When I first heard about the International Youth Conference at the Goetheanum, I thought “hey, what a great way to meet new people!”, and indeed, I did meet the most amazing people there, but to my surprise, I met someone there I wasn’t expecting to meet – me.
From inspiring lectures to amazing workshops, we stumbled upon intriguing questions like “what is the originality of uniqueness and how can I allow the uniqueness of others?”, or “how do I listen to hear my responsibility in the world?”.
Like so many others at the Conference (I was glad to see I was not alone), I feel there is an urgency for active people in the world. There is so much to be done, but what is my “role”?, my “responsibility”?, and how do I manage it with my professional life? How do I balance living, developing myself, and being active in the world? How can I really Be Present?
Of course I went there looking for an answer, and left with a thousand questions. But it was so interesting and so good to see that I was surrounded by people with the exact same questions as I, it left me with a feeling of being on the right track. Maybe I wasn’t getting crazy after all! But not only that. One of the nicest things about the conference was being surrounded by an extraordinary bloom of cultures, which is always so nice to experience.This is one of the things I most enjoyed about the conference, finding myself surrounded by so many different people from so many different countries who all had complete different points of view. And it was even more amazing to see all these many different individuals and cultures coming together in the Open Stage, an evening where everyone was free to perform whatever they liked. From beautiful taiwanese music, to crazy german poems, to cool brazilian rhythms, to the frightening Hakka, we had it all, and it was amazing to just be there and absorb all this incredible mix of cultures going on around you.
Besides facing these new questions, I think that one of the most especial moments I had in the conference was during my workshop, which was called “The Art of the Fool”. If you have ever done clowning before, I’m sure you will know what I mean when I say that, after the first five minutes of the workshop, the first thought that crossed my mind was “my God, what did I get myself into?”. However, in the short period of 2 (and a half) days, I found myself having the most amazing discoveries and experiences of my life. We played many games of spacial awareness and improvisation, and one of them was called “The Mirror”. Surprisingly enough, it consisted of you and your partner playing mirror. Taking turns, one of us would be the leader, and the other would be the mirror. Oh how fun it was to be in control of another body that was not your own! To feel the absolute power over your poor fellow partner. And wow, how nice it feels not even having to think about which finger you are going to lift, all you have to do is follow your master. This easiness lasted for about 10 minutes, until we were told that there would be no more leader, and no more mirror. We would have to exist as one person in two bodies, having to perform all tasks perfectly synchronised, but without saying anything. Of course it was very interesting in the beginning. If I want to go left and you want to go right, do we get stuck in the middle? But as we got accustomed to each other, it became easy to flow in harmony, so that we were no longer individuals, but we existed together as one. However, when I thought that we had reached the goal of the exercise, me and my partner suddenly came to a very special moment, which couldn’t have lasted more than 5 seconds. We were not just one body with one consciousness anymore , we were two individuals in one. I could see deep into my partner’s eyes, and they could see deep into mine, and I could see them as a whole unique individual, but still have the consciousness of myself. And there we stood, unique, separate, but still connected somehow.
I think that perhaps we might have accidentally stumbled upon one of life’s biggest secrets: to be in harmony with the world without loosing your own individuality. This is where I found the connection with the other and with myself. And in this encounter with myself, I learned that to be able to go out in the world, I first need to go within myself, and once I see and understand my own individuality, my own uniqueness, I can start to understand the uniqueness in the other. And then I think that when we finally see this connection and balance between me, the world and the other, we will find ourselves in a world full of unique possibilities, where anything is possible, and where we will all truly understand what it really means to be present.