I feel the cool stone beneath my hand, my fingers trace the contours of the symbol etched in the surface, and I open my heart to listen. I ask permission, and I enter the modern stone circle. I am in Tamera, Healing Biotope 1, a peace research village in the Alentejo region of Portugal. I am a guest, and I am at home here this 'base-station' for the movement for a free earth…
I am a pilgrim, a young woman listening deeply for what it means to be human, asking "what serves?" during these times of transformation. I returned to this beloved community as a friend and supporter, finding a new way to be in relationship with a land based community when I am not living full time in the community, on the land. I came with another young woman Shay as a response to a call, an invitation to join a 'global love school' and take part in the second Water Symposium at Tamera. We first came here as part of an intergenerational group of 8, 'Beyond Boundaries', on pilgrimage listening for the questions of our times and bearing witness to the good work being done at some of the acupuncture points around the world. The dream of beyond boundaries continues, as does our own 'song lines' of reconciliation, cross-culture bridge building and deep listening.
I am attracted to Tamera, again and again, to study, support and witness this 'new culture'… a collective of people who consciously stepping out of complicity with the current systems of consumption, degradation and violence, and are creating an alternative way of living in harmony with all of life. I resonate with the holistic nature of the model they are creating and the framework of research and experimentation. Tamera is researching and creating a model for peace. The 'plan of the healing biotopes', their vision for the creation of decentralized models, is an important part the system change. The biotopes are places where all aspects of human life are holistically integrated so we are living consciousness, trust and peace in every aspect of our lives, from our inner thoughts and emotions to our relations with other humans and living beings and the ways we relate to natural resources, food, water, energy and all other 'human needs'. The creation of integrative and functional models, an actualized vision of coherent peace knowledge, can and will change the world. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead
Since the beginning of the project in 1978 there has been a focus on peace between people. The founders were part of the political left movement in Germany, and as they 'protested' the system from which they come they realized that the structures of violence, victim and perpetrator, that they saw in the world around them they also could observe in their inner landscape. "We can only achieve as much outer peace as we have achieved inner peace." (Dieter Duhm, the Sacred Matrix) The research turned towards changing the inner point of fear to trust, from separation to connection. The 'topic number one' was love and sexuality. At that time, and throughout history, the issues of love and sexuality were highly taboo, private, and repressed. Even today, in this time of consciousness shift and transformation, these issues are often left out of the conversation.
On April 10 around 60 people gathered in the political ashram, the spiritual and thinking center of Tamera, and began a ten day course exploring these issues on a global level. The group consisted of long time Tamerian community members and internationals from Mexico, Switzerland, USA, Israel, Russia, Germany, England and elsewhere. We came together to share our knowledge, experiences and ideas, to ask our questions, to find together 'non-negotiables' in love that are applicable anywhere, and to connect to something much greater than us, something that can not yet be grasped directly, something emerging in humanity and calls us all to bring our attention and intention to this emergence.
In the introduction from Sabine Lichtenfels, a co-founder, spiritual leader of Tamera and carrier of feminine peace knowledge, spoke of our global love school as a birthing process. Sabine is a global peace-worker, and had just returned from Israel Palestine. She described recent experiences of touching the seed of the divine that lives with in all of us. This inner divine point is in the material body in ourselves, other beings, the earth itself. At the same time, we are in a state of separation, mostly living from our pain bodies of human experience, and we have to let this in to allow ourselves to be touched. From day one, the question was: can we see the healed picture beyond our individual love pain? And, from day one, the issue of love was supported by the issue of water and ecology. In our separated states we have forgotten that we are cared for, provided for, in every way. In this paradigm of scarcity we have forgotten that there is enough water for all beings, if we care for it the right way. There is enough love for me, if I allow it to flow according to its nature. A system change from Scarcity to Abundance.
Every day we had time for contemplative practice, lectures from Sabine or other members of the community, small 'study group' discussions and forum work. Forum is world stage, a practice of putting our stories, especially those that feel most private and personal, in a broader context. Speaking or performing the individual process makes us aware it is a human process, something that is bigger than ourselves. This process also makes one's process visible to the community, so others know what you are thinking, feeling and doing, and also serves as 'study material' or insights for the other people who are witnessing the forum performance. The forum leader and other people may give you mirrors, reflecting what they see and connecting to a bigger picture. Little picture, big picture. Through this we begin to understand that at the core we all have the same longings for love, we all share the same cosmic longing for home. And, we are all faced with the reality of separation, and our individual struggles are reflections of the state of humanity in separation.
"The social basis of life in all societies has been destroyed. Human beings have lost the ability to live together in peace. Fear, alienation and mistrust lead to irresolvable conflicts in all systems, from the smallest systems of marriage and family all the way to the global crisis areas and wars" (Monika Berghoff, the Healing Biotopes Plan)
During the course I was particularly moved by the connection to the global situation. There were two young women from Tamera who had recently returned from a journey to a peace community in Colombia. When they spoke of what they saw, the human condition, the reality of violence and poverty, and I was moved. A beautiful and intelligent peace worker stood in front of me and revealed her open and trembling heart. She expressed her truth and her commitment for the path of healing. On our journey towards reconnection, we come to a point that which is the same within all of us, life expressing itself. And, when we go for healing, we are faced with our pain. This pain, in ourselves and expressed in the current global situation, brings us to points where we doubt our belief in the divine.
That evening, after releasing the tears that shook my being, I wrote: What if God, or what ever name we give that which connects us, has put the responsibility in our hands, in our hearts? What if she has not left us, but become us, and trusts in our process and our coming home? What if god is in the water, and in the earth, and in our bodies, and in even in our minds, and we have gone astray. Somehow we left God, the tees, rain, and each other… and now we are waging war… The truth, this universal longing for home, for reunion, for reconciliation, regeneration - this is the most important.
The peace community of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia is faced with real pain, violence and even death on a daily basis. They came together to protect their lives and land, a village of farmers who decided to stay on their land, united in a commitment for non-violence. The stories I have heard are horrifying, and the people I have met from there are beautiful. They have discovered a beautiful treasure, forgiveness. They do not blame the perpetrators, they realize this is the situation of our divided world.
Here in Tamera, a common sentence (first written by co-founder Dieter Duhm) is: "There is the world that we have created, and there is the world that has created us. Our task is to bring these two worlds together. "
All of life shares the same elements, the same information. We are made from almost the same DNA structures, and we all contain water. From science to indigenous lived experience, we know that we are in constant communication and relationship with living thing around us. At some point in human history, we stepped out of contact with life and created an illusion of separation. We have created structures based on this fundamental lie, and these structures have been perpetuated for thousands of years, to the point where we now are facing real danger of extinction as a species because we have abused our resources and can no longer sustain ourselves with the abundance that is possible when we are in contact with and tending to the land, plants, animals and elements that dependent on for survival.
Bernd Muller, one of the ecologists and carriers of the work of the 'water retention landscape' spoke of the connection between nature and love. "What we did to Mother Earth we did to ourselves." He showed us that we can observe the pain body of the earth, see how over-grazing and land mismanagement is causing degradation and, worse, impacts the water cycle in such a way that we are now faced with a lack of clean water and a lowered water table, and a break in the big cycle of water. We have created imbalance in the natural flow of water. Schauberger, a researcher of water and patterns of nature at the beginning of the 20th century, wrote "When human beings learn to move water in the right way nature will participate in such a way that all beings will have access to abundant water, food, and energy."
The connection to nature was present in the group field throughout the course, and we were often blessed with rain. This was a huge gift after a very dry winter in a region that is facing desertification, at a place committed to 'bringing the water back into the earth body' as Bernd says. We spent time in prayer with the water, going to the different water places on the land and connecting in love and gratitude for the gift of life. Sabine, with her mystery knowledge and way of listening deeply to the earth, again and again invited us to come into contact with nature and its sources. I remember a moment when I looked outside the seminar room and saw a young woman from Russia, a fairy being, leaning her whole body into the wind. Surrender. "It was as if the sun had kissed the earth and all of creation celebrated with him."
To me, the human nature relationship is so closely linked to the reconciliation in love and sexuality. Deiter Duhm wrote in A Future Without War: "The issues of our time are so closely networked and so closely linked to each other that they can not be solved individually. A truly non-violent ecology cannot be developed without a new relation to our own inner nature, for outer and inner nature are two sides of the same issue and they are moved by the same life energies."
Here in Tamera, a model is arising for a future peace culture. The global love school was an experiment, inviting outsiders in to study love together. There is a strong emphasis on thinking in this work, there is a popular saying "First study, then act." Sabine said "we need to think in such a way that we can act and create, in ourselves and in our world, peace." Vera Klienhammes, a young leader of the Global Education speaks about consciousness. In a morning attunement she said: "Where there is consciousness the big mutual recognition, seeing each other, which we all long for is possible. (It is possible) to not abandon the divine point with in you. It is about connectedness to the whole." And, it is about connecting to a vision of a healed earth, a healed picture of love, and a image of peace between people.
Again and again we reminded each other we are in a birthing process. We recognize we are in a system in collapse, our political, ecological, economical and, yes, inner structures are not sustainable and we can not continue to live as we have. We are part of something new, and something very old, coming through humanity now. It is the time of the great turning, and we are all both midwives of a new culture, and in the throws of birth pains.
Benjamin Von Mendelson, a young leader of the community, spoke about the emergence of the new man (he called his speech "observations from the birth canal"), an approach to opening listening to the earth body, approaching the divine feminine in woman. He drew a picture of the delicate situation, for the past 5,000 years we have been systematically cutting women from their source. There was a time when women lived in connection to the source, and were honored for it. It is time to support the reconnection, to recognize feminine sexuality and form new cooperation. From this solidarity we can face fear, remind each other of the power that supports us. We can discover the true feminine source, experience true forms of intimacy and realize our wild nature… and find these are not contradictory.
And, we are in the birth process. We are not there yet. We are full of longing, and working with an operating system that is not coherent with our nature. As Benjain said, “I don’t care where you come from, I care where you step in now.” We need to be compassionate with each other, to bring awareness and consciousness when we find our selves and each other reactive to old paterns. As the Maria Isabel, a participant from Spain, said so beautifully: I commit to go from hunger to nourishment so I can feel and nourish myself and others.”