LIWANAG - What MISSION is all about
Impressions from the BC meeting in Davao – March 23rd to 25th, 2012As one of the younger MISSION members (since February 2012) I had the chance to attend the MISSION Birthing Center meeting in Davao as the nodal representative of the newly formed global node.
Coming to the Philippines in order to get to know MISSION, its structure and its ways of operating I can say that I learned a lot during nearly two months of interning, visiting different nodes and getting to know their individuals with their initiatives. Still I was surprised how much more I understood through my participation in the meeting of the BC.
In the following I want to give some glimpses into this meeting by sharing a few of my impressions.
Having learned that food is central to the Philippine culture it didn’t make me wonder anymore that a delicious lunch was the first thing to share when I came to the location of the meeting in the Agri-Aqua P.O. Complex in Davao on Friday afternoon. It was a get together of BC members and those of the Davao node before visiting GAP Farm and Crocodile Park on this afternoon. Together we investigated those two big parks to sense into them and see if they might be useful locations for the upcoming Liwanag festival in January 2013. Back at the P.O. (our conference hall and shelter for most of us) we shared our impressions and talked about the pros and cons of both places.
After dinner most of the Davao node members left and only the BC representatives stayed for the first proper BC session. The theme for this evening was spiritual mastery: Together we did a thinking exercise around a simple manmade object, shared our experiences and talked a bit about the importance of those exercises for everyday life, enhancing our self-awareness and strengthening the presence of our creative self. >>Are we actually thinking or just thoughting?<< Do we think new thoughts through engaging the imaginal self or are those thoughts old ones, just repeated by our programmed thinking?
The thinking exercise we did was the following: After focusing our attention on a simple manmade object (e.g. ball pen, chop sticks, spoon, etc.) we closed our eyes and recreated it in front of our mind’s eye. Then we contemplated the process of its becoming (how is the object produced? What are all the necessary circumstances?) and finally pondered on its purpose (why was it developed in the first place? What is it good for?).
We could experience ourselves: Focused attention leads to concentration which can become contemplation and meditation, wherein our consciousness might become aware of the archetype of the object.
The next day we started with the nodal updates and the simultaneous sensing of the movement. Twelve nodes where represented (Cebu, Baguio, Manila, Iloilo, Bayawan, Gen Santos, Dumaguete, Koronadal, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Davao and the global node) by an own member, Laguna de Bay and Zamboanga, both new, by a representative of another city. They all shared about their nodal life and their initiatives, workshops, new members and whatever else was important for the national level of MISSION.
Reflecting on what we heard we realized that the intention of MISSION, which is the creation of a sustainable society, isn’t just an aim far away in the future. Through all the shared experiences we could hear that a conscious cooperation between politics, businesses and civil society already started to happen and is happening right now.
For me personally that is so exciting to witness. Back in Germany where I come from I heard people talking about the so badly needed paradigm shift and newspapers write about the big crisis in all kinds of spheres a lot, too. But it seems that they don’t know what that actually means. They don’t know what this change is about. Coming to the Philippines I do not only learn more about what that means but I can even observe the change. MISSION, as far as I am concerned, is globally the only organization providing a framework for social transformation and implementing it through the means of social threefolding (conscious cooperation between the cultural/civil, the political and the economic sector). It became very clear to me that networking plays a major role in that. Currently the movement starts to develop a life of its own – the dynamics of growth becomes unforeseeable since it is tapping into more and more networks, some being quite big themselves.
Talking about it we understood that there is a danger to it. As every tree risks falling once his branches reach faster towards the sky than its roots grow deep down into the earth, MISSION might lose its power and eventually fall apart if its smaller parts are not deeply connected with each other and thus with the whole. I could really see how important it is that the members on an individual basis really care for their relationships, their connections with other imaginals, the nodal life and understand the movement as a whole. We can’t work effectively and fully committed on our own initiative without being aware of the bigger picture, without knowing what the MISSION is (the carrying bones are articulated in the MODE) and what is going on in the other parts. In order to serve this essential necessity an e-group is actually already existent.
Another realization we had was concerning the nodal life and how much it actually mirrors the societal whole on a micro level. We saw that it is such a beautiful opportunity to understand oneself as an initiative in the context of the node as much as our initiatives and events are the equivalent to it in the context of society at large. If we continue that thought we can even see every single day as an initiative in consciously placing it into the context of our higher aspirations. That showed me once more how much potential is hidden in every moment and how easily I just pass by without recognizing and using it if I am not practicing being conscious in the presence.
The next day was Sunday, the Liwanag day of the week. In the BC meeting we continued working on the topics of our long agenda which we came up with the day before. We got exiting news about a freshly formed group of passionate people who took a creative writing workshop beginning March, helping the MISSION magazine into manifestation. Its task is to spread good news about initiatives and positive change towards sustainable societies from all over the world.
Then the nodes where encouraged to reflect upon their first experiences with the MISSION Volunteer Program (MVP) which created the possibility for international volunteers to get to know the different concepts and parts of the movement “from the inside” and in “real time” and simultaneously contribute to what is going on with heads, hearts and hands. Together with Louisa (D), Mirka (D), Corinna (CH), Pete (AUS) and Philip (USA) I had the chance to be part of the first batch volunteering for mostly a months time. It was decided to collect the written feed backs in the BC and evaluate the nodal situation towards more internees. In the future they shouldn’t just come from abroad. Instead we talked about national volunteers as well. Knowing that the colleges hold a lot of students having to write a thesis each or PhDs, we thought that many of them might be interested to do that with one or several of the MISSION initiatives. Further down the line that could eventually even form a MISSION university in the future.
Another theme that came up was the readiness of MISSION to engage in political debates as a movement. From the very beginning it was part of the idea that it would take responsibility on a broad scale and engage in national activities. The question which immerged quite clearly was: “Is MISSION ready for that? Is the movement solidly enough rooted into a carrying ground? Are the relationships between the individuals strong enough to form the interconnected structures to really BE MISSION?”
In a way this kind of engagement was targeted in the past with the anti-noise discussion which happened on a national level. But now MISSION as a whole was also asked to take a stand for MLC (Movement for a Livable Cebu) and maybe even for the case around Cocoy Tulawie, who seems to be one of the current folk heroes in his fearless fight for justice and human rights in the islands of Sulu. MISSION being a movement of individuals implies that it can just take a stand as a whole, if every individual, which is part of it, takes this stand individually as well. The consequence is that every node has to evaluate first, if all members agree. Then they could take a stand as a node. If then all existing nodes reach this agreement, then MISSION as a whole could take a stand for a certain case/opinion.
Once more, that made me realize how much MISSION depends on its Imaginals, because it can only exist if the whole is much more than the total sum of its parts (the individuals). MISSION is really the formation of a higher collective, made up by smaller collectives being formed by even smaller collectives again or individuals. That is really what being a “Cultural Creative 2.0” is about: Not anymore believing that one is alone in seeing a better world and calling oneself an idealist (as it was with more than 140 million people in USA and Europe according to scientific research in the year 2000 with a strong growing tendency) but actually engaging with others, organizing higher collectives and really doing the work, manifesting the change that wants to emerge.
The last hours before lunch and afterwards until 3.00pm the BC members talked about the upcoming MISSION Liwanag: the Global Festival on Creativity and Sustainability. Together we had a brainstorming on the daily schedule and redesigned the opening day into a real Fiesta. For the rest of the afternoon we again were joined by many Davao node members and looked into different venue possibilities in down town itself. The reason was that we decided to not use GAP Farm and Crocodile Park anymore as the main venues. The main reason was that this way we could more consciously celebrate Davao down town as a real time example of a sustainable city and thus showcasing a future reality we want to live in. This way it might happen that the inhabitants realize: “Wait! Didn't the daily shopping work during the Liwanag Festival without all the plastic bags? Why don't we continue to use only paper bags or backpacks?” or “Actually the proper waste separation wasn't such a big deal. Why don't we do that all the time?” or “I really liked the silent solar powered Jeepneys. Can't we get them back?”, etc.
The brainstorming transformed into “heartstorming” when we realized that Liwanag isn’t only a festival on creativity and sustainability but it will actually inherit those imaginal qualities throughout the whole planning process. It will be an initiative in itself going through the whole lemniscate process several times. Therefore it will be a holy endeavor for those who decide to fully commit – it will change their lives. Through the deep sharing of some participants concerning their own life and its connection to this festival we all became very humble by grasping the deeper meaning and importance of Liwanag for Mindanao, the Philippines and our time in history as humanity. It really will be the first broad scale manifestation of MISSION’s aspirations.
Profoundly moved inside we preceded to watching a movie after some moments of quality silence. It was “Journey of the Universe”, an epic story of cosmic, earth and human transformation written by Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker. It touched me how vivid one can tell the story of evolution and I wish that every student gets to see this documentary. It filled me with awe and wonder – just what good science is supposed to do. The main message of the movie was (as we know it also from our MISSION Workshop Courage): Behind evolution (or: world creative process) lays some kind of directionality, purpose or divine intention/intelligence in which we humans are just one of many species the earth gave birth to.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in those three days of BC meeting and I hope it will not be the last one for me. Thanks to all of you who were there, for your resounding laughter, profound depth and your sparkling ideas.
Greetings from my heart, your first MISSION Volunteer