Integral Salons- for the Integral European Conference. A conversation with Monia Fruehwirth

Register for the Integral European Conference 2021 HERE.

Heidi writes

In 1977 Ken Wilber wrote his first book “Spektrum of Consciousness”, the beginning of an inquiry into the world’s wisdom traditions. The question was: what is the connection between different schools? How can we understand which practices are good or better for a determinate situation and which ones better are applied to other situation?

This question attracted me in 1979 in his book “No Boundary”, the first one I read after the fascinating and very touching story of his life with his second wife “Grace and Grit”. He showed that the effectiveness of certain therapy schools were valid for people in certain stages of their personal development, but wouldn’t work or even be harmful for those in a different stage. This insight had the potential to end the war between different schools, each of which were convinced that their method was “right”. Now it became clear that they were “right, but partial” everyone of them were right in a certain realm of application.

The next book I was fascinated with was “Up from Eden”. I couldn’t wait to be home from work for being able to continue with reading. There were so many answers to questions I had had for so long, so mayn AHAs about things which had bothered me and which I just couldn’t figure out in their contradictions. 

Meeting integral theory by reading the books was really life changing. But I had nobody to talk with. Nobody around me seemed to be interested at all in what was so fascinating for me, I met rolling eyes when I tried to bring up the topic. It was very frustrating – until I heard about a small conference in Berlin calles “Arbeitskreis Ken Wilber”. I took a plane and participated, just listening to the program and talking to people in the intervals. What a relief it was! No rolling eyes at all, but an understanding and willingness to talk about the things which I had been holding in my mind for so long, all by myself!

From then on I went to every meeting of this sort and became a member of the newly founded “Integrales Forum”, the first group or association I ever became a member in my whole life! Since I live far away in rural Umbria/Italy, I was not able to attend the new initiatives, the regular meetings which were organised in many cities in Germany, Austria and Svizzerland by enthusiastic Wilber fans in order to allow the direct exchange on what anyone learned from his books. These developed into what we call “Integral Salons”.

In 2006 I joined the first one week long gathering of the “Integral female consciousness field”, co-organised by Minia Fruehwirth and I started to get ever more involved in the “integral Community”. With my husband Mark Davenport I attended the European Integral COnference in 2014 and in consequence we founded the “Wisdom Factory”, a video podcast in service of the integral worldview and integral practitioners. It became one of the first “Online Salons”  within the “Integrales Forum”.

Integral Salons have the promise and capacity to develop and proliferate integral thought and integral ways of being in the world. A jump into the “integral stage” by many people would be badly needed in our present time where separation and fight against “the others” is making life difficult and in danger of disastrous outcomes. We need to grow up as humanity, we need to find the connection, the bigger picture, in order to find better solutions. Integral Salons do their best to inspire individuals to take the leap into a much wider consciousness. The map by Ken Wilber is a very valid guideline for everyone of us to recognise what is going on, what is missing in our response and where we need to focus more.

In my conversation with Monia Früuhwirth we explore the beginning of the integral movement in Europe, the idea of creating “salons” which in her hometown Vienna had  a long tradition in the cultural life. She was engaged from the first moments in creating the Vienna salon, but also in collaborating – as first woman in the movement – with the Integrales Forum, translating books by Wilber into German, holding live interviews with him and occupying herself with the media released by this organisation. Although she has “retired” from many organisational aspects of the association, she is still co-leading the salon in Vienna and some other integral inspired groups.

Enjoy our conversation!

Videopost for Mai 2021

0:00 Starting with the wrong language >> welcome in English

0:30 About the Integral European Conference and the contribution about “Integral Salons” and the history of salon work.

1:50 When did Monia get aware of Ken Wilber?  1999 – a group of Wilber “fans” only males, where she joined. This led at the end to the “integral feminine consciousness field”

3:45 When she really got hooked and the first reading group in Vienna.

5:30 First attraction to Wilber: intellectual. For Heidi: “Grace and grit” and “no boundary” – the understanding of types of psychotherapy belonging to different levels of development. “Up from Eden” as her breakthrough.

8:00 Women needed to explore an approach less fixated on intellectuality. Women lead “salons” traditionally in Vienna.

9:20 Monia on “Grace and grit”, the impacts of the books. “Boomeritis” as a parody. Monia translated many texts from English into German. Correspondence directly with Wilber.

11:00 About 12 people met regularly in Vienna. Discussion group on the books, one group on Spiral Dynamics, Salon group on different topics. 

12:45 What are the qualifications for a salon organizer?

13:25 What is an Integral Salon? 

  • It uses the map of Ken Wilber
  • Be open for what wants to emerge
  • Listen to others what do they want to convey?
  • Can you go in resonance
  • Difference between men and women

16:00 How is a salon experience? What is the content, the modalities, the structure? Who is attending? What is the intention.

17:25 Monia: Different ways of handling a salon in different places. In Vienna a regular group since 18 years. The constellation of the Vienna salon. A community.

19:30 How can new people join? The difference in the exploration of consciousness. No publicity, curiosity is the key.

21:30 The differences of the salons. Intentions. The intend to help people to develop. Integrales Forum in Germany and Holacracy. Shadow circles

23:30 Shadow work, the Wilber version. Integral takes a different perspective. A perspective on drama which can seem arrogant.

26:05 Integrales Forum: spreading integral knowledge and practice. Two types of Sqalons: PArt of the association or not. What is the definition of “Integral”?

28:00 The individual flavour of groups of different nations. Intercultural competence.

30:00 “Women Matters” an intercontinental group of women. What makes salons work?

30:40 Stay curious all your life and differentiate. An example by Monia. The exaggeration of fear. Using the WIlber Map for understanding better

33:00 Integral Life Practice. Body, mind and soul.

34:35 curiosity and willing to listen to each other, no need to insist and fight for one’s position. A common intention. FInding inspiration when listening to others.

37:45 Monia’s inspiration by our meetings on The Archetypes of the soul.

38:50 From a certain stage intuition is used consciously. Ability to sense into others. Shamanic quality, even on Zoom. Subtle energy.

43:00 A summary on salons: why create a group? – For your own development!!

44:30  Monia’s experience with our group zoom meetings.The benefits of doing it, also the problematic moments.

47:00 Communication, the way of talking. Conclusion

About Monia Fruehwirth

Please visit her personal page within our website