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21.10.2017 : 6:57 : +0200

„Grow Up, Wake Up, Clean Up, Show Up!“

Fotos: Sri Vishva

Rewiew of the 2011 Integral Forum Conference in Nuremberg, Germany

Dennis Wittrock

Which answers does integral conciousness provide for the urgent questions of our time? All those who brought this question to the annual conference of the Integral Forum with the titel “Integral in Action – Solutions for a Complex World” from June 17.-19. in Nuremberg, Germany, not only found themselves in the best of company, but certainly found some convincing answers to their questions. The 200-odd participants who had come to the catholic Caritas Pirckheimer Haus, right in the historic centre of Nuremberg, found themselves presented with a dense and varied programme, with both stars and newcomers to the integral scene, a live-interview with the integral philosopher Ken Wilber, various show-acts, plenty of opportunity for exchange in open space discussions, a party, as well as diverse opportunities for integral life practice.

On Friday, the visitors were amazed when, after a short welcoming speech by Hilde Weckmann and Dennis Wittrock and a brief link to the question “how is an ‘integral’ conference actually created?”, the extended board of directors suddenly mutated into a drama troupe, who very nonchalantly  performed three pointed sketches, which gave a concise presentation of organising a conference in the style of  a traditional, modern and postmodern level of development. Something was different. If they hadn't noticed before, visitors were sure of it at the appearance of „Meta-Man“, aka Rolf Lutterbeck, who in the course of the symposium kept slipping into his white blazer, in order to meta-comment on the course of events. He represented the extended ability for reflection and interpretation which is generally attributed to the integral level of consciousness. As Master of Maps he ushered the participants into the lobby, to get to know each other by undertaking a virtual world tour and meeting each other in exotic travel places.

Next, in their introductory talk Michael Habecker and Sonja Student made it clear that neither good intentions nor good maps (such as Wilber's theory) are sufficient for integral action. The good and the bad news of today being: We must and we can act today in an integral way – but do we really want to? Do we content ourselves with the grand theory? Just keep waiting for the others? Use the perfection of suchness as a spiritual excuse for our lack of action? Are we perhaps afraid of our own greatness?

They showed two ways towards integral action: firstly, we can start in our own private and professional surroundings by becoming a factor towards the benefit of the whole spiral of development. Secondly, we can help building explicitly integral structures in ourselves, in the culture and in the system.

After the general course of events had been outlined, the annual live-interview with Ken Wilber followed suit. This year, the interview was performed by his colleague Dr. Marc Gafni , in order to discuss the “next steps in the integral (r)evolution”. Marc Gafni is the director of the recently founded  Center for World Spirituality in San Francisco, which has taken up the cause of creating a new form of integral spirituality. During the interview, Marc traced the integral impulse in Ken's work back to his teenage years, when Wilber already tried integrating psycho-analysis, gestalt therapy and Zen into a great “Spectrum of Consciousness”. The essence of the conversation was then distilled into the short formula for integral activism: „grow up, wake up, clean up, show up“.  We have to grow up (levels), wake up (states), clean up (shadow) and show up by acting in the world with our unique contribution (as a unique self).

The subsequent Shakuhachi-Concert by Jim Franklin collectively led the audience into a deep meditative silence, broken only by the soft reverberation of the words and the sounds of the japanese bamboo flute.

“The god you don’t believe in, does’nt exist. Let this mythic god go.” When a jewish rabbi on a Saturday morning cheerfully combines practices from Eastern and Western traditions in a time-honoured catholic church in Nuremberg, one thing is for sure: this has nothing to do with dusty old religion. Rather, Marc Gafni celebrated here the first World Spirituality Service on German soil, including practices for all three faces of God: practices of the first person (meditation, chant), the second person (prayer: “prayer reinforces the dignity of my personal needs”) and the third person („Dharma“, poininting-out instructions for recognizing  the nature of reality). The St. Klara church offered an impressive background, both visually and acoustically,  for the meeting of tradition and post- postmodernity. All participants apparently were deeply moved, as the contours of a new form of spirituality emerged.

Next on schedule was Marc Gafnis main talk, where he gave a taste of the new world spirituality dharma: „a Map of Pleasure“ – a map of the five possible ways to derive pleasure from this world, starting with the sensual pleasures, then the pleasure of relationship, of realising one's vision, the bliss of true being, up until the level of liberated activity in the world. Connected with these, he explained numerous principles, e.g. every level being legitimate and important, there being no exchange of currency between levels, each level having its own counterfeit, and many more. This “Map of Fullness”, together with the maps of emptiness from the contemplative traditions, are an essential part of a non-dual spirituality.

The rest of Saturday was entirely devoted to workshops,  and therefore spread out into fullness. The first workshop phase included the subjects “Will”, “Women”, “Men”, and “Stress Reduction” from the point of view of integral action. The second phase of workshops dealt with the topics “Evolutionary Enlightenment”, “Organisation”, “Art”, “Medicine”, and “Ecology”, while the third phase took a look at “Psychotherapy”, “Education”, “Relationships” and “Systemic Constellations”.

In the following Open Space , participants linked up to work in small groups with self chosen topics, the results of which were documented. Surprisingly, Ken Wilber spoke up again that evening – this time even with a video message. He had previously read five German-English dictionaries and – to general amazement – spoke in rather acceptable German, while lifting a few weights, dressed in a muscle-shirt. By this point, everyone had realised that we were faced with a parody, instigated by the Integral Roadshow represented by interviewer Axel Perinchery and Martin Bruders (as Ken), who eloquently explained the four quadrants with the example of a soccer goal. The applause was inevitable, especially when “Ken” asked everyone to really “let it rock” in the subsequent Integral Party. A long day ended with a long night.

Sunday morning started with a choice of workshops for ILP body work: “3-Body-Workout” guided by Klaus Tröger, “Integral Yoga” by Matthias Ruff and “Toning” by Adelheid Hörnlein. 

Shortly after, this was followed by a further highlight of the symposium: “God 9.0 – the direction in which our society will grow spiritually” presented by co-authors Marion & Werner Tiki Küstenmacher and Tilmann Haberer. As in their book of the same title, they explained the application of a developmental view (based on the Spiral Dynamics model) on Christianity, so that instead of the monolithical, mythic understanding of God, a broad spectrum of levels of belief within one religious tradition was drawn up – literally: Werner Tiki Küstenmacher, well known caricaturist and co-author of the bestseller “Simplify your Life” captivated his audience by drawing appropriate caricatures, which were projected on the screen, while his wife Marion and Tilmann Haberer explained in a both casual and theologically sound way topics such as a re-interpretation of the Trinity and images of Jesus on all levels. If Wilber is to be proven right and the traditions could be used as a religiously legitimized “conveyer belt” towards the development of consciousness, “God 9.0” offers a fantastic blueprint, at least for Christianity in the German speaking part of the world.

Rolf Lutterbeck saw the high standard that the previous speakers had set as a sporting challenge for his following talk “Integral Counselling for Individuals and Systems”. He met this by launching a veritable firework of slides, methods, exercises and live-demonstrations, while explaining in detail his methods of working as integral coach both for individuals and companies. It felt very much like looking over the shoulder of an integral professional at work.

Following this, Marc Gafni once more made “integral principles sexy and alive” by completing his previously started map of pleasure, furnishing it with numerous examples and stories. After all speakers and the symposium's orga-team, led by  Erich Carl Derks from Nuremberg, had been duly applauded, the symposium drew to an emotional conclusion with a shared final ritual.

And now – back to real life – integral action begins:  grow up, wake up, clean up, show up!

The entire documentation of the symposium is available on DVD via AV Records: http://www.avrecord.de/AVRecord/katalog/kongresse.php?shorty=IFT11

translation: Hanna Hündorf, Integrales Forum