The Art and Science of Enacting Integral Transformation in Self and Society.
Within the first week of November, right in time for Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light, a group of twenty scholars and students from St. Gallen University gathered at Home for Humanity to embark on a three-day journey towards realizing one’s own personal purpose and societal impact. The Intensive Course was structured around the theory and practice of Integral Transformation, incorporating various contents to absorb, observe and contemplate as well as numerous chances to engage, exchange and enact timeless wisdom and innovative visions.
The students were received at the Integral Sanctuary with the invitation to introduce themselves in a circle around the Humanity symbol engraved in front of the entrance. We welcomed each other in our native language before offering a loaf of bread to our neighbor, thus sealing the outset of the shared venture ahead.
The journey started right at the Center of the Integral Transformation Map, leading the students to connect to their own passion, purpose, and values. We were asked to share our insights with a partner, to practice active listening, and to create a space of embodied reflection within the dyad. While listening to one of the Homes for Humanity musical creations, the students took the time to note down key inspirations for their own unique manifesto, which they will eventually be envisioning and enacting at the end of this course.
After the first session, the group collectively moved on to a picnic on the vast and lush grounds of Home for Humanity to be introduced to the following session, revolving around becoming a witness of reality and grounding ourselves in nature (South). The group got to experience themselves as part of the larger ecosystem of Earth and to sense the power, intelligence, and ingenuity of actual and enacted natural forces and entities.
As the sun was setting, we found ourselves in the library, elaborating on the current state of Anthropocene emergency that occurred and continues to call upon immediate action with ever-increasing urgency. We discussed a change of paradigms from the ego-centric to an ego-systemic perspective, how it can be found in indigenous approaches to life and how it could be enacted in the co-creation of a regenerative future. Later in the evening, we had the pleasure and honor to virtually meet the visionary and renowned author Duane Elgin. He briefly shared with us the contents of his latest publication Choosing Earth and answered a lot of burning questions towards possible and probable future scenarios of the Earth society at large. In the night we came together for a Fireside Dialogue, to honor the light and ignite our own personal transformation process while presenting and charging a personal symbol of our choice with the elevated energies of the day.
The morning and noon of the second day of the Intensive Course were dedicated to revitalizing diversity in culture and the creative awakening of possibilities (East). We encountered different agents of transformation and learned about their personal stories of empowerment through vivid narratives and enactments based on Rama and Alexander’s rich experiences of engaging with various people. Inspired by their fascinating life stories, we got to connect to our own fear and obstacle and were asked to speak and act from a place of having already overcome them. Tapping into our own transformational power and learning to harness the potential of challenging times, prepared the group for the following session of using our collective intelligence to envision change and navigate innovation (North):
In the course of a Humanity Café, we celebrated our group’s diversity with dishes and beverages we had individually prepared. We shared them in changing small groups, as we moved between established thematic tables:
from Humanity in Unity, Nature and Ecology, Culture and Creativity, Wisdom and Innovation to finally touching on the realm and question of system change. We jointly viewed the posters which had emerged from the respective sessions, colorful and rich, expressing in diverse shades and shapes our common vision of a regenerative future.
The last day of the Intensive course was dedicated to the enactment of change (West). The past two days had been so rich in movement, internally as externally, that it was time to condense the plenitude of impression and expression into practice, that was tangible and contemporarily feasible. As the Course happened to take place exactly in the midst of the heated discussions during the COP26 (2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference), Rama and Alexander invited us to think and act big: Each of us was asked to enact a past, present or future luminous being, bringing to life their characteristics, vision, values and contributing their wisdom to the debate about action for change. While embodying them, we would then introduce our real-life personalities as agents of transformation, who were going to present their own personal manifestos. Those would encompass our unique interpretation of the Charter of Humanity and reflect the ways in which we felt encouraged to become active for the change we wish to see in the world. Everybody played an instrument and we improvised melodies while capturing our diverse key impulses for transformational action.
We savored this moment of collective fruition by stepping outside to jointly plant a tree in the Humanity garden and share our wishes for the Earth Community. We found ourselves back in a circle, each tying a small piece of cloth, a gesture of acknowledgment and commitment, around the Humanity pole, being right at our Centre.
As a student of education for sustainable development and a first-time assistant in the truly intensive Course of Becoming an Agent of Transformation, I wish to highlight the innovative nature of how the learning process was structured as well as the level of immersion it provided to the group. Rama and Alexander managed to capture the students and sensitize us to troubling truths about reality as well as put us in touch with our most innate power to vouch and act for transformation. The synergy of the theory and methods of TRANS4M and Theater of Transformation opened up a truly co-creative space, an authentic living-learning-laboratory. It was an experience that I very much cherish having been part of.