passion and a calling for me as a way to continue my own lifelong journey toward healing from the trauma of sexual abuse when I was a young child.
Years of trying traditional Western psychotherapeutic methods didn’t get to the root of the pain. I traveled the world, experiencing all kinds of healing techniques in hopes of finding the silver bullet that would help me feel my wholeness. Many of these experiences had blessed, graced and helped me on profound levels, providing me with deep insights into the grand healing puzzle. And yet, they didn’t take me all the way there.
Then I met Marc Gafni while participating in his workshop, The Journey to Love. During the weekend, I experienced Dr. Gafni’s teachings as a living transmission, resonating profound truths that pierced my being in a uniquely potent way. As he completed the teaching on Saturday afternoon, I began to feel a strange surge of energy rush through my body. I sat up against a wall, closed my eyes and felt my body suddenly lurch forward. I found myself lying flat on the floor having a full-bodied Shekinah experience [Shekinah is the feminine Hebrew name of God]. Intense waves of powerful Shakti coursed through my body. The energy of the transmission had, with great force, entered me, and the only way I can describe it is that it began to break me open and profoundly and ecstatically love me open from the inside out. The only thing I could do was surrender and let it move through me.
After the energy receded, I felt deep peace and had a profound awareness that I was part of everything and everyone, and in my mind I heard the words, “this is a path of living with an open heart.” For the first time I knew, through my body, what it meant to be totally, wildly loved by Love itself. Through Marc’s dharmic transmission, I experienced an embodied awakening, an indescribable inner journey, an encounter with Divine Love that I now know to be a transmission of Outrageous Love. Thanks to Marc’s profound gift, I was at last able to feel my wholeness and finally come home.
In my experience, Marc’s work with this love intelligence of radical wholeness, which some call the Goddess, connects human consciousness to the consciousness of the Divine and initiates an evolutionary process, one that opens people up to new ways of being that allows them to express their greatest gifts and unique potential. The energy he anchors and transmits opens and aligns people to the presence of the One Heart, the Divine Heart, bringing with it radical healing and transformation.
Marc however is careful not to claim ownership of this potent force of wholeness and has taught me how to embody it as part of my person and power. I now gratefully embody this transmission and am able to pass it on to my students and others, and they to their students. The experience of this energy, which is filled with what Plato called Eros, is the same that has been recorded by many great mystics, poets and sages who learned to tap into it to produce spiritual power and enlightened consciousness. Wilhelm Reich considered life energy and Eros to be one and the same, and many physicists, evolutionary biologists and psychologists are now pointing to the same conclusion. Marc has termed this “evolutionary Eros,” citing his own teachers, who say, “reality’s insides are lined with love.”
The opening of this energy can easily be misunderstood. But Marc’s whole point is that Eros is not reducible to sex. The point of his profoundly religious and even conservative teaching is to experience the full force of Eros, not merely in the sexual but in all the other dimensions of life. That is what Marc means when he says that “a person can be radically polyamorous and never touch Eros, or be celibate or monogamous and live in full Eros.”
In the four years I have known and worked with Marc, I have never known him to be anything other than totally honoring, deeply respectful, deeply loving and deeply committed to my own and others’ absolute empowerment and to the emergence of my and their unique gifts. With my own history, I am particularly sensitive to abusive energy and I have never witnessed or experienced abusive behavior of any kind. I have experienced him as a man tirelessly devoted to the evolution of people and to the evolution of love itself. He is a man who truly walks the radical path of an Outrageous Lover. His out of the box ideas may perturb those who cannot accept his way of being because it conflicts with their conditioning. And his larger than life, in your face, audacious, unashamed and unabashed presence may make some feel small or inadequate. But to project that smallness or contraction on Marc is a tragic mistake.
It is my observation, through my experiences with teachers the world over, that when like Marc they hold enormous amounts of transformative energy, shadow often gets triggered in other people. It takes an incredible amount of awareness to take on the fallout from other people’s negative shadow projections. I know this from my own personal shadow work and my work as a Reichian therapist, where we consider the emergence of a client’s deep shadow as the place where the work of healing truly begins.
As a teacher, Marc can be rigorous and uncompromising in his efforts to help you shed your skin-encapsulated ego, to find the ultimate expression of Love that is you. Marc creates a portal to step into one’s fullness and distinct expression of the Divine. Through my work with Marc I have walked through that portal and discovered and claimed extraordinary things within myself.
We are entering a new era of reunion with the bliss and ecstasy of our highest being. New frontiers of consciousness are opening, and many of us are beginning to realize and embody these kind of direct experiences of becoming extraordinary by reclaiming our divinity. For the first time we are waking up to a conscious space where Eros and Ethos meet, what Marc calls “a higher wholeness,” a place experienced and described in the past by a select few.
This new consciousness is already here. It is the consciousness of connection, of listening to all sides, of being open to dialogue, of opening to radical healing, of truly living with an open heart and holding all of it, including and especially the shadow, with outrageous love. This is what Marc stands for and calls us to. We are being called to create a new reality, a new story, an outrageous love story that speaks and is written in the language of the soul, of the heart, in the language of outrageous love — not the old story of duality and separation. It is up to all of us to make it real.
Dr. Kristina Kincaid MA/Th.D.
Director, Integral Evolutionary Tantra
18. Shelly Reichenbach
Marc Gafni is able to light up, unsettle, challenge, energize a room and fill it with life force that ignites the body, heart and mind, awakening people to an expanded experience of what this life calls us toward. It’s riveting! That powerful presence, Marc, is fueled by Spirit, and is the conduit through which the teachings are delivered. I’ve been blown wide open along with an entire group to receive Holy transmission, and it is pure gift! So I can see how there may be doubt as to whether that intensity could hold to respectful boundaries when in a one on one encounter. And yet, Marc holds that same unbridled energy in private session with dignity and grace that honors the relationship, the individual’s growth and becoming with clear respectful focus and intention. That intention is to be a change agent with the ability to see beyond the limited, narrowed lens that is so tempting to fall into, and Marc has the capacity to see and to hold the vision of divine goodness in each Being he meets.
My knowing of Marc Gafni has been built over seven years of studying with, working alongside of, and witnessing his interactions with hundreds of people. What I can tell you is that this man is a brilliant weaver of truths who has a heart capacity unlike any other I have experienced. Marc holds in the center of his being, and at the core of his teachings, the Truth that each one of us possesses a unique and intricate piece of the infinite whole. He pours an unprecedented amount of time, energy, passion, effort, discipline, love and commitment into awakening people to the truth that their unique contribution of loving not only matters but is essential to the unfolding of this reality and the evolution of love. He is fierce, tender, demanding, wildly intelligent, and is on a mission to evolve love through expanding consciousness. And that’s a mission I stand with fully.
19. William Heidegger
The urge to defend and protect those who are unable to defend themselves is good and noble impulse. Unfortunately there are those who would twist this impulse to their own ends. Today we have evolved a politics of outrage where daily we are fed well crafted propaganda targeting our closely held beliefs. In outrage we strike out against the attended targets and feel good and just. I too have signed petitions and have raised my hand to do something I felt was good.
I had no idea that there were those who use these tools to attack, damage and intentionally try to assassinate the reputation of a leader in the community. I am sure that there are many who have been lured by this carefully orchestrated hit job on Marc Gafni. It’s sad that they don’t know Marc, that they don’t know the depth of his humanity. But how could they know? The attack isn’t interested in justice. It only seeks to damage and censor. I am appalled by those who are behind this.
Marc Gafni is a rare thing in our world, a teacher with phenomenal insight into the human condition. His teachings on Unique Self provide us access to escaping the isolating effects of our consumer society through simple insights into living a fulfilling life based upon love and contribution. The attack on Marc is an attack on his teaching. Repressing this teaching keeps us from the insights and awakening that we need to heal the world. And that is a crime.
20. Terry Nelson
Marc Gafni is my friend. He is one of the good guys.
Since I met Marc five years ago, I have worked and played with him often. He’s been a guest in my home. We’ve played basketball in my driveway. We’ve studied teaching technique and debated Unique Self. We have laughed and cried together. I have come to know him as kind, respectful, brilliant, committed, fun…. SO, I am flabbergasted at the picture painted of Marc in recent attacks—this picture does not jive with the reality of the Marc I know.
I am saddened at the maliciousness and scope of these attacks on Marc and the Center for Integral Wisdom. While I know Marc, like all of us, has probably done some dumb things, nothing I see merits the vindictiveness of these attacks. Open debate and disagreements over ideas are good. However, these recent personal attacks can only be toxic for everyone involved.
I am frightened how vulnerable we all are to attacks on the internet and the phenomenon of “guilty until proven innocent—but maybe not then either.” It’s as if nothing can ever be erased or corrected. There does not seem to be any rules or standards of integrity or truth in this domain. Meanwhile, we human beings seem to be like Velcro for bad news and Teflon for good. We have not matured yet to handle this phenomenon without a tremendous amount of unmerited and unfair pain. Maybe CIW can help with this in the future? I hope so.
As the parent of a son and a daughter, some comments: Although I have encouraged my son to be both respectful of and a champion for the women of his life, I am fearful for him living in the current “men are bad and guilty no matter what” environment. While I have encouraged my daughter to keep her eyes open and to own her own power, I have also forbid her from indulging (and thereby diminishing) herself in the victim point of view. Although I guess it has its political uses, advocating that people aspire to wear the mantle of victim is not healthy or respectful. And yes, I understand how unpopular it is to ask people to view their lives from the driver’s seat instead of the passenger seat.
I look forward to an inquiry into the roots of malice in situations like this. While we all agree that one has an obligation to stand against evil, I also think that, although cloaked in righteousness, underneath many of these inquisitions (crusades, jihads and witch hunts) are unsavory and self-serving agenda which would not survive the light of day.
The CIW is about offering a new and workable narrative for our world. This narrative includes wisdom from many domains and perspectives. It includes the notion that each person has a unique and needed contribution. It includes the notion that we would be better off living in a win-win narrative rather than a win-lose narrative. It includes the notion that expanding our circle of compassion is vital and good.
At this point in my life’s journey, which includes growing up Methodist in a small town in Wisconsin, the Peace Corps in Thailand, graduate school at Cornell, working on the Hill in Washington DC, being chief trainer for Lifespring, Inc, and coaching my kids’ soccer and basketball teams, I think CIW is building a better mousetrap. Defining stewardship as “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving”, I am a willing steward of the work of the CIW.
In the long run, if the narrative being created, offered and stood for by the CIW really serves people better, it will prevail. And, if in the marketplace of ideas it does not serve people well, it will disappear. Let’s get on with it.
Mill Valley, CA
21. Carrie Kish
This has been an incredibly sad and challenging time for all of us at the Center for Integral Wisdom. But it has also been a time of deepening and maturing as a community and as a social movement. We have come together for the purpose of evolving the way that humans interact with each other, to expand the conversation around what it means to be human in all contexts – business, entrepreneurship, healthcare, personal relationships, etc. – and to be messengers and activists for love and healing in the world.
To witness the aggressive persecution of Marc and the others on our board has been both terribly sad and incredibly enlightening. The persecution makes me especially sad coming from the Jewish community – a community that truly knows what it is to be victims of indiscriminate hate and persecution. It is shocking what people are willing to believe and say about a person that they have no knowledge of. It is heart-breaking to see how willingly people will believe the worst about others and how mindlessly they will slander and persecute others without looking for evidence or asking questions or trying to find out what the truth might be.
All of our board members have been aggressively attacked with emails and phone calls and through social media channels. Our employers and organizations and places of worship are being sent hateful letters. There are petitions being circulated that people sign without any knowledge of who Marc is and without any thought beyond how he has been labeled because they stand against the behaviors he has wrongly been accused of. People post articles and comments without any thought or understanding of their impact on others or on the world that they are contributing to creating by doing it.
I have known Marc for years. He is one of my dearest friends and I have worked very closely with him. Marc loves people and he teaches people how to love one another. He loves outrageously and attracts people who are beautiful expressions of love and healing in the world. We are working to expand people’s understanding of love and intimacy. Unfortunately, most of us only understand love and intimacy in a sexual context. In reality, our work is about how we love one another, heal one another, and create intimate, life giving, evolutionary partnerships so that the world will be a better place. All of us, including Marc, have impeccable integrity and boundaries. We are called to love ourselves and each other more fully and completely and to expand what it means to be intimate in a beautiful and holy way.
We all need to take responsibility for the love or the fear that we are spreading in the world. We need to take responsibility for where we put our attention and what kind of messages we choose to spread because that is the world we are creating for ourselves and the people we love to live in.
Wife, Mother, Catholic, CEO
Los Angeles, CA
22. William Gazecki
I am an Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker, and have become very familiar with Marc and his pioneering work in human development. When initially connected with his work, my very first response was, “I’m in…this kind of thinking is in my blood”.
Everything I have seen and heard from Marc is theoretical and philosophical material that I not only have great respect for, but it is material I believe can and will impact humankind in a positive and simultaneously very much needed direction.
As a credentialed and experienced documentary filmmaker, it’s my job – and an outcome of my career experience – to know bullshit when I see it. I am no friend to deception, obfuscation or shallowness. Marc’s ideas are credible, very well-conceived and articulate. He is low on the dogma and high on effective concepts for elevation of one’s self-esteem, skills and abilities, and the reasons to pursue and achieve through same.
What I noticed quickly in my direct encounters with Marc, and in a very unambiguous manner, is that Marc does not tolerate malfeasance. It’s been crystal clear to me that he is a man who is willing to fight for integrity, and to put his you-know-what on the line in order to do so.
Marc Gafni has my respect.
23. Tonya Ridgely
The last few weeks have unleashed some of the most sinister and diabolically orchestrated attempts to terminate Marc’s Gafni’s career and credibility under the guise of protecting “vulnerable” women. The allegations made against him online and in the press paint a picture of an evil parasitic man who preys upon helpless women and girls. They say that he sexually harasses women and abuses his authority as a rabbi and spiritual teacher to manipulate women into having sex with him. They even go as far as to call him a pedophile and rapist; claiming that he is a sociopath who uses “mind control” to get what he wants. After carefully reviewing these allegations, doing the research and checking the facts, I am convinced that these claims are false or grossly distorted.
As a woman, friend, colleague, staff and student of Marc’s for four years, I can definitively state that this is NOT my experience of him. Nor am I or have I ever been a victim of his either. If I am being victimized by anyone, it is by the people who are out to destroy Marc Gafni and the Center for Integral Wisdom, as this slanderous campaign has affected my job and my livelihood. The Marc I know is an extraordinary human being who has challenged, inspired and welcomed me to play bigger in my life as an evolutionary agent of change. He’s been a great mentor and friend who’s helped me grow more into an exceptional woman in leadership. For this I stand by him and support his work in the world.
I’ve decided to use this negative experience to build the superpowers to LOVE in the face of lies, hate and discrimination. In my view, what is really being attacked is not Marc himself but the revolutionary message of Outrageous Love he is inspiring in all of us. Evolving the “source codes” of culture requires us to participate in the Evolution of Love by waking up, growing up and showing up in order to play a bigger role. Our current paradigm is doing its best to not allow that to happen as it values polarization rather than harmony and instigates affliction over forgiveness and pain over Love.
This is cyclical. Any great leader or movement that ever challenged “the way it is” to bring about more freedom, love and equality, was always meet with resistance. Many were condemned, jailed, burned, driven out or even killed. It has happened many times. Therefore the corrupt forces in our culture are doing what they always do; target, exploit, and manipulate without regard to guilt or innocence. And those who’ve gotten swooped by the media hype without doing the research and fact checking have fallen victim to passing the poison. They too have been used by the system.
Though I am deeply saddened by this experience and at times extremely angry, I am reminded by Marc that there is nothing more whole than a broken heart. Because once the heart is broken open, love can get in and flow out. My hope is that everyone affected by this painful experience heals from it. I pray that we collectively move in a direction of healing towards Love and away from condemning and crucifying others for their so-called sins. Otherwise nothing changes.
There are hundreds of pages of documentation evidencing that the claims are either false or grossly distorted. Please carefully read the entire Facts section on Marc’s website before commenting or drawing conclusions based on an unethical smear campaign.
– Tonya Ridgely
24. Elliott Ingersoll
For the record, Marc and I had numerous dialogues prior to my joining CIW. In those dialogues he was forthright about his past and the implications of some of his choices he was not aware of but had now learned. More importantly a year later at a time when I was struggling and calling on spiritual figures I knew to make a stand on gun violence Marc was the only one who responded and reached out offering me space for blogging and sharing the messages I felt were vital. Marc has drawn together an extraordinary group of people in his think tank who are committed to and involved in work to end suffering. The people involved with the Center for Integral Wisdom are among the brightest and most passionate I have met.
I experience the attacks on Marc personally as cowardly and generally as mendacious. Why do I say “cowardly” in the first place? Well, anyone who knows me knows that I value free thought above all else and belief hardly at all. In that vein I check things out for myself. I have contacted five of the primary people feigning outrage because Marc has founded and is running an activist think tank and one who was trying to think through the issues. I contacted 3 of them several times and in a civil manner. One of the five got back to me and in his case he admitted he has no first-hand knowledge of the supposed “crimes” Marc is being smeared with but knew someone who did. Fine. I asked him if I could talk with that person. Turns out (of course) that person “wasn’t comfortable” speaking with me even though they speak publicly about this on a regular basis. How convenient. Not all of the discourse have been attacks though, and the person who was more evenhandedly thinking through the issues got back to me and engaged in a civil, heart-felt dialogue about spiritual teachings and the complexities of them.
I think generally the “attacks” are mendacious because many of them come from what we might think of as “competitors” in the spiritual market place. I admit this is speculation on my part but our center is achieving an increasingly high profile and we are all involved with work “on the ground” to ease suffering. Actually “doing” something would seem threatening to those who blather on about “transformation” but whose actual work in the world amounts to selling books or collecting speaking fees. I urge anyone reading this to think for themselves where Marc and the Center are concerned. Demand and seek out first-hand experience of our work and you will be amazed by what we are engaged in.
– Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D.
25. Peter T. Dunlap Ph.D.
I am writing in support of Marc Gafni. I am a therapist and a political psychologist. Normally I work behind the scenes but, in light of recent public assault on Marc Gafni, I feel morally obligated to call out the irresponsible attacks that are not only harmful to Marc but also are destructive to the Integral community.
I have functioned as Marc’s therapist over the last several years, which places me in a unique position to know his consciousness, his strengths and limitations. While intellectually brilliant, Marc is committed to ongoing psychological work as part of his life practice, which he approaches with genuine humility. While others have known him longer, I know him well.
In light of the recent spate of attacks, let me just say that Marc is psychologically sound, a significantly empathic and ethical person whose character bears no resemblance to the projections described on the web. Marc’s goodness, commitment to transformation, and core integrity are, based on my work with him, beyond question. To even need to say this is almost inappropriate, but given the memes that have expressed themselves in the blogosphere, the self-evident may need to be stated.
To really understand Marc is to realize that he is somewhat of a mutant. What I mean is that he is gifted in very specific and important ways that are unusual and rare. Those gifts need to be protected even as Marc continues to model what I believe all leaders should do — to continue to do ongoing work with foundational issues. What is unusual about Marc are his larger than life gifts as well as his profound humility. Marc has specifically said that he is willing to meet and work with anyone who might have an issue with him. I have seen him make that offer and have seen those who are willing to dialogue as well as those who have refused, preferring to attack him rather than look at their own self responsibility and personal dynamics.
While he can be fiery and is quick to speak, he also pauses and listens. And when he listens you can see him taking in the feelings of another; he slows down, his face relaxes, showing his pain, and he turns to meet the other in their difference. This is part of his integrity. Since first meeting Marc he has worked to expand his understanding of his own responsibilities in leading people into the work of forming an integral global consciousness.
To understand the projections on the web, to borrow Ken Wilber’s thinking, all four quadrants need to be taken into account, including and especially the cultural, political lower quadrants on both the right and left side. In order to fully understand the false complaints against Marc of ten years ago we need to examine the political complexity within Integral and the organizing force within the new age community that helped catalyze these events (see Clint Fuhs 2008 Integral Institute report). We can understand and meet this attack by recognizing it as, in part, a mythic/archetypal phenomenon and respond to it in relation to group dynamics.
From this frame it is possible to contain and redirect such scapegoating energies. In other words, we need to catch our collective breath and show enough humility to not resort to the type of black and white thinking that currently dominates our political world. It is not surprising that we too would internalize and act out such chaotic dynamics.
The current attack on his person is unwarranted and obligates the Integral community to do its own soul searching. It is my hope that we can turn our attention toward our own shadow, much as Marc has shown me he is willing to do. As William Stafford writes: “the darkness around us is deep.”
Peter T. Dunlap Ph.D.
Clinical and Political Psychology
26. Jeff Hilliard
Through seven years of knowing Marc Gafni as a brilliant, driven, principled, bold and generous man, my understanding of reality is now seeded with truth-markers, gifts of his teaching, that orient me in my commitments to love, as full-out as I can, the people and the communities with whom I have the privilege of being intimate.
Many of us long to know our true nature and to get it—body, mind, heart—that we are personally loved by the cosmos and arising from that love, uniquely obligated to meet the needs of our world. This is what Marc teaches, and I know no one who greets the task with greater stamina, clarity, and devotion.
I lead group process based in Marc’s Unique Self teachings. A core practice is love as perception. A just society is advanced when we hone our ability and willingness to perceive a fellow human being with the eyes of love, to see him or her as a full, complex Self, to meet that person’s wounds and failings with compassion and proper weighting, and to recognize each other as active expressions of the divine love, in irreducibly unique form, and to lock onto that fundamental goodness as each person’s true identity. Marc likes to lean into Abraham Kook, the early 20th century Kabbalist, who said, “The truth of your essence reveals itself in the moment(s) of your greatness.”
I stand in my direct experience of the power of Marc’s teachings to open hearts, build recognition of what is most holy and most needed in us, and ignite passion in people to wake up to what Love calls us all, uniquely, to do in the world. The dharma of Unique Self is a broadly accessible and highly efficient path to experience the larger dignity and profound purpose of being a human being.
In the midst of the assault on Marc and the Center for Integral Wisdom, an attack which is directed at a Marc Gafni that I have not met, I stand with my heart’s eye aimed by these Dharmic truths:
1. We are all imperfect vessels for the Light.
2. Faith is living with fidelity to those moments when we authentically realize the true nature of our selves and the universe.
3. Love is always the right and necessary response to both the pain and beauty of life.
So I stand with all people who are doing their conscious best to increase the potency and the presence of what is good and true and beautiful. I know that the Center for Integral Wisdom is full of people asking, with rigor and humility, the question that promotes a vibrant, just, integrated and free future for all of us: How do I—how do we—increase the amount of love in the moment, the room, the relationship; in the community, the conflicted space, the world? And as the answers are revealed, moment to moment, we act.
– Jeff Hilliard
27. Philippe J
You will excuse my English – this is not my native language but I just can not stay silent in front of the attack facing Marc Gafni and the Center for Integral Wisdom.
I know Marc personally having worked with him for many years. Here is the testimony of my first hand personal experience with Marc. Every interaction I have had with him or have seen him have with others totally contradicts the way he is described by those who write about him (but most of whom have never met him). On top of the many qualities than even his detractors recognize, Marc has a great sense of humor which could not be a better sign of sanity. I have been observing him in the last weeks and was amazed how he was able to deal with this painful situation in a non-violent way and how he was able to keep his intentions peaceful.
Marc truly cares about other people – any people he encounters. In the CIW he has been able to leave space to others and let a beautiful collective leadership emerge. The work he has initiated through the CIW is incredibly valuable and will have a profound impact on our generation.
To those who don’t know Marc, I would only suggest forgetting for an instant all what they have read on him (including this post) and just read some of his books (The Mystery of Love, Your Unique Self, Soul Prints, Radical Kabbalah, Tears) or listen to the wonderful programs he has recorded. This is the best way to meet him.
Marc taught me that to the question, “who are you?” the best answer is “you are who you are in your moment of greatness.” Marc’s greatness is not only in the loving way he is able to relate with people, it’s in his unique ability to articulate, synthesize and let emerge Dharma firmly grounded in the depth of spiritual traditions, science and philosophy.
28. Suzy Akmen Rogovin
Only the visionary and the brave can undertake a revolution. Marc Gafni has been doing just that for many years now, in two different countries, and it’s been more than two decades that I’m proud to be one of his many followers in both. I’m honored to share my voice in favor of the one who non-stop contributes to the evolution of human consciousness. I believe good deeds of uttermost value and importance for generations to come should be protected and supported and I’m committed to that.
My first encounter with Gafni was in Israel through his articles in a new age magazine that I subscribed to. I was shocked when I found out that the articles were written by a rabbi. I had never read such deeply spiritual articles by a rabbi of our time before, which made a non-religious Jewish woman like me want to attend his teachings for the following year and a half and then join forces with him to create a community.
Gafni humbly became the animating force of a secular teacher organization that he built in Israel and his teachings directed those of us who studied with him towards wiser and happier living. I knew the community well and was proud to serve on his board.
He chose to live in Jaffa amongst the Arab community in order to create a peaceful dialogue with them which he succeeded in, in his special, friendly and respectful way that always sees and empowers the other.
The peaceful revolution of the evolution of human consciousness was advancing. What a healing gift for a country in the Middle East!
But some people didn’t like this enlightened development. They used false accusations in order to destroy what Gafni had graciously built with a lot of hard work. I was approached by some of them with the intention of convincing me to join them. I personally knew some of the women who complained against Gafni and once had the chance to ask one of them what the complaint was about since I knew they were all mature women. She didn’t have an answer for me.
Gafni, being a peaceful, civilized and respectful human being and a wise teacher, chose to continue the peaceful revolution he had committed his life to in the US, where he was born.
When I attended the Success Summit 3.0 which was organized by CIW, I was in tears to witness that Gafni had managed to bring so many beautiful-hearted people together once again. My belief in the possibility of heaven on earth, through transformation and evolution of human consciousness, was strengthened.
But still some people didn’t like it. Again, using the same old false accusations, they are trying to destroy the possibility for a better world for their children, instead of joining forces with good, elevated and egoless intentions that Gafni and CIW people share.
But, rest assured Gafni, you are not alone in your brave dedication to this peaceful revolution. CIW and many more beautiful-hearted, brave and visionary people are with you. TOGETHER, WE WILL CONTINUE IN PEACE.
May those who are suffering while adding to the outrageous pain in the world find that egoless, peaceful place in their hearts in order to transform their pain to outrageous love.
Suzy Akmen Rogovin
29. André Kaufman
I am deeply shocked by the way that many people are pretending to dispense justice through internet blogging or setting up a public petition, or spreading hate messages.
Justice in a modern, civilized and democratic world is exercised by professional judges and controlled by the law.
Legal action could be initiated by anybody who feels that wrong has been done to them, or by a public officer informed that the law has been broken. Investigators work to establish the facts, looking for evidence, speaking with each party, trying to find the truth through a contradictory procedure. The prosecutor classifies the offense or crime according to the law.
The person accused is always entitled to a defense by a qualified advocate. The intention of the public officer is only the enforcement of law. The way he is allowed to proceed is also regulated by the law. Any breach can lead to a nullification of the proceedings. The judge is impartial, he is not linked to any of the parties, he has no personal interest in the case, and he does his best to take into account every piece of truth, and deliver a fair judgment according to the law.
Even though there is no legal issue here, if people had genuine complaints that were not driven by other motives, there would be a way to create a fair forum to adjudicate the facts. Marc would also be allowed to state his complaints against some of these people and clarity would be possible. Sadly the parties involved seem to have climbed too high up a tree to ever find their way down.
In the way Dr. Gafni is being treated, every principle of fairness, and integrity is violated. Justice is dispensed by the vox populi, and many anonymous individuals who do not bother about law, or facts or search of truth.
The action has been initiated by people whose agenda is not public and seems to be based on passion, personal interest or malignity.
There is no independent judge to establish the reality of facts, no warranties that testimonials are true, no warranties either of the identities of those who provide a testimonial. There is no serious investigation, no proofs and no verification of the so called “evidence.” This is the realm of appearance, opinion, passion, lies and manipulation.
Journalists pretend to objectivity whereas their own perspective, the influence they receive, the media they are working for, and the expectations of their readers are an evident source of bias. And the storytelling practice of the press simplifies and exaggerates, the appeal of a juicy story surpassing respect for clarity, complexity, nuance and truth.
Dr. Gafni had no way to defend himself, no places where he could state his version of the story in front of an impartial jury. His voice could not be heard. There is not only an intolerable infringement of the presumption of innocence that any person should benefit from, no matter what they may have done, but an expression of extreme violence. Marc Gafni is condemned before having any chance to make his case or prove the falsehood of his accusers. The process is iniquitous.
Instead of being raised in a peaceful, impartial, respectful way, the case is pursued with hateful passion – and since only the dominant voices can be heard, the main opinion validates itself through the dynamics of social conformity. This extreme rhetoric and the negation of Marc’s humanity could easily lead to physical violence. I have seen incredible statements of people having never met Marc Gafni saying that he should receive a bullet in his head!!
It’s also amazing that in the integral community which should be able to keep some distance and hold multiple perspectives, it has led to a regression that manifests the worst shadow of the traditional and tribal worldviews, where beliefs, opinion and social conformity are more important than facts and truth and where the violence of the mob is ruling and leading to the abdication of personal judgment.
30. Simona Muratori
My name is Simona. I met Marc 4 years ago and I immediately felt the power of his teachings and wanted to be his student. During these years we became close spiritual friends. These two facts transformed, and are transforming, me in a better, more authentic, and more alive version of myself.
Someone is saying they know many women traumatized by Marc. Well, I know many women, and men, who had a transformation similar to mine (and none who had the opposite effect). But I am so tired of people speaking on behalf of someone else without a clear mandate, or pretending to speak on behalf of someone else, that I prefer to stay with myself, to show my own face. Most of all I say that if you feel hurt, meet with Marc directly or in a context where there is a facilitator. But do not engage in this kind of vicious attack in which you are not a victim or a defender of victims, but a predator.
To me, the core of what Marc teaches and embodies and makes alive for his students and the people around him is evolution, which means transformation in the direction of a larger and deeper unfolding of love. Is this dangerous? Is this an affront to shame? Of course it is! It is in the sense of breaking the smallness of our existence, the sense of being unworthy, and not needed. Evolution is not comfortable, but it’s our deepest desire. It can be so uncomfortable that someone feels threatened by it.
Marc has authority, an authority which doesn’t come out of a perfection he never claimed, but out of his integrity. It is not strange to me that those who want to attack him, being unable to destroy his integrity, try to destroy the image of his integrity.
About the accusations against him: most of them are an over-repetition of stories which already proved to be unfounded. It seems nobody cares to get information before spreading titillating details about facts they don’t know. The other part is based on vague and unverifiable facts, on which a horrifying narrative has been deliberately built by those who feel diminished by his light and by the light he is able to gather around him.
31. David M.
Looking at the words of all those who have been attacking Marc Gafni and the CIW, reading the way Marc is portrayed, I must confess I wondered:
What would I have thought if I had not known Marc personally for several years?
If I had not read his books or seen him teach or interact with people?
Would I have let myself be led by words of hate?
Would I have questioned what seems to be “self-evident” for so many people?
Would I have added my ignorant voice to their voices, and condemn Marc, without even knowing if there is anything true about what is being said about him?
I hope I would have questioned the real intention of those behind this campaign…
That I would have perceived the very thorough orchestration of these attacks …
That I would have looked behind the words for the facts …
I hope that I would have remembered that “the ends are in the means.” And wondered why the way those who pretend to fight for justice were so hateful and iniquitous.
I hope — but how to be certain? There is, deep in each of us, such an inclination to feel virtuous just by condemning others. Such an inclination to follow the mob, to believe on the basis of appearance…. I will never know.
What I do know is that I am blessed to know Marc and I am utterly certain of his integrity, of his deep empathy with any human being he meets. I love him as a dear friend, respect him as a brilliant thinker, and bow to him as a true evolutionary mystic and spiritual master.
I am proud to be part of the CIW, proud to be part of a band of outrageous lovers and proud of the way we are dealing with the attack we are receiving, in a non-violent way inspired by compassion, truth and the desire to bring more love in the world.
And a last word for those who would read those lines and never met Marc:
Please – do yourself a favor, keep your mind and your heart open.
Question why there is such a crazy extreme initiative to prevent you from hearing what Marc has to say …
Read his books, and discover him for who he is. A beautiful surprise is waiting for you.
Conscious Business Entrepreneur
32. Thomas G. Goddard
I cut my teeth on politics. There is a rich tradition in the world of politics of media hit jobs. Our history books are filled with examples, not only throughout the history of this country, dating back to and including the Founding Fathers, but throughout human political history.
I know an organized media hit job when I see one.
The recent resurrection of attacks on Marc Gafni is a classic, albeit particularly venomous, media hit job. It has a different flavor than those I grew up studying because of the power of social media. The venom moves faster and farther now than it used to, but it still is easy to spot: unsupported allegations, tightly coordinated messages, and overt threats against anyone associated with the target.
I know Marc, and have for many years. There is absolutely nothing in the allegations that is consistent with the Marc Gafni I know. He is a man of integrity, brilliance, and compassion.
I reaffirm my commitment, both to Marc as a friend and to the work of the Center for Integral Wisdom. The work we are doing at the think tank is an important endeavor to consciously participate in the evolution of Love by articulating an emergent wisdom not only about what it is to be human, but about the nature of the very fabric of Being. This work of participating in the evolution of Love is too important to me to allow a crass manipulation of media — social and otherwise — to distract me from this work.
It is my earnest hope that we — the human species — will grow in our capacity to recognize and defuse such attacks with an evolved capacity for love. Perhaps this time is an opportunity to further such evolution.
Thomas G. Goddard, JD, PhD
Marc’s teachings continue to impact people deeply in many ways that I have seen and experienced first-hand. These are essential contributions to our human consciousness, to deepening our understanding of who we are individually and collectively, and to bringing out the best in how we relate to each other. This is important work which will progress even in the face of those who try to undermine and discredit Marc and his teachings. I cannot know the motivation of the individuals who are organizing against Marc, but in these attacks more is said about them than him. For what I do know, from many years of interacting with Marc personally, is that he is dedicated, brilliant, and deeply caring of others.
34. Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
Wow! So good to finally have this clear and simple statement published and to read these awesome comments. I am so touched by the beauty and depth of this community and proud and honored to call myself part of it.
Seeing all of us wrestling with this—without fighting back in the face of these attacks—but looking to understand what is going on, having compassion for all involved, and what Marc calls “loving the moment open” again and again, shows me that we are really fulfilling the purpose of CIW to “evolve the source code of culture,” not by merely talking about it, but by really embodying it.
If there is one place that needs to be transformed in culture in these days of global crises, it is the increasing polarization of US versus THEM thinking, not only here where it plays out big time, but in the world at large.
We need to stop expecting ourselves or others to be perfect. “We are all broken vessels for the light” as Marc so often reminds us. To love somebody also means to love their imperfections and brokenness. And we need to stop using these imperfections as an excuse for not giving our gifts or joining with each other.
We need to stop creating communities around scapegoating. That is exactly the pseudo-Eros of creating the illusion of being on the inside together by putting somebody else outside of the circle that Marc has taught about so often. That will never bring us home. Putting others outside of the circle has been at the root of so much evil in the world. The other is demonized, de-humanized, and therefore not worthy of human compassion and understanding anymore. All of the atrocities from the Third Reich to the crusades could not have happened without this element.
We are ALL in this together. There is no outside. As Zen Master Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan, has put it “To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things.”
Like all of us, Marc is a human being with imperfections and all. While he is a genius in some areas, he is not so strong in others, [e.g. computer and website issues, how social media work, or just everyday practical things], and he is very aware of that. That is one of the reasons he has gathered such a strong team around him—with each person contributing to our shared purpose in essential ways. That is exactly the lived experience of the Unique Self Symphony that Marc is so passionately teaching about and building.
There are many things that I love about Marc:
– his outrageous love for people even in the face of personal hurt
– the dharma he not only formulates so brilliantly in a ‘second simplicity’ way but also deeply embodies
– his devotion to the Goddess and his humility in front of HER (I have never seen anybody literally on his knees so often, bowing to HER both within people and without—and I want to point out that there is a difference between bowing and submitting to another person and bowing in devotion to the Goddess within them)
– his audacity to accept responsibility
– his seeking out and willingness to accept advice and guidance from others who are experts in their fields as well as good friends
– and his ability to create community and genuine collaboration around a shared purpose.
Besides dealing with the impact this whole organized campaign has had on myself and my life, I feel deeply hurt by seeing all of this so misrepresented and distorted.
Looking at the facts, trusting my own experience as well as the experience of trusted friends, and looking at how Marc and we as a community deal with this crisis, I can only come to one conclusion: that is to strengthen my commitment to our shared purpose to evolve the source code of culture and to collectively enact the Unique Self Symphony or what Barbara Marx Hubbard has called the Planetary Awakening, which I believe is the most urgent matter of our times. Whether we face evolution or devolution depends on us—and with US I don’t mean CIW versus the rest, but ALL OF US humans.
May outrageous love transform the world we know—including ourselves.
Kerstin Zohar Tuschik
35. Claire Molinard
I am a board member of the CIW and have been collaborating with Marc Gafni and others on a number of projects for the last three years. Over this period, I have personally and consistently experienced Marc’s greatness and goodness as a leader and teacher.
Marc’s unstoppable commitment to evolving the source code of culture through bringing transformation and healing in the world is extraordinary and I am proud to say that under his leadership and with my colleagues and friends at CIW, we are creating new meaning, new spaces of mind and heart and truly integral discourse. Of all Marc’s qualities, his most obvious one for all who work with him is undeniably his huge heart and kindness. Marc is amongst the most loving persons I’ve ever known and his capacity to make everyone feel personally loved and addressed is palpable and contagious to all in his circle. At CIW, we consciously practice this way of loving and appreciating each other’s uniqueness through the ways we work and interact with each other.
As a woman, I have felt deeply offended in my own feminine power and self-authorship to see how some key actors of integral and other spiritual circles have set themselves in the role of defenders of women through the recent allegations and accusations against Marc. I have observed with great sadness the consistent failure to check facts (in all four quadrants) and the persistent refusal of any dialogue, discussion or healing from the accusing parties. I have been struck by the stark determination of some to destroy Marc’s reputation and his life work by all means through the exploitation of the Internet – including the misuse of online petitions – violating every basic principle of justice and leaving no chance or place for the accused to defend himself. I have come to recognize this way of acting and mob thinking as a form of spiritual fundamentalism led by people advocating the opposite through their adherence to integral and other spiritual values, and the personal and hidden agendas of some of these people.
The only way I have been able to make sense of this amorphous aggregate of criticism, righteous indignation and hatred has been by looking at it through the lens of archetypes, and I’ve come to see last month’s “psychopath hunt” (our modern version of witch hunting) as a backlash of shadow forces naturally reacting to the very force of love and light that Marc is bringing to the world through his transmission of teachings on Eros, Outrageous Love and Unique Self. Clearly, Marc’s capacity to create vibrant and evolutionary communities, and to powerfully formulate new ideas, is greatly disturbing to some, to the point of making him not just a threat but the personification of evil itself. And as we know, this isn’t the first time.
Today there’s a great opportunity for all to see what this repetition is calling us to be individually, and together. The trap of “us and them” is a classic one which we need not repeat and fall into. I am personally much more interested to reflect on what Reality is calling us to be and to do, as a response to the outrageous pain of all parties. How do we penetrate the complexity of the pain that is at play right now through this collective drama? What outrageous acts of love are ours to realize as a collective and/or personal response to that pain? How do we turn fate into destiny?
Today, more than ever, I am committed to embodying the teachings of what Marc calls Outrageous Love and Unique Self in my life and transmitting them through my work. I am proud to be part of CIW and deeply grateful to Marc Gafni for his profound and direct transmission, his integrity, and his life commitment to bringing down the force of Love in the world.
These are important times of revelation, and we must stand strong and fierce as an “affront to shame”.
Claire Molinard M.Sc., PCC
Co-founder of Unique Self Coaching Collective
Integral Master Coach ™
36. Concerned Integralists
In light of recent stories written about Marc Gafni, we have become very concerned with how old allegations against Gafni have been handled by the integral and spiritual community at large — especially those associated with The Shift Network.
Whenever there is an accused and an accuser in any allegations (especially of this weight), there must be a fair process to achieve justice and respect the validity of any conclusions. This is the sine qua non of fairness — in all realms including legal, relational, social, political, and spiritual.
For a community that claims to be integral and interested in peace and healing, how the allegations against Marc Gafni have been handled in the press and on the Internet is atrocious. We know for a fact that Gafni, via respected teachers and leaders, has offered numerous times to meet with the head of the Shift Network in a mediated context and was consistently refused. This travesty serves neither the accused nor the accuser in any manner of integrity and does not bring legitimate truths into a fair space where informed judgments can be made. At this point, sadly, the attackers may be so unable to take responsibility for their excesses that a fair meeting is almost impossible.
In situations such as these, truth is what clears the path to legitimate justice for all involved. For people to be taking sides and trashing another human being’s reputation in the Internet space and through public statements of disavowal is to us not at all worthy of a so-called consciously evolving community.
It is viscerally appalling what has transpired in the last few weeks, both in the narratives of the New York Times (the purported newspaper of record) and The Shift Network. This includes the signatories (many of whom we had previously respected and supported) to its public statement of the petition against Marc Gafni and Whole Foods Market. This might be expected of a less evolved community, not the one The Shift Network aspires to be. It is particularly troubling as so many of these people are financially dependent on the Shift Network, and none of them contacted Marc or his team for a response to these claims.
Having supported it in the past, we find that the Shift Network itself needs to shift in its understanding of fact-checking, corroboration, and transparency. Until this is done, all we see in this public drama is childish, undeveloped egos at play — perhaps for financial and personal gain.
The supposedly evolved community that is participating in this witch hunt needs to Grow Up and Clean Up before it can Show Up as arbiters of justice — especially if it is truly trying to protect the aggrieved and vulnerable.
Many people will attest to Marc’s unselfish commitment to the dharma, as well as his powerful leadership, engaging charisma, and huge heart. In our own personal interactions with him, we can certainly do the same.
But how we feel about Marc Gafni is secondary. What’s primary is whether fair process is being honored. And it most definitely is not.
If this is what constitutes “accelerating the next evolution,” who would want to continue to support this?
Spirit must be both laughing and weeping at the irony.
– Concerned Integralists
I have known Marc for many years as a colleague and friend, and have watched with great interest as the group of intelligent, successful, independent group of accomplished adults have gathered to form the Center for Integral Wisdom. What has impressed me most is how Marc has empowered others, worked in collaboration, or simply supported the deep expression of others’ gifts. It has been shocking to witness the mass attack online, without any due process or fact checking on the part of the people who are engaging in this full-fledged character assassination. Having known people on all sides of this media outrage – those from the past, those aggressively attacking Marc’s reputation, and those whose lives he has touched in a deep way – it is truly painful to watch countless people who don’t know the first thing about him and have never met him write such scathing attacks. I would invite those who, not knowing Marc, are willfully slandering him, to deeply engage their own conscious and unconscious motivations, to place themselves in his shoes (not who the media is portraying him to be but the shoes of a powerful, deeply loving man), and to meet him and judge his character for themselves.
38. Barbara Alexander
Marc Gafni and I became friends and subsequently colleagues six years ago. Marc’s Unique Self Teaching resonated with my own psychospiritual framework and ultimately illuminated it much more deeply. Over the years I have learned from and taught with Marc, always marveling at his capacity to connect with and inspire people. From a small living room gathering to a large group at the Summer Festival at the Venwoude Retreat Center, Marc never fails to open minds and hearts with his passion and commitment to change the world. It is his own open heart, not his charisma that touches others deeply and invites them to a larger version of themselves.
In recent years it has been my delight to develop the Unique Self Coaching Process with Claire Molinard based on one of Marc’s core teachings, the Unique Self. The process offers a practical methodology that facilitates the realization of one’s unique self. Marc’s vision for the project and for us as a team has resulted in what Claire and I both consider our life’s work.
While I abhor the circumstances that have caused the CIW Board’s statement to be written, I add my voice in support of my friend Dr. Marc Gafni with pleasure. The past weeks have been excruciatingly difficult for Marc especially and for the community he has constituted. Any attempt to shine a light on the hidden agendas of those in the integral community who orchestrated the attack on Marc have been shouted down as they claim “moral responsibility” as the only reason to completely shred Marc’s reputation through blatant character assassination. Their refusal to look at the motivation/shadow behind this attack is stunning. From those who believe themselves to be integral, there is no excuse. Ironically these are the same people who say that Marc’s colleagues, including myself, are deluded!
However in the end those of us who comprise the Center for Integral Wisdom community emerge from the heartbreaking chaos with more strength and clarity about our purpose in the world. Trial by social media without due process or accountability will not carry the day. Rather the integrity and love that Marc offers through his teachings and collaborative work of the Center show the world that this is not a man filled with the darkness being portrayed, but a man filled with great light.
Barbara Alexander M.A., M.Div., PCC
Co-Founder Unique Self Coaching ™ Collective
Integral Master Coach ™
39. Mike W.
Marc Mordechai Gafni is a sweet and loving man who works tirelessly for the sake of others. I have known Marc for quite some time and from our first meeting, I felt a wave of love and compassion.
I’ve been studying Kabbalah for over 14 years from some of the world’s best Kabbalists, and when Marc and I started studying together, I realized that he is in the category of World’s best.
Throughout time, different Kabbalists became famous for various attributes and accomplishments. Marc has a unique gift for combining wisdom and heart. There are only about eight inches between our brain and heart, and unfortunately, most scholars never connect the two. The ability to do so is Marc’s incredible gift. Marc’s capacity to break down complex concepts and combine them with the heart and emotions has helped create new shifts in how I perceive things in my daily life. These teachings will last a lifetime. I highly recommend learning from Marc in these one-on-one settings.
Marc’s work at the Center for Integral Wisdom is vital to help end the world’s pain and suffering. I’ve had the honor to work closely with the center on a few projects and witnessed a man who is on a mission. The center’s success is due in large part to Marc’s ability to bring the right people together. You often hear that you can tell the quality of the individual by examining their friends. What can you know about the quality of an individual when you examine the board members who not only pledge their money but, more importantly, their time? You can tell a whole lot. The board members are incredible, and they possess many of the same characteristics as their leader – ego in check, brilliant and heartfelt.
Shortly after my first encounter with Marc, he shared his past circumstances. He shared the details and pointed me to articles and his blog. We all are imperfect. Marc hid nothing and was transparent. Time heals and time fabricates. Our minds are powerful instruments. We often imagine things differently than they occurred, especially ten, twenty and even thirty years ago. I know, as a teenager, I did many things that today would be borderline acts. Does it make my actions right? Certainly not. However, recognizing that I missed the mark and going through a multi-step process of Teshuvah is the only action I can take. It’s a process of returning to one’s innermost self. Marc taught by example following the traditional Kabbalistic formula. In conversation with me he recognized mistakes he had made in the normal course of being a human being. He expressed verbal regret for any wrong action, together with a sincere desire to create resolution with anyone he had hurt in his life in any situation where that might be possible. Marc’s modeling of this was very important to me. It is the mark of true humility that is a prerequisite of being a leader.
I am honored to be a student of Marc Gafni’s as well as a partner and board member of the Center. One of the Center’s themes is that outrageous pain is swallowing the world, and that the only solution is outrageous love. Marc drives this concept of outrageous love throughout the teachings, books and live events. It takes a special person to be able to take on the world’s negativity with light and love. Marc’s soul recognizes that the only way to end the world’s pain and suffering is through an outpouring of love. His commitment to bringing us all on this journey, his dedication to empowering us to be part of the cause, and his unwavering leadership is what it’s going to take.
I love you like a brother!
Your friend, partner and student.
40. Peter Fiekowsky
I’ve known and worked with Marc for two years, and find him the most open minded philosopher and inventor of narratives I’ve ever worked with. While I understand how some people would be upset with such openness, I’m clear that genius evokes great admiration along with occasional upsets. Marc’s ability to be gracious and keep creating narratives that speak to what is great about humanity, even when attacked, is a sign of his brilliance and contribution.
I am a student of Marc for 4 years. The first time I heard him teach was incredible. I listened to many teachers all through my life. But none of them reached me really.
After this first teaching my heart was opened and my spirit was light. Instantly I felt at home in his ‘language’. My heart recognized this intense sanity and I felt hope for a better life, hope for a better world.
For many years I didn’t like my life and most of the time I was depressed. Deep down there were only tears and sadness.
In our talks Marc slowly showed me what depression actually is, taught me to sit with the sadness and let it tell its story. And he helped me learn to love myself in all of this.
In all our meetings he taught about Love. Not only he talked about it but certainly lived it by being patient, loving, tender, careful, respectful, sometimes by shaking me up. He always stood beside me, no matter what.
At first I thought ‘he is too good to be true’. But after reaching to me this way for month after month I slowly started to believe that people can be that loving and open and caring and alive. My whole view about life, the world, love, shifted from the depressed and dark way of looking at it towards seeing a world, as he calls it, of outrageous beauty. In my words a world of beauty, light, love and space.
All the therapy, medication, meditation and listening to teachers taught me a lot, but it never gave a spark of this loving reality. And still I am learning in this.
These last weeks I read with astonishment all the writings about Marc. What touched me the most was the fear I felt in most of the articles. Fear of his love, fear of his passion and his intensity, fear of his power.
Didn’t I sometimes feel overwhelmed? Yes, sometimes I did and his teaching or energy was almost too much. But every time it happened I knew that it was my contraction that couldn’t receive the love or truth or aliveness. And that was very painful and scary and sometimes it brought me to despair. But at the same time I always knew that I had to listen. Listen to the sanity and the loving goodness that were coming to me from his teaching and what I heard between his words. And that I had to learn if I would want to receive that love and aliveness in my own life.
Reading people calling him a psychopath that you should be warned of… I still can’t get it.
I only know Marc by being his student and through his teachings. So I can only speak from my own knowledge. I am so totally grateful for all the love and wisdom that I received in the conversations with Marc. And I am so glad that I can give some of this love and wisdom to the people I meet.
42. Elizabeth Helen ‘Adael’ Bullock
Marc Gafni has been my friend, teacher, and colleague for nearly five years. During this time, he has consistently called me to see, own, and manifest my gifts, the divine spark that is my particular light and creative expression and love that is my unique obligation and soul’s calling in the service of, and for the sake of, the all, for the sake of Love.
As a young child I first encountered the words, “God is Love”, on the walls of my church’s Sunday School. I was transformed by those three words painted in big black letters on the white wall. Since that day, I have devoted my life to the path of understanding and evolving what those three words mean. Marc Gafni’s teachings have helped to weave my fragmented realms of study into a coherent, dynamic, and integral way of knowing what I call Spirit, the Goddess, and God.
I am a leader of transformational personal retreats including Awakening as Your Unique Self. Recently I completed my training as a Unique Self Coach and serve private coaching clients guided and informed by Marc’s teachings as well as my training with other teachers of world spirituality. Over these years I have witnessed transformation, healing and expanded awareness within hundreds of people that have been with me on retreat in the Unique Self dharma.
The Center for Integral Wisdom, CIW, is a collaboration of an astonishing group of human beings, each one bringing our gifts, and evoking our gifts, in support, collaboration and brilliant loving. The integrity, honesty, and commitment to sharing our symphony of love in service and sharing calls each of us to greater boldness, greater authenticity, greater loving.
May we each look to our own work in this world – within and without. May we take the eagle’s perspective – a sacred perspective – and see beyond the false allegations to what we are being called to at this most critical time in our human history. May we have the courage to walk our unique and authentic paths while finding ways to expose, address, and illuminate our unique shadows.
Marc Gafni is an important teacher, weaving wisdom and spirit and evolving consciousness and love in ways that inspire me and many I know to true love, to Christ love, to cosmic love.
Elizabeth Helen ‘Adael’ Bullock
43. Gabrielle Siemion
I have worked closely with Marc Gafni for over two years and have known him in a social setting for at least five. Those that know me would agree that I am smart, opinionated and vocal. I am NOT easily manipulated, even by the brightest out there.
My experience of Marc is that he is beyond smart, wildly passionate, deeply purposeful, and at his core, motivated by the greater good for all. The mission at the Center for Integral Wisdom AND the center of Marc’s heart is a Global Ethic for a Global Civilization.
Sure we might disagree at times. We might even occasionally have an uncomfortable exchange. I welcome it. Marc welcomes it too. I find he welcomes dialog, even when it is in disagreement with him. I have experienced Marc to be open and even coachable for any area we have had differing perspectives. Anything can be said. And it is.
The people I have met and worked with through Marc are some of the smartest, most experienced, globally minded, eyes-wide-open people I have ever met. Internationally recognized and celebrated thought leaders I respect, not just in the public eye, but also working with him directly, SEE Marc deeply and are defending him, even being willing to risk being attacked themselves or losing their livelihood over it.
I am deeply disturbed by the wide spread emergence (and acceptance) of trolling and internet driven attacks without the benefit of a complete, balanced, accurate, fair and accountable presentation of the facts and evidence.
The very nature of what Marc has to say can raise some eyebrows to say the least. For some he is unconventional or even shocking, for other’s he is revolutionary and brilliant. Especially with people who are taking on the status quo, we must be vigilant in not succumbing to organized cyber attacks motivated by personal agendas.
In the spirit of that accountability I long to see respected in the world, I can only attest to my own experience which is that Marc is a good man, with good intentions and enthusiastic urgency towards those intentions. Sure, he is human (like the rest of us). He too has an ego and at times can be so connected to the urgency of the matter that he might be perceived as overbearing.
First of all, the global good IS an urgent issue and people should be jumping up and down and using every ounce of influence they have to help people wake up to the cliff we are about to drive off. Transformation and evolution are full of challenges and require stepping out of our comfort zones which likely requires some passionate prompting to get anything meaningful to happen.
Second, we’re ALL human! Who has not experienced moments of ego or employed manipulation in their efforts to bring about an important change. Who hasn’t made a comment or an off color joke that they later regretted? I would be willing to guess that we ALL have moments, conversations, actions we have experienced that we would not want dissected on the internet in an intentionally frenzied firestorm.
And third, I can attest that any “manipulation” I’ve ever felt from Marc has been based out of his enthusiasm for the greater good and urgency about progress for ALL of us. Never have I felt unsafe or like my wishes were not respected by him.
As for the more serious accusations against Marc, I understand that he has taken a lie detector test from one of the leading experts in the country and welcomed his accusers to meet and talk both now and in years past (when the same kind of calculated and organized effort to discredit him surfaced previously). I have no way of knowing what happened 30 plus years ago, yet the lie detector test, his willingness to discuss it with his accusers (and their refusal), the behind the scenes motivations I have been shown, the staunch support by some of the wisest minds and biggest hearts I know and most of all, my personal experience, well, that says everything to me.
And when there are organized and personally motivated agendas for attacking someone who is urgently questioning the status quo, we should all take pause.
44. Scott Forgey
I have had the honor to work with Marc during this last month and a half since the publication of the scathing accusations and allegations from the past. As a former trial lawyer I have dealt with many such occasions and the “trial by media” tactics that render integrity and justice nearly unattainable.
My direct experience of Marc is someone of deep compassion, concerned for people being free, known and honored – even in the midst of the upsetting past allegations resurfacing. The Community and the value of the Institute’s work has been his first and driving concern. I trust his integrity goodness and look forward to working with him in the future.
The Center for Integral Wisdom Community has been both compassionate and responsible in taking on resolving any issues that can be resolved, understanding that often people have their agendas and wish no resolution, nor due process that would have the truth come forth. The transparency and commitment has been a refreshing contrast to the string of attacks and vitriol.
Scott Forgey, Esq.
San Francisco, CA
45. Alan J. Weissman
The truth about our study, commitment and love. Our first encounter: a class called “The Eros of Tears.” Upon completion we walked and talked for over an hour. You encouraged and challenged me to renew my Jewish faith. Ten months later I took another class you were teaching. At that time you provided me with several books and authors to read. I felt such satisfaction and genuine acceptance. Three years later when I was falsely charged with a crime and deeply broken you encouraged me to deepen my spiritual practice, to study Torah, Musar and do shadow work. We spoke almost weekly for the better part of the next 15 months. These were deep and holy conversations. During the darkest time of my life you were a constant presence, source of strength and light. You never asked me for anything and when I was broke you even paid my tuition so I could continue my studies. And then there was the day I sat terrified waiting to be called back into court. You called me from Israel and then led all of Bayit Chadash in prayer. I had to hang up because I was called back into the court room. When we spoke 20 minutes later, my innocence and freedom having been declared, it sounded and felt like the Angels themselves were singing and applauding in the background.
With love and light always,
Alan J. Weissman
46. Mary Ann Gray Voorhies
I have known Marc and have been his student for going on 5 years. When I first heard Marc speak, I was on a “quest” to find and connect with someone who would help me with my important mission—the mission of seeing to it that Thomas Hanna’s healing work would be practiced by more and more people. I felt strongly that God had called me to ensure that this would happen. I KNEW the power of this work because it had “saved” my life on several occasions.
I had been on this quest for a number years and had tried a number of different avenues that all led to dead ends.
However, the minute I heard Marc speak–I KNEW he was the one who would help me. Every word he said struck a spiritual chord with me. One thing he said was that “we are stuck in old paradigms.”
That was exactly what I was looking for because Hanna Somatics is a new powerful healing paradigm that will lead mankind into a dramatically more healthful future.
After attending a couple more of his workshops, I really learned even more about what he is all about–LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, RESPECT and spiritual genius. I genuinely respect him as a teacher and leader because he doesn’t place himself above his students. In fact, I felt as though he lifted me up and saw the best in me so that I could share my gifts. I am sure that he does that with his other students as well. What a wonderful feeling not to be a SOLO anymore but to be a member of this wonderful, marvelous SYMPHONY that is the leading edge of revolutionary/evolutionary positive change.
Mary Ann Gray Voorhies
President, Vita Somatics
47. Liza Braude-Glidden
I’ve worked with Marc Gafni for five years. He’s one of the most hard working and dedicated people I have ever known. He is also a patient, thoughtful, and inspirational teacher and friend. I salute this statement as a dignified and worthy response.
The outpouring of messages in this thread shows how we can honor our humanity on line and off. Soon everyone on Earth will be digitally connected. How can we leverage every one of those connections to amplify and evolve the best of humanity’s wisdom? And how can we empower each person on earth as a unique expression of that wisdom? I bow to the compassion unfolding here and celebrate its bravery. Thanks to everyone participating
48. Shalvah M
I have known Marc Gafni for many years and am grateful to work with him as a colleague, student and dear friend. The times that I have spent with Marc, whether in private teaching sessions or in larger workshops, conferences and organizational meetings has been of the most profound and transformative nature. Marc’s love, deep wisdom and abiding dedication to the movement of spirit is evolving consciousness in profound ways. His ability to see the beauty and light in others is one of his greatest gifts and calls forth people of amazing insight and capabilities, working together to move us all to the next step. I have at all times experienced Marc as someone who is constantly calling himself and others to integrity and commitment to higher levels of being and relating to one another. I am grateful to be part of a group of amazing people whose mission is to evolve love in the world and to have a teacher and leader whose huge heart, compelling brilliance and absolute commitment to the Greater Work is demonstrated unceasingly.
49. Adam Gilad
I have known Marc Gafni for 4 years and his work for over 15. He is unique among friends and teachers in that he is tireless in his work to bring understanding, evolution, love and redemption to the world. He is intense, rigorous, passionate and his mind moves very quickly. And he is also spectacularly kind, sweet, loving, deeply-feeling and reflective. I have never experienced him as anything but profoundly curious and caring, not just for those around him, but also for the fate of humanity. I have seen him go out of his way to show respect for all traditions, all peoples, and in particular, for those who have few to speak for them. To see him lambasted by hearsay and exaggerated calumny is nothing new in the history of revolutionary teachers. It saddens me greatly and I know, from my own discussions with Marc, that he welcomes open, direct conversations in the context of mutual responsibility, healing and careful discernment, even with his most vicious slanderers. In the end, he is a gentle teacher of a fiercely gentle dharma. His teachings are a blessing.
50. Christopher Marston
Marc has been an honorable leader in the spiritual community and has a fantastic and elite community of support, all of which would not be present if any of the nonsense of the politically motivated attacks had merit. True leaders know what the high road looks like. The rest just look up at it with envy.
Christopher Marston, Esq.
I met Mark when I attended one day of the summer festival in the Netherlands he was teaching at…that first day turned into a week and then into 4+ years of learning and growing with him – I have been amazed by his inspired and brilliant living teachings, heart expressions, and down-to-earth ways he brings complicated spiritual and life topics into living reality.
It was on that first meeting that I had the opportunity to sit with him personally and ask him about the past allegations – this unusual conversation was brought up because I introduced him to a colleague who was considering writing an article about him in a Dutch popular magazine and she needed to do her due-diligence.
In that awkward conversation: “hello my name is ___, tell me about these allegations….” He was forthcoming and candid. He went through many of the stories we brought up in a clear and open way. We were satisfied and, I felt a lot of pain that the old history had been used over and over again to defame him. It was clear to me after that conversation that the topic, while at that time not inflamed as it is now again, had taken its toll on him and he was hurt by the maliciousness of it.
As an American living aboard for over 19 years, I have discovered through my distance from the rhetoric of US sensibilities around sexual responsibilities to be – often – overreaching…and victimizing. I am in no way excusing or exonerating people from upholding the golden rule: respect and choice. No one should be forced or manipulated into sexual or emotional situations.
But the black and white thinking that is characteristic of the American mentality is not useful when grey areas are the norm…especially when it comes to sexual play, power play, etc. There are other – valid ways – to look at these topics.
And the witch hunt expression of this attack against Mark feels to me like some of the most nasty and oppressive parts of the culture of fear that emerges in America – people, colleagues, victims protecting themselves – legally, emotionally, financially. When true dialog –with the potential of healing, like the kind Mark has asked for from the people who accuse him and like the kind I had with him when I was unsure, is missing.
I have enjoyed a deep connection to Mark in the last few years, serving on the inner circle of staff for the festival in Holland and holding space for the hundreds of participants who join each year. It has been an honour and a privilege to have served and been close to him as a teacher and friend. His brilliance and special talents are wild and bright. I know that for many, being close to someone so brilliant is hard to understand and to manage…is he a teacher? Is he a friend? Is he a guru? Is he fake? It’s hard to put a normal context around the Mark phenomenon.
I will say this: I care and respect Mark Gafni, his work, his integrity and his intentions. I give him the benefit of the doubt and hope and pray that those who stand against him are willing to heal the pain – so we can all go on with better things to do.
Hilary Brown, Founder of Yoga Moves in The Netherlands
For Marc I have nothing else but respect, love and support! I had the fortune to meet him years ago and attended his teachings as much as I could. Became a personal student and learn(ed) a lot. I would like to say to everybody who talks badly about him: hands off and look at yourself!
“One recognizes pioneers by the number of arrows they have on their back”. A quote I read many years ago. The recent events confirm that Marc is a really pioneer. There aren’t that many in the spiritual realm.
In my career in Corporate America as an employee then as a corporate coach, I had the opportunity to meet, work with and accompany many international leaders. In my personal quest I also had the chance to meet many teachers. Those leaders and teachers have many qualities in common. Most of them are knowledgeable and talented in their transmission; some of them are inspiring and a few of them possess an innate capacity for a loving kindness; however very rare are those who possess all of the four qualities. Marc is one of them and I am grateful to have to chance to follow his teaching and read his books.
Furthermore I also love the groups around him. Because Marc seems to treat the team that supports him with respect and kindness, they can in turn be very kind, and respectful. I did not meet anyone with a patronizing attitude, unfortunately too often the case in other spiritual groups.
Around Marc, people are just like him, caring, kind and also, which is also very important for me; possess a good sense of humor. I love the “festival” atmosphere: being inspired, sharing, singing and dancing. A space and an invitation to express my Unique Self.
As for the “bowmen or women” who have thrown their darts to him and his close friends, I am surprised that this kind of attitude happens in spiritual communities.
Potential explanations: when one is unable to reach and express his talents, (expressing their Unique Self) there could be jealousy towards those who can. In the corporate environment this attitude is mostly for financial reasons.
Annie Martinez – Montpellier (France)
In Response to Barbara Marx Hubbard
Dear Mrs M.H.
My name is H.J.Maestracci. I am 68 years old, I hold no degree(s), I wrote no book(s), I have learned from life, moreover blessed as I’ve been to meet several teachers and masters of consciousness. So to-day I am proud to be here, taking the Center of Integral Wisdom invitation to answer you. I consider it a shining present to myself to address you, Mrs M.Hubbard.
What a priviledge, what a gift, what an invitation to have you for Elder !
And here I am, utterly flabergasted. Even more, if possible, than by the attacks against Marc, by that « they » dare, have the guts, are blind enough, to involve you, to threaten you…our most precious Elder !
I apologize to you Mrs Marx-Hubbard, I cannot not do it.
I need to address « them » directly, the accusers – it will be possible for you to forward my answer, will it ? –
The people who think themselves allowed to create so much ugliness, allowed to call Dc Marc Gafni, my master-teacher, such ugly grotesque words that I refuse to repeat them, to accuse him of what by the way : please where are the proofs of what you allege??
Dear 21st century Inquisitors,
What on earth are you busy with, you sending me daily since years all possible manners and ways and promises of Enlightenment ? Eastern and Western (to say it in a nutshell) ? In the midst of the number of unbearable dramas going on world wide under our very eyes – wars, terrorism, refugees on seas and lands with children and their pets and nowhere to go – you need more? Wow. What makes you believe that it is in any way interesting to waste so much precious time and tears trying to answer you, to understand you, to love you – but that I don’t try, I do, simply because I breathe – ?
Let me cut it short because this is all too boring: In the name of mere decency would you not accept to stop 3 minutes, please, pause – remember to breathe, please, some kundalini yoga perhaps to help – so you can ask yourself one very very simple question : « what is the real real real ( you got to say aloud « real » three times) what is the real real real reason that I behave like I do against Marc Gafni ???? »
That will free the world, faster and cheaper than all of your miracle more or less bullshit courses, by the way. But more important here, that would free you, guaranteed – from my own experience. Three times : real real real.
Yes I am angry beyond words at you. You are dirtying (trying to) not only one of one handful of geniuses of our time, you are dirtying (trying to) my teacher, friend and brother, therefore me, my name, my personal ancestors, you are (trying to) more than dirty, you want to destroy what the world has most precious and needs the most in our time : evolved teachings from the soul, the meeting of East and West Wisdoms, the possibility for us to learn to live more consciously, more sharing, no more just in fears, lives. Your aim is to butcher teachings that show us how to open, how to love, how to share, how to grab and live evolution together, how to celebrate and worship life in a way never before put together, brilliantly articulated and taught by Marc Gafni. Marc Gafni is a top leader in this. He is the most learned, the most courageous, the most articulated man and teacher who explains and make practical ancient wisdoms for us to-day. All from his years and years of extremely intense studies, his enormous amount and intensity of work, his non-stop total commitment to Beauty, to Goodness, to Love, and to his own perfect dignity.
Whether you like it or not. And I do not ask you to like it or dislike it, I do not need your approval or your disapproval – I do not ask you to look after me, thank you, I can do that myself, and so can my gorgeous daughter and gorgeous nieces.
I do ask you, though, for a minimum respect for my impeccable extraordinary wisdom teacher, and certainly for our Elder(s) – nobody asks you to like or agree with any.
OH ! I do understand that Marc’s brillance can make one afraid. I know that very well, for myself of course. The intensity of Marc’s will for life is impressive, quite out of any usual.
Light and love ARE scary – what to say of sex, one their most sacred expressions as well as actually their very creator – scary until you/I have put a little courage out, accepted to accept and face your/my fears at least a little, accepted to gently smile at yourself/at myself in order to give just a three minutes break to your/my primal pathetic vanity, finally accepted to be blinded by the Light. OH! I can very well imagine, sense, that Marc’s gifts, simply the way he simply is, might trigger jealousy.
Let me sum it up : Jaleousy is a terrible killer. Won’t you at least have basic decency to not use others on internet to play yours out. Leave me and my friends alone. Leave my brother alone. OR : accept his invitation to talk to him and with him face to face. We all know he is waiting for you. We are. I am. Please. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. We are all – all – learning.
In Response to Suzy Akmen Rogovin
…..For so it, is so it is. Thank you Mrs Akmen Rogovin, thank you Suzy for each – each – of your words. Clear short and accurate. “May those who are suffering while adding to the outrageous pain in the world find that egoless, peaceful place in their hearts in order to transform their pain to outrageous love.” Together we can do it.
In Response to André Kaufman
Dear Mr Kaufman, Thank you for your words, for your simple, clear good sense. Allow me to join my voice to yours. Loud, clear, joyous, face to face, as I have learned from my teacher Marc Gafni, whose sense of responsability cannot possibily be doubted. HJ Maestracci
In Response to Simona Muratori
Dear Simona, Thank you for your utterly honest words. Allow me to underline them and sign them too; my experience with DcMarc Gafni being exactly similar to yours. Indeed, surely the light and the power of pure life and deep deep authentic knowledge that emanate just from his simple presence….are blinding! My name is H.J.Maestracci, I feel so proud to sign it in full full full support of Light, of Marc Gafni. All from nothing but my very experience.
I have known Marc Gafni since the creation of the Center for Integral Wisdom, for the past five years or so. Recently I have logged 100+ hours following up on all of the elements of the “scandal,” and have participated in an online community where most thought Marc should be shunned or forced to stop teaching. So I have been listening deeply to everyone who has cared to make public statements about Marc and his life. And I am grateful to have this opportunity to now give you mine: I know Marc as a person who has more integrity that I do, who loves more than I do, who works harder than I do, who absolutely has more energy than I do. Whose heart is more open than mine is. But in all of these respects, he has held them as a possibility of my humanity, not as something he is proud of or as things that I should admire him for. I have seen someone living fully, with integrity and a profound concern for others. There is nothing amiss here, we are not in trouble or need someone to rescue us from his evil manipulations. Marc is leading part of our integral community in uplifting ways that have integrity. I welcome those who wish to be in communication with me to discuss what I have experienced and have said about being in relationship with Marc and the CIW.
I woud like to thank the attackers.I am Helene , I am french I don’t have any references, I don’t have thousands of followers, I am like you a spirit having a human experience and a french one. Thanks to the ones who put allégations against Marc Gafni because they allowed all of us to confront our shadows, our angryness, our fears, our ressentment. I have the feeling that it’s easy to replace the word God by universe and religion by spirituality but at the end aren’t we all included myself falling into dogmas, sectarism, values and morals and stepping into a war that we are all fighting. We all have our importance in this game, this evolution of Eros. Thank You Marc for saying that:” what if we stop wanting having right”.Thanks for your best teaching ever, you are doing what you are teaching, you accept to confront your shadows and to bring light for everyone. You are talking about forgiveness and love and like you today I send my love to everyone to help each of us to play a larger game full of love and light.
Marc, I stand with you! I am not, at least outwardly, such a radical lover as you clearly are, but I know how an unquenchable desire for love can easily be mistaken for something else, especially these days if you are a man! I owe to your friend Warren Farrell an understanding of how easily this happens
Dear Hélène, Your comment, amongst others so moving and honest, is so profoundly beautiful, so crystal clear true, that I had to log in once more…thank you for this, to me, more than diamond…a Crystal…May it be heard ans seen by all….With love, Brahmani