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March 30, 2023

CIW Europe

Europe needs new ‘Dharma,’ new reconstructive ways to view reality, ways that are not exclusively scientific, or philosophical, or pragmatic, but also spiritual and filled with a flame of every human being who can know from within that he is not separate, but an intrinsic part of the evolutionary unfolding of existence. — Mauk Pieper

We are the European division of Center for Integral Wisdom (CIW), founded by Dr. Marc Gafni and Dr. Mariana Caplan in 2011 in San Francisco. CIW understands that its role, broadly speaking, is that of a think tank committed to evolving the source code of human existence.

In the endeavor to build a Hub for Integral Wisdom and a World Spirituality based on Integral principles – honoring all of the great spiritual traditions plus the accomplishments of the modern and postmodern sciences – Europe has a very important role to play.

Leaders within CIW are now coming together to create a focal point for  activities in Europe. Like in America, the European focus is thought leadership, while simultaneously laying the foundation for future work in teaching/training and community-building. Our work is already begun with the collaboration between Center for Integral Wisdom and Venwoude (Netherlands).

People who want to be part of this movement in Europe can contact us directly and find their way in. Our intention is to create different national and regional groups as well as project-teams working on different subjects, and to coordinate all of this into one big symphony while balancing autonomy and communion of all the different “voices.”

Learn more about our vision for CIW Europe in Mauk Pieper’s
“An Integral Vision for the Future of Europe and Beyond.” 

Mauk Pieper is the Director for Integral Wisdom Europe, supported by a multi-national team including Chahat Corten, Kerstin Tuschik, Claire Molinard, John Thompson, and Sean Wilkinson.

About Mauk Pieper

Mauk Pieper is the Director for the Center for Integral Wisdom Europe, plus a Scholar and Senior Teacher at Venwoude Life School. As a Teacher he specializes in helping students to actualize their Centauric Vision in harmony with non-dual state experiences.

By studying the work of Ken Wilber and experimenting with Integral insights for more than 20 years, Mauk has integrated his own earlier insights from philosophy, political sciences, psychotherapy, somatics and other body-oriented disciplines. The result is an integral training-curriculum for the Venwoude Life School in Holland, that includes an Education for Integral Leadership and Coaching. He is a leading integral thinker in Holland.

“How I relate to World Spirituality,” by Mauk Pieper

After studying a lot of Ken’s work I visited Auroville and the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in Pondycherry (India) together with my teacher Ted Wilson and most of the other people of the Venwoude community. For the first time in my life I was not only intellectually immersed in Evolutionary Integrative thinking, but my whole being and soul were immersed in the Evolutionary Mysticism of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Vision of Sri Aurobindo is indeed immense and still inspires me on a daily basis. It became alive in me as a flame.

Through Ken’s work it became utterly clear to me that the state of being enlightened is not a perspective without perspective, and that in a skeptical, deconstructed and fragmented world a new reconstructive Dharma is more urgent than ever before.

On the one hand “thinking” is for me an active participation in existing good philosophy, science and Dharma, and on the other hand it is a process of self-inquiry and mystic realization through meditation, contemplation and action. Get out of your own way and evolution will unfold for you in its most naked form. Then support it with body, mind and heart!

In other words we need good Integral Evolutionary Mysticism for the next step, which means it must also become “Yoga”. So in my view CWS may be primarily a think tank, but it also becomes a practice community at the same time, since thinking itself is a practice in this post-postmodern reconstructive project to become meaningful in the context of the democratization of Enlightenment.

Chahat Corten

Chahat Corten, spiritual teacher, is one of the founding members of the Venwoude Integral Practice community in Holland. She stood with her partner Ted Wilson in the development of spiritual contexts and in the founding and development of Venwoude.

Holding Divine Feminine Space as she’s being “thoroughly cooked” in many years of communal life as her practice. Gentle and holy laughter and ecstatic creativity merged with penetrating wisdom, is what she offers. Supporting and guiding people to live from the Radiant and Unique Self Quality that is each and every-ones True Essence is her deepest passion.
Chahat has been empowered as a World Spirituality teacher.

“How I relate to World Spirituality” by Chahat Corten

Being on a great adventure which is this life, it more and more becomes crystal clear to me that it can not be other than that human beings need to get together in the deepest sense we can possibly imagine. That is to say if we really want to create a world where there is loving space for all. This dazzling process of truly aligning Heart/Mind/Body according to the Intelligence that drives it, is of utter beauty and utter urgency.

After being dedicated to the Venwoude Community for many years, I found in the Center for World Spirituality an incredibly inspiring international platform. The combination of being on the one hand a think-tank wich studies and updates the necccesary conceptual frameworks and on the other hand being an initiating force for Practice Communities, Mystery Schools of Love as you might say in several places on the globe, I feel very challenged and honored to be giving my Unique Self Expression in the context of the Center for World Spirituality.

Kerstin Zohar Tuschik

Kerstin Zohar Tuschik is a Senior Teacher for Unique Self in Germany and serves as Program Director for CIW as well as Chair for the CIW World Spirituality Project. Her professional, academic, and experiential background ranges from professional stage dancing and its didactics, physics, human resources development, project management, coaching, and alternative education to personal and spiritual growth. She has been on a conscious spiritual path for more than 20 years always yearning for unity, love and consciousness, studying different practices and approaches with various teachers.

Integral Theory has helped her to connect the dots. Through her dedication to this field, she met Dr. Marc Gafni and connected deeply to his vision of a World Spirituality based on Integral Principles, his trans-lineage path dharma on Unique Self and the New Enlightenment, and his transmission of Love. Studying with him and representing Center for World Spirituality in Germany while working with this international trans-lineage sangha is a deep pleasure and joy for her.

“How I relate to World Spirituality,” by Kerstin Zohar Tuschik

As a child I remember thinking how God could be so cruel to let billions of people grow up in religions in which they were doomed to eternally burn in hell as the Christian faith I grew up with was trying to make me believe. At Age 13, I wrote into my diary that I wanted to find the union of body, mind and soul which I felt was lost in the world I lived in. At age 14, I was trying to build my own integration of physics and spirituality by telling my friends: “God is Love. Love is Energy. And from this Energy in the Big Bang EVERYTHING came into being.” And I couldn’t quite understand why most of the adults I knew weren’t as concerned with questions like this as I was. So, I decided to never become as superficial as “them,” a vow that seems to have given me direction for most of my life.

Growing up in Germany, born in 1964, I suffered from the collective guilt that I could feel as a part of the national identity and the shame of being one of “them”. In my hypersensitivity I became an outsider age 8 when we moved from the countryside to a bigger city in a different Federal Land, and I learned to sense the separation wherever I encountered it (between religions, nations, groups of people, human beings, or within myself) like an almost physical split tearing me and my heart apart. All of this led me to search for unity, love, consciousness and integration wherever I was.

Studying with different teachers for more than 20 years, learning various methods of psychological and spiritual growth, healing many of my own wounds and supporting others healing theirs, I also became painfully aware of all the inconsistencies of the underlying myths and stories – be they religious, scientific or so-called spiritual. Encountering Integral Theory a couple of years ago made me feel I could finally connect the dots of all the partial truths. Yet, seeing the so-called Integral Movement getting lost in analysis paralysis and in political in-fighting made me see that Integral is a map, not a territory, a framework, not a content. And it is hard to create a movement around a shared map.

So, what is it that I would like to see in the world, what is it that I want to contribute to, more than anything else? It is about creating peace between the religions and nations, between friends, and couples, within ourselves. It is about creating a world for the future generations, supporting children and people in growing up to their highest possible selves. It is about waking up to our real nature of interconnectedness, Oneness and Love, realizing our highest potential, giving our unique gifts in the world that so desperately needs all of them… All of this I was looking for in different ways, in teachings, jobs, projects I initiated or was part of.

Meeting Dr. Marc Gafni in June 2011, beginning to study his teachings on Unique Self, on the Future of Love, and on World Spirituality based on Integral Principles, I realized that this body of work contains virtually everything that I had ever been looking for. His deep rootedness in Kabbalah with the profound teachings on Love and Eros combined with his wide knowledge of diverse spiritual traditions, modern science and post-modern philosophy form the basis of the dharma of this trans-lineage path of World Spirituality based on Integral Principles.

And of course, it is not him alone creating this. There are dozens of wisdom teachers, scholars, and thought leaders joining him from all over the world. I feel deeply honored to be part of this emerging holon of World Spirituality in Europe that has the potential for becoming a focal point for many initiatives and a meeting point for many like-minded souls.

Sean Wilkinson

Sean Wilkinson first learned about the World Spirituality Centre for Europe after participating in Marc Gafni’s retreats on the Unique Self. From this retreat he then became a contributing teacher at the Venwoude festival of evolutionary love, facilitating a group practice called circling or relational meditation. This is a powerful practice that stemmed from together ten years of self-development, therapeutic and spiritual practice. In his other works Sean is a scholar researching Integral Sports and writing on topics such as Intimacy, Relationships, Spirituality, Psycho Therapy, Parenting and Coaching. He also has a practice working as a coach and (transpersonal) psychotherapist. Sean is also a director at Integral Tennis and parent coaching company Parents in Sport.

These projects are attempting to apply Integral ideas and embodiment into the world of sport. At its heart this involves training elite athletes to high performance levels within an academy of sports excellence. This highly competitive and pressured environment is a place where it has been a mission, and prodigious challenge, to bring and maintain integral principles. Out of this work it became apparent the calling for a higher conscious support for parents as fundamental to the athlete’s well-being and performance, both inside their sport and beyond. However, it is not only for the athlete but has become essential for the parents welfare and enjoyment in the sports arena and significantly to the health of our organisation as a whole. Thus, through an innovative integral coaching program parents are working one to one to improve their relationships with their children and through this being opened to the possibility of growth in their own lives.

“How I relate to World Spirituality,” by Sean Wilkinson

In my journey spirituality grew out of a decade of self-development, coaching, philosophical scholarship, psychology and personal struggle. This was given a huge boost eight years ago when I was introduced to Ken Wilber’s work while travelling in India. Before this there was so much scepticism and confusion with all the multitude of different models and approaches to human growth claiming to be the only path. At the same time I had always felt a deep truth coming from the different wisdom traditions and religions and also was profoundly impacted by western philosophy and psychotherapy. Integral consciousness made bringing all this together possible and a map of human development that was both comprehensive and honouring. However, after some time it was clear that the map is not the territory and the need for embodiment of these truths required a challenging path.

World Spirituality for me means a higher integration in the evolution of human understanding. It is a retelling of our journey of being in the universe and our purpose in the world. It is more than a system of knowledge and more than a story, it becomes a calling to develop a capacity we share to bring consciousness deeper into experience. From my work with the World Spirituality Centre this capacity has opened to a new level. Marc Gafni has supported this growth through his teaching that brings into awareness fundamental parts of my experience that previously were not accessible. The heart of this is the dynamic play of love and consciousness in a way that challenges the tarnished image of these concepts coming through the new age movement.

This elegant picture makes love not only the romantic coming together of man and woman, but also atoms to molecules, cells to organisms, from plants to fish, from tribes to democratic politics. This is an evolutionary story where existence has moved through the power of love or Eros to create a being that is conscious enough to feel into and observe itself. An incredible capacity that now can be seen as an inevitable unfolding from what has come before. This development has enabled human beings to ask questions of existence. What emerges from this human intuition and pursuit is a greater, direct connection to the universe, right into its interior dimensions where there is no separation between who we are and the wholeness of existence. This brings new meaning or flow into the meditation of being, relating with others and purpose in this life. However, it does not stop here. This is also a place where the individual is brought back into the enlightenment picture after centuries of banishment from many spiritual esoteric teachings. This was due to the conflating of the unique perspective of the smaller self with the contraction of the ego. This is a founding idea of World spirituality that enlightenment is not just about opening to the depth of being but understanding that this comes uniquely packaged in each one of us and calls us to give this gift to the world.

World Spirituality for me is an inspiration, a calling in the world for a new shared depth. A coming together of a new higher integration of all the incredible ways we as an intelligence in the world have sort to become more conscious and gain greater access to the love we feel. How important it is to have fellow participants to share the pain and joy of this journey and to support this vision that generates both the ability to see and feel complexity and hold its simplicity. Further than this it is bringing light to the way love has moved through the history of humanity and new possibilities in a future of awakened living.

John Thompson

John Thompson has used his passion for human development in diverse ways from coaching tennis players to Wimbledon level to initiating an internationally famous project in Delhi through his mentoring of street children.

He is a certified Integral coach and currently runs a highly successful tennis academy called Integral tennis. Here has created a unique parental support programme utilising Integral coaching. This programme is now being pioneered with parents across all sports with his website parentsinsports.com and reaches a wide audience who would not usually be interested in Integral coaching. His academy has also shown the great potential of tennis and sport more generally as a vehicle for self-development in children and how this can create more excellence and general well-being.

Over the last few years has he trained in and led workshops in the practice of circling (inter-subjective meditation) and is currently developing the website Circlingeurope.com.

“How I relate to world spirituality,” by John Thompson

It started about 10 years ago when I developed a strong sense of wanting to lead a meaningful life and make a positive difference in the world. I had learnt a lot about personal development through success as a tennis player and coach and this led me to study further into psychology and philosophy. During this time I gradually connected the patterns and became more and more drawn to spirituality as a way to access more profound truths and practices. Since then, engaging in a wide variety of spiritual traditions has been life changing. It is through the shifts and experiences I’ve had myself and those working with others that most show the power and potential of World Spirituality to me. I have been strongly guided through this by the integral framework that I studied avidly over a few years.

I believe the recognition of common esoteric truths within all religions and fitting these into an integral framework is a profoundly important realisation in today’s world. It creates an incredibly accurate and honouring story of human history, it unites people, gives structure and allows collaboration and great potential for learning.

Claire MolinardClaire Molinard

Claire is a certified Integral Master Coachâ„¢ facilitator and trainer specialized in Integral Coaching for women with an active private practice both in Paris where she lives, and internationally. She offers individual and group coaching both in person and online and is a Faculty member for Integral Coaching Canada. Initially trained in the holistic healing arts, with graduate Studies in Chinese Medicine, Philosophy and literature, Claire has lived and worked in Africa and the Middle East as well as in the US, serving in various capacities, as an acupuncturist, trainer and coach both privately and for various NGOs.

She discovered Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory in 2007 at a time when she was living in Nigeria and had become acutely aware of the need for an Integral map for people working in the field of international development. Since then, Claire has trained in various Integral programs and coaching modalities as she continues to explore ways of evolving self, others and systems. She met Dr. Marc Gafni in 2013 as a participant of Awaken your Unique Self Course and was profoundly moved by his transmission of the Unique Self Dharma, his teaching of an enlightenment of fullness and his vision of a World Spirituality. In studying the Unique self teaching, Claire is deeply interested in exploring the ways into which the Unique Self process can support each person to develop Self as instrument of the Divine, thus inviting each one of us to step into the life that is uniquely ours to live in service of the evolutionary impulse living in each of us, through us and as us.

“How I relate to world spirituality” by Claire Molinard

I grew up with a sense of deep longing for merging with God in an agnostic family who did not meet my persistent enquiries about the source of all that is. So as a child, I made up my own ways of revering the Divine: I invented rituals and prayers, and often felt the Sacred Presence in Nature. In my early twenties, my quest for knowing God took me to study with various spiritual teachers. Over the years, I studied Aurobindo and the Mother’s Integral Yoga; took refuge in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition; received Jukai with a Zen Buddhist Roshi; was initiated to Reiki energy work while going deep into Taoist philosophy through studying and practicing traditional Chinese Medicine for many years.

The WCS vision deeply resonates with my sense of being a world citizen with a multiple Spiritual nationality in an evolutionary context. Its message confirms to me both my awareness that the future of Religion needs to be grounded in an Integral developmental framework as well as what I have always felt in my heart: that the Divine is not limited to one faith or one religion but instead, God has many faces.