Todi, an original watercolour painting on hand made paper by Alan Reed. alanreed.com
Cortona Week in Todi, 22-29 June 2019 – Being Human in a Technological World
A programme to foster a new class of world leaders
An inspiring interdisciplinary week in the heart of Italian Renaissance
An immersion in the complexity of today's world
A Reflection by Kamran Mofid
O You Who’ve gone on Pilgrimage
Come, Come, Whoever You Are, Come
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Ours is a Journey of Hope
What You Seek Is Seeking You ~ Rumi
In a world of spiraling ecological, socio-political, technological and economic crises, where does one find hope and wisdom?
Where can we search for and discover our spiritual calling and be one with the world and with each other?
We came to Todi in search of possible answers and we discovered them with joy and gratitude at Todi- Week 2019
To understand, appreciate, and face the challenges of the contemporary world requires us to focus on life’s big picture. Whether it is war and peace, economics and the environment, justice and injustice, love and hatred, mindlessness and mindfulness, arrogance and humility, cooperation and competition, common good and selfishness, science and technology, progress and poverty, profit and loss, food and population, energy and water, disease and health, hope and hopelessness, friendship and loneliness, happiness and sadness, education and family, we need the big picture in order to understand and solve the many pressing problems, large and small, regional or global.
The “Big Picture” is also the context in which we can most productively explore the big perennial questions of life - purpose and meaning, virtues and values.
In order to focus on life’s bigger picture, we came together at Todi with hope and determination for dialogue, conversation, listening to one another, sharing ideas and visions, enabling and empowering each other, so that we may be able to see, discover and paint the ‘Big Picture’, carving an everlasting sculpture of beauty and wisdom.
And, yes, we were not disappointed. We rose to this big challenge at our Todi-Week 2019.
Once again, the Chairman of The Cortona Friends Association, Prof. Pier Luigi Luisi, and his superb and committed team of volunteers, succeeded in spectacular fashion, in bringing together a wonderfully eclectic mix of speakers, workshop leaders, delegates and participants, binding us together in a common purpose and vision. The quality of the presentations was richly broad and penetratingly deep. Various speakers discussed the need for connection and relationships, and how consumerism and materialism were misplaced attempts to find what we really need, ‘Values and Spiritual Wisdom’, which we are starved of in the global economic market system.
We engaged with each other with big questions of life, questions, such as: Who are we? Where have we come from ? Where are we going to? What is the purpose of this journey we call life? What it means to be human?
At our Todi-Week 2019, we were once again able to reaffirm our values and commitment to share a common belief in the potential of each one of us to become self-directed, empowered, and active in defining this time in the world as an opportunity for positive change and healing and for the true formation of a culture of peace by giving thanks, spreading joy, sharing love, seeing miracles, discovering goodness, embracing kindness, practicing patience, teaching tolerance, encouraging laughter, celebrating diversity, showing compassion, turning from hatred, practicing forgiveness, peacefully resolving conflicts, communicating non-violently, choosing happiness and enjoying life.
This year, we once again, found unity with one another, we found connection. We found it in our search for truth and in our hopes to build a better world in ways both large and small. We listened intently to each other’s presentations. We engaged in dialogue during the formal sessions, and again more informally as we ate together and shared perspectives. What we hope for the world, we found in a special way, this year, at our inspiring and rewarding Todi- Week.
The Conference brought together over 100 participants to celebrate, appreciate, and discuss the importance of ‘Being Human in a Technological World’. The participants came from many walks of life, many countries, diverse ethnicities, and different spiritual, philosophical, and religious perspectives. They also came from a wide breadth of both academic disciplines and career paths. Many were teachers and professors, students and PhD candidates, some were entrepreneurs, social and business, some were highly accomplished musicians and artists, calligraphers, sculptors and drummers, others were gifted spiritual, political, and community leaders, to name but a few. All were united by a desire to make this world we live in a more just, more equal, more ecological, and more relational. For it is in relationships with one another and in our relationships with the earth and all the web of life that human beings find happiness, peace and purpose.
Until we meet again at the next Todi-Week Conference, let us remain a Community in our hearts as we work together, not alone, in spirit to build a better world, just as we did, at this year's Conference, by enjoying life and giving thanks for all the gifts we have received.
And now I want to conclude my reflection, by recalling the beautiful and inspiring words of William Stafford, American poet and pacifist:
“A Valley Like This”
Sometimes you look at an empty valley like this,
and suddenly the air is filled with snow.
That is the way the whole world happened —
there was nothing, and then…
But maybe some time you will look out and even
the mountains are gone, the world become nothing
again. What can a person do to help
bring back the world?
We have to watch it and then look at each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully
save it, like a bubble that can disappear
if we don’t watch out.
Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When mornings and evenings
roll along, watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party that your life is.