Years ago, when IONS was in an office space in Sausalito, CA, there was a vision of having a place, somewhere on a beautiful piece of land that gave people potential opportunities beyond reading and learning about new worldviews and ways of being. While those things are still important for personal development, a place provided a sense of sacred space and a container for personal experience — potentially even a lasting transformation in one’s values, priorities, and perspectives. Nothing beats personal experience as a catalyst for change. The IONS EarthRise Campus is the manifestation of that vision.
Of course, the IONS Retreat Center is only one of hundreds of other similar like-minded centers in the world dedicated to holding space for millions of people on their personal and interpersonal developmental journeys. It’s really more of a global movement, one in which IONS is proud to be part of, particularly the unique value that IONS adds by including scientific research into the nature of interconnected reality, the non-local mind, and human potential. And now this includes the integration of our Retreat Center with our new IONS Discovery Lab (IDL).
Not surprisingly, there is an organization dedicated to this movement called the Holistic Centers Network (HCN) in which IONS is a member, along with centers like Esalen, Omega Institute, Kripalu, Breitenbush Hot Springs, Hollyhock, Findhorn, and much more. It’s core activity is the annual International Holistic Centers Gathering which “serves as the principal meeting point for Centers both well established and new that address the new consciousness currently emerging worldwide.” The Gathering “aims to benefit attending Centers through both the exchange of information, best practices, and successful strategies on the one hand and the cultivation of spiritual connection, mutual support and inspiration on the other.” These gathering have been happening since the mid-1980s and have been hosted by centers all over the world including in China, Europe, Russia, Canada, USA, and soon Africa!
One of the defining qualities of the Network and the Gathering is the sense of “spirit of openness, warmth, candor and mutual support.” We don’t view ourselves as competitors but as a cooperative community on a shared mission of global transformation. It’s a great opportunity for centers to not only come together and learn from each other, but to also model what we want to see in the world.
I’ll be attending the next Gathering in May and will share my reflections afterward. More to come…