Following on from the success of his Integral Perspectives of Mental Health last December, this programme was even better attended than the first. The range of participants included a high proportion of attendees from overseas. About 50 people registered from this event, with those from different time-zones availing of downloaded video recordings.
The purpose of this workshop, facilitated by Dr. Soumitra Basu, was to give a clear understanding of the various planes of consciousness that inhabit our being. Self-knowledge is essential to true self-control and mastery. We have to know ourselves better. Self-knowledge equips the individual with the only true way of negotiating the contours of everyday life. With this understanding we gain more authentic control over our inner impulses and those forces that visit us from outside.
Dr Soumitra Basu, a Founder-Editor of NAMAH, the Journal of Integral Health, is a pioneering psychiatrist who practises mainly in Kolkata. His life is dedicated to implementing the insights of Integral Psychology, of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, into his counselling and mental health practices. He has a deep understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s Works and a massive wealth of experience in his chosen field of psychiatry.
There were five sessions at this workshop and they were titled as follows:
- The Physical Plan of Consciousness
- The Vital Plane of Consciousness
- The Mental Plane of Consciousness
- The Inconscience and Superconscious
- The Structure of the Being
The evolutionary progression of consciousness, Dr. Soumitra Basu stated, has to be recognised. The human being is not the summit and the evolutionary spiral has not ended. Higher beings will come and our physical consciousness as it is today represented in the body, has to undergo a transmutational change.
At the bottom of the ladder, the physical consciousness is the first to evolve from Inconscience and is represented in our body and therefore from the very beginning carries intrinsic impurities coming from the Inconscience. The body however contains the divine spark. It is involved in every cell and throughout our evolution, this spark expands until it becomes the psychic being. When the psychic being comes in front, it changes disharmony into a harmonious light.
The body has to be addressed in our dealings with the various ranges of consciousness. Because of its impurities and limitations it is down to each one of us to refine and sublimate our body consciousness. To do that, we need to develop knowledge of our inner (subtle) body. Behind our outer physical, the subtle body is where things happen before they manifest on the outer physical body. In terms of neurophysiology, Dr. Soumitra Basu stated, it is called ‘readiness potential’ of the brain. The subtle body carries all the memories of the outer body.
Throughout the session and indeed the entire workshop, practical experiential exercises were shared to demonstrate the workings of these inner parts of our being, so that we can facilitate them better in our everyday living.
Through a reading of Sri Aurobindo’s sonnet The Golden Light, light was tangibly brought down to the different parts of the body and through another of his poems, Ocean Wideness, the body consciousness was expanded and widened. The reading of the two poems worked beautifully in conjunction in sublimating our body consciousness.
In dealing with our life-energies, to control the impulses of the vital, we have to summon and invoke the vast immobility of the Spirit to govern our outer tendencies and movements. The Spirit needs to be infused into the Outer Being so that Peace and Silence can reign through our entire system.
Every plane of our being was addressed and dealt with. The workshop worked all the way upeards to the Superconscious but a beautiful paradox was always present: even the depths of the Inconcience contain a spark or the supreme plane of our being.
Our sadhana involves a perfection of our personality. Dr.. Soumitra Basu affirmed that it is the Psychic Being alone which can achieve all this. It alone can join together the Inner and Outer Being. Actually, we have to simultaneously work on all the planes of our being. We have to realise the vastness above our head and yet bring Light down to the very depths of the Inconscience. We have to clean it. We have work on our ego. We have to go deep inside ourselves to find the treasures of the Psychic Being. Realising it, we were told, is a dimensional shift. It exists outside all the usual parameters. There is a mighty threshold we all have to cross and we mustn’t delude ourselves until we have finally done it.
At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants were left yearning for the next one to be undertaken by Dr. Soumitra Basu.
“Every session was special, every concept that Dr. Basu spoke about and every exercise he took us through, showed us that he comes from a place of deep understanding and experience, and this was reflected in how I/my being responded to the sessions as well. To me, this was a deeper experience than any of the workshops thus far (I have loved and gained from each of them, but this one was truly special and shone through even I my dreams last week).
Like Dr. Basu said, every moment in this life with Ma and Sri Aurobindo is magic!
It was an intense and necessary workshop and the whole experience is something I am truly grateful for.
Dr. Basu is such a brilliant speaker, there was so much information in each session and this is just the beginning. His clear explanation of these hard to grasp concepts is truly a gift and along with the exercises he gave us, there is so much to learn and practise and be. He has certainly fanned the flame of my Aspiration to progress steadily along the Path with Them in this individual and collective Sadhana. I have had a copy of The Synthesis of Yoga on my bookshelf for two decades now, I finally felt the need and the readiness to open it and start reading during this workshop.”
“I felt I understood and experienced in some form more about going within/ behind into the fourth dimension – I used to feel a limitation of the body before but now a feeling of the body itself expanding behind and growing wider and being part of that ocean that Dr. Basu talked about. Also that feeling of seeing a witness and Conscious Being watching me. Visualising the brain behind helped me with headaches that I had recently been having – a sense of lightness in the head. Wonderfully light.”