History – 40 Years Schweibenalp
The Center of Unity was founded in 1982 upon guidance from the Indian teacher Sri Haidakhan Baba by Sundar Robert Dreyfus, Fredy Aly and Silvia Bollag. It is a place where traditional religions and cultures meet a new religion of the heart; founded as a place for multicultural community on the way to the realization of Truth, Simplicity, Love and the experience of Unity. The Center of Unity Schweibenalp was one of the first seminar facilities in the German speaking area that is networking with international lecturers inter-religiously. Until now the founders work together with people from different religions to fulfill the Center’s purpose.
SCHWEIBENALP, AN ANCIENT SACRED PLACE
The earliest archaeological evidence is suggesting that Schweibenalp was a place of druids in the Celtic era, with many druid trees and caves. Still today we feel this energy and there are a few very powerful boulders. The Celts were in tune with nature, just as we know it from currently living aboriginal peoples. It is possible to visit those trees and boulders. The caves are located in the nearby Giessbach valley.
In the 6th and 7th century Christian missionaries came to this area. Monks like Beatus (after who the Beatus caves and Beatenberg was named) and brother Justus (Justis Valley) lived in caves by lake Thun. Fighting all ancient religion, the druid trees were cut down and the caves were filled up. The monastery of St. Gallen became the owner of the Alps. The road to Santiago, in those years the most favorite pilgrimage of Europe – lead over the Alps. There are very old remainders of the road to be found on Schweibenalp.
The Clinic, a Children’s Home
In the early 1900’s, the clinic Schweibenalp was built as a place for healing for tuberculosis patients; at that time a widespread disease. After WW II the clinic was converted into a children’s home and later into a vacation home for the same.
THE CENTER OF UNITY SCHWEIBENALP
In 1981 Sundar Robert Dreyfus, Physician and Psychotherapist, received the assignment from the Indian teacher Sri Haidakhan Babaji, to build an Ashram in Switzerland. For this purpose the “Foundation for the realization of Truth, Simplicity and Love” was formed and able to purchase the property of Schweibenalp. The place had been neglected and needed renovation.
Before Sri Babaji died in February 1984, the center could be put into operation. The most necessary renovations were done, but overall life was very simple: Service in the temple, meditation and volunteering filled our days. A small idealistic community of helpers lived together focusing on spiritual practice and work.
A ritual place was born with daily Indian fire- and temple rituals as well as rituals from other traditions. The place was called Siddhashram, place of divine power, devoted to the forgotten Divine Mother because its purpose was the re-erection of the individual and cosmic order and the connection to the source of life.
Babaji confirmed the focus of the Center on the principles of applied Truth, Simplicity and Love, Unity and Peacework. This is still our focus today.
According to the name we started with inter-religious work and Unity-festivities right away. Representatives, believers and seekers from all kinds of traditions joined us and together we celebrated our mutual respect for our diversity. With the spirit of Unity, beyond cultural and religious barriers, we envisioned the opening of a New Global Humanity.
Teachers like the mystic Dina Rees, Rabbi Zalman Schachter, Sri Muniraji and Sri Ammaji, the Sufi Master Scheikh Nazim, Dr. J.J. Hurtak and his wife Desiree Hurtak, Tibetan Buddhist Lamas, Zen Masters, representatives of aboriginal peoples, and Priests of Christian churches visited our place for retreats and seminars.
As a seminar- and training space here take place longer and shorter seminars. Some focus on personal development and others on collective and ecological topics. Spiritual Art and also music festivals are conducted here.
The Center is still today connected with like-minded movements, places and teachers and is part of an international group of centers like Findhorn, Auroville and Esalen, which met yearly for discussion and networking. As one of the first centers in Europe it became a starting point for many small and big centers in cities and in rural areas; they are still today offering possibilities for the development of a new consciousness.
In the mid 90’s the world showed little readiness for the New Consciousness. Frictions between the fundamentalist and orthodox representatives of traditions, the major economic differences, the big gap of income in industrial countries, never-ending conflicts, civil wars, genocide, the growing exploitation of the earth and the millions of disoriented young people were proof of that. The male-rational-competing-unmerciful still dominated over the feminine-motherly-intuitive-merciful in the world.
The center had fulfilled parts of its purpose and felt like it had to prepare for something new.
Despite of all these changes, the goals and visions of the Center have not changed. It is still a place for development of Heart and Consciousness. It shows though, that today our visitors prefer a more individual experience in the here and now to reach inner and outer change. That is why the traditional rituals are being practiced in the background at the Center now. Visitors and community members are now practicing living together daily integrating stillness, contemplation, gratitude, communication, creativity in play, music, dance and art as well as knowledge.
As the Center of Unity we do not subscribe to any specific tradition, religion, and philosophy or to any specific teacher or belief system. Today it is a non-denominational and intercultural community where all are invited and accepted.