Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment
By Marc Gafni
Underlying the vision behind democracy is the recognition that every individual has dignity, adequacy and worth. This democratic understanding of the worth and standing of the individual lies at the core of what the West calls enlightenment. The Western idea of enlightenment, rooted in the great vision of the Biblical prophets, is generally understood to have entered mainstream consciousness through the political democratic movements of the mid-18th century. Western Enlightenment is based on the dignity of the Separate Self whose worth derives neither from religion nor a state, but is intrinsic. Classical enlightenment, sometimes called Eastern enlightenment because it was greatly emphasized in the East, is about the individual realizing that their individuality is ultimately an illusion – and realizing one’s deeper True Self as indivisible from the field of consciousness. The goal of Eastern enlightenment is moving beyond the desperately grasping Separate Self. This is done by activating a state of consciousness in which the illusion of separateness is dissolved in the greater one.
Both Western and Classical/Eastern Enlightenment had the same goal: moving beyond suffering and realizing one’s true identity. Western Enlightenment however said that the goal was Separate Self. Eastern Enlightenment said that the goal was transcending of Separate Self into the Oneness of True Self. The contradiction is obvious and enormous. Western and Classical Enlightenment set up opposite paths to be liberated from suffering and realize one’s true identity. Both of these essential approaches to human identity are true but partial.
Unique Self enlightenment brings the Eastern and Western understandings of enlightenment together into a higher Integral World Spirituality embrace. A core distinction at the center of Unique Self theory is the distinction between separateness and uniqueness. Unique Self enlightenment is based on your commitment to transcend Separate Self into True Self, the One, even as you realize that your True Self sees through your unique set of eyes, your unique perspective, your Unique Self. Unique Self opens the door to the potential democratization of enlightenment. To awaken to your Unique Self is to be lived as God, which, in truth, means to be lived as love.
Your Unique Self changes the game both in terms of our understanding of what enlightenment means and why it matters and even more importantly, in terms of our understanding of the self and its relationship to the larger contexts of life and relationship. The evolutionary emergence of Unique Self is both a new chapter in Integral theory as well as a powerful evolution of the very idea and experience of enlightenment. Unique Self enlightenment is the emergence of the personal beyond the impersonal, self beyond ego. It is the manifestation of personal individuation beyond ego. The implications of this revolutionary and evolutionary teaching for enlightenment, evolutionary spirituality, shadow work, love, sexuality, parenting, education, politics, relationship, evolutionary we-space, and much more are brilliantly and beautifully evoked in this ground-breaking volume.