Reflections on the Integral Forum, Berlin, 2012

Notes from the Field / August 2012

Nataliya Yefimova

Nataliya Yefimova

Nataliya Yefimova

This summer we participated in the Integral Forum in Berlin. The decision to go there was made, first of all, from our deep desire to meet in person our European integral friends, who we’d known mainly through the network by that time. And surely it looked really attractive to make the acquaintance of new people engaged in the Integral movement in Europe.

What is the state of Integral in different European countries now? How are Integral theory and practice applied in real projects there? How can we contribute in expanding the Integral vision in Europe and what real life experience can we  bring to our country to raise this vision here? At the Integral Forum in Berlin we hoped to find the answers to those and many other questions.

Also we had a feeling that despite that there are not many guys from the ex-USSR interested in Integral, we had a great chance to become visible to the Integral European community and some of the American integral teachers who would attend that forum.

On the whole, the Integral Forum in Berlin 2012 was a comprehensively enriching event that brought many insights, ideas and inspiration through interesting information, fulfillment and intensive interpersonal exchange. There were really valuable experiences in discussion groups that were conducted between the blocks of presentations. Gathered in small groups of 10-15 people, we discussed various questions  and shared our views and experiences on Integral theory and practice. Our debates were really “hot” sometimes, but the atmosphere of friendliness, openness and mutual support still staid out. This in many ways we owe to Ken Wilber, because we are all infected with that Integral vision, which is all-inclusive and in our minds there is a room for different perspectives we can take.

Workshops made it possible to become better acquainted with some of the integral teachers who came to the Integral Forum 2012 and to get a glimpse of their unique practices. It was a really valuable experience during the workshops to work closely with the representatives of different European countriThis once again showed that in the space of the heart there are no boundaries between us. We freely understand each other when talking about how we experience some phenomena and how we feel.  For example, in one of the workshops with Elizabeth Debolt we explored the concept of Eros as a basic life force acting at different levels – from the physical to the spiritual. It was so exciting that despite the difference of the socio-cultural contexts, and possibly the levels of development, workshop participants described their experience of those levels of Eros in a very similar manner. Those practices seemed to address something so deep in us that is beyond personality at all. It was like touching the Base of Being inside us.

The most intense experience probably was the day of the Integral European gathering, when representatives of ten European countries met live. Since the Integral movement is represented in most European countries by only a few people, this meeting of the European community brought much inspiration and support to all of us. All of the representatives outlined their visions of what is the state of Integral itheir countries and introduced the Integral projects, in which they were involved. It was very impressive to know that in Hungary, Spain and Belgium, Integral worldview gains ground pretty actively now and even starts spreading in some social structures.

This day of the Integral European Meeting obviously brought us an amazing experience of working together, which resulted in new comprehension of how we can begin to embody the Integral vision in our own countries and in the context of Integral European Council. Some possible projects were briefly mentioned. Various perspectives that emerged in the creative process through the activity of each participant at the end were integrated into a shared vision of the Integral Europe concept. Especially impressive was how Integral was the process itself: we meditated, moved, sounded, and arranged a brainstorming session so the emerging ideas were not so much intellectual concepts as expressions of the true aspirations of the heart.

Summing up, the Integral European Meeting 2012 was a lively, powerful and really inspiring. At the end of the day we felt as one family in which everyone is valuable and unique. In this family there is much love, light and mutual support. Together we have so much power to manifest and embody the Integral Vision – a new vision for the new world. On that day it became clear that now we can sound as a single European Integral Voice. This voice comes out of live and vibrating European Integral Heart. The very unique European Integral Spirit has emerged.

I would like to thank the organizers and especially Dennis Wittrock for great work.

About the Author

Nataliya Yefimova, PhD,is a psychologist, group facilitator, co-founder and Director of the Center of Integral Practices, “The Game” in Odessa (Ukraine), co-editor of the, Dzogchen and Tantra-yoga practitioner.