ConsciousLab is now working towards organizing its next ‘Adventure to Consciousness’ trip to Puducherry, India in December 2014. Karin Mlaker who attended the last trip shares her experience below:
The trip to Puducherry was promoted as an ‘Adventure to Consciousness’. I am happy to confirm that this title was hitting the mark. According to Wikipedia adventure is an exciting or unexpected experience and consciousness is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.
So, what was exciting about this trip?
First of all: the destination: I had never heart of Pondicherry or Puducherry how it is called today. Maybe this is due to the fact that I have never been to India. Puducherry is an enclave of former French India and is also known as the “French Rivieria of the East”. Puducherry makes it easy for unexperienced India travelers to quickly feel ‘home’ and still get a sense of the Indian culture.
Then: the dream of Auroville:
“There should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation should claim of its own, where all human beings of good will who have a sincere aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme truth; a place of peace, concord and harmony…” (The Mother).
The Mother (1878 – 1973) and Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950) were spiritual leaders. Together they founded Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. In the 1960^th The Mother had the dream of Auroville. 50 years later we had plenty of opportunities to get to know how far the dream has come true and how easy as well as difficult it is to live it.
Also: The number of projects in the spirit of consciousness:
We met a couple that dedicate their lives to motivating and helping the community to contribute and take responsibility for creating change in their own lives; we have been to a rural training center which has been chosen by the UN as being among the five most sustainable and green buildings in India. By talking to one of the architects we discovered how difficult but also satisfying it is to construct such a building with a spiritual and sustainable approach; we have spent one afternoon with a farmer and his family on their farm, learned about the challenges of organic farming, the principle of farming in the spirit of consciousness and how such a farm supports the dream of Auroville; we have visited the Aravind Eye Hospital and have witnessed how this clinic since 1976 eliminates curable blindness of people who are unable to pay for an operation. These are only a few of the projects that were shown to us. The agenda was packed from early morning to late at night. But, I do not want to miss any minute of this program.
And now: What was unexpected about this trip?
The group of people: Everybody who has ever spent some time with a group of strangers knows that this does not necessarily need to be a great experience. With the group being together for a week in Puducherry it turned out to be just the right mix of personalities, back-grounds, expectations. Only the gender balance was unequal: 11 women and one man. We all had the same openness for the topic paired with the same level of scepticism which resulted in various interesting and meaningful discussions – about the principle of consciousness and the impact it could have on our Western world, the role of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother and the Sri Aurobindo Society, the dream of Auroville and its today’s reality and many, many, more questions. And, we will continue these discussions – individually or among the group via Skype. Because there is still a lot to discuss…;-)
Finally to the more difficult part:
What was the quality and the state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself? According to Wikipedia the description for consciousness:
I must admit, I did not fully understand this explanation before I went to Puducherry and I am still struggling to explain what is meant by consciousness after this trip. I got a first vague idea of the potential of consciousness when I heard the following quote from Nelson Mandela, who died while we were in Puducherry: “If you talk to somebody in a language he understands, he will remember it by his head. If you talk to somebody in this own language he understands it by his heart.” So could consciousness be a kind of universal language all of us understand by heart. But how to learn this language?
The code of conduct of the Aravind Eye Hospital, which is based on the principle of consciousness, gave a hint to answer this question: “Knowledge and skills can be acquired or transferred by various ways but attitude is very difficult to be taught. It should be inborn or it should be inculcated right from birth.” So is consciousness an attitude that can’t be learnt? That one has or does not have. That would be a bit frustrating, because then there might never be a critical mass of people who are able to change the world at least a bit for the better.
SAFIM, the Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Management, is more optimistic about it: It sees consciousness being the next bottom line in business after the economic, the human, the social and the environmental bottom lines in the past. So maybe consciousness is already in many people and they just need to become aware of this attitude of them. And need to get motivated to give it more space – in their private lives as well as in their business lives.
But one thing is for sure: The ‘Adventure to Consciousness’ continues.
To attend Talk by Dr Venkatesh ( of Aravind Eye Clinic) in London on the 17 th of September 2014 see link
About Karin Mlaker
Karin has a broad experience not only as manager of internal and external communications, she is also a certified Business Coach and Business Change Expert. While being with us in Puducherry she had the idea to start a mentoring group for young professionals, helping them to develop the skills and mindset necessary to be conscious leaders. You can get in contact with Karin via LinkedIn.