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Reflections on the Green Gathering/Encontro Verde

A BIG THANK YOU to Karyn, Steve, Becca and all the other good folks who contributed to making the wonderful Green Gathering happen! I don’t know quite what I expected but these four days over Easter were deeply inspiring and heartwarming beyond my expectations.

While there were creative workshops and presentations of all kinds from soap making, chi gung to permaculture to planetary healing, for me it was primarily the intent and openness of all the people present that made it such a positive event.


A mixture of about 200 Portuguese and resident foreigners of all ages gathering together in a palpable spirit of love and passion for change.

meal at gathering.JPG

While Cynthia was giving Reintegration massage to some fortunate folks, my time was spent mostly hanging out talking with people, helping out in the café and, on Good Friday morning, giving my ‘workshop’ on the Evolution of Consciousness. Only 3 people turned up initially, but then after I began a guided meditation, one by one people were tiptoeing into the dome and sitting down. Soon we were all in a deep meditation together and when I opened my eyes I was surprised and happy to find that we were about 20 people in the circle. It was clear to us all, as the unifying pulse of meditation filled the dome, that what we were was something far greater than our individual minds and personalities. I said we didn’t have to name it but let’s call it Consciousness…


The meditation had lasted for 45mins (much longer than my planned 20 minutes!) and I was running out of time. So next I launched into a presentation on the evolution of the manifest dimension of this mysterious no-thing called Consciousness…that so far ends up being us!! I held up a drawing I had made that illustrated the leaps from No-thing to the Big Bang to Light & Energy to Matter to Life to Mind to Ego to Spirit. The Ego represented our experience of individuality and separation; our current evolutionary threshold. The realization of Spirit pointed to an awakened individuality in conscious connection with the entire creative process of cosmic evolution. Shedding our identification with our ego-sense in a fundamental way is like cracking a cosmic egg! Our ego doesn’t disappear but the floodgates of our heart open to embrace Life as an interconnected whole…


I shared my own experience of how living in conscious awareness of such a vast context meant ‘my’ life is brimming with tremendous wonder and purpose. And, in that, the experience is one of being infused and propelled forward by Life itself.


As I spoke about this many people, especially the young Portuguese, lit up with an unmistakable spark of recognition. I was very struck to see that this perspective framed the crisis that humanity faces in a way that was new and compelling to them. When I said that the deeper systemic change that was now needed had to come from a within, and that adopting alternative, sustainable lifestyles, while important, was not enough, everybody was right there agreeing that this was the most important thing.

It felt like we were all just getting started and beginning to lift off together but then I had to end as our foray into timelessness had meant that I had gone way over time! I said I was inspired to continue the exploration with a regular group or to keep in touch by email. While some people scribbled down their contact info a young girl from Lisbon came up to me with pure passion blazing from her being and said; “There will be a much bigger bang when we go beyond the ego together.” Now that was amazing!


It was a pleasure spending time with the young Portuguese people over these few days. There is an openness and innocence about them that is refreshing. Definitely different from the generally more cynical and jaded self-consciously ‘cool’ youth of Northern Europe and America. Maybe it is because the consumer culture of materialism and narcissism is less entrenched here, and there is still an awareness of connection with the earth and community, I don’t know. Still it gave me hope that Portugal won’t have to dive as deep into the same fragmented madness as we have. The young folks from ECO-GAIA and InfoNature were a great bunch of activists to be around!


One of the most interesting things that happened was a spontaneous gathering in the dining tent on the subject of community. As there were a number of people either already beginning communal projects of some kind or planning them, one such group called Terramoja who are planning a community based on Permaculture principles. initiated the meeting. Kudos to Emma, Chris & Yass for making it happen! With rapid-fire translations between Portuguese and English, much passion and experience was shared regarding both the practical and interpersonal challenges of embarking on the journey of community. It was moving to feel so many people feeling the longing to come together to forge a new future. And it was disarming also to hear a number of people be so transparent about the challenges they faced both individually and collectively. I shared my experience of beginning the Awakened Life Project and our emerging vision. I also shared some of my experience of the inspiring potentials and potential pitfalls of communal life. Having been a member of a very focused community for 14 years I realized I had plenty of experience to share!


I didn’t actually get to as many of the workshops as planned, as I was busy connecting with so many new friends from both the local area and further away. There was no speaker system announcing the events so we would lose track of time in meandering and passionate conversation. However I did make it to workshops on solar and hydro energy (thanks Robert Kuchta), Tibetan Singing Bowls (Amazing! Thanks Toivo) and Family Constellations (thanks Angelika), which proved to be a profound and deeply moving voyage of communion and healing.

It was fantastic to meet so many great people and in the process I felt that our Project began to have more context and meaning. Many expressed interest in what we are doing and I felt the sense of us being part of a wider movement here in Central Portugal moving in the direction of greater consciousness, creativity and sustainability. So to Jutta & Carlos, Isabel, Cibele, Rui, Nuno & Helen, Emma & River, Emma & Yass, Chris, Joanna, Paula, Michael, Jacquie, Viren, Lourdes, Dominique, Elisabet and others, thanks to you all and I look forward to being in touch and seeing you again sometime.

Love Pete

PS Here are some more photos…

Yoga on the grass




Origami workshop, I think!


Shop in a dome…


Shower block


Roundhouse back view


Roundhouse inside


Solar cooker


Roundhouse again


Low impact bathroom facilities


Building a wiki


Camping amongst the trees


Making mud bricks


Steve coolly masterminding the event from behind shades with the delightful Angelika


UM GRANDE OBRIGADO A Karin, Steve, Becca e a todos que contribuíram para a realização do maravilhoso Encontro Verde! Não sei bem o que esperava, mas estes dias de Páscoa foram profundamente inspiradores. Aqueceram-me o coração, para além de qualquer expectativa.

Mais do que os criativos workshops e apresentações sobre temas tão diversos como confecção de sabão natural, permacultura ou cura do planeta, foi, acima de tudo, a abertura de todos os presentes que tornou o evento tão positivo. Uma mescla de portugueses e estrangeiros residentes em Portugal, num total de cerca de 200 pessoas de todas as idades, reuniram-se num espírito palpável de amor e paixão pela mudança.

Despendi a maior parte do tempo a conversar, a ajudar no café e, na boa manhã de sexta-feira, a dar o meu workshop sobre Evolução da Consciência.

Inicialmente, apenas três pessoas apareceram. Porém, uma vez iniciada a meditação guiada, as pessoas começaram a entrar no dome em bicos de pé, sentando-se, uma a uma. Mergulhámos rapidamente numa meditação conjunta profunda e, quando abri os olhos, fiquei surpreendido e feliz por perceber que éramos cerca de 20 no círculo. Todos percebemos, de forma clara, que o dome fora preenchido pelo pulso unificador da meditação percepcionámos algo muito superior às nossas mentes individuais e personalidades. Expliquei que não havia necessidade de atribuir um nome… Chamar-lhe-íamos apenas Consciência…

A meditação durou 45 minutos – muito mais do que os 20 minutos planeados! – e o tempo fugia. Iniciei, então, a apresentação da evolução da dimensão desta misteriosa «Não-Coisa» chamada meditação… até agora, acabamos por ser nós!!

Este meu desenho ilustra os saltos da «Não Coisa» para o Big Bang, para a Luz & Energia, para Matéria, para a Vida, para a Mente, para o Ego, para o Espírito. O Ego representaria a nossa experiência da individualidade e separação; A realização do Espírito apontava para uma individualidade desperta em conexão consciente com todo o processo criativo da evolução cósmica.

Shedding our identification with our ego-sense in a fundamental way is like cracking a cosmic egg!

Projectar a nossa identificação com o nosso ego é, fundamentalmente, como estalar um ovo cósmico.

O nosso ego não desaparece, mas os portões do nosso coração abrem-se para abraçar a Vida como um todo interligado…

Partilhei a experiência de que viver consciente de um contexto tão vasto como a «minha» vida enche-se de uma admiração e propósitos tremendos. É a própria vida que me impele e inspira a seguir em frente.

Falei sobre este assunto com muitas pessoas, especialmente jovens portugueses, e senti imediatamente uma faísca inconfundível.

Quando referi que a mudança sistémica profunda necessária teria de chegar do interior, pois adoptar estilos de vida sustentáveis, apesar de importante, não é suficiente, todos concordaram. Senti que estávamos apenas a começar uma descolagem conjunta… Depois percebi que já ultrapassáramos o tempo disponível para o nosso workshop!

Expliquei como me sentia inspirado a continuar esta descoberta com um grupo regular ou através de email. Enquanto algumas pessoas escreviam os seus contactos, uma jovem de Lisboa dirigiu-se a mim e com pura paixão a irradiar do seu ser, disse: “Haverá um bang ainda maior quando formos capazes de ir todos juntos para além do ego”. Foi incrível!

One Comment

  1. catarina silva says:

    this was a wonderful gathering and an excelent opportunity to learn from the many diferent life experiences and knowledge of wonderful people. I loved it.
    I went to your workshop but I didn´t leave you my contact so you could send me information about new meetings to continue this idea of sharing this experience together more times.
    this is my email:
    Thank you and I wish a lot of luck to your project

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