Impressions of Integral Culture in Europe
I’m back from my two week trip to speak to various groups in Europe. The integralists in each country are delightfully distinct. In Paris, where I spoke at the French Club of Budapest conference, most of the participants seemed to be serious intellectuals interested in the leading edge of thinking. In Zurich, where I spoke to the Swiss Integrales Forum group there was keen interest in both spirituality and politics. In fact, the Swiss have created the first integral political party which provides an integral analysis of the many referendums that come before the voters there.
The main event in Europe for me was giving a key note talk and a breakout workshop at the annual German Integrales Forum in Nuremberg. The Germans were very enthusiastic, but it was interesting that many seemed particularly concerned with being “officially integral.” The conference this year, however, was primarily focused on process and personal growth exercises. Although this is not really “my thing” I had a wonderful time and met many new friends. I also enjoyed spending some quality time with my friends and colleagues Elizabeth Debold and Tom Steinenger who are based in Frankfurt.
Next I traveled north, and gave a talk to a small group in Essen, Germany. My trip then concluded with a visit to the Netherlands. There I spent two days at the famed retreat center Venwouda, which is in an old growth forest in the Dutch countryside. The place reminded me very much of Esalen, but without the ocean. I was at Venwouda to teach both evolutionary spirituality and integral politics (in separate presentations) during a day-long workshop put on by the good folks at Experience Integral. The Dutch integral culture reminded me very much of California and I made a number of new friends.
Now I’m glad to be back home and working on my next book about spiritual experience. More on that soon …