Participant Commentaries

Cosmos, Gaia and Eros Symposium
Reflections from participants of the Portland, Toronto and
Christchurch Events

It has been a few months since I attended the Cosmos, Gaia, Eros Symposium held by Dr. Philip Snow Gang in Buckhorn, Ontario. I registered without expectations knowing that because the retreat involved Maria Montessori, Thomas Berry and Cosmic Education it had to be amazing. It was beyond amazing. It has been a journey and Dr. Gang’s weekend continues to process within. The symposium brought an understanding of our role in the universe; past, present and future. Cosmic Education was shared through his experiences and stories and validated with scientific proof as to how we are one with the universe. He did not lecture. Dr. Gang educated and guided the attendees through questions, discussions, reflections, openness, and revelation. Discovery and awareness was prominent as the awakening of our interconnectedness with the universe prevailed.

This is a gift. Some of us may know this, however, Dr. Gang’s work enhances the power of the cosmos. Life has become richer, there is not a boring moment and the beauty is that I can share this with my students beyond what I have in the past. It is a process that lasts a lifetime. There is a sense of peace, determination and intent within me. It is not searching. It is discovery based upon awe. Knowing what I know, yet knowing there is so much more. It becomes revealed when the time is right. I trust the universe will provide as I reciprocate with respect, care and love. The energy vibrations within oscillate and fantastic things happen as I attract with like-minded thoughts and desires. A greater awareness, understanding and inspiration has taken hold. I continue to look around me with wonder and awe.

Claudia Langlois, Northumberland Montessori School

 

The Symposium was a profound weekend in the way it grounded us in the heart, and nurtured an experience of the cosmos within and without . . . in a dance of intimate participation with the whole.  Indeed, inside each of us, the universe embraces itself, and Phil is a master guide for entering more deeply into the intimate and vast intelligence of the heart.  While most education centers in the head, the Cosmos, Gaia and Eros Symposium embraces intelligence in ALL its forms. 

Jennifer Morgan, Deep Time Journey Network

 

An introduction to Cosmos, Gaia, and Eros challenged me to look outside myself, to the earth, the universe, and into my heart. It questioned who I thought I was, my given perspective, and culture, pointed to a larger, often unnoticed beauty, and invited the possibility of moving through life in a more light and graceful way.

This was not shared in a teacher-student relationship. Phil was a fellow explorer sharing a profound wisdom, placing more importance on questions, rather than answers. Out of the cosmic elegance, and unanswered questions came a humility, and an exquisite quality permeated the room. I wish I had words to describe that background quality suffice to say it slowed thinking and expanded the space of heart. And that is my challenge, to live from that place, maybe not so clever, but connected.

Mark Matsis

 

I must say that I found myself, and still do weeks later, at a loss for words after your very beautiful sharing of your experience of the weekend. My deep gratitude and thanks to you all, Fellow Explorers, for your willingness to dive in and explore the Mystery together.

Betty Kissilove, Great Ball of Fire

 

No matter how much I read – and I’ve read a lot about the kinds of notions, theories, and constructs we explored and discussed together last weekend – I notice it is only through direct relationship to you (others) that I am really able to drop out of my head and into the vulnerable space of my heart, where clarity resides. From there, I can begin to feel more deeply into my personal cosmology, the world view that has emerged out of my experiences and, yes, of course, through the veil of the masks I have worn. Peeling away those masks, getting to the raw and vulnerable place of authentic dialogue through ritual and ceremony and dialogue, provides the mirror of other as deeply reflective aspects of the self.

I especially appreciate that Philip offered Montessori’s model of human development as a sacred vision (my words and interpretation) based upon the human blueprint of potential for harmonious relationship, coherent societies, and a peaceful world. It seems to me, this endowment of human nature can empower us to live more peacefully, to seek common ground, and to establish mutuality with diverse peoples, cultures and religions. This inspires me as I speak with parents and others about the sacred, spiritual aspects of Montessori’s life and work and vision.

The universe is not random; each particle, substance, species, and event serves a purpose and contributes to the development of the whole. Ignorance, injustice and economic deprivation are merely indications of how seriously a society/culture/species has deviated from its intended purpose and its normal path of development.

It seems to me, we humans are driven by fundamental need to be seen and heard, to connect with others and the earth, and to belong. When the being becomes self-absorbed, interdependence is obscured, connection is lost, and relationships become difficult. However, when one views the self as essential and beloved, a sense of belonging emerges and the individual can begin to orient appropriately within the ongoing story of humanity. For me, perspective comes with the awareness that each relationship can be explored in terms of their extension of the self. The hopeful result is an experience of gratitude for all that is now, as well as an awareness of self as the beneficiary of all that has come before, and all that is yet to come.

My personal cosmology presumes relationship as the essential container for spirituality, and I feel deep gratitude for my relationship to and with each of you. Thank you for your brave and brilliant sharing of your beautiful stories, of your stunning selves. I deeply appreciated the creative rituals and dialogues of the weekend that provided, for me, meaningful pathways of exploration of the inner and outer worlds we inhabit. I’m delighted to be a part of the community you all create, and to have shared in the collective exploration and deeper knowing of our weekend together.

Delila Olsson, Wize Communications

 

Walking into our gathering space to be met by the Cosmic labyrinth spiraling round the floor I knew I was at home. Your placing education, as well as our gathering, in the context of the Cosmos I felt as though I’d found my tribe. I came away affirmed in my work and being and with deep gratitude for having been part of the conversation and community devoted to the evolution of education.
 
Being part of the Education-meme was new for me. Even though we’d named the work of the not-for-profit Gaia Centre For Eco-Spirituality and Sustainable Work ‘education’  I had never embraced the title of educator. As a result I often felt like an astronaut lost in the blackness of space.  The weekend, however, connected me to the work of Transformational Education and helped me identify my own Great Work as part of this evolutionary movement.  I took away new connections with educators whom I can support and who  in turn will enrich my work. I left excited to have experienced cosmogenesis at work.  
 
Our exploration of Eros as well as your own and others’ storytelling illustrated that mastering of the heart energy is the essence of the next human evolution. This was the inspiration I needed at this time to remain excited about my Great Work through writing,  programs at the Gaia Farmhouse Retreat, in family, and community. Telling your story showed me how, in the new context of Cosmology, our stories are educational tools. All human stories illustrate Cosmos, Gaia, and Eros made flesh bringing more Cosmos, Gaia and Eros into being.  I think I may have experienced Transformational Education and come to understand it not as content that must be learned, regurgitated and tested, but as a process of becoming Human, conscious of being Universe, with a response-ability to the future. 

Carol Kilby, Gaia Farmhouse

 

The way you wove a love story of your own into how integral our own love story with the Earth invoked a feeling of openness and clarity within my journey.

The weekend allowed me to indulge and reflect upon my purpose and place in our cosmos and accept what is, and what is to be. It awakened a creativity and space in me that is all to often lost in the chaos of life. It offered an opportunity to settle down and a realisation of the stability nature provides and has provided me throughout my life in its’ many different forms. I feel an immense gratitude to have shared in this experience and know that I will be reminded of it every time I stare at the night sky, share a story with children or find a quiet spot to watch the universe go by. 

Rebecca Nicholson

 

The symposium was a dance of connection and communication, which encompassed the mental, intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual heart space.

 It was a coming together of information and reflection – with pockets of activities that allowed for the hands to be busy while the heart and mind continued to question and explore everything. Cosmology, biology and ecology coming together with morphogenetic fields, autopoietic relationships, and integrative learning leading to a way of being that allowed for love to operate, using dialogue, meditation and observation.

Philip Gang is a storyteller who interwove his personal journey into the mystery and grandeur of the whole, arriving at a space where the macro and the micro intermeshed, bringing gratitude and humility, love and awe, into a tangible and palpable existence. The material offered was sensorial awe-inspiring, but the questions and reflections left one bereft of thoughts and touched the core deep inside, the core of inner wisdom.

Shubha Narayan, Nova Montessori

 

What an enlightening weekend; my sincere gratitude to you and of course Marsha for entrusting us with your life works and insights. It truly was a privilege. For me the realizations and beauty of your work sang to my very soul and the essence of my being!  Please find the simple words that follow only but a small part of what I have taken away as the pictures I find inside of me cannot find enough words to express!

What is the question…

What ever it maybe dance the dance of the cosmos

Protect what must be protected

Love what needs to be loved and be forever be

“THANK – FULL”

Suzanne Pope-Mayell

 

I was afraid I would be too tired to concentrate, having broken nights with my young children; and I thought with time to think and time to be just me, it would be difficult to stay focused. I’m so rarely still in the daytime – always moving, biking, organizing, being with the children, preparing food etc. It was a delight to my soul to find that not only did I not feel tired or unfocused, but also time actually flew by, and I found I was wishing we could just keep going. Some of the exercises felt like I had dropped an anchor, but by the time the exercise needed to draw to a close, my anchor was still just hurtling it’s way to the depths…and I wanted it to keep dropping – such a wonderful sensation. It was a fearlessness to explore potential.

I do not ever remember feeling like that, or at least, I have only known that sensation once or twice – like the moment I committed myself to marry Rich. It was like that. Exploring potential and possibility was touching love. That’s why I say I had no fear. Those two must be opposites.

I am so grateful for your kindness shown in sharing your journey with me.

Jacinda Faloon-Cavander

 

Firstly, thank you for this offering, which I know has been quite a journey for you, Philip. I felt a much deeper connection with the cosmos. This felt uplifting and joyous; an awakening, I guess you might call it – to look at our world with renewed awe. I also found the self-exploration insightful and the permission to sit with questions was such a huge weight lifted as I do not need to know all of the answers, I can simply be!

Jackie Hawes

 

This workshop for me reinforced the “power of context” to enable and supercharge any personal or professional objective. Thanks for making the known more visible and real. Whatever the situation, it can only be improved when you have the cosmos as your big picture, and your feet firmly planted on mother earth.

Guy Pope-Mayell

 

Its beginnings were created in the fiery bellies of stars; Cosmos. Its coming together was created during your and Marsha’s cosmic dance together on Gaia. Its birth was created, by and through your love for each other, surrounded and morphed in Eros.

The symposium’s transformative nature is a living testament to the fact that we are all living in times during which our very nature is in transition and this change is calling forth potentials in the human brain/mind that to our knowledge has never been needed before.

It is transformative in the sense that things that were relegated to the unconscious are now moving into consciousness. They are being seen with eyes of knowing, and those knowing eyes and seeing hearts have the ability to move and deliver, as Gang has done, which offer extra ordinary experiences to others; others who also capture the perfume and the wisdom of what is needed for Gaia and Cosmos, in order to bring about a change of heart during this period of grace on planet Earth.

The symposium and its unique, yet eloquently simple delivery by Gang, is transformative in its very nature as it awakens the unconscious knowing to a place of self-reflective consciousness. When one is awakened to this incredible offering through flow patterns of inquiry, rather than linear steps, one begins to see the integrative patterns and systems within the very “beingness” of the symposium itself.

The very principles in Cosmos, Gaia and Eros are leading the way in exploring the new routings of brain/mind that has the ability to bridge old world thinking with new order thinking, awakening one to the great forces of nature and spirit that unites the wisdom of the whole in a contextual offering that leaves one not just standing in the wake of such an event, but being a co-creative partner in a sharing that is life changing.”

Phil and Marsha: Peace, Love and Blessings for all you do and for who you are Catalysts for Change, World Peace and Unity

In the words of Thomas Berry:

 To all the children

To the children who swim beneath

The waves of the sea, to those who live in

The soils of the Earth, to the children of the flowers

In the meadows and the trees of the forest,

To all those children who roam over the land

And the winged ones who fly with the winds,

To the human children too, that all the children

May go together into the future in the full

Diversity of their regional communities.

Thomas Berry, 1914-2009

Pauline Matsis, Nova Montessori

 

Phil, I was greatly moved both by the content of the presentation and by your process in its creation.

To re-engage in the context was deeply refreshing, rejuvenating and had the effect of re-normalising me.  To observe, and feel your process was humbling and inspiring and elicited within me compassion and admiration.

I have been a student of yours for many years.  I have participated in many of Marsha and your presentations and have had both my inner and outer worlds opened and enriched by the myriad of learning experiences invoked by you both.

As I sat there listening to you talk, I felt that something subtle but powerful had shifted in your teaching.  I sat looking at you – giving quiet space inside myself for the sense of it or a word for it to arise. But it didn’t.  I couldn’t ‘get a grasp’ of it.  Then I realised that I couldn’t grasp it because it wasn’t yet in form.  The change in you is still shifting and turning and coming into being.  But already it is affecting your teaching in marked ways.

I don’t know why sorrow is an awakener of the human heart, but it is. To teach in ways that allow the tenderness of the human heart to be seen, felt and experienced is very powerful.  It takes a lot of courage to teach in this way, and I really acknowledge your courage last weekend.

Phil please keep teaching for many years to come, and please keep inviting me!  I look forward to continuing to learn with you and I am very interested to see where your journey takes your learning and your teaching.

Nicky Gresson