After the IEC Conference in Budapest

 

Scarcely had we said goodby to our Retreat guests when we hurried into preparations to leave for The first Integral European Conference in Budapest, learning too late to change flights that we would miss some preconference meetings.  But that was about the only organizational snafu of the whole 8 day affair.  Amazing!

 

I’ll repeat: Amazing!  Bence Gante’s hand was evident in the smooth operation of the entire week plus.  He had prepared thoroughly, selected team mates who were outstanding, and swam easily with the flow as schedules needed adapting and history overtook plans.

 

The first evening (April 7) featured a lovely buffet on a cruise boat that gave us a complete view of all the famous sights (and bridges) along the through the city course of the Danube.  This set a tone for the conference which never strayed far from including the beautiful with the good and the true.

 

The next morning, copious supplies of coffee, tea and accompaniments for all 400 of us awaited the opening ceremonies and speakers, both live and by video, preparing us for the afternoon presentations, which over the course of the event was to include so wide a variety of every flavor of integral that attending everything was impossible.  Presentations and workshops were simultaneous and the most difficult decisions were which to let go off and which to “must see”.

 

Time and space only to list:
Keynote Speakers:

Maria Sagi (welcoming IEC from the Club of Budapest)

Ervin Laszlo (native Hungarian) on Integral Consciousness in a Self Actualizing Cosmos

Ken Wilber (via live video looked and sounded great)

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Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter (with a message of humility and compassion)

Roger Walsh (via video plugged into Thomas Hubl’s empty slot)
Dr. Robin Wood (with his most attractive ThriveAbility message)
(Eldor) Laszlo Honti (whose sociometric experiment via our Smartphones and laptops amazingly showed us who among the 400 was our optimum leader and who made up her support teaml.  Great use of technology)

 

Then Integral Roadshow in the evening!

Later that week…After brief “elevator pitches” by all the presenters, we had to choose among:
Psychology, Education, Political Renewal, Leadership and Organizational Development, Transformative Community, Gender, Coaching, Metatheories/Alternatives to Integral, Psychotherapy, Ecology/Sustainability, Medicine & Health,d Finance/Economics, Academia,

Youth, Spirituality,  & Critics of Integral! Many of these topics had 2 sessions devoted to them.  What to leave out became a problem as each topic had sub-sections with their own presenters as a block.

 

Friday evening after the sessions we had “The original Tribal Goulash (Gulyas) Party in an open park outside the city with a great bonfire and lots of group dancing with fine folk musicians…and later with our own songsters!

Optional on Sunday evening was our VIP dinner and the weather gods had held off just long enough to keep the main event dry…but not the party! So we were crowded into cozy but comfortable quarters within a lovely villa with a most gracious hostess and accommodating staff so we got a chance to hobnob with some we had missed earlier in the conference.

The big finale which we indulged in from Monday to Wednesday was the bus tour sightseeing event which a bus load of us chose to see something both within the city and without.  Here the weather was just tolerable but we soldiered on and were rewarded with, among other marvels, an absolutely marvelous concert in an incongruous small town Catholic church by a unique Hungarian named Jeszenszky Istvan Kek who transformed Indian music into a perfectly performed concert which left us spellbound – and eager to buy his CD!

We were also treated to a horse drawn covered wagon ride from a farm along a minimal and muddy track to a thousand year old monastery buried deep in the woods.  It was a ruin but retained such a vibration that we indeed felt under its spell as we performed a sacred ceremony with one of our guides.

Both hotels had a lot of warm water pools, hot tubs, saunas, etc to re-lubricate our bodies after the bus rides, but were overshadowed by our stop at a thermal lake that had an elaborate bath house built over it, complete with a snack bar with real food.  Unique!

 

And we ate very well, and reasonably, all along the way.