Experiential Workshop Indian Psychology

Organised by the
Indian Psychology Institute, Puducherry
28 May – 6 June, 2007

Report by one of the facilitators 

“These 10 days will always remain a milestone in my life”, wrote one of the participants of this workshop.

Someone else said, “Now I have a challenging task to accomplish, and that is to maintain the positive changes that happened inside me during this workshop…I know this is the start of a new journey.”

There we were on that Monday morning in May. Twenty-eight of us; full of expectation, a little bit hesitant with questions like, “Will I feel at home with all the members of this group?” “Will Indian psychology really give that extra that I am looking for?” The facilitators started the first session unassumingly and inviting. After we all had introduced ourselves to the others the atmosphere had become very harmonious. There was a general feeling that we could trust each other, share and reach out.

The programme started with a few interactive lectures on the foundations of Indian psychology, like the Vedic image of man; questions about human existence as treated in the Upanishads; how the Gita deals with a crisis situation in life.

The major component of the programme was the question “Who Am I?”

This question was approached in various ways:

  • an inventory of the planes and parts of the human being according to Indian psychology.
  • reflections on how this view has an impact on how I stand in life and look at the world.
  • self-observation on the psychological processes going on inside me.
  • self-observation of relations with my self, others, the world.
  • self-inquiry on “My aim in life” grounded in the Indian approach to psychology.
  • what is yoga, how do I change myself?
  • how do I deal with difficulties in life?
  • what does the Indian approach to psychology mean for me as a counsellor? as an educator? 

We pondered on these questions in various ways — through interactive lectures; shared experiences during group discussions; gained clarity through dialogues with the facilitators; sought deeper insight through introspection and self-observation; arrived at integration through writing a personal journal. And in the evening, during walks along the beach with new-found friends, we experienced the beauty and the warmth of being in this together. Each day was an intense and enriching journey, offering new questions and attaining new insights. 

To help each one of us to integrate on a deeper level what we learned, each one of us was asked to choose a concept that had our special interest, prepare a write-up on this and present it orally to the group on the last days. Some of the topics chosen were “Silence of mind’; “The mystical key called Self-awareness”. We were encouraged to share in these presentations our personal experiences to the degree we felt safe to do. During the 10 days of the workshop a process had unfolded in which we had experienced how inspiring and enriching true unity in diversity can be. We all were there expressing our own uniqueness, but at the same time felt a deep Oneness upholding us all. Having grown together to greater depth and harmony, we had during these presentations some of the most beautiful moments of this workshop. 

With deep gratitude to each one of us and to That.