Meditative & Transformative Retreats Around The World
The "School For Self Inquiry" offers meditative and transformative retreats, seminars, talks, dialogues and one-to-one sessions and coaching around the globe with the primary intention of:
1. Awakening a deeper intelligence of life and inner wisdom which is hidden inside each one of us so that life can be lived with fullness, inner beauty, joy and peace.
2. Uncovering the deepest essence of life, of oneself, beyond the conditioned ego-mind and living from that vast space of being.
3. Learning together what it means to be a conscious, compassionate and a responsible human being in these critical times.
4. Exploring a different way of living and re-educating oneself into a new way of listening, looking and relating.
"We are like two friends sitting
in the park on a lovely day talking about life, talking about our problems,
investigating the very nature of our existence, and asking ourselves seriously
why life has become such a great problem..."
- J. Krishnamurti,
The Network of Thought
The Nature of Meditative Self-inquiry & Dialogue
How important is the spirit of a dialogue and self-inquiry in our life and relationships: whether in our family, in our work place, in any organisation, in our culture and surroundings. Dialogue is essentially different from debate. The focus of a debate is to provide a “quick solution” and convince the other of my opinion or ideas. The “me” is dominating and there is a sense of aggression. In a dialogue the focus is to “learn together” and “see together” what is true and what is false in any given situation. The aim is not to provide readymade solutions or quick fixes. The power of a dialogue lies in creating an open and safe space which is free from fear and judgments. Usually our inner space is clouded by our “knowledge”, past experiences, fears and our overwhelming desire to fix a problem. Once there is an inner relaxed space, a quality of a non-reactive still mind, the insights and deeper understandings can flow through our shared presence.
The core spirit of a meditative self-inquiry is held together with the following qualities:
1. Togetherness: A deep process of self-inquiry and dialogue opens up in an environment of real togetherness, trust and love. This doesn't depend on whether we personally know each other. The work of self-inquiry is not just for the benefit of oneself but for the sake of whole human consciousness of which we are only tiny sparks. In a dialogue we work together as friends and fellow-travelers without any hierarchy or authority. The role of a facilitator is to initiate the dialogue process and keep the flame of self-inquiry alive while working together with the whole group and by gently reminding the original intention and the core questions around which we have gathered.
2. A deep sense of wonder: The living qualities of wonder, innocence and curiosity are essential aspects of this meditative self-inquiry. One of the primary aims of self-inquiry is not to gain more knowledge and gather ready-made answers but to see the nature/limitation of our past knowledge, thinking process and belief systems and realize the beauty and significance of being empty and letting go of our attachment, dependence and identification with the past baggage.
3. A deep quality of looking, listening and awareness: The basic ground of meditative self-inquiry and dialogue is held together with the exploration of these fundamental factors of our being. These are perhaps the only unconditioned tools available to us for deeper learnings and insights.
4. A deep sense of leisure, silence and inner space: A deep process of self-inquiry - which is not an intellectual analytical process - naturally happens when the mind is really quiet and in leisure; when it is not in a rush and under compulsion to reach any predetermined destination. It's an uncharted journey into the unknown.
5. Staying with a question for a sustained period of time - rather than rushing to answer it from our past knowledge - and holding it together. In this way we allow the question to unfold itself in a space of curiosity, wonder, tentativeness and affection.
6. Clear perception of "what is": A clear perception of what is real and what is unreal, of "what is", in this living moment is one of the essential aspects of self-inquiry. One needs to be watchful of the mind's deep habit of slipping back into the comfort zone of "what should be"!
7. Participants in a self-inquiry need to be precise and brief in their communication so that every participant gets a space to open up. At the same time there is no compulsion that each participant has to share something – one can even participate silently and quite profoundly with one’s simple and awake presence.
8. We need to be clear from the beginning that this sacred space of self-inquiry is not for debates, arguments or asserting any particular ideology, strong opinions or ideals. Our primary shared concern is to discover together what is true and what is false and not who is right or who is wrong. Gentleness, affection, trust, respect for each other, patience, humility and tentativeness in one’s approach and communication is the foundation of this meditative self-inquiry.
So the basic intention of meditative self-inquiry is to work together in an affectionate, trusting, leisurely and meditative space so that there is a natural opening up of fundamental problems that confront our daily life. This may happen by simply sharing our observations, our blocks, our aspirations, our contradictions as well as our inherent goodness, trust and love for finding what is true and what is false. In order to participate in this self-inquiry process we do not require huge knowledge of any teaching or philosophy; what we actually require is a simple heart and mind which is open to listening, inquiring and wondering and not seeking any preconceived specific results. The challenge for all of us is to come together as beginners and friends.
WHY RETREAT ?
“Don’t you want to go away sometimes
to a quiet place where you take stock of everything that you have done. Some of
you might want to do; but family responsibility and so on crowd in your way.
All the same it is good to retreat to a place having great beauty with trees,
birds and quietness, for beauty is truth and truth is goodness and love. The
external beauty, external tranquility, silence may affect the internal
tranquility. Beauty can only be when the self is not. Your retreat if you follow
it rightly will have significance to you. I think it is essential sometimes to
go to retreat, stop everything that you have been doing and look at them anew.
You would then let in fresh air into your mind. You would be open to the
mysteries of nature and to things that are whispering about us, which you would
not otherwise reach; you would reach the God that is waiting to come, the truth
that can not be invited but comes itself. In a retreat do not plunge into
something else. Do not take books and be absorbed in new knowledge and new
acquisition. Have a complete break with the past and see what happens.
Sirs, do it and you will see delight. You will see vast expanses of love, understanding and freedom. When your heart is open, then reality can come, then the whisperings of your own prejudices, your own noises are not heard. That is why it is good to take a retreat and to go away and stop the routine.
Try it Sirs, those who have the opportunity, then perhaps you will know what is beyond recognition what truth is which is not measured. Then you will find that God is not a thing to be experienced, to be recognized; but that God is something which comes to you without invitation. But that is only when your mind and your heart are absolutely still, not seeking, not probing. If we take a retreat, then thing that is waiting will come directly and surely.”
- J. Krishnamurti, Madras, Ist Public talk 05 Jan 1952