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Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment Paperback – July 12, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"It is very rare that one comes across a teacher or a book that is ‘changing the game.' My friend, Dr. Marc Gafni, is such a teacher. He is a rare combination of brilliance, depth, and heart. Marc's teaching on the Unique Self in an evolutionary context is ‘changing the game.'" -- Michael Murphy, co-founder of Esalen Institute

“Your Unique Self is one of the most brilliant, provocative, and original books of the new century. Dr. Marc Gafni…provides an evolutionary road map for the great birth. The Unique Self vision is absolutely essential for the next step of evolution. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
--Andrew Harvey, Author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

“MARC GAFNI’S INTEGRAL UNIQUE SELF TEACHING IS SEMINAL - this groundbreaking book will change forever not only how you think about enlightenment, but how you understand the very nature of human life itself. The Unique Self work offers one of the most significant contemporary evolutions of enlightenment teaching.”
--Ken Wilber, Integral Philosopher

“Marc, a fellow drinker at the holy taverns has written a fine, fine book. Kabbalists say a Day of Fixing is coming. There are great stories here from the Hasidic masters and from Marc’s own life, honoring the unique soulmaking that has brought you to this moment. Awaken to the individual beauty of your path.”
--Coleman Barks, Rumi translator

“Dr. Marc Gafni’s teaching on the Unique Self radically evolves the way we understanding and realize enlightenment. He is a great teacher of both heart and mind. His depth, practicality, and heartfelt charisma will change your life.”
--John Gray, Author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

“With exceptional brilliance and an awakened heart, Dr. Marc Gafni speaks for the evolution of consciousness. Unique Self enlightenment is essential for the next stage in our evolution. They have emerged from his direct experience. I highly recommend them.”
--Michael Bernard Beckwith, Author of Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential

“Marc Gafni is a brilliant teacher and heart master.  This book contains the essence of his teaching on what it means to live an enlightened life from a ground of one’s own personal uniqueness. A truly ground-shifting book… it can change your life. A book that deserves to become a classic.” 
 --Sally Kempton, Author of Meditation for the Love of It

“Marc Gafni has written a brilliant book. He articulates a bold philosophy that calls every individual to realize their Unique Self and give their Unique Gifts. Gafni and Ken Wilber are catalytic voices for the newly emergent World Spirituality movement. I highly recommend this book.”
 --John Mackey, CEO Whole Foods, Chair Center for World Spirituality

“A great read. Dr. Marc Gafni not only understands the material, but has lived it. The book is both thorough and fun, and will provoke deep thoughts. I meant to scan it on vacation and ended up reading it cover to cover in one sitting. It’s a book that is worth many readings. It will both fascinate you in its insights and annoy you that you haven’t read this book until now.”
 --Dave Logan Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Tribal Leadership, former Associate Dean of USC Marshall School of Business

“This is an amazing book from an amazing mind. Using the concept of the “Unique Self,” the author succeeds in…redefining, extending, and integrating the core meanings of healing, wholeness and the self will expand the consciousness of all readers. I compliment the author’s intellectual and spiritual achievement and recommend it to all travelers on the journey to enlightenment.”
 --Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., Author of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

“Marc is a very inspiring and talented transformational teacher.”
 --Deepak Chopra

From the Author

We once believed that to be enlightened was a process of evolving beyond your experience of being a skin encapsulated ego, your separate self, in order to realize your essence as indivisible from the seamless coat of the universe. This is actually the first stage of a much greater journey. What unfolds next is the realization of your true uniqueness as the highest expression of enlightenment. Your Unique Self offers a paradigm-shifting investigation into the nature of spiritual awakening and the underlying purpose of human existence. This book speaks dangerous words -- dangerous to your sense that you are small -- to your feeling that you are invisible or alone. Your Unique Self dares you to listen dangerously -- to embrace your greatness and open to the infinite love intelligence that yearns to enter the world as you.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 558 pages
  • Publisher: Integral Publishers (July 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467522775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467522779
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marc Gafni is a visionary thinker, social activist, passionate philosopher, and author of ten books, including the award-winning Your Unique Self: The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment; the two-volume Radical Kabbalah; Self in Integral Evolutionary Mysticism: Two Models and Why They Matter; and Tears: Reclaiming Ritual, Integral Religion, and Rosh Hashana.

He holds his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, and received rabbinic certification from the chief rabbinate in Israel, as well private rabbinic ordination. He teaches on the cutting edge of philosophy in the West, helping to evolve a new 'dharma,' or meta-theory of Integral meaning that is helping to re-shape key pivoting points in consciousness and culture.

He is the co-founder, together with Ken Wilber, of The Center for Integral Wisdom, a leading activist think tank dedicated to articulating a practical politics of love, and to catalyzing an emergent personal and global vision of ethics, Eros and meaning. Gafni serves as President and Senior Scholar-in-Residence, and Ken is the Integral "Pandit" of the Center.

A rabbinic lineage holder in Bible, Talmud, and Kabbalah, Gafni self-describes as a "dual citizen" of both Integral World Spirituality and classical Hebrew practice. He has been an editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice on issues of Integral spirituality, has been a faculty member of J.F.K. University. He is currently the Integral Wisdom Scholar in Residence at the Agape International Spiritual Center (Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, president).

In 2014 Dr. Gafni co-initiated the Success 3.0 Summit, whose method and movement is to bring together key thought leaders and change-agents to collaboratively evolve a bold new Integral vision of Success, rooted in the entrepreneurial values of Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up and Outrageous Love.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Gafni has developed evolutionary and activist programs rooted his commitment to what he has termed "participating in the evolution of love". Together with author and social innovator Barbara Marx Hubbard, he is working on a series of new works revolving around Evolutionary Spirituality.

Gafni is a leading public intellectual impacting the source code of global culture. He has led international spiritual movements and learning communities, as well as created and hosted for several seasons a popular national Israeli television program on culture, meaning, and spirit on Israel's leading network. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Gafni has developed educational programs, papers and content rooted in traditional wisdom and yet fully adapted to the needs of the contemporary world.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reading the Unique Self book was one of the extraordinary experiences of my life. Because the book spoke to me on so many levels.

Because it brought everything together for me in an embrace of such depth and simplicity that it blew my heart and mind wide open.

On the one hand it clears out in with a kind of radical penetrating clarity so many of the conflicts, contradictions and struggles I have encountered on my 30 year spiritual quest.... What a awesome contribution! Once you read it seems so compellingly obvious that it is what my american friends call Self Evident.

One example is Gafni's discussion of on 'Specialness'. Dealing with and really giving a place to the innate specialness that is me while remaining all the way committed to full enlightenment and clarity has been for so many of us near impossible. Our teachers tell us, "move beyond your grasping at specialness" and yet we all feel special. For so many years we have been fed the painful and confusing teaching to just sit in the spaciousness of no preferences. But of course the teachers teaching that are filled with preferences and the teaching violates our own sense of specialness. The distinctions that Marc makes in the book just in this regard are worth the price of the book. His discussion of specialness and individuation beyond ego, are classic and hugely great.

There is so much confusion in so many of my students on the relation between the absolute love of the universe and the relative or personal love between human beings. What is the relation between the personal and impersonal?
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It seems to me that Marc Gafni has now been thoroughly exposed as a serial abuser of women, a plagiarizer, and a darkly manipulative sociopath. Since the New York Times reported on his long history of abuse on 12/25/15 there has been an explosion of condemnation from the integral community on Facebook (see the “Integral Global Public Group”), which overwhelmingly rejects his pretensions to be a leader of the integral movement. What’s worse, there is now a fast-growing petition on "change dot org" spearheaded by the influential Rabbi David Ingber. The petition, entitled “Stop Marc Gafni from Abusing Again,” has garnered thousands of signatures. Whatever insights one might find in this rather adolescent book are negated by the fact that Gafni's credibility as a spiritual author is demolished.
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If you are a mature and serious journeyer on the path of consciousness, and if you could buy only one book this year, then I highly recommend Marc Gafni's YOUR UNIQUE SELF. It is a heartful, lyrical, readable and incredibly intelligent map for the New Human so greatly needed in our times. It is very clearly at the cutting edge of our evolution as a species.

For me, spiritual pursuit has always been about its honoring of and integration into everyday life. In my own personal evolution and exploration over the 69 years of my life, and in the past 40 years midwifing the integrating spiritual unfoldment of others individually and in groups, the consecration has been and continues to be to the sacred marriage between heaven and earth, between spirit and flesh. Imagine my unspeakable joy and infinite resonance to find Marc Gafni writing so compellingly about my heart's passion! His unfolding map on the pages of his book, with all the side roads and "must" points of interest marked on the journey of consciousness evolution, calls and helps one to make a necessary shift at this critical time in evolution. The shift is from living one's personal expression of self from out of a painfully limiting egoic structure to living one's Unique Personal Self through and as the eyes, the arms, the legs and the heart of Spirit, of God, or whatever name one would call The Something More that ongoingly carries us beyond the illusion of our separation and into living our particular cell on the body of God in harmony with all the other cells of that body.

As Marc Gafni points out, to engage in the process of revealing and expressing one's Unique Self involves an ongoing clarifying process of the ego which requires a maturity of sacred intention and commitment.
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There are some books that everyone should read. This book is not one of them.
To say that this book would annoy many and offend even more is probably an understatement.
Consider the premise; enduring personal spirituality is not about being a good person, saving the world or even getting into heaven; it is about transformation - personal, communal and global.
"Enlightenment" is the term the author uses most often to describe the state most, if not all, religions offer and a few of us seek - or perhaps accidently find.
It is this `common ground' that Gafni explores.
And it is ground that I too, have explored.
In fact it does my heart good to read this book. The key premise is built into the title; Your Unique Self: The radical path to personal enlightenment.
Gafni makes the case that both major strains of world religion, East and West, have misunderstood the relationship, or even organizing principle of individual spiritual identity and exploration. The Eastern traditions, Gafni posits, believe that the individual must be subdued and absorbed into the cosmic oneness of the universe while Western religious traditions generally focus on each individual's exaltation and `salvation'. Your Unique Self points out that we, each one of us, is part of an eternal fabric, and plan, and each one of us is never, now or in eternity, alone, but even in eternity, we will hold, perfect and live out our uniqueness. We are unique but never separate, individual but never isolated.
Our goal, our individual and eternal destiny, Gafni insists, is to inhabit, or fill, or develop, our `irreducible uniqueness' which leads to living in and expressing fully the voice and perspective that is only, eternally - and purely - our own.
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