Well, fellow Beams writer Chela and I had big plans for blogging at this year's Integral Spiritual Experience 3 down here in Pacific Grove, California, but it hasn't quite turned out that way. I myself have been furiously working on a big beast of a piece that just won't stop unfolding long enough to post. The theme of the event is cosmic creativity, and what I'm doing does feel creative, so that's apropos I suppose, but it's kind of bummed me out not to be getting posts out on a regular basis. Chela is submersed in her experience and has decided to post in a couple of weeks time, as have I. So if folks are interested in hearing some first person accounts of the ISE 3, look for those sometime in mid to late January.
All and all the event has been very good. A few quick impressions and observations from my perspective. I'm appreciating the diversity of communities that continue to gather here under the official Integral umbrella. Barbara Marx Hubbard is here this year and many of her students are here because of her (if you don't know Barbara or her work, just imagine if your eighty-two year old grandma ate Yoda. A very potent presence!). They are called Agents of Conscious Evolution, and I just sat in on a break-out session they had where they were self-organizing for future projects. It was an impressively rich group and things were happening lickety-split like; some real talent in that room for sure. It's also worth noting that they refer to the integral community in the 3rd person, and are very appreciative of the container this week. I love that kind of unity-in-diversity, and think we need a lot more of it.
Barbara's presence and crew also pulled in a couple folks from the psychonaut community. I didn't know about that community until Beams contributor Jeremy Johnson told me about it a few months back, but one of the key websites for that cultural happening is Reality Sandwich (well worth spending time at). One of the guys here, an epic cat, actually found some psilocybin mushrooms on the conference grounds! Between him and Alex Grey's presentation of his art the other night, I'm totally inspired to "squeegee my third-eye clean" with some psychedelics again real soon.
Michael Dowd is here this year, and as Jeff Salzman said in his introduction, he comes from a lineage that he and his wife Connie have pretty much created on their own. He brings an important piece with his understanding and communication of the Great Story of cosmic evolution, and on the importance of understanding how and why our inherited instincts often negatively affect us, among other key points of his. His talk today received a very warm standing ovation. There are other groups here too, but my time is running short here tonight to go through it all.
I'm also really appreciating the people attending the event. About half are returnees from previous years, and a real sense of community and connection is continuing to form and deepen. New folks seem to integrate quite easily. Conversation at the meal times is really quite rich, with people from a variety of age groups and countries doing some pretty great work in the world. There's a fair few young Gen Y's here, and many of the Boomers have pointed out how clear, sharp and present these young folk are (I've noticed that too), which they find very hopeful.
Barbara Marx Hubbard said today that in her view, one of the most important spiritual practices we can do here is "the practice of being together in heart coherence", as this will prefigure and help enact the next higher order field of community and cooperation that will be able to move through and beyond our current global order/crisis. In my estimation, and in hers, there's been a pretty rich shared heart space here this week.
My article about the conference will look at the theme of the week- cosmic creativity- from philosophical, theological and political perspectives, integrating things that I've been picking up while here, and I'm not sure what Chela is gestating with but I'll be looking forward to that. I hope that between the two of us we can find a way to relay some of the practices we're learning about accessing deep creativity, because they're quite potent and useful. My wife (Beams contributor Sarah Olson) downloaded an exciting vision for her future career in medicine, and I've heard others tell similar stories. It would be nice to get those techniques out there. Well, that's it for now I guess, or I'm going to miss dinner hour! I look forward to the final 24hrs here, and to reporting back in once the event is all done and somewhat digested.