The programme was organised by NAMAH, the Journal of Integral Health, from 8th -13th November 2021. This six-day interactive and reflective workshop was conducted by Dr. Monica Gulati. This workshop is about getting in touch with our true nature, i.e., joy, peace and happiness. Dr. Monica Gulati emphasised that the pain and suffering we face in life is nothing but the play of vital nature. As long as we puppet around our vital nature, we suffer.
The first session began with an overview of the vital nature. It focused on the need to embark on a journey that will help us manage the unruly vital and move away from the ego-consciousness to the conscious Presence within. Some ways to gain an understanding of our vital nature and means of collaboration were discussed in great detail. Dr. Monica Gulati explained how anchoring oneself in the conscious presence throughout the day while performing all the activities of the mundane life and consistent practice can help one to disentangle from the dramas of life. . This session also taught the participants steps for daily meditation practice. The session ended with the emphasis on the shift from resting in our thoughts to the practice of being aware and taking rest in that consciousness will give lasting happiness, peace and joy.
The second Session was educating the vital through the refinement of the senses and artistic faculties. In Integral Yoga, we have to refine the senses, not shun away from them. We have to develop and use the senses as tools to move towards beauty, harmony and perfection. Dr. Monica Gulati explained through an interactive activity how simple drawing skills can be used for refining our senses. She stressed the need for the incorporation of the senses that will help us become conscious of the conscious presence within and guide us to channel the vital energy in the right direction. Art, Poetry can be used to harness this vital force. This way, it can be utilised to achieve mastery or perfection in our fields and our evolution as awakened human beings. Education of the senses is a lifelong process. The session ended with the note that by educating our senses and channelling the vital energy, we can try to become more awakened human beings to whatever degree possible.
The third day of the session was titled the Education of the Vital with the focus on the enlightenment of our inner movements. Dr. Monica Gulati started the session by stressing the need to look at our inner movements. Through very simple examples, she brought home the essence that the inner being is the temple where we have to install the Divine Presence. Just like weeds also grow in a beautiful garden, ugly movements of jealousy, anger, ambition, victim attitude, etc., also coexist with beautiful thoughts. These ugly movements require continuous removal. Otherwise, they will cast a dark shadow on the inner being. Dr. Monica Gulati also explained how our body acts as an indicator to show where we stand in terms of the conscious presence within. Our subtle body shows up a lot of blockages when we get disassociated with our consciousness. The participants also learned of ways to purify the inner movements through the power of love and Self-giving. The gist of the session was that the awareness of the conscious presence will help us gain self-mastery, transmute the ugly thought-movements and guide us to take small steps towards perfection amidst our imperfect nature.
The fourth session of the workshop focused on the transformation of the vital force with guidance from the psychic light. Dr. Monica Gulati started the session with the prerequisites to the path of transformation of mental and vital movements. Recognition of the harm caused by our addiction to our thought pattern is essential for the transformation of the vital. This recognition, coupled with the awareness of the conscious presence within, will help us move towards our true nature. The three aspects that the Divine Mother talks about – Aspiration, Rejection and Surrender and their role in the transformation of the Vital were explained in vivid detail. Along with this, the power of thought and imagination was also emphasised. The session ended with the takeaway that as we stabilise more and more in the conscious presence within, all that is false will wither away from us.
The fifth day of the session centred on the Challenges on the Path or as Dr. Monica Gulati puts it, “Challenges are the Path.” She quoted the Divine Mother that all difficulties lie within us. To deal with the problems arising with people or life circumstances, we have to take responsibility for the problem in ourselves. This helps us to reclaim our power back. The talk then moved towards the areas of challenge and how to overcome them. We might be addicted to certain thoughts about people or about the goals we wish to achieve. These are ‘soft spots’ that one has to attend to and they call for inner work. After recognising the soft spot, the first step is to disentangle from the thing or the person with the support of knowing ourselves as the conscious presence within. We must understand that these things don’t deserve the importance that we give them. Otherwise, we will frequently fall into the trap of soft spots. Taking our stand as the conscious presence, we should quickly bounce back to our true nature. Tools that will help to face the challenges are Prayer, Meditation, the Tonglin way. Coming back to the breath and the body, connecting with the conscious presence within were also discussed.
The concluding session on the 6th day was an interactive session with the participants on reflective worksheets and personal challenges. Dr. Monica Gulati started the session with a recap of the points presented and discussed in the previous five sessions. As we live in a family and society, disagreements and differences are pretty natural. We must understand that amid the disagreement and disharmony, all the necessary work lies within ourselves. The focus should be on our inner journey towards true nature and away from the weaknesses that need to be conquered. We must reclaim our power by withdrawing ourselves from the demands and expectations of life and the people around us. The key to doing this lies in anchoring ourselves in the conscious presence within or the consciousness. Consistent, continuous practice is essential for this journey. The goal is to recognise the inner movements, maintain the beautiful ones, reject the ugly ones, and transmute them.
This workshop with the session for six days was well received by the participants. Dr. Monica Gulati, through her simple examples and inspirational talks, kindled the aspiration and determination in the participants to embark on a journey from the desire-soul towards the true soul. The workshop was a guide to understand the nature of the vital, explore ways to harness our abundant vital energy to move towards the true soul. In our journey towards Superhumanity, the first step is to become fully awakened human beings. This journey is tough but not impossible. As the Divine Mother says that with willpower and determination, we can realise the goal.
“All the aspects were very, very interesting “
“Excellent relatable stories brought the concepts home.”
Which aspects of the workshop did you find most interesting and helpful?
“Reflections & exercises.”
“How to utilise ur vital energy for better use of divine work .”
“Almost all of it. It was excellent. I didn’t give much importance to the Vital being but I have understood it’s essential now.”
“Everything, especially the examples and the naturally positive attitude of the facilitator.”
“Transformation, challenges and reflections”
“The practicality …… to apply the guidance given by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo….. The sharing by Monica of the many references and links was wonderful making it easy to tap into straight away should one want to.”
“This was really a very balanced series of sessions.”