By Achim Ecker
How do we create peace – in the world, in our community and in ourselves?
Once again, Europe finds itself in the midst of an ongoing war that is dominating our
thoughts, our feelings and our actions.
Peace must be actively created and maintained. In wars, there are no winners (except for the arms industries, who win no matter what the outcome). Countries and the truth are left destroyed and depleted. Resources (human and material) are wasted on the battlefield of war. Instead of guardians of the earth, we become its destroyers.
Negotiations will also be painful. Both sides will not get everything they want. But human lives will be spared, as will infrastructure and nature. Resources and energy will be preserved and can be used for solving the various other crises we already have.
What do we want? It is in our hands.
My personal path to peace as a contribution to a more touchable world.
My search for possibilities towards a peaceful and sustainable world led me to the community in 1984 – to the Bauhütte, from which the ZEGG and Tamera emerged. Since then I have been active in community networks and have supported community development and the creation of sustainable humus soils and houses at ZEGG. I have experienced and accompanied many conflicts and solved some.
In recent years I myself have been in the focus of a hard conflict at ZEGG. I have of course fought FOR what is good and right, for a transformational community. Each party of a conflict always fights FOR something – but thus also always AGAINST something else.
I did not acknowledge that I wanted to move something and fight through something against the will of a part of my community. Something, that I (still) consider necessary for a transformative
transformational community that I was advocating for when I first joined the Bauhütte community in 1984 in the first place. I was referring back to our Origins, to the original vision of ZEGG. For many years (since 2008) I have written about it, called for it, and demanded.
Now I accept the responsibility for the places where I have acted unfairly, where I have exerted pressure and wanted to fight for my goal. Again and again I come to a place where I want to excuse my actions with the fact that I, too, have been treated unfairly, fought against, reviled and denigrated. This may be understandable and normal, but it does not lead anywhere.
Instead, I want to take responsibility for the situations and reasons why I hurt people or drove them into a corner. In this way I find my inner peace and and integrity without having to take back my intentions.
We established ZEGG in 1991 as a human-social model project. This has resulted in a community-organized seminar center and an ecological model project strongly designed by me. It has become very important for many people in Germany and beyond. It will continue to its way as a contribution to a sustainable world.
Towards a communal meeting and healing space
For me personally, the inner work and further developing the community have become too little. Together with my partner Ina we now made the painful decision to continue on the path of deepening. I am part of a group that wants to build a new place of deep encounter. We
like the image of the vital mushroom mycelium in the soil, out of which the mushrooms grow as fruiting bodies. The mycelium is information and substance carrier in the soil. It conducts substances from plant to plant and turns the soil into a living networked
We want to network and live in vital community with each other. We want to look so deeply into ourselves that we recognize the patterns within us that do not want peace, that want to escalate
in the name of the good and the beautiful. Patterns that have for so long prevented the world from being a paradise. If we transform something here and make a difference, we can finally create the sustainable, peaceful and connected world that our hearts know.
We are Achim Ecker, Ina Meyer-Stoll, Christa Leila Dregger-Barthels as founding members of ZEGG (Christa lived the last 18 years in the Tamera Community in Portugal and one year with Go&Change), Georg Barthels, who lived with G&C, and Detlef Arndt, also formerly from ZEGG. (Since early summer 2022 we have distanced ourselves from Go&Change, because we can no longer support their methods. The community has increasingly spun itself into a dangerous narrative. As a result, there have been violent attacks). Around us are other people with whom
we can imagine a cautious growing together.
In this critical and and crisis-ridden time we decided to build a new nucleus of peace research.
Peace between man and nature and above all between human beings. How we human beings behave and act is the origin of the problems we face. We see the potential to transform ourselves into the source of hope we need today.
For this we founded a cooperative Terra Nova e.G. and decided to purchase an organic hotel at the Baltic Sea (gut-nisdorf.de). There a small community with up to 20 adults and children, who will hold and host a common meeting space.
We want to approach the question of war or peace softer and more gently than before.
What does a good, connected and free life look like?
We want to go deeper into this question than we have been able to in the respective existing projects and communities. All the experience from our decades of founding and building of our communities, of accompanying people and intentional communities all over the the world, from building edible landscapes and climate resilient forests will be incorporated here. To that end, we have also dealt with our mistakes. We want it to be a place of encounter. “All real life is
encounter,” said Martin Buber. Every encounter contains the possibility for reorientation, insight, healing. We will create these deep spaces of experience and encounter for us and our guests. We bring a lot of life experience with us. We will gather people with us to ask, to feel, to speak and to move. We want to dare that which is becoming increasingly difficult in the world. We want to consider different opinions side by side, as long as they arise from a contributing attitude. Perhaps we will also find answers, solutions, but certainly puzzle pieces on the way to a grounded vision of peace.
What counts is “being on the way”. Not the arriving. We ourselves have been intensively on the way for a long time. We have dedicated our lives to this path and will continue to follow it further.
What we still need.
We are now appealing to our network of friends and supporters to back us up. We need to raise 1.7 million Euros in our new cooperative. We can raise just about half of that ourselves from inheritances in the future, but not as quickly as we need it now. Real estate still needs to find buyers. That can take up to 5 years. We also don’t want to do it alone and we can’t. It also fits, because peace and sustainable, resilient living is not a matter of a small group, but a human enterprise, the enterprise of the ONE human family. Therefore, we need loan offers or gifts. We are aware of the magnitude of the task and look forward to accepting it humbly.
We manage the financing via personal loans and the bank. We are still looking for low interest loans. Many friends have already offered it already. If you can and would like to do the same, please contact us. (web: terranova-begegnungsraum.de, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are mainly looking for loans from 10.000 Euro.
I am looking forward to stay in contact with you – also on the topic: How does peace come into being? You can sign up to our newsletter HERE.