2013 Founders Symposium on Integral Consciousness Features CIIS VisionPosted on May 17 2013

By Zack Rogow

The fifth annual Founders Symposium on Integral Consciousness was held at CIIS on Friday, April 5, 2013. The event featured talks, dialogues, workshops, and panels on a variety of topics related to the transformation of consciousness and society.

Held at the CIIS Main Building in San Francisco, the all-day symposium began with a talk by CIIS President Joseph L. Subbiondo on "Integrating Meditation into Higher Education," where he quoted CIIS cofounder Haridas Chaudhuri as calling for universities to provide "a well-rounded program for balanced personality growth of the human individual," including meditation.

A lively dialogue between Esalen Institute cofounder Michael Murphy and CIIS Professor and President Emeritus Robert McDermott dealt with "Integral Vision: Past, Present, and Future." Murphy insisted that "No one gets to capture the integral flag," and characterized both Esalen and CIIS as open spaces where many spiritual traditions and ideas interact in an ongoing forum. He spoke about the spiritual journey through the eras: "God is waking up in the course of time." McDermott quoted the sage Sri Aurobindo as saying "All life is a secret yoga."

CIIS Professor Richard Tarnas tackled large issues in his talk on "The Role of ‘Heroic' Communities in the Postmodern Era." Tarnas maintained that "...this is the task that many of us in our CIIS learning community have embraced, faculty and students alike: the great task of our age, to develop a moral and imaginative vision for the future of our planetary culture that is connected to the cosmos itself." He saluted what he called "heroic communities," which he defined as "communities...consciously oriented toward a framework of values, or a vision of the good, which fundamentally challenges that of the larger mainstream society."

The Founders Symposium on Integral Consciousness is an annual conference organized by CIIS Archivist Bahman A.K. Shirazi, under the auspices of the CIIS Laurance S. Rockefeller Library. This year's cosponsors were the Chaudhuri Center for Contemplative Practice, Interreligious Dialogue, and Social Justice at CIIS; the
Cultural Integration Fellowship; and the Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetam of Lodi.

Zack Rogow is senior editor at CIIS. His writings include a recent book of poems, "My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers," from Kattywompus Press.



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