Cafh: Daily life as spiritual practice: Vector Marksman - The Kira Institute
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Cafh: Daily life as spiritual practice: Vector Marksman

For a general description of CAFH, please see

This workshop is
until further notice.
Forthcoming workshop
(starting May 11th 2011 for 6 weeks):

"Inner Work – Deep Play: Experiments with the Exercises of Cafh"

(Time: 2pm SLT on Wednesdays. Duration: 1 hour. Venue: Kira Cafe.)

"You have to experience duality for a long time until you see it is not there." –Thomas Merton (from Bro. David Steindl-Rast O.S.B. Recollections of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West )

"To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous, or to act as though nothing of consequence will happen.  On the contrary, when we are playful with each other we relate as free persons, and the relationship is open to surprise; everything that happens is of consequence.  It is, in fact, seriousness that closes itself to consequence, for seriousness is a dread of the unpredictable outcome of open possibility.  To be serious is to press for a specified conclusion.  To be playful is to allow for possibility what the cost to oneself."
  - James P. Carse.  Finite and Infinite Games – A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, p. 15.

Inner Work

Of five - billion
I am.

Universal, Prototypic Human
Struggling with
Culture - conditioned, personality identified
To be born anew.

To see
Right - perspective,
Proper  - scale:
My sacred nothingness
as one
of five sacred billion.

To interiorize this
As the Antidote
To the Poison of the Conditioned
self - believing,
self - centered,
success - oriented,
twentieth century,  control oriented,
Persona of
Who I thought I was.

The human soul
One Soul:
All in me,
Me in all.

Infinitesimal, transient me
Obscure birth,
Obscure death:
Obscure life,

The seed of New - Prototypic Human
Has been sown.
The direction is clear:

The work must be done now.
To live as
One of five billion,
Not as a bee in a hive,

The best in me,
Wanting nothing personally:  if only that is to
Again and again
That means.

-R. Magrisso

 "For humans, play is a refuge form ordinary life, a sanctuary of the mind, where one is exempt from life's customs, methods, and decrees.  Play always has a sacred place – some version of a playground – in which it happens. The hallowed ground is usually outlined, so that it is clearly set off from the rest of reality… Sometimes the time limit is prescribed; at other times it is only recognizable in retrospect… Play has its own etiquette, rituals and ceremonies, it own absolute rules… 

 "Above all, play requires freedom.  One chooses to play.  Play's rules may be enforced, but play is not like life's other dramas.  It happens outside ordinary life, and it requires freedom… Players like to invent substitute worlds, more advantageous outcomes of events, supplementary versions of reality, other selves. 

 "Deep play always involves the sacred and holy, sometimes hidden in the most unlikely or humble places…" 

Diane Ackerman.  Deep Play.  P 6, 13. 

  • symbology vs. belief system – symbols point beyond themselves. 
  • themes of meditation – symbol, effect
  • affective meditation; discursive meditation
  • renouncement – non possession, disattachment
  • relationship
  • meditating on death

Past workshop:


Starts: March 4, 2010
Ends: April 22, 2010
           Day and time: Thursdays at 2pm SLT
Venue: Kira Café (Lounge)

"Words guide, examples move, but only the giving of oneself transforms."

This workshop will include an introduction to some ideas and exercises of Cafh, a path of spiritual unfolding ( rooted in the Western tradition.  Cafh is mystical path with a non dogmatic approach that emphasizes the empirical.  Inner silence, stopping, meditation exercises, attitudes of participation, offering, and dialogue are a few of the topics to be discussed and practiced.

Vector Marksman (RL: Robert Magrisso) has been a member of Cafh for 35 years.  He is on the Kira Board. In RL he is a physician, practicing and teaching internal medicine, and an artist. Some of his writings are available on line at

Vector says:
"I have led many workshops but none in Second Life.  Thus, I am not sure how this all will play out. I am committed to an approach that emphasizes dialogue and personal involvement. I am hopeful that some of the exercises taught and demonstrated in the sessions will be utilized as an experimental method by participants and that, ultimately, those experiments will guide the direction subsequent sessions.

Below are some tentative ideas about the Workshop that I hope will give some orientation.  While we will be drawing on specific teachings and exercises of Cafh, the approach is broad and inclusive."

Workshop 1

My inside, listen to me, the greatest spirit,
The Teacher, is near,
Wake up, wake up!

Run to her feet –
She is standing close to your head right now.

You have slept for millions and millions of years.

Why not wake up this morning?
           - Kabir (adapted from The Kabir Book – versions by Robert Bly)

A valuable working hypothesis that is that life is giving us a teaching all the time and spiritual work is opening ourselves to that ever changing teaching.  In this session, we will talk about contacting the teacher within through a simple, but very effective and adaptable meditation exercise, The Discursive Meditation or Inner Dialogue Meditation. The practice of inner silence and listening as a critical elements is emphasized.  The difference between a state of meditation and an exercise of meditation is discussed.

Workshop 2

Once upon a time a man was contemplating the ways in which Nature operates, and he discovered, because of his concentration and application, how fire could be made.

This man was called Nour. He decided to travel from one community to another, showing people his discovery.

Nour passed the secret to many groups of people. Some took advantage of the knowledge. Others drove him away, thinking that he must be dangerous, before they had had time to understand how valuable this discovery could be to them. Finally, a tribe before which he demonstrated became so panic-stricken that they set about him and killed him, being convinced that he was a demon.

Centuries passed. The first tribe which had learned about fire reserved the secret for their priests, who remained in affluence and power while the people froze.

The second tribe forgot the art and worshipped instead the instruments. The third worshipped a likeness of Nour himself, because it was he who had taught them. The fourth retained the story of the making of fire in their legends: some believed them, some did not. The fifth community really did use fire, and this enabled them to be warmed, to cook their food, and to manufacture all kinds of useful articles.
            - "The Story Of Fire – from Tales of the Dervishes" by Idries Shah.

In this session, we will talk about the application of the Discursive Meditation to daily life and the value of integrating the spiritual ideal, the teachings we have received, into daily life.  Spiritual unfolding, a process, is the goal is discussed and contrasted with the search for experiences.

Spiritual life is essentially based on love, and our love depends on the character and level of our relationships.  Relationships are the great fabric of life; to unfold them consciously and methodically is to learn to love through a work that includes all of life.   It is to transform living into an art.  Spiritual life and the art of living are, therefore, two ways of referring to the same thing.
            - "The Art of Living in Relationship" by Jorge Waxemberg

Workshop 3

The veiled nature of reality –

Our "states" of consciousness profoundly influence what we think of as real and, consequently, our actions.*  Our prior conditioning, our feelings and understandings can be seen at times as "veils" partially obscuring reality.  Expanding the state of consciousness is one aspect of spiritual unfolding.

The Veil as practical symbol in this endeavor is discussed.  An example from science, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field images discussed.

* A participatory epistemology is a theory of knowledge which holds that meaning is enacted through the participation of the human mind with the world.  In a participatory epistemology, meaning is neither solely objective nor solely subjective. That is to say that meaning is not, per modern or positivist views, found solely outside of the human mind, in the objective world, waiting to be discovered. Nor, per postmodern or constructivist views, is meaning simply constructed or projected onto an inherently meaningless world by the subjective human mind. Rather, Tarnas argues that meaning is enacted through the dialectical participation of the human mind with the larger meaning of the cosmos. Thus meaning exists in potentia in the cosmos, but must be articulated by human consciousness before it exists in actuality.
From Wikipedia

Workshop 4

Continuing with some suggestions by participants, we will go into the question of aspiration.

To what do we aspire?  How do we discover it, how do we express it, what are some issues regarding living it in daily life seem some possible avenues? What moves us to "go through that door", life the "veil"?

Somewhere I want to introduce the concept of "spiritual vocation", which is a central idea in Cafh.

Below is a poem from Kabir:

Between the conscious and the unconscious, the mind has put up a swing:
 all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway between these two trees,
 and it never winds down.

Angels, animals, humans, insects by the million, also
 The wheeling sun and moon;
 ages go by, and it goes on.

Everything is swinging:  heaven, earth, water, fire, and the secret one slowly growing a body.

Kabir saw that for fifteen seconds, and it made him a servant for life.
(From The Kabir Book – 44 of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir, versions by Robert Bly)



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