The Venwoude Sangha
Walking the path of conscious growth together
A spiritual home
The Venwoude Sangha wants to be a spiritual home for modern seekers and finders. A circle where you are known for who you are, beyond your trials and errors, for better or for worse. A container in which we embody our motto ‘Interconnected Individuality’, both in person and online. A place where we practice self-enquiry and integral spirituality together, in order to learn to come more and more from our authentic essence while living our life.
In our Sangha, we take for granted that all human beings, in spite of all that may seem to point to the contrary, are already whole and complete in their essence, and therefore able in any given moment to be a source of healing for themselves, for others and for the world. The vision of the Venwoude Sangha is: “I am the source of healing in the world.”
What is a sangha?
The Buddhist term ‘sangha’ refers to a community of practitioners. Nowadays, the word is also used for groups convening regularly to practice self-inquiry and modern spirituality. Our Sangha is a mixed group of people who have been supporting and mirroring each other already for many years on their journey of conscious growth, while other members are taking their first steps on this path. Their common intention is expressed in our mission: “In the Venwoude Sangha, people commit themselves to transforming the human conditions on the path of Interconnected Individuality.”
To support you on your path of conscious growth, the Venwoude Sangha offers several activities: the daily Day Opening, the bi-weekly Sunday Evenings, customized Individual Retreats, our annual Summer Retreat (Dutch spoken) and (after a preliminary training program) the residential program Integral Living.
For answers to frequently asked questions about the Sangha, have a look at FAQ.
Integral spirituality implies that in our personal and transpersonal self-inquiry, we include all of our human and interhuman aspects. We examine how we function physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. How do we relate to others, to our environment, to our ‘shadow’ and to the light of our transpersonal Self?
The term ‘Integral’ also implies that we do not limit our self-inquiry to one specific perspective, but are open to insights from a diversity of premodern, modern and postmodern wisdom traditions from all over the world. In addition, we allow our view of ourselves, the world and life itself to be enriched by philosophical, psychological, scientific, mystical and other means of acquiring knowledge. In this, we take an evolutionary stance, acknowledging that both our methods of acquiring knowledge and consciousness itself will always keep evolving.
Finally, the term Integral refers to both individual and collective lines of development. There are four areas where we can apply our self-inquiry:
- Growing along various lines of development,
- Awakening to what you always have been,
- Shadow work and healing, and
- Giving, in the sense of being a contribution to the transformation of what it means to be human.
In the Venwoude Sangha we walk our path of conscious growth according to the motto of ‘interconnected individuality’. This concept reflects the human condition in the sense that we are an individual while also being part of a larger whole. Here we make a distinction between our personal and our transpersonal self. Our personal ego is focused on separation, self-interest and competition, whereas our transpersonal Self is bent on connection, sharing and compassion.
The Self beyond our ego has an inner knowing of our inextricable interconnectedness with each other and with the unity of All-that-is. Additionally, it represents, just like one small facet of a gigantic diamond, a unique facet of that unity and therefore is also called our Unique Self.
In order to open up more and more to this Unique Self and make it the basis for your life, in our Sangha you are invited to pay attention to all four dimensions of integral development: Growing, Awakening, Healing and Giving.
Since Venwoude’s foundation in 1988, many forms of self-inquiry and consciousness work from several premodern, modern and postmodern traditions have been practiced here and fused into a new synthesis. Over the years, many prominent teachers have visited Venwoude and contributed their unique gifts to this process.
One common characteristic of teachers that have felt attracted to Venwoude is the awareness that ancient spiritual traditions need to be translated to modern times and also be aligned to modern and postmodern psychological and scientific insights.
The teachers of the Venwoude Sangha gratefully draw from this rich harvest from past and present in order to deepen their insights in the path of conscious growth and share them with others. These teachers are: Marijke Heetveld, Mauk Pieper and Pauline Botden.
Teachers with a special connection to the Venwoude Sangha we like to call our ‘teacher friends’. These include Miranda Macpherson, Isaac Shapiro, Jun Po Denis Kelly, Doshin Michael Nelson, Pema Gitama, Marya Norell and Teja Bell.