March 23, 2002

Hello dear friends!

With the arrival of spring we are embarking on a one-year journey through Europe and North America to network and meet with others who sense that an opportunity is on the horizon to bring a more integral and sustainable way of life to earth. But what exactly is integral? And what is sustainable? So much effort has gone into answering these questions over the last decades. Yet we still find ourselves heading towards increasing separation and destruction. It really seems that the leading edge in consciousness transformation needs to leave assumptions and beliefs behind and have a deep look at itself and its history of trials and errors.

What do you think? Do you ever think that this world is going somewhat insane? But at the same time that there are encouraging glimpses of a new consciousness emerging? How do you think these two trends will play out in our journey as a human family and for planet earth?

While much thought and research has gone into answering the question, “What is the solution to the global crisis humanity faces today?”, we seek to take the question a few steps further and ask, “How can the available insights be integrated and then implemented so that larger groups of people begin to embody wholeness both individually and as a collective?” We hold pieces of the answer, we think — and are eager to hear of the pieces you and others may hold. This is what compels us to leave our abundant and relatively simple life on a beautiful mountainside in British Columbia, Canada. We begin our one-year journey May 1st 2002 with following three main objectives in heart and mind:

  1. To deepen our own spiritual growth and practice, and to continue to seek and search for the most appropriate and effective ways that we, as two individuals and as a couple, can serve humanity at this point in history.
  2. To meet with leading-edge thinkers, spiritual teachers and activists in order to explore and discuss the next steps that need to be taken at the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical levels if we are to truly transform present-day reality, as well as how these steps can be embodied on a personal and broader scale. We would like to interview individuals who have given this topic in-depth attention and consideration.
  3. Above all, we hope that our search will inspire action amongst people ready and willing to implement models of integral life on earth on a broad scale. We also hope to meet with already existing networks of people actively engaged in this field to see if we can help out.

We embark on this journey with the following premises:

  • We feel a new consciousness emerging that calls for the integral, the real and holy to come to life in its many forms.
  • Our research leads us to believe that the root of the global crisis (apparent at many levels, from the social to the environmental to the psychological) is spiritual, and that the solution is therefore of a spiritual nature.
  • For such a solution to come about, complete and reliable information on the core areas of life on earth needs to be developed and made available to individuals and communities (local and global) through experiential universities and institutions/centers. We are happy to hear of the Integral Institute’s efforts in spearheading the first stages of this kind of work.
  • And most importantly, we need models of integral societies. We need to come together — beyond the confines of nuclear homes or even educational centers — to explore, research and experience in larger settings what such a reality could be, look, feel like. This would give individuals a cellular experience and be much more effective in changing consciousness than just a mental idea, belief or ideology. Whether humanity is ready for this step, we don’t know. But we are pursuing it as a possibility and see it as a very necessary step.
  • Our experience tells us that true transformation requires a profound and fierce dedication to wake up and move beyond the ego.
  • And last, but paramount to all other premises: God is, the Ineffable is — and we humans have the precious possibility to be at one with this Mystery.

And so we reach out to you, hoping to connect with you and hear what you have to offer to the questions posed here. You are most likely also connected with networks of people that we are not aware of, and that are just who and what we are looking for.

Many blessings for the year to come,

Miriam Mason Martineau and Stephan Martineau


Our journey led us from West Canada all the way to Montreal; from there we flew to Europe for six months, visiting the “underground monks” of Glenstal Abbey in Ireland, many communities, authors, families, also vineyards in Italy, the ancient island of Patmos in Greece, and a spiritual retreat in Paris. After a profound and inspiring time on this richly cultured continent, we flew back to Montreal, and then proceeded in a U-trip to travel through the States, continuing our exploration and dialogue with many wonderful authors, spiritual teachers, philosophers, friends and colleagues. We interviewed some of them, including Father Thomas Keating, Beatrice Bruteau, Frances Vaughn, and Duane Elgin. Spring 2003 we returned to our home at Morning Star pregnant (literally and figuratively!) with a clear sense of affirmation, a delightful growing community of kindred spirits met along the way, and plans to take our next step: the founding of Next Step Integral!

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