How it Came to Be
In December, 2018, we entered into conversation with Vojta (the Czech translator) and Lana (the Swedish translator) about the prospect of hosting an L/L event in Europe. What would we do? Where would we hold it?
Vojta, a native of Prague, suggested his home city because of its central location, lower cost relative to other European capitals, accommodation of English, cleanliness and beauty, and the presence of the four-person Czech translation team. Of the many translators working on L/L material, only in The Czech Republic is there a team of more than two. They have a very harmonious, tight-knit collaboration that is equal parts friendship and partnership in shared mission. They hold meditation meetings and have various roles in the effort to translate L/L material. Following in Jochen and Misha's footsteps, they have also incorporated into an L/L licensing partner which is empowered to print, publish, and distribute their translations in Czech.
So Prague it was! And with the Coming Home to a New Earth Gathering in Asheville in late May, and the Homecoming Gathering in Louisville in early September, we landed upon mid-October for L/L's third shindig in 2019. Vojta and team then scouted for a venue and located one that would rent the whole building to us, offering three different rooms + a small kitchen area. Bonus: the building was just a 2-minute walk from an incredible and large city park that boasted a café, a vineyard, a waterfall, a fountain, panaromic views of Prague, cultivated plantings, hills, walkways, and wonderfully tall trees.
And from those early decisions, months of work ensued, the details of which I will spare you.
When Jim, Austin, Trish, and I arrived in Prague on Thursday, the morning before the event (1:00 am our time, 7:00 am Prague time), we hadn't gained much sleep in our travels, but we were aglow with our surroundings---WE WERE IN EUROPE!! Holy cow. Jim had been to the UK with Carla; Trish and I to Iceland; but none of us had stepped foot on the continent. In the US you are so saturated and insulated with the US. Unless you're in a large urban area like NYC, you can feel trapped in a monoculture, despite the geographical variations, that is obsessively focused on itself and largely ignorant to the rest of the world. To be upon another continent, especially one so storied as Europe, the distant source of much of our cultural identity, was surreal. We were still on planet Earth, but things were . . . different. Architecture, street signs, language, dress, attitudes, the way restaurants work, the way toilets work, currency, cuisine, the quality of the beer, the absence of SUVs, the presence of excellent public transportation, etc.
Vojta picked us up from the airport with an accentuated version of the smile he often wears, and off we went. We checked into our Airbnb near the venue, picked up SIM cards for our phones (with data all throughout Europe, we were able to use WhatsApp to communicate), and met ROMAN! (Aka: Romi.)
<side story> If you know the L/L biography, you'll know that Romi was a dear, dear friend who lived in Louisville for over 20 years. Many of the channelings in the 90s were possible because Romi showed up as the third person necessary for a universal contact. He was born and raised in Czechoslovakia when it was a Soviet client state. He defected (you should ask him about his story sometime) by bravely and illegally crossing a border in his early 20s and making his way to a refugee camp in West Germany. There he sought asylum and spent a year before landing in the United States with nary a penny in his pocket. He found his way, though, becoming a pilot and IT person. And while living in Connecticut sometime thereafter, Romi had a girlfriend who, much to his curiosity, had a copy of the Law of One on her bookshelf . . .
[Insert your own discovery of the material to relate to Romi's.]
This brought him to Louisville in the early 90s, where, minus a couple years spent in the Peace Corps, he remained until 2014 or so. He had his own home, a good job, proximity to L/L Research, and a life fairly well configured to his needs, but something called to him. Back in the Czech Republic, his mother's health was declining. Roman's brother had defected not long after Romi, so no one remained to care for his mom. Though she made no requests of him, he heeded the call of service and sold his house at a loss, quit his job, and, for the first time since the late 80s, returned to live in the Czech Republic. In this move he accepted a significant reduction in quality of life, distanced himself from his beloved L/L Research, and entered a place where he knew no one studying the Law of One.
I love to connect Law of One people. Many times over the years I have carefully inquired with Person A about connecting with Person B, and vice versa, when I learn that said persons are in physical proximity without knowing one another. So when Vojtech wrote L/L from the Czech Republic on January 20, 2016, interested in launching a Czech translation, I knew what to do. Very soon after Vojtech and Roman connected, they met and merged intentions with two other Czech seekers interested in translation - Bara and Radim - who synchronistically appeared. The four hit it off really well. Thus began their journey of translation and shared seeking. <conclude sidestory.>
The day before the Prague Seeker Gathering, we not only reunited with Romi, but finally got to meet Radim! (Radim is the workhorse of the translation team, being the one to create the first draft of the translation.) We had lots of hugs and smiles and shared conversation, including a lengthy planning meeting, much of which centered on the complex and thorny problem of how to distribute Friday night's pizza dinner. :-) Our dear friend from the Asheville tribe, Karin, arrived, enhancing the vibe greatly and providing vital production support.
Gathering Day - Friday
The following day, Friday, the first day of the event, continued the magic put into motion the previous day. That morning we met Laszlo! He is the Hungarian translator who began his journey translating the Law of One in 2010 that culminated in Book V just last year in December, 2018. Like the majority of wanderers and spiritual seekers we encounter, and as was true for me in my initial contacts with the L/L community, he was nervous to participate in a group and to meet so many other Law of One people. But also like so many wanderers, that nervousness/anxiety eased as the energy moved easily between us and he could see (I think) that we're all ordinary bozos who just happen to be reading the best stuff on the planet.
With Lazlo, Radim, Romi, Vojta, and Karin, we were able to do a little bit of sightseeing before the event, including walking the Charles Bridge built in the twelve freakin hundreds. (Fascinated as I was by the age of such a thing, the journey into the past and my corresponding wonder would only deepen as this trip advanced forward.)
Then, to the venue, where we met the fourth and final member of the Czech translation team, Bara! She had been unable to meet previously due to the responsibilities of motherhood, but her vibe shone to a brightness matching what we were all feeling, the space lightening greatly as we prepared for the event just a couple hours away.
One of our main tasks was to create the set up for Open Space Technology. This is a method of conducting events wherein attendees co-create the curriculum. Each who wishes to offer the circle something close to their heart then pitches their offering to the group in a morning session called marketplace. The circle then decides in what time slot on what day and in what room (there were three rooms available) that the presentation/activity should be slotted. This is a format we learned from the Asheville group during our Coming Home to a New Earth gatherings, and it was our first time flying mostly solo with this format outside of that context, though Karin, our friend from Asheville, co-conducted marketplace with us, providing very helpful guidance.
And into the venue everyone began streaming! 32 people total from 15 different countries, including: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Romania, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom, and USA. (Poland and Sweden would have been there had they not had to cancel.) It was so, so awesome. We've never experienced anything like that at an L/L event.
What particularly stood out to me was that in all the surface diversity - people from different cultures with different native languages speaking English with various accents - the circle was the same in essence as every circle I've ever experienced in Louisville. Our native settings were different, but our sorrows and hardships, joys and hopes, were held in common, all united by the Original Desire - aka, the Creator's will - awakening within each heart, combined with the sense that the Law of One philosophy helps illuminate the journey and, for many of us, serves as a postcard from home.
And in this regard it fulfilled the essence of Homecoming, which isn't about coming to Louisville, or meeting Carla and Jim or any of us L/L Research people---it is about the remembrance and sense of home that begins to emerge when spiritual seekers open their hearts to one another and speak their stories. Home is that exponential empowering that happens only when we come together to share ourselves and experience each other.
Such beauty, I tell you. Many are the moments when you listen to someone's story and the eyes begin to water, or the heart begins to swell, or the arms begin to reach out in the desire to hug or comfort, or you hear yourself speaking from another body. Many are the moments, too, when you encounter your own shadow, the many and complex ways that your unintegrated quirks of personality offer stumbling blocks to the open heart. But such an environment empowers the balancing and even dissolving of these barriers if one leans into the courage to be vulnerable with others in the safety of the co-created space.
What was also incredible was that this was a new event where most faces were new to one another. At L/L's Homecoming Gathering, three-quarters of attendees are alumni, many returning year after year. This creates a continuity of culture. At this gathering, by contrast, less than one-third of the attendees had experienced L/L gatherings (including Beatriz, Victor, and Jeremy from the USA). Yet, thanks to a combination of the container we held (venue, intentions, format, leadership, etc.) along with the quality of light each brought to the circle (the most important ingredient), the culture of joyful relating began almost immediately.
It is indeed a bubble relative to the daily experience of most, but it is a needed bubble, as so many report. To the hardships endured before the event, it restores; to the challenges awaiting after the event, it revitalizes.
You can read Jim's account by clicking here (and then using the calendar on the right for 10/10 - 10/12) for more about the activities of each day, including shared meals, open space offerings, a Q'uo channeling, and a Q&A with Jim, Austin, and me, and his reuniting and our finally meeting of Pupak! Among the highlights of our weekend together for me was the translators. In addition to those already named, we met the brilliant Gianluca, the Italian translator pursuing a path of licensing partnership; and Romain, he of France who keeps his heart in his eyes and contributes occasional transcripts; and the translator elder extraordinaire, dear sweet Misha, she of Brussels who, in her mid-70s, will charm your heart into submission. Mish is a professional translator by vocation and has freely gifted L/L and all French readers with more translations than anyone, and done so with steady love and devotion in her heart.
Of these eight translators, we were meeting five of them for the first time in person, and most of them were likewise meeting each other for the first time. They happily followed through with my suggestion to hold a translator meeting as one of the Open Space offerings. This meeting was my favorite moment of the weekend. Vojta, Romi, Radim, Bara, Misha, Gianluca, Laszlo, and Romain discussed some of the challenges and rewards of translating this unique body of information. In this dialogue they were able to support one another in what is typically a lone journey. We recorded that meeting and hope to create a transcript.
One of the main objectives of this event was to teach and empower the Czech translation team to produce and host gatherings in Europe. We are a tiny, tiny staff in Louisville who lack the resources to conduct gatherings around the world on our own. What we can do is to seed the ability for others to do so. Vojta, fortunately, has arrived early to volunteer for the Louisville Homecoming Gathering the past three or four years. This has taught him some of the ropes of production. He was able to transfer those learned skills to Prague and combine them with his many native talents to collaborate with the Czech translation team to co-produce and host an event in their home country. And with colors flying did they succeed. And in the moment of truth following the gathering, when a producer will either say "never again!" or "IDK, maybe we could do it again," or "Yes! Let's do it again and again!", the Czech team made the latter declaration, stating that they would like to make this an annual tradition.
So perhaps they, or we, or all of us will see you next year, or the next, in Europe . . . :)
It was such an honor to be among such incredible company in such a wonderful and, to me, exotic location; and to share the experience with some of the people I love the most, including Jim, Austin, and my beloved companion, Trisha, and all the wonderful faces of the Law of One circle.
Next week I'll give similar treatment to the other portions of our great European adventure, including our filmed interview in the Bavarian Alps, and our time in Rome.
Gary L. Bean
Jim, Trish, Karin just outside of venue in Prague
Jim, Gary, Austin at park nearby venue
Gary, Trish, Vojta, Radim, Karin, Austin, Lazslo meeting before event
Czech Translation Team: Radim, Vojta, Bara, Romi
Jim welcoming the circle
Friday night "authentic relating games"
Romi sharing his offering in marketplace
Karin coordinating last-minute changes to schedule
Jim and Pupak
Beatriz offering a talk on self-healing
This guy, always with the smiles
This guy, with the classic photo-bombing