International Conference of Integral Health - Growth of Consciousness and Well-being, the twenty-one session programme, was conducted from 4th to 6th January 2022, under the aegis of NAMAH, the Journal of Integral Health. At the Conference twenty-one facilitators examined the connection between Consciousness and Well-being from a variety of angles and multiple approaches.
This was a hybrid event, where sessions were conducted at Society Hall or online to participants who were either online or in the Hall. Over 50 people took part in this Conference.
The programme commenced with Dr. Alok Pandey highlighting in his talk titled ‘The Two Paths to Progress’ that there is an insatiable thirst for progress in us as we carry within ourselves a portion of the Illimitable Divine. When we identify ourselves with the body, mind and life, we endeavour to make progress within these limits. This outward ego-centred progress is an essential precursor for the inward spiritual progress. The sign that we are ready for inner progress is the feeling that our life within these limits of the ego is a stifled life. This discontent becomes a knock on the door to inner progress. Sri Aurobindo talks of two lines of spiritual progress – seeking the psychic being and seeking a consciousness higher than the mind.
James Anderson’s session titled ‘Nurture Your Consciousness’ focused that our journey in developing our consciousness begins when we shift the orientation of our awareness from the surface to deep within Consciousness is the only way for us to move forward on the path to our true destiny. Once our consciousness is aligned with the Truth, we acquire the capacity to establish a state of well-being within and to change our nature – our destiny.
‘Illness to Wellness’ Dr Arati Sharma’s session highlighted that harmony is a prerequisite to health. Self -enquiry is key to establishing and maintaining harmony. Each one of has the impulse towards perfection. Through self -enquiry we can arrive at the understanding as to the origin of this impulsion. It originates from our real self – the psychic being. If our practice of self-enquiry is sincere we will come to see that both good and evil reside within ourselves. The choice too, to feed and strengthen which of these, lies with us. This knowledge empowers us to make Aspiration and Rejection powerful instruments for our progress.
Arul Dev’s session ‘Discovering the Substance of our Body’ was an as an inner experiment aimed at working with the body around the four themes of Light, Force or Power, Harmony or Flow and Substance. A journey of inner discovery through the recesses of our being, the session aimed at bringing transformation within different parts of our being - body, heart, mind and vital by i) connecting to that substance of our body which is already in touch with Consciousness; ii) living from the Cave of our Heart; iii) opening to the Light and Force of an Idea, Intuition or Delight; iv) allowing the flow of Harmony to guide our life and works.
‘Consciousness-based Homeopathy’ titled talk by Dr. Uttareshwar Pachegaonkar highlighted that the very basis of effectiveness of homoeopathic medicines is the connection between the consciousness of the medicine and the consciousness of the patient. Homoeopathy does not rely on the chemical influence of the drug, but on the influence of its consciousness on the patient.
Dr. Valdimir Yatsenko in his session titled ‘Consciousness-Power in Integral Yoga’ highlighted that the split of Consciousness-Power creates the world. When Consciousness and Power are united there is a third modality which is neither ‘me’ away from the world nor ‘the world’ away from me. In this both ‘me’ and ‘the world’ - Consciousness and Power come together.
‘Consciousness as Medicine: Practical Insights’, by Dr Yogesh Mohan focused on the fact that our body is not a machine. It is a highly conscious and intelligent being. Our body responds actively to our thoughts, emotions and beliefs. In moments of deep silence, aspiration and prayer, our physical body becomes open to receive vibrations from another dimension of Consciousness. When the body opens up and receives these vibrations, the impact on the cells is a deep healing experience. Each one of us has this capacity of opening to the higher dimension of Consciousness and receiving healing.
Dr. Debabrata Sahani in his session titled ‘Be Conscious and be Well’ talked of Wellness as a state of calm gladness. The components of Wellness are ease and joy.
‘Growth of Consciousness: Aspects of Well-being’ by Dr Falguni Jani delineated signs of emergence of the True Self and Growth and Transformation of Consciousness.
‘Deeply Relax – and Heal’ Sigrid Lindemann’s session explored how to access the higher dimension of healing by connecting with our psychic being, which sits behind our heart. Sigrid highlighted that disease emanates as a result of disharmony between the different levels of consciousness – the spiritual, the mental, the emotional, the vital and the physical. It is important to identify where the disconnect is, by examining the circumstances and the psychological state of the individual. These emotional and mental blocks have to be addressed in order for healing to start.
Puneeta Puri in her session ‘Inner Journey to True Wellness’ focused on the inner journey being a journey towards our true nature. The first step on the journey would be to become conscious of the forces within, by connecting with ourselves more and more. As we start becoming more conscious of these forces within ourselves, we start the process of purification or letting go. The shift happens when we move away from blaming these difficulties and start to recognise them for what they truly are – signposts on our journey- guiding us. When we become aware of the negative energies within and the true reason for their existence, we start releasing them in a very conscious manner. When we become aware our partnership with the Divine begins and then we are able to surrender, forgive, let go and release. This working upon the energies within, marks the beginning of healing, which will eventually lead to change of consciousness within.
Dr. Ramesh Bijlani’s session titled ‘Health as a Function of Consciousness’ pointed out that the one that knows everything and does everything is manifesting as so many things, including matter, which seems to be capable of doing nothing and seems to know nothing. The Infinite Consciousness of the Divine has not really disappeared in any of these forms. If we look beyond the appearance of self limitation, we will find that in a subtle manner all these forms of manifestation are hiding a miracle which is impossible without the Infinite Wisdom that the Divine embodies.
Dr Abhijit Lincon’s talk ‘Conscious Eating and Well-being’ highlighted that Well-being is very closely associated with food and the eating process. Food not only nourishes our body, but our mind and vital as well. Across various cultures and religions, eating is considered to be a sacred process. Food is offered to the inner Divine or the deity we worship, in the belief that it will become charged with the Divine presence. Being conscious means focusing our attention on some person, thing or situation. Our energy follows our attention and initiates the process of healing. Similarly, the eating process gets enhances when it is charged with our consciousness – the entire energy of our being.
The ‘Healing through Others’ session by Radhe focused on the Integral technology of ‘Mirroring’. Mirroring is the reflection, through our relationships with others, of those personality characteristics and traits, within us, that are ready to be healed and released to the Light. Mirroring is one of the most amazing gifts from the Divine Consciousness, and one of the most effective tools for transforming our field of action. However, it is also one of the most challenging spiritual lessons we are here to learn – to accept ‘our own stuff’ that we criticize in others.
Aadil Palkhivala in his session ‘Wellness lies only in True Consciousness’ highlighted that Purna Yoga considers sickness or physical ill-health as the effect and not as cause. The cause is somewhere else. This notion of ill-health being the effect having a cause else where, is contradictory to the understanding forwarded by modern medicine. In the yogic construct, illness is our body telling us that something is out of balance. When something is not in harmony, then we would forever remain in disharmony, unless we become aware of this disharmony and correct it. Thus, it is imperative that the body gives us indication that there is a problem somewhere. Thus, the body’s sickness is an effect of something that has gone on before.
‘Consciousness and Self-healing’ by Manoj Pavithran talked about Self- healing as our material body’s ability to repair itself – maintain a harmonious healthy condition. From the Integral perspective, body (container) is one layer of our being. The content, comprising of the mental and vital layers, too possesses regenerative ability and can get back into equilibrium after impact. Our body regenerates and heals when we fast and rest. Similarly, regeneration and replenishing of inner resources –self healing of the inner layers can be done through rest. The very act of resting heals, regenerates and transforms. If the mental and vital layers can be brought to a restful poise, then we will heal naturally. Knowing how to rest the mind and vital is key to self-healing. When this happens, we get in touch with the Healing Light which resides within us.
Dr Monica Gulati’s session titled ‘Dis-ease as a Reminder from Life to Live Truly’ focused on the need to consciously come in contact with Consciousness to know our true identity. When we examine the substance of our thoughts, feelings, sense perceptions, etc we realise that only Consciousness exists. This journey, from focusing on the perpetual flow of the content to becoming aware of the Knowing that knows – the journey to our True identity, is the journey from disease to ease. Awareness of ourselves as Consciousness is the state of supreme rest and peace.
The talk titled ‘Contagion of Consciousness’ by Manan Bindal was a reminder that whereas individual sadhana is a vital part of Integral Yoga, at the same time there is a component and possibility of collective Sadhana too in Integral Yoga. The urge to progress can be manifested in our day-to-day living and we come to a poise were we are able to add value to our own growth as well as others around us.
Aurelio Hammer’s session ‘Sound Well-being’ highlighted that sound and music are expressions of the vibrational nature of our existence, of its fluidity and capacity for constant change and plasticity. A balanced composition and inherent harmonic order guarantee stability as well as adaptability in the unceasing flux and movement of time. Sound expresses and reflects movement. A dynamic state of movement is a state of unfolding – in a state of stability. Conversely, when movement is locked, flow of energy gets stuck leading to dissonance and disease. Since flow and movement are the dynamic qualities of Sound, Sound can help bring into harmony those parts of our body which are in a state of dissonance (impaired flow of energy).
Gitanjali in her session titled ‘Transforming India in the Light of Sri Aurobindo: A Call to Action in Twelve Areas of Individual and Collective Life’ talked of the individual and the collective being in a symbiotic relationship. The individual’s wellness contributes to that of the collectivity and the collectivity’s well-being impacts the individual. Therefore, when an individual embarks on a journey of wellness for oneself its aim needs to be widened from individual liberation to benefit of man kind. The wellness of the individual should lead to the wellness of the collectivity. Gitanjali focused upon twelve areas of action where individual and collective work is needed for transforming India in the Light of Sri Aurobindo.
Dr Soumitra Basu’s in his talk ‘Personal Growth’ iterated that to understand the mystery of life, we have to know death. Life is floating – flowing in the stream heading to the ocean of Consciousness. However, to float in the stream of life, guided by life itself, we have to organise ourselves. For organisation of our self we must be aware of this structure of our being, so that we can orient our surface personality away from the ego and towards the true inner being.
What knowledge was taken away from this event? In the words of one participant, ”To delve deep within and connect with your psychic and make some lifestyle changes for improving the health.”
“I liked very much that it was very informative, increased my understanding and it also gave a lot of practical things that I can start practicing right away.”
“The practices that were shared are very valuable for me, mirroring, rejection, ways to increase consciousness in the everyday aspects of our life. But I also like philisophy a lot, therefore Vladimir's session was superb.”
“I think it was great in all aspects. If the next course will be just as smooth as this one, I will be happy. :) Thank you very much again for this whole course. All glories to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother!”