– Marc Gafni’s colleagues, supporters, and friends speak out on behalf of Marc Gafni, for the sake of restoring integrity. This statement by Steve Raymond on Gratitude for CIW and Marc was first posted as a comment to the Center for Integral Wisdom statement on centerforintegralwisdom.org. You can either read the statement below or listen to the audio. –
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.