I just returned from the Third Integral European Conference, Allies of Evolution, held in the Azur Hotel, Siofok, Hungary. The Conference lasted ten days including an optional three-day ‘magical mystery tour’ of Hungary.
Bringing the global integral community together
These European Conferences are the main gatherings that bring the global integral community together. Their shared reference point is Ken Wilbur’s Integral Theory. The conferences combines theory, application, research, academic papers and experiential content and all the sessions are recorded.
As the meet-up place for members of the global integral community, a high proportion of delegates already knew each other, creating an atmosphere of collegial community where conversations with trusted colleagues based on a mutual understanding of the basic concepts of Integral Consciousness could be resumed and continued.
What took me to Siofok
As a first-time participant, the question I was most often asked was, Why are you here? Followed by, How long have you been a member of the integral community?
I found myself explaining that although I was not officially part of the integral community, I had, for most of my life, been following parallel processes that presupposed the evolution of human consciousness and was curious as to what direction evolution was taking and what input, if any, we as human beings could have into the process.
A diverse range of new experiences
One of the aspects of the conference that I particularly appreciated was the focus on giving delegates new experiences.
- Live music as an integral feature of some sessions
- A variety of experiential sessions that focused on deepening participants' awareness of their own bodies
- Case studies that shared participants' personal experience of putting the integral framework into practice
- A very hands-on Mystery Tour that included an experience of a traditional Hungarian Sweat Lodge - yes, apparently it is not just in North America that sweat lodges are recognised as an aspect of spiritual practice; and a visit to a local monastery that functioned as a high school for boys and where we were privileged to hear a private organ recital!
Hungary is now more than a name on the map with an association to gypsy music and revolutions: and I have put names and faces to many delightful members of the integral community.
My take away from the conference
What's my biggest take-away from this adventure?
For me it was a combination of ingredients:
- I enjoy being out of my familiar and 'safe' environment and stimulated by new and unexpected challenges. Of course, this is not true all the time. I was also very relieved to return home safe and sound in one piece!
- It was a pleasure to feel the warmth of acceptance from other delegates and to indulge in many inspiring encounters and conversations.
- Seeing a new country for the first time and getting a sense of the culture provided its own enchantment.
The icing on the cake, as it were, was an unexpected family visit to Hungary and the opportunity to reconnect with my brother and his wife from Scotland.
Dr Justus Lewis, PhD, helps people struggling with chronic health issues to find the next step. Stay in touch ...
PS. What's the photo? It's the view of sunset over Lake Balaton from the balcony of my hotel in Siofok, Hungary.