By Ryan Marcoux, B.A.,
INPM Member & Volunteer
The First Congress on the Construction of Personal Meaning shines, in my memories, as one of the most spectacular events in my life. I have not travelled very frequently, nor have I much professional experience. Needless to say, flying across Canada to attend a conference of professionals I knew little about had me nervous. However, with a positive attitude and courage, I went as a volunteer.
At the conference, I was very aware of how far so many had come to share ideas and knowledge. There were people from Taiwan, India, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, USA and Greece. The topics ranged from the deeply spiritual to the rigorously scientific, and all with a focus on how to find meaning and promote psychological well-being. In the joint efforts of INPM and the Constructivist Psychology Network (CPN), no doubt some progress would be made in anyone’s search.
Surprisingly, I found I had nothing to worry about. I didn’t fade into the background at all. As a matter of fact, when I was curious about a topic, the speakers would regularly take the time to discuss matters with me at length. These interactions were not simply overlooked, either, as many of these professionals were willing to network with me and exchange ideas after the conference was over. I was even extended an invitation by the heads of Fo Guang University to apply and attend their Buddhist school. All in all, the atmosphere was one of acceptance, inclusiveness, and encouragement.
There was a host of other students attending, so I felt the presence of fresh minds and ideas which I immediately sought to connect with. There is no better way to test the worth of your own concepts than how well they match with the ideas of your peers. The learning experience was grand. I got to see many of my own beliefs reflected by research and professional opinions alike, felt hope for my own theories and was made very aware of their weaknesses. All priceless experiences I wouldn’t have had any other way.
But what struck me most was when Dr. Paul Wong and Dr. Lilian Wong announced that they were providing free journals to the INPM members. As a student member, the conference was already made quite cheap by their efforts, and now they were giving even more away. I have, since, signed on as a lifetime member knowing that my membership will more than pay for itself.
Nearing the closing of the conference, we were treated to a dinner and a show. CPN provided the entertainment in the form of magic tricks and some witty jokes. INPM had its own awards ceremony to draw attention to achievers and brilliant young minds. Truly, the opportunities were brighter than I had known.
I find myself certain that INPM is destined to achieve its mission of advancing meaning research and promoting meaningful living. Based on my own experience, I encourage others to join the INPM’s Facebook group and become a member of INPM.