From the beginning of October to the middle of November, 2019, I travelled from Findhorn to Vancouver to Auroville India (with brief stops in Findhorn and Edinburgh on the way through) with visits to Chennai, Agra and Delhi before returning to home in Findhorn.

I felt it was an epic journey – the return to Canada, country of my birth and much of my adult life – for the first time in 2 years (since I moved to Findhorn Scotland).

My first visit to India brought a wild mix of experiences from traffic/transportation frenzy,  to cultural celebrations, to spicy foods, a touch of monsoon and Matrimandir amidst jungle and solar kitchen – all exotic and sub-tropical.

I have written in earlier blogs about four of the encounters to which I contributed:

Looking back over the journey and its itinerary of engagements I am struck by the contrasting perspectives of West and East, North and South, breadth of topics, interests, audiences and generations. They emerged from the four corners of the world with audiences of multiple and layered points of view.

  • The youngest (Millennials) and most intimate “I’s” were the Hindustan University students, along with the young women activists, featured at EWS who are leading the charge for eco-justice change.
  • The oldest (Boomers) and most reflective “We’s” were the Edinburgh EICSP gathering of (mostly mature) professionals.
  • A great span of all Integral quadrants, lines and levels (AQAL) ages and worldviews was represented at the Delhi ISABS – with revelations from motorbike-riding social entrepreneurs to technical gamesters and very mature international researchers (spanning interests in the intransigence of economic poverty for artisan women in Gujarat to the effectiveness of city engagement in Pune).
  • Interestingly at the Vancouver EWS conference great emphasis was placed on the quantifiable city (even weighing in about the weight of cities) and the terrible threats cities face from Climate Change. But few other voices joined mine to call us to a higher evolutionary purpose – to serve as Gaia’s Reflective Organs.

As a result of this “whole Earth” exposure I am both impressed with the daunting challenges that cities face around the world as the search for sustainability is being refocused into resilience. Unavoidable recalibrations to expectations for city wellbeing are arising in every city sector as deep entanglements of cultures,  justice, ecology, infrastructure and organizations both tighten and loosen.

Nevertheless, I am inspired that Integral City can add the values of Evolutionary Consciousness, Culture and Spirituality to the knowledge, wisdom and care that the 4 Voices of many cities seem ready and willing to undertake.

The long journey home has given the radical optimist in me HOPE.