Monday, September 12, 2011

BREAKING: Marc Gafni's Sexual Impropriety Re- Emerges - Will Integral Leadership Step Up this Time?

[NOTE - the title got confused during editing - the correct title is now attached. My apologies for the confusion on such an important post.]

There have been two recent developments regarding Marc Gafni, already a controversial, polarizing figure following a very public sex scandal five years ago. While many organizations and teachers would have nothing to do with him, the Integral world did seem to believe his version of events and took him back.

What's new:
  • Integral life has removed Gafni as a contributor to their website and as MC of the Integral Spiritual Experience 3 Conference.
  • Sounds True has cancelled publication of his upcoming book and severed ties with his Center for World Spirituality.

In an effort to discover what might be behind these developments, I have been in conversation with both Robb Smith, CEO of Integral Life, and Tami Simon, owner and publisher of Sounds True.

Robb and I have not had a chance to speak personally, but Tami kindly sent me the following response (posted with her permission):
When I first started working with Marc a couple of years ago, Marc and I spoke openly about his history and what he claimed were false accusations against him related to alleged sexual improprieties. Several influential people spoke up in his defense and equally several people warned me not to trust Marc. I came to believe that whatever had happened in the past, Marc was beginning a new chapter in his life. Marc explicitly stated to me that he was not going to be involved in sexual relationships with students, that even if he deemed such relationships to be consensual, he did not believe that engaging in relationships with students would support his efforts to be an effective teacher. In considering publishing Marc's work, the most important thing to me was the actual quality of the written work. When he submitted "Your Unique Self" in its edited form, I appreciated the content and message of the book. The quality of the book combined with the force of his conviction regarding how he would conduct himself as a teacher moving forward convinced me to take a risk on publishing his work.

In the past several weeks, new and incontrovertible information came to light that made me aware that Marc was involved in a sexual relationship with a student and that the relationship was shrouded in secrecy. There was an obvious lack of alignment between Marc's words to me and his actions. I learned about Marc's sexual relationship with a student from another woman who was having a sexual relationship with Marc. This woman was also asked by Marc to keep her relationship with him a secret. In talking with this woman, I learned how emotionally damaging this secrecy was for her, how it cut her off from emotional support and connection. I also learned quite a bit about how she felt manipulated by Marc, about how often she witnessed Marc telling lies to cover his tracks, and how upset she was to find herself caught in such a web of lies.

Discovering this new information, it became clear to me that it was not in integrity for me personally or for Sounds True as a company to publish Marc's books or to support him as a spiritual teacher in the world. I do not trust Marc Gafni. I do not trust what he says, and I do not trust that he acts in the best interests of his students or his professional alliances.

~ Tami Simon, Sounds True
Just to be clear here, Gafni was sleeping with two women, both of whom were in a power differential to Gafni - one was a private student.

However, the other woman was receiving marriage counseling (as was her husband, separately) as her marriage was ending. To my knowledge, Gafni is not licensed to provide counseling in Colorado (Colorado Mental Health Practice Act), and if he is, sleeping with a client is grounds for censure or the removal of his license.

Both women wish to remain anonymous for a variety of reasons.

All of this was happening while he was "partnered" with Mariana Caplan, who is the mother of his child, and who risked her own reputation to write a chapter in her book, The Guru Question, arguing for his supposed innocence regarding the Israel incident in 2006; even Publisher's Weekly questioned that final chapter.

That a very intelligent woman who has written a book on discernment around spiritual teachers was taken in by one is ironic, but it is also testament to Gafni's ability to seduce otherwise intelligent people. Her fate serves as a stark warning to others who think they are immune from his seduction.

As is his pattern, Gafni has sworn both women to silence (as Tami described above) - and, according to sources in contact with the victims, in this case one of the women came forward and "failed to hold that space." If you look back through the record of allegations against Gafni (this article contains statements by his early victims), it is always the women who come forward who are to blame for not being able to maintain his bohemian, "post-conventional" lifestyle.

In a long and rambling article responding to the Integrales Forum position paper on Integral Teachers and ethics, Gafni essentially offered a defense of his right as an "enlightened" teacher to have sexual relations with students. This is the defense he is currently offering for his affairs: he was involved in post-conventional relationships and the women failed to hold that space.

I have not had a chance to speak with Robb Smith directly, so the following information is based on reports from various people with access to the inner workings of Integral Life.

As mentioned above, it seems that Gafni has been removed by Integral Life from his usual leadership role of ISE3. Apparently, he will still be a presenter, but he won't be the MC and won't be running the event as he has for the previous two events (Jeff Salzman, Diane Hamilton, and Terry Patten will be leading this year's event).

Robb Smith was very displeased that I implied Gafni's material (articles, interviews, and so on) had been removed from the Integral Life site in secret. Yet, they removed the content of one of their most visible, most promoted, and most prolific teachers with not a word of explanation and that is "post-conventional governance"?

Robb and I have been playing phone tag since that Facebook conversation at the end of August. I hope he makes a public statement - and if he wants to alleviate suffering, he will join me in proposing and working to ensure that no student ever engages with Marc Gafni in ignorance of his past behavior.

Gafni's Defenders

When Gafni first emerged from his two-year absence to resume his teaching (in 2008), his principle supporters were Robb Smith, Sally Kempton, Clint Fuhs, and Diane Hamilton. Robb offered an eloquent defense of Gafni and welcomed him back. I wonder if he now regrets those words, which Gafni has used as confirmation of his innocence and the legitimacyof his teaching.

Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber offered a long defense of Gafni and asserted that the women in Israel had lied (the letter was posted in the comments on this blog in response to my questioning of Gafni's presence at the 2010 Integral conference). Of those mentioned in the letter, Robb Smith, Rocky Anderson, and Diane Hamilton have all moved away from Gafni.

Gafni posted a good deal of defense on his blog when he first returned to teaching. Most of it is questionable at best - especially the psyche evaluations. I documented that in a post last summer - in that same post I offered a bit of a speculative psychological explanation for Gafni's behavior, which is not to be seen as an excuse.

Gafni has had many opportunities to confront his own patterns and seek help, but he seems unwilling to do so as long as he has supporters like Sally Kempton and Mariana Caplan who enable his behaviors and find ways to rationalize them.

Going Forward - My Personal Views

Robb seems to think - this is the message he has given to the staff at Integral Life in asking them not to speak with me - that I am "on a mission." Yes, I most certainly am, but not the one he thinks.

My mission is to help prevent any other women from being victimized by Marc Gafni.

It is my hope that this post will offer a place for all of Gafni's victims (many of whom have never come forward publicly because of the fear of abuse and harassment they are likely to receive from him and his enablers) to tell their stories.

It is also my hope that other leaders, especially in the integral community, will follow the fine example set by Tami Simon and make a public stand against Gafni's lies and manipulations.

Allowing Gafni back into the Integral community - and defending him - has provided him with a platform to teach and begin his own organization - which has allowed him to bring chaos into the lives of two more women (that we know of - there may be others who are still silent). This need not have happened.

With his own organization now established at The Center for World Spirituality, it will be much tougher to discover or monitor his abuses than it would have been if he had never been allowed back into the integral community in the first place. When he is in charge, who monitors him? Who protects his students and employees?

I hold his enablers partly responsible - they willingly disregarded the experience of the women in Israel, the statements of his third ex-wife (much of what she says has been confirmed to me by other women who have been with him - for example, the "debasing sexuality" has been reported to me by other women who have been involved with him), and the statements of other organizations who had removed him from leadership positions.

However, the women willingly entered into these relationships - but would they have done so if there was a more public record of Integral leadership exposing his abuses?

So far, Tami Simon stands as the only leader willing to take a public stand on Marc Gafni. She should be applauded, but it is a sad testament to Integral post-conventional leadership that no one from that world has done the same.


Leela said...

And the beat goes on...Thank you for calling those who defend and enable the repeated harmful actions of a man who lacks the integrity to live up to the values he says he holds sacred.

David Jon Peckinpaugh said...

Great article William. I applaud you and Tami. Post-conventional leadership ought not deny "convention" should it?

This is another sad day for "Integral" and what many people had hoped it would or could become.

Anonymous said...

It was just a matter of time...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emily Roy said...

Did I miss something? What's with the title of this post? Who is Fabio Fina?

william harryman said...

Sorry Emily, the title got messed up in editing - it's fixed now.

william harryman said...

To the 2nd Anonymous (11:42 am) - do you have any evidence of your assertions about Sally?

What is your position in all of this that you have such details?

Email me privately if needed, but I would like to know what you know and how.


Scott Edelstein said...

I stand with Tami Simon, the leadership of Elat Chayyim, and the many others who have issued warnings against Marc Gafni. Although I do not mention him by name, Gafni is the subject of the opening section of my book Sex and the Spiritual Teacher: Why It Happens, When It's a Problem, and What We All Can Do.

Gafni is entitled to publish books, articles, audio downloads, etc. But in person he has created much suffering for many people over multiple decades. It's time to build a wall and say "never again."

Scott Edelstein

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion that spirituality is wayyyyyyy over-emphasized in the Integral community, and in the United States at large. I think we could all use some in-depth psychological work, a la Robert Masters, rather than following more spiritual teachers.

For instance, why isn't Peter Levine, who's work is most definitely at an integral level, featured on Integral Life? Yet there are quite a handful of spiritual teachers.

Don't get me wrong, spirituality is great and all but most people in this world need a lot of good psychological work, including many in the integral community. It's all too common to see a lot of spiritual bypassing going on.

Liz said...

This is great, William. Thanks for being such a strong voice and not being intimidated. I feel deeply appreciative of your presence in the integral world.

Anonymous said...

I disappointed in this discourse which does not appear to be arising from a space of compassion. I honestly expected better from Integral thinkers. Until I have more data, I cannot make a judgment. Somehow in this "breaking news", the map has been lost.

ZenCloe, Netherlands said...

Of all the defenders and enablers of Gafni, it is quite crazy that its always been another group of women who protected him. They ran to him and protected him and helped him make his comeback by ignoring what the victims (other women) were saying. They refused to even actively seek the perspective of these women victims. The two biggest enablers of Gafni are Diane Hamilton and Sally Kempton - two women who have now allowed for other women to be seduced, lied to and manipulated by Gafni.

Ms. Diane Hamilton then wrote a big thing called "Cool or Uncool" when her teacher Genpo Roshi admitted to his affair. She decided Genpo was "uncool." Was she unaware of who and what she was protecting when she ran to the defence of Gafni? And now, she has quietly walked away from Gafni. Diane owes an apology to all of Gafni's previous and latest victims and all women for being such a weak leader (going around teaching about shadow and what not, lol). Ms. Diane Hamilton and Ms. Sally Kempton: UNCOOL.

william harryman said...

I have deleted the post by Anonymous at 11:42 am - the relevant and useful part of the post appears below. Please, people, the women involved are reading this - consider their feelings before you make comments or conjecture (especially without proof). Thanks.


Anonymous said . . .

Very, very messy.

The fact that Marc is a liar and a cheater would be no big deal--so are most people--if he didn't keep denying it, covering it up, and then claiming to be some kind of spiritual paragon. To me this is not a question of morality (i.e. who cares how many people he's sleeping with?) so much as a question of integrity (he cannot be trusted, and is actively dangerous for female students).

11:42 am

Anonymous said...

we, who knew him for many years in Israel, were waiting for it to happen again. It was only a matter of time. The women in Israel, as other women from the U.S were victims of a SUPER LIER.
Gafni had escaped from the law here, to the U.S and we were very surprised by the warm welcome he got from Integral and from the surprising protection Dian H. gave him.
It definitely made Integral's integrity questionable for many of us here.
I want to add that Marc is dangerous not only for women. Men are abused by him as well - just not sexually but in other ways.

Chad Elbert said...

I wouldn't put down all spiritual teachers, anon 1:58, because of one bad apple...

Mariana and Sally said...

We support and will continue to support Marc for a host of reasons: because over the years we have known him to be a deeply good person, because he an inspired teacher with valuable gifts to give, and because he is a man of radical kindness and genuine integrity.

Both of the dating relationships referred to in Harryman's post took place at a time when Marc's partnership with Mariana was on
hiatus, by mutual agreement. Both women have said that their relationships with Marc were mutual as well, We hope and expect that Marc's teachings will continue to thrive in the world. We honor and will continue to work with Marc, as will many others who know him. A lot of energy is wasted in these blogs.

Mariana Caplan
Sally Kempton

Theofilia said...

Kudos to you, William, for exposing Marc's shady ways posing as something else!


Anonymous said...

"We support and will continue to support Marc for a host of reasons: because over the years we have known him to be a deeply good person, because he an inspired teacher with valuable gifts to give, and because he is a man of radical kindness and genuine integrity.

Both of the dating relationships referred to in Harryman's post took place at a time when Marc's partnership with Mariana was on
hiatus, by mutual agreement. Both women have said that their relationships with Marc were mutual as well, We hope and expect that Marc's teachings will continue to thrive in the world. We honor and will continue to work with Marc, as will many others who know him. A lot of energy is wasted in these blogs.

Mariana Caplan
Sally Kempton"

Wow, Marc Gafni must win the world record for largest amount of women who have "lied" about their relationships with him. What is it up to now, 7, 8? Man, so many women are just out to get him.

Anonymous said...

Mariana & Sally,

Of course you'll keep supporting Marc, what else can you do when both of your reputations are at risk?

Sally, one of your long time students have been hurt and abused by Marc. We all wonder, where is your place and responsibility as her spiritual teacher?

Mariana, you've just published a whole section in your new book defending Marc, and you have a child together...this must be very painful for you! Still, we hope you'll wake up now and do the right thing, before this man will destroy you and your life's work.

Be brave, have integrity, speak the truth.

ZenCloe, Netherlands said...

So, Sally and Mariana have joined in. Maybe some of the other enablers such as Terry Patten, Sean Hargens, John Dupyu, Kelly Bearer, etc. will also join. It is a noble act when someone steps up and takes a stand against abuse and spiritual manipulation. It is an act of compassion towards those who are may be not as developed as some of these teachers claim to be. Typical reasoning behind teacher abuse is using the teachings as an excuse and then when things fall apart, the blame is that student was not in same stage of development. Well, maybe they weren't. It is not too different to child abuse, no?

I feel sad that Sally and Mariana are trapped in the lies of Gafni.

We have learnt in psychology about Five Stages of Grief.
1. Denial and Isolation.
2. Anger.
3. Bargaining.
4. Depression.
5. Acceptance.

People who are still defending Gafni and other teachers such as are merely just starting at first stage of Denial. They will deny. Because they cannot face the truth of what is collapsing all around them. This must be causing Mariana, Sally and some othees to experience much shame and embarrassment about their choices. Now they must deny to save face.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tami,

Thank you for speaking out and being a voice of true integrity.

I've heard that you are considering removing "The Guru Question" off the shelves. I hope you will.

The epilogue(which was with no doubt written by Marc Gafni himself)is filled with lies and distortions.

People trust Sounds True, please don't allow this book to be a supporting role in protecting
Marc's abusive behavior.

It would be heartbreaking if anyone reading it will be fooled and placed at risk of being abused by him.

Thank you,

Bill, could you please also email this to Tami Simon from sounds True. I want to make sure she gets it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou William for this important blog. The 'enablers' just don't get it. I don't know Mariana, but I do know Sally, from her Siddha Yoga days. I have a lot of respect for Sally, but knowing the goings on that happened in Siddha Yoga and the 'don't question the Guru' enculturation, it does not suprise me that Sally would align herself with a 'questionable' teacher. Siddha Yoga is part of her conditioning.

What they don't get is how f**ked over you can be by someone who betrays boundaries when there is a power differential, keeps rules of secrecy around that betrayal, and then others minimise the abuse. Huge suffering can ensue.

At the same time, I honour the support that these women offer Marc, as he obviously needs support. But what kind? I will not condemn Marc, as both Mariana and Sally have said they know him to be a deeply good person, and I intuit he is. Everyone is worthy of our love and respect.

I will condemn his behaviour, his unconscious causing of suffering, and his ongoing defense of his behaviour. At least Genpo Roshi has acknowledged the suffering he has caused. As has Eli Jaxon-Bear.

Let Marc continue to teach thru books and online recordings and writings. It is obvious from his behaviour that he is not to be trusted with face to face students, and it is important that all that come into personal contact with him know about his history.

I hope that the Integral community of teachers and practitioners can work consciously with these delicate issues to strengthen the integrity and safety of the Integral community.


Mark said...

They’re too corrupted to waste your time with, Bill. I wish you’d move on and leave them to their decline.

It’s been said before, but I think any reasonably intelligent observer could have predicted that the adoption of a metaphysic which tells people they’re in the top 2% of human development and incomprehensible to the lower orders whom it is their destiny to lead would eventually devolve into this sort of guru-cult nonsense.

If you’re really still tied to “developmental” perspectives, you might want to meditate on what ex-Wilberites have yet to outgrow.

Anonymous said...

Tami Simon has little to gain by saying this:

"I learned about Marc's sexual relationship with a student from another woman who was having a sexual relationship with Marc. This woman was also asked by Marc to keep her relationship with him a secret. In talking with this woman, I learned how emotionally damaging this secrecy was for her, how it cut her off from emotional support and connection. I also learned quite a bit about how she felt manipulated by Marc, about how often she witnessed Marc telling lies to cover his tracks, and how upset she was to find herself caught in such a web of lies."

The above quotation is incompatible with this:

"...he is a man of radical kindness and genuine integrity.

Both of the dating relationships referred to in Harryman's post took place at a time when Marc's partnership with Mariana was on
hiatus, by mutual agreement. Both women have said that their relationships with Marc were mutual as well."

Heinz Robert said...

It’s good that this discussion goes public, and I would like to see a discussion in an grown up way.
I have seen teacher-student love/sexual relationships and always wonder what happens internally in them. In this moderns and postmodern world there should be sexual relationships allowed and still there are the rules of the traditions and the ethic of integrity.

If the teacher stands publicly for what he is doing behind the curtain than the students and audience can decide for them self if the want to listen or not.
If one is negating his private live in public and is preaching water while he/she is drinking wine, than the integrity is not there.

And still every spiritual teacher has his/her shadows, this should be addressed through proper platform, maybe a meeting of teachers where the support each others in the shadow work.
This could be as well a part of the Center for World Spirituality.

We all have shadows and are looking through a colored lens of old habits and our past hurts.

freedomofmind said...

I am licensed mental health counselor and author of two books, Combatting Cult Mind Control and Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves.

I can add my own voice that Gafni is not a healthy person and I for one applaud your effort to expose him. Gafni uses powerful influence techniques that bypasses people's critical thinking abilities. I went to a program he did a shul in Boston many years ago. This was before a victim of his asked to speak with me, after she read my books, which she said helped her a lot.

I was quoted in an critical article on Gafni 4 years ago in Utah when I gave a seminar on mind control. My web site is

Anonymous said...

Steven - Freedomind: thank you for your professional observasion. Can you please be more specific about the ways MG uses mind-control? I felt it as well, yet it was hard for me to fut a finger on it.
Isnt it amazing that again and again inteligent people fall under his misleading spell?
(maybe he should be a teacher of Hypnosys or mind-control methods rather than of Spiritual Development... it seems he is a MASTER in it, right?)

Anonymous said...

Marc Gafni is a sick sick sicko. Gafni needs helped- should be locked up and locked out of any positions that allow him access to vulnerable women. This is what happens to people who have the Messiah complex. If see see the Buddah in the road- RUN! Gafni professes to hold the truth- his truth, however, begs to be questioned. I knew Gafni is Israel and saw the trail of fire he created. Beware of him and wherever he next takes up residence. He causes chaos and pain wherever he goes. There is no light with Marc Gafni- he is actually the self proclaimed Guru of darkness.

Vicki Polin said...

Marc Gafni's (AKA: Mordechai Gafni) has been sexually abusing/manipulating women and teens since the 1980s. The first cases in which he confessed to was two different teenage girls. Unfortunately, all that happened was that he was chased out of New York and lost his connections to a youth program connected to Yeshiva University in NY. To learn more about his past history just go to the following archived page of The Awareness Center:

Anonymous said...


Now is the time to rise above discussions and actually do something to stop this abusive man.

Marc Gafni has been removed/kicked out from different institutes and organizations, over the last 30 years, due to sexual/power issues.

Marc himself suggested in the past, that he should be "monitored" by a group of leading religious teachers. This is completely ridiculous! How can they monitor him 24/7?

I was part of an institution Marc was trying to weasel his way into, more then a decade ago, by being monitored and promising he will never consult women without having another person present in the room.

He promised, so what?

He lied, cheated on his second wife, slept with students and congregation members, got caught, kicked out and started all over again...telling people the same lies, this is what he does...

This is an issue of trust!
and he can not be trusted!

Suggesting that the "teachers shadow support group" will be part of the Center for World Spirituality, sounds very much like something Gafni could came up with himself! he has a way of trying to cash off of his sickness.

Anonymous said...

SHOUT OUT to all the Integral leaders!!!

Do something!
Take a stand!
Draw the line!

Enough is enough!

As a member of the Integral community I feel like our leaders are allowing this to happen!

I don't feel safe in my own community!

Adam Prince said...

Thanks for the comment freedomofmind.

BTW I have your Combatting Cult Mind Control book. Excellent stuff. Everyone involved in spirituality should read this important book. Keep up the great work.


Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this post. i was part of Gafni's community in Israel and after learning what he's capable of, i knew it's just a matter of time till the integral world learns it too because it was obvious he has done nothing to question his conduct but even tried to rationalize it. In fact, I'm surprised it took so many years for his demon to emerge - I'm sure that if you dig you'll find older stories that were hidden dating back to 2008 right after his claimed healing. Gafni has confessed to me once that he uses dark techniques of energetic influence and control over others, these are things hard to prove in court but as a spiritual community i urge you to pay more attention to the energy, which is less emphasized in integral studies - that's where his shadow moves those intelligent and capable people - on that level many of us are innocent as children so I'm not surprised. I think the best cure for Gafni is humility. As long as he is given a stage and some form of power his demon will always try to make something of it. have him wipe floors in some Buddhist temple for a few years, it'll do him good.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm still waiting to hear from Integral...

What do people think? Is the lack of a public statement from Integral a sign of confusion, collusion, or compassion (to reduce harm)?

What's creepy is the behind-the-scenes statement made by removing Marc Gafni's bio from the IntegralLife site, leaving hundreds of broken links throughout the site.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:11 -

I know, it is hard to put your finger on it. The manipulation is subtle. I am not a professional like freedomofmind, but I can tell you my observations of him when he participated in the TEDx talks recently.

My first thought was that it was interesting that he chooses to use a handheld microphone. Most speakers prefer to use the headset type that allows both hands to be free. A few still choose to use the lavalier type fastened to their chest. Gafni was the only one who chose to use a handheld mike. It's kind of an authority symbol, and helps to set him up and separate from the audience. Then he starts by insulting the audience "I don't really know where I am, I know it's TED talks and it's Sin City. It was on my schedule so I'm showing up." The next thing was to try to engage the audience in a "chant". He encourages them to repeat his words after him. When they do that, then he encourages them to start waving their arms with him. He can asess the audiences' level of maleability by seeing how far he can persuade them to keep doing stupid people tricks. Then he tells some really bad jokes to see if he can elicit some polite laughter from people even though they didn't think it was funny. This gives him an idea of how much he can manipulate responses. He will also acknowledge someone at the start to let people know that he can feel specialness, and later he might even let you know how special you are.

And this sizing up the audience was just preparation...

Then he started his talk and the real manipulation started taking place.

Maybe freedomofmind can describe better what takes place.

CJ Smith said...

I'm disappointed that by and large (with a few exceptions) the commentary is so one-sided, whether pro or con. I'm disappointed but not surprised.

It's entirely possible for someone to be gifted, inspired, loving, kind and have manipulative and deceitful tendencies. I don't think the latter invalidates the former. I don't think the former should be used to cover the unethical nature of the latter.

I think The Unique Self is some of the most important spiritual teaching being done out there. In my mind, it's extremely important for a 21st century spirituality. At the same time, Marc has these unacknowledged sides of himself that run wild and are causing great harm.

As others have mentioned, his role, if he is to have one, has to be greatly circumscribed. e.g. no private students.

I think Tami made the right decision. It's important that Bill is helping create space for those who've been afraid to speak to find a forum to do so and hopefully gain some perspective and healing.

Still we already see people coming out of the woodworks who create this one-sided fraudulent monster narrative vis a vis Marc. So quick to villainize. That narrative is too easy and too simplistic.

Just because we absolutely need to create clear ethical boundaries (with clear consequences) does not mean life and human beings are that clear cut.

whatdidijuststepin said...

Please grow up Sally and Mariana and think of someone other than yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I'll start with what I did not observe to a large extent in the initial blog post or in many comments, that is compassion (of a more feminine flavor, there was plenty of masculine compassion present in the initial blog) for many of the people involved, both the women and Marc. I get that a lot of people are really hurt by this, or if the allegations are inaccurate in some way, I am sure this is a challenging time for Marc. If the allegations are true, Marc is a very, very confused person. I also really hope these women ignore whatever agreements they had with Marc and reach out to get personal support from whatever means they have available. I can only imagine how challenging this could be for them.

There is obviously a stark difference between the "incontrovertible" evidence Tami Simon speaks of and the mutually beneficial relationships Mariana and Sally indicate. A number of questions come up for me. For Mariana and Sally - were these relationships still conducted under a student/teacher (or even more seriously student/counselor) relationship structure? If the relationships were mutually beneficial, would it be possible for the women involved to step forward publicly and clarify things? If not, that makes me really question that the relationships were mutually beneficial. Another big question is how Marc gets these women to keep the relationship a secret. If he is breaking his very explicit "no sex with students (or clients)" ethical policy, I don't get why they would have to honor any agreements with him.

I think Natalie Lamb did the integral community a real service by calling out Don Beck publicly via facebook for sexual harassment. I get other women may not want to take this incredibly hard step, but I hope there is a way for their story to be heard. I think that would help this situation resolve itself and force the integral leadership to take a clear position. It is hugely disappointing and downright heartbreaking to me that so many of the integral male leadership (Don Beck, Genpo Roshi, and now Marc Gafni (again)) have had been embroiled in these sex related controversies.

Anonymous said...


No, a lot of energy is not wasted in "these blogs". "These blogs" are exposing Marc Gafni as sexual predator and spiritual phony that he is. You may not be aware that it was through internet communications like "these blogs" that the molesting of boys by catholic priests came to light. After decades of suffering in silence, they came to find out that it didn't happen to just them, that there were others who suffered the same abuse. They found comfort and safety in finding out that they were not alone, eventually finding the strength to come forward and expose their abusers. They, too, were told not to say anything to anyone.

Of course you don't have to listen to what others tell you about Marc Gafni, but you might want to take a critical look at your life with him and the other episodes and notice the similarities. All vicitms told their relationships were special (I guess he's using the term "highly evolved" this time round), all victims sworn to secrecy, all victims discredited when they came forward. In all situations, the wives were persuaded to cover for him to protect "the cause" - the kids at JSPY, Israel at Bayit Chadash, etc, and you, Mariana, certainly don't want to compromise the great work he is doing bringing World Spirituality to the globe. Just as soon as he can even define it.

He was on "hiatus" from his personal realtionship with you? You two just had a baby and he needs a "hiatus" already? And he's not "bohemian", he's just promiscuous.

I know you have an interest in the part psychology plays in spirituality, but I wouldn't read too much of it into Gafni's behavior. Sometimes and asshole is just an asshole.

Cut your losses and move on with your life. You will be a wonderful single mother.

Anonymous said...

I find it quite disturbing, as a mental health practitioner, that Ms. Caplan, a licensed therapist, would come to the defense of Mr. Gafni sleeping with a) a student, and b) a woman who was seeking marriage counseling from Mr. Gafni, defending both by noting they were "consensual." This is outrageous, Ms. Caplan.

And with regard to Ms. Kempton, who I've considered a quite interesting writer and teacher over the years... if the woman seeking counseling from Marc is in fact your student in any formal way, I find myself again speechless.

Believe me, I appreciate the fragility of this human experience and the challenge of responding to powerful feelings, emotions, and undigested material from one's past, but I find this situation to be one of actually very simple ethics-- both therapeutically as as well as spiritually.

And can't help finding myself wondering just what is being defended here.

Tom Goddard said...

I sent this letter to Robb Smith, CEO of Integral Life, this afternoon.

Dear Robb,

I am deeply saddened to tell you that I am severing my relationship with Integral Life and Integral Institute. This is particularly painful for me because I participated in the birth of I-I, and have supported it in all its iterations over the last decade.

The reason for my decision is that your public missive regarding Marc Gafni expresses a reactive, simplistic, and painfully conventional worldview about sexuality and spirituality. Living as I do in a world in which the world view you express in your letter is thought to be advanced, compared to the 70 percent of the world that lives through a pre-rational world view, I would not normally give your expression of it a second thought. However, you occupy a precious position at the top of I-L and I-I, and more is required of your communications. As Ken has long -- and accurately, in my view -- noted, CEOs must be second tier.

Robb, I have no idea if you are second tier. Your letter, however, has a distinctly first-tier aroma, your throwaway line of compassion at the end of the letter notwithstanding. I see no sign of the "ethical nuance" that you claim is a part of the discussion of the issue appearing in your letter. Yes, I do see that nuance in some of the comments in the Facebook discussions, but not much of it there, and none of it in your letter. You claim a "first-hand experience" upon which you base the unilateral decisions you announce, but don't describe what that experience is. Frankly, I cannot imagine how you would have a first-hand experience of what must be an incredibly complex and subtle interpersonal situation. If you have such first-hand experience, it is, in my view, incumbent upon you to weave that into a letter that throws Marc under the Integral bus. Indeed, your call for a "formal 'Policy of Ethics'" as a response to these allegations sounds so much like what passes for wisdom inside the DC beltway, I had to check to see if I was reading the Washington Post or a page on the Integral Life site, so amber-orange was its tone.

There is nothing simple about sex, spirituality, teacher-student relationships, interpersonal power dynamics, organizational sustainability, or any of the other forces at play in this situation. Yet, your letter pretends that there is, with the "cut the ties and write a code of ethics" response.

I expect much, much better than this from the leader of the institution I helped Ken found a decade ago.

I do not expect you to retract. You've dug yourself quite a public hole, and there's nothing in your communiqué that would suggest that you are capable of entering into the subtle discussion required here. Therefore, I'm ending my monthly support for Integral Life. In addition, my partner, Elizabeth Helen Bullock, and I will be canceling our registration for ISE 3.

And, since I do not expect a retraction, only a resignation is likely to make any difference at all. I have no idea what forces would keep a CEO of I-I in place after such a public communication, and it may be that you are safe in your position. But you'll not have me standing with you.

With deep sadness,


Thomas G. Goddard, PhD, JD

CEO, Integral Healthcare Solutions, LLC

CEO, The Integral Company

Phone: (202) 649-0321
Fax: (703) 562-7961

Eden Chahat said...

Thank you so much Tom Goddard for your deep insightfull and heartfelt reply..... This is one of the first reactions that really broadens the view to make a real conversation at least possible! May this be the start of it!
Deep bow, Renso Chahat

Anonymous said...

I want to thank everyone here, including Robb Smith for his letter (despite Tom G.'s sentiments, which I can also understand, at least in part), Tami Simon, Bill Harryman, etc., and also express my sorrow to everyone who has suffered so greatly around all of this.

I have been involved in the Integral community for some time now and, while having a deep respect for much it, have found myself questioning its leadership and support of certain individuals with such a documented past of causing suffering to others. I am very happy to see that Robb and team are taking a stand here.

I know this has been batted around now many times, but while the topic is fresh, will there be a similar type of exploration of Andrew Cohen? The amount of narcissistic-laden suffering and confusion spread by Andrew over the years (this is no longer controvertible, is it?) is immense, I would argue on par with Marc's, though not as much in the sexual arena, per se.

The continued direct support of Andrew Cohen by ken and the Integral movement has made many of us question what it is we are involved with here, and what sort of shadow is really lurking in the background. Robb in his letter mentions he does not feel that these sorts of issues are part of the Integral shadow, however for many of us they very much are.

Anonymous said...

Few years ago, when Marc was welcomed back into the integral community, I've posted my opinion on the matter.

It took less then 24 hours for the Gafni "team" to lunch a full blown attack on me! Sending me dozens of emails and calling me at home, THREATENING and demanding I'll take it off.

WH wanted to give you heads up...and to thank you for your courage!

Anonymous said...

Tomas WOW! This is true leadership!
I hope others will follow...

Anonymous said...

Tom you rock ;)

BTW You might want to take off the last pharagraph @
which describes you as "a senior student of Rabbi Marc Gafni, of the Center for World Spirituality."

EllenK said...

Good. We didn't go to to ISE events because IL was working with exploiters. When people like Gafni, and others who support his madness like Tom would graciously drop out, a lot of us will sign up, finally. As for those who support Gafni though, we still wonder of Dinae Hamilton will make a statement. We here in SLC know well how much her support brought him to teach again. I agree, Diane Uncool.

~C4Chaos said...


excellent write up, links, and follow up on this issue. honestly, i don't care that much about these kinds of issues in any spiritual organizations, integral or otherwise. however, i'm still sad to see whenever this happens because people don't seem to learn, especially those who are in authority who should know better. i'm glad to see that you have been passionate about this issue so that more people will be informed in the future. i
think you did the right thing of calling out those people who provided and still continue to provide excuses for Gafni. i'm with you in commending Tami Simon for her courage to speak up and take the ethical side of this issue. we need to see this same courage from the leaders and teachers in the integral circles. "post-conventional" doesn't mean squat if you can't even do it right with "conventional" ethics. my two cents.

Anonymous said...

This is sad for all parties involved. It seems it would have been best to be discussed within the group which was involved and real clarity to be discovered first. I will share a simple story with you. I remember having my mother profess to me she had an affair on my father. It hurt deeply to hear this, but my response to her was... I will always love you Mom, always, and I may not like your behavior. I can hold space for the person and then the behavior. And as I read these blogs I see a whole series of people telling stories and quoting proof sources, where was it verified? As for the women, I have been there and for this community as it heals. My heart goes out to you as well. There is a delicate dance between conscious love, eros love and the agreement people make between each other. This should not have been made public as "victim communication", as this situation has a ripple effect on many others, including all the positive work that is being done within the integrals works. I am new to the community and I am wise enough to never judge a person until I have met them or walked a mile in their shoes. It is certain a real area of opportunity has risen to address the real concern of the interaction between teachers/students/power/influence/seduction. Hope everyone sees this. We all have things to work through, it is part of life, growth and development. And yes healthy boundaries need to be established between individuals, each needs to take responsibility for the part they played, this is the only way to feel liberated and not victimized. This comes from a place of realness, I was sexually taken advantage of and when I stepped into the reality of the dynamics of my part in discernment I would have walked away. I had a choice too. We all have a choice in the way we respond and to not throw the gifts.
With kindness and healing

Anonymous said...

Re Tom Goddard: According to his bio at one of his websites (the second one listed in his comment,, we are told that, "He is a senior student of Rabbi Marc Gafni, of the Center for World Spirituality."

Anonymous said...

In response to Tom Goddard's comment this was noted in the Integral Life community:

"... why didn't you mention that you are Gafni's senior student?
Quote from your website:
Dr. Goddard a senior student of Rabbi Marc Gafni, of the Center for World Spirituality.
What does he teach you? Second tier ethics?"

Also, for those of you who have not already read this, here is a link to Robb Smith's (Integral Life CEO) statement about these events:

Marcy said...

Honoring a friend, colleague, and great teacher (Part 1 of 3)

With deep respect, love, and an open heart, I am writing today to the Integral world as a student, colleague, and friend of Marc Gafni's, as a board member of Center for World Spirituality, and as one of the two women mentioned in this blog. Bill, thank you for your earlier sensitivity in asking others to be respectful in what they write as a way of honoring the feelings of the women who would be reading. My name is Marcy, and I am one. I speak only, and entirely, for myself here.

Let me start by offering thanks to Integral, for everything that Ken and the integral perspective have opened up in the source code of Consciousness. It was Marc Gafni who introduced me to Integral theory two years ago, weaving it in with his own teaching at a conference I attended.

I resonate with the Integral frame because I have always leaned toward comprehending the wholeness of reality, and contemplating how all facets of life interrelate and evolve. I dove into Integral theory voraciously, because I knew that understanding the map would help me to move with greater efficacy as an agent of healing and transformation in my own life, and open up worlds of ultimate and personal meaning in relationships with others. Marc is my teacher, and I am deeply grateful to him as well as to Ken, Sally Kempton, Warren Farrell and others. Integral understanding has been woven into my work as a songwriter, musical artist, and teacher of voice.

In the past year, I have also studied the literature and discourse of power feminism and victim feminism, as well as read many discussions of teacher-student relationships as they play out in our times. For many, playing it safe is preferable to living on the edge. But what would the leading-edge of consciousness be if it didn't involve risks and leaps, both in thought and practice into unknown territory? Is this not where our own moments of deepest growth and highest possibilities of transformation also occur? It is here that I call on all of us to hold and receive one another beyond our limitations and failures. We are all broken hallelujahs. What we do to our teachers and each other in the spiritual world often seems to me to be horrific. . . . (Please continue to Part 2 of 3)

Marcy said...

Honoring a friend, colleague, and great teacher (Part 2 of 3)

. . . One of the great Integral teachings is that frameworks matter, because evolving capacities for complexity, caring, and concern matter. How we tell our stories matters. So may we hold the conversations with deep love and respect for one another, and create contexts of safety in which we uphold one another's greatness.

Here is my truth within these events: I am a fully empowered adult woman who has been working on behalf of what I want to bring into the world. In the natural course of doing so, I have stepped into many different roles and ways of relating, and done so in the most responsible way I know. One of these included for a time an intimate dynamic with Marc that expressed itself sexually. To suggest that this violated our student-teacher relationship, or that I was in any way victimized, is actually a degradation of the feminine, and of the masculine too. I had a relationship with Marc that was beautiful and profoundly mutual. Marc is direct, clear, and loving. He is also powerful and complex, as are most dynamic men and women. However, there is not a bone in his body which does not deeply honor the feminine. Marc is strategic, but always for the sake of the larger good and not for personal or crass ends. In my work with him in both teaching and organizational contexts, I have been deeply moved by witnessing his loyalty and dedication to the highest good possible for everyone around him. I have watched his eyes light up as he has shared ideas about the ways in which he might stand for a human being's deepest unfolding. He cares immensely about the people he teaches, works with, and even casually interacts with, in the same passionately intimate sense that that he cares about his lovers, about the dharma or about the evolution of consciousness. I have watched him follow through with people in ways that demand a level of sacrifice and devotion that are beyond what anyone might imagine.

So I want to stand for my own power in my loving relationship with Marc, my teacher, colleague and friend. It is truly time for the emergence of an integral feminine that does not let itself be hijacked by masculine power games, or lose itself in a supposedly 'feminine' refusal to own power. I have no wish to step further into the blogosphere. My deepest hope is that these conversations be resolved in a quiet and dignified way. However, if any unfair negative consequences emerge from this matrix, I will stand in the ways I feel called to do; I will speak out powerfully about anyone willing to manipulate the powerful feminine for their own power ends or to close their heart when confronted with the authentic complexity of relationship. . . . (Please continue to Part 3 of 3)

Marcy said...

Honoring a friend, colleague, and great teacher (Part 3 of 3)

. . . Finally, if you ask whether I experienced hurt in my relationship to Marc, my answer is this: Of course I was hurt at times, and so was he hurt in relationship to me. All relationships have their emotional complexities and hurt is nearly always a part of any relationship between human beings. Authentic interpersonal challenges always arise when people get together. These deserve to be worked out between the parties themselves in a mature and respectful manner, and not in the public domain. These challenges should never be used, especially by those outside the relationship, to degrade the beauty of what existed between two people. To do that is to desecrate our deepest humanity.

I entered willingly and consciously into a dual relationship with Marc. Power between us was shared; in many ways I held more power, since I am a board member of CWS and a funder of the organization. For me, I did not want to engage in a more intimate relationship unless it was held privately. This was also his preference.

I feel violated when my private relationship is discussed and distorted by people who would suggest that I was a victim or that such a relationship was inappropriate. That is a misrepresentation, which insults my dignity, discounts my power, and feels painfully abusive of the feminine.


Anonymous said...

He is not a man of radical kindness. He is a man who talks about radical kindness and uses beautiful words that inspire, but he does not even attempt to practice what he preaches. He encourages us not to let a waiter or cab driver serve us without knowing their name. Beautiful, but then he sleeps with a woman who he knows worships him and doesn't call her for a month. That is terribly unkind. His book Soul Prints goes on and on about how sad it would be to win the lottery and not be able to call someone and tell them, but he swears his women to eternal secrecy, ignoring the pain they feel in being unable to share significant parts of their lives, and strong emotions, with anyone. This is not kind. Kindness is a show he puts on for purposes of deceit and manipulation.

Clifford Wessel said...

Will the real slim-shady please stand up? Nothing like a real-life situation to reveal second tier leadership and consciousness... and for the rest of us to discover how "wanna-be integral" we truly are. ;) Tom Goddard's post starts to hit on second tier subtlety, however, his own post and reaction is as first tier as he accuses Robb of being...

Second tier starts with Paradox, men and women have both light and shadow... what would be very healthy for all involved in this conversation, is that we begin doing what we accuse Marc of not doing, which for starters might be becoming conscious of our own shadow and then owning it as it is coming out in these posts... (this would for one decrease "anonymous posting" condemning Marc of secrecy and manipulation... really? Is this not blatantly contradictory?)

hmm... What would happen if instead of pointing fingers, we looked in a mirror, we used these unfortunate incidents to work on our own shadow and light?

As far as Marc and those involved, there are laws and there are consequences. I don't have a direct line to the facts so I will not judge. I do encourage all those who feel they have been injured to stand up for themselves, and to use all means available to them to defend themselves.

Tom Goddard said...

Folks, if I was interested in hiding my relationship with Marc, I likely would not have it on my website. It did not, and does not now, occur to me how it is relevant to my critique of Robb's first tier, conventional communication on this topic.

I'll write more tomorrow on this -- it's late here on the east coast and I for one have had enough of this nonsense for one day. Suffice to say that this conversation that posits students as puppets of their teachers and, to quote Ken in Brief History, "Men are pigs and women are sheep," is, to say the least, surprising in a community that purports to be integrally informed. Indeed, the bulk of this conversation insults both students and women. And, frankly, teachers and men, too.

I'm not a woman, but I am a student. I'm also a teacher. The not-so-subtle implication of the "why didn't you mention you were a student?" line of inquiry is that students simply sit around doing their teacher's bidding.

Really? Do you suppose that if Marc came to me and asked to study as my student in my field of expertise, in which I, too, have a doctorate and years of experience, I could have him dance on the end of a thread, doing my bidding? Of course not!

All this BS about power dynamics between teachers and students, as though students were weak and ill, is pretty insulting. What is surprising beyond this is what surprised Ken in 1996, that so-called advocates of the rights of women would, in his words, paint "a horrifyingly dismal picture of women. You simply cannot be as strong and as intelligent and oppressed. This picture necessarily paints women basically as sheep, as weaker and/or stupider than men."

For tonight, I simply commend you all to read the only words we have available from the people actually involved -- Marcy, Marc, Mariana. Everybody else, myself included, is a mere bystander to a tender, complicated, subtle human event.

EllenK said...

Just read the comment by lady by the name of Marcy on the Robb Smith post on Integral Wow, classic delusion. She, Sally, Mariana and I am sure many other women are simply caught in the clutches. She does not mention Mariana Caplan or the other woman involved at all in any of her praising of self as "integral feminine." Sad to see how easily some women buy into the false masculine and then actually imagine righteously that she is "integral feminine." wow, what a great eye-opener this has been. Thank you everyone.

Cherie Beck said...

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. For along with death, relationships and money; sex is one of the “real” life areas we must wrestle with, experiment with, make messes in, clean up, and regenerated our mind/body/spirit and our bio/psycho/social make-up, if we in fact, want to create something more sophisticated in a “like-minded” community, let alone on the planet.

It requires first and foremost to face the truth about myself, before I make a move toward another. With the exception of a few comments, this conversation is in the shadows. I am very willing to participate in an online interaction with others who are willing and committed to:

1. Identify themselves. People who will own their perspective regardless of how “unevolved” or under-developed it might be. Anonymous snipers shots already give you away. Gracious, folks. We can only move from where we are, if we don’t get clear about that, we remain stuck and spinning out for...well, it could be forever. Own where we are. Be willing to stand under fire. Change and transformation includes dying-- which is why death comes before sex. To resolve issues of sex, gotta deal with death- relationships and money.

2. Be willing to be transparent about one’s own sexuality. Our experiences, our practices, our connections, conflicts and confusions.

3. Be willing to learn. In the Spiral Dynamics model-- which is has been diluted and contorted inside the AQAL integral frame, the essence of Yellow is “I learn.” I learn from everything, everybody, everywhere. Learning means learning to meet the conditions of my life in ways that are appropriate to those conditions I am in, not just that I can teach. Most who teach, teach. They don’t necessarily learn.

4. Start by telling us - from reading, observing, reacting to circumstances about someone else’s sexual impropriety or leadership what is being revealed about ones self. What lies, indiscretions, lack of integrity, wounding, dissociation, powerlessness is being reflected back to you about you. This is mature work and my sense is where the integral wanna-bees meet the road to an authentic Integral Life.

If these four principles support your own approach to learning and if there are enough people willing to engage in a “clean and well lit” comment section and want to do so on this blog. We can give it a try. If not, I will open an fresh conversation on another forum.

Here’s a fresh question to consider:

Where is your personal edge related to sexuality and how does an integral map help in individual and community development when sex, in all its manifestations, is called into question?

Leah Song said...

Good hearing from all of you on this painful issue. My background as a psychotherapist, and my experience of being married to a very similar man, urges me to speak out.

Ethics aside, I suspect there really is a pathology involved with his behavior. It's called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPDO)with sociopathic tendencies. The personality pattern is highly manipulative, prone to lying and deceit, shows little or no true remorse when confronted, and has a very low likelihood of recovery or change.

It's ironic that Marc is a teacher of the unique self, when his own sense of self is deficient and derailed by early childhood patterns (my guess). Narcissism is the empty self trying skillfully and desperately to fill itself up with the adoration and admiration of others, by creating an "image self" and then "selling" that to others, often through sexual exploitation. It's not so much about sex as it is about how that kind of relationship (usually including the power differential) feeds his ego, bolstering his sense of self. Relationships with NPDs are a one way street. It's all about what we do for them. At first they make us feel loved and special. When our usefulness to their ego/self fades, they move on to the next. Being a highly developed and practiced survival strategy, the manipulation and deceipt that goes with it may be very convincing, always very seductive, and barely conscious on their part, since they've got it all justified in "spiritual" terms.

Ironic, isn't it, that we can be so taken in by such a charade--but they can indeed be masterful con artists! And we, their victims, so want to believe in them! Yes, we need to take responsibility for having attracted this kind of make-believe relationship, whether as a lover or as a student. But we must also expose them to the light of truth and awareness, for all to learn from.

With compassion,
Leah Song

Federico said...

WC, you have the BALLS that Integral leaders doesn't have. The balls to put your name there, and to say what you think. Bullshit is bullshit. People that cannot even understand convention can never claim post-conventional anything. Fucked up is fucked up. Messed up is messed up.
A Spiritual Teacher is more than anything else a teacher of Goodness. Of goodness for christ sake! Anybody past second tier knows that judgement is a Good thing when well applied. THIS IS THE RIGHT MOMENT TO JUDGE. Green, post-modernism, and laid-back positions have their developmental place, but they do not have the power or wisdom to deal with this situation, that require capacity for discernment and capacity to embody masculine qualities of clear cut vision. Tami leads here and so do you.
Tom, Mariana, and Sally, your posts are embarrassing, insulting, and show your level of immaturity.
May you soon see the naked truth you are just too blind to see right now.
And lastly, it's a true concern that people that have immature psycho-sexual neurosis find an incredible opportunity to rationalize their problem in developmental models, particularly self-positioning themselves at latter stages which have not been much explored yet. Though, there are people with clear voices (and proper education) like Augustus Masters PhD. that start to define in a healthy way what is and what is NOT post-post-conventional (post-post-modern). (notice that post-conventional, means post-modern/green in SD).
We read about it so much and still fall in the freaken pre/trans fallacy, being respectful and even admiring people for a supposed "second tier freedom" when what we are seeing is adolescent red behavior approved by green non-judgmental inner voices. JUDGE god damn it! Use your brain! That's the central message of 25 books in writing by Ken, if there is such.
Thank you for the post.
Thank you SO much both you and Tami.
You both are Spiritual leaders.
Teachers of Goodness.
Sorry for the rant tone, but I think sometimes screaming is the most healthy reaction. This is one of those times.

Kirino said...

“Judge not lest ye yourself be judged...”

Thank goodness for those who have chimed in on the rational side of this discussion. It is so easy to jump to harsh judgment when you are not involved. That is why we have a court system in America – to allow for a fair and equal venue to view and weigh the facts.

Beware of people who speak the truth as an absolute… they are likely trying to sell you something rather than truly understand.

Anonymous said...

Tom Goddard, you say, “Folks, if I was interested in hiding my relationship with Marc, I likely would not have it on my website. It did not, and does not now, occur to me how it is relevant to my critique of Robb's first tier, conventional communication on this topic. [...] The not-so-subtle implication of the ‘why didn't you mention you were a student?’ line of inquiry is that students simply sit around doing their teacher's bidding.”

Given that you have a law degree, you surely know that what is implied when someone points out that you are a senior student of Mr. Gafni, is that you may be biased in his favor. That is how it is relevant to your critique of Mr. Smith’s letter, your decision to sever your relationship with I-L and I-I, and your decision to cancel your registration for ISE 3.

I, however, think that your critique can and should be assessed on its own merits, just as I think Mr. Smith’s letter should be assessed on its merits - rather than on whether you or anyone else thinks Mr. Smith’s views are “first-tier,” or “conventional” versus “post-conventional.”

Luke Devlin said...

@ Tom Goddard:

"that so-called advocates of the rights of women would, in his words, paint "a horrifyingly dismal picture of women. You simply cannot be as strong and as intelligent and oppressed. This picture necessarily paints women basically as sheep, as weaker and/or stupider than men.""

This is the kind of facile reasoning that makes integral a laughing stock. Even Ken doesn't use this kind of language any more.

Were the Jews and others in the concentration camps not intelligent, strong and oppressed?

Black people in apartheid South Africa?

Black people in the US south before civil rights?

If you don't think it's possible to be intelligent, strong, and oppressed, you need to radically improve your reading into history and political power structures.

Yes, that includes patriarchy, which the old white men of Integral are firmly enmeshed in.

Tom Goddard said...

One last note in response to the inquiry about why I didn't disclose my affiliation with Marc in my letter to Robb:

I am proud to be a student of Marc's. I have in no way hidden my affiliation with him. Indeed, it is on my web site, a web site I made public in my letter. There is much else in my biography that might be relevant to my take on this issue -- my training and experience in psychology and law, my work in health care, my own service as a teacher over the years, my contributions to the literature of integral health care, and much else.

Rather than try to cram every little bit of my relevant biography into my letter, I quite openly invited readers, through the links I provided, to find out all about my life. In essence, by including these links, I've attached my vita, my body of writings, and my affiliations to my letter. This level of transparency, frankly, is the exception, not the rule, in this forum and others addressing this issue. The number of posts by "Anonymous" in this forum in particular is testament to that.

I find it a bit ironic in this context that my level of disclosure is met by an accusation of manipulation through omission.

Federico said...

Just a note: it is non sense to use the "not make women powerless!" argument. All this would equally apply to men seduced and sexually abused by their female teachers, as it HAD happened in the past many times.

It is less known and less numerous, just because there are far more male teachers. But this is not a sexist game. The issue with power is about vertical difference in a relationship, whether there are a man and a woman, a woman and a man, 2 men, or whatever combination thereof, the teacher has power and a responsability for it.

And one other note: Tom, you don't have any power to assess developmental levels. If you want to assess any other person's developmental level I require you to publish publicly at least 3 things:

1) your doctorate on developmental psychology or an equivalent

2) 2 or 3 developmental tests (like Cook-Greuter's) indicating that you are past second tier (progressive ideas are almost 100% coming from rebel mean green. If I were you, I would check!)

3) a SERIOUS developmental assesment of the object you are criticizing, phrase by phrase, indicating what is exactly what makes you think the way you think.

So far, to me Rob letter comes from teal or more, and your rant to it comes from Green post-modern "i do whatever the fuck I want and fuck the conventions" meme, the meme Marc fly in when he pathologically defends his irresponsible behavior.

Before writting any other word, please Tom, reflect on the people damaged.

Did you read anything about Augustus Masters?
Spiritual Bypassing is a good place to start.

Blessings for you.


william harryman said...

I find it interesting, though not at all surprising, that the only people coming to Gafni's defense are those in his inner circle - Sally, Mariana, Tom, and now a complete defense by the student, Marcy, which reads like one of Gafni's essays on narcissistic relationships that has been cleaned up by Mariana and Sally.

This is how Gafni operates - he makes it into a "he said/she said" debate, and he rallies all the supporters he has (looks like about four of them at the moment) to defend him, often telling them what to say.

How do I know this?

Because I know one of his past victims who served in this role during a previous scandal.

When he is threatened, he goes on the offensive, as he is doing through his blog post and his proxy voices (his remaining disciples).

Alas, he will continue to play his twisted mind games and other women will be vicitmized.

Anonymous said...

I'm responding here to the critique of "victim language" here, which has been used by Tom Goddard and others I've seen defending Gafni. The gist of it is that everything was consensual and everyone bears full responsibility.

What I find interesting in this is that I never see this kind of critique when a financial con comes to light. Those who lost their money to Bernie Madoff's lies and schemes were not accused of excessive victimhood. Why is it so much easier to find compassion for those who have been conned financially than those who have been conned emotionally? In many ways, the stakes in an emotional con are even higher than those of a financial con.

Maark said...

Spiral Dynamics color-calling and hystericized argruments about who is and is not "second tier" is what makes Integral a laughing stock.

"Green, post-modernism, and laid-back positions have their developmental place, but they do not have the power or wisdom to deal with this situation, that require capacity for discernment and capacity to embody masculine qualities of clear cut vision."

This is a boring scandal. It doesn't take magical Jedi powers to deal with it or to lead properly. It's just as pathologically grandiose to claim that the entire world of educated adult professionals are incapable of sorting out a situation like this--while you and some starry-eyed undergrads waving copies of One Taste are--as it is to become a guru and gather a flock of disciples who justify whatever you do because you're "second tier."

The color-calling is embarrassingly juvenile whether it's for or against Gafni. The narcissism and grandiosity are the same either way, because the fantasy vanguardism which SD is founded on requires them for buy-in.

Federico said...

Hi Mark. Sorry for the color coded name calling as you say. You are right it is often misused. It is truth that you don't need to be integral or to even believe in such a thing to solve this problem. It is truth that self aggrandizement is viral in Integral circles and it is truth that I often sin into that one. Thanks for pointing that out.
The point remains, that most of progressive free-love crazy-looking ideas DO come from post-modernist pseudo-liberation through breaking every possible rule. And the truth also remains that people that outgrown that (call them as you wish) tend to understand that breaking every possible convention doesn't make you more free.

One thing I would like to call to your attention though, is the shadow of the shadow of integral.

Meaning, as bad as color coding has been used, and as wrong as SD has been demonstrated by more advanced studies like Zak did, the developmental general idea that people do not stop to develop at 20 and that therefore there are hierachies of views continues to be truth.

Of course it is far more complex than what I was doing in my color coding/naming, which was a reaction to the color coding Tom did on Robb Smith.

But we cannot discard the developmental view alltogether, since it doesn't even relate to integral directly, meaning, the developmental studies taking place in Harvard for example do not even talk about Wilber (or read him).

Development in adults exist and so do hierarchies of views.


Anonymous said...

Not clear to me that anyone has been victimized here. Marcy seems able to speak for herself--do we not allow that? Granted 1st person is just one perpective, but it obviously is relevant. Here, you not only dismiss what she says, you actually say you think she didn't say it. What kind of arrogance is this?

And what was the other person in this hoping to accomplish when she entered into the relationship? Perhaps she did not get what she wanted, perhaps she learned some thigs she didn't expect. But the key question is how is she a victim? Does she think so? Why, exactly? I don't know if Marc's views on sex are actually possible to enact but he has been clear about them.

I do not want to put anyone on the spot who was involved, but we are listening to third party interpretations. Tami's entitled to her perspective but that's what it is. If people involved do not wish to speak, I understand that, but that doesn't turn the microphone over to the rest of us, with some kind of God like authority to parse a very tricky subject.

william harryman said...

Editor's Note:

Frederico's last comment was deleted at his request.

Renso Chahat said...

William Harryman,

This blogseries is the first in wich I experience, the voice you have in the Integral World! I read that Robb Smith appreciates you highly.....

Holy Moses..... I now understand a womans comment that she would never, ever, willingly read a word of you again. I agree totally! What a degrading level of communication you put out, it gets meaner and more vicious by the hour....

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder if anyone has read the outstanding book Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It means for Modern Relationships, a New York Times bestseller, Christopher Ryand and Cacilda Jetha. Whether it's televangelists, spiritual leaders, or politicians, isn't it time we wake up and change our views on sex? I am tired of hearing about "victims." A child can be a victim. For others, getting drawn into a liaison of this kind isn't victimization. It's just part of learning to grow up and decide what we want or don't want. Our "protect the individual" psychology today is simply out of touch with reality.

Anonymous said...

Dear Diane,

This is what i hear you saying when reading your statement:

"I don't apologize for forcing Gafni back into the integral community. He's a smart and sweet guy, and that's much more valuable then people's safety, besides I had fun hanging out with him.
When I finely realized how abusive and sick he is, I didn't warn anybody, but rather quietly cut all ties with him. I didn't want to jeopardize my reputation.
Again I don't regret anything...bla bla bla...we need to hold the paradox...I need to look at myself... some more new age BS to cover my ass.
The only responsibility I have is asking myself why I always support such abusive men."

Diane - how about recognizing the leading role you had in causing what has just happened! and the huge part you took in enabling marc to abuse more women.

You've put so much of your life energy and time in supporting marc and discrediting anybody who spoke the truth.

How about investing some of that energy to track down the women from Israel who screamed the truth, trying to stop this from happening again, and who you've discredited publicly, calling them liars!

Track them down and apologize personally! You owe them at least that!

Robb quoted you saying: "perspectives are limitless but that action is singular and concrete."

Saying that you are taking responsibility is not the same as taking it.

TAKE responsibility!

(Bill, please forward this to Diane)

Federico said...

Age doesn't warranty adulthood. Most people over 30 have the development of a child. They are not adults, so they can be a victim just as kids are. Get it people, development exists, we do not stop growing at 20, and adulthood cannot be defined anymore in terms of age, but in terms of psychological development. People with submissive mentality that seek a teacher/counselor are like children looking for a teacher/tutor to help them grow. Would you abuse your 10 year student? What's the difference if he/she is 40, when her/his mentality is the same?
Let's abandon once for all the argument that abused are adults that just have to cope with what they decided. Decision can ONLY be free if we are adults. Being an adult, is a very rare developmental capacity, most people are 60 and still psychologically traumatized, full of neurosis and pathologies like an adolescent. If they have the guts to seek for help from supposedly adults that are teachers, those teachers have responsibility for taking that sit. They have to be judged for their bad actions.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading thoroughly the comments on all the various sites, as these have been spurred by the initial blog here. I want to ask if WH feels he was thorough and patient in gleaning all the data he could, all the perspective of those involved, before posting the initial blog? And that he weighed in on the various intepretive possibilities of what might be the case given that extensive data? Getting at the truth, what is the case, is a crucial regulative ideal that is to come before explicit evaluation of what is the case. One first needs to know what is so before ascertaining its moral valences. Again, I ask WH if he feels that he followed this procedure as a form of virtuous act (see Lonergan's Method in Theology on differentiated consciousness for more all this and its relation to the Good).

In all the postings I have seen, one of the two women posited as having been involved wth Gafni feel violated not by Marc Gafni but by the whole controversy; and two spiritual teachers, directly and indirectly involved, have come out and say that this frenzy is all for nothing. Gafni has said that these were private matters, and surely what goes on between two or more adults outside of institional bounds, which was the case here, is in some sense not a public matter in the first instance -- as if the public has an absolute right to know, in some tabloid sense, what goes on in intimate relationships.

Yes, it is more complex than this, as with statements about not sleeping with students to certain third parties, in light of past allegations, and so on. And yes the 1st person account is only one perspective. But surely the voices of three mature women, all involved in some way, as well issues of public/private divide (as complex as that has become) are also involved. Here then I want to call intensified attention to the voices of these three women in lieu of all the other voices speaking either on their behalf or speaking about those three voices as if they were objects of some sort of purported careful analysis.

(This is not to take sides, or come down with some judgment, because I have no idea what actually happened in all its complexity and nuance.)

So I ask WH for a third time: did you glean the fullness of evidence and perspectives involved, weighing them from multiple interpretive viewing positions, before posting your results and conclusions? If so, great. If not, what might you consider doing as a deep response in light of that recognition?

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if there is a way we can start reframing this discussion.

Those of us who are deeply committed to integral philosophy must be willing to go into the uncomfortable places where the non-dual can shred our sensibilities, our notions of right and wrong, of victim and perpetrator, like razor blades on tissue.

We haven't even begun to scratch the surface of a true integral ethic. It is really just a sloppy moral relativism right now.

What is a non-dual ethic? Is it even susceptible to terms like victim and perpetrator? If there is no object and subject, how can there be?

This is tough stuff, where theory and philosphy ground into embodiment, and real questions begin...

We should take the risk to address this in a new way...go beyond bad man/poor woman...


Anonymous said...

Diane Hamilton's response:

Fara said...

Choice and making "Integral" informed choices brings the whole concept of a fully realized Integral Life practice to "life". All parties to this continued psychodrama of human fraility, remind us all to use our mindfulness and hearts when choosing to "listen, follow or lead". My heart of compassion goes out to all of us living this tragedy of trust. Gafni reminds us all of how fragile and human we all are within a community of seekers. Go within and be still, the Guru only points the way.

pn said...

Would it be possible for someone to clarify what the facts are around this issue. Endlessly religously convinced statements about the guilt of the man and defences that praise the worth of the guy. Anyone who has time for this has to much free time at their disposal clearly. Really! I will die from boredome long before I will actually know anything useful

Anonymous said...

Agree with the reframe idea at 3:56. When we start comparing the "oppression" of these two women with enslaved blacks and Jews, I know we have really gone off the rails.

william harryman said...

Yet another Anonymous, who is NOT "Marcy" or Gafni tried to (re)post the statement "Marcy" already left here, as well as the long, self-important response to all of this that Gafni posted on his blog - rather than add 6-7 more comments, here links to the original posts for those who have not already read them:

"Marcy"'s love letter to Gafni:

Gafni's love letter to himself:

Anonymous said...

From Marc's post:

"I have also made a personal commitment to my inner circle at CWS and to Ken and his circle to check in with them before engaging a relationship to ensure that all of us feel that the person is appropriate. While this is an extreme measure I initiated it to insure my colleagues a sense of safety. None of us has the emotional energy to engage this again."

Didn't somebody here already mentioned that Marc has used this exact tactic of "don't worry, cause this time I'll be monitored by other spiritual teachers"?
Which of course did NOT work!

I wonder how this will play out? every time Marc wants to have sex he needs to call up Ken and ask for permission?

How stupid does Marc think we are?

I just love how Marc chose his words carefully when saying: " ensure that all of us feel that the PERSON is appropriate"

Meaning, we need to see if the person is appropriate... rather then if it is appropriate for myself to engage in such a relationship!

Of course the problem is with the women, they are the ones who are inappropriate!

This is pathetic! wake up people!
I think we have better things to do then monitor Gafni's one-eyed snake all day long...

Ken, what's up with you?
How much more of this BS will you allow?

Al Hall said...

LOL this thread is almost a joke. No one is knowledge any any depth of that actually went down or the circumstance surrounding it.

Nice post Fedrico "So far, to me Rob letter comes from teal or more, and your rant to it comes from Green post-modern

Toms obviously hurt and its clouded his judgement. LOL you can't see the higher stage perspective. Calling Robs response first tier.
"my critique of Robb's first tier, conventional communication on this topic"

Sorry dude that out of line. ISE3 will probably be better without ya. In fact I might try and get there.

manonfyre said...

Cant Bromides and a Post-post-scatological Perspective on Why Us Menfolk Must Ceaselessly Spit Out All of This Sperm Whichever Which Way We Can Manage to Get It Done

As just one of the assholes ever at the fringe of All Things Integral (I did attend ISE 1 and got invited to The Loft once!), I think I’ll just saunter in here, as others have, and have myself a healthy crap right out in public. Ptttttttttt! None of this “Anonymous” hoohaa. Then, I am going to step all up in it. And later, we can pull out an electric fan, and who knows?

I am someone who has struggled with depression a great deal over the years. And many, many times, I tempered my jaundiced perspective with the following self-admonition: Don't make philosophy out of this. In other words, you can't really turn your temporal subjectivity into perennial universals. I’d be in the depths of despair, drowning in an endless inter-subjective ocean of sadness (“Life is suffering,” after all), and the “motto” --- Don’t make philosophy out of this -- would buoy me up a bit. As bromides go, I suppose it's a variant of, "This, too, shall pass," or, "Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill." And I guess there is in this motto a dash, as well, of “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

Anyway, it occurs to me to suggest this multi-faceted motto -- Don't make philosophy out of this -- as an equally fitting antidote, frankly, to Rabbi Gafni's hubris regarding his sexual exploits. It strikes me that philandering is philandering, up and down the Spiral. You can't really "cock" it up, so to speak, with any amount of jargon. “Post-yadda-yadda," my backside! I love you brother, but the "post" in your pants, Mister G., that’s what’s what. [Personally, my hang-up with you, Rabbi Gafni, is your reliance on all that ancient tribal hooey we call The Bible. Eegads! Oodles of law and lore, but so little that is truly spiritually edifying. What you do in private, together with consenting adults, is your business.]

Something else I’ve got to wonder about, out loud: Would the archons of Planet Integral -- Diane, John, Terry, Kenjushri, Sally, et al -- have granted Rabbi Gafni all the extraordinary permissions he was granted were he saying then what he is saying now? The man is, more or less, boasting of his teacher/student sexual relations as stellar, likely-to-be-repeated way-points along his conquest of the farther reaches of human nature. Whoa! What were regarded as proscribed transgressions are now rarified Kosmic encounters. So, which is it -- proscribed transgressions or Kosmic knookie?

I'd also like to say that I am partial to the notion that, in rushing in to rescue and/or protect "our wimmin,” we may be conjuring up victim's here were none exist. Internationally-known horn-dog that he is, it could be that some of our womenfolk have themselves pursued Rabbi Gafni precisely because of his reputation as something of a sexual predator. Honestly, Marcy’s apologia for the good Rabbi wafts a bit of this aroma. What’s that ol’ Pat Benatar lyric-- “Put another notch in my lipstick case?” Touche, mademoiselle, touche!

Also, I’ve got to admit to having fallen madly in love with Mariana Caplan’s books, and the audio of her recent conversations with Ken Wilber on “The Guru Question.” Wow! There has been so much needless agony that the hard-won insights in her work can alleviate and dispel. This is truly Bodhisattvic stuff!

And so, one final bromide: If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Mama Mariana says she is happy. That works perfectly fine for me.

FIOKI, right? Whichever which way we can manage, eh?

Putting my foot in it.

P.S. Someday, Zion gets to “google” all of this.

william harryman said...

The previous comment was left by Robert Lyons - I can't amend the header of the comment (Blogger is clumsy that way) but he had no intention of posting anonymously, which is how the link might be interpreted.

Jason said...

How do you know Marcy's letter was not written by her?

william harryman said...

Jason, I don't *know* for sure, but I have very solid information that she *may* not be the author, of if she is, that it was written with direction by another person to achieve a certain outcome - and it worked.

william harryman said...

One of the dozens of people named Anonymous asked the following question (three times, to boot):

"I want to ask if WH feels he was thorough and patient in gleaning all the data he could, all the perspective of those involved, before posting the initial blog? And that he weighed in on the various intepretive possibilities of what might be the case given that extensive data?"

I waited almost three weeks from the time I found out about all of this before posting - I fact checked with several sources who are/were in contact with the women involved, including one of the women herself - I have been required, in order to protect the identities of those involved, to withhold facts that would be completely damning to Gafni's version of events, as well as to "Marcy"'s version of events - I weighed the merits of contextualizing the actions of Gafni within a psychodynamic interpretation, but decided the initial post should contain the facts of the situation - to present a multiperspectival account of the situation would have required a post that is so long as to have been largely unreadable by most visitors, and it would have detracted from the repetitive nature of Gafni's actions

the REAL issue here is not about Gafni sleeping with multiple women (I could care less) - the real issue is that he sleeps with students, that he does so in an atmosphere of secrecy, and that he lies to the women he is with and to others (such as Tami Simon) about his actions, all the while holding himself up to the community as an enlightened and highly evolved teacher

so, yes, I did exactly what you are asking about

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is what I was asking about. If I understand you, some of the information you have in your possession cannot be presented publicly, but that information empowers your decision for the initial posting. I ask then: what about the responses of Marcy, Sally, and Mariana? How does their direct voicings fit into this for you?

Thanks again for the integrity to post my questioning (repeated so it was heard in the flurry) and for answering with clarity.

(necessarily anonymous)

Barbara said...

So sad to go through all this!!!
No wonder half of humanity is still killing the other half!
We are still in diapers as far as understanding Life!

Who can cast the first stone without realizing that they are casting it upon themselves.
Life is the best and inevitable judge. IT doesn't need anybody's help.

When you take a stance you place yourself vulnerable to Life's response.

I say this in fear and trembling and respect to all!

Anonymous said...

I read through Gafni's stuff. It is rambling but I think the problem is that we don't really know what tantra is. If he and Marcy understood themselves to have a tantric relationship, which is traditionally kept secret, I'm not willing to judge it. Tantra has always terrified religious authorities and those of us with psych training are sort of in that role these days. In that way we are right to freak but also not right. I'm really unhappy to hear her view questioned--to allege that she had a ghost writer etc. She posted it with her name, which takes a lot of guts on a blog that has an almost uniformly attack dog tone. Note that I am not using mine, for professional reasons. Tantra is unknown to most people I work with and I'm not opening the subject. More power to her. To keep something secret might mean you have to lie, but I don't see why she is obligated to talk about this just because someone else wanted to know.

The other woman I don't know what happened. I don't know what happened between them, don't need to know except that it's become such an issue. I respect privacy, not sure why we are all in this one. There are guys in my past who would say I was an asshole and I probably was. One would accurately say I lied and I'd say I was trying not to harm my husband. This wouldn't be the forum to solve that one.

Is Harryman's mind totally made up on this? Sounds like it, and if so the rest of us are just part of the scenery here, but I hope for better if Integral is going to deal with this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that bugs me about these posts and so called "Integral" people in general is the obvious reluctance of any of you to address the real issue here, which is the stunningly large size of Mr. Gafni's penis.

While I've never actually seen it, I have met him on several occasions, and sat through his ridiculous and boring clapping, singing and warmed over spiritual babbling, and I can think of no other reason to explain his obvious talent for seducing both women and men than, well, the salami in his slacks.

I have

Cherie Beck said...

Hey Bill- Wanting to check in with you and see how you are holding up. As a man committed to his masculine heart - I am wondering what your experience is of bringing forth the latest- escapades- of Mr. Gafni.

I would normally ask if you want feedback- in the interest of expediency I am offering it up whether you want it or not. :) . I heard about the "breaking news" a couple weeks ago and assumed you would be the one to open it up publicly, based on the conversations you and I have had in the last year.

It was not immediately apparent to me, but as I read the final set of comments I felt your heart bursting through. Remembering last year around this same time, when you published a similar story, I submitted a response embedded with my own request - in call to all integral men- to hold each other in their integrity. Creating a container and holding the space for such work is difficult in any circumstance - an online environment - while it has its pro's, it would not be my 1st choice. From where I am standing it looks pretty much like a "shit show." The realization of being able feel your heart thru it all- tells me something else is happening.

In any event- I am acknowledging your efforts - which meet with my own desires to be with men who at least care about their own integrity enough to pick up a shovel and clean up a mess.

Simcha said...

This comment posted on Bill's blog last year bears repeating. I have no doubt that Gafni's current students face similar disillusionment.

"...The sad thing for me is that I remember trying to persuade friends that he seduced, friends who were brilliant, charismatic, highly educated and adept at seeing people's 'stuff'. They offered every counter argument I've read from people like Diane Hamilton and Sally Kempton. Every defense they offered, taken out of context, seemed possible. And then, after all of the abuse, the lying, the secrets, the double binding, the mind games, the fear, the pathology of the narcissist laid bare before their eyes--it was so obvious that he had been transparently sick from the first time they met him.
I know many, many of his former 'students', who LOVED him, were taken by him, thought he was a holy man, so good natured and selfless. They attacked those who warned that he was a liar, a manipulative, power hungry person. All evidence was 'manufactured' by those who were 'jealous' of him. And of course, these people said, he is so 'human', he shows us his imperfections every day. We're not being duped, thank you very much. We weren't born yesterday. We would never follow someone blindly. Well, in the end, after the extent of his lying was revealed, these same people, the ones who bought his act, were left wondering how they could have allowed themselves to be so blind."

Anonymous said...

Has Ken Wilber made any public statements about this yet? Right now (Tues. 9/20/11), the top item on Wilber's blog is about 3 short talks by Wilber, Gafni, and Andrew Cohen. Wilber has no doubt influenced any number of people to become students of Cohen and Gafni, not to mention the late Adi Da (for example, in 1997, Wilber wrote, "Many people have made their way to Master Da because of my own writings. I am completely happy about that, and I hope I can continue that positive influence."). I consider this a major ethical failure on Wilber's part, and an indication that his faculty of judgment where spiritual teachers are concerned is eclipsed by a massive blind spot. This also reflects poorly on all the students and followers who let him get away with this. The few who do speak out demonstrate maturity, integrity and courage.

Joe Perez said...


I've written a response to your post here:

Exposed! On Bill Harryman’s exposé on Marc Gafni’s personal relationships

Best regards,


Chaim said...

Hopefully everyone will read the latest account of yet another Gafni supporter/enabler who finally saw the light and was courageous enough to voice their story of disillusionment:

Soon Gafni will only have Sally Kempton left, loyally supporting his pathologies till it kills her. So sad.

Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC said...

For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Awareness Center, we were the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault. We had been following Marc Gafni (AKA: Mordechai Gafni), since around 2003 - 2004. Our web page is down, yet I still have a pdf file of all the information that was on our site.

If anyone who reads this was abused/assaulted by Marc Gafni, please contact me or your local rape crisis center immediately. I can be reached at: 224-534-9155 or e-mail me at:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for coming forward with this story, Bill. It is still mind-blowing to me to hear about this man's behavior. I have been on the receiving end of a male teacher subtly flirting with me, and I can't even begin to describe how psychologically damaging, painful, and confusing it has been for me. Through this experience, I have learned how important it is for people in a position of power to understand and be able to hold the transference that so easily happens between students and teachers. It is very disturbing when someone in a position of power abuses this very vulnerable relationship for their own end. It is NEVER okay to have sexual relations with a student because of the power differential. Period. Marc Gafni's ridiculous rationalization of his behavior through intellectualism is so absurd and pathetic. He obviously has a deep problem that he refuses to look at and get help for. It also amazes me how so many people still stand by his side. I am extremely thankful for Tami Simon’s courage in speaking the truth and aligning herself with integrity.

Tom said...

It seems to me that Marc Gafni is a classic example of how truth and integrity gets hidden behind the enormity of an out of control ego


marylanier said...


Marc Gafni is a misogynist, sexual predator and a manipulative liar who cunningly wins the confidence of women and men, then takes pleasure in destroying those who he has "fooled" and seeks out new prey. He should be institutionalized. Perhaps he should just say, "I'm a spiritual teacher/huckster who will take your money, reputation, anything you will give me, in exchange for debasing sex or mind F-ing, leaving you thinking I did you a favor, when I really took pleasure in destroying you. Come one, come all for the Marc Gafni show of lies and deception."
From someone who tried to commit suicide due to his irresponsible, treacherous behaviour. After my relationship was destroyed due to him counsel,I went through treatment to find a reason to live and now know he is a danger to women and men.........Caveat Emptor.......buyer beware, he is sick and needs help. My compassion for him is what I would feel for any sexual predator, get help and stay away from people.

DGA said...

Why so many teacher scandals in the integral world? Think of Dennis "Genpo Roshi" Merzel or Gafni, or back to good ol' Adi Da and Osho: when you make these teachers into commodities, there is always a contradiction between the expectation of the consumer and the totality of the product's behavior. (Hypothesis: you don't consent to go on the Zig Ziglar & Tony Robbins & Ken Wilber Buy This Now trip unless and until you have a personality that allows for that kind of whoredom.)

Solution: the integral studies scene needs less consumerism (of teachers, of media items, of "practices") and more critique. Thought is a valuable tool. Apply it appropriately. Rend the veil between the self-fashioning and secret-keeping guru, and the paying john.

Anonymous said...

Wake up people....

Marc and his facilitators have crossed over a line,(repeatly I might add) which is not accepatable behavior in any civilized or "enlightented" community.

1. The teacher student relationship is similiar to a parent and child relationship.

A good parent will protect and defend a childs vulernability and not take advantage of the childs weakness to satisfy their own selfish urges.

It doesn't matter whatever "spin" Marc or Ken and anyone else publishes or says justifying or defending Marc's continued behavior, it is wrong and every possible action to remove his influence and acccess to "enlighten students" in any form, wheather audio, books,DVD's workshops should be immediately taken to protect any possible reoccurance from happening.

As a spiritual teacher there should not even be the "appearance of impropiety" let alone repeated instantances.

For Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen to continue to facilitate Marc's misdeeds in the name of "enlightened Integral spiritualaity" "I say shame on you", for you are equally responsible for causing harm to all sincere sentient souls....

Anonymous said...

I have known Gafni for decades.
I note three interesting patterns over these decades:
1. His accusers are all liars, but he's sorry for what he did to them.
2. As his current generation of supporters come to regret their support, a new group always takes their place. It's hard, when you're close to Svengali, to turn your back on him. But you will, eventually.
3. In this latest scandal, the first words out of everyone who's known him over the years are "It was only a matter of time."
I once read in great detail the statements of those young girls in New York, and Gafni's lie detector tests. He sailed through those tests. Know why? Simple: the questions he was asked ("Did you rape her") did not match the girls' charges ("He made me touch him.") Who do you suppose wrote the questions.
So, to his supporters (that is, those who believe he is not a psychopath), ask him to sit one more time for the lie detector test - and let the questions track the girls' statements. Of course, if you are his true supporter, then the fact the his current website is a pack of lies will be nothing more than “ancient history” which he has transcended.
Of course, you supporters would never present such a challenge to Gafni, because you are infected with that toxin that he injects into all his friends and supporters and students and victims.
And it's the same reason that so many of you, who would never otherwise do so, have uncharacteristically chosen to write anonymously:
Fear. He works through fear.

Anonymous said...

I have known Gafni for decades.
I note three interesting patterns over these decades:
1. His accusers are all liars, but he's sorry for what he did to them.
2. As his current generation of supporters come to regret their support, a new group always takes their place. It's hard, when you're close to Svengali, to turn your back on him. But you will, eventually.
3. In this latest scandal, the first words out of everyone who's known him over the years are "It was only a matter of time."
I once read in great detail the statements of those young girls in New York, and Gafni's lie detector tests. He sailed through those tests. Know why? Simple: the questions he was asked ("Did you rape her") did not match the girls' charges ("He made me touch him.") Who do you suppose wrote the questions.
So, to his supporters (that is, those who believe he is not a psychopath), ask him to sit one more time for the lie detector test - and let the questions track the girls' statements. Of course, if you are his true supporter, then the fact the his current website is a pack of lies will be nothing more than “ancient history” which he has transcended.
Of course, you supporters would never present such a challenge to Gafni, because you are infected with that toxin that he injects into all his friends and supporters and students and victims.
And it's the same reason that so many of you, who would never otherwise do so, have uncharacteristically chosen to write anonymously:
Fear. He works through fear.

Q said...

This kind of lack of integrity plagues more men than most of us are aware of. We women want to believe in those we love or even those we have an affinity for. As a massage therapist I encounter hundreds of men who give me false names and addresses and either grind their pelvis into the table, or outright ask for a sexual experience. I have learned a lot about discernment. I have talked to the wives of several of these men. Most are relatively good men in other respects. I hope that we don't just view this as an anomaly but rather take a deeper look at what this has to teach us as a society at large.

manonfyre said...

I heartily agree with Q.

Testosterone is an evolutionary hold-over and, in a host of ways, an affliction. Would that we could become wiser about dick management, or otherwise learn to sublimate this implacable compulsion to spit out our seeds. Yes, our very existence depends on this transaction. And, oh!, the pleasure and exquisite bonding and LOVE we can share in consecrating our urge to merge! But, oh, too, the suffering men endure longing to have sex; the suffering we inflict violating our exquisite bonds; even the grave transgressions, deep injuries, and worse, that some cause and will abide in chasing down the rush of satisfying this biologically-based imperative. There is an under-acknowledged pandemic of human misery tied to this insatiable routine of spit.

Indiscretions. Infidelities. A billion or so ejaculations to cyber-porn everyday. Prostitution. Criminal force. Human trafficking. The abuse of children. Crimes of war.

To what evolutionary height must we develop, individually or collectively, in order to transcend this vexation? OH! Really? Some of the most highly-evolved individuals in our midst remain slaves to getting their rocks off, you say. I see. So in other words -- pun intended -- we're screwed, eh?

Some very remarkable absolutions and permissions were granted to the good Rabbi Gafni along the way, by some very remarkable people, all having to do with his history of spit. He's some kind prankster, this guy, no?, creating this new opportunity for Community Integralis to examine our "shadows," individually and collectively, some of us pulling our hair out here? Hey, what happens between "consenting adults" is good lovin' as far as anybody is concerned, is it not? But, oh, yeah, can a "teacher" accept the consent of a "student?" Hmmm?

We remain vexed and perplexed.

Peace and much love,

Robert Lyons

Anonymous said...

This is not an issue about sex, although that's how Gafni has been framing it. The truth is, his attachment to ego and his psychopathologies continually lead him to put his own narcissistic desires above the well-being of his students, or of anyone else for that matter. Whatever "wisdom" he may have to offer is not worth the huge ripples of trauma left behind in his wake.
For a powerful report from the inside detailing the damage and suffering Gafni's behaviors caused one of his (male) students, see this article:

manonfyre said...

"This" is fundamentally, incontrovertably, and indissolvably about sex.

~ Robert Lyons

william harryman said...

Robert, I don't think it is - power, control, manipulation, and an impoverished ego, yes - but the sex is just one of the ways it manifests.

Anonymous said...

Gafni is now 51 years old. He has been having problems of this sort since he was a college student, when he had inappropriate contact with a 13 year old. There has been an unremitting pattern of at the very least betrayal of professional positions for sexual dominance, even when pretending to be an Orthodox Rabbi. Three marriages and one "relationship", with four children from different mothers, all abandoned, multiple firings from jobs for both sexual and monetary "indiscretions", in each case there's always some excuse in which the women are to blame, but doesn't a 30 year pattern of abuse mean something?
Aside from the fact that most of his "brilliant teachings" have been lifted from others, and whatever is of value can be found, without risk of sexual indiscretion, elsewhere...

Anonymous said...

...ALL 1st Tier comments.

Now, from a 3rd Tier view: The Kosmos has rewarded Marc AS A MAN for his tremendous contribution to the development of 2nd Tier people into 3rd Tier.

Thank you Mr. Gafni for your teachings. Any man that has made any difference in the world knows what you know.

william harryman said...

Oh, I get it, that was satire, right?

Because (1) third tier is nonsense (2) Gafni is first tier through and through and (3) your "third tier" view smells a lot like the first tier egocentric power drives that Gafni dresses up in pretty clothes and calls spirituality.

Yeah, that was funny . . . .

Judy said...

Useful conversation at this link for anyone who believes that Mordechai Gafni's abuses are limited to the sexual:

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the German Integral leadership is wise enough to comprehend the dangerously toxic and polarizing effects of Gafni's immoral behaviors, and has the integrity to publicly disavow him as a spiritual leader worthy of respect. Their recent statement is here:

Of course, if you're a duped and deluded Gafni defender like Joe Perez -- who keeps frantically trying to minimize Gafni's lifetime of destructive crimes as being just about sex with students -- the only logical reason anyone would make such a statement is because they're a bunch of FASCISTS! He sounds positively unhinged to me:

It'll be interesting to see how Joe (and Ken) respond when Gafni's current crop of lies come to light and he crashes and burns YET AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

It seems long overdue that someone needs to say what seems obvious by now that Marc Gafni is a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, he fits just about every criteria of sociopath on the DSM.

Here's another disillusioned person from Gafni's past revealing on the Integral Life community page the ugly truth behind his lies, and explaining why he should no longer teach:
Open Letter to Marc Gafni

Anonymous said...

I recommend a recently published book, "Almost A Psychopath" by Ronald Schouten and James Silver, which illuminates the disturbingly common borderline psychopathy that this Gafni character has clearly demonstrated his entire life:
"The authors suggest that people with just a few of the dangerous characteristics of a psychopath may take a greater toll on the community than those with the real diagnosis, only because the partly psychopathic are so much more pervasive and elusive... It is far more common to fall under the wheels of someone on the psychopathic spectrum, with enough of the charm, egoism, deceitfulness, aggression, manipulativeness and lack of empathy to ride blithely over the heads of others — and just enough normalcy to avoid detection. In fact, what these authors call “almost psychopaths” are also called “successful psychopaths,” because they often do quite well in life despite the gradual accumulation of victims in their wake...
If you are someone on the receiving end of an almost-psychopath’s attentions, you should know when to stop negotiations and walk or run away. Almost-psychopaths are far better at doing what they do than we will ever be in detecting and stopping them. And sometimes that requires that you escape a bad situation and allow others to come to their senses in their own time.”

Ben said...

There's a useful description of the type of spiritual teacher Marc Gafni is
Gafni is clearly example #4, the "inauthentic pretender."
Let us see "what happens when such pretenders, such not-quite-free teachers (or not-very-free-at-all charlatans), are exposed for certain exploitative behavior, usually around the old issues of “lust and greed”—inappropriate sexual or financial behavior.
"At this point of being exposed, the spiritual pretender and those among his followers who identify and align with the pretender rather than with the Dharma (authentic spirituality) usually fall into deeper trouble. The pretender and his lackeys (peace and divine blessings be upon them!), rather than act with authentic courage, sincerity and remorse—which would include humbly admitting their own lack of freedom and also include issuing heartfelt APOLOGIES and making some kind of meaningful AMENDS toward the parties exploited—instead thicken their samskaric web of complications. Problematic defense mechanisms against anxiety are hastily deployed, not just passionate narrow identification with “our righteous cause” (a major samskaric attachment!) but also rationalization that nothing terribly wrong has happened, denial of either the claims of injury or severity of the situation (this denial often involves blatant forms of lying and aggressive cover-ups), and, of course, projection in the form of blaming the victims and also any sympathizers who try to bring further light to the dark situation and remedy the injustice by enacting forms of justice and healing (including clarifying what is true Dharma and what is not)."