Integral Living and Well-Being

The one person with whom we are least familiar is our very own self. The one person with whom we are perpetually in conflict and struggling for harmony is our own self. The one person who can be our best friend or the worst enemy is our own self. But what exactly is our self? Are we a single person or many persons packed in a single psychological space? All our past lingers within us even though ‘dead and gone’. All our future calls us from afar even though ‘yet to be born’. If we look at ourselves carefully, we shall find a disorderly order that reflects in every sphere of our life. We look for the causes of our unhappiness and conflicts outside while the real causes are within us.

We know that we have a body but do we really know our body? The knowledge of the body is far more than its anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. It is the container or using an even better image, a chariot through which ‘we’, the essential and true ‘I’ journeys through the ocean of Space and Time. It is important to keep the vessel and the car clean and in a good state so that our journey of life is not impeded and harassed by diseases and illness. How to keep our bodily life in a state of health and harmony is a question we must ask.

But the body needs energy to be driven along the roads of Time. The great scriptures tell us that we are not just the body though. We are also the life-energy that sets in motion everything. But just like any other energy form we can be driven by crude forms of energy with much wastage and pollution of our mind and body or else purer and more refined energy forms that help us not only move forward but also open doors to an inexhaustible source of Energy within and around us. The material energy is our first natural means. The animal energy that often drives our instincts and impulses are our next source. The energy that moves our higher thoughts is yet another source that we seldom tap into. And beyond these three lower forms there are still higher forms of spiritual energy that can transform our lives if we can open our doors to them. What are the means of doing this is a question we must ask.

Beyond the body and life energy we are also a mind that broods and reflects, tries to understand the meaning of our life and of the world around us. We try to discover the one idea that can govern our life, the one central Thought around which we can harmonize the rest. Otherwise our mind remains a field of conflict and unrest moving like a monkey driven by restless curiosity that leads us nowhere. What is this mind? Is it just the brain and its processes or something else? Where do ideas and thoughts come from? How are we to harmonize this conflict-ridden field, often a veritable battle-field whose pain and loss spills all over into our outer life and its circumstances. What is the way to tame and channelize the mind is a question we must gainfully ask.

But there is yet something that is like an unborn child within us. All our life is an effort, often a painful effort to give birth to this divine child that sleeps in the womb of nature. It is the secret soul within us, that little spark of God which we must find if we are to lead truly a meaningful and beautiful and diviner life. This ‘divine child in the womb’ must be nurtured and nourished, allowed to emerge and take lead of our mind and life and body. How to find and bring out our soul and allow it to govern our life is the most important question we must ask.

It is this soul within us that can open the doors of nature to something beyond our present horizons. It is the Divine Peace and Beatitude and Truth and Force and Bliss that must be our share upon earth. But we have lost the key and therefore live as prisoners within our own house. How to open our doors to the much that waits for our discovery beyond the arc of our present vision is the last question that we must ask.

This Retreat is a means of exploring and discovering and trying to find the answers to these perennial questions in the Light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the practice of Integral Yoga as applied to our body, life and mind.

Be sure to save the dates: June 24th-28th, 2020!

ABOUT / Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education. There he studied at St. Paul’s School, London, and at King’s College, Cambridge. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realizations.

In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Pondicherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realization that not only liberates man’s consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.

The Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21 February 1878. A pupil at the Academy Julian, she became an accomplished artist, and also excelled as a pianist and writer. Interested in occultism, she visited Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1905 and l906 to study with the adept Max Theon and his wife. Her primary interest, however, was spiritual development. In Paris she founded a group of spiritual seekers and gave talks to various groups.

In 1914 the Mother voyaged to Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo, whom she at once recognized as the one who for many years had inwardly guided her spiritual development. After a stay of eleven months she was obliged to return to France due to the outbreak of the First World War.

In April 1920 the Mother rejoined Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community. The Mother left her body on l7 November 1973.

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