In mid October I received an unexpected invitation to visit China for the third consecutive year. After the 2015 Centers Gathering in Beijing, Mr Liu, founder of the community that hosted the event, was inspired to build the Orenda Psychosomatic Medicine Museum showcasing the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the leading science of health care and the holistic movement in the Western world. They were keen to feature the Findhorn Foundation first, in recognition of the international community and their connection with the United Nations.
Travel was planned for December and it was a delight to reconnect with friends from previous visits and share about the Findhorn Foundation with the Orenda community. Our bond is based on a deep interest in self development and people living a full and integrated life, between mind-body-spirit. It was another rich opportunity to bridge between east and west in the spirit of mutual learning.
After a slideshow presentation there was a short ceremony to honour our connection. The Chinese are wonderful with this; handprints in gold dust, photographers to capture each moment and celebratory music! I then led a gentle warm up exercise with everyone introducing themselves with an expressive movement, followed by a circle greeting dance and angel meditation. There was such an openness afterwards, with Mr Wong, President of Orenda, sharing about his insights from the angel (or quality) of compassion.
Travelling all the way from Scotland to China I was keen to make the most of my visit. Sean Feng, who I met at the 2014 Gathering hosted by The Haven in B.C. Canada, was the most wonderful guide, friend and translator throughout the ten days that included Beijing, Xi’an and Changdu. Director of Education of Haiwen, based in Shenzen, Sean leads trainings and workshops all over China and supervises the graduates of the Haiwen diploma programme.
Sean arranged a meeting with his friend of ten years, Mr Tony Liu, founder of Bene Wellness Institute in Beijing, following on from our connection at a conference hosted by Orenda last October. I spent the day with his team, learning about each other both personally and professionally and presenting the Findhorn Foundation as a founding member of the Holistic Centers Network. Within 24 hours of our visit they produced this short video capturing the essence of the day!
Bene Wellness Institute sees itself as a member of the world wide holistic centers network with a clear intention to be a part of, and contribute to, the human awakening movement towards holistic living and holistic community. Their mission is to find a balance between the popular culture in modern day China and the spiritual values and practices, as well as to act as a leader to fulfil the above mission.
From Beijing we travelled by bullet train to visit Sean’s family in Xi’an. It was a dream come true for me to see the Terracotta Warriors there. The museum of China’s first emperor was discovered in 1974 and has been described as the Eighth Wonder of the World. In 1987 UNESCO added the site to the World Heritage List.
I didn’t expect the warriors to be life size and all so individual, modelled on the actual army at the time. The mausoleum was constructed from 246 to 208 BC and the skill and expertise of a human settlement from nearly 2000 years struck me as remarkable. Sean’s sister in law is an archeologist who has taken exhibitions overseas and over dinner that evening we enjoyed a fascinating conversation about the history of those times.
My interest in China was deepening and as a four year old child I remembered visiting London Zoo to see the pandas Ching Ching and Chia Chia. Sean mentioned the new train route from Xi’an to Chengdu that opened only two weeks earlier. Just a few hours away, it was the perfect opportunity to visit the Changdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. There I discovered British Prime Minister Edward Heath had returned from China in 1974 with these two new residents – a result of China’s panda diplomacy initiative.
I learnt so much about these adorable creatures, symbol of the World Wide Fund for Nature, the leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species. The co-creation between nature and science deeply impressed me, boosting their population through a successful breeding programme. Co-creation with the intelligence of nature is one of the founding principles of the Findhorn Foundation and here was a signifiant cross cultural expression of it’s validity.
Flying back to Beijing, my final meetings were with Stage Ai (Ai means love in Chinese) – another holistic east-west bridge. The founders, Yan and Yang, are the first Chinese graduates of the California Institute of Integral Studies and as well as organising educational events in China they bring groups to other centers, including Esalen, Omega and Findhorn so far.
Yan has attended the Centers Gathering for the last two years and Yang visited Findhorn this summer. The Holistic Centers Network is now partnering with Stage Ai to co-create an Integral Life Summit in China next Autumn.
We’re deepening our connections with the Orenda Community, Bene Wellness Institute, Stage Ai and Haiwen in China, creating a strong foundation for the vast potential of collaboration into the future. I’m glad I was issued with a multiple entry visa, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until I return!